Category Archives: you think you’ve got problems?

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

every-last-wordSometimes I read books because the covers look cool.  Other times, it’s because they come highly recommended by friends, colleagues, and/or reviewers.  Every now and again, though, I think fate reaches out to me.  This book was most definitely fated.  When I got an email from NetGalley that had a spotlight on this book, which included the phrase “Pure-Obsessive OCD” (aka “Pure-O OCD”) in the summary, I knew I had to request a galley.  Since I have been struggling with controlling my own Pure-O OCD recently, I decided to read this book (1) to see how accurately it portrayed Pure-O OCD (based on my own experiences), and (2) as bibliotherapy.  For those who don’t know, by the way, Pure-O OCD is a lesser-known form of OCD that “has fewer observable compulsions, compared to those commonly seen with the typical form of OCD (checking, counting, hand-washing, etc.)”  It was very obvious that Tamara Ireland Stone did a lot of research and took her time interviewing the teen who inspired her interest in this topic.  Sam’s intrusive thought spirals and panic attacks felt very real, and her therapist often sounded just like mine!   Continue reading

Laughing at My Nightmare by Shane Burcaw

laughing at my nightmare I was shocked to see that this book was a YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction Finalist.  Not because I didn’t think it was deserving, though, but because I was shocked it didn’t actually win!  Shane Burcaw’s self-deprecating sense of humor and unwavering positivity in the face of adversity have already garnered tens of thousands of readers for his blog [laughingatmynightmare.tumblr.com], so it comes as no surprise that the book has also been universally well-received.    Continue reading

100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith

100 sideways milesEver the sucker for a cool book cover, it only took one glance at this book for me to decide I *had* to read it.  The fact that I loved Winger, also by Andrew Smith, certainly didn’t hurt.  I have to admit, though, that I had a hard time getting into this story at first.  Perhaps I was just too tired to “get it,” since I do most of my pleasure reading at bedtime, but I felt myself getting kinda lost in the beginning.  It reminded me of how I felt when I read The Marbury Lens — which makes a lot of sense, considering the fact that Andrew Smith also wrote that book.  In the beginning, there were a few moments where I thought to myself, “Wait!  Was that supposed to be the ‘real’ Finn or the character [also named Finn] from his dad’s book?”  In hindsight, I guess it may have been written like that on purpose, since Finn often felt trapped in his father’s story, but it made me feel a little crazy not to know what was going on!  Fortunately, things got less confusing and everything fell (more or less) into place by the end of the story.
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Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

once was lostIt’s always fun to escape real life in the pages of a book, and I find it somehow more satisfying to read a book about a sweltering summer heat wave when I’m living through a snow-filled winter storm.  Add that to the fact that all of Sara Zarr’s books are pretty darn amazing, and you have a fantastic reason to read this book right now!
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The F- It List by Julie Halpern

f-it_listI read this book in early fall, but I felt like it would make a good January post.  You know, with people making New Year’s resolutions about living their best lives and all?  After almost losing my father in September, this book really resonated with me.  I know it sounds super cliché, but both my real life experience and this book reminded me of just how short life can be — and how often we waste our time and energy on things that don’t even truly matter.  Sometimes, you just have to say “F- IT!”   Continue reading

Croak by Gina Damico

croakI don’t know if this makes me crazy/strange, but I just HAD to hold off on reviewing this book so that it could be my 666th post!  What better way to celebrate this milestone than with a book with a modern day grim reaper on the cover?  ;-)   (Sadly, it seems that my WP dashboard and the message I got after posting my last review disagree on how many posts I’ve previously posted… so this could potentially be my 667th post, but I’m just gonna pretend it’s my 666th post anyway!) Continue reading

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

naturalsThough it’s been quite a while since I’ve watched TV on a regular basis, I have to admit that I used to be absolutely obsessed with true crime shows like Law & Order and Criminal Minds.  I could seriously binge-watch Criminal Intent like it was my job.  So, I was thrilled to discover that this story was basically an extended episode of Criminal Intent with teenage trainees thrown in the mix!  This story also reminded me quite a bit of the Jasper Dent books because Cassie was so much like Jasper — she was unbelievably good at reading people AND that she was also hunting a killer.  The main difference, nevertheless, was that she was hunting the killer who murdered her mom whereas Jasper was hunting a random killer as a way to prove (to society and himself) that he didn’t/wouldn’t take after his serial killer dad.  Continue reading