Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (40)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Just Like the Movies by Kelly Flore
From Goodreads:
Pretty and popular track star Marijke Monti is confident about almost everything – she’s got great friends, a great family, and she’s on her way to the State Track Championship. In fact, the only thing Marijke isn’t confident about is her relationship with Tommy Lawson. 

Lily Spencer has spent her entire high school career preparing for the future – she’s participated in every extracurricular activity and volunteer committee she could. But, at home, she watches her mother go on date after date with dud-dudes, still searching for “the one.” Lily realizes that she’s about to graduate and still hasn’t even had a boyfriend. 

While they live on each other’s periphery at school, Lily and Marijke never seemed to have much in common; but, after a coincidental meeting at the movie theater, Lily gets an idea – why can’t life be like a movie? Why can’t they set up their perfect romantic situations, just in time for their senior prom, using movie techniques?

Once the girls come up with the perfect plans, they commit themselves to being secret cohorts and, just like in the movies, drama ensues.

I love a good contemporary romance, so of course I'm excited to read this book! It sounds cute and fun and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. :)

What are you waiting on this week? Leave links to your WoW posts below so I can check them out!

And while you're here, check out my interview with Julie Young, author of contemporary novel Fifteen Minutes of Fame. There's a giveaway at the end! :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Interview with Author Julie Young (+ Giveaway!)

Today I'm pleased to welcome Julie Young to the blog, aka the author of Fifteen Minutes of Fame! (You can read my ramble about Fifteen Minutes of Fame here.)

About Julie Young

Julie is the multi-award nominated author of six books including: A Belief in Providence: A Life of Saint Theodora Guerin, Images of America: Historic Irvington, Eastside Indianapolis: A Brief History, A Brief History of Shelby County, CYO in Indianapolis and Central Indiana, and Famous Faces of WTTV-4

She is also an award-winning freelance writer whose work has been seen in a number of local, regional and national publications including The Indianapolis Star, Indianapolis Monthly, ADVANCE for Nurses Magazine, Catholic Teacher Magazine, and Evansville Living. She is the featured columnist for Michiana House & Home Magazine, Glo Magazine for Women and She was a writer with the Associated Press, has been a regular guest on radio programs such as Hoosier History Live!, First Day, and in 2000, appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show

On to the interview!

We'll start things off with the most cliché (but important!) question: What inspired you to write Fifteen Minutes of Fame?

Truth be told, the idea first occurred to me 25 years ago when I was watching the old cartoon show "Jem and the Holograms" The premise was that this music mogul Jerica Benton had this "truly outrageous" rock star alter ego named Jem. I began wondering if it would ever be possible to pull something like that off in real life. Could you turn one person into something else entirely and how long would it take anyone to figure out they had been duped? 

Eventually, when I started really putting the storyline together, I read a lot of rock biographies and watched a lot of "Behind the Music" specials and every time there was a young kid involved it seemed like there was a pattern to their rise and fall, so I knew this character had to have a "crash and burn" kind of moment. Somewhere along the line I watched an old movie called Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn who plays a princess who "runs away" from her life in the palace and anonymously explores the real world. Once I had those three basic things, I knew what the story was about and where I had to take it. 

What was it like writing about celebrities?
I found it easy, but then again I am used to writing non-fiction and I read a lot of celebrity autobiographies, so maybe I had an advantage there. Also, because I am a journalist in real life, I do get to interview celebrities from time to time so I have a feel for how they answer things, which issues they don't like to address, what they know they have to talk about, etc...

How did you come up with the name MonAmi?
Well I knew the girl's name was Megan and I knew I wanted one word with an M that sounded exotic- kind of like the Jem/Jerica thing. I thought about the words for "my friend" in French mon ami and thought if they were slammed together and capitalized it would have the melodious ring I was looking for. Kinda weird, huh?

Okay, I have to ask... How do you feel about Hannah Montana? Did you ever watch the show? Did it have anything to do with the writing process for Fifteen Minutes of Fame? (I say this as a former Hannah Montana fan. I even dressed up as her for Halloween in 5th grade. Hannah Montana is very important to me.)
Here's what's interesting…I had this idea LONG before Hannah Montana came out, so when it did I honestly wondered how Disney zapped it out of my head! ha ha! Seriously, I saw the premise and said "that sounds eerily familiar" and I wondered if it was a good or bad thing to write something with the same kind of storyline. For a while I even debated about EVER letting the book see the light of day! I'll let you in on a little secret though, since you are a Hannah fan, one of the early drafts of the book had a scene in which MonAmi stumbled onto the Hannah Montana show in her hotel room and freaked out thinking it was about her. Not knowing when it would be published, I thought, "let's just deal with the elephant in the room!" Later on when I was refining it, I decided that I didn't need the scene, especially after the show's run was over...In the end I had to contend myself with the fact that stories of mistaken identity and dual personas go back a LOT farther than Hannah Montana or Jem and the Holograms…Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the Prince and the Pauper, Freaky Friday, Twelfth Night, etc…there are no new plots under the sun. 

Do you have a favorite character in Fifteen Minutes of Fame?
MonAmi of course, because she is somewhat  based on myself. I have been performing since I was three. I was at Elvis' last concert when I was 5 (no, I'm not kidding), I dreamed of being "bigger than the Beatles" growing up and I literally hoped that one day some guy would knock on the door and say "Kid, we're going to make you into a star!" While she is a composite of about 10 different celebrities, at her core…she is me. I grew up where she grew up, her parents are my parents, things happened in my life that forced me to grow up quickly…I completely understand how surreal her "real life" can be at times. 

Are any of the characters inspired by or based off of people you know in real life?
LOL yes…though I don't know whether or not I should admit to that. Three young ladies (aside from myself) inspired MonAmi. One had her first name, the other her last and one was a ridiculously talented singer who was given an amazing opportunity to study music at a fine arts school and who is currently training in Opera at college. Denim was very much based on someone in real life. MonAmi's parents and teacher were all based on real people and there are several "easter eggs" in the book that people locally will recognize as being real businesses and landmarks. 

How did your experience with music and performing influence Fifteen Minutes of Fame?
Oh it's all over the place! Anyone who has been serious about performing at a young age has delusions of grandeur and it was great fun to explore those feelings again. I was in bands with a lot of guys and sometimes it is hard to be the "odd girl out" so that isolation MonAmi feels is very real. Playing live on a regular basis can be exhausting (even when you love it.) So yes, there is a lot of that in the book. Also, one thing that is interesting…people ask me what's it like to go from playing music to writing. I often tell them, "It's the same business, it just looks different." I still feel the pressure to bring out a product people will like. I still have to be "on" for the public. I still feel isolated when I am on a tight deadline and have no life outside of my office. It's still amazingly cool when people line up to by my books and ask me to sign them…LOL I never thought about it when I started being an author, but as it turned out, in a way, as an author, I got to be the little rock star I always wanted to be! 

Did you write all the song lyrics in Fifteen Minutes of Fame?
Every single one of them. If they suck, I apologize…it's very hard to go from poetry to prose and back again AND make the lyrics kind of fit the plotline. LOL 

Besides writing, what are some of your interests/hobbies?
Hobbies…how do those go again? LOL Let's see…last year I finished my master's program so all of my spare time was spent doing homework, but I do love to read, go to movies, I play and follow tennis, I like to garden and run. To de-stress I cross stitch usually making my own patterns. (I have been working on a series of favorite book covers) and playing guitar. 

What are some of your favorite books? Favorite authors?
I fell in love with the written word when I read "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume. I grew up on Betty Miles, Ellen Conford, Paula Danziger (your readers are probably too young to remember any of these people!) and eventually grew into Danielle Steele (I felt so "grown up" when I started reading her.) I loved the Harry Potter series and consider that to be the best thing that has come out of Children's Literature since the Little House books or something of that kind of "classic status." I usually buy anything by Emily Giffin (and I did meet her two years ago) and I really like Jen Lancaster, Han Nolan and Sherri Woods Emmons. 

Favorite celebrities/musicians?
Well let's start with the one's I've met/interviewed: Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart, Pope Benedict XVI (yes, that's true as well) Gene Simmons of KISS, Dick Clark, Matthew and Gunnar Nelson, Peter Davison (Doctor Who), Ivan Lendl, Victoria Azarenka, John McEnroe
People who I haven't met: Jon Bon Jovi, Tom Hanks, anyone from Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, Dolly Parton (I think she would be so down to earth and funny) and…I'm sure if I listed them all, we would be here all day! LOL 

Describe Fifteen Minutes of Fame in five words or less.
"Hannah Montana meets Roman Holiday." 

Thanks for the awesome answers, Julie! 

And now...the giveaway!

Enter to win an official FIFTEEN MINUTES OF FAME tour pack including:
post card
guitar pick
swag from MonAmi's favorite artist
MP3 file of new music from a FMOF supporting artist

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (39)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray (The Diviners #2)
From Goodreads:
After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O'Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. Now that the world knows of her ability to "read" objects, and therefore, read the past, she has become a media darling, earning the title, "America's Sweetheart Seer." But not everyone is so accepting of the Diviners' abilities...

Meanwhile, mysterious deaths have been turning up in the city, victims of an unknown sleeping sickness. Can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld and catch a killer?

I love love love love love love love love love love love love LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE The Diviners (yes, I had to use an inordinate amount of "loves" to express my feelings properly), so I am DYING to read the next book in this series. Libba Bray is a fantastic writer, and I kind of feel like The Diviners was written personally for me, because it seriously has EVERY SINGLE THING I want to read in a book. So, yeah, I'm ridiculously excited to read Lair of Dreams.

But why oh why oh WHY did the covers have to change?! The original cover is absolutely gorgeous! *grumbles*

You can read my ramble about The Diviners here.

What are you waiting on this week? Leave links to your WoW posts below so I can check them out!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Random Ramble: Blogging vs. BookTube (Rachel)

I recently started a BookTube channel. Well, I guess it's not so recent, is it? I've been making videos on my evilclementine channel since June of 2013. That's almost a year! Man, the time flies.

Anyway, so I guess I've been doing the video thing for longer than I thought. Of course, this blog has been around for about two and a half years now, so I've definitely been doing the blogging thing longer. Today I want to compare the two different formats and talk about the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Let's start with blogging. Listen, blogging is my favorite. This blog is my (well, and Megan's :P) baby, conceived in our freshman year of high school when we had no idea what we were doing. I've been blogging for what feels like forever, and I absolutely love it. I'm a writer, so I like being able to share my thoughts in writing. Words come easier to me when I'm writing them down than when I'm actually saying them, so I appreciate the fact that I can think about what I'm going to say and put a lot of time and energy into my blog posts, instead of rushing to get all the words out in one recording session, like I have to do with my YouTube channel.

However, there are some disadvantages of blogging. I think the biggest one is that it's such an over-saturated community. There are SO MANY book blogs out there in the blogosphere, and so many of those blogs are fabulous! So why is this a bad thing? Well, it makes it more difficult for one blog to get noticed, and emerge from the outskirts of the blogosphere to stand in the spotlight. Now, I'm not too concerned about being in the spotlight. I have no desire to be one of those huge, insanely popular bloggers. For the most part, I'm totally fine with our relatively small blog. But sometimes, I wish it wasn't so difficult to gain readers/friends. I don't want to use the word "followers," because that's not what this blog is really about. I don't want people reading our posts; I want people responding to them so that we can have conversations and become friends. But I still have a hard time getting the blog "out there" and finding new people to connect with.

Another issue that has crept up with blogging is the totally confusing way to follow blogs. We have people following us through GFC (which I thought was supposed to go away...?), Bloglovin', email, twitter, and who knows what else. This makes it hard to see the "big picture," and at any given time, I really have no idea what our readership is like because there's no way to calculate it. This isn't a huge deal, because I honestly don't care much about the numbers, but it would be nice to have a better idea than I do now.

Now, let's move on to BookTube. My experience with BookTube has been incredibly positive so far. Unlike blogging, BookTube is still a somewhat new thing. There aren't as many BookTubers as there are bloggers, so it's a bit easier to find people within the community without being totally overwhelmed by the sheer number of people. This also means that my YouTube channel is already more popular than this blog is, though I've been blogging for much longer. With the YouTube algorithm in place, my videos pop up in the "related videos" section frequently, so it's easy for people to hop on over to my channel and click the subscribe button. I've been gaining subscribers steadily, while the blog only has little spurts of new activity at specific times.

Another thing I like about BookTube is that I feel more connected to my fellow BookTubers. Filming tag videos and discussion videos encourages people to talk to each other, and I believe that matching a face and voice to the words is a huge plus. It makes me feel like I know the YouTubers a lot better than the bloggers, who can be like anonymous enigmas to me at times. BookTube makes it easier to get your personality across, since it's in the form of videos.

But there are several things I don't like about BookTube. First of all, I'm a much better writer than I am speaker. Writing reviews comes naturally to me, while I end up stumbling and stuttering my way through my videos. Also, BookTube takes a lot more time. I have to film a video, edit it, and upload it, which is a longer process than I thought it would be, and definitely a longer process than blogging is. The editing especially can be extremely frustrating, and if I'm not happy with the content I filmed, it's not like I can go back and fix it, like I would with a mistake in a blog post.

Clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages to both blogging and BookTubing. For now, I enjoy both of them enough to continue on with them, although maybe in the future I'll just stick to one. Balancing the blog and the YouTube channel is not always easy, and sometimes I end up with several videos in a week on my channel but no blog posts, so I'm not the best at managing both at the same time. But I'm getting better, I think, and I like that I can pick and choose which way I want to share whatever information I want to share. If I want to review a book in a more professional, sophisticated manner, I pick the blog post. (I mean, it's a little more professional and sophisticated...I do still write "rambles" instead of reviews :P) If I want to flail around and show people just how excited I am, I pick the video.

What do you guys think? Do you think there are more advantages to blogging or BookTubing? Do you do one or both? Would you ever consider doing both? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments so we can discuss!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Friday Reads 4/18/14 (Rachel)

I had planned on making a Friday Reads video on my YouTube channel today but unfortunately, I'm all sick and gross and not in the mood to be on camera. So I decided to make a Friday Reads blog post instead, to let you guys know what I'm planning on reading this weekend.

Today was my first day of spring break from school, which sounds exciting, but is really not. Because New Jersey has gotten so much snow this winter, my school has had a lot of snow days. Sadly, we have to make up those snow days during our spring break. So what was supposed to be a glorious, 10-day-long break is now just a long weekend. We have today (Friday) off, and then the weekend, and then we also get Monday off. But we have to go back to school Tuesday, which is super depressing.

Anyway, I'm going to try to look on the bright side: I do get a long weekend! That's four days of reading ahead of me, and I plan to squeeze in as many books as possible. It shouldn't be too difficult, since I'm sick with a nasty cold that pretty much requires me to lounge in bed all day surrounded by books and tissues.

The first book I'm reading this weekend is:

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

I'd been putting off reading this for awhile because I don't own my own copy and I was trying to get through a lot of the books I do own before borrowing any library books, but...well, obviously I couldn't help myself! I checked this out from the school library a few days ago, and after starting it last night and reading a good chunk of it today, I only have about one hundred pages left. I love it so far, which really isn't a surprise. I knew before I even started this book that I would love it, because it seemed perfect for me.

I plan on finishing Fangirl tonight, and then starting:

Sweet Reckoning by Wendy Higgins

I thought the first two books in this series were really fun, fast reads, so I hope to get the same thing out of Sweet Reckoning. I'm not too emotionally invested in this series, and I think the books are super-fun books to devour when I'm in the mood for something fun and light. So, assuming I like this book, I'll probably read the whole thing this weekend at some point.

After Sweet Reckoning, I'm going to read:

Better off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

I love a good contemporary romance, and this book sounds perfect for me. I've heard awesome things about it from people who generally like the same kind of books as me, so I'm sure I'll love it!

If I finish Better off Friends and have time to read another book this weekend, I plan on picking up:

Death Sworn by Leah Cypess

I don't know much about this book, other than it's fantasy and it's gotten some amazing reviews. That's good enough for me! I may or may not pick this up before my Spring Long Weekend is over, and I'm excited to dive into it not knowing much about it.

So those are all the books I plan/hope to read this weekend. I think it's a nice mix. A library book, two ARCs, and a book I bought for myself. A paranormal, a fantasy, and two contemporaries. It looks like I have an awesome reading weekend ahead of me!

What are you guys reading this weekend? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Let me know down in the comments! I'd love to chat with you about books. :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rachel Rambles About Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Fifteen Minutes of Fame by Julie Young
From Goodreads:
She sold her soul to rock and roll. It was the story that rocked the music world. After five years, four Grammy Award-winning albums, numerous number one singles, and outselling every other act in the music industry, entertainment icon MonAmi was a walking case of burnout. When her plans for rest and relaxation were derailed on the final night of what was supposed to be her Farewell Tour, the enigmatic singer took matters into her own hands, running away from her career, her manager, and the mysterious identity that made her into a superstar. Now a rocker gone rogue, MonAmi returns to her hometown of Kentwood, Indiana where, as 15-year-old Megan Taylor, she was plucked from obscurity and molded into rock and roll royalty with a new name, a lucrative recording contract, and a carefully crafted Hanna Montana-like image. However, what started as a teenage dream quickly turned into a living nightmare as her label gradually controlled every aspect of her life.

I'll admit, it was the Hannah Montana comparison that sold me on this book. My eleven-year-old self was OBSESSED with Hannah Montana. (I'm talking walls covered in posters of Miley/Hannah's face and a Hannah Montana Halloween costume in fifth grade!) While I have grown out of my Hannah Montana phase, she will always hold a special place in my heart, so naturally, the summary of Fifteen Minutes of Fame sparked my interest almost immediately.

The idea of living a double life, as both Hannah/Miley and MonAmi/Megan do, is intriguing, especially to teenagers. So much of adolescence is about finding your identity and fitting in, and it sometimes involves putting on an act and pretending to be someone you're not. The theme of identity and living a double life is incredibly important and relevant to teenagers, which is why I was so interested in reading this book. 

Unlike Miley Stewart, Megan Taylor's life is far from the best of both worlds. Fifteen Minutes of Fame shows the disadvantages of being famous and living a double life. It portrays the world of celebrities and the music industry as being anything but glamorous. I love the behind-the-scenes look at what it's like to be a famous musician, with peeks into awards shows, recording sessions, rehearsals, and concerts. Fifteen Minutes of Fame is a really fun, fascinating story that I couldn't tear my eyes away from.

Going back to the Hannah Montana comparison, I should mention that this book has very little in common with Hannah Montana, besides the double life/rock star thing. Fifteen Minutes of Fame is a much darker version of what it's like to be a rock star than Hannah Montana was. This book definitely has some grit to it, and it's not the super fun, rainbows-and-butterflies contemporary read that I was expecting. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Fifteen Minutes of Fame tackles some darker and heavier themes. This book is deep and thought-provoking, while also being incredibly entertaining.

I really like the format of Fifteen Minutes of Fame. It goes back and forth between different parts of Megan's life. You get to read about her life when she's just getting started in the music industry, as well as her life when she's in the middle of her career, and her life during and after "the incident." This format makes the story suspenseful, since the reader has to wait to find out how the pieces all fit together. It is because of this interesting format that I found myself unable to put the book down. Fifteen Minutes of Fame is totally a one-sit-read. It's the kind of book that you just want to devour immediately.

I went into Fifteen Minutes of Fame expecting a quirky, fun Hannah-Montana-ish story, but what I got was even better. Fifteen Minutes of Fame is fun and entertaining, but it also has dark elements, in addition to a serious and relevant theme about identity in teenagers. If you're in the mood for something that will hook you from page one and keep you reading until you finish it mere hours later, this book will surely satisfy that craving. And if you're a former Hannah Montana fan, you must pick this book up!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Rachel Rambles About Perfect Lies

Perfect Lies by Kiersten White (Mind Games #2)
From Goodreads:
Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie's visions of the future can't show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia's first love, Fia knows he's hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other - but that may not be enough to save them.

Kiersten White has done it again. It's official: she is incapable of writing a bad book!

I really enjoyed Mind Games, but I think Perfect Lies is a thousand times better. It's strange and unique and crazy and beautiful all at once, which is a rare and awesome combination.

My favorite thing about this book (and series) is that it's about two sisters. Both Fia and Annie are strong, fierce young women, although their strength comes in very different forms. The story alternates between each sister's point-of-view, and I really appreciate being able to get a glimpse into the mind of each girl. They each have very different ways of telling the story, so it's cool to be able to see both perspectives.

The relationship between Annie and Fia is the most important element in this book, which I absolutely love. Sibling bonds, especially between sisters, are one of my favorite things to read about. I love a good sister story, which might be because I have two sisters, or maybe it's just that stories about sisters are usually awesome. I really like that both Mind Games and Perfect Lies focus more on Fia and Annie's bond than the girls' relationships with any of the other characters, like their love interests.

The format of this book is unlike anything I've ever read before. Both Annie and Fia have a whole lot of issues, and their mental health suffers as a result. This, for lack of a better word, "craziness" really shows in the way the book is written, particularly when it's from Fia's point-of-view. The writing is unusual and striking and poetic and beautiful, and it's an excellent way to tell such a strange and delicate story. 

In addition to the writing, Perfect Lies also has an interesting timeline. Not only does the story jump back and forth between the two sisters' perspectives, but it also jumps back and forth between different time periods. Fia and Annie tell their stories in two different timelines, so Fia's parts of the book take place several weeks after Annie's. This means that while Fia reacts to things that happened in Annie's parts of the book, Annie has no idea what Fia is up to in the future. This timeline is kind of wacky and confusing, but it sets the perfect mood for this wacky and confusing story.

Perfect Lies is an insanely fun, fast-paced story that is guaranteed to grab your attention from the first page. There's action and mystery and suspense, as well as an emotional and meaningful story about sisters. There's even a bit of humor and romance thrown into the mix. Basically, this book has it all. If you haven't read Mind Games yet, I highly recommend that you do so if you're in the mood for a short and fast read that's a bit strange, but in a good way. Then, once you've finished Mind Games, you can dive straight into Perfect Lies, which I think is even better than Mind Games.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Rachel Rambles About Split Second

Split Second by Kasie West
From Goodreads:
Life can change in a split second.

Addie hardly recognizes her life since her parents divorced. Her boyfriend used her. Her best friend betrayed her. She can’t believe this is the future she chose. On top of that, her ability is acting up. She’s always been able to Search the future when presented with a choice. Now she can manipulate and slow down time, too . . . but not without a price.

When Addie’s dad invites her to spend her winter break with him, she jumps at the chance to escape into the Norm world of Dallas, Texas. There she meets the handsome and achingly familiar Trevor. He’s a virtual stranger to her, so why does her heart do a funny flip every time she sees him? But after witnessing secrets that were supposed to stay hidden, Trevor quickly seems more suspicious of Addie than interested in her. And she has an inexplicable desire to change that.

Meanwhile, her best friend, Laila, has a secret of her own: she can restore Addie’s memories . . . once she learns how. But there are powerful people who don’t want to see this happen. Desperate, Laila tries to manipulate Connor, a brooding bad boy from school—but he seems to be the only boy in the Compound immune to her charms. And the only one who can help her.

As Addie and Laila frantically attempt to retrieve the lost memories, Addie must piece together a world she thought she knew before she loses the love she nearly forgot . . . and a future that could change everything.

I absolutely adored Kasie West's other two books (read my rambles about Pivot Point and The Distance Between Us), and I was anxiously anticipating Split Second. I had super high expectations, and let's be real here, I was pretty certain that I would love this book. I was right, of course, because Split Second is fantastic.

While Pivot Point is told entirely from Addie's POV, Split Second alternates between the POVs of Addie and Laila. I loved Laila in the first book and wished she'd had a larger role in the story, so I was delighted to pick up Split Second and find that half the book was all about her. Both Addie and Laila are awesome, strong narrators, although they are very different from each other. I liked jumping from Addie's head to Laila's and back again, and I was impressed with how clearly their contrasting personalities shone through. Of the two, Laila is my favorite character, although I do really love Addie. Some people would probably consider Laila to be an unlikable character, but I appreciated her many issues and complexities. She does a lot of things that frustrated me, but I was able to insert myself into her head and lifestyle so completely that I understood where all her actions came from. Addie, on the other hand, is a little more...hmm, how do I say this? I guess Addie has her crap together more than Laila does, so it was nice to be able to get a break from Laila and experience Addie's slightly-calmer personality.

Addie and Laila's friendship is extremely strong in this book, which makes me so happy. Femships (I believe that is the cool new slang term for friendships between know, like the opposite of bromance? :P) are pretty much my favorite things to read about in YA ever, so I'm always overjoyed to find a book that features a strong and prominent friendship. Neither girl feels like a "quirky best friend sidekick there for the comic relief" to each other. Their friendship is totally natural and realistic, and it's easy to sense the strong bond between them.

Now, let's talk about the boys. :D First of all, there's the charming and adorable Trevor we all know and love from Pivot Point. I adored him when I read Pivot Point, and I'm happy to say that I loved him just as much in Split Second. Although, I have to be honest, my heart does not belong to Trevor in this belongs to Connor. Yes, that's right, there's a boy in this book who I love even more than Trevor! I didn't think it was possible either!

Before you get all worried about love triangles, allow me to enlighten you. Connor is Laila's love interest, while Trevor is Addie's. So there's no conflict there, which is a relief. But let's talk about Connor! He's your typical brooding bad boy, all sarcasm and snark and cold detached-ness. This is, of course, my favorite kind of fictional boy, so I was totally into it. :) Laila and Connor's relationship is also my favorite kind of fictional relationship, with lots of hatred/denial/banter/etc, so I was a giggling, happy fool whilst reading about them. They're definitely one of my new OTPs.

I would love to talk a bit more about Addie and Trevor but I can't really do that without spoilers so I will just say nothing!

Oh, and there is also a story and plot and stuff in this book. It's not just about awesome characters doing things. But again, I don't want to get into anything that would spoil you, so I'll just say that the plot is pretty freaking awesome and surprising and twisty in Split Second. The book is a super fast and fun read that I could not put down, and it is packed full of action and excitement. Split Second also manages to be quite comedic, which is a little surprising because I usually think of this series (duology? duet? whatever...) as being more serious. But there are plenty of hilarious moments and the characters all have some fantastic one-liners that made me laugh out loud. :)

I don't think I can pick a favorite between Pivot Point and Split Second because they're both so good, and I'd say that I enjoyed them an equal amount. If you liked Pivot Point, you need to read Split Second as soon as possible. If you haven't read Pivot Point, you must change this immediately because both of these books are fantastic.