Reviews

May/June Reads: Contagious + More YA Fiction

July 20, 2015
girl book cat

It’s been a busy summer so far, but I’ve still managed to read some great books.

If you missed my April reads, check it out here.

Nonfiction

Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

contagious book reviewBook Description:

“What makes things popular? Why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?

If you said advertising, think again. People don’t listen to advertisements, they listen to their peers. But why do people talk about certain products and ideas more than others? Why are some stories and rumors more infectious? And what makes online content go viral?

Wharton marketing professor Jonah Berger has spent the last decade answering these questions. He’s studied why New York Times articles make the paper’s own Most E-mailed List, why products get word of mouth, and how social influence shapes everything from the cars we buy to the clothes we wear to the names we give our children. In this book, Berger reveals the secret science behind word-of-mouth and social transmission. Discover how six basic principles drive all sorts of things to become contagious, from consumer products and policy initiatives to workplace rumors and YouTube videos.”

My Take:

This book has been on my to-read list since it came out in 2013, so I finally downloaded the audiobook. It’s one I know I’ll go back and listen to again. The ideas are solid and backed by a variety of examples, which keeps it interesting. I’m not sure it gave me any specific ideas for my own business, but it was still a worthy read/listen.

Interesting Quotes:

“Word of mouth is the primary factor behind 20 percent to 50 percent of all purchasing decisions.”

“People don’t think in terms of information. They think in terms of narratives. But while people focus on the story itself, information comes along for the ride.”


Fiction

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

made you up book reviewBook Description:

“Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. For fans of Silver Linings Playbook and Liar, this thought-provoking debut tells the story of Alex, a high school senior—and the ultimate unreliable narrator—unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out what is real and what is not. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8 Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal. Can she trust herself? Can we trust her?”

My Take:

This was so good. It deals with mental illness from a first person perspective, which is fascinating to me, and it’s also funny while still dealing with serious issues. Plus it’s technically a young adult novel, which I have a weakness for. I definitely recommend it!

Interesting Quotes:

“Intelligence is not measured by how much you know, but by how much you have the capacity to learn.”

“Was everything made up? Was this whole world inside my head? If I ever woke up from it, would I be inside a padded room somewhere, drooling all over myself? Would I even be myself?”

“If nothing’s real, then what does it matter?” he said. “You live here. Doesn’t that make it real enough?”


 

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

side effects may vary book reviewBook Description:

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, who she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her archnemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

My Take:

This was an interesting, quick read. I read reviews saying it was “better than The Fault in Our Stars,” so I’m pretty confused about that. It was a decent YA novel, but nowhere near a John Green level.

Interesting Quotes:

“But now I felt trapped, like a homeless person who’d been given their dream home only to suffer from intense wanderlust because we always want something until we have it.”

“In a hundred years, no one would know us, but this moment for us would last as long as we did.”

“Then he left, and with him he took the sun, the moon, the stars, and anything inside of me that might have been good.”

 


The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

beginning of everything book reviewBook Description:

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: In one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his career as a jock, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for homecoming king, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met— achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

Together, Ezra and Cassidy discover flash mobs, buried treasure, secret movie screenings, and a poodle that might just be the reincarnation of Jay Gatsby. But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: If one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

With lyrical writing, nerdy humor, and realistic romance, Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a story about how difficult it is to play the part people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

My Take: This is definitely one of my new favorites. The description to this book starts with, “Robyn Schneider’s book … is a witty and heart-wrenching teen novel that will appeal to fans of books by John Green and Ned Vizzini and novels such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” while also mentioning nerdy humor. I love all of those things mentioned, and this didn’t disappoint. I couldn’t stop reading it while I was on a trip to the beach. I need to find more novels like this.

Interesting Quotes:

“She tasted like buried treasure and swing sets and coffee. She tasted the way fireworks felt, like something you could get close to but never really have just for yourself.”

“We move through each other’s lives like ghosts, leaving behind haunting memories of people who never existed.”

“Steinbeck wrote about the tide pools and how profoundly they illustrate the interconnectedness of all things, folded together in an ever-expanding universe that’s bound by the elastic string of time. He said that one should look from the tide pool to the stars, and then back again in wonder.”

 


What did you read so far this summer? What’s on your list next

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