Waiting on Wednesday – Week 178

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight upcoming books I'm DYING to get my hands on!

This week's WoW is:
Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet

Slip behind the Iron Curtain into a world of smoke, secrets, and lies in this stunning novel where someone is always listening and nothing is as it seems.

Noah Keller has a pretty normal life, until one wild afternoon when his parents pick him up from school and head straight for the airport, telling him on the ride that his name isn’t really Noah and he didn’t really just turn eleven in March. And he can’t even ask them why — not because of his Astonishing Stutter, but because asking questions is against the newly instated rules. (Rule Number Two: Don’t talk about serious things indoors, because Rule Number One: They will always be listening). As Noah—now "Jonah Brown"—and his parents head behind the Iron Curtain into East Berlin, the rules and secrets begin to pile up so quickly that he can hardly keep track of the questions bubbling up inside him: Who, exactly, is listening — and why? When did his mother become fluent in so many languages? And what really happened to the parents of his only friend, Cloud-Claudia, the lonely girl who lives downstairs? In an intricately plotted novel full of espionage and intrigue, friendship and family, Anne Nesbet cracks history wide open and gets right to the heart of what it feels like to be an outsider in a world that’s impossible to understand.

October 4, 2016 ● Goodreads

I learned a lot about the Berlin Wall and the politics on both sides last year in my social science courses. It was super interesting to learn about, and since then I've seen The Lives of Others, a fantastic German film that gives an idea of what it was like back then, with the government listening in, trying to catch out traitors. Anyway, I don't think I've read anything that's dealt with East and West Berlin, in YA at least. This one sounds wonderful, and seems like it's going to be a powerful read.

What are you waiting on?

The Possibility of Somewhere Blog Tour: Review

The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day

Release Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: NetGalley
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Together is somewhere they long to be.

Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted-- he's admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There's only one obstacle in Ash's path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?

All Eden's ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college -- and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks... When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream -- one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?

Sometimes, all I want to do is curl up with a cute story–one that's fluffy, has an adorable romance, and has all the makings of a young adult contemporary novel. While The Possibility of Somewhere definitely had some of those elements, there was a lot more to it. I thought that the romance would actually be center to the story, but in fact, it's more about a girl's journey to finding herself and getting what she wants.

I was excited to read this book the moment I saw the name Ash Gupta. A main character that's Indian? Um, YES PLEASE. However, while he is a main character, the synopsis is a little misleading. I thought that the narrative would be from alternating perspectives, between Ash and Eden, but it's actually just from Eden's POV. While I was a little sad about the fact, it was interesting to see the differences between the two characters, and the way Ash changes in Eden's eyes as she realises her feelings for him. I liked Mundy's character too–she was quirky, and definitely a character I could get behind. Eden and Mundy's friendship was super sweet, and Mundy definitely pushes Eden to be more open and actually get that high school experience, and to have fun once a while.

Speaking of relationships, I LOVED the relationship between Eden and her stepmom. While I totally hated her dad for the most part, because he was racist and didn't want her to actually go to college, Marnie was AWESOME. Loved her so much. Amazing parents appear here and there in young adult fiction, and I'm glad that this book had at least one. I still don't know how I feel about the main relationship in the story though–Ash and Eden's. Even though I liked that they came from two different sides of the track and start off the story with a conflicted relationship that later turns romantic, their irascible relationship gave me mixed feelings.

Despite my feelings towards the romance, this novel was really strong in other ways. I liked Eden's character growth and journey, as she comes to learn what it means to love and to ask for help when you need it most. The Possibility of Somewhere was a cute story, one that I enjoyed reading. I can't wait to read more from Julia Day!

If you like this, try...

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JULIA DAY lives in North Carolina, halfway between the beaches and the mountains. She has two twenty-something daughters and one geeky old husband. When she's not writing software or stories, Julia enjoys traveling with her family, watching dance reality shows on TV, and dreaming about which restaurant ought to get her business that night.

Website Twitter Goodreads Tumblr  Facebook


"An engaging read...full of drama." School Library Journal

“Eden will lure readers with her willful refusal to allow poverty and hardship to define or limit her.” Publishers Weekly

“Raw and intense, yet sensitive and touching. This is a story that will keep you hooked till the very end." Vanessa Barneveld, author This is Your Afterlife

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My normal dress code was designed to keep me invisible, but today I made an exception. I wore a teal shirt (stolen from my dad) over jeans that had only been owned by me. I finished off with my best sneakers, freshly bleached.
           After yanking my hair into a ponytail, I grabbed my backpack, charged out of my bedroom, and screeched to a halt in the den. The trailer smelled like toast and bacon. Why?
          I crossed to the table and stared down at the plate of food waiting there.
          My stepmom came out of the kitchen, holding two mugs of coffee. She offered one to me.
          I took it as my backpack slid to the floor with a thud. “You made me breakfast?”
          She laughed. “I’ve done this before.”
          “When I was nine, maybe.” The bacon looked like it had been fried to crispy perfection. I parked my butt on the chair and snagged a slice. “What’s the occasion?”
          Her smile wobbled. “It’s the first day of your last year of high school.”
          Oh, damn. She was going to get emotional on me. This day must remind her that I’d be gone in a few months. It wouldn’t be a good idea to act all happy about escaping town soon. Better change the mood fast. “Breakfast is amazing. You can repeat it whenever you want.”
          “I’ll keep that in mind.” She set her mug on the table and pointed at my ponytail. “Can I do something special with your hair?”
          Clearly she wanted to, so sure. “That’d be great.”
          While I finished my toast, she twisted my hair into a thick French braid. It took only a couple of minutes before she pressed a kiss to the top of my head. “There you are, sweetie. Now go on, or you’ll miss the bus.”
          “Okay.” I stood, gave her a quick hug, and slung my backpack over one shoulder. “Thanks, Marnie. For everything.”

The bus dropped us off fifteen minutes early, something that would never happen again. I went straight to my first-period class. AP English Lit with my favorite teacher.
          “Morning, Ms. Barrie,” I said.
          She didn’t look up from her computer. “Hello, Eden.”
          I slipped into a desk in the back row and watched as my classmates trickled in.
          My next class would be statistics, although it had been a recent change. I’d realized in middle school that college was my best route out of Heron, and I wouldn’t get to college without serious scholarships. So I’d mapped out my high school curriculum in seventh grade, picking each course to maximize my GPA. Everything had gone according to plan until three weeks ago, when I’d switched to a different math class and elective. The decision had seemed bold at the time. Now, it felt crazy.
          After English, I dropped by my locker and arrived late for second period. With nervous anticipation, I smiled at my statis- tics teacher and turned toward the back.
          “Wait, Eden. Sit there.” Mrs. Menzies gestured at an empty seat on the front row.
          I paused, looking from the desk to her. She eyed me steadily, a challenge in her expression.
          Did she expect me to argue with her? I certainly wanted to. Swallowing hard, I took my seat.
          “All right, everyone. I’m glad that you’ve chosen to take Advanced Placement Statistics . . .”
          I tuned out what she said, too annoyed to listen to whatever welcoming remarks she had for us. They would be on her syllabus anyway. I was consumed with shrugging off how much it bothered me to sit in the front with a dozen pairs of eyes behind me. Were they watching me? Probably not, but I didn’t like that it was a possibility.
          Even deep breaths betrayed me, because they filled my head with the soapy-clean, spicy-cologne scent of Ash Gupta. Why did Mrs. Menzies have me sitting next to him?
          “. . . you’ll have one group project and one individual assign- ment due each week . . .”
          I glanced at her. Group projects already? Was that why we had assigned seats?
          “. . . that’s it for now. Form into your teams. I’ll hand out your first project.”
          The sounds of dragging chairs and laughing voices filled the room. I checked around. Was I the only one who didn’t know what to do?
          Ash was looking at me, pained resignation on his face. “You’re with us, Eden.”
          I dragged my desk into the circle beside him. There were five of us in the group. Upala and Dev were Ash’s friends. A built-in alliance. They would vote as a bloc even if I could get the last guy on my side.
          The next few minutes blurred into the rhythms of a project team pretending to become cohesive. I didn’t join in, listening instead to Ash control the discussion and watching as Mrs. Menzies went from group to group, dropping off a large bag of M&Ms, several paper bowls, and the project sheet. When she finally arrived at our circle, she described what she wanted and then gave me a hard stare.
          “I want collaboration from everyone.”
          Message received—although it was unnecessary. I participated when it mattered. Reaching for the M&M bag, I filled a bowl and began separating the candies by color. An exercise in probabilities. 
          “Before we go any further,” Ash was saying, “we should pick a leader for the team. How do we want to choose?”
          “Might as well cut the bullshit, Ash,” I said without looking up. “You want the job. No one’s going to fight you. Just take it by acclamation.”
          Silence greeted my speech. I glanced at him. His gaze held mine for a second before he frowned at his notebook, picked up a pen, and began drawing tiny perfect squares, one after the other. I looked at the rest of the team. Upala and Dev glared at me but didn’t disagree with my suggestion. Probably hated that it had come from me, though.

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Thank you so much to Brittani at St. Martin's Press for having me on the blog tour and for sending an eGalley for review!

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Series: Messenger of Fear, Book 1
Rated: YA 14+
Format: Paperback
Source: Pansing
Buy: Available at all good bookstores!

I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear. 

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out . . .

Messenger of Fear has been on my shelf for AGES. It's only with announcing the giveaway that I realised that I'd never gotten to it, which is why I made it a priority to pick it up soon. This is the second Michael Grant book I've read. Other than this one, I've only read Gone, which I really enjoyed, but since I have a terrible track-record for keeping up with series, I never managed to get to reading the others. Grant is such an awesome author and a really nice person too–I got to meet him at ALA 2013 in Chicago, and he spent a little bit of time talking to me about books, blogging and Singapore. Anyway, I can't believe I didn't get to Messenger of Fear sooner. It was a quick read, too, and I devoured it in one sitting. 

This was such a different book; it was eerie and mysterious, and the synopsis doesn't give much away, so I went into this book pretty unclear of what exactly was going on. While it was confusing at first, as you read further on you do get a better understanding. I mean, sure there were things that were still not answered by the end of the book, which I had questioned from the beginning, but that's what sequels are for, right? Messenger of Fear also had a big twist, one that I only saw coming a few pages ahead of time with a lucky guess. 

I had the thought then that I was dead.
It was not a certainty to me but an uneasy possibility, a doubt, a guess whose truth I was not willing to test.
Why were my memories so far out of reach? I had a life, didn't I? I was a person. I was a girl. I had a name. Of course I had a name.

–p. 3, paperback

The characters were pretty great, but I will say that I didn't really feel connected to them at all. Sure, Mara and the Messenger, as well as the other people (or not really "people" at times), were interesting characters, but I just didn't connect to them on a level that I expect to with books. I mean, I didn't mind it, because I was so taken away with the story and unraveling the mystery behind why Mara's stuck in this place and working for the Messenger, but it's just something I hope changes with the rest of the series.

While slightly perplexing to begin with, Messenger of Fear was ultimately a fantastic story. Dark and creepy with a frightful secret at it's core, I definitely need to pick up more of Michael Grant's books. It just so happens that (thankfully!) I did download an eGalley of The Tattooed Heart a while back, and it's ready to go on my Kindle. I can't wait to dive back into the world of mystery and fear in Grant's captivating series.

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Sasha at Pansing for sending me a copy for review! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...

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Interview with Joshua David Bellin

Hi everyone–today, I'm super excited to interview Joshua David Bellin, the author of Survival Colony 9 and the sequel Scavenger of Souls! Here's a little bit about Joshua before I get on with the interview:


Joshua David Bellin has been writing books since the age of eight (though his first few were admittedly very, very short). He is the author of Survival Colony 9 and its sequel, Scavenger of Souls. When he’s not writing, he spends his time drawing, catching amphibians, and watching monster movies with his kids. A Pittsburgh native, Josh has taught college English, published three nonfiction books (one about monsters!), and taken part in the movement to protect the environment. You can find him online at JoshuaDavidBellin.com.

Website ● Twitter ● Facebook Goodreads

Hi Josh, welcome to Confessions of a Readaholic!

How did the idea for Survival Colony 9 come about?

No one believes me when I say this, but I first got the idea in a dream. Usually when I wake up with what I think is a good idea, it turns out it was only a good idea in dreamland. But one morning, I woke up with my mind buzzing from a very vivid dream involving a group of people in camouflage uniforms moving across a desert environment, a boy without memory, and a shadowy threat in the background. That became the basis of the survival colonies, my protagonist Querry Genn, and the monstrous Skaldi.

Describe Scavenger of Souls as x meets x.

I like movies, so I’ll describe it as Mad Max meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

On writing Scavenger of Souls: was it easier or harder to write than Survival Colony 9?

Definitely harder! I had to decide how much backstory from the first novel to include in the second, plus I had to make sure everything tied together and all the loose ends got resolved. I had to keep the world consistent while at the same time expanding it, and I had to do the same with the characters—they had to grow yet remain recognizable from the first book. And to top it all off, the Survival Colony series was originally meant to be a trilogy until my editor and I decided to make it a duology—so I had to combine two books into one!

Did you always want to be a writer?

My mother kept an old story I wrote, when I was about eight years old, called “Slowest Runner.” It was about a kid who wanted to win the big race, but his problem (as indicated by the title) was that he was really slow. I only got a page written, and I can’t remember how I planned to resolve the story, but it’s evident that I thought of myself as a writer even at that early age.

One thing you can’t write without?

Peace and quiet! Some writers like to have music in the background to inspire them, but I find that distracting. The only sound I can deal with while I’m writing is the wind blowing through the tree outside my window. And maybe rain. So long as it’s not a thunderstorm.

If you were alone in a setting such as the one in Survival Colony 9 with the Skaldi, what are three things you would have with you?

A canteen (you gotta hydrate!), a flamethrower (the only thing that can fight off Skaldi), and a notebook so I could write down all the amazing and terrifying things that were happening to me.

What books or writers influenced you when it came to Survival Colony 9 or writing in general?

My biggest influence was certainly Tolkien, who I read when I was a teen. My first completed novel, back when I was sixteen years old, was a very Tolkien-esque fantasy, and I continue to be amazed by his ability to create an unreal but completely believable world. With the Survival Colony series, I was also influenced by contemporary YA writers like Suzanne Collins, James Dashner, and Chris Howard, all of whom have written excellent science-fiction series.

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers out there?

Focus on what you can control, not on what you can’t. Writing is very difficult, and there are no guarantees—you don’t know if an agent or editor is going to love your book, or if you’re going to make the bestseller list, or any of that. All you can control is the writing itself. Write a great book, and if no one wants to publish it, write an even greater book. Don’t get caught up in the stuff that’s beyond your control—if you do, it’ll interfere with the writing.

Thank you so much for answering my questions! I can't wait to read Scavenger of Souls.

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I'm super excited to start Scavenger of Souls–I really enjoyed Survival Colony 9 (read my review), and I'm looking forward to what comes with this next instalment! Here's a little bit about the final novel in the series:

Release Date: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books


Querry Genn must face the truth about the past and fight to save humanity and the future in this stunning sequel to Survival Colony 9, which New York Times bestselling author Jonathan Maberry called “a terrific novel.”

Querry and the members of Survival Colony 9 have defeated a whole nest of the creatures called Skaldi, who can impersonate humans even as they destroy them. But now the colony is dangerously low in numbers and supplies. Querry’s mother is in command, and is definitely taking them somewhere—but where? Some secret from her past seems to be driving her relentlessly forward.

When they do finally reach their destination, Querry is amazed to discover a whole compound of humans—organized, with plenty of food and equipment. But the colonists are not welcomed. Everything about them is questioned, especially by Mercy, the granddaughter of the compound’s leader. Mercy is as tough a fighter as Querry has ever seen—and a girl as impetuous as Querry is careful. But the more Querry learns about Mercy and the others, the more he realizes that nothing around him is as it seems. There are gruesome secrets haunting this place and its people. And it’s up to Querry to unearth the past and try to save the future in this gripping conclusion to the Survival Colony novels.

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Thank you so much to Joshua David Bellin and Nicole Brinkley!

Waiting on Wednesday – Week 177

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's to spotlight upcoming books that I DYING to get my hands on!

This week's WoW is:
The Odds of Lightning by Jocelyn Davies

A bolt of lightning inspires an incredible journey in this charming, magical realism adventure that takes four teens on an all-night journey through the streets of New York City.

Extraordinary things happen when we least expect them.

Tiny, Lu, Will and Nathaniel used to be best friends. Then life-defining events the summer before high school tore them apart. Now, three years later, they hardly talk anymore. Nathaniel has become obsessed with winning the prestigious science scholarship that his genius older brother once won. Will has risen from anonymity to popular soccer star. Lu grew into a brash, impetuous actress. And shy, poetic Tiny has slowly been fading away.

But fate weaves their lives together again the night before the SATs, during a wild thunderstorm that threatens to shut down New York City. And lightning strikes.

Before they know what's hit them, the four teens embark on an epic all-night adventure to follow their dreams, fall in and out of love, reconcile the past, and overcome the fears that have been driving them since that one lost summer. And by the time the sun rises, odds are they’ll discover that there’s a fine line between science and magic, and that the mysteries of love and friendship can’t be explained.

September 20, 2016 ● Goodreads

I haven't read Jocelyn Davies's A Beautiful Dark and the rest of the series, but I'm sure that this one is gonna be fantastic. It's a bit weird that there's roughly a month before The Odds of Lightning is published but there aren't too many reviews around. Anyway, I love stories that take place over one night–there's always something super exciting about them. Can't wait!

What are you waiting on?

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider

Release Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it's easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down.

My sister randomly chose Extraordinary Means for me to read, and I couldn't be happier when she told me that I would be reading a Robin Schneider book. I mean, I haven't read The Beginning of Everything (yet), but I've heard wonderful things about her works. I was super excited to start this one because, in typical fashion, it was compared to John Green's books–The Fault in Our Stars meets Looking for Alaska is a popular comparison by so many other reviewers–so I knew that I was in for a good read.

The contagion genre (thank you Robin Schneider for explaining exactly what genre this book falls under!) is something that I personally haven't seen much of across young adult fiction. Having a book set in the present, but with elements of a dystopian novel, is different from most other books I've read. The dystopian elements present in this novel is an epidemic of Tuberculosis that contaminates several people, and the children are put in facilities such as Lantham House. The story didn't have much of a "dystopian" feel though. It felt like a normal contemporary set in a boarding school...except everyone's sick.

Lane and Sadie were adorable. However, while they were awesome protagonists, I loved the secondary characters even more: Nick, Marina and Charlie. They were so diverse and so loveable. They had their strengths and their flaws, and they added so much more flavour to the novel. The whole friend group is so witty–seriously, I wish I could come up with some of the hilarious comebacks they throw at each other.

I loved Extraordinary Means–it was cute and funny and sad, but above all, it had a lot of heart. I'm really looking forward to reading more of Schneider's books, especially if they're anything like this novel. An adorable relationship with a time limit, spot-on humour, and a deadly epidemic, you need to pick this one up if you haven't already.

If you like this, try...

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100 Days by Nicole McInnes

100 Days by Nicole McInnes

Release Date: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Rated: YA 14+
Format: ARC
Source: Won
Buy: AmazonThe Book Depository
Goodreads Website

Agnes doesn't know it, but she only has one hundred days left to live. When she was just a baby, she was diagnosed with Progeria, a rare disease that causes her body to age at roughly ten times the normal rate. Now nearly sixteen years old, Agnes has already exceeded her life expectancy.

Moira has been Agnes’s best friend and protector since they were in elementary school. Due to her disorder, Agnes is still physically small, but Moira is big. Too big for her own liking. So big that people call her names. With her goth makeup and all-black clothes, Moira acts like she doesn’t care. But she does.

Boone was friends with both girls in the past, but that was a long time ago—before he did the thing that turned Agnes and Moira against him, before his dad died, before his mom got too sad to leave the house.

An unexpected event brings Agnes and Moira back together with Boone, but when romantic feelings start to develop, the trio’s friendship is put to the test.

I was lucky enough to have won an ARC (signed!!) of 100 Days from the very lovely Nicole McInnes in February, but since August was a long way away, I put off reading the book until now. I really, REALLY enjoyed this one, and I wish I had gotten to it sooner! I knew that it was going to be a bit sad, but I had no idea how much it would make me laugh and smile.

I personally haven't read a book that has featured a character with Progeria. I know that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Gae Polisner's The Pull of Gravity both feature characters with similar genetic disorders, but I unfortunately have neither seen nor read Benjamin Button, and the same goes for Polisner's novel, so I had no idea what to expect. It was both interesting and sad reading about Agnes's life–how because of the rapid ageing process, she can't experience the things she wants to experience as a "normal" teenager.

Both Moira and Boone have their own problems, too: Moira has problems with body image, and Boone has anger issues on top of the fact that his dad died and his mom is still grieving. I liked how distinct each of their voices were–I finished this book so quickly because of how swept away I was with the narrative. The author's done a brilliant job with capturing the right tone for each character! Agnes was probably my favourite character though. I like how even though she knows that she's going to die in the near-future and that she can't do a lot of things, she doesn't let that change the way she lives. I often found myself smiling at the happy moments Agnes has, as well as the fact that her humour is so on point.

McInnes in her latest novel focuses on the beauty of living every day to the fullest, as well as the ups and downs that come with it. With a wonderful cast of characters and a gorgeous story, I guarantee that with reading this book you'll be bound to crack a smile, maybe shed a tear or two, and, by the end, wish that you could read it all over again. Heartwarming, hilarious and heartbreaking, 100 Days was, in a word, perfect. 

▪ ▪ ▪ Thank you so much to Nicole McInnes for the ARC! ▪ ▪ 

If you like this, try...

None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

None of the Above by I. W. Gregorio

Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Rated: YA 14+
Format: eGalley
Source: Edelweiss

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Before reading None of the Above, I had a very limited understanding of what it meant to be intersex. I've only seen an intersex character represented on MTV's Faking It and in Laura Lam's Pantomime, and that's about it. I wasn't too sure of what exactly it entailed, and I was curious to know more. This book contained so much information, and I'm so glad about that. For instance, I had no idea that hermaphrodite was an outdated term (see, reading can teach you things)! Anyway, like with most books that concern gender and sexuality, I knew that Gregorio's debut was going to be a profound read.

Krissy was a great protagonist. It was so sad how she was tormented and judged by the people around her that she thought she was friends with. I'm glad that her character was pretty strong throughout it all, but also had some more vulnerable moments now and then. I loved the relationship she had with her dad–it was so sweet how he was supportive and tries to learn everything there is to know, and goes above and beyond (as a parent should!) to help her out. That's also how you find out a lot of the information–Krissy and her dad often try to understand more about being intersex, and there's a whole bunch of interesting facts and real-life figures that are present. It's inspiring to know that there are people who have overcome the barriers that society has thrown at them for being intersex, and you definitely see that shape the way Krissy's character develops.

The romance, however, felt a little off for me. It's not the main focus of the story, and I like that it was there but didn't take over the plot completely. But but butttt... it just felt a little rushed at the end. Darren was super adorable though, so ALL IS FORGIVEN. Amidst all the name-calling and bullying that is directed at Krissy, you need someone who's on her team and helps her out (and, y'know, it doesn't hurt if he's cute too!).

None of the Above was a provoking read, and a truly inspiring novel. I learned so much, and really enjoyed reading this one. I. W. Gregorio is a wonderful writer, and as she is a practicing surgeon, with her first novel you can see both her medical world and her writing world bridging together to create a moving story. I can't wait to see what comes next!

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