Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RTW: Summer Lovin' Part II

Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

This Week's Topic:

What was the best book you read in July?


Here's what's off the July TBR list:

Bossy Pants by Tina Fey

Prada and Prejudice by Mandy Hubbard

Hourglass by Myra McEntire

Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Extras by Scott Westerfield

The Outsiders by SE Hinton


Great list, right? My best book of the month winner should be kinda hard to choose, right?

Wrong.

Here's my best read of the month. Best read of the summer. Actually, this novel has successfully navigated its way into my top ten all time faves, even (don't hate me) passing Divergent.






The Good Reads blurb…

For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?



Shortly before her parents died in a horrific accident, Emerson began seeing what she believes to be ghosts. And after she explodes on a “hallucination” for taking her seat in the cafeteria, she spends her time at mental institutions and boarding school. But then her scholarship is pulled. And she stops taking her meds. And she’s forced to move back home with her brother and his wife. And she concedes to trying just one more "cure."

So the story begins, but—just FYI—Hourglass is not a ghost story. It’s a time slip novel. And the most unique, most fabulously wonderful take on time travel I’ve ever read. EVER.

More on my thoughts:

There are plot-driven novels. And there are character-driven stories. Even voice-driven. But never have I read a book that succeeds at being ALL THREE.

Well, until I read Hourglass.

Plot? One word: EXPLOSIVE. If the premise isn’t intriguing enough, it just gets exponentially better. The mystery of her abilities and why Michael has really entered into her life, the time travel element. The romance. GAH. The romance. When Beth Revis (Across the Universe) describes the romance as explosively delicious, she is NOT KIDDING. I could not put this book down. This novel, along with Divergent, truly taught me the meaning of making every scene count and propel the story forward.

Characters: I never felt like I knew so many people so intimately after reading a book. From the mysterious Jack to Emerson’s loyal best friend Lily, to the endearing sister-n-law Dru, McEntire’s characters are so multi-dimensional, so real. I fell in love with so many of them, so quickly. And with all her plot twists, she could get me to love someone I hated. And hate someone I loved. And this book has some totally awesome one-liners and innuendos that will make you fall in love with the characters that much more.

Speaking of developing intimate relationships, can I get on the romance kick again? Michael Weaver (go ahead my high school friends - laugh at the irony) is beyond Delicious. He’s gorgeous, charming, infuriating, HOT… swoon much? And Emerson and Michael. Whoa. Their forbidden relationship is at times so explosive, street lamps literally blow, other times so frustrating I wanted to kick both of them in the gut. And Kaleb? Wait until you meet Kaleb! Is it possible to fall so hard for TWO boys in one book? Because I know I did. I won’t spoil anymore for you. Just read the book. Um…NOW.

Finally, voice. Emerson Cole—LOVE HER. Her biting sarcasm, her ability to take care of herself, her quick wit. She can’t help but blurt the truth (her edit button’s broken). She learns Michael can see her “hallucinations” too, and what does she do? Punches him in the stomach. Emerson’s loyal and has no problems putting the needs of others before herself. She can be so loving one minute, and blow up the next. And the girl spouts out words like Shazam. And geez a lou. And describes her new circle of er…friends as “Team Freak. Wonder if we could get jerseys.” Um…did I mention how much I love her? She’s totally adorable. When If I ever grow up, I want to be just like Emerson Cole.

Can I gush about the cover? GAH! That’s delicious. If I ever publish a book, my book jacket needs to be that flavor of awesomesauce.

Oh—and in case I haven’t sold you enough on it’s super-duperness, here’s my last sell. I don’t get much sleep, but I can’t read beyond midnight. I don’t know. Twelve dongs and the eyes grow heavy? That’s me. I fall asleep on many a good book. I tried to finish Mockingjay, but just couldn’t. Keep. Reading past 1:30 in the morning. Um…Hourglass? On a pizza and beer-filled belly, I read Hourglass until I finished. At three in the morning. KNOWING I had to wake up at six to pack up and leave from my beach house. 3 AM, peeps. And my restless personality doesn’t typically withstand one-sitting reads. Not the case with this book.

PS—I’ve been to Ashville, North Carolina three times in the past four months (previous record = once in my lifetime), and I’m mucho tempted to make the six hour trip back in two weeks. Why? Myra McEntire, Beth Revis, and Victoria Schwab (The Near Witch) are hosting an eight-stop book tour from Ashville to Nashville. They’ll conduct panels and Q&As. They’ll sign books. AND they’ll be joined by other fabulousnesses (Stephanie Perkins, Rachel Hawkins, and others!) at various stops on their journey. You can check out the tour of awesomeness schedule here. I WANT to go. Anyone want to drive me?!

So, how about you? What’s the best book you’ve read in July?

15 comments:

  1. I really liked Hourglass, though I probably would have picked Anna and the French Kiss over it. But then again I'm a sucker for Paris and boys whose names are Etienne St. Claire.

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  2. People have been praising Hourglass, but I haven't been compelled to read it yet. Though I'm impressed it ranked over Divergent, which is easily the best of the year.

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  3. Hooray for BOSSYPANTS! Tina Fey needs to write a new book ASAP.
    I love Stephanie Perkins's writing, too. Such sweet, witty, wonderful romances.

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  4. Myra's setting is so fab-- glad to see you picked her! :)

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  5. I really need to read HOURGLASS-thanks for the reminder! If it beat out ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS it must be good. :-)

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  6. Wow. This sounds so great...need to look into this one!

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  7. What an awesome list of books for one month!

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  8. I loved Myra's book!!!! I was so happy it was so fabulous because MYRA's so fabulous too. Yay HOURGLASS :) :) :)

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  9. Yay! I have this sitting on my nightstand among dozens of other books and I'm totally going to read it next, all because of this post. DIVERGENT is by far my favorite release of 2011 (so far) so I can't wait to see if HOURGLASS knocks it out of the #1 spot on my list. :)

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  10. A must read for sure! So happy for Myra! She's done an amazing job. Great review, by the way. Very thorough!

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  11. I loved HOURGLASS so very, very much. I am having an interview with Myra McEntire the first Tuesday in October and I am already squeeing over it.

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  12. WOW! Well, I must go out and buy HOURGLASS immediately.

    The best book I read in July actually hasn't come out yet, so I'm not sure if this is entirely fair of me: it was PURE by Julianna Baggott. ;)

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  13. Hourglass sounds awesome. Are you saying it's better than The Time Traveller's wife? Wow. Does a few Magic Tree House books count lol?

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