Thursday, November 19, 2020

Tiny Tidbits - The Backlist Edition



I have been trying to get to more of my backlist lately, and I wanted a space to share some of the standouts. Tiny Tidbits are my shorter, quick thoughts on what made these books hits for me. 
Six Feet Over It

Jennifer Longo
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Random House
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
Home is where the bodies are buried.

Darkly humorous and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, Jennifer Longo’s YA debut about a girl stuck living in a cemetery will change the way you look at life, death, and love.

Leigh sells graves for her family-owned cemetery because her father is too lazy to look farther than the dinner table when searching for employees. Working the literal graveyard shift, she meets two kinds of customers:

Pre-Need: They know what’s up. They bought their graves a long time ago, before they needed them.

At Need: They are in shock, mourning a loved one’s unexpected death. Leigh avoids sponging their agony by focusing on things like guessing the headstone choice (mostly granite).

Sarcastic and smart, Leigh should be able to stand up to her family and quit. But her world’s been turned upside down by the sudden loss of her best friend and the appearance of Dario, the slightly-too-old-for-her grave digger. Surrounded by death, can Leigh move on, if moving on means it’s time to get a life?
My first Longo book was her most recent, What I carry. That book touched me in a such a profound book, that I was determined to read her backlist, and I was not disappointed. Six Feet Over It was another hit for me. Leigh was the one who always held it all together. When her sister was fighting cancer, Leigh put her needs last. She made sure she caused no trouble for her parents and was always there for her sister. Fast forward, and Leigh is still trying to be the good sister and daughter, but she is starting to unravel. Though the book is infused with lots of humor, my heart ached for Leigh. I wanted someone to finally take care of her. This made me grateful for her friendship with Dario and Elanor, who were there for her, so that she could finally release all her pain, sorrow, and grief. I was also impressed when others stepped up and finally recognized that Leigh was NOT ok.  This was a very different, but utterly touching exploration of grief, family, and friendship. 

A List of Cages

Robin Roe
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives…
I had been putting this one off for years, because everyone warned me how much it would break my heart. And, yes, reading about the abuse Julian was forced to withstand was difficult. But this was one of the stories that was both heartbreaking and heartwarming. In-between all the awful things Julian experienced, there was this love and friendship celebrated with Adam. These two were definitely an odd couple, but they shared a past and forged a brotherhood. I am shedding tears as I write this, so obviously, this one really touched my heart.  

Suffer Love

Ashley Herring Blake
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
“Just let it go.”

That’s what everyone keeps telling Hadley St. Clair after she learns that her father cheated on her mother. But Hadley doesn’t want to let it go. She wants to be angry and she wants everyone in her life—her dad most of all—to leave her alone.

Sam Bennett and his family have had their share of drama too. Still reeling from a move to a new town and his parents’ recent divorce, Sam is hoping that he can coast through senior year and then move on to hassle-free, parent-free life in college. He isn’t looking for a relationship…that is, until he sees Hadley for the first time.

Hadley and Sam’s connection is undeniable, but Sam has a secret that could ruin everything. Should he follow his heart or tell the truth?
I feel like Blake can do no wrong. Hadley and Sam were both wading through the wreckage of their families. Sam was lashing out, while Hadley was making poor choices. I was happy they found each other and could find someone, who understood what they were going through. But, the story was that straight forward. It was messy, and the messy was what took it up a notch for me. This was such a complex and complicated story, and I liked that Blake didn't try to gloss over the hard parts. She also allowed everyone involved to grow, which was really important for me in this story. I would have liked a bit more at the end, perhaps an epilogue, but it didn't erase how the story captivated me and the flood of emotions it delivered. 

  

Have you read any good backlist books lately?
Let us know in the comments!

32 comments:

  1. Six Feet Over It sounds like a fantastic read, and what a unique setting!

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    1. I am so in love with Longo's books. She always incorporates something really off-beat and interesting, while always hitting me right in the feels.

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  2. I've not heard of any of these. Thanks for steering me to them!

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    1. Working on that backlist and finding lots of gems

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  3. YAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY! Can you tell how excited and happy I am that you loved A List of Cages?

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  4. I didn't realize Suffer Love was Blake. I'll have to see if I still have that one hanging around because I love her writing.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I am pretty sure it was her debut. She does messy so well, like Katie Cotugno. Love all her books

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  5. Some powerful reads this week Sam!

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  6. These all sound really good and a bit intense!

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    1. They had their moments, but all the stories were really well balanced. The hardest one to read was a List of Cages, because of the abuse scenes, but they weren't frequent.

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  7. Thanks for sharing, as these are all new to me. I need to get to some my backlists, I have neglected them fir the newer one.

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    1. I am glad I have been hitting my backlist. I have found so many amazing books waiting for me there

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  8. I liked Suffer Love. It was super angsty but I like that :)

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    1. I think their angst was justifiable, though I didn't necessarily think the way Hadley was dealing with the situation was very healthy. I was glad when she stopped doing certain things.

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  9. I loved A List of Cages. That is one that has stayed with me since I read it. All of these sound like they have some emotional moments. I am so glad you enjoyed all of these.

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    1. I would love a follow up to Cages. I want to know how everything worked out for both boys.

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  10. I loved A List Of Cages! It is depressing, but pretty much everything I read is depressing, so I’m used to it. I’m glad you enjoyed these books!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. Julian's situation was depressing for me, but the friendship between him and Adam was so wonderful and those were the really bright moments in this story.

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  11. I absolutely loved A List of Cages. Now I need to read these other two as well!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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    1. It really lived up to all the hype for me. I hope you get to read something from either of the other two authors. I have loved all their books.

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  12. These are genuinely short reviews and I love it. I’d only actually heard of Suffer Love but now I’m thinking I need to put the others on my radar too.

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    1. My regular reviews aren't even that long. You had to know I would be extreme in calling it "tiny". Have you read anything from Blake? Her books are all wonderful, even her middle grades ones. Soo good

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  13. I need to get to a few backlist books I have on Netgalley. I should make it goal to do one a month. That's doable, right. You made some real headway getting to 3 books, and they were all hits! Inspiration for me. :)

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    1. I looked at some of my unreviewed NG books, and not too many interested me. These are all books I had on my TBR and borrowed from the library.

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  14. Ah the only one I've read here is a List of Cages and you're so right about it. It was both heartbreaking and heartwarming, I loved it <3 I can't wait to read the others, I'm so curious about Suffer Love! :)

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    1. All of these were so good, that's why I had to introduce a feature for my non-review books. I loved these so much, I wanted to make them more visible. Blake is a wonderful author, and I adore her messy stories. I hope you get a chance to read it.

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  15. I love Ashley Herring Blake's books but haven't read Suffer Love yet. Glad to hear it was such a winner for you. A List of Cages is one I've been wanting to read too. It sounds amazing!

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    1. I think I have read all of Blake's books now. Pretty sure. No stinkers. All winners.

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