Top Ten Tuesday: YA Novels I’ve Added to My TBR

logo-TopTenTuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was books I’ve recently added to my TBR, but since I don’t normally read young adult novels, I decided to list fifteen titles that I’ve added to my TBR within the last six months!

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Asking for It by Louise O’Neill

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

The End of Fun by Sean McGinty

The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

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Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven

If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

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The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions) by Amy Spalding

Rani Patel in Full Effect by Sonia Patel

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

MissPeregrinesHomeForPeculiarChildrenTitle: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Rating: ★★
Summary: A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.


Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a book that has been lingering on my tbr list for years, and I finally read it as my #ReadHarder pick for an independently published book. Unfortunately, it was kind of meh once I’d finished. (Like, I had a tingling to know what happens in its sequel, Hollow City, but just enough to look up the answer on Wikipedia instead of actually reading the book. Does that say something about me or about the book??)

First, though, I have to give props to Ransom Riggs: he created a seriously inventive atmosphere with Miss Peregrine’s setting, characters, and plot. With that said, however, something always felt lacking, like maybe a plot point could have been explored further or maybe a character’s motivation felt weak – but, of course, I cannot articulate that thing. Also, for about half of the photographs, it seemed like Riggs had to push himself to think up an appropriate back story that would complement whatever “weird” picture he had included in the text, and it ended up feeling like he limited the story and its characters by forcing the inclusion of said photographs. Could Riggs’s story have been different had he not had visual cues for his characters? Would a plot point or relationship have evolved more organically if he didn’t have to hit all those specific stops along the way? (I just don’t know.)

All in all, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was good, but not great or exciting or altogether memorable. And I think I’m more upset that I thought it was going to be so good rather than that it wasn’t that great. (#ugh Do I even make any sense???)

(PS. I think maybe I was also very excited because Riggs and John Green were in the same graduating class at Kenyon College AND he’s married to Tahereh Mafi – but, alas, that’s about excited as I got about the book.)

Review: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley

WhereThingsComeBackTitle: Where Things Come Back
Author: John Corey Whaley
Rating: ★★
Summary: In the remarkable, bizarre, and heart-wrenching summer before Cullen Witter’s senior year of high school, everything he thinks he understands about his small and painfully dull Arkansas town vanishes. His cousin overdoses; his town becomes absurdly obsessed with the alleged reappearance of an extinct woodpecker; and, most troubling of all, his sensitive, gifted fifteen-year-old brother, Gabriel, suddenly and inexplicably disappears.

As Cullen navigates a summer of finding and losing love, holding his fragile family together, and muddling his way into adulthood, a young, disillusioned missionary in Africa searches for meaning wherever he can find it. And when those two stories collide, a surprising and harrowing climax emerges that is tinged with melancholy and regret, comedy and absurdity, and above all, hope.


Sometimes, when I read young adult titles, I have trouble pinpointing exactly what makes the story so meh for me. Is it the often shortened length, which usually prohibits an in-depth plot from developing? Is it the age of the book’s main character, who, by and large, is between fifteen and eighteen? Is it the fact that a teen living with his or her parents, in school full time, and generally “taken care of” fails to rouse my Interesting Fiction flags? Because, for the past couple of years, I just haven’t been feeling YA titles. Somewhere along the line, I passed the point at which I could relate to a teenager, no matter how unnormal or fantastical their circumstances.

So… there was nothing inherently wrong or bad about John Corey Whaley’s novel about the summer seventeen-year-old Cullen’s brother, Gabriel, disappears; it just wasn’t for me. Whaley’s introduction of threading plot lines and a narrative goal had me hooked enough to keep reading, but, once I was finished, that same plot didn’t really amount to much. Maybe it was just that I needed an answer to my question of how Benton, the aforementioned “young, disillusioned missionary in Africa” fit into the puzzle that included Benton’s college roommate Cabot, Cullen’s fling Alma, and, ultimately, Gabriel. (I mean, you don’t give somebody their own chapters for nothing.) And once I got the answer, well, great. Mission accomplished.

Because, basically, my interest peaked there, right at the moment we figure out when and how Gabriel goes missing. The ongoing B-plot involving John Barling and an extinct (or is it???) woodpecker failed in its attempt to enhance the plot or provide a substantial metaphorical backbone. The eventual resolution proved that, even though stuff happened, it kind of felt that nothing did.

Top Ten: Goals for 2015

logo-TopTenTuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme was book & blogging goals/resolutions for 2015.

My goals:

  1. Participate in and finish the BookRiot #ReadHarder campaign
  2. Read Deborah Harkness’ All Souls trilogy
  3. Read Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven and Andy Weir’s The Martian
  4. Read George Eliot’s Middlemarch in order to fully understand Rebecca Mead’s My Life in Middlemarch
  5. Read John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In so that I can then watch its two film adaptations, Let the Right One In and Let Me In
  6. Read Lois Lowry’s The Giver series
  7. Read all of Rainbow Rowell‘s books (except Attachments, which I actually read in 2012 and got a like from Rainbow herself on Tumblr after posting a quote – like, oh my god, whoa #nojoke)
  8. Read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Complete Sherlock Holmes, vols. 1 & 2
  9. Read the following YA series that I completely missed over the past 5 years: Anna and the French Kiss, Divergent, If I Stay, Just One Day, and Shatter Me
  10. And blog at least once per week

Five Favorite: YA Series

“Five Favorite” is a feature on thewasofshall where I lay out my five favorite “x”. Sometimes they’re relevant to a season or holiday, mostly they’re not. It’s an all-around fun excuse to give my 100% amazingly awesome opinion. To see previous (and future) topics, click here. To participate, scroll all the way down.

There’s just something about series, you know? Something about getting to read more of your favorite character(s) while they inhabit your favorite world. Man, I just love ’em. Here are my five favorite for young adults.

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Gemma Doyle by Libba Bray

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Jessica Darling by Megan McCafferty

(So… the publisher decided to revamp the series’ cover design right when Perfect Fifths came out – which is all well and good EXCEPT THAT I grew up with the original covers and wanted to complete my set!!!)

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

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The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

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Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Have your own five favorite young adult series? Share them! Post them to your blog, link back to this post, and then comment letting me know!