Sue's Reading Corner

where YA books are reviewed


Contemporary YA

ARC Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno


Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of best friends. Prickly, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ultra-popular Ryan is a hockey star who can get any girl he wants—and frequently does. But somehow their relationship just works; from dorky Monopoly nights to rowdy house parties to the top ten lists they make about everything under the sun.

Now, on the night of high school graduation, everything is suddenly changing—in their lives, and in their relationship. As they try to figure out what they mean to each other and where to go from here, they make a final top ten list: this time, counting down the top ten moments of their friendship.

Sourced from Goodreads



My rating: red3-5

Hi, everyone! I’ve just finished reading Top Ten by Katie Cotugno and I just had to talk about it! It’s pretty enjoyable overall, but there were some parts I just couldn’t get into. It’s funny, but I didn’t expect myself to get as invested so quickly as I did with this book! Now if only the chronology of the story was a bit more linear…

Like i said, I had an issue with the chronology. At first, it was fine, with a flashback explaining the foundation of Gabby and Ryan’s friendship. But then it just got super complicated for me when there was a huge gap in time, only to go back in time again to fill in the blanks. Not only did I know exactly what was going to happen, and basically had the book spoil the book for me, but I felt really confused about why the author was playing with their time line. It seemed as if there were a reason for it, yet I didn’t know why. If someone could explain it to me, now or in the near future, I’d be eternally grateful! 😉 However, once I got past that part, I started to enjoy the book again.

I think Katie Cotugno did a really good job with her main characters, Gabby and Ryan, though. They seemed fully fleshed out on the page to the point where I don’t think I preferred one character over the other, but liked them both, which is rare for me. Usually, I have a favourite character in dual POVs; not this time, though! And that’s nice. To me, it shows that the author didn’t develop one character over the other, or try to make the readers sympathetic to one protagonist. Did I think there were moments where these characters could be a bit much? Yeah, but since both of them were a bit much at times, it didn’t really matter in choosing a favourite character. The only thing I could say that was missing from this book character-wise is more inclusion of the secondary characters. Sometimes, they’d drop off the face of the Earth, only to resurface without any explanation or summary of where they’d been.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Top Ten by Katie Cotugno! I liked it, but not enough to get passed what happened in the second half of the book… If you’re looking for a book with great protagonists though, this would be the one! And for those of you who are wondering, Top Ten comes out on October 3rd, 2017. Any other questions about the book that you might have are welcome in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading! 🙂

–  Sumaya

I received this copy from the publisher via HarperCollins Canada and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


Book Bargain: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

Hey there, fellow book lovers! Just wanted to let you all know that on Amazon Kindle, Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway is only 1.99 CAD! It’s one of my favourite Contemporary reads, hands-down, so if you’re looking for a good contemporary, look no further than Emmy and Oliver!

Have a nice day, everyone. 🙂

–  Sumaya

ARC Review: Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson


The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.

Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.

1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.

What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?

This summer’s going to be great.

Sourced from Goodreads



My rating: black3

(3.25 stars)

I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Hey, everyone! Another day, another book to talk about! And today, I’d like to express my thoughts on Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. Now, Lily Anderson has already written a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing and Not Now, Not Ever is her second go at another retelling, this time of The Importance of Being Earnest. What really drew me into reading Not Now, Not Ever was the camp aspect of it all. I always love reading about summer camp and thought that this book would be no exception. Except it kind of was…

Now, when I say kind of, I mean that I liked some parts of the book and wasn’t much a fan of other parts. I’d have to encourage myself to read the book instead of wanting to read it on my own at times. There would be moments where nothing would happen, and then wham – the plot thickens. While those latter moments were great to read, it didn’t make up for the fact that I was previously bored and, for a good chunk of the book, wanted to  move onto something else. Then there was that ending, which left me more confused than not. The book’s conclusion just left me with more questions than answers to the point where I wasn’t at all satisfied with it.

Also, I didn’t really like the protagonist as much as I thought I would. In the beginning, I couldn’t really relate to her and the choices she makes, but I did warm up to her nearer to the middle. By the end though, I was back to square one in not understanding her decisions again. I preferred reading about other characters though, like Leigh, Jams, Hunter, Meg, even Trixie and Ben! Sure, Elliot/Ever could be really fun sometimes, but I thought she was way too rash and in the end, I didn’t witness much character development from her.

Well, that’s all I have to say about Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson. I know that a lot of people loved this book, but, for me, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I would recommend it for people who like retellings as there are a whole bunch of references from the book’s primary source, The Importance of Being Earnest. If you have any thoughts or questions about the book, I’ll be happy to answer them in the Comments Section below. And for those of you who are wondering, Not Now, Not Ever is released on  November 21st, 2017. Thanks for reading, everyone!

–  Sumaya

Review: Dress Codes for Small Towns by Courtney C. Stevens


As the tomboy daughter of the town’s preacher, Billie McCaffrey has always struggled with fitting the mold of what everyone says she should be. She’d rather wear sweats, build furniture, and get into trouble with her solid group of friends: Woods, Mash, Davey, Fifty, and Janie Lee.

But when Janie Lee confesses to Billie that she’s in love with Woods, Billie’s filled with a nagging sadness as she realizes that she is also in love with Woods…and maybe with Janie Lee, too.

Always considered “one of the guys,” Billie doesn’t want anyone slapping a label on her sexuality before she can understand it herself. So she keeps her conflicting feelings to herself, for fear of ruining the group dynamic. Except it’s not just about keeping the peace, it’s about understanding love on her terms—this thing that has always been defined as a boy and a girl falling in love and living happily ever after. For Billie—a box-defying dynamo—it’s not that simple.

Readers will be drawn to Billie as she comes to terms with the gray areas of love, gender, and friendship, in this John Hughes-esque exploration of sexual fluidity.

Sourced from Goodreads. 



My rating:

blue4 copy

Hey, everyone! First review in a long while but I’m ready to get back into writing more of these. 😉 Anyways, I recently read a book that I consumed in one sitting- Dress Codes for Small Towns– and I have to say that it’s pretty amazing!

First of all, Billie is a protagonist I loved reading about. That’s always a good thing because most of the time, the protagonist usually drives my love of a book. Not in terms of whether they’re good or bad, but whether I think they’re good, in terms of being either believable, relatable, or just plain interesting. And Billie is no doubt a great protagonist. Whether it’s with her friends, her dad or herself, you know that Billie has a big heart and will do what she thinks is right in the end. It doesn’t matter that she has a few mishaps on the way. She’s become so endearing to me that I was rooting for her all throughout the book!

I liked reading about the secondary characters and their complexity, too. These characters made the plot super engaging! You couldn’t help but love every single one of them! You can feel the love Billie has for her friends and the love they have for her back. I think what helped was that the story wasn’t in just Billie’s POV, but her friends as well. You not only get a better sense of Billie’s friends, but Billie as well, through their eyes.

Overall, Dress Codes for Small Towns is a nice contemporary novel that challenges views about gender norms within society while keeping a sort of lightness to it. I thought that it was pretty enjoyable read and would definitely recommend it to others. Well, that’s all I have to say about it for now. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to leave them in the Comments Section below. Dress Codes for Small Towns has been out since August 22rd, so feel free to check it out when you get the chance! Thanks for reading! 🙂

–  Sumaya

I received this copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Book Bargain: Paper Princess by Erin Watt

Hey, everyone! I know I’ve been gone for a long time, and I’d like to apologize for that. I recently started an internship and things have been really hectic lately. I will try my best to keep posting from now on, but I probably will have moments where I’m super silent. 😉

Anyways, I wanted to let everyone know that Paper Princess by Erin Watt is $1.25 CAD on Kobo and only $0.99 CAD on Amazon Kindle and iBooks! So I say this to anyone who has ever wanted read this great, great soap opera of a book: buy it now! 😀

Have a wonderful day, everyone! And keep reading!

–  Sumaya

ARC Review: In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody


Kennedy Rhodes turns down an acceptance to an elite private school, instead choosing to stay at her high school and jump at the opportunity to date the boy of her dreams. Three years later, Kennedy walks in on that same boyfriend cheating with her best friend—and wishes she had made a different choice. But when Kennedy hits her head and wakes up in the version of her life where she chose to attend the private school, she finds that maybe it’s not as perfect of a world as she once thought.

Sourced from Goodreads



My rating:


Hey, everybody! I just finished reading In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody and couldn’t wait to talk about it! Now more often than not, if I take a while to finish a book, it usually shows my disinterest. That certainly wasn’t the case with this one! Every time I picked it up, I was intensely interested in the story and what was happening to Kennedy. Even when things got really dire and mysterious! My only problem was that I didn’t have enough time in the day to read it quickly enough!

I remember saying in this week’s #ARCstravaganza that I really liked the story’s concept and I stand by that statement. The idea of choices leading you on multiple pathways is not an old one, but one that used a lot in today’s media. But at the end of it all, right or wrong, Kennedy learns that people have to live with their choices and make the most of it.

I also liked how this book explores the other characters in relation to Kennedy. For instance, although Laney isn’t a main character or seen often in this book, In Some Other Life does revolve around Kennedy’s crumbling relationship with her best friend, spurring her into action and the plot of this book. And all the while, Kennedy is given a chance to reexamine her friendship and realize a couple of things about Laney. Other than these two, there are a whole bunch of characters enriching the book and making it so much more enjoyable!

Well, that’s all I have to say about In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody. If you like a lot of contemporary with a bit of scifi, then this is the book for you! Now I really want to read Jessica Brody’s other books, like A Week of Mondays! It sounds right up my alley at the moment! So if In Some Other Life is a book you’re interested in, get ready, because In Some Other Life comes out soon on August 8th! Oh, and all comments and questions are welcome in the section below! Have a restful Sunday, everyone!

–  Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Bargain: Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Hey, everyone! Just wanted to let you know that Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles is only 1.99 CAD on Amazon! Perfect for people who like grittier contemporary, especially fans of Katie McGarry! It’s an oldie but a goodie, that’s for sure! 😉

Take care, everybody!

–  Sumaya

ARC Review: Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman


Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

Sourced from Goodreads



My rating:

Hi, everybody! Another day, another review! This time, I’ll be reviewing Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman. Now, I’m going to be honest here. When I first got this book, I wasn’t too eager about the cheaing aspect of it. I was more interested in the characters as individuals rather than a couple. I wanted to see their development and I think that affected how I read this book. It was an okay read but far from my favourite contemporary. 

First of all, I didn’t get into the book until past halfway. It’s just that I couldn’t really relate to Jill until she tried to be a better person. Don’t get me wrong; she was an awful person. I sympathesized with her when it came to familial issues, but as a person, I couldn’t get on board with what she was doing. She was basically helping Max cheat on his girlfriend. That’s how I felt in the beginning. But by the end, I thought that it was admirable that after all that, Jill has a desire to do the right thing. She wanted to be better, and makes an effort to do so. The second part of the book goes more into character development, where I believe that the first part sets the scene.

Anyways, other than that, it was kind of your average Contemporary YA novel with your stock characters like the best friend, the mean girl, the girl next door, etc. In some cases, thus actually stopped characters from becoming fully fleshed. I feel as if Becky, Max’s girlfriend, suffered the most from this. She had no motives or desires other than being Max’s girlfriend, from what I could tell. Even if she was a mean girl, I would have liked to have known more about her and the possible underlying reasons for that. 

But I did really like the dash of baking the book added! In fact, whenever the book got to talking about Jillian’s passion for baking or her confectionary masterpieces, I probably gave it my full attention, at the same time thinking, I must check to see if there’s a recipe for that I could bookmark for later…

Well, that’s all I have to say about Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman. While I didn’t find the beginning to be all that intriguing, by the end, I liked it a bit more. I think this book is your standard contemporary, so if you are looking for that, I’d suggest adding Kissing Max Holden to your reading lists. 😉 And for those of you who are interested, Kissing Max Holden comes out on August 1st, 2017. If you have any comments or questions, please leave them in the section below. Thanks for reading, everybody!

– Sumaya

I received an advance reader’s copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Book Bargain: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Hi, everyone! Just wanted to let you all know that P.S. I Like You by Kasie West is on sale for 2.51 CAD on Amazon Kindle and 2.99 CAD on Kobo! Not sure why there is a difference in price, but still- it’s a steal! This book is perfect for people looking to dive into a sweet contemporary! Take care, everyone!

–  Sumaya

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