Waiting on Wednesday: People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry


"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking The Spine where we highlight some of the upcoming books we can't wait to read! 

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Title: People We Meet on Vacation
Author: Emily Henry
Publisher: Berkley
Paperback, 384 Pages
Publication Date: May 11th, 2021

Summary: Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She’s a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year they live far apart—she’s in New York City, and he’s in their small hometown—but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together. Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven’t spoken since. Poppy has everything she should want, but she’s stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together—lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees. Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong? 

After reading BEACH READ earlier this year, I was absolutely hooked on Emily Henry's writing. So, needless to say, as soon as I found out that she had another book coming out next year, I immediately added it to my TBR. I know that May 2021 is awhile away, but I'll be counting down the seconds until it's time to get this book in my hands!!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave your links so I can stop back!

Calling All 2021 Debut YA/NA Authors!

Are you a 2021 YA/NA debut author who wants to be interviewed on our blog? We've already started compiling information for next year's interviews, so if you'd like to speak with us, we'd love to have you.

If you're interested, we'd love to send you a list of 6-7 questions for an interview post to go up the month of your debut's release. They'd be super conversational and nothing too strenuous, just to give readers a feel for you and your book! We can also collaborate on potential giveaway posts as well.

You can get a feel for how these interviews work, you can check out our debut interview tag. 

If this sounds like something that would interest you, please fill out the Google form here. We're looking forward to speaking with you! :-)

Review: They Wish They Were Us by Jessica Goodman

Title: They Wish They Were Us
Author: Jessica Goodman
Publisher: Razorbill
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Hardcover, 336 Pages
Published August 2020

Summary: In Gold Coast, Long Island, everything from the expensive downtown shops to the manicured beaches, to the pressed uniforms of Jill Newman and her friends, looks perfect. But as Jill found out three years ago, nothing is as it seems. Freshman year Jill's best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila Arnold, was killed by her boyfriend. After that dark night on the beach, Graham confessed, the case was closed, and Jill tried to move on. Now, it's Jill's senior year and she's determined to make it her best yet. After all, she's a senior and a Player--a member of Gold Coast Prep's exclusive, not-so-secret secret society. Senior Players have the best parties, highest grades and the admiration of the entire school. This is going to be Jill's year. She's sure of it. But when Jill starts getting texts proclaiming Graham's innocence, her dreams of the perfect senior year start to crumble. If Graham didn't kill Shaila, who did? Jill is vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.

I first found out about this book when we were putting a call out to 2020 debut authors for interviews, and I was immediately intrigued. A murder mystery set at an elite private school on Long Island (which is where we're from)? I immediately preordered a copy because I just knew that I had to have it. And I'm so glad that I did, because I ended up absolutely *loving* this book. So without further ado, let's get into my review! 

As the summary explains, three years ago, Jill's best friend Shaila is murdered by her boyfriend, Graham. Or at least, that's the story that goes around their elite prep school on Long Island. Since Graham confessed, that has to be it...until Jill starts getting texts proclaiming that it wasn't Graham's fault after all -- that he was framed. Of course Jill wants to dig deeper and find justice for her best friend, but at the same time, doing so may cause her to sever not only friendships, but also her status as a Player, an elite member of the secret society at Gold Coast Prep. So what will prevail -- her goal to have a good future that she's worked so hard for, or risking it all to avenge her best friend?

As I've already said, I absolutely loved this book. I was immediately sold when I found out that the book was set on Long Island, since that's where we're from. I love seeing books set in the places that I am familiar with! And once I decided to pick this book up, I was immediately drawn in by the story. It's a pretty short book, less than 340 pages, so I managed to read over a hundred pages in a single sitting. It was just so good that I couldn't put it down and kept wanting to know what was going to happen next!

Something that I really admired was the way that Jill wasn't as easily enamored by the Players as everyone else was. She saw through it for what it really contained, and she is caught between seeking justice or hiding behind the mirage of popularity -- even if everyone around her didn't seem to think so. She's caught in the crossfire of having the future she's busted her ass for or avenging her best friend, and both options come with consequences that she has to juggle. And as the texts proclaiming Graham's innocence increase, so does Jill's doubt that the night Shaila died was as cut-and-dry in the first place.

(Major spoilers in this paragraph, so please skip to the next one if you want to avoid them!) I also really loved the trail that this story took me on. I spent a good majority of the book thinking that Shay's killer was Robert, then I was convinced that it was their teacher for awhile, and when I found out that it was Adam, it only clicked in my brain about two seconds before it was revealed on the page. And let me tell you, I was shocked! It was a really great plot twist, the kind that you don't see coming at all, but once you look back and think on it, all of the clues are there. Hats off to Jessica Goodman, because I wasn't expecting an ending like that and it was great!

Overall, I absolutely loved They Wish They Were Us, and I'd recommend it to anyone looking for a great thriller that will keep them on the edge of their seat as they try to figure out if Shay's justice was really served or not. It's safe to say that Jessica Goodman's writing got me hooked and I'm a fan for life! I'll be eagerly anticipating her next book. :-)

If you're interested in reading our interview with Jessica, you can check it out here!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2020 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between! 

This Week's Theme: Books On My Fall 2020 TBR

Today's post is all about the books on my fall TBR, and let me tell you, I have *so* many that I want to get through! Instead of ranking them all, though, I'm going to just group them all in a little mosaic here, since these ten books are all on a TBR stack on my bookshelf and I don't have a specific order of which I want to read first (other than MAJESTY, of course, which I plan on diving into ASAP), so I'm going to definitely get these ten books read this fall, even if I don't exactly know the order!

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So those are ten books that are on my fall TBR -- what are yours? Did you read any of the ones on my list, and if so, what did you think about them? Comment down below and make sure to leave your own TTT link so I can pop by and visit!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Fall 2020 TBR!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl in which we create bookish lists about everything from our favorite characters to love triangles and everything in between! 

This Week's Theme: Books On My Fall 2020 TBR! 

*Click on the covers to be redirected to their Goodreads page!*


What books made your list this week? Leave your link below so we can stop back! 

Review: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely

Title: All American Boys
Authors: Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely 
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Paperback, 336 Pages
Published August 2017 
(First Published 2015)

Summary: A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement? There were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

This book was the first book that I was assigned for my very first ever graduate school class (I'm going for my MFA in Creative Writing), so I was super excited to immediately dive into a YA book that, according to all of my friends' Goodreads reviews, had already received a ton of praise. So, without further ado, let's get into my review!

As the summary explains, Rashad finds himself at a local corner store in his neighborhood at the wrong place at the wrong time. All he came for was a bag of chips, but due to an accident and a misunderstanding, he finds himself on the sidewalk outside, being beaten brutally by the police officer who was in the store (and seems to have a violent streak), even though he didn't do anything wrong. On the other side of town, we also meet Quinn, a white boy who also goes to Rashad's school and happens to witness the entire scene on the sidewalk. In addition to being shocked at how brutally Rashad is being beaten, he's also shocked by something else: the officer beating up Rashad is his best friend's older brother. The man who helped raise Quinn after his own father died in Afghanistan.

I really, really loved this book. I thought it was so incredibly powerful, especially being able to see the story through the eyes of both boys. This book really gives the reader the chance to explore just how intricate these issues can be, from misunderstandings turned violent, to the media spins, and the gossip, and even receiving pressure from other people to not betray those you know by speaking out. But if there's any message that this book conveys, one of the strongest ones that resonated with me is the idea that speaking up isn't a betrayal against anyone, no matter what pressures say otherwise -- it's just doing what's right and what's needed.

I also really loved the fact that this book is told in alternating chapters/perspectives, so you get to see the thought processes of both Rashad and Quinn. As the reader, you get to know both boys pretty well and you get a sense of their home lives, backgrounds, thought processes, etc. Seeing everything from Rashad's side and the entire misunderstanding playing out right in front of your eyes. And then on the other side you see Quinn, who is torn because he sees some people in the media spinning it as Rashad having done something to deserve what happened to him, even though he saw it with his own two eyes and knows otherwise. He knows that it wasn't right and that he should speak up and say something, but on the other hand, this is his best friend's brother that we're talking about, and he's receiving pressure from their family (and even his own and his basketball coach) to say silent and to not "betray" his family by speaking up. He feels a lot of guilt because he knows that something isn't right but he also doesn't want to turn his back on his family by speaking up, so he struggles with that conflict throughout the entire book, knowing that he will ultimately have to make a decision. 

(Spoilers in this paragraph, skip to the next one to avoid them!) Something that I really liked about the ending of this book is the way that you don't really get to see what happens in terms of Paul's punishment or the trial, if he's guilty, etc. At first, when I finished the book I was a little bit frustrated that I didn't get to see how everything ended, but then I thought about it for a few minutes and realized that the book ended in the absolute perfect way. Because it's not about the trial or what happens to Paul or if the world changes from that march. What it's about is the fact that all of these people in Rashad and Quinn's community were banding together to present one unified idea, one unified voice, showing the people in charge that the public is angry and that things need to change. Having Paul be held accountable for his actions is something that's important, yes, but what seems more important in this story is the way that so many people banded together and decided to speak up and demand change. 

Overall, I really loved reading ALL AMERICAN BOYS and I think that it's a powerful, thought-provoking, inspiring read that everyone should be adding to their TBR. If you've already read ALL AMERICAN BOYS, comment down below and let me know what you thought of it! 

Book Blitz & Giveaway: Love is a Battlefield by Whitney Dineen

Love is a Battlefield
Whitney Dineen
(Seven Brides for Seven Mothers #1)
Publication date: September 15th 2020
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Romance

Who doesn’t want their mom to play Cupid?
Addison Cooper had planned on an all-expense paid vacation to the Cayman Islands to celebrate her most recent business success. Instead, she’s trekking to the outback of Oregon to help a friend of her mother’s.
Reclusive novelist Brogan Cavanaugh’s new thriller just hit the New York Times Best Seller list. To reward himself, he was planning to spend the summer at his family’s fishing cabin until his mom unexpectedly calls in a favor.
Even though moms Libby and Ruby have been best friends since they were college roommates, Addison and Brogan have barely spent time in each other’s company. And when they did, things didn’t go well.
How will they react when they start to suspect their interfering mothers are setting them up?
Find out in this deliciously funny rom-com about mothers who really do know best and the children who don’t know they need them.
Something is definitely up.
Brogan interrupts his mom, “Where are you thinking about setting up a glamping site?”
“We have those old cabins up near the fishing cabin. I thought that would be the ideal place,” she tells him.
He visibly jolts. “No one has stayed in those in years. At this point they’re probably more shack than cabin.”
“That’s why I want to do something with them now. I thought Addie could check them out and get a feel for what we’d need to do to make them worthy of the glamping title.”
She’s got to be kidding! Before I can express my shock, Brogan lets out a great big boisterous that’s-the-most-ridiculous- thing-I’ve-ever-heard-of laugh. He sounds borderline hysterical.
“What are you laughing at?” I demand.
‘I just can’t see you being interested in a project like this, that’s all.”
“I’ve decorated resorts that specialize in all kinds of different things.”
“Don’t be rude, Brogan,” Ruby admonishes her son. “Addison is an accomplished young woman known the world over for her innovative designs.”
“I’m sure,” he says. “But she’s known for fancy five-star designs, not something like this.”
“Are you saying I can’t do it?” More than anything this gets my dander up. I am first and foremost a professional. “How about a little wager?” I ask him.
“I’m game if you are. I bet you can’t spend a week up there without running home to New York.”
I never said anything about staying up there. But instead of pointing that out, I knowingly and ill-advisedly declare, “I could do that in my sleep. In fact,” —and here’s where I totally lose my mind— “I raise your week to a month. What do you think about that?”

Author Bio:
Whitney loves to laugh, play with her kids, bake, and eat french fries -- not always in that order.
Whitney is a multi-award-winning author of romcoms, non-fiction humor, and middle reader fiction. Basically, she writes whatever the voices in her head tell her to.
She lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her husband, Jimmy, where they raise children, chickens, and organic vegetables.
Gold Medal winner at the International Readers' Favorite Awards, 2017.
Silver medal winner at the International Readers' Favorite Awards, 2015, 2016.
Finalist RONE Awards, 2016.
Finalist at the IRFA 2016, 2017.
Finalist at the Book Excellence Awards, 2017
Finalist Top Shelf Indie Book Awards, 2017


We'd like to thank the team over at Xpresso for allowing us to be a part of this book blitz! If LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD sounds like the kind of story you'd be interested in, make sure to add it to your TBR!


The College Diaries: Back to School!

Hi everyone! In today's installment of The College Diaries, I'm talking about how now that the fall is here (my favorite season!), I officially am starting my first semester of grad school today. It's really exciting and also really nerve-wracking, but I'm really excited that it's happening! I mentioned this in previous posts, but just in case you didn't know, the program was always entirely online and asynchronous, which is great because it means that I can get all of the work done on my own time and whenever I'm able to fit it in. I'm really excited about that aspect!

Also, I'm not the only member of The Book Bratz going back to school this fall -- Emily is starting another semester of nursing school, and Amber is also starting another semester of undergrad! So if things get a little quiet here on the blog for a few weeks while we all adjust to our new schedules, have no fear -- we will be here as often as we can, and we will hopefully settle into a routine and be able to read at our usual pace again soon. :)

Starting grad school is an exciting new chapter -- I hope I do well! Have any of you gone to get your Creative Writing MFA? Or just done any graduate program in general? If you have any advice or wisdom for me, I'd love to hear it!

Are you going back to school this semester? If so, are your classes in person or online? Synchronous or asynchronous? Comment down below and let me know -- I'm curious!

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