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Monday, June 20, 2016

Read Me Like A Book Blog Tour {review}

I'm thrilled to have the Read Me Like A Book Blog Tour stopping by today...

Read Me Like A Book
Liz Kessler
June 14, 2016
Candlewick Press
In her first novel for young adults, New York Times best-selling author Liz Kessler tells a story about finding a kindred spirit and becoming your true self.

Ashleigh Walker is a mediocre student with an assortment of friends, a sort-of boyfriend, and no plans for the future. Then a straight-from-college English teacher, Miss Murray, takes over Ash’s class and changes everything. Miss Murray smiles a lot. She shares poetry with curse words in it. She’s, well, cool. And she seems to really care about her students. About Ashleigh. For the first time, Ash feels an urge to try harder. To give something — someone — her best. Before she knows it, Ashleigh is in love. Intense, heart-racing, all-consuming first love. It’s strong enough to distract her from worrying about bad grades and her parents’ marriage troubles. But what will happen if Miss Murray finds out Ashleigh is in love with her?

Praise for Read Me Like A Book

It’s refreshing to see depicted a student whose road ahead is so fuzzy...what makes this book compelling is its rich characterizations, particularly Ash’s parents, who grapple with their own attempts at finding love again. Far from just a story about a teen crushing on her teacher, this is about a teen discovering her sexuality and her own strength in the process.

Publisher’s Weekly
...the idea that you have to know who you are in order to figure out where you want to go is a powerful one for readers examining their own identities.

Kirkus (starred review)
Taking risks both large and small—and growing from them—is a recurring theme of this story, from Ash's shoplifting on a dare with a rebellious friend to coming out to her parents on her 18th birthday. The English setting (including frequent pub visits and colorful slang) adds a rich dimension, as do the well-rounded characters whose flaws make them all the more sympathetic. With an absorbing plot and believable dialogue, this novel demonstrates respect for teens' fears and desires, ending on a hopeful note that steers clear of unconvincing platitudes.

Ash enters her last year of high school with a sort-of-boyfriend, no real plan for the future, a life-long best friend, and family drama. As the school year progresses, Ash’s parents’ marriage implodes, her feelings for her boyfriend get fuzzy, and even her BFF abandons her. But, Ash finds one bright, shining light in her young, new English teacher, Miss Murray. Miss Murray makes Ash want to try harder, do better, be better. Soon, she finds herself drawn to Miss Murray, falling hopelessly in love with her teacher, and questioning everything Ash ever thought about herself and love.

Now, more than ever, books like Liz Kessler’s Read Me Like A Book, books that shine a light on LGBT experiences, issues, and characters, are so very important, and Read Me Like A Book is a great coming-of-age and coming out story that so many young readers will relate to.

Told through Ash’s unapologetically honest, observant, and witty perspective, Read Me Like A Book has a great, engaging voice that creates a very intimate and personable experience between Ash, the story, and the reader. The more I read, the more it felt like Ash was an old pal and we were sitting in come coffee shop somewhere as she told me all about her unforgettable last year of high school. I love that Ash isn’t dazzlingly remarkable, she doesn’t get the best grades, isn’t overly popular, or isn’t some mesmerizing beauty; instead she’s refreshingly relatable and average. Yet her story, her experiences are still worthwhile and unique and special.

Read Me Like A Book explores many different emotions- from first love to guilt, grief, despair, hope, and more- and does so with a great deal of depth and heart. Readers of all ages, but young readers especially, will connect with Ash, relate to her troubles, and feel her story deeply.

My final thoughts: With poignant and important themes, relatable characters, and complex and palpable emotions, Read Me Like A Book is a great coming-of-age and coming out story in the world of LGBT fiction.

4/5 Cupcakes

Liz Kessler is the author of the best-selling Emily Windsnap series, the Philippa Fisher series, and the middle-grade novels North of Nowhere, A Year Without Autumn, and Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins? She lives in Cornwall, England.

Official Blog Tour Stops:
6/29 Forever YA

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