Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith

Back When You Were Easier to Love
Emily Wing Smith
Publisher: Dutton
Released: April 28, 2011
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Source: Teen {Book} Scene
What's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan - the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah - unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.

Original and insightful, quirky and crushing, Joy's story is told in surprising and artfully shifting flashbacks between her life then and now. Exquisite craft and wry, relatable humor signal the arrival of Emily Wing Smith as a breakout talent.
I am going to be frank: I did not like Joy, but that is exactly why I liked this book.

Joy is still reeling from the unexpected disappearance of her boyfriend. Okay, he didn't exactly disappear - he moved away for college a year early - but to Joy, it feels that way. She always thought their biggest connection was their mutual dislike for the ultra Conservative, Mormon town they lived in and its people. But when Zan leaves for California without so much as a goodbye, Joy is left wondering if Zan saw her that way, too.

The reason I say I disliked Joy is because she really wasn't very likeable... in the beginning. Her goal was to get out of Haven, go to college in California, and do it all with Zan. When he leaves without her, she is devastated. She alienates her friends, who try to tell her she's better off. She blows off Noah, Zan's former best friend, because she believes he is, essentially, the reason Zan left in the first place. When Joy realizes Noah isn't giving up so easily, she convinces him to drive her to California to find Zan - an idea no one thinks is very good besides Joy.

You can probably imagine what happens from there. I must disagree with the synopsis, and say that I didn't find this story to be particularly original. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't still read it. Think about it. How often do we do things despite already knowing the general outcome? Sometimes we have to learn things the hard way just for the sake of learning. This is exactly why I loved this book and why I loved Joy in the end. Despite her bad decisions and her crappy attitude, she is a very real character. Contemporary literature is based on this - if I can't believe it, then I can't read it. And even though I didn't always agree with Joy, I thought her actions and emotions were always believable.

I'm so glad to have been included on Emily's tour. Be sure to visit the other stops for more reviews, interviews, and more.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Follow Friday

Follow Friday is hosted by my wonderful fellow Louisianian, Parajunkee! For those of you who don't know, #FF is a blog hop designed to introduce you to other book bloggers and them to you! I don't usually get a chance to participate in the fun, but I thought my answer to today's question might be of particular interest to you. I've been a little absent lately, so I thought some of you may like to know what I'm doing when I'm not reading (or blogging). Be sure to visit Parajunkee if you aren't already familiar (she's awesome) and introduce yourself! Also be sure to check out other blogs and let them know how you found them :)

Q. What do I do when I am not reading?

I work. I have an amazing job with amazing coworkers with an amazing boss. It's not always puppies and kitties, and sometimes I complain a lot, but I really do love it.

I have a family. It consists of a terrier named Belle, a labrador named Honey, a doberman named Dexter, two kitties named Emmy and Pasqually, and a guy named Josh. I am also a daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin, and friend to a very large, very special group of people I get to claim as my own.

I am planning a wedding. It is hard and time consuming and a little bit scary. And through all the invitation choices to the registry items to the ceremony music, I am trying extremely hard to not become that thing over there -->  The venues are booked, the photographer and florist are scheduled, the dress is in my closet. The big things are done, but I swear it's the details that will kill me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Character Interview: Joy from Back When You Were Easier to Love

Today I have Joy, the main character from Emily Wing Smith's Back When You Were Easier to Love, for an interview! She is here courtesy of the Teen {Book} Scene blog tour. I haven't had the pleasure of reading Joy's story just yet, but I'm really looking forward to it. I've asked some pretty general questions for those of you who may not have read it either.

1. Hi, Joy! Why don’t you tell our readers a little bit about yourself.

My name is Joy Afterclein and I’m a senior in high school. Last year I moved from a basically normal city in California to Haven, Utah, a town that defies description. Fortunately, I met my soulmate here. Unfortunately he’s not here anymore.

2. Did you really think you could get away with going on a road trip?

Yes! It’s possible to plan a secret roadtrip if you make sure you have every detail taken care of…and, of course, if nothing goes majorly wrong.

3. Why Noah? I know he’s Zan’s friend, but it doesn’t seem like you like him nearly enough to drive to California with him.

I don’t even like Noah enough to drive to Phil’s Market with him, let alone California! It has less to do with friendship and more to do with a) my absence of transportation and b) a dream I had. I know it sounds kooky, but I believe in following dreams, even the literal ones.

4. What did you really expect to find once you got there?

Even deep-down I never admitted to myself what I thought I’d find. I just knew everything would become clearer there. And it did. Sort of.

5. What’s your favorite Barry Manilow song?

Depending on my mood: “Mandy,” “Copacabana,” or “I Made it Through the Rain.”

Thanks Joy (and Emily) for stopping by bookmarked today! I don't know about you guys, but those answers have me even more intrigued. Be sure to visit the rest of the tour stops for reviews, interviews, and other awesome goodies.
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