Tag: Young Adult Contemporary

BOOK REVIEW: It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood

BOOK REVIEW: It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina KenwoodIt Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood
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From debut author Nina Kenwood comes a tender, funny, and compulsively readable novel about first love and its confusions, and all of the awkwardness of teen romance.

When her parents announce their impending divorce, Natalie can’t understand why no one is fighting, or at least mildly upset. Then Zach and Lucy, her two best friends, hook up, leaving her feeling slightly miffed and decidedly awkward. She’d always imagined she would end up with Zach one day―in the version of her life that played out like a TV show, with just the right amount of banter, pining, and meaningful looks. Now everything has changed, and nothing is quite making sense. Until an unexpected romance comes along and shakes things up even further.

It Sounded Better in My Head is a compulsively readable love letter to teenage romance in all of its awkward glory, perfect for fans To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Emergency Contact.


I decided after finishing this book that I need to be more…true to myself(?) with ARC ratings this year. I sometimes tend to rate higher than what I actually feel because I have this weird sense of guilt when I rate them under a four and I don’t think that’s fair to anyone, really. However, with this book specifically, I think it’s truly a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” This book had a lot of parts that gave me butterflies and made my heart race and other parts that were so….truthful, that I had a lot of appreciation for it. However, it just wasn’t for me. I have been mostly avoiding YA contemporaries lately and this just kind of reaffirms that I can’t read them like I used to. I’m pretty sure that if I had read this in high school or even during my first few years of college, it would have been a five star read.

Even though I can appreciate the conflicts in this book, it’s getting harder and harder for me to put myself back in those shoes and deal with some of the other immaturities that realistically come from being that age.

What I liked: Natalie the main characters has PCOS (which is an aspect of life that I don’t think I’ve ever read about a young character suffering through), which made her acne bad. When I say bad, I mean BAD. I mean like physically scarring but also emotionally scarring in a way that changed her entire personality to that of a shut in during high school basically. You read about bad acne and typical puberty problems in a lot of YA books but this is the worst of the worst. That felt SO real and I felt for her so hard. But again, there were some aspects where I was trying to put myself in my mom’s shoes more and trying to decide how I would have handled things for my own daughter if she had been suffering through that. We get first relationships, all of the messy bits that that can entail, we get college acceptances and failures, and friendships tested. We get all of that stuff in the realest way possible and while I LOVED that, I just couldn’t love the book as a whole.

Again, I think a ton of people will really, really enjoy this. For being Kenwood’s debut novel I really am impressed! I just…probably should finally take a break from YA contemporaries for real this time, lol.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinions!

BOOK REVIEW: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

BOOK REVIEW: Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan MatsonAmy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
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When you're on a road trip, life is all about the detours. . . .

Amy Curry is having a terrible year. Her mother has decided to move across the country and needs Amy to get their car from California to Connecticut. There's just one small problem: Since her father died this past spring, Amy hasn't been able to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger, the nineteen-year-old son of an old family friend, who turns out to be unexpectedly cute ... and dealing with some baggage of his own.

Meeting new people and coming to terms with her father's death were not what Amy had planned on this trip. And traveling the Loneliest Road in America, seeing the Colorado mountains, crossing the Kansas plains, and visiting diners, dingy motels, and Graceland were definitely not on the itinerary. But as they drive, Amy finds that the people you least expected are the ones you may need the most—and that sometimes you have to get lost in order to find your way home.


“Tomorrow will be better.”
“But what if it’s not?”
 I asked.
“Then you say it again tomorrow. Because it might be. You never know, right? At some point, tomorrow will be better.”

I feel like I must preface this review by saying that I picked it up because this was my Young Adult book club for adults (lol) book choice for this month. I honestly was NOT excited to do a YA contemporary because lately I’ve been feeling old and jaded and can’t connect with the characters anymore since I’m about a decade older than them (omfg I hated even typing that). HOWEVER, I am so, so happy that we made this choice. I LOVED this book so much and was reminded about all of the reasons that I used to love contemporaries. Sure, some of this is unrealistic just like how they all kind of are with the ditching of the parents, but come on, that’s just how these work you know?

I haven’t read any road trip books in a long while and I really liked the concept of this one. I mean obviously I didn’t like that Amy’s father had died and that she still can’t stand the thought of driving the car and still has panic attacks but I appreciated that she and Roger only had a slight connection and that he, of course, didn’t treat her like her a broken thing. I loved when they decided to take a different route from the one Amy’s mom had planned and all of the places they visited along the way. One of my favorite parts of the book was reading about all of the good food they had, too. Ugh I love food, even when I’m not five months pregnant, lol! My grandma used to have us make a food journal when we went on trips so we could tell her all of the yummy things we had when we got back so I’ve always had fond memories of trips and the food that goes with them depending on the specific areas you’re at.

Hmmm what else to say? I thought it was really cool how everywhere they stopped had a pretty big impact on either both or one of them. Whether it was the people they saw or just little things that happened when they stopped, all of it seemed destined to happen how it did. Seeing Amy be coaxed out of her shell again and start to heal was a wonderful thing. I very, very much recommend this book if you’re looking for a solid YA contemporary that’s more than just an easy fluff piece. This one has plenty of important things like grief, the different faces it can take, how to overcome it, broken hearts, young people falling in love and taking a chance—all of the best and worst parts of a young life.

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