Wednesday, April 25, 2012

V is for Variant and Other VERY Amazing April Reads

Road Trip Wednesday is a "Blog Carnival," where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question and answer it on our own blogs. You can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.

Also, I've prescheduled this post KNOWING that the last Wednesday of the month Roadtrip typically asks this question. *fingers crossed*

This Week's Topic:

What was the best book you read in April?

My April reads:

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour
Fall from Grace by Charles Benoit
Perfect Escape by Jennifer Brown
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
Variant by Robison Wells

Haha – and I’m expected to pick ONE of those? I really enjoyed all of them. Most of them received at least four if not five stars from me on Good Reads. And the one that received three? I just didn’t like that the main character didn’t, IMHO, grow throughout the story, but I’d still recommend it to friends. Sooo, I’ll share the Good Reads blurb on all five followed by my brief (super brief for the long-winded Alison) commentary.


Colby and Bev have a long-standing pact: graduate, hit the road with Bev's band, and then spend the year wandering around Europe. But moments after the tour kicks off, Bev makes a shocking announcement: she's abandoning their plans - and Colby - to start college in the fall.

But the show must go on and The Disenchantments weave through the Pacific Northwest, playing in small towns and dingy venues, while roadie- Colby struggles to deal with Bev's already-growing distance and the most important question of all: what's next?

Morris Award–finalist Nina LaCour draws together the beauty and influences of music and art to brilliantly capture a group of friends on the brink of the rest of their lives.


Music, love, heartbreak, betrayal, trust, HEART (as in the super awesome band from my era Heart), figuring it all out, not figuring it all out, friendship, heartACHE, forgiveness, and have YOU SEEN THAT COVER? Read it. You will LOVE IT.

Oh, and we know how Alison loves her boy books. This one is AMAZING.

BTW, if you want a more thorough super astounding review, check out my friend Katy’s Bookanista review. She says it’s probably the best book she’ll read all year.

Have you read it? Aside from Colby, my favorite character is Melinda? Who’s yours?


Grace always has a plan. There’s her plan to get famous, her plan to get rich, and—above all—her plan to have fun.

Sawyer has plenty of plans too. Plans made for him by his mother, his father, his girlfriend. Maybe they aren’t his plans, but they are plans.

When Sawyer meets Grace, he wonders if he should come up with a few plans himself. Plans about what he actually wants to be, plans to speak his own mind for a change, plans to maybe help Grace with a little art theft.

Wait a minute—plans to what?


Another authentic boy book. Guy trying to branch off from the control and expectations of his parents and of everyone else around him? Totally relatable. Very enjoyable.



Kendra has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Grayson, whose OCD forces him to live a life of carefully coordinated routines. The only way Kendra can stand out next to Grayson is to be perfect, and she has perfection down to an art -- until a cheating scandal threatens her flawless reputation.

Behind the wheel of her car, with Grayson asleep beside her, Kendra decides to drive away from it all -- with enough distance, maybe she'll be able to figure everything out. But eventually, Kendra must stop running and come to terms with herself, her brother, and her past.

With undeniable grace and humor, acclaimed author Jennifer Brown explores OCD, the pressure for perfection, and the emotional highs and lows of a complex sibling relationship.


This one still has my mind spinning, and if I really forced myself to choose, this one would probably win. I enjoyed the depth and relatability of Kendra and just felt and understood her plight. The perfect daughter, in an attempt to be perfect, makes mistakes, and takes what she rationalizes as the perfect way out. How many times did I feel like that? How many times do I still feel like that?! The story reminded me a little of Rainman and a lot of myself. Loved Kendra. LOVED Grayson. And completely LOVED the story.

PS—I’m a romance whore. There’s no romance (okay, maybe a teensy allude to one, but really…no romance) in this one. And I STILL loved it.

Also, I’m giving away my ARC of Perfect Escape. And today’s the last day to enter! Click here for details!


I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened.

 Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

This one made me HATE boys. And love them. And hate them. And LOVE them. We’ve all probably been in Min’s shoes. In fact, after I finished reading, I created a paper voodoo doll for every Ed Slaterton in my life and fed them to the shredder. Okay, I really didn't, but man, did I want to.



Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.

He was wrong.

Now he's trapped in a school that's surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death.

But when Benson stumbles upon the school's real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape--his only real hope for survival--may be impossible.


If you’ve been around the blog enough, you know I’m a HUGE Maximum Ride fan. I love adventure and romance mixed with a little sci-fi that’s set in the here and now. Variant has all that. And…AND it’s told from a guy’s POV! I LOVED this story and since I can’t put into words exactly how much I did love this story, click here for my friend Copil’s review. You’ll laugh (as in pee-your-pants laughing). And you’ll want to read this book RIGHT NOW.

So, Alison reigns as the long-winded queen again. What was YOUR favorite April read?

24 comments:

  1. OMIGAWD, you read ALL of these in April? AND posted in A to Z? And carried on your normal life? What, are you some kind of otherworldy reading goddess? Alison, yes, you reign supreme.

    I think I managed to read half of a Stephen King book in April. His new one, about the time travel thingey, and yeah, it's good but it's been so long that I've picked it up that I forget the (sigh) name. So kudos to you on your reading and on your enthusiastic recommendations!

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    1. Welllll...my books are about 300-400 pages each. I'm sure your Stephen King is at least twice that? And I had spring break to catch up on some much wanted reading. :) But thanks for saying that!

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  2. My favorite April read was Black Heart by Holly Black. Nothing else I read this month even came close to it.

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    1. Confession: I have never read a Holly Black book, but I know I must! I actually had an ARC of Black Heart in my hands and sent it to a CP because I knew she'd love it. Maybe this summer I'll check one out from the library!

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  3. THE DISENCHANTMENTS was my pick this month too :) So good. And besides Colby, I think my favorite character was Meg. She had spunk.

    I've been wanting to read WHY WE BROKE UP, as well as VARIANT, but guess I should add PERFECT ESCAPE to the list as well!

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    1. You should! Perfect Escape was wonderful!

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  4. THE DISENCHANTMENTS is one of my recent favorites, too! Such an excellent book.

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    1. Oh, yes. I had it in my bag the whole month of March and didn't read ANYTHING. So glad I finally read it!

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  5. THE DISENCHANTMENTS is definitely going on my TBR list - I've heard so many great things about it...and like you, I love me some Heart!!!

    And I just added VARIANT to my list, as well - it sounds right up my alley!

    I had two great reads in April: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (John Green) and STOLEN (Lucy Christopher). Loved them both for very different reasons.

    Thanks for the great recos, Alison!

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    1. Oh, I LOVE both of those! TFIOS is my fave read so far this year, but that may change Tuesday when Insurgent comes out. We'll see.

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  6. I have VARIANT already (still need to read it), but you've definitely given me others to add to my TBR list. :D Thanks for the recommendations!

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    1. No problem! Hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

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  7. I've got my best book of april post all ready too- just waiting for YA Highway to actually ask the question!

    Mine would be Perfect Chemisty by Simone Elkeles. I know I'm a little late to the party with this one, but oh how I loved it!

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    1. I LOVE Perfect Chemistry! I read Chain Reaction too this year. Not as good but still enjoyable. :)

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  8. why we broke up, has me interested!

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  9. I can't believe you achieved so much by reading and reviewing all these books. Well done!

    http://francene-wordstitcher.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks! I love to read - just so hard to find the time!

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  10. I haven't read VARIANT, but it sounds awesome. And yay for THE DISENCHANTMENTS! So glad you liked that one... wasn't every single character just so unique and adorable?! My best book of April was GRACELING, but I'm in the middle of UNDER THE NEVER SKY and it totally rocks as well!

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    1. I MUST READ GRACELING!!!

      I've never heard so many people talking about it but I guess with Bitter Blue coming out this month, maybe everyone's getting into the series. I need to jump on that band wagon!

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  11. I wondered if there were any books written from the perspective of someone in a band; I even considered writing it. So I will definitely have to put THE DISENCHANTMENTS on my TBR. PERFECT ESCAPE sounds fascinating too. Thanks for this, Alison. Once again, my TBR gets fed... :)

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    1. I KNOW! My TBR grows longer every month with these posts! But it's all good. At least there's no shortage of good books!

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  12. I *loved* VARIANT. I can't wait for the sequel. For some reason THE DISENCHANTMENTS just isn't calling my name, but everyone keeps saying how great it is...and that's how I felt about my two books of the month before I read them. So on the list it goes! This is the best kind of peer pressure.

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  13. These all sound so good! Why We Broke Up is on hold for me at the library. Can't wait!

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Yay! I LOVE comments!