Mini Reviews: Contemporary Edition

The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


I’ve read and enjoyed the first two Naturals novels by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, so I was eager to see another contemporary from her, The Fixer. I expected to enjoy it. What I didn’t expect were some of the twists and most of the feels! There was one twist that literally just had me so shell-shocked. And I love that Jennifer was able to do that to me!

I loved the pace of the story and the D.C. setting. And while I liked Tess and other characters, I never completely loved them, but I am looking forward to seeing them again in the next book. If you have any interest in contemporary/thriller stories in the YA format, I’d definitely recommend this one!

Rating: 4.5 stars

Content advisory: I don’t recall any specifics, but I remember it was pretty clean. Some violence and possibly some mild language.

See How They Run by Ally Carter


I had a couple minor issues with the previous Embassy Row novel, All Fall Down, but was quite excited to read the follow-up. I thought Grace was an interesting character and really enjoyed her new friends and the storyline as well. This book jumps right back into things and amps everything up to an 11. The pacing was fast, the stakes are raised, and the tension between Grace and Alexi along with it. The end left me with a gut punch that was almost as compelling as The Fixer‘s plot twist, and I was not happy to finish and then learn that the next book doesn’t come out until next year (when this book was published last year!). *Shakes first at the injustice of it*

I do have some issues with this one as well though, which will be reflected in the rating. This is my third Ally Carter novel, and she’s published about a dozen or more books, so I was surprised to find the writing, from a technical aspect, lacking a little. The narrative felt extremely disjointed a lot of the time, and I have never experienced that with Carter before. I don’t know how to really explain it, but people would enter or exit scenes or move across a room without clear transitions, which left me confused many times, things like that. I think it could have been because Grace is so out of sorts herself that she isn’t always entirely aware what’s happening, but I feel like there could have been a better way to portray it.

But needless to say, I NEED THE NEXT BOOK.

Rating: 4 stars

Content: Some violence and mild innuendo, no language.

(Also, I still really want to see a Jennifer Lynn Barnes-Ally Carter collaboration.)

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon


I decided to do this one last because there are spoilers, so don’t scroll on if you haven’t read it yet, or scroll on quickly to can leave a comment. 😉

A list of everything, everything that didn’t make sense in Everything, Everything:

  • That Carla couldn’t figure out that Madeline didn’t have a real condition a lot sooner. Because seriously, I saw it coming miles away.
  • The fact that Olly reaches out to Madeline by providing his email address. No 16 year old in 2015 would do that ever. It’d be a Snapchat or Instagram or some other username. I understand the author not wanting to be that specific, but she could have found a way to communicate that it was something along those lines. NOT an email address.
  • That Madeline never once gets reprimanded for opening a credit card and spending RIDICULOUS amounts of money on it that her mom will have to pay back. (Sadly I can believe she was able to open said credit card though it shouldn’t be that easy.)
  • That Madeline is able to fly to Hawaii WITH NO PHOTO ID.
  • That after a five hour flight to Hawaii, Madeline and Olly still have the whole day ahead of them. Hawaii is two hours ahead of California in time, so they gained two hours back, but still, it’s not like they left first thing in the morning.
  • They went on a five hour flight to Hawaii and weren’t served a meal. I mean, I’ve never been on a five hour flight before, it’s always been longer or shorter, but I feel like that’s a reasonable time frame to expect a meal.
  • That Madeline and her mom live in LA when her mom is a doctor who can live literally anywhere, their house has these crazy additions to add on to the already ludicrous pricing of LA living (this is somewhat explained by the fact that there was a settlement from the accident, but still), and since Madeline’s mom only seems to go out for work, she gets zero benefit of living in LA in terms of things to do, plus the traffic is horrendous and wouldn’t she be home late like all the time? It would make so much more sense for them to live somewhere more affordable and more low-key.
  • Maybe it’s because by the time everything comes to light Madeline is technically an adult, but I seriously think that doctor at the end should have been calling somebody about Madeline’s mom’s egregious child rearing.

Now here’s the thing – I understood, to a point, why Madeline’s mom did what she did. And maybe at the end I was supposed to be as freaking mad at her as I was. But this book did not carry that tone at the beginning. It was light and fun, and then it ends on a very dark note that did fit the overall tone of the book.

But I didn’t dislike everything about the book. I liked Madeline’s voice and enjoyed the various ways her story was communicated, but the end and the issues listed above left a meh taste in my mouth.

Rating: 3 stars

Content advisory: Some language, mostly mild. A mostly off-screen sex scene.

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts? 

Also, while not a contemporary book review, be sure to check out my review of Between Shades of Gray on Val’s blog if you haven’t already! 

7 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: Contemporary Edition

  1. Oh my god my EXACT THOUGHTS ON EVERYTHING EVERYTHING PUT INTO WORDS. I did not like the book AT ALL. Well I think I rated it 2.5 stars? But yes. I had so many problems with the mom (also more spoilers here in the comments sorry), and like, how did no one realize that she did not have such a disease?? Ugh. And yeah, I was really expecting a different book, and the fact that everything was so easily solved in the end, kind of felt like a cop-out. And I did see that “plot-twist” a mile away!

    So I can’t comment on your other reviews since I haven’t read either of them. But The Long Game is the sequel to The Fixer, right? Are you going to read it?

    • My initial reaction was 3 or 3.5 stars, but the more I think about it the more it is closer to like a 2.5. I didn’t really care about it being a cop-out, but just the negligence of her mom and NOTHING being done about it is insane to me! I’m glad to know I’m not alone!

      Yes, The Long Game is the sequel, and I definitely plan to read it!

  2. The Fixer and the Embassy Row novel sound so exciting! I just want to read it for the thrill ride alone. I’ve only read the first two of the Naturals too, and nothing by Carter, but I think your idea of them doing a collaboration sounds perfect! I’m sure they would come up with something amazing.

    I haven’t read Everything,Everything, but I’m not really inclined to, so I’m a bit glad. I couldn’t help myself and read some of your points, and I feel like this book would frustrate me too.

    • If you read the Embassy Row books and The Fixer I hope you enjoy them! The hype really got to me on Everything, Everything. I should know better to fall for it, but occasionally it serves me well (as it did with Cinder and The Book Thief).

  3. So maybe I shouldn’t have read your review for Everything, Everything just yet as we’ll be talking about it for book club, but I did and am glad to see that for once I won’t be the only one with some complaints! haha. (Though, tbf, I think Kelley also gave the book an average rating as well.) I enjoyed the book, I did, but there were a lot of things that just didn’t make sense and it definitely just didn’t quite sit well with me in the end as it could have. It should definitely lead to an interesting discussion!

    • Sounds like it will! I debated whether or not to post the review before our discussion, but I thought it would help sort my thoughts, and I won’t be able to stick around long on Sunday so I wanted to get all my points out there, ha! 🙂

  4. Great review! I agree with pretty much all of your thoughts. I hadn’t even thought about the Hawaii time difference and how inaccurate it was in the book. I also realized that Maddie’s disease was fake so early. I did like Maddie’s voice and I liked her as a person, but her “illness” and the unbelievableness of it kind of ruined it for me.

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