All the Wind in the World

Some books are just special.

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  • Author: Samantha Mabry
  • Publisher: Algonquin YR
  • Year: 2017 (to be released: Oct. 10th)
  • Genre vibe: Idk weird stuff but in the DESERT
  • At a glance: Sarah Jac and James pose as cousins at whatever ranch it is they can find work at, because it’s easier that way. Sarah Jac poses a lot of things, because it’s easier that way. It’s easier to pretend in the desert and just get on with your life, when you’ve lived through the things Sarah Jac has. But the thing about the desert is that it’s got its own way of pretending for you.

 

So this book is as beautiful as it looks, hands down. Samantha Mabry is a gem–A Fierce and Subtle Poison is just what it says it is: subtle and dangerous, sinking its teeth into you and hanging on long after you’ve read it. All the Wind in the World is no different. Samantha gifted my roommate and I an ARC at a signing a few weeks ago. We proceeded to devour it, and then I couldn’t figure out what to write about it, because it’s just been sticking with me like dirt under my fingernails ever since.

Here’s what I ended up deciding upon: I can’t tell you what I liked about this book, because spoilers.

This is not normally something that I do! I am a firm believer in being able to describe what I loved without having to go into detail, and an even firmer one in not crying SPOILERS! But there is an exception to every rule, and here it is.

Because there is something about Sarah Jac’s heartache after every single event of this book, in the final scene. There’s something about the reality of what James does over the course of the story. There is something special and honest and kind of terrible about how this book ends that my favorite thing about this book lies in its impact alone, and for me in how it made me feel like I was a little bit Sarah Jac, a little bit James.

So to wax poetic about this book feels inadequate, because it’s something you have to see to believe. Which, I know, sounds fake, but trust me on this one. If you’ve ever been the kind of person that hated the desert, that loved the desert, that hated loving someone, that loved seeing someone every day, that needed to do things with your hands, you want to read this book. Mark your calendars.

Some books are–

  • 5/5 stars
  • grit and desperation and digging your fingernails in so you don’t lose what you’ve got
  • Spirits by The Strumbellas
  • recommended to people who need something but don’t know what it is, and people who like the desert.

 

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The Lost Girl of Astor Street Clue Hunt, Clue #: 2

I know what you’re here for: your next clue. Because you’re a detective, right? And detectives look for answers.

Well, I have some for you. But! Patience is a virtue. So read on.

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  • Author: Stephanie Morrill
  • Publisher: Blink YA Books
  • Year: 2017
  • Genre vibe: Jazz age society mystery!
  • At a glance: Piper’s best friend has gone missing. Mysteries just don’t get solved fast enough, so Piper takes matters into her own hands, looking for answers in a lot of the wrong places.

So the One Year Adventure Novel program is a thing that I did, and their Summer Workshops are a thing that I have attended. This is where I met Stephanie and heard her speak–and then I met Piper.

This is a book that just feels very nice to hold onto. You know the sort. Just the right heft and weight and amount of pages. And to top it all off: she matches my outfit.

lostgirlFast forward a few months of somehow managing to ignore the ARC I was so lucky to acquire, and here we are nearing the launch date, and I’m given the honor to join in and help send Piper out into the world. Enter Linnea, stage right, furiously reading. But this was by no means a difficult task.

This book is amazing. Jazz age YA fic is kind of my gig, and there’s not a lot of it out there, and even less of it that’s a mystery. So this book was like an answer to my little bookish prayer.

This will come as a surprise only to newcomers: It’s super hard for me to fall in love with Strong Willed Female Characters. This is generally perceived as a shortcoming of mine. And, true to form: Detective Cassano is my favorite thing about this book…HOWEVER.

Piper Sail is a glorious creature. Sometimes, characters with her type of situation and even her temperament make me want to pull some hair out along the way, but I can’t remember a moment I was annoyed with her. I enjoyed her position as a narrator, I believed her decisions and emotions, didn’t ever hate her for looking for answers, and I didn’t feel cheated out of a poignant story moment because she was being “~driven~”, and that ends up not being her only character trait, as well, which is a bonus.

That being said: Detective Cassano. If miss Piper is a standout lady detective, Cassano is her perfect match in a multidimensional, easily-fallen-for supporting role. The twisting roles he plays in getting Piper her answers thicken the plot quite nicely–and just make him all the more fantastic.

It’s difficult to review the plot of a mystery without screwing it up for everybody, so let’s just skip to the end, shall we? Stephanie was amazing and allowed me to have her fill in my wrap-up points for this post, so before you get your clues, have some authorly insight!

How to Break a Boy

Some books are heart-wrenching. Plain and simple. 

  • Author: Laurie Devore
  • Publisher: Imprint
  • Year: 2017
  • Genre vibe: Contemporary 
  • At a Glance: Olivia Clayton and Adrienne Maynard are best friends. Best friends. Set-the-world-on-fire-for-you, run-the-school-together friends. But following the death of Olivia’s brother, she discovers Adirenne hooking up with her boyfriend and is dead-set on revenge. So she enlists local golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor–and her fake boyfriend. The problem? Olivia’s world is going to hell in a handbasket–and she’s the one carrying it. 

In October, a group of friends and I attended Texas Teen Book Fest in Austin, TX. We dressed up for the day in our full Six of Crows getup, and entered the cosplay contest. Winnings were acquired, and among them, this juicy-looking ARC. The bubblegum and the violent yellow on the cover immediately sold me: I would be reading this book soon. 

Well, in my current world, “soon” means two months later. But when I finally picked up How to Break a Boy not quite a week ago, I was hooked. 

There are so many things this book has. So many things that it has that I thorougly, immensely enjoy. Things like mean girls with no limit to their meanness. Things like a golden boy roped into trouble, sporting ambition and some beautiful brown eyes. Things like a narrator that hates a lot of things: chief among them? Herself. How to Break a Boy simply drips with pure, unadulterated character. 

There’s a lot you can expect from this book. One of those things is one of the things that you would…well, least expect. It’s high-stakes. Oh man, is it high-stakes. When one thing goes wrong? You bet your ass there’s something five times worse waiting around the corner. And the kicker? Almost all of it is at Olivia’s hands, unwittingly or not. 

Both the player and the played, Olivia Clayton is the kind of character that claws her way out of the pages, cuts a hole in you, and then lives inside your heart while you read, because it’s just not safe for her anywhere else, and also she just loves to watch you suffer. But there’s a certain kind of cosmic justice-y satisfaction in watching time and time again as  Olivia reminds you once again that she has absolutely no barriers. The kind of bald-faced hatred and outrageous acts of revenge that any contemporary novel character (and reader) only dreams of. 

But this isn’t to say that How to Break a Boy isn’t without its redemption. Through her relationship with Whit and her own kind of”self discovery journey”, Olivia eventually starts to stitch together her world and the worlds she destroyed in her wake. The wrap-up to this book is classic, and totally obvious, and all the better for it. 

How to Break a Boy is the book you’re going to want to save your Christmas gift cards for, guaranteed. 

So overall, some books are…

  • 5/5 Stars
  • For people who love over-the-top, who fall in love easily, and who quite often wish to cause a lot of trouble
  • Thin mud, sitting at a table with someone, early-morning haze, thick coffee, and spills. Lots, and lots, and lots of spills. 
  • Gossip, by XYLø