Size Doesn’t Matter (159): Tattoo Atlas; Friends with Boys; How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (159): Tattoo Atlas; Friends with Boys; How to Keep a Boy from Kissing YouTattoo Atlas by Tim Floreen
Published by Simon Pulse on October 18, 2016
Genres: Science Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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three-half-stars

A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime.

Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over.

Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?

Then, as part of Franklin’s follow-up testing, he and Rem are brought face to face, and Rem discovers…Franklin does seem different. Despite everything, Rem finds himself becoming friends with Franklin. Maybe even something more than friends.

But when another of their classmates turns up dead, Rem’s world turns upside-down yet again. Franklin insists that he’s innocent, that he’s cured, but Rem doesn’t know what to believe. Is someone else responsible for this new murder, or is Franklin fated to stay a monster forever? And can Rem find out the answer to this question before the killer, whoever it is, comes after him too?

Floreen’s debut Willful Machines was pleasant but pretty forgettable, with a predictable plot and shrug-inducing romance. I’m thrilled to report that with Floreen’s sophomore novel, I’m sold on reading on all his forthcoming books. Tattoo Atlas has a twisty, creeptastic plot and an uncomfortable but oddly compelling ship.

My heart goes out to Rem, who’s a sweet boy surrounded by a bunch of manipulative, fucked up people. He really doesn’t expect people to be so horrible, so he falls for shit in this really naive but believable way. I really liked Rem, and it’s hard to make a “nice” character like him work without them coming off like an obnoxious pushover.

A year before the novel opens, one of Rem’s group of friends is murdered by Franklin Kettle, the creepy loner obsessed with a war video game, in class right in front of him. The four remaining friends are still trying to cope with his loss a year later. The fact that two of them, Tor and Lydia, are now dating has only complicated group dynamics. Not to mention the fact that Tor and Rem have been jacking each other off in the steam tunnels for a long time, a secret only Callie knows.

Tor’s so completely toxic to Rem. They fool around regularly, but Tor refuses to kiss Rem because he’s not gay, or so he says. Meanwhile, he rubs his relationship with Lydia in Rem’s face. View Spoiler »

Floreen totally tricked me with the plot. I didn’t guess all the twists, and I definitely had a couple of jaw drop moments. The whole book is about psychopaths and an experimental brain surgery treatment to trigger empathy that his mother is working on. Basically everyone in the book does majorly problematic things, and Floreen really considers these behaviors. I’d have liked a bit more from the ending, but I do really love the message that nice and kind aren’t necessarily the same things.

A great sophomore novel from Floreen. I anticipate great things from him as his writing career continues.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (159): Tattoo Atlas; Friends with Boys; How to Keep a Boy from Kissing YouFriends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks
Published by First Second on February 28, 2012
Genres: Paranormal
Pages: 220
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
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two-half-stars

After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It's pretty terrifying.

Maggie's big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn't been the same.

Besides her brothers, Maggie's never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don't have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures.

Missing mothers...distant brothers...high school...new friends... It's a lot to deal with. But there's just one more thing.

MAGGIE IS HAUNTED.

I’d been looking forward to Friends with Boys because there’s such shippy potential with that title. If that’s what you’re hoping for with this graphic novel, think again. Three of the boys are Maggie’s brothers, and there’s no romance with her new friend’s brother, even though there totally should be. It’s a waste of ship set up imo.

However, even if you’re not a shipper, Friends with Boys is a bit of a mess. A pretty one, but a mess nonetheless. Friends with Boys is a short graphic novel, and graphic novels are way shorter than regular novels. In all of this, Hicks tries to handle both a contemporary plot line about feuds between various boys and a paranormal plot line with ghosts. When I finished, I just scratched my head, because absolutely nothing felt resolved, and I couldn’t tell what the point of this graphic novel was.

There are some great bones here, but I feel like this could have used another rigorous edit and a trim down to just one plot line.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:


Size Doesn’t Matter (159): Tattoo Atlas; Friends with Boys; How to Keep a Boy from Kissing YouHow to Keep a Boy from Kissing You by Tara Eglington
Series: Aurora Skye #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on October 25, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Goodreads
three-half-stars

Sweet sixteen and never been kissed . . .

That’s Aurora Skye’s big secret. And the way she wants it to stay. She’s not going to give away her first kiss to just anyone. Busy dodging suitors and matchmaking for her best friends, Aurora (not so) patiently awaits her prince.

But everything changes when Aurora is coerced into a lead role in the school production of Much Ado about Nothing. Which means she’ll have to lock lips with her co-star Hayden Paris—the smart and funny boy next door who also happens to be the bane of her existence, always around to see her at her worst.

Now Aurora is more determined than ever to have her first kiss with the one who’s truly worthy of it. But first she’ll have to figure out just who that person is.

Romantic and funny, Tara Eglington's How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is a feel-good tale of finding love where you least expect it.

Thus far, June has been a pretty rough reading month. Not a lot of good ships, and not a lot of good in general. How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You is one of the high points of the month, a delightful dose of shippy fluff as an antidote to the doldrums in which I’ve been drifting.

Obviously, a hate to love between former childhood besties playing the roles of Benedick and Beatrice is exactly my shippy crack. Hayden and Aurora have a really great dynamic, and the high point is any time they are interacting. Hayden’s fabulous and by far my favorite part of the book. The “secret admirer” gag gets really obvious later on and Aurora’s ridiculously unaware.

Aurora’s narration alternates between genuinely funny and a bit grating. Her character gets a bit squidgy around the edges. The drama with her bestie over the other new boy was completely unnecessary imo. The plot also veers a bit too heavily into slapstick for my personal tastes, since the book mostly isn’t that kind of comedy.

I’m on the fence about reading the follow up, because I do really ship it and book two might ruin things.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 

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