Available: June 2016
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Age: Mature YA (9th and up for explicit sex, drinking, LGBT issues)
This is the story of first love, sexual awakenings, the impact of divorce, and the journey to find your authentic self. Ashleigh (Ash) Walker is going through a rocky time as she approaches the end of high school. Her parents are constantly fighting, she’s at odds with her best friend, her new boyfriend is not that great, and she has no real plans for the future. A consistently reluctant student, Ash suddenly finds inspiration and purpose from her young English teacher, Miss Murray.
Miss Murray is cool: she shares poetry with curse words in it, she smiles a lot, and she seems to really care about her students, especially Ash. For the first time, Ash feels an urge to try harder and realizes she’s fallen in love with her teacher. The story follows Ash’s emotional roller coaster of all consuming first love as she works to resolve the other conflicts in her life and decide what to do after school.
My Favorite Part:
I loved the realistically, imperfect relationships that Ash has with each of the other characters as she works to figure out her own identity – sexually and beyond. I especially liked her friend Cat who often pushes her so far out of her comfort zone that it makes Ash realize who she really is. But, when Ash needs her the most, Cat is always there for her – with love and acceptance.
The novel takes place in modern day England, and I enjoy the cultural and social differences between British and American teenagers that come out when reading slice of life stories set outside of the United States.
Why It Mattered to Me:
I read lots of middle grade and YA novels that I enjoy just like a young reader would. But, I found myself reading this book with my “mom” hat on most of the time. I have elementary and middle school age kids, so the teenage drama of this book felt like a sneak peek of what could be to come in my own life. Ash’s perspective on her current relationship with her parents and the wistful way she looks back on their relationship when she was a child and they were her heroes brought a heaviness to my heart. I identified with the parents in this book that are going through their own struggles while also trying to walk a fine line between letting their child go to experience and resolve her own challenges and wanting to take care of her problems for her.
Who Should Read This Book:
This is definitely a YA book that is best for 9th graders and up due to the explicit virginity loss scene and other mature references. I highly recommend it to high schoolers who like coming of age and coming out stories.
About the Author:
You might be familiar with Liz Kessler as the author of many best-selling middle grade series like Emily Windsnap, Philippa Fisher, and novels like North of Nowhere, A Year Without Autumn, and Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins? This is her YA debut and is definitely NOT for middle grade readers.
Read what others are saying about READ ME LIKE A BOOK by following the blog tour.
Official Blog Tour Stops:
6/14 YA Book Central
6/15 My Mercurial Musings
6/17 Mayor of Bookopolis
6/18 I Read Banned Books
6/19 Forever Literary
6/20 Word Spelunking
6/21 My Books Views
6/22 Kelly Vision
6/23 Swoony Boys Podcast
6/24 Reviews Comin At YA
6/25 Comfort Books
6/28 The Reading Date
6/29 Forever YA
7/1 Randomly Reading