A Life, Redefined - YA Contemporary

I usually crank out my book reviews as soon as I’m done reading, but A Life, Redefined…did something to me…and I still don’t know if I’ve figured out what exactly that was, but it wasn’t bad. It was an irreversible shift, a root taking hold, that lets me know this book will resonate with me for a long time to come. First off, I haven’t read many books in the first person, but this one made me feel like Rowan Slone more than any other first-person narrator has cast me into the shoes of the main character. 

Let’s start with the impact of this novel. 

Rowan Slone feels like she is responsible for the death of her baby brother. The worst part is that everyone in her family makes sure she knows they unabashedly blame her and make her continually pay for it. Holy hell, what a burden for a teen to carry let alone any stable adult.
I don’t know what your teen years were like, but I assume everyone went through moments of insecurity and self-doubts. Who could ever love me? Who could possibly think I’m cool? I have nothing to offer the world, boys I like, my family, etc. No? Maybe I was just screwed up a little too, but I sympathized with Rowan from page one. And I don’t like novels that are overly depressing, but this wasn’t – it was the kind of depressing that makes you HAVE to find out: Where is she going? What’s going to happen to her? What will become of her life? 

Tracy Hewitt Meyer certainly speaks the language and thoughts of YA. They’re adults trapped in the bodies of teens with adult problems and I’m sure all YA aged readers will give her a big nod after this touching, gritty, realistic, heartfelt masterpiece. If you don’t know Rowan Slone, you should drop by her world and listen to her unforgettable voice. Warning, it won’t leave you when you’re done.

Jarod's Heart - Contemporary Romance

Jarod's Heart by Elise ManionSigh...I needed that! This was a no-bathroom-breaks and a I-can't-read-fast-enough kind of read for me. Elise Manion's dialogue is so unbelievable effortless, witty, charming, and suspenseful. My favorite line, "Thank you, Monday, for wasting no time in throat-punching me in the trachea." The police work, terminology, banter, and law enforcement atmosphere was spot-on.

Jarod's Heart is about Lauren, who foolishly knows she's been smitten with Jarod King for way too long. When his world is turned upside-down her devotion to him is such that it disrupts her world as well. The King family is colorful, supportive, and full of laughs, making this quite an enjoyable suspense and love story. Manion skillfully infuses high-brow banter and swooning on every page, even if it's an "outside the bedroom" type of romance novel. I love romance, but not many can bring a tear to my eye or make me go back and re-read passages, simply because they were so superb, but Elise managed to do that on more than one occaison.

What a treat to read! I will now impatiently wait for book #3 (this read like a stand alone, btw). Ms. Manion, get on it or I will have to throat-punch you in the trachea!

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