aaron hartzler

September 2015 YA Release Reviews: "Dumplin'", "Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between", & "What We Saw"

10:10 PM

Hi everyone!

I've recently had the pleasure of reading some future young adult releases, given to me by my boss (I work at a book store) who received advanced copies of books weekly. I thought I'd take advantage of the books and give you guys some reviews for them!


Dumplin' by Julie Murphy. 
September 15th, 2015.
Five Stars. 
Photo from Goodreads.com
Willowdean "Dumplin'" Dickson is fat. Sometimes she cares, sometimes she doesn't. With a mom as a former pageant queen of the town's prized competition, Will sometimes struggles to feel like she's normal, until she decides that pageants are for fat girls too.

Julie Murphy's writing is funny and charming, leaving you wanting more with every chapter. Each chapter is pretty short, making it a good speed read. The plot keeps you going too. It's not just about a fat girl. It's about a real girl struggling with friendships, relationships with boys and parents, work, bullying, and self image.

Not only is it a fun read, but if you've ever struggled with an insecurity about your body or a feature, it can be a remedy like no other. "Dumplin'" wants you to feel great in your skin. She really does.

Photo from Goodreads.com
Hello, Goodbye, and Everything In Between by Jennifer E. Smith. 
September 1st, 2015. 
Two Stars. 

It’s the night before Aidan and Clare head off to college. Twelve hours separates an entire country’s distance between them. Clare sets up a night of revisiting their past, so that the two can figure out whether or not they should try to stay together.

I was expecting a lot more from this book. Yes, it is written decently and evokes a memorable feeling of a high school relationship ending over college. However, I found the characters bland and annoying. They didn't have much substance to them, just a lot of stereotypical qualities. There’s the super charming, cute, athletic boyfriend and the straight A, rule follower girlfriend. The couple had their cute moments, but it often felt forced.

I thought the storyline was a cute idea, taking place over 12 hours before the couple parts ways for college as they try to make a decision about breaking up, but nothing really monumental ever happened. I wasn't too impressed. I haven't read Smith's other books, but I still think I'll give them a shot even though I didn't enjoy this one.

Photo from Goodreads.com

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler. 
Sept. 22nd, 2015. 
Five Stars.

What We Saw has to be one of the most thought provoking novels I've read this year.
Things get a little wild at a party, and Kate Weston is taken home by her childhood friend, Ben Cody. Ben is a star on the high school basketball court, and therefore a star in their small Iowa city. Basketball in Coral Sands is everything. If Ben can get a scholarship, he might be able to escape his extreme couponing mom and make a life for himself. 

That night changes everything when four of Ben's friends are charged with rape and distribution of child pornography. The name is not released, but everyone knows who's accusing them: Stacey Stallard, known for her provocative dress and behavior. The town circles in rumors. Is it Stacey's dress and behavior that caused this, or did the boys act in the wrong? Is it even true? 

You have to read to find out.
This is a novel about an issue brought about widely today, a wild page turner about trust, society, and doing the right thing.


Well guys, I hope you enjoyed that little preview. There's plenty more where that came from, as she lets me borrow her Advanced Copies quite a lot. Hopefully one day I can get my own copies sent to me for review. :) 

Happy reading,


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