ARC Review: How to Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras

 How to Be Brave by E. Katherine Kottaras

Publication Date: November 3, 2015

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Synopsis:

Georgia isn’t excited about starting her senior year of high school. She just lost her mother and isn’t quite sure how to go on. Her mother left her a letter telling Georgia who her mother would like her to be. Mostly, she wants Georgia to be brave and have the courage to try new things.

With the help of her best friend, Liss, Georgia decides to make a “Live Life List.” Together, they set out to complete the list. But nothing goes as easily as planned and soon Georgia find her life going places she never wanted it to go. Friendships are ruined, hearts are broken and trust is gone.

Georgia must be brave and take the steps necessary to put her life back together again.


My rating: 3 out of 5 stars


“It’s not you, it’s me.”

I feel like that pretty much sums up how I feel about How to Be Brave.

How to Be Brave started out strong. I really felt for Georgia and could identify with her. The writing was great. I loved the way Georgia’s memories were poetic. The issues in the story were important and relatable.  Then, it lost my attention fairly quickly.

To be honest, I think it was the tone of the book. It started out sad but optimistic. I was excited to see how Georgia was going to take her mom’s words of wisdom and where she would go from there. I had high hopes.

How to Be Brave just didn’t meet them. Instead of being a hopeful book about seizing life, it became Georgia’s decent into mischief and misery. It was depressing. While I understand why it took this direction, it wasn’t fun to read — at least for me. I kept reading in hopes that things would pick up and get better for Georgia. They did, but it just didn’t feel real to me. It felt like even her future might be depressing. I wanted to be uplifted. I wanted to see major growth throughout the entire book.

Something was just lacking for me in How to Be Brave. I have a feeling other readers are going to love this book. It was a good book — I just think it wasn’t for me.

**I received a copy of How to Be Brave from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Before the Blog: Left Drowning by Jessica Park

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Before the Blog is a weekly blog meme hosted by Karis Jacobstein over @ YA Litwit. It’s an opportunity to showcase books a blogger read and loved prior to starting their blog .  I love this idea because there are so many amazing books I haven’t reviewed on A Novel Glimpse because I read them a long time ago. The only rules to this meme are to answer the following questions about the book chosen to review:

  • Why did you choose this book? 
  • When did you read this book? 
  • Who would you recommend this book to? 

Left Drowning by Jessica Park

Publication Date: July 16, 2013

Publisher: Skyscape

Goodreads Synopsis:

Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.

*This book is intended for mature audiences due to strong language and sexual content.
Note: due to mature content recommended for Ages 17+


My rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Why did you choose this book? 

Because I loved it. It’s that simple, really.

Left Drowning was one of the first NA books I ever read. I was shocked at the amount of emotion it had me feeling. After reading it, I wanted to find more books like it. It’s still one of my favorite books. I was so happy when Jessica Park released the sequel, Restless Waters this fall. (Find my review here.)

When did you read this book? 

October of 2013

Who would you recommend this book to?

Readers who like emotionally packed books filled with damaged characters trying to heal. Also, readers who enjoy books by Colleen Hoover, Ginger Scott and Amy Harmon.

Outspoken

Outspoken by Lora Richardson

Publication Date: Agust 18, 2015

Publisher: CreateSpace

Synopsis:

One thing Penny has never been in life is outspoken. She’s always gone with the flow and done what everyone wanted her to do. Others’ opinions have always mattered more than her own. But that’s going to change.

Penny’s going to spend her summer before (maybe) going to college at the beach in South Carolina. She’s going to leave her seven siblings and Montana hometown behind. She’s using checking up on her elderly grandfather as her excuse, but in reality Penny wants to break away from the person she was before. For once in her life, she’s going to be the person she wants to be. Penny’s going to be outspoken.

Just as Penny’s starting to gain her independence, she meets Archer. Everyone tells her to avoid him, but Penny feels drawn to him. While Penny’s trying to be her own person, she can’t help but worry about Archer’s opinion. Will her worrying about what Archer thinks be the end to her new life? Will she continue to be outspoken or will she revert to the girl who simply goes with the flow?


My rating: 4 out of 5 stars


Outspoken is a coming of age tale. It’s set in that time in life when a young adult is trying to find themselves and their voice. Penny’s no longer a child, but she’s not sure how to be an adult and stand up for herself yet.

Outspoken is one of those books that is harder for me to review. While I loved the story and writing, I disliked the main character Penny. She rubbed me the wrong way. I know she was trying to be truthful, but her delivery was lacking finesse. Everything that came out of her mouth was so negative. I know she was striving to speak her mind, but if she was a new friend of mine, our friendship wouldn’t last long. She never seemed like she even wanted to hang out with her new friends, Gwen and Marissa. She needed to learn giving in to spend time with her friends didn’t always equate to giving up a piece of herself. But that’s part of what this story was about, so I feel bad complaining! Penny was just trying to find her voice.

Despite my dislike for Penny, I did enjoy the storyline. I liked how she set out on her own to discover herself. What she was going through was very relatable. And Penny did have her redeeming moments. I could see a glimpse of the sweet person she was when she went above and beyond to help the people she met through her job at the grocery store. I also loved the way she wanted to take care of her grandfather, Cal. My favorite Penny was the person she was when she was with Archer. She seemed to find a happy medium when she was with him. She wasn’t quite as negative but she also didn’t lose herself in him. I wanted to read more of this Penny.

What I enjoyed most about Outspoken was the cast of supporting characters. I loved them all! Gwen and Marissa were a ton of fun. Archer was the silent, brooding “bad boy” with a lot of depth. All of Penny’s grocery delivery customers were interesting and added a ton of dimension to the story. Penny’s family seemed really fun, too. I would have liked to read more about them and their relationships with each other. I have a feeling they would have been a hilarious bunch.

So while I didn’t always enjoy Penny, I did always enjoy the story. I thought it was a great YA coming of age story about a girl on the path to adulthood trying to find herself. I think this book would be highly beneficial for young adults going through that time in their lives to read.

**I received an electronic copy of Outspoken from the author in exchange for an honest review.