In December 2010, I was on Christmas break with my sleep schedule all screwed up and I was flipping channels in the middle of the night and I came across a rerun of The Hills. It was thirty minutes of complete drama and bull shit but I was completely hooked. I ended up watching the series on netflix. While I liked the drama and bull shit that was 90% of the show’s content, my favorite part was the other 10% of the show’s content, Lauren Conrad trying to make a name for herself in the fashion industry. Specifically, in the later episodes when Lauren was working for Kelly Cutrone at People’s Revolution.
I fell in love with Kelly right away. She’s brutally honest, doesn’t put up with any bull shit and has her focus is on getting the job done.
In her second book, Normal Gets You Nowhere, Kelly gives advice and lessons that she’s learned based on her life experiences. She talks about everything from her spiritual beliefs, personal branding, sex, the law and family.
Do I recommend this book to everyone? Not necessarily. Kelly can be a bit out there but I do think there are two chapters in the book that should be required reading for all living humans. The first chapter, Comfortably Numb, it talks about how everyone and everything is a brand and how we as a society have become numb to hearing about bad things. The other chapter that I think everyone should read is the seventh chapter, The No Matter What Club. In it, Kelly talks about how you should have your group of people who you have their back and they have your back no matter what. How you need to have people like that in your life to survive.
Now, if you’ve been following this blog for awhile, it’s no big secret that one of my favorite books is Kelly’s first book, If You Have to Cry, Go Out Side. I’ve actually read it a couple of times now. I love that book so much, I had pretty high standards going in to Normal Gets You Nowhere. My only regret with reading it was waiting so long to do so. I gave it 4/5 stars.
In Jennifer Mathieu’s second novel, Devoted, we meet Rachel Walker, a seventeen year old girl, who is devoted to god. She and her family attend Calvary Christian Church and she prays daily. Rachel helps take care of her younger bothers and sisters (there are ten walker children in all), dresses modestly and is preparing to be a wife and mother. It’s all Rachel has known her whole life but Rachel is curious about the world that exists out side of her church and she’s not finding the answers in her homeschooling textbooks or in the bible. Until now, she’s always found comfort in her beliefs but will those beliefs be what destroys her?
You know the Duggar family? The ones from that TLC show and who always seem to be caught up in some kind of scandal? Yeah, that one. I first heard the author speak about this book at Teen Book Con 2015 and she described it as “Duggar gone wild.” I was immediately sold on the book. Also, I should point out this was right before all they were caught up in all the scandals.
The writing is just fabulous. There’s no better way to describe it. The story is written in such a way where you’re hooked from the very first page. She brings the characters and the world to life. I also love the way that she weaves in background information and how everything mentioned in the background information comes in to play somewhere else in the story. I wasn’t able to put this book down.
The thing I love about Devoted along with Jennifer’s other novel, The Truth About Alice is that while they are the contemporary, character driven stories that I love there’s a unique element to them that makes me think, not just about the story but makes me question my own life. I read Alice last year and her story has stuck with me. I have a feeling Rachel’s story will stick with me too.
I gave devoted 4/5 stars and I very highly recommend that you check out Devoted and if you haven’t read Jennifer’s other book, The Truth About Alice, that you check that one out too.
You probably know Gayle Forman from her books If I Stay or Just One Day, a couple of her more popular books. Sisters in Sanity was her debut novel.
As told on the back of the book, Sisters in Sanity is about “sixteen-year-old Brit Hemphill, it’s hard to know who she can trust. Convinced she’s out of control, her father has sentenced her to red rock: a center for supposedly rebellious teens, where therapy consists of name calling and the girls who get privileges are the ones who rat out their peers.
But then Brit meets V, Bebe, Martha and Cassie- four girls who keep her from going over the edge. Together, they’ll hold on to their sanity and their sisterhood despite the bleak reality.”
Prior to reading Sisters in Sanity I had read three of Gayle’s other books: The two books in the If I Stay duology back in 2014 right before the If I Stay movie came out and Just One Day the first book in the Just One Day duology last summer.
Just like those three books, Sisters in Sanity was super hard to put down and super easy to read. The story was unique and unlike any other book I had read before. I connected with Brit, the main character, right from the start and I was intrigued right from the start. I like how the story started right with the action and weaved in the back story as it went.
I really liked Sisters in Sanity and gave it 4/5 stars. I can’t wait to read more of Gayle’s books.