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Ramona Blue and How to Make a Wish are two summery romances I read this year that are both super memorable. The authors both did such a great job of developing a small town setting that felt so real, chock full of interesting and unique secondary characters who go through a lot of development of their own. While each character’s experience is totally different, throughout the course of the novel each one realizes that they are actually bi-sexual instead of the orientation they began the novel with.

In Ramona Blue, 17-year-old Ramona thinks she has the rest of her life pretty figured out: stay in tiny Eulogy, Mississippi and help her pregnant 19-year-old sister Hattie with the baby and continue working her two part time jobs. She’s coming off a bittersweet end to a romance with a girl who was just in town for the summer, and has been proudly lesbian for a while. So when her childhood friend Freddie moves back to town, the last thing she expects is to develop feelings for him. Ramona Blue does a great job of exploring the fluid spectrum that is sexuality while also featuring excellent family relationships and friendships. Basically, it’s the total package of YA novels and it’s one of the best I’ve ever read. If you haven’t finished this one yet, GET ON IT OKAY.

How to Make a Wish was written by Ashley Herring Blake, who also wrote Suffer Love. This story features another girl, Grace, who feels trapped by her flaky mother and desperately wants to feel like a normal girl with a normal family. She’s a talented pianist who dreams of moving to NYC for music school, and is spending her summer focusing on preparing for her impending audition. Life is interrupted when her mother spontaneously decides that they are going to be moving in with her new boyfriend (and his son….who just so happens to be Grace’s ex-boyfriend…AWKWARD). Then Grace meets Eva, a new girl who is dealing with her own deep-rooted grief, and is swept into a world of midnight adventures and more-than-friends feelings that Grace hasn’t experienced before. The romance in this book is GREAT and I really loved watching these two fall for each other.

Both novels absolutely swept me up into their worlds of small-town coastal living and tight circles of friends who would do anything for you, imperfect families, and a romance that catches you by surprise. If you have read either of these books, I definitely think you will like the other as well!

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy [add to goodreads]
How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake [add to goodreads]



Mini Reviews: Suffer Love & Wanderlost

25897851Suffer Love by Ashley Herring Blake
About: Meet Hadley and Sam, two teenagers whose worlds are about to collide in ways they never expected. Hadley’s dad cheated on her mom and Hadley is super angry about it and begins acting out by partying and basically making out with a lot of guys. Sam’s parents just got divorced and he’s super broken up about what it has done to his family. When they meet at school, they have an instant connections. But Sam’s family has secrets that could break Hadley’s heart if she gets too close.
Thoughts: I really loved the themes of family in this book and also noted that it was a very realistic portrayal of average high school life. I totally shipped Sam & Hadley and REALLY wanted the big secret to come out. Bonus: there are seriously amazing secondary characters that I actually loved just as much as the main characters. I loved the Shakespeare themes throughout the book as well.
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 by Jen Malone
About: Sheltered and homebody-ish Aubree gets her over-achieving older sister into trouble and has to secretly take over her sister’s summer job leading a tourist group of senior citizens through Europe, where she learns to enjoy reaching out of her comfort zone and meets a super cute boy!
Thoughts: Travel books are my favorite thing ever, and while this one was definitely fluffy reading, it didn’t disappoint. It was the perfect getting my nails done/sitting on an airplane type of read that made time fly by. I really loved getting to experience such fabulous European locations along with Aubree, and the author was super knowledgeable and did a great job of illustrating each city in a unique way. Was some of the plot-line far-fetched and unlikely? Yes. Did I mind? Not one bit! The rest of the story is good enough to draw you in so that you’re not worried about how realistic the storyline is. Wanderlost isn’t my top fave travel book (that will always be Wanderlove), but it’s a great summertime read that I really enjoyed!
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