ARC review: To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin

To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: AmazonTBDGoodreads
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Source: ARC from BookCon!

Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.

Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.

loved Maggie’s debut, The Big F, when I read it last year. TBH has been at the top of my 2018 TBR ever since it was announced and I was so excited to grab a copy when I was at BookCon! Side note, BookCon was how long ago and I’m just now getting to the ARCs? I’m so sorry.

Anyway, the review.

Savannah is definitely a less likable heroine than Dani was. She’s rude, she’s angry, and she pushes people away. And why shouldn’t she? Her mother is always making snide comments about her weight and trying to get her to tag along with her latest diet scheme. I’d be rude and angry, too. Despite Savannah’s attitude problem, or maybe even because of it, I liked her. I got where she was coming from. She was a refreshing protagonist and reading her story made me so happy.

The family dynamics in this book stressed me out so much, but I also loved them! In addition to her diet-crazed mother, Savannah has a barely-there father who really isn’t that great at parenting… when he even bothers to show up. Her sister Ashley is her saving grace, but since Ashley just left for college, Savannah is more or less on her own with a mother who constantly makes her feel like she isn’t good enough.

Luckily, Savannah’s best friend Grace is a constant positive presence. I loved Grace and the fact that their friendship never took a backseat to the action, regardless of what the action was. There’s a really great side plot about Savannah and Grace doing some investigative journalism, and I loved it!

The last thing I want to talk about is the love interest, George. He was such a cutie pie and I loved him so much. George and Savannah were so cute together, honestly, I was just one big heart eyes emoji while I was reading their scenes together. 😍 The only thing I could’ve wished for was some better communication between the two of them. Savannah jumped to a lot of conclusions and George was pretty closed off about his emotions, but considering that they’re in high school, I’m really not that surprised!

All in all, this is a great contemporary focusing on body shaming and body image that also includes a super cute romance. Highly recommended!

Goodreads summer reading challenge: one and done


Have you read To Be Honest? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!


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Top Ten Tuesday: New-to-me authors of 2017

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  Today’s theme, which is pretty fitting for the first Tuesday of a new year, is the top ten new-to-me authors I read in 2017. I read a lot of new authors last year, but here are the ten that came to mind first. (They are in no specific order)

1. R.S. Grey
❤︎ The Fortunate Ones: Goodreads || review
💜 Scoring Wilder: Goodreads || review
💚 The Allure of Julian Lefray: Goodreads || review
💙 The Allure of Dean Harper: Goodreads || review
💛 The Foxe & the Hound: Goodreads || review
🖤 Anything You Can Do:  Goodreads || review

2. Angie Thomas
❤︎ The Hate U Give: Goodreads || review

3. Cindi Madsen
💜 Operation Prom Date: Goodreads || review
💚 Nailed It: Goodreads || review

4. Author trio: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
💙 My Lady Jane: Goodreads || review

5. Christina Lauren
💛 Roomies: Goodreads || review

6. Maggie Ann Martin
🖤 The Big F: Goodreads || review

7. Andie J. Christopher
❤︎ Break of Day: Goodreads || review

8. Rachel Van Dyken
💜 Fraternize: Goodreads || review
💚 Infraction: Goodreads || review

9. Natalie D. Richards
💙 We All Fall Down: Goodreads || review

10. Tristina Wright
🖤 27 Hours: Goodreads || review

That’s What He Said: The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin

“Can’t you just picture everyone in their underwear?” he asked.

“I would prefer not to picture you in your underwear,” I said.

“Ouch!” he said. He picked up a book that had been misplaced on the shelf behind me and rearranged it, resting his hand right above my head. I held my breath for a few moments as I realized just how close we were. “For the record, I’ve been told I look rather refined in my underwear.”

The Big F, Maggie Ann Martin

ARC review: The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin

Goodreads ⭐ Amazon ⭐

Dani Cavanaugh’s mom has planned out her whole future for her.  As a college psychic, her mom works with high school seniors to help them find the ideal program and school for their interests.  For Dani, a major in communications at Ohio State was the plan.  Not in the plan was Dani failing her senior year English class and getting her OSU admission revoked. Dani’s determined to get her life back on track, so she enrolls at her local community college with plans to transfer to OSU next semester.  But what happens when she realizes that her big life plan might not be what she wants anymore?

I first found out about this book through That Artsy Reader Girl’s 2017 Debut Author Challenge.  Imagine my surprise when I found it on Netgalley and then was actually approved for an ARC!  This turned out to be one of my favorite debuts of 2017.

If I’m totally honest, I wasn’t so sure about it when I first started reading.  It took awhile for me to really get sucked in by the writing, and my natural status as #1 problem solver kept trying to kick in for Dani.  I found myself thinking, “What kind of high school teacher fails a kid based on one paper? I’m sure she could have contested that.”  I thought, “What kind of parents don’t care about what their daughter actually wants?  Why are they more concerned about her lying than about the fact that she felt like she couldn’t tell them about her admission being revoked?”  I also thought, “This is a good warning as to why you shouldn’t declare your major before you even start college.”  But then I told myself to turn my brain off and just enjoy this book.  And I did.

Initially, Dani is upset about her plans changing.  She’d been accepted to Ohio State, a well-respected Big Ten university, and was now walking into the admissions office of Denton Community College with her tail between her legs.  But it turns out that DCC is a really good fit for her.  She makes friends.  Her classes are tough but enjoyable.  She even reconnects with her old neighbor and the two start dating.

Dani really takes her future into her own hands.  She gets herself a job at the college bookstore so that she can save up money for her inevitable transfer.  (I am super jealous because I would have loved to work at my university’s book store.)  She finds herself an internship in a field that she loves.  She grows as a person and becomes more responsible and more mature.

There are two main conflicts in this book.  The first is between Dani and her mother. Because Dani’s mother, for as famous of a psychic as she is supposed to be, does not understand her daughter at all.  She wants her daughter to be someone that she’s not, and it frustrated me immensely.  Her mother even grounds her.  Grounds her.  I was, in general, pretty respectful of my mother while growing up, but I think I would have laughed in her face if she’d tried to ground me while I was in college.  Dani is an adult.  She is allowed to have her own opinions and make her own mistakes.  I really disliked Dani’s mother for failing to realize that.

The second main conflict is between Dani and Luke, her childhood neighbor that she begins dating at the beginning of the book.  Growing up, Dani had a huge crush on Luke.  He was her best friend’s older brother and she swooned over him at every chance.  Now, they’re both grown up and taking advantage of the fact that they’re allowed to be alone and kiss each other and nobody can stop them.  But, the thing is, we never really feel any chemistry between them.  Aside from their first kiss, they just kind of coexist on the page.  Dani has a thousand times more chemistry with Porter, her coworker and Luke’s roommate, than she ever had with Luke.  But much like Ohio State had always been Dani’s dream, so has dating Luke.  Dani has to reconcile the fact that sometimes your dreams don’t turn out the way you want them to.  That sometimes dreams can change, and that’s normal and okay.

I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.  Maggie Ann Martin definitely did justice to the genre, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

I received a free ARC of The Big F from Macmillan/Swoon Reads via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Book queue

It’s been a busy three days when it comes to galleys!  Thinking that I’d only be approved for one or two if I was lucky, I requested a whole ton of books on Netgalley earlier this week.  Then, as I was sitting at my desk, minding my own business and trying to do the job that I actually get paid for, my phone started blowing up.  Seriously, notification after notification was rolling in and I had no idea what was going on.

I had a constant flow of emails from Netgalley, which was so unexpected!  Not only was I approved for five galleys that I’d requested, but I was invited to read Alice Hoffman’s new book!

I’m already knee-deep in The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash, so, what’s next?

What’s next in your reading queue?

Most anticipated: August 2017

It’s been awhile since I did one of these!  I was just browsing through upcoming YA releases for my 2017 Debut Author Challenge and I found so many books coming out in August that I’m excited to read!  Here are four of my top choices.

The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin
Expected publication: August 29, 2017

Danielle effed up. Big time.

Danielle’s plans for the future were pretty easy to figure out… until she failed senior English and her single college application was denied. Suddenly she’s in hot water with very few options, because honestly who applies to a safety school when their mom is a semi-famous “college psychic”?!

Determined to get her life back on track, Danielle enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass her English class and get back into Ohio State and her mother’s good graces. Romance isn’t on her radar… until she reconnects with her childhood crush and golden-boy-next-door, Luke.

Between family drama, first love and finding her own way, Danielle can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed. Thankfully she has her friendship with the snarky and frustratingly attractive Porter, her coworker at the campus bookstore, to push her to experience new things and help keep her afloat.

One thing’s for sure: This time, failure’s not an option.

Just Friends by Tiffany Pitcock
Expected publication: August 1, 2017

A new spin on the classic smart-girl-and-bad-boy setup, this witty contemporary romance shows how easily a friendship – even one built on an elaborate lie – can become so much more.

Jenny meets Chance for the very first time when she is assigned as his partner in their Junior Oral Communications class. But after they rescue a doomed assignment with one clever lie, the whole school is suddenly convinced that Little-Miss-Really-Likes-Having-A’s and the most scandalous heartbreaker in school have been best friends forever. It’s amazing how quickly a lie can grow―especially when you really, really want it to be the truth.

With Jenny, Chance can live the normal life he’s always kind of wanted. And with Chance, Jenny can have the exciting teen experiences that TV shows and movies have always promised. Through it all, they hold on to the fact that they are “just friends.” But that might be the biggest lie of all.

Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman
Expected publication: August 1, 2017

Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?

The Wood by Chelsea Bobulski
Expected publication: August 1, 2017

After her father goes missing in the woods that they protect, Winter tries to seek the truth in what happened, why the wood is changing, and what it all has to do with the arrival of a mysterious stranger in this thrilling YA debut.

When Winter’s dad goes missing during his nightly patrol of the wood, it falls to her to patrol the time portals and protect the travelers who slip through them. Winter can’t help but think there’s more to her dad’s disappearance than she’s being told.

She soon finds a young man traveling in the wood named Henry who knows more than he should. He believes if they can work together to find his missing parents, they could discover the truth about Winter’s dad.

The wood is poisoned, changing into something sinister—torturing travelers lost in it. Winter must put her trust in Henry in order to find the truth and those they’ve lost.

Are there any books you’re looking forward to this August?  Were you lucky enough to get ARCs of any of these books?  Let me know what you think!