Rec: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

geography

Title: The Geography of You and Me

Author: Jennifer E. Smith

Publisher: Poppy

There is a major blackout in New York City. The subways are down, the air conditioning doesn’t work, and Lucy and Owen are stuck in an elevator together. They’ve never spoken before, but they roam the city and end up sleeping (just sleeping) together on the roof. In the morning Owen is gone and soon both of them are leaving New York, but they can’t forget each other. Is a series of postcards enough to keep their connection?

Why I Would Recommend It:

The meet-cute premise will draw readers in and Owen and Lucy’s characterization will keep them reading. Owen’s mother has passed away and Lucy’s twin brothers have moved across the country for college leaving both of them a bit adrift and struggling with the loss. Their determination to ultimately hold on to a relationship that matters to them despite significant geographical distance has a strong element of hopefulness to it that readers will appreciate.

Though Lucy certainly lives a privileged life both she and Own have distinct and authentic teen voices. While the split narrative trend is becoming quickly over-saturated Smith makes good use of it here. The story would just not be as effective without Owen’s side of the story.

Who I Would Recommend It To:

This is a sweet contemporary romance that should work nicely for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Dessen, and Huntley Fitzpatrick in addition to Smith’s own growing fanbase. As a bonus it’s squeaky clean with only a few kisses so keep it in mind for your tweens determined to read YA.

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Rec: Noggin by John Corey Whaley

noggin

Title: Noggin

Author: John Corey Whaley

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

“Listen–I was alive once and then I wasn’t. Simple as that. Now I’m alive again. The in-between part is still a little fuzzy, but I can tell you that, at some point or another, my head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado.”   -Noggin

Ladies and gentleman, that is your booktalk.

Why I Would Recommend It: 

Where to start… My first read of Noggin was several months ago when I was lucky enough to receive an early copy, now digging back in to write this review I’m in love all over again. Travis Coates had nothing to lose when he agreed to participate in a program where his head would be frozen and eventually attached to a new body. They told him it could take years, decades even, but just five years later here he is.

I’m kind of blown away that a book that is so accessible to a wide audience of readers manages to have so much depth and craft.  Don’t let the quirky concept fool you into thinking the book is a lightweight. Travis has to consider a future he thought he would never have, cope with being famous as a medical miracle, but most importantly try to reconcile the fact that the lives of his friends and family continued while his was literally frozen in place. His best friend and girlfriend have grown and changed quite a bit as you do between 16 and 21 while Travis is still 16.

Travis’s journey will make you laugh:

“And, surprisingly, it wasn’t the moment I dared to just go for it and take a good, long look at my new dick. Sure, it was weird, but it wasn’t disappointing at all, to be quite honest.”

and cry:

“Some people say dying alone is a fate worse that death itself. Well, they should try being alone during the living part sometimes.”

Sometimes you’ll laugh and cry within a couple pages.

I could go on and on about the secondary characters and how well we can understand how Travis’s death and life impacted them, about how when Travis has his moments where it’s all too much and moments of unbridled joy the reader is just swept along with them, but I hope by now you can see I’ve (sorry, I have to do it) lost my head over this book.

Who I Would Recommend It To:

Any high schooler really. The blend of humor and serious issues would make it a good fit for fans of Andrew Smith and Sean Beaudoin.  Readers more interested in the concept than the style might try Mary Pearson’s Jenna Fox books or Robin Wasserman’s Cold Awakening series.

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