June 10, 2020

Friends with ARCs: You Say It First + Seasons of the Storm

You Say It First centers around two teens: Meg, who has her life set up perfectly from her boyfriend to her future college plans with her best friend, and Colby, who is reeling from a family tragedy and doesn't particular know or care what his future holds. They first connect on the night that Meg ends up calling his house during her volunteer shift at the phone bank at a voter registration call center. While that first conversation ends abruptly, it actually is the first of many honest, unexpected (and occasionally heated) conversations that eventually lead to their friendship and then to something more. Their right-time-right-call connection is special, but are they too fundamentally different to make things work?

You Say It First really felt like a Katie Cotugno read. She's always done excellent character work, and the characters are, to me, the crowning glory of the story. As with her many other novels, Cotugno is unafraid of making her characters feel real. To me, that has always meant characters with complex personalities, who have flaws and talents, who experience a riot of emotions good and bad. And that's certainly the case for these two! Meg and Colby are both teens just trying to deal with the history and present day circumstances that inform who they are.  It's really interesting to watch them push up against each other in a way that challenges their current perspectives, and that entire character journey (on both sides) is incredibly relatable. Their story is padded by the presence of  politics, personal trauma (both of them have their fair share), and other important relationships in each of their lives (Meg and her mother, Colby and his brother, their other friendships). Every detail just served to make this story feel more like you were reading about two individuals you could potentially know in real life, and that, to me, is the mark of strong storytelling. I really enjoyed reading You Say It First, and would highly recommend checking it out.

Who is someone you connected with online before you met them in person? Rachel is obviously one of the people I connected with online before we met in real life, and so is Kristin! But actually, the very first person who I really became friends with online and then met later in real life was Estelle. I can still remember the first time we ever met up - we had dinner together at Schnippers!

You Say It First will be published on June 16, 2020 by Balzer and Bray.
I received an e-galley via Edelweiss from the publisher for review. All opinions are my own.

Seasons of the Storm is set in a world where each season is embodied by a person, and there’s a “kill and be kill” cycle in place to ensure the transition between seasons. The story centers around a Winter named Jack, who wants to find a way to break out of the cycle for himself and the girl he’s in love with - Fleur, the Spring who kills him each year. But breaking free isn’t going to be easy, and obstacles and enemies will challenge their determination to escape. 

Before we go into details, I will say that I overall did enjoy this book! I was particularly excited to see the seasonal magic in play, and it was a pleasant surprise to discover the unique elements of Cosimano’s rather modern perspective (including the technology, which I certainly didn’t see coming). But I can honestly admit that the first part of this story was a little rough in terms of the pacing (a touch messy to me), the set-up (there was a lot of actual “telling” versus “showing”) and the story (it was a lot more slice of life than I expected, which isn’t bad but isn’t what I’d expected). I was worried that the book would fall short, but thankfully, things started to slowly take a turn after the 40% mark. The plot picked up, the action scenes were exciting, the characters got their moments to shine and I found myself eager to find out how it would all end. (Bonus points for the fact that there was an element of the climax and conclusion that I definitely did not see coming!) While I can’t generally recommend this to all fantasy readers, if you do find it conceptually interesting, I’d think it’s worth giving it a shot (though I’d probably just borrow it from the library if you can).

Seasons of the Storm will be published on June 23, 2020 by HarperTeen.
I received an e-ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss. All opinions stated here are my own.

Which season and region would you pick? I truly never would have picked this season were it not for the location, but I would go for spring in Japan. I just love cherry blossoms and Japan a lot, okay? 


  1. I can't wait to read You Say it First! I'm hoping to pick it up once I finish Sisterhood! And I'm disappointed to hear your thoughts on Seasons of the Storm- the premise sounds so promising!

  2. So happy to hear you would highly recommend You Say It First! I personally love the way Katie Cotugno integrates complicated issues in her stories, and I'm really looking forward to reading it soon!


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