Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











GhostingFrom Goodreads: On a hot summer night in a Midwestern town, a high school teenage prank goes horrifically awry. Alcohol, guns, and a dare. Within minutes, as events collide, innocents becomes victims—with tragic outcomes altering lives forever, a grisly and unfortunate scenario all too familiar from current real-life headlines. But victims can also become survivors, and as we come to know each character through his/her own distinctive voice and their interactions with one another, we see how, despite pain and guilt, they can reach out to one another, find a new equilibrium, and survive.

Told through multiple points of view in naturalistic free verse and stream of consciousness, this is an unforgettable, haunting tale.

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If you haven’t yet added this unique novel to your TBR pile, then I’m going to suggest that you do so right now. Written in free verse, this novel throws out exactly what each character is thinking as it happens, and while initially jarring, I found that I liked it very much. Readers easily know who is thinking and speaking as the sections are chunked, focusing on one character at a time, but it certainly isn’t a traditional novel in the sense of its flow.

Ghosting, told through the eyes of the many teens involved in the prank/misunderstanding, allows readers an up close and personal look at these teens inner and outter lives before and after the life-altering event. I have to say that it took a while to lead up to the event in question, painting a vivid portrayal of the characters lives, and it was as if I was their shadow, watching, knowing something bad was coming. This put me on pins and needles, and I liked how well I got to know all the characters as the plot slowly drove toward the event that changes everything. And once we are there, it all seems to then quickly tumble to its end as those involved attempt to heal in many ways. It’s beautiful, and the ark of a story is followed superbly as we build to the climax and resolution. Due to the way it’s written, this is actually a rather fast read, though it looks to be much longer than it really is, so do not let the size of the novel stop you from picking up this unique read. Four and a half stars.

4.5 starsI received an ARC of this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon | Kindle (Only $3.99 at time of this post) | Barnes and Noble

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Thirty SunsetsFrom Goodreads: To Forrest Shephard, getting away to the family’s beach house with her parents and her brother, Brian, is the best part of every summer. Until this year, when her mother invites Brian’s obnoxious girlfriend, Olivia, to join them. Suddenly, Forrest’s relaxing vacation becomes a mission to verify the reality of Olivia’s rumored eating disorder. But the truth behind Olivia’s finicky eating isn’t at all what Forrest expected. And over the next thirty days, Forrest’s world is turned upside down as her family’s darkest secrets begin to come to light.

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This novel turned out to be completely different than what I expected, and I really applaud the author for it, especially as it hits on so many important issues, rape and attempted rape included, and the message for women is an amazing one. While reading, it’s so easy to point at Forrest and to shake your head, yelling at her to get some common sense, but in the end, it’s NOT her fault. Women tend to blame themselves when a man becomes aggressive, or when he takes advantage of her; outsiders tend to blame the woman too, even I was upset with Forrest leading up to the pivotal scene between her and Scott because all the signs concerning an aggressive, unhealthy relationship were there, but Forrest is NOT at fault. And this is an important theme that needs to be put in the hands of young girls more often. Scott is a terrible human being, and the fact that Forrest has never had an admirer before explains her gullibility and the fact that she writes off his pushy behavior, to the point that it’s almost too late. Yes, it did drive me crazy, because I’m an outsider looking in, but when in the heat of the moment, as Forrest finds herself, we tend to be blind to the reality that surrounds us, and this is exactly what happens to Forrest. Luckily for her, she has a supported family willing to stand by her side and help her through the rage and turmoil that Scott leaves in his wake, and I just love how Deriso handled the entire situation.

But the novel doesn’t actually center around this—the novel deals with so much more, such as teen pregnancy, family dysfunction, and secrets as well. The truth about Brian and Olivia’s relationship floored me, but made perfect sense, and the reaction of Forrest’s parents also made perfect sense once the truth about their relationship came to light. Overall, this is an extremely well done novel, though I did find the ending just a tad bit too convenient. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the publisher, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.  This title recently released.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



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