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Blog Tour: THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN by Ellen Hopkins 5 star review & #Giveaway
Jan 25th, 2017 by Liza Wiemer

THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWNCover

by Ellen Hopkins

Published January 24, 2017

Margaret K. McElderry Books

(Simon & Schuster)

About the novel:

How do you live your life if your past is based on a lie? A new novel in both verse and prose from #1 New York Times bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins.

For as long as she can remember, it’s been just Ariel and Dad. Ariel’s mom disappeared when she was a baby. Dad says home is wherever the two of them are, but Ariel is now seventeen and after years of new apartments, new schools, and new faces, all she wants is to put down some roots. Complicating things are Monica and Gabe, both of whom have stirred a different kind of desire.

Maya’s a teenager who’s run from an abusive mother right into the arms of an older man she thinks she can trust. But now she’s isolated with a baby on the way, and life’s getting more complicated than Maya ever could have imagined.

Ariel and Maya’s lives collide unexpectedly when Ariel’s mother shows up out of the blue with wild accusations: Ariel wasn’t abandoned. Her father kidnapped her fourteen years ago.

What is Ariel supposed to believe? Is it possible Dad’s woven her entire history into a tapestry of lies? How can she choose between the mother she’s been taught to mistrust and the father who has taken care of her all these years?

In bestselling author Ellen Hopkins’s deft hands, Ariel’s emotionally charged journey to find out the truth of who she really is balances beautifully with Maya’s story of loss and redemption. This is a memorable portrait of two young women trying to make sense of their lives and coming face to face with themselves—for both the last and the very first time.

LINKS: Amazon | B&N

 

ABOUT ELLEN HOPKINS:Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins is the New York Times bestselling author of CrankBurnedImpulseGlassIdenticalTricksFalloutPerfectTrianglesTilt, and Collateral. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, with her husband and son. Hopkin’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest pages get thousands of hits from teens who claim Hopkins is the “only one who understands me”, and she can be visited at ellenhopkins.com.

Like most of you here, books are my life. Reading is a passion, but writing is the biggest part of me. Balance is my greatest challenge, as I love my family, friends, animals and home, but also love traveling to meet my readers. Hope I meet many of you soon!

LINKS: Website | Twitter | Tumblr

 

My 5 star review:

The You I've Never KnownThe You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN is filled with emotional punches, and it’s impossible not to be deeply effected by them in the best way. This story is brilliantly woven into a slow revelation of personal as well as sexual identity. Themes of friendship, love, loyalty, teen pregnancy, and family are key elements. Who am I? Who loves me? What does it mean to be loved? What IS love?

Abuse also comes into play, explored and revealed so that the victim comes to realize what she thought of as love was really anger, control, hate.

——Deep breath. This book. So much emotion. So many powerful messages. So important.

Once again, Ellen Hopkins pens characters who feel so real, it take imagination to believe that they don’t really exist, that you’re reading about them in a novel, not a journal of their life. Ariel is at the center of this story and readers will feel her confusion, her attraction, her sense of loyalty, friendships, love, fear. Her father is a despicable person. I have so many emotions wrapped up with him that I may need to amend this review later as I process my emotions.

From Monica to Zelda to Gabe to Hillary, I love each of these secondary characters for different reasons. Each one has a very special role in Ariel’s lives. They change her profoundly. You need to read this novel to understand each one’s impact.

And then there’s Maya’s story—at first separate, but then it converges into Ariel’s. PAINFUL! POWERFUL! DEEPLY MOVING! Sad. But then again, HOPEFUL.

Ellen Hopkins never shirks away from the tough topics. Be prepared to think. I highly, highly recommend this novel and all of her novels.

View all my reviews

 

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

1/23: Such A Novel Idea – Review

1/24: Megnificent Books – Character Closet

1/25: Who R U Blog – Review

1/26: Wandering Bark Books – Playlist

1/27: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Review

Week 2:

1/30: The Irish Banana Review – Fast 5

1/31: Actin’ Up With Books – Review

2/1: Red House Books – Top 10

2/2: The Book Return – Review

2/3: Bookiemoki – Q&A

Giveaway:
3 Finished Copies of THE YOU I’VE NEVER KNOWN (US Only)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: JOYRIDE by Anna Banks, Review, Q & A & Giveaway!
May 13th, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

Joyride BlogTourBanner

 Buy it here:

IndieBoundAmazon | B&N | Book Depository 22718685

My review:

JoyrideJoyride by Anna Banks

Cover: Love it. Pickup trucks are driven by a lot of people in this novel. Nighttime scene is perfect, since MCs are night owls.

Deeply moving, revealing, touching, painful, romantic, and heartfelt. I highly recommend this novel for all YA contemporary fans.

Even though I personally don’t know of anyone who has experienced a family member who has been deported for being in this country illegally, Anna Banks brought this issue and these characters to life! I fell in love with Carly and Arden. Carly has such incredible strength and fortitude. Arden becomes a better person because of this beautiful Latina. Family, friendship, love, betrayal, racism, suicide, depression are some of the themes of this novel.

What I love about this novel:
1. Carly is a really strong person, and she stands up for others. She carries a burden that no teen should ever have—supporting her family. She’s had to grow up way too fast, and I love that Arden brings out that “fun” part of her.
2. Anna Banks shows racism for exactly what it is – UGLY, disgusting, filthy!
3. The fun, practical jokes!
4. Carly’s relationship with her older brother. It’s complicated, but it makes Carly grow as a person and forces her to gain her independence.
5. Arden – G-d bless that boy! He sticks up for Carly when most would bury themselves in a hole because they wouldn’t defy a parent.
6. The portrayal of Arden’s parents and the fact that he found a way not to sink with them!
7. What a sweet romance between Arden and Carly!
8. Arden’s uncle! What a fascinating character!!!
9. Possibly one of the best kisses in a novel! Swoon!

I found JOYRIDE deeply moving, heartbreaking, inspiring, and swoon-worthy! Add this to your to-read list!

Thank you so much to the publisher for the review copy.

View all my reviews

 

Author Links/Info:AUTHOR PIC1

Q: Living in Wisconsin, a vastly different environment from where JOYRIDE’s Florida setting, illegal  immigration issues are rarely discussed in the local news. What is the biggest misconception about illegal immigrants you hear and what would you like people to understand?

A: In this area, the biggest complaint is that Mexican immigrants are “stealing” all of the jobs—because they’re willing to work for less money than most people to do the same job. I hate this logic. The thing is, Mexican immigrants are the hardest working people I know, and most employers know this too. It’s just natural to want to hire the best employee you can find—no reason to bring race into it at all.

Q: In JOYRIDE, Carly and her brother Julio work nearly around the clock to pay to illegally bring their parents and their twin siblings back to the US for a whopping $60,000 with no guarantee that they’ll arrive safely!!! What kind of research did you do to find out about the illegal operations?

A: From the time I started waitressing as a teen, I worked with some undocumented immigrants, and they told me their stories. Many left families behind to come here and provide a better life for them back home. Some brought their families with them—a dangerous risk to be sure. They would pay people who they called coyotes to get them across the border. Sometimes the coyotes would only get them as far as the desert, and they had to walk for days in those conditions with the little food and water they could bring with them. They were devastatingly unprepared for their journey.

 Unfortunately, their stories are just a few of the many which are just a Google search away. Responsible journalism paints a truly horrific picture of what these people go through to improve their circumstances—it’s heartbreaking and inspirational at the same time.

Q: Arden’s father, the town sheriff is a raving bigot and racist jerk. Arden not only sticks up for Carly, but defies his father. What do you think is the most important lesson teens can take away from this, especially since going against their parents can be so hard!

A: In general, I don’t advise teens to go against their parents. But if we’re being honest here, teens know the difference between right and wrong. It’s as simple as that. I didn’t write JOYRIDE to be a teachy preachy book. What I want to get across is that you HAVE to find your own identity, separate from your parents, and I think the teen years are the beginning of that process.

Q: Arden finds not only a partner in mischief with Carly, but a true and loving friend. Still, both Arden and Carly have issues that cut them to the soul. What qualities did they possess for each other that helped to heal their internal wounds?

A: For Arden, Carly offers stability and consistency and unmoving strength. For Carly, Arden offers a sense of humor, and relief from how overwhelming life can be.

Q: What was your favorite scene to write and why?

A: The poopy purse scene! Mainly because I’ve done it before and it’s freaking hilarious in real life and, I hope, just as entertaining in the book.

Q: In JOYRIDE, Arden and Carly pull some pranks. They were all in fun. When does fun cross the line and become a problem?

A: It crosses the line when someone could get hurt, or if someone feels bullied. For instance, scaring old people is not recommended.

Q: You address the mental illness of schizophrenia in Joyride. The illness has painful consequence to Arden and his family. Share one or two things that you want readers to know about this illness.

 A: I think I want to share something about mental illness in general:

  • It’s not your fault. Don’t feel guilty if you suffer from a mental illness, and don’t give anyone the power to make you feel ashamed about it.
  • For those who don’t have a mental illness, don’t assume you can look it up on Wikipedia and understand what a person with the illness goes through. You can’t.
  • If you’re suffering from a mental illness, speak up. There is support for you out there. Reach out, grab it, and don’t let go. You deserve happiness just like everyone else.

 

BONUS ROUND:

 

Tea, coffee, milk, or hot chocolate? Yes.

Onion rings, french fries, or sweet potato fries? Yes.

Romance, comedy, horror, suspense thriller, documentary, or action film? Romantic documentary.

Snakes, rats, spiders, or bats? Which one would make you squeal/squirm/freak out the most? Snakes scare the bejesus out of me. There. I said it.

Ski vacation in Aspen, Caribbean beach vacation, shopping excursion to Paris, or safari in Africa? I would be deadly in skis, I already live near one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, and my huge meaty butt would be entirely too appetizing for a lion to resist—so shopping in Paris seems like the logical choice. 

GIVEAWAY (US/CANADA only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

WHEN REASON BREAKS by Cindy L. Rodriguez – Review #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Mar 1st, 2015 by Liza Wiemer

 WHEN REASON BREAKS by Cindy L. Rodriguez – Review

Hardcover, 304 pages

Published February 10, 2015

Published by: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Buy it here: IndieBound | Amazon | Audible | B&N | Book Depository

Connect with the author: Goodreads | Twitter

From Goodreads:22032788

13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.

My Review:

When Reason BreaksWhen Reason Breaks by Cindy L. Rodriguez Highly recommend. (Plus an amazing cover that fits well with the novel.)

WHEN RESAON BREAKS is a deeply moving story that addresses the issues of depression and suicide. Teacher Ms. Diaz introduces her students to Emily Dickinson, and her poetry has a tremendous influence on the characters in this novel. Emotionally charged issues of true friendship, dating, sex, and betrayal combined with overpowering parents for one character and a parent grieving from her divorce for another, impact this story.

Beautifully written, people will feel Elizabeth’s anger and Emily’s struggle with her identity and the emotions that come with it, the confusion that comes with sadness and loss, developing relationships and those relationships that break. I love the complexity Cindy Rodriguez brings to all her characters.

I definitely recommend this novel for anyone who likes a serious contemporary YA. I’m certain the characters will remain with readers long after they finish. Bravo, Ms. Rodriguez for shining a new light on tough issues. In addition, the Dickinson references and Ms. Rodriguez’s explanation of those references will introduce Dickinson to young adults—some for the first time. They’ll learn more about her life and poetry, which I am certain will get some to explore Dickinson’s work further!

Thank you to Bloomsbury for providing the ARC.

View all my reviews

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