#BBCreativityProject Yellow Team: Quiet YA – Devoted and The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

#BBCreativityProject yellow team

The wonderful Nori from Read Write Love is hosting the Book Blogger Creativity Project. She’s compiled several teams of newbie and veteran bloggers, who are meant to work together to come up with a feature that they’ll post on their blogs. We are supposed to get creative and work as a team, and I’m really happy to say I’m part of the Yellow Team! Here’s the other members of my team (I’m linking you to their Twitters so you can learn more about them!): CJ Listro, Karina Romano, Kim, Sara, Emma K, Lauren, The Book Jar Blog, and, of course, Nori.

My team has decided to each write a post about a book (or books) that we would consider Quiet YA – books that didn’t receive huge publicity campaigns, that aren’t being made into movies, didn’t receive a lot of press, aren’t best sellers or award winners, etc. I couldn’t pick one book to feature, so instead, I’ll be focusing on two books I read this year that I think deserve more attention, two of my favorite Quiet YA books – DEVOTED by Jennifer Mathieu and THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY by Stephanie Oakes. Both of these books are powerful, thought-provoking, moving, and very well-written. They will make you question yourself and others; they’ll make you cheer and tear up, smile, laugh, cry, and love.

BBCP Quiet YA

When I reviewed Devoted, I said it was quiet, powerful, honest, and beautiful. I flagged at least 30 or 40 passages because they were so well-written or difficult to read or powerful. Rachel is such a great character, and you should all meet her. My only issue with the book is that we didn’t have more of it. I wanted to keep reading about Rachel and her new life. I loved it so so much. Check it out on Goodreads if you want to learn more!

As for The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, I thought it was thought-provoking, intriguing, beautiful, sad, hopeful, and so many other adjectives. You’ll be completely engrossed in this story because of Oakes’ writing. It’s decidedly disturbing and difficult to read, but it’s well worth it. My review goes more in depth, and you can find it on Goodreads too!

I paired these two together, 1. because I love both of them, but 2. because they each talk about religion and the different ways it can affect you. They have two completely different stories here, but they also both make you question, make you want to learn and experience new things. They are both disturbing in places and thought-provoking. They are both powerful and engrossing and beautiful and horrifying. And they both deserve your attention and time, and I hope some of you will check them out.

Tell us about some of your favorite Quiet YA books, and make sure you check out the #BBCreativityProject hashtag on Twitter to see what everyone else has come up with!

ARC Review: Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu

Devoted by Jennifer MathieuAuthor:  Jennifer Mathieu

Genre: Contemporary, Religion

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

336 pages, hardcover

Check out the full synopsis on Goodreads.

I’ve been trying to put into words WHY I loved this book so much for over a week now. It’s difficult to write a review for a book that you just loved so much, but I’m going to try.

Devoted, Jennifer Mathieu’s second book, is completely and utterly fascinating. It’s about Rachel, a girl who’s grown up in an uber-religious household (she’s a member of the Quiverfull movement). She’s homeschooled and as the oldest currently living in the house, she’s also expected to take care of all of her younger siblings. Her father is the authority figure and all decisions are made through him. But Rachel is curious and is beginning to question everything she’s been taught. She wants to learn, to read, but that’s not how her family operates.

I LOVED Rachel. I loved her curious mind and her need to question and learn and experience life herself before making decisions. Her journey from faithful, devoted daughter to who she becomes later on (I won’t spoil, just read it!) was beautiful and difficult and I just wanted to reach into the book and hug her and tell her it’d all be alright. I got frustrated with her a few times, but none of her thoughts or decisions felt wrong or unrealistic. She’s complicated and complex, but SO determined to be herself.

This is Jennifer Mathieu’s second book, and I could really see the growth from her first book, The Truth About Alice (which I also really liked). The writing in Devoted was brilliant. Mathieu handles the topic with such care and everything was delicately done. This book was…troubling, for obvious reasons, but it was so powerful. Devoted is quiet and sincere and earnest.

Honestly, my only issue with this book is that I wish we’d had a little more time with Rachel in her household before she started to question. But really, the more I think about this book, the more I love it.

The bottom line: I could go on and on for days about why I think Devoted is brilliant. It’s quiet, powerful, honest, and beautiful. I flagged at least 30 or 40 passages because they were so well-written or difficult to read or powerful. Rachel is such a great character, and you should all meet her. I wish there was a sequel.

Rating: 8 – freaking fantastic

P.S. Thank you so much to Jen for sending me an ARC of Devoted! 🙂

SUNDAY FUNDAY: WEEK IN REVIEW [13]

Hey guys, I hope you don’t mind if today’s Sunday Funday is super short. I’m exhausted, but I still wanted to keep you guys up to date on what’s been happening with me!

September 1 – 7, 2014

You probably noticed that last weekend I went to the Decatur Book Festival in Georgia. If you didn’t, check out my recap of the weekend HERE on WatchPlayRead. There’s lots of fun pictures and anecdotes. 🙂 ALSO, my interview with Jennifer E. Smith is up on WPR as well. Check back tomorrow because my interview with Maggie Stiefvater and our round of bookish Would You Rather? will be up.

Things you might be interested in:

Adi Alsaid had some awesome things to say about adults reading young adult literature.

I related really well to this quote from Wonder.

I fell even more in love with Matt Haig’s books.

I had an amazing book/comic book haul this week.

And on WatchPlayRead, I listed ten children’s books you don’t have to be an adult to appreciate.

Exciting things in my life:

My job at the library went full time (hence being exhausted, as I now have a full-time job, an online job, my blog, and WatchPlayRead…and, you know, I need to read, sleep, and eat). I’m super excited!

I know I already said it, but I interviewed Maggie Stiefvater and Jennifer E. Smith. Happy Stefani.

Jen and me Maggie Stiefvater and me

Adi Alsaid and Jennifer Mathieu recognized me from tweeting my reviews of their books. What?!

ALSO, something exciting for all of you will be on the blog tomorrow! I’m really excited about it and I hope you guys will be too. 🙂 (Two hints: 1. It’s a first for my blog and 2. I met Stephanie Perkins last weekend)

This week I finished the Wonder audiobook and started The Help. I also finished Jennifer E. Smith’s This Is What Happy Looks Like. I read Hermelin: The Detective Mouse and And Tango Makes Three. I also started Rooms by Lauren Oliver.

So the Teen Wolf Season 4 finale is tomorrow. 😦 I’m not ready.

How about you guys? What did you read this week? Anything exciting happening? Fill me in on your week in the comments!

Book Review: The Truth about Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Title: The Truth about Alice

The Truth about AliceAuthor: Jennifer Mathieu

Genre: YA

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Publication Date: June 3, 2014

Hardback: 199 pages

Stand alone or series: Stand alone

How did I get this book: Bought

Check out the summary on Goodreads

What I thought:

I didn’t like this book as much as I’d hoped to, which isn’t to say that I didn’t like it.

The Truth about Alice is set from four different POVs (well, five, but Alice only gets one chapter at the end). I liked how we read about the rumors surrounding Alice from these other people’s POVs first. This was really different from anything I’d ever read. I think some of the POVs were really distinctive, like Kurt’s (the boy-genius who’s had a crush on Alice for a long time), but others were sometimes a little hard to distinguish (Elaine and Kelsie). I could tell who was who by what they were talking about, obviously, but sometimes they both sounded like the popular girly-girl (“like, totally”). POSSIBLE SPOILER: I wish Alice’s had been written with a little more of a reaction to the rumors. I could barely empathize because she didn’t really feel affected or delve into her feelings about the rumors.

The characters were pretty well-developed though. Even if it was sometimes hard to distinguish between a couple of them, we do get to know them really well. We got to understand each one of them and begin to see the motives behind their actions towards Alice. The book was also rather well-written, especially for a debut novel. I thought the idea behind the novel was really interesting, as was the execution (differing POVs, all of which weren’t the actual person they were talking about).

On the other hand, I wish there had been something MORE. It just wasn’t enough for me. There didn’t seem to be any resolution. I felt somewhat distanced from what was going on. I mean, I’m definitely not unfamiliar with bullying (*cough*I have no hair*cough*) but I couldn’t connect with what happened. The book kind of just went in a straight line, if that makes sense. I felt the same way throughout the whole book; there wasn’t a point where I was more excited or animated. I also thought the end kind of fell flat.

The bottom line: Good book, well-developed characters, but not enough story for me. I can definitely see why some readers would absolutely love it. I liked it, but I just didn’t connect enough. I needed more. I will say that I do want to see more from this author.

Rating: 6 – good, but not great

Reading next: Don’t Look Back by Jennifer Armentrout