Monday, August 10, 2020

In a Nutshell Reviews: YA Edition

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.
Now That I've Found You
Kristina Forest
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Rating:  5 out of 5 stars
A YA novel about searching for answers, love, and your eccentric grandma in all the wrong places.

Following in the footsteps of her überfamous grandma, eighteen-year-old Evie Jones is poised to be Hollywood’s next big star. That is until a close friend’s betrayal leads to her being blacklisted . . .

Fortunately, Evie knows just the thing to save her floundering career: a public appearance with America’s most beloved actress—her grandma Gigi, aka the Evelyn Conaway. The only problem? Gigi is a recluse who’s been out of the limelight for almost twenty years. Days before Evie plans to present her grandma with an honorary award in front of Hollywood’s elite, Gigi does the unthinkable: she disappears.

With time running out and her comeback on the line, Evie reluctantly enlists the help of the last person to see Gigi before she vanished: Milo Williams, a cute musician Evie isn’t sure she can trust. As Evie and Milo conduct a wild manhunt across New York City, romance and adventure abound while Evie makes some surprising discoveries about her grandma—and herself.
Everything was going Evie's way until she was betrayed. Then her life sort of imploded. In an effort to repair her image, she fled to her grandmother, a famous and well loved actress, to seek help fixing the damage done. 
  • Pro: Kristina Forest writes these heartfelt stories that fill me with joy. I took a peek back at my review for I Wanna Be Where You Are, and found a quote which describes me reading this book as well.
    If you think the person on the cover of this book looks happy and full of joy, you should have seen me, when I was reading this book. My eyes were smiling, my heart was warm, and I was definitely sporting a perm-grin, because this was such a sweet, charming, and heartwarming story.
  • Pro: Evie's support system was filled with some fantastic people. Though she originally held them at arm's length due to her recent experience, she grew to trust them. Among her supporters was Milo's band. I fell in love with the band not only because they were interesting and quirky, but because they welcomed Evie with open arms. This group had that "family" feel and along with her grandmother and agent, provided her something important that had been missing in her life - a place to belong. 
  • Pro: Gigi, Evie's grandmother was something really special. Getting to know her and her history was fantastic, and I am always happy to see multiple generations in a story. I especially have a soft spot for grandparents, so I had no problem fully embracing Gigi. 
  • Pro: The search for Gigi added a fun element to the story. I had a fabulous time traipsing through the boroughs with Milo and Evie as they searched for her!
  • Pro: Milo gets his own section, because he was outstanding. I loved everything about him. The friendship he shared with Gigi was very sweet, and he was so kind, generous, giving, and heck, he was swoony. I found him to be the perfect match for Evie and was happy he was there when she really needed someone on her side.  
  • Pro: *Applause, Applause* Can we talk about that ending? Absolute perfection for me. I couldn't have ask for me. 
Overall: I found this book to be a gift! Once I started reading it, I couldn't stop. And when I got to that ending! Let's just say my squeals of glee were heard by many. Just like with her debut, Forest crafted a wonderful and heartwarming story filled with friends, family, and feels that left me walking on sunshine. 

Save Steve
Jenni Hendricks, Ted Caplan
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Steve Stevenson is an asshole. That might not be a cool thing to say about someone with cancer, but it’s true. Yeah, he throws legendary parties and is the most popular guy in school, but he also loves humiliating pranks, Cardi B, and doesn’t recycle. Worst of all, he’s dating Kaia—the girl of nice guy Cam’s dreams.

But when a desperate Kaia asks Cam to help her raise money to pay for Steve’s experimental treatment, Cam offers to organize the biggest, most viral fundraising campaign— Maybe then Kaia will finally see Cam as the perfect, thoughtful, altruistic, good guy for her. But Steve’s no fool. He’s totally on to Cam’s plan. And to stop him from stealing his girlfriend, he’s going to do whatever it takes to make Cam’s life as miserable as his own.

From Jenni Hendriks and Ted Caplan, authors of Unpregnant, comes a quirky, funny story about the pressures of who others expect you to be and what it really means to do the right thing.
Cam had been pining away for Kaia, and he finally thought the time was right to make his move. Little did he know that she already had a boyfriend, and even worse, that boyfriend was Steve, Oh, and even worse than that, Steve had cancer. In an attempt to impress Kaia (and win her heart), Cam offered to help with a fundraiser to "Save Steve". What seemed like a good idea at the time turned into a nightmare, when Steve decided to to beat Cam at his own game. 
  • Pro: This book is hilarious! The humor leans slightly darker employing some gallows humor and it's often over the top, but still, hilarious. Lots of laughter was heard in these parts as I made my way through this story. 
  • Pro: I loved that the book pokes fun at some well known tropes. One character warns Cam, over and over, not to mess with a "cancer love story". At different points throughout the book, she name-drops a bunch of books and movies, such as: The Fault in Our StarsHere on EarthLove StoryA Walk to Remember, etc. Every reference was well placed and Cam's reactions were always priceless. 
  • Pro: I could not get over the hoops poor Cam had to jump through. Some of the stunts he was challenged to complete were worthy of being in an episode of Jackass
  • Pro: Steve was what I would call the anti-Cam. These two were opposites in almost every way. The striking contrast resulted in a lot of really lively and entertaining situations, but I also love the idea of such different people being able to work together in some capacity as they found some common ground. 
  • Pro: I thought this would be a romance and was not disappointed when it wasn't. I loved the friendship that formed between Steve and Cam. So unexpected, but a really nice touch. I was quite impressed by some of the more tender moments they shared too. 
  • Pro: Way to surprise me! The story took a few unexpected turns. They were interesting choices, and more interesting was that I was ok with these unanticipated twists. 
Overall:  I came for the over the top hilarious antics, but I was happy to find a buddy story with quite a bit of heart. 

** ARCs received in exchange for honest reviews.

Do you have a favorite "cancer love story"?
Let us know in the comments!

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