Today, I'm so excited to be participating in the blog tour for Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler. When the lovely people at Candlewick reached out to me about this title, I was delighted to discover that one of my favorite childhood authors (I was a fan of the Emily Windsnap series when I was younger) had written a YA book.
I immediately signed up for the blog tour, and I'm so glad I did. Kessler's first YA novel is an endearing, emotional story about a girl who realizes she's attracted to other girls, full of both painful awkwardness and triumphant self-discovery. And what better time to read this coming-of age-novel than during Pride Month?
For my stop, I'll be listing three similar novels and describing why their fans should try Read Me Like a Book. So without further ado, here's some more information about the novel and a run-down of three stories that are best followed by Kessler's YA debut.
Read Me Like a Book by Liz Kessler
Release: June 14, 2016 from Candlewick Press
Ashleigh Walker is a mediocre student with an assortment of friends, a sort-of boyfriend, and no plans for the future. Then a straight-from-college English teacher, Miss Murray, takes over Ash’s class and changes everything. Miss Murray smiles a lot. She shares poetry with curse words in it. She’s, well, cool. And she seems to really care about her students. About Ashleigh. For the first time, Ash feels an urge to try harder. To give something — someone — her best. Before she knows it, Ashleigh is in love. Intense, heart-racing, all-consuming first love. It’s strong enough to distract her from worrying about bad grades and her parents’ marriage troubles. But what will happen if Miss Murray finds out Ashleigh is in love with her?
three similar titles
The Confessions of Georgia Nicholson series
If you're looking to replicate Georgia's lively, overly-emotive narration, you should try Read Me Like a Book. Ashleigh's voice is noticeably more mature and controlled than Georgia's, but the two characters still remind me of each other. They both speak with plenty of angsty British slang (which will appeal to anglophile readers like me), they both tend to worry a bit too much about parties and a bit too little about school, and they both are always looking for romance.Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
But if Georgia's over-the-top personality ever exhausted you, don't worry; despite their similarities, Ashleigh's narration is a much more subdued version of the voice found in Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging and its sequels—still fun, but easier to read.
This book's protagonist, Simon, famously says “Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn't be this big awkward thing whether you're straight, gay, bi, or whatever.” With a quote like this, it comes as no surprise that Simon's coming-out story is a bit clumsy and uncomfortable—but vividly and emotionally written.What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
The same is true for Ashleigh in Read Me Like a Book. Readers will cheer for the main character as she uncovers her true identity and begins to share it with her friends and family. Just like in Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the journey can be scary and awkward, but it ultimately leaves the protagonist feeling comfortable with and proud of herself. Ashleigh's story at times made me cringe from secondhand embarrassment and unpleasant situations, but in the end it left me with a smile on my face.
Aside from uncovering her sexual orientation, Ashleigh has another major problem to battle: her parents won't stop fighting. As much as the hostility in her home upsets Ashleigh, the unraveling of her parents' marriage creates an emotional subplot that's as engaging as the main storyline. In fact, some of my favorite and some of the most vivid scenes take place in Ashleigh's house, her mum and dad shooting scathing criticisms across the dinner table with next to no provocation. YA does not feature enough books set during times of divorce (in fact, I struggled to find a divorce-related book I had read to use for this post), so I loved seeing a vivid portrayal of the emotional impact that a fracturing family can have on an already-confused teenager.If you're interested in Read Me Like a Book or want to find out more, you can check out the rest of the blog tour stops, which run all the way to July:
June 14: YA Book Central
June 15: My Mercurial Musings
June 16: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
June 17: Mayor of Bookopolis
June 18: I Read Banned Books
June 19: Forever Literary (Hey, you made it here!)
June 20: Word Spelunking
June 21: My Books Views
June 22: Kelly Vision
June 23: Swoony Boys Podcast
June 24: Reviews Coming At YA
June 25: Comfort Books
June 26: Satisfaction for Insatiable Reader
June 27: Just a Cat and a Book by her Side
June 28: The Reading Date
June 29: Forever YA
June 30: Musing Librarian Reviews
July 1: Randomly Reading
Thanks for stopping by, and be sure to follow the rest of the blog tour. We have some great content—guest posts, reviews, and more—coming your way. And if you've read any of the books mentioned in this post, let me know what you think in the comments.