Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer E. Smith’

Summer Days and Summer Nights Review

Stephanie Perkins (editor)
28817799This beautiful collection features twelve gorgeously romantic stories, by some of the most talented and exciting YA authors writing today. Includes: Leigh Bardugo, Nina LaCour, Libba Bray, Francesca Lia Block, Stephanie Perkins, Tim Federle, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, Brandy Colbert, Cassandra Clare, Jennifer E Smith, Lev Grossman.


To be completely honest with you I picked up this Summer Days and Summer Nights for incredibly shallow bookish reasons at YAUK… the cover was simply gorgeous and velvety to touch, and it had an old fashioned material bookmark made into it! It looked like summer!! If summer teen romance was ever to take on a bookish form this would be it!

Naturally the lovely girls manning the stand did not have to work very hard to sell it to me, and got a lot of help from my dear friends Caz and Faye who happily thrust it into my hands and said “Get it, you’ll love it!” And right they were.

This is a collection of 12 stories by 12 different authors. In view of this I thought I would do something different and choose 3 words for each story that I felt best represented them.

1. Dark. Magic. Deep
2. Ending. Beginning. Love
3. Horror. Movie. Action
4. Hope. Choices. Words
5. Mountains. Rescue. Love
6. Love. End. Confidence
7. Memories. A chance. Healing
8. Love. Love. And thrice Love
9. Goodbye. Hello. Understanding
10. Magic. Darkness. Carnival
11. Special. Love. Different
12. Miracles. Time. Ready

Although I chose a variety of words the common underlying denominator has to be love in all its shapes, sizes and forms. Ranging from true love, loving and letting go, friendship and family this lovely easy summery breeze of a read covers it all. Being able to pick it up read a story and then put it down again made it feel like I had 12 books for the price of one and that every read was a new tale! I know that obviously it was, but it felt a lot better than having to always stop midway through a chapter and perhaps right on a cliff hanger! No cliffhangers here, only tales of romance in all of their colorful variety.

Each little story has its own set of morals to teach and impart. A few drew smiles and laughter, others drew a couple of happy tears and yet others made me appreciate a side of love I had not considered. Not all summer love is frivolous and superficial, some of it touches you forever and changes you for better.

I love how every author contributed to a different facet of what people know and think love to be. Some of these lovely authors I knew already and recognised their penmanship, others who I did know took me a little by surprise and I have to admit I was pleasantly impressed, others in turn were completely new to me but I will now be scouring the bookshelves for their work!

Reviewed by Pruedence

Publisher: Pan MacMilian
Publication Date: June 2016
Format: Hardback
Pages: 384
Genre: Romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Pruedence
Source: Own copy
Challenge: None
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The Geography Of You And Me

Jennifer E Smith

the geography of you and meFor fans of John Green, Stephanie Perkins and Sarah Ockler, THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME is a story for anyone who’s ever longed to meet someone special, for anyone who’s searched for home and found it where they least expected it.
Owen lives in the basement. Lucy lives on the 24th floor. But when the power goes out in the midst of a New York heatwave, they find themselves together for the first time: stuck in a lift between the 10th and 11th floors. As they await help, they start talking…
The brief time they spend together leaves a mark. And as their lives take them to Edinburgh and San Francisco, to Prague and to Portland they can’t shake the memory of the time they shared. Postcards cross the globe when they themselves can’t, as Owen and Lucy experience the joy – and pain – of first love.
And as they make their separate journeys in search of home, they discover that sometimes it is a person rather than a place that anchors you most in the world.

This book has been a bit of a first for me, not the weeks (and weeks) of stalking twitter and Netgalley in anticipation of the review copy release, not even the squealing excitement on receiving an approval email, but my total inability to wait.

Ordinarily I organise my To Be Read (TBR) pile and therefore my reviews, by date of publication, aiming to post in the two weeks preceding or following publication date. However, on this occasion I succumbed to the temptation of instant gratification and devoured this gorgeous book within days of receiving it, abandoning my carefully planned January TBR in the process.

It is not my intention to torment you, dangling this gem before you, when it is still two whole months out of reach. It is simply that as far as this author, and that synopsis, is concerned, I am without willpower, and I simply COULD NOT WAIT and what is more, I feel no remorse.

There is always a real concern when starting a book with such high expectations, in this case based on previous experience of Jennifer E Smith novels and my own hyped anticipation of the release. Fortunately, Jennifer’s books just get better and better, and The Geography Of You And Me lived up to everyone of mine.

Jennifer E Smith is the Queen of serendipitous meetings, palpable chemistry and the kind of sparkling, witty dialogue and verbal sparing, that I can only imagining participating in (Why is it that you can only think of the perfect verbal comeback, when you relive the experience, hours too late?). Added to this is Jennifer’s refreshing perspective on family relationships( read more about it in my This Is What Happy Looks Like review here), an inspiring and beautifully written dual narrative (I have highlighted lots of large passages to re-read at my leisure) and travel, lots and lots of travel, and you are left with the perfect, feel good contemporary escapism.

After their fortuitous meeting and magical night together where they experienced an immediate, undeniable connection, Lucy and Owen actually spend most of the book apart and very little of the book is actually dedicated to maintaining that connection. Never-the-less there was this overwhelming feeling of togetherness and of being on the same wavelength, that you always felt the presence of the other and the influence of that night, and so it never felt as though the couple were truly apart.

While Lucy and Owen’s story wasn’t exactly as I had envisioned it, I imagined something similar to the email exchanges at the beginning of This Is What Happy Looks Like, I spent the duration of the book with a big, goofy grin on my face.

I have now been left with an over whelming desire to re read all of my Jennifer E Smith collection, but before indulging in her back catalogue, I’m going to slide back the progress bar on my ereader and and revisit with Lucy and Owen in NYC in that elevator- Sorry February TBR!

Verdict: An easy to read, happy making, hug of a book.

Reviewed by Caroline.

Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: April 2014
Format: eARC
Pages: 357
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Via Netgalley
Challenge: None
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Novel Nibbles: What-Happy-Looks-Like Pies

happy cover artIf fate sent you an email, would you answer?
In This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith’s new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O’Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like “You’ve Got Mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don’t even know each other’s first names.
Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don’t tell each other everything; Graham doesn’t know the major secret hidden in Ellie’s family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.
When the location for the shoot of Graham’s new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie’s mom want her to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?

I loved Jennifer E. Smith’s This is What Happy looks like (read my review here). In the process of fulfilling my craving for the perfect romantic summer read, Smith created a equally demanding craving for the frosting filled, cake/cookie goodness of Whoopie Pies.

The quest for these sweet treats (the official state treat of Maine), provide an interesting background to the developing relationship between Ellie and Graham.

Ellie gave him a sideways glance. “We’re on a quest”, she said, as if it were obvious.
“A quest,”he repeated.”I like that.”
“Like Dorothy trying to find her way home again.”
“Or Ahab looking for the white Whale.”
“Exactly”, she said. “Only we’re on the hunt for Whoopie pies.”
“Aha,” Graham said, looking pleased. “So you’re a believer now.”
She shook her head.”I’m still skeptical. But if there’s anywhere that would have them, it would be this place.”

To satisfy my Whoopie craving I visited the BBC Food pages and followed this simple Chocolate Whoopie Pie recipe by Simon Rimmer (click here to be taken to the recipe).

 

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The pies were absolutely delicious. I loved Rimmers use of marshmallows in exchange for a more complicated frosting recipe. I will definitely use this recipe again.

Baked and taste tested by Caroline

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This Is What Happy Looks Like

Jennifer E. Smith

happy cover artIn This is What Happy Looks Like, Jennifer E. Smith’s new YA novel, perfect strangers Graham Larkin and Ellie O’Neill meet—albeit virtually—when Graham accidentally sends Ellie an email about his pet pig, Wilbur. In the tradition of romantic movies like “You’ve Got Mail” and “Sleepless in Seattle,” the two 17-year-olds strike up an email relationship, even though they live on opposite sides of the country and don’t even know each other’s first names.
Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don’t tell each other everything; Graham doesn’t know the major secret hidden in Ellie’s family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.
When the location for the shoot of Graham’s new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie’s mom want her to avoid the media’s spotlight at all costs?
Just as they did in The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, the hands of fate intervene in wondrous ways in this YA novel that delivers on high concept romance in lush and thoughtful prose.

I really enjoyed Jennifer E Smith’s last book, The Statical Probability Of Love At First Sight (TSPOLAFs), so I was very excited to see what she was going to write next. When I came across the blurb for This Is What Happy Looks Like, a contemporary YA, romance about two teens living worlds (not to mention a country) apart who meet through a twist of fate and an email typo, I knew that it was right up my street and I immediately pre-ordered it in hardback.

If you want to know what happy looks like you simple had to take a glance at my face, when one of my blogging friends, Kerrie ( read her awesome book review blog here) nominated me to receive an Advance Reader Copy via the #WhatHappyLooksLike twitter campaign. Or perhaps a glance at my face at anytime during the single sitting it took to consume, this sweet, romantic book.

Told in third person, we are treated to the alternating perspective of both Ellie and Graham as they consolidate the depth of connection they have shared for months, with the stranger stood before them.

I absolutely adored the fun, flirty and funny email exchanges, which make up the prologue and punctuate the main body of the book. The chemistry was instantaneous, and I quickly felt invested in their relationship. If Jennifer E Smith is reading this and looking to create “extra’s” for her readership, I’d love to read more of Ellie and Graham’s correspondence.

What I love about Jennifer’s work is the inclusion of relatable issues, without sensationalizing or over dramatizing them. So ok, not many teens are international movie stars, but like Graham, we all have a desire to belong, and to be accepted for who we truly are.

Both this book and Jennifer’s previous book (TSPOLAFS) take a refreshing look at family, and changing family dynamics as the “child” approaches adulthood. Recognizing your parents as the individual they are, with their own insecurities, mistakes and problems is one of the inevitable markers of adulthood. While constructing an emotionally supportive relationship with your parents in the light of growing physical and financial independence is one of the more painful and rewarding challenges of adulthood.

Too often in YA fiction, family, particularly parents are a simply blockade to the developing romance or awaiting adventure, a hurdle to climb, a jailer to sneak by. In Jennifer’s books the characters don’t hide from their family problems within their developing romances, but confront them face on. Rather than the family dynamic being a hurdle to the romance, the romance and ensuing personal development, is often the catalyst to confronting the longstanding family issue.

Verdict: A summer read as sweet and refreshing as a scoop of sorbet on a hot day.

Reviewed by Caroline

Publisher: Headline
Publication Date: April 2013
Format: ARC
Pages: 224
Genre: Contemporary romance
Age: YA
Reviewer: Caroline
Source: Provided by publisher
Challenge: None
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