Monday, March 14, 2016

Mini Reviews: The Leaving Season by Cat Jordan and The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

From Goodreads: Middie Daniels calls it the Leaving Season - the time of year when everyone graduates high school, packs up their brand-new suitcases, and leaves home for the first time. It happens every late August, but this year Middie’s boyfriend, Nate, is the one leaving. Nate, who’s so perfect that she can barely believe it. Nate, who makes her better than she is on her own. Nate, who’s promised to come back once he’s finished his gap year volunteering in Central America. And when he does, it’ll be time for Middie to leave, too. With him. But when tragedy strikes, Middie’s whole world is set spinning. No one seems to understand just how lost she is … except for Nate’s best friend Lee. Middie and Lee have never gotten along. She’s always known that she was destined for great things, and Lee acts like he’s never cared about anything a day in his life. But with the ground ripped out from under her, Middie is finding that up is down - and that Lee Ryan might be just what she needs to find her footing once more.

My Rating: 2.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Cat Jordan’s The Leaving Season was a book I decided to read because I was in the mood for something predictable. And it was ... until an unexpected plot twist, which kind of ruined the rest of the story for me because it created unnecessary tension. (To be honest, even then there was hardly any drama since Nate is supposed to be a great guy.) I knew going into The Leaving Season that it would be cheesy, but I wish there was more to the plot than Meredith missing Nate and discovering that she’s wrong about Lee’s reputation. I didn’t feel like I got to really connect with the characters, and felt that Meredith’s relationship with Lee was more of a rebound situation than her actually falling in love with him.

The Leaving Season was released by HarperTeen on March 1, 2016.  

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Harpercollins) via Edelweiss.

From Goodreads: David Piper has always been an outsider. His parents think he's gay. The school bully thinks he's a freak. Only his two best friends know the real truth: David wants to be a girl.On the first day at his new school Leo Denton has one goal: to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in his class is definitely not part of that plan. When Leo stands up for David in a fight, an unlikely friendship forms. But things are about to get messy. Because at Eden Park School secrets have a funny habit of not staying secret for long, and soon everyone knows that Leo used to be a girl. As David prepares to come out to his family and transition into life as a girl and Leo wrestles with figuring out how to deal with people who try to define him through his history, they find in each other the friendship and support they need to navigate life as transgender teens as well as the courage to decide for themselves what normal really means.

My Rating: 2.5 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson was a book that I wanted more from. For example, although it addresses the fact that transgendered teens are often bullied and are more likely to have mental health issues, I would have liked this to have been done more through showing than telling. As well, despite the book beginning with David wishing that he was a girl, David didn’t end up being as interesting a character as Leo, who appears to have a huge secret for at least half the book. Unfortunately, I knew what this secret was because of the summary on Goodreads so I was frustrated by how long the secret took to be revealed. Finally, I thought that some parts of the story were rushed (e.g. I personally didn’t feel that Leo and David were that close when the two decided to open up to each other) whereas other parts weren’t explored enough (e.g. we never find out Leo’s mother’s side of the story with regards to his dad and how her opening up to Leo then changes Leo’s relationship with her). 

The Art of Being Normal will be released on May 31, 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Macmillan) via NetGalley.


  1. Oh snap, I absolutely hate it when the publisher goes ahead and puts a big spoiler in the book's synopsis! Why on earth do they think that's a good idea?? Bleh. Anyways, sorry these two didn't work for you. Not that I've heard of either of them before, but I can't imagine I'll be looking into reading them. Though I do like the premise behind The Art of Being Normal, so maybe if I could find something similar and better executed...

  2. I hate the unnecessary plot point just for the drama sake. Ugh..THe Art of Being Normal has potential but the execution failed big time. I will definitely be taking a pass on these two books.

  3. I'm a little disappointed about that Cat Jordan book. I did not expect cheese from her. It sounds like it would attract a lot of romance hunters though.

    I have a feeling that the author was remiss in beefing up her characters and the plot of The Art of Being Normal. And that's a shame because it could've been a potentially socially relevant read.

  4. Sorry that neither of these really blew you away Z! I have The Leaving Season on my shelf and was hoping for a bit more from it, but maybe I'll still give it a try:) Hopefully your next read gets 5-stars!

  5. Sounds like the plot twist was kind of random..I'm not sure I would like that either. I feel like I've read and enjoyed something else by Cat Jordan though, I'll have to look it up. I really like the cover of the second book but it seems like the inside isn't as nice. Great mini reviews!

  6. Not exactly sure this book is for me. Thanks for the review.

  7. I think I might have The Art of Being Normal to read/review on my Kindle. Sigh, bummer the Goodreads summary gives something away. I hate that. If it isn't revealed in the beginning of the book, it shouldn't be in the summary. Thanks for crossing it out in your own summary though. I'll try to just jump in and read so that won't be ruined.



  8. The Leaving Season is also the kind of book I'd read if I were looking for something light based on the summary but I'm more interested about The Art of Being Normal. It sucks that the summary is such a spoiler though


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