Pretending to Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud: Review


When I found this gem, nestled safely among the throws of the other hardbacks the cover spoke to me. Mostly because I was thinking that I could absolutely rock that skirt, but also because I’m a sucker for anything that looks remotely typographic.

If you are looking for a novel to cause warm fuzzies to burst forth from your guts–this is not your tribute. However, if you are a fan of a light crime novel heavy on high school melodrama—you have found your mark.

Con artists, kidnappings, plastic surgeons, private detectives, house staff, and the melodrama mammoth…high school.


The Silverman family has had more heartbreak than any family should. They lost a daughter–kidnapping. A wife lost her husband—insanity, two fake Ericas—imposters. Finally they get the call. There’s emphatic, irrefutable DNA evidence proving that she is home. Except Erica isn’t really Erica anymore, she’s been replaced by Violet who has quite literally been groomed for this job. Don’t worry, you cannot get past page three before reading one of my favorite lines from Violet (again—she’s not Erica).

“Dear God, forgive me of my sins. I’m pretending to be a girl who went missing thirteen years ago. A girl who’s rich. A girl who’s dead. “

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The Eight Types of People Wishing You a Happy Birthday on Facebook: Musing


Every year I wake up on January 29th, and I’ve turned another year older.  For the last five or so years I’ve been annually awoken with the multiple greetings spattered across my social media page (Facebook) exclaiming salutations towards my day of birth. This usually sets my heart into a state of warmth and, “Aww I haven’t talked to Susy Chapstick since senior year at Maci Mascara’s house party.”

Every year I make it a point to sit down at the end of my birthday evening, to actually read through and respond to my birthday wishes.  *My mother is notorious for having my sister and I send thank you notes, make calls of thanksgiving, etc. so I always figure I’ll do “the Jil!” a solid and respond individually.* This year, however, I felt a wide range of emotions as I responded to these comments. Ask anyone around me, and they’ll tell you I felt quite cynical towards turning one-shy of twenty five, so maybe that’s where this angst induced rant came from. Something about twenty four made me finally ask myself the question of, “Who actually wishes me a happy birthday? Who are these people?”

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Melt by Selene Castronova: Review


This review was originally published on 1/5/15.

*I was given an ARC of this story from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.* 

So I must admit, when going through my galley site (NetGalley) I very seldom read an entire description before clicking the “request” button. I love such a vast and varied selection of stories that I nine times out of ten genuinely enjoy reading whatever it is that I’m approved and graced with reading. Melt had very intriguing cover art. After becoming slightly obsessed in high school with abandoned theme parks, castles, and other odd places I spent an entire evening with my best friend, Amy, looking at the most creepy pictures of an abandoned theme park based ENTIRELY on The Wizard of Oz. The theatre geek in me freaked, and I’ve often thought that I would like to visit the perpetually eerie state of the park. (You can read all about it and see pictures HERE and HERE)

So when I made the connection between the cracked and decayed yellow brick road of the park with the cover art, I knew I HAD to get my hands on Melt. About a year ago I purchased and read Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige and genuinely enjoyed the visit back to the land of Oz after Dorothy went back to Kansas. The take on a retelling/revisiting of one of my favorite stories with the fast paced thrill, murder, and excellent writing had me instantly hooked. I’ve since had multiple students fall just as in love with DMD as I did, and I was sincerely hoping that Melt would differentiate from this already well done title.

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The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate Hattemer: Review


This review was originally published on 2/20/15.

Allow me to paint another picture for you. Seventeen year old Jordan in her parent’s living room watching rerun upon rerun of Laguna Beach and vigilantly trying to make all of heroutfits for school look as similar to Kristin’s (because obviously LC was overrated) as humanly possible for the upcoming week. I am a nothing, if not a reality television junkie. This is much to my mother’s dismay, but hey…RHONJ is better than 90% of any scripted drama on television. Seventeen year old Jordan LOVED this book, almost as much as twenty four year old Jordan did. 

So many times in the past two or three years I’ve gravitated towards books labeled YA (Young Adult) that have such adult-style content, that I feel they’ve been improperly labeled. There has been some peculiar shift where so many YA books have main characters that are sexy, risky behaving “young adults” that are beyond the reach of many students/young adults gravitating towards YA on shelves. My favorite thing about this book, is how realistic and flawed the main characters are. Not once in the entire day or two I spent reading this book did I feel like I was reading a romance novel, a heartbreaking cancer ridden story, a dystopian trilogy, or something that I think is standard YA.

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At The Water’s Edge by Sara Gruen: Review


  This review was originally published 3/12/15.

*I was given an Advanced Release Copy of this title by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, find At Water’s Edge on shelves everywhere March 31st* 

Well everyone, I think that I have a new love. Sara Gruen truly captured my heart with Water For Elephants, but I will admit she and I are back in a love-love relationship with this book. Immediately, I realized that I wasn’t going to be entertained with fantasies of circuses and performers. This would have disappointed me, if my curiosity wasn’t quickly sparked with the discovery that I’d be reading about the Loch Ness Monster.

The story opens on three financially privileged young adults getting roaring drunk at a war time New Year’s Eve celebration. Ellis and Hank have been left behind from the war. Ellis for being colorblind, Hank for his flat feet.

“If Hank was Clark Gable, then Ellis was a towheaded, clean-shaved Errol Flynn.”

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Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen: Review


This review was originallly published on 4/2/15.

*I was given an Advanced Release Copy of this title by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*  

As a devout Dessen fan, I had a complete stage five melt down when I read on her blog a while back that she had “abandoned” her current book and we may not be seeing a new release this summer, then I realized that Saint Anything was in fact on the way, and I knew I had to get my hands on it before it released. Because of you wonderful readers, and my students, I got to review the title early!

Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite girly YA writers. Many people are claiming that Dessen has abandoned her traditional storytelling, and I wouldn’t entirely disagree. If like me you fell hard for love stories like Macy and Wes, Remy and Dexter, Annabel and Owen, or Eli and Auden you likely won’t be head over heels for Saint Anything. However, if you were like me and while you loved the first romance tales but LOVED the devastating heartbreak brought to us by Dessen in Dreamland you’re going to be a complete fanatic over this darker coming of age story.

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You by Caroline Kepnes: Review

You Large

 This review was originally published on 1/14/15.

You, was easily my number one book spot of 2015. Although this declaration may seem quite premature, I completed this book almost one week ago and still find reasons to discuss it with EVERYONE, everyday. Allow me to preface this love letter to this novel with the fact that You is quite possibly one of the most disturbing books I’ve ever read.  It’s also very sexually explicit, so that can be a bit much for some readers. You was funny, romantic, twisted, deplorable, and aggressive all in one effortlessly combined package. It certainly is not a book I find myself recommending to people that found Gone Girl disconcerting – but to the select few that I know share an affinity for the darker plot lines in life, I’ve been berating them with the need to read this book. The ones that have—all adore it as much as I.

I also feel the need to say that I have absolutely no problem admitting that throughout this book, I was equal parts petrified, and enchanted by the main character. You see, Joe is an expert stalker. Not the kind of boy that lounged about near your locker in high school, hoping that you would notice him. That is simply child’s play compared to what Joe is capable of. Joe’s the I-hide-in-your-closet-and-watch-you-breath type of stalker.

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