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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]


Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday: Dumplin’

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature hosted by Breaking the Spine which spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

Dumplin'Dumplin’, by Julie Murphy
Publication date: September 15th, 2015 by Balzer + Bray, 384 pages

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

If you haven’t gotten hold of the buzz that is Julie Murphy’s new novel, Dumplin’, you may have been living under a rock this summer. I’ve been hearing about this book for several months now, and have recently read a bunch of other bloggers’ reviews saying that this book is nothing short of ~amazing~.

It’s so rare for a book to get THIS MUCH positivity and excitement, especially before it’s even released, so it’s no question that Dumplin’ has become my most-anticipated read of fall 2015! Plus, it takes place in Texas, so there’s another reason for me to love it!

Dumplin’ comes out September 15th!

What books are you most looking forward to for fall? Have you pre-ordered Dumplin’ yet? Let me know in the comments!