I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Winning by Lara Deloza
Published by HarperTeen on June 28, 2016
Genres: Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Bullying, Young Adult
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House of Cards meets Election in this wickedly entertaining story about an uber-ambitious high school junior.
Whoever said being nice would get you to the top?
Certainly not Alexandra Miles. She isn’t nice, but she’s more than skilled at playing the part. She floats through the halls of Spencer High, effortlessly orchestrating the actions of everyone around her, making people bend to her whim without even noticing they’re doing it. She is the queen of Spencer High—and it’s time to make it official.
Alexandra has a goal, you see—Homecoming Queen. Her ambitions are far grander than her small town will allow, but homecoming is just the first step to achieving total domination. So when peppy, popular Erin Hewett moves to town and seems to have a real shot at the crown, Alexandra has to take action.
With the help of her trusted friend Sam, she devises her most devious plot yet. She’ll introduce an unexpected third competitor in the mix, one whose meteoric rise—and devastating fall—will destroy Erin’s chances once and for all. Alexandra can run a scheme like this in her sleep. What could possibly go wrong?
Winning by Lara Deloza wraps some of my favorite things into one delicious read. Mean girls, sneaky dealings and snark all combine to make one great package. Alexandra Miles is the girl everyone wants to be; pretty, popular and seemingly the perfect package. But behind that gorgeous smile is a calculating manipulator who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. And she wants to be Homecoming Queen, a position that will springboard her carefully orchestrated future. Unfortunately a new girl is stepping on her territory, so Alexandra hatches a plot to take her down in spectacular fashion. Every devious step is carefully planned and Alexandra only has one thing on her mind – winning.
This was a read where I rooted for the bad girl the entire time. Devious and just downright mean, Alexandra is the type of person who catches you up in her whirlwind and each Machiavellian step she took both delighted and intrigued me. The author was able to make me feel connected to an awful person, and that takes writing skill. The world built was very real and I enjoyed the small details laced throughout. The pacing did have a few wonky areas, but they were quickly passed over. There was a strange emotional tug in the read, and I really enjoyed it.
Winning had a unique plot and a carefully crafted script. Lara Deloza took what could have been a basic read to a very interesting level. Now, I will admit that I did not love the ending, but I think most readers will. I was so sucked into one aspect of the story that I really wanted it to go my way, but alas it did not. That being said, this was a fun read where I was equally appalled at the main character’s actions and rooting her on, sometimes with the same breath.
Favorite lines – Alexandra Miles is the Regina George of Spencer High School, but a thousand times worse. Because at least Regina was unapologetically, unabashedly bitchy. She didn’t try to camouflage her evil under a veneer of sweet or nice, unlike some people I know.
Biggest cliché – Just do what I say.
Have you read Winning, or added it to your TBR?
I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Lost & Found by Katrina Leno
Published by HarperTeen on July 5, 2016
Genres: Emotions & Feelings, Friendship, Young Adult
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A charming and imaginative new novel about getting lost before you can be found.
LOST:Frannie and Louis met in an online support group when they were both younger. They have never met face-to-face. They don’t even know each other’s real names. All they know is that they both have a mysterious tendency to lose things. Well, not lose them, exactly. Things just seem to…disappear.
FOUND:They each receive news in the mail that sets them off on a road trip to Austin, Texas, looking for answers—and each other. Along the way, each one begins to find, as if by magic, important things the other has lost. And by the time they finally meet in person, they realize that the things you lose might be things you weren’t meant to have at all, and that you never know what you might find if you just take a chance.
The Lost & Found is a bighearted novel about connections (missed and found), family (the kind you’re born with and the kind you make for yourself), and unexpected journeys (on the road, and of the heart), from an author who Publishers Weekly called “a fierce new presence.”
The Lost & Found by Katrina Leno is a sweet story about how missing items and missing people can intertwine. Frannie and Louis meet through an online grief support group. Living on opposite sides of the county they figure they will never meet or even know the other’s real name. Other than grief, they have one other thing in common; things keep disappearing around them. Like there one second, gone the next. When they each get a chance to travel to Austin, an epic road trip is planned. On the way they both lose items, but they also begin to find their own paths.
This was a diverse filled cute road-trip book. While I liked the main characters, I loved their sidekicks, Louis’ sister and Frannie’s cousin. They were some funny, honest and true characters. The initial setup of both teens grief leads this to be a very emotional read and I must say there was a tear-up or two while reading. The world built was sufficient, more detail was not needed as this truly is a character piece. The writing was crisp and showcased the teens well. Louis in particular was painted as such a genuine good guy and that really heightened my enjoyment. The pacing had some minor rough spots but nothing to break the reader’s concentration.
The Lost & Found was a different kind of YA read, and I did really enjoy it. There were vague moments were the missing items seemed to take on an almost magical quality and that was never fully fleshed out, and I was hoping for more of an explanation. That being said, Katrina Leno wrote an engaging tale and I really enjoyed my time reading it.
Favorite lines – I could name a star after her or write it out in something valuable, like gold or diamonds. I just wanted her to know that I meant it, and words didn’t seem big enough to convey that. Or maybe I didn’t feel big enough to convey that. Whatever it was, it was breaking my heart that she looked so sad, that she had come so far and hadn’t found what she wanted to find. Maybe I just wanted to be what she wanted to find.
Biggest cliché – I swear I just had it.
Have you read The Lost & Found, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge