Transition Reads

A bibliophile and YA addict stuck in the awkward stage of becoming an "adult"

Reading progress update: I've read 309 out of 439 pages.

Winger - Andrew  Smith

Such a funny, unique story!

The Kiss of Deception - Mary E. Pearson

I may write a more detailed review later on, but for now, suffice it to say I am incredibly intrigued by this series. I considered the plot predictable and thought I had it all figured out until I reached the middle of the book. Guys, don't quit early on this book, because things get CRAZY and awesome and interesting just after the middle. This is when the characters really develop and come into their own, the main character most of all. I will definitely be reading the second book because I'm dying to know what's next!

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry - Gabrielle Zevin

This book is just delightful (not a word I use often, but well-earned)! I couldn't stop smiling, even as I was crying at some points. I never thought I'd be so emotional over this book, but I can't stop myself from gushing about it to everyone around me.  


I can't even pinpoint exactly what sold this book for me. I love the literary and bookstore references, I love the characters, I love the writing and twists. (There I go gushing again.) Seriously, though, this book will blow you away. It has a perfect mixture of humor, sadness, reality, imagination, simplicity, complexity--really everything that makes a great story. And I don't think this can be classified as just adult fiction, since I think teens and YA readers will love this too. Honestly, anyone who loves books will love this one.

How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I've Learned from Reading too Much (Vintage Original) - Samantha Ellis

Thank you to Knopf Doubleday for providing me with an advance digital copy of this book!


I've never been so intrigued and entertained by literary criticism. This book was like a trip down Nostalgia Lane, re-meeting my childhood heroines and stories, and I loved sharing Ellis' connections and memories with each book. That alone would have made this a hit for me; yet my true love comes from Ellis' adult response to every story. This is where Ellis as a writer and a critic and a woman shines. She's not too cowardly to admit her younger self might have missed some things or idolized faulty situations. She tackles every character with an eye both fresh and nostalgic, seeing the good she loved and the bad she missed or glossed over (or even the good she missed). And I was with her every step of the way, from Anne Shirley to No March to the Little Mermaid. I learned so much from this book, and I can't wait to reread and rethink over the stories that made me who I am.

January Book Haul (aka My Bank Account Is In Pain)

Check out all eleven books I bought last month! (Yes, I did say eleven. I have a problem.)

I'll Give You the Sun - Jandy Nelson

A full review is on its way! Just know in the meantime that this book is spectacular and a must read for any lover of realistic fiction.

All the Bright Places

All the Bright Places - Jennifer Niven

I can't even think about this book right now. It's too amazing. Full review to come!

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story - Josh Sundquist On the surface, We Should Hang Out Sometime is a funny memoir of teenage and young adult heartbreak. However, with deeper reading, this book actually delivers much more--namely Sundquist's thought-provoking exploration of what shaped his identity and decisions from teenage to adult life and how we let our emotional baggage influence our lives.
To me, this was a realistic and, at times, nostalgic portrait of teenage thought. Dealing with attraction and dating in adolescence and early adulthood is hugely frustrating, with lots of conflicting emotions (optimism, pessimism, fear, courage, desire, awkwardness). Sundquist depicts these emotions honestly (and hilariously) with his retelling of failures and grand romantic gestures, and I often found myself giggling uncontrollably or grimacing in secondhand embarrassment. I followed his stories and feelings without second thought, and I think this proves his true talent for storytelling.

I was also touched by the deeper message of this book, showing how fear can blind you, disable you, control your mind, make your decisions for you. As something I've experienced often throughout my life, I easily related to Sundquist while reading, and I think teen and adult readers will as well. Finally, if I had to sum up this book in one sentence, I would choose the wise words of Rafiki from The Lion King: "The past can hurt. But you can either run from it or learn from it." I think everyone needs to hear this message, and so I highly recommend this book.

Daughter of Smoke & Bone

Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor Full review to come--too busy freaking out right now

The Dinner

The Dinner - Herman Koch, Sam Garrett

(I'm sorry for the lack of detail in this review--I read the book weeks ago and don't have notes to look back on!)


This book is geniusly written and completely unique. It's hard to give a synopsis or description that doesn't give too much away, but in a hugely broad and general sense, this book questions family loyalty and moral values through exploring a family's reactions to a tragic crime. 


I was very confused throughout the first half of the book, due to the sporadically changing setting and unreliable narrative, but I encourage anyone who plans to read this book to keep going if you feel frustrated. It is ultimately worth it at the end. 


Anyone who loves suspense, psychological thrillers, and philosophical and moral exploration should definitely give this book a chance! 



Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir - Jenny Lawson This is the memoir I've been waiting for, the memoir to shame all other memoirs not containing frequent mentions of taxidermy and female anatomy.

This is without a doubt the most bizarre, hilarious, and memorable book I've ever read. I really appreciated Lawson's courage in sharing her I-can't-believe-this-is-real childhood stories, her stories of loss and trauma, and her experiences with crippling anxiety. There was not a single moment that I couldn't relate to Lawson in some way or another, and I followed her un-chronological, stream-of-consciousness writing without batting an eye, like they were my own crazy thoughts. (Although I don't know what that says about me...)

People I Want to Punch in the Throat: True(ish) Tales of an Overachieving Underachiever

People I Want to Punch in the Throat: True(ish) Tales of an Overachieving Underachiever - Jen Mann I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to buy this book out of my need to read something different and a horrible case of reader's block. (Is that a thing? I think it should be.) It turns out that I made the perfect choice! This book is downright hilarious and a super quick read. It's easy to get lost in the weird situations and relationships of suburban life the author shares with us, and this book constantly reminds you of just how crazy people really are.

As to why I gave this book four stars--this is not the fault of the book or author. It's my fault; although I loved reading every chapter, there were a lot of things I couldn't relate to simply because I'm a) a lot younger than the author, b) only recently married and c) don't have kids. But that didn't make the book less enjoyable for me, and I still recommend it.

Dark Triumph

Dark Triumph - Robin LaFevers This book takes the series to a deeper and darker level of politics and humanity. In LeFever's notes at the end of the book, she shares that Sybella's story is more personal than that in Grave Mercy, and I truly appreciate this choice. The story is much more emotional and poignant, and through these changes, I can definitely see her growing as a writer.  LaFevers continues to make multi-faceted, complex characters, like Beast, D'Albret, and Sybella. In particular, Sybella's past (increasingly revealed) and conflicting emotions and loyalties make her an intriguing and unique character to follow. Her action-filled storyline and romance are not rushed, and I give major props for the pacing of this book. Like Sybella's character, the story draws you in subtly but strongly, and  I was hooked long before I realized it. All thumbs up!

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) - Mindy Kaling (really a 4.75)

Before I Go To Sleep

Before I Go To Sleep - S.J.Watson I was so addicted and in love with this book until the end, which disappointed me. Maybe the intensity and intriguing plot leading up to the end made me expect something grander; maybe I had too high of hopes in general. I don't know. Overall I think it's a really good book with a bad ending, but I'd still recommend it to someone who wants to see the movie or likes thought-provoking thrillers.


Firecracker - David Iserson (Honestly my rating is more like 4.999 because I had a bit of trouble adjusting to the writing style at the beginning. But the overall quality of this book pretty much negates this small fallback, making Firecracker just 0.001 short of a full five stars.)

I was completely unprepared for this utterly unique and funny book. From the very first chapter--despite my doubts on style--I knew I that I loved Astrid. I could forgive her brutal honesty and irreverence (and snark), because despite the fact that she lives in a rocket ship and thinks she's the greatest thing to walk planet Earth, she's still incredibly human. She acts tough and independent, but you can see the loneliness she doesn't even know is there. I appreciated this more than any other aspect of the book, more than the sarcasm and plot and characters--which are all awesome and shouldn't be discredited!

Basically, if this book even mildly appeals to you, take a chance and read it. It's worth your time.

Currently reading

Andrew Smith
Progress: 309/439 pages
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014
Daniel Handler, Lemony Snicket, Dave Eggers
Progress: 300/384 pages