The Beauty of Flawed Girls: Changes in Latitudes by Jen Malone & This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes + A Giveaway

The Beauty of Flawed Girls: Changes in Latitudes by Jen Malone & This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes + A GiveawayChanges in Latitudes
by Jen Malone
Release Date: July 25th 2017
Published by HarperTeen
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 384
Buy on AmazonBuy on B&N

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.

four-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes

A "road" trip romance that takes place at sea!

All Cassie wants is to get some solid ground under her feet following the shock of her parents' divorce. So when she learns of her mom's plans to take Cassie and her brother, Drew, on a four-month sailing trip from Oregon to Mexico, she's stunned. There is absolutely nothing solid about the Pacific Ocean.

Cassie is furious. And nervous. It's been hard enough keeping Drew sheltered from what Cassie knows about her mother's role in breaking their family apart, but living in such close quarters threatens to push her anger past its tipping point. Enter Jonah, a whip-smart deckhand who's as gorgeous as he is flirtatious. Cassie tries to keep him at a distance, but the more time they spend together--wandering San Francisco, riding beachside roller coasters, and exploring the California coastline--the harder it is to fight the attraction.

​Cassie wants to let herself go, but her parents' split has left her feeling adrift in a sea of questions she can't even begin to answer. Can she forgive her mom? Will home ever feel the same? Should she take a chance on Jonah? With life's unpredictable tides working against her, Cassie must decide whether to swim against them... or dive right in.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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I have come to expect the best summery contemporary romances from Jen Malone just based on her release last year, Wanderlost. Though I didn’t read the book in the summer, Changes in Latitudes was just the perfect read for me, with all the themes that I love in a good YA contemporary.

I have to say, I’m really liking this new trend of unlikable YA protagonists – flawed girls make for the most interesting characters. I’ll admit, I initially struggled with Cassie’s character. She was very angry at the world, particularly at her mom. She blames her mother for her parents’ divorce, and she is angry that her mother has ruined her summer plans to go on a sailing trip. I had to remind myself that this was a teen girl, and teen girls tend to make a mountain out of a molehill out of every thing. It’s that age when you think the whole world is against you because of all the changes going on. What’s great about Cassie’s character is that her irritable personality doesn’t go unchallenged in Changes in Latitudes. As the summer progresses, and she learns more about her mom and dad’s situation, she begins to see just how awful and unfair she has been. Best of all, she acknowledges her behavior and apologizes for it. Her growth in the book was the highlight of Changes in Latitudes for me. It’s clear that Jen Malone knows how to pen characters that are rough around the edges really well.

Along the way, Cassie also finds a sweet romance that had my heart fluttering in joy. Jonah was just the perfect guy for her. He’s flirty, charming and a total sweetheart. You’ll find it impossible not to smile when he’s in a scene. He understands Cassie and throughout the book, while he’s supportive of her, he also has no qualms telling her she’s in the wrong. They grow from a friendship to an adorable romance full of swoony kisses. Trust me, you’ll love these two. I also really loved all the other relationships in Changes in Latitudes. Cassie’s relationship with her mom, while complicated and very messy, was so well-written. As was her relationship with her brother. I always love reading books about siblings that are close, and it was pure delight here. The sailing trip in Changes in Latitudes was also a lot of fun, and made the book enjoyable. It was like a road trip, but at sea. I have to say, I learned a thing or two about sailing, which I thought was great! Plus, Jonah and Cassie explore some cool locales that gave this book an extra something special.

If you love any of the following, you should most definitely pick up this book:

  • flawed girls that grow throughout the book
  • super swoony romances and respectful love interests
  • complicated family dynamics
  • anything ocean related

Prepare to be delighted!


The Beauty of Flawed Girls: Changes in Latitudes by Jen Malone & This Is How It Happened by Paula Stokes + A GiveawayThis is How it Happened
by Paula Stokes
Release Date: July 11th 2017
Published by HarperTeen
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 384
Buy on AmazonBuy on B&N

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.

four-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes


Somehow I’ve become a liar. A coward. Here’s how it happened.

When Genevieve Grace wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the car crash that injured her and killed her boyfriend Dallas, a YouTube star who had just released his first album. Genevieve knows she was there, and that there was another driver, a man named Brad Freeman, who everyone assumes is guilty. But as she slowly pieces together the night of the accident, Genevieve is hit with a sickening sense of dread—that maybe she had something to do with what happened.

As the internet rages against Brad Freeman, condemning him in a brutal trial by social media, Genevieve escapes to her father’s house, where she can hide from reporters and spend the summer volunteering in beautiful Zion National Park. But she quickly realizes that she can’t run away from the accident, or the terrible aftermath of it all.

Incredibly thought-provoking and beautifully told, Paula Stokes’s story will compel readers to examine the consequences of making mistakes in a world where the internet is always watching…and judging.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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I’ve read quite a few books by Paula Stokes, but every time I pick up a new book by her, I’m surprised by just how versatile she is as an author. I went into This is How It Happened thinking it was an amnesia mystery/thriller book, but this wasn’t that at all. Sure the amnesia part is true, but it was more of thought-provoking contemporary novel that tackles some relevant and important topics.

The book opened up with an article discussing an accident that leaves Genevieve in a coma, and her famous Youtuber turned musician boyfriend dead. She wakes up with no recollection of what happened. As soon as we met Genevieve, I felt an immediate kinship to her. My heart hurt for her situation, and I just really felt for her, especially with her being in the media limelight thanks to her boyfriend’s fame – things were just extra difficult for her than it should have been. To get away from all the frenzy, she temporarily moves in with her dad in Utah. As the story progresses, bits and pieces of Genevieve’s memory returns to her, and she drowns with the guilt of her actions. She makes mistakes along the way, some that lead to some harsh consequences, especially once she figures out what happened that night and avoids opening up about it to the police and the media. But I found her actions understandable given her mindset and her circumstances. She doesn’t keep things to herself because she thinks she can get away with things, but because she truly is terrified for herself, and she constantly struggles with the guilt that comes with those decisions of hers.

I liked seeing her slowly recover, and work through her situation with new friends and family at the Zion National Park. The relationships here were icing on the cake. I especially enjoyed Genevieve’s relationship with the fellow park volunteers and her growing bond with her step-mother. Another thing I enjoyed about This is How It Happened was how involved the parents were in the story. I was a bit taken aback when a romance started budding between Genevieve and a fellow volunteer – it’s sweet and he’s a really great guy who helps her overcome her fears – but I just don’t think it was 100% necessary to this sort of story. Back to the park, Paula Stokes does a beautiful job at making the park come to life. By the end of the book, I was ready to plan a trip there even though nature and I don’t always mesh well together. The heart and soul of this book, however, were the discussions of cyber bullying and View Spoiler ». Internet culture, while incredibly beneficial, is also very toxic, and this is shown here through the vitriol the accused drunk driver in the case receives from Dallas’ fans. It’s really tough to read some of the stuff people can write through the safety of their screens. I also learned a lot about View Spoiler » through this book, and I have no doubts it will benefit a lot of teenagers as well.

In brief, Genevieve’s journey was an insightful and thought-provoking one. If you have any teens in your life, I urge you to get a copy of this one in their hands after you’re done reading it as well – it will prove very beneficial you and them.

Good news! Jen Malone is kindly offering 3 physical ARCs of Changes in Latitudes to 3 lucky US winner. And Paula Stokes has also kindly offered 1 physical ARC of This Is How It Happened.
Just enter the rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Who are some of your flawed heroines?
Let me know in the comments below!

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Nick
  • I absolutely have to like the main character to enjoy a book. I like my characters to have flaws, though. I can still like them if they aren’t perfect. In fact, I like them more if they aren’t perfect. But if I don’t like them, then forget about it. That goes for male and female main characters.

  • Before reading Girl on the Train, I would have said that I do need to like the main character in order to enjoy the book but that hasn’t always been the case, especially when I read Women’s Fiction. I hated the main character but couldn’t put the book down…even when I was so rip roaring mad. *shrugs*

    As for naming some flawed heroines? I can’t think of any right now though I know there are quite a few. Shayla Whitman from Some Kind of Hero by Suzanne Brockmann. She drove me batty with all of her internal conversations with fictional characters that she would actually shush out loud. Then there would be some Jill Shalvis heroines who say and do the dumbest things that I don’t get but is supposed to be cutesy.

    Thanks for the reviews for both books. They were already on my wishlist but they’ve been bumped up. I love well written and thought provoking books so I’m all in for these!

  • I do enjoy flawed characters if I see positive changes, or regret over bad actions/feelings. I’ve never read Jen Malone. I guess I need to change that! This is How it Happened sounds exactly like my kind of read! The mystery of what happened with the boyfriend would keep my interest. And it’s set in Zion National Park?!! I’ve always wanted to visit there. Next best thing is visiting virtually through a story. Wonderful reviews, Nick! And thanks for the giveaway! 🙂

  • I love books like Changes in Latitudes Nick. I love girls who are flawed, who are dealing with issues and most importantly are challenged by other characters like Jonah. Attitudes should never be left as a character quirk but used to help a character grow. I’m here for flawed girls especially. With the discussion about Dimple this week, we’re expecting far too much from teen characters in YA. Must be wonderful to live in their perfect worlds where everything is perfect. Brilliant review Nick, really enjoyed them <3 <3

  • Changes in Latitudes sounds so good! Great reviews!! 😀😀

  • Angel @Angel Reads

    I am so excited for Changes in Latitudes! I’ve heard some really great things about it and I cannot wait to pick it up. I hadn’t heard about of This is How it Happened and now I am very interested. Thanks for the reviews!

  • Neither of these really sound like my kind of read, but I’m glad you enjoyed them both!! I do like the sound of a good amnesia mystery though! Great reviews!

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

  • Both of these sound really great! I haven’t gotten to read anything by either author yet, but I love the sound of these two. I really love the cover for Changes in Latitudes too. It screams summer to me. Glad to hear that you enjoyed them both. Great reviews!

  • I love flawed characters too! It can be so fun to read. For some reason I didn’t love CHANGES though. I couldn’t ever warm up to her, even when I wanted to. I still love WANDERLOST! <3

  • These sound like amazing contemporary reads! Wanderlost was a bit meh for me, but Changes in Latitude sounds like a really cute road trip romance that I’ll have to pick up one day. I also struggle with unlikable heroines at times, but that just makes their character development ALL THE BETTER. 😀

    I’ve only read and loved Stoke’s GATU, but this one sounds interesting! She delves into so many genres and topics – I’m glad This is How it Happened is another one of her successes. Wonderufl reviews!

    – Aila @ Happy Indulgence

  • I’ve only recently added this latest Paula Stokes book to my TBR but it sounds like an interesting read. I didn’t think I was one for amnesia storylines in books but this sounds really interesting. And I totally have Changes in Latitude on my TBR but I kind of want to read Wanderlost first because that’s been on my TBR longer. I am guilty of forgetting characters are teenagers and then getting annoyed at how they act in YA and I when I find myself getting frustrated I do have to remind myself I was a nightmare as a teenager and still act like the world is ending over the stupidest things and it does help me get over it. Glad to see there is some decent growth going on as well because that’s one things i do like for unlikable characters to grow a bit and they make interesting characters to follow (if done well).

  • THREE CHEERS FOR FLAWED GIRLS.

    Changes in Latitude has been on my tbr for a while now and I hope to tick it off the list sooner rather than later. The idea of a road trip at sea is an automatic hit for me and I love that Jen Malone takes the time to explore all the highs and lows that come with being a teenager. Now, what is it about guys named Jonah that are so swoonworthy. Seriously that name is golden and I can already see myself adding him to the book boyfriend worthy list.

    I can’t say I’ve heard of This is How it Happened but the concept does sound really interesting. Internet culture is definitely toxic and I like that this book explore that side of the internet. Again, parent involvement is definitely a plus in my book. I’ll have to keep my eye on this book.

  • I love flawed protagonists, and even more so when they’re ladies! I feel like we don’t have as many of them out there as we do flawed dude MCs, so it’s awesome to see more of them. Cassie definitely sounds flawed, but grounded in reality — which I think is the key. Your description of her relationship with her mom especially has me intrigued since parent/kid relationships don’t usually take such center stage in YA.

    I’ve heard so many great things about Paula Stokes’ books, and even thought I haven’t read anything by her yet, even *I* have noticed how versatile she is! It’s awesome that she can hop between genres so successfully — it sounds like This Is How It Happened tackles some really important and difficult topics. It’s too bad the romance was shoe-horned in there, though!