Reading Recommendations: Fresh Starts

January 24, 2015 Recommendations 52


Once upon a time, Bec, Rachel and I were on Skype discussing top secret things like the latest unicorn conspiracies and the blog, when Bec mentioned how it would be kind of cool to show people what books we really liked. Although it’s not a unique feature, we are unique people with unique tastes and would love to share our favorites with you. So without further ado, here are our favorite books featuring a character who finds him/herself starting over. (Just in time for the new year! What? It’s January 24th? Hush.)

Alise’s Recommendation

Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher
Pages: 384
Release Date: March 31st 2015
Genres: Family, Friendship, General, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for a year, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

So THE START OF ME AND YOU hasn’t come out yet but when we chose the topic for this recommendation I absolutely knew that my pick had to be this book.
The main character goes through a period of grief in her life and wants nothing more than a fresh start and makes a list to help her with this. Paige struggles with learning to cope and while she may not always go about it in the best ways, she is a fantastic character that goes through a lot of growth and learns.  Plus this one also has humor, romance, and FEELS.
It was a perfect read for the new year and I hope it will inspire you guys like it inspired me. You can read my review of this book on March 2nd, 2015.

Bec’s Recommendation

the sea of tranquility

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Atria
Source: Borrowed
Pages: 448
Release Date: September 5th 2012
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance, Young Adult

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Full of rage and without a purpose, former pianist Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone discovering her past and to make the boy who took everything from her pay.

All 17 year-old Josh Bennett wants is to build furniture and be left alone, and everyone allows it because it’s easier to pretend he doesn’t exist. When your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, a hot mess of a girl who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. The more he gets to know her, the more of a mystery she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he may ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding or if he even wants to.

The Sea of Tranquility is a slow-building, character-driven romance about a lonely boy, an emotionally fragile girl, and the miracle of second chances.

THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY fits the fresh start theme in two different ways. Firstly, it pulled me out of a reading slump. The writing was so gorgeous and addictive. Exactly what I needed at the time. Secondly, the story follows Nastya as she arrives at a new school trying to escape a traumatic event in her recent past, and Josh, who is known as the guy who lost all his family at once and wants to escape that title. Over the course of the novel these two help each other come to terms with their life and they start to heal. Also the romance is amazing. If you want to see more of my thoughts on THE SEA OF TRANQUILITY my review is here.

Rachel’s Recommendation

book of lost things

 The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Atria
Source: Owned
Pages: 339
Release Date: November 7th, 2006
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Family

High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own — populated by heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.

Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.

The Book of Lost Things is a coming of age novel of sorts that explores the consequences of the narrator David’s mother’s death for David. David is thrown into an alternate world where all of the fairy tales are true in a dark, twisted way. It is interesting to watch David navigate this new world and confront all of his fears and emotions about his real life. David has multiple fresh starts in this book, one of them being the sudden entrance to a new world where he is virtually unknown, and another being his attempts to adjust to his new life without his mother.

Have you heard of/read any of these books?
What did you think of them?
What book would you recommend for this topic?


52 Responses to “Reading Recommendations: Fresh Starts”

  1. Jess @My Reading Dress

    GUYS, ALL BOOKS I WOULDN’T NORMALLY READ HAHAHAHAHA I’m interested in the Lord and her newest one, just because it’s not road trip LOL Everyone loves that road trip one but yeah, those turn me off. I still want to give her a go though!

    AND SEA OF TRANQUILITY! Lily’s been telling me to read that one. I can’t believe I haven’t already. BUT YOU LOVED IT, RIGHT BEC?? OK I must give it a go!

    And 12 year old protagonist? Hmm I would have thought it was middle grade. Still, while I love fantasy, this wouldn’t be something that I go for at all. Very interested though.

    Jess @My Reading Dress recently posted…Seeking Saturday’s Read #22: Marrying Mime Order, Abandoning Books and Becoming a Scheduling Queen

    • Alise

      Oh! Oh! Um.. Open Road Summer! That’s it! I haven’t read it but I actually like road trip books xD

      I still haven’t read it either so I totally relate because everyone has been telling me to read it too!

      Agreed, if not for Rachel’s rec I would have never even heard of the book, much less read it.

      GOOD. :)

  2. Eugenia @ Genie In A Book

    This is a fantastic feature girls! (I can definitely see my TBR pile growing exponentially in the near future…) I’ve heard lots about The Sea of Tranquility especially and have been meaning to read it for such a long time – I think it’s time I finally got around to it! As for my recommendations, what would stand out as a perfect match for this topic is ‘This Is Falling’ by Ginger Scott :)
    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book recently posted…Discussion: An Open Letter to the Blogging Community

    • Alise

      Thank you! Aha, that is our hope ;) Same for me, so many people have been telling me to read that one! Ooh, thanks-I haven’t heard of that one before now!

  3. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    This is a great idea for a feature, especially recommending books which you have loved. It’s easy to forget about those older books but this feature reminds us of what we have foregone.

    Wait Bec, you’re recommending a book that isn’t fantasy? I’ve heard a lot about Sea of Tranquility but never managed to pick it up.

    I’m curious with the fresh starts that David gets in The Book of Lost Things.

    I love the sound of the main character’s journey of growth and learning for The Start of Me and You!

    Great picks ladies!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Chatterbox: Spread Love, Not War

    • Alise

      Thank you! That’s the goal exactly, I know I tend to forget about older releases.

      Aha, it does seem a little out of the ordinary ;)

      The Start of Me and You is so good, I definitely recommend it!

  4. Nova @ Out of Time

    I CRYYYY because I tried to get The Start of Me And You and REJECTED on NG. I heard so much hype for it and I want it SO BADDDDDD. I haven’t heard of The Book of Lost things but I have heard of The Sea of Tranquility. Must look into those deeper :)
    Nova @ Out of Time recently posted…Book Review: Eve and Adam

    • Alise

      Awww :C Only a little bit more wait though, and it’s definitely worth it! I hope you enjoy these if you read them! :D

    • Alise

      Ooh, nice! I’ll have to let Rachel know, it’s cool that someone else has not only head of it but read it too!

  5. Melliane

    Oh yes I heard great things about The Sea of Tranquility, we even have it in French but I haven’t read it yet I confess. I need to! thanks for the list!

  6. Kirsty-Marie

    I’ve heard so many good things about Open Road Summer, (I’m waiting for the paperback and then it’s all mine) so can’t wait for The Start of Me and You.

    For some reason I always thought The Sea of Tranquility was Adult, oh and Bec, I read Finnikin of the Rock (and loved it!):)

    I’m becoming addicted to these type of books so adding them! :D
    Kirsty-Marie recently posted…Review: The Mime Order

    • Alise

      So have I, I really need to get to that one!

      It’s New Adult I believe, so like half and half, haha. Oh, nice! I’ll tell her! :D


  7. Kelly

    The Sea Of Tranquility was one of the first books I’d read when I begun reading again after such a long hiatus. Loved it. The Start of Me and You is also on my TBR list, that cover is just stunning! I love books where the MC has overcome adversity and has a new lease on life, as long as there’s no excess drama along with the new start. Sadly I’ve found that’s always the case with NA. Great feature girls, I look forward to the next one <3
    Kelly recently posted…Professor Birdbrain: Red Rising Review

    • Alise

      Well, now I have to read it! :) I really hope you like The Start of Me and You as much as I did! I know what you mean, I dislike that as well. And you are completely right-that is very common in NA. Thank you! :)

  8. Molly Mortensen

    I love this idea! And it’s perfect that the first one is frest starts.

    Alise- Yes to humor, no to feels (I have enough of my own)

    Bec- I always remember books that got me out of a slump so fondly. (Also you have the same name as my sister, so it’s confusing)

    Rachel- Yay! Someone picked fantasy!

    I’d definitely pick a coming of age book, probably something by Modesitte.
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Top Ten Books on my Might Read List

    • Alise

      Thank you!
      It totally wasn’t planned at all. *cough* Coincidences, you know. ;)

      Aha, yeah, the feels always get me.

      Oh really? Haha, I’ll have to tell her that.

      Fantasy FTW!

      Haven’t heard of that one, I’ll have to look it up!

  9. Renee Bookboyfriends

    Oooh a good starting over novel is Because of Winn Dixie. I absolutely LOVED that book as a child and was the first way I discovered anything about the Southern states of America, the civil war, the segregation of white and black people especially in the 50s and about different types of personalities.
    And they did quite a good job with the movie, but I think the book is so much rawer (is that a word?) and from the mind of a child, explores so much about the outer world. Oh wow okay this is turning into a mini review!
    Love the feature girls! :D I think this one will go far!!! *throws chocolate confetti*
    Renee Bookboyfriends recently posted…four colours → red

    • Alise

      OH MY GOSH RENEE THAT BOOK KILLED ME. I remember reading it when I was younger too! Not sure if I ever saw the movie… I feel like I’m getting snippets but… can’t remember. Baha mini review xD Thanks!

  10. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    LOVING this new feature to bits ladies! I love how you’ll have a theme for your recs each time :D Oh and I love the bit about the latest unicorn conspiracies – I wish I could attend your RiW chats haha ♥

    I’ve never read any of these :O Though I have heard about The Sea of Tranquility…I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the other two. I’ll be checking those out and likely adding them all to my tbr shelf! Thanks guys xxx
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Legion

    • Alise

      Thanks! :D Yeah, trying to go with themes relating to the month too :) BAHA YES, that would be so fun. We talk about the weirdest things, I think cannibalism was our topic yesterday xD Let me know if you have a skype account!

      Yes you definitely need to read at least one of these soon! :D

  11. Frannie Pan @ In Clouds of Pages

    I want to read the start of you and me, I’ve heard good things about it.
    But The sea of tranquility? I read that book last year and I still think about it. it was incredibly and intense and I loved Nastya’s mind and sarcasm and just weird personality. Loved it so so much!
    oH, and I’m a new follower!

    pS. I have a blog as well, if you want to stop by I’d appreciate it so much! It’s both in Italian and in English :3 ->

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