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May 2 2016

The End of the Road.

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Today is a very bittersweet day for me (Willa). After much deliberation, I’ve decided to no longer continue Lit Up Review.

I started Lit Up Review at the end of my freshman year of high school, and it has stuck by me since then, featuring more than a dozen writers who are truly spectacular and I can not thank enough for joining me on this journey. Lit Up Review began as a blog to bring reviews by teenagers to teenagers, and I think that we’ve (the LUR team) succeeded in that goal.

However, we are teenagers. We spend our days at school, we do homework, we play sports, go to club meetings, work part-time jobs. We spend time with our families and play with our animals. We sleep (but never enough). And then, in the hours left, we read and blog.

As time has gone on, we’ve gotten busier and busier. It’s the nature of high school – the farther down the road you get, the harder it becomes, and if there’s one thing I know about all of the Lit Up Review team, it’s that we work hard. So, this blog has really fallen by the wayside lately. This month, I stopped and thought about what I wanted Lit Up Review to look like when I went to college, because it was never in my plans to continue writing for Lit Up Review once I was no longer in high school. Except, there was also this feeling that it was time.

I talked to the other writers, and for the most part, they agreed. We were all getting tired and wanted to do different things. So, we made the decision to have April 2016 be the last month of Lit Up Review.

We will keep the site up so you can read our reviews and recommendations, but will no longer post. Feel free to check out our individual blogs or chat with us on Twitter, where we will happy to get to know all of you better.

Thank you so much for being a part of the Lit Up Review journey. It’s been a ride filled with love, joy, and books since day one, and I can not thank you enough for supporting us. I love you all from the bottom of my heart, and I know the rest of the team does as well. You can read their thoughts below and their love messages to all of you.

All my love,





Ah, Lit Up Review. I’ve been with you from the beginning, and I’ll never forget the excitement I felt when Willa asked me to join as a writer back when we were high school freshmen. A few months earlier, I was a new blogger, alone and just barely figuring out how to run my site. Now I was going to be a part of something, a collaboration headed by someone I was starting to view as one of my closest blogger friends.

Through the years, Lit Up Review, you went on to draw me even closer to the marvelous Willa—as well as several other people as the staff shifted and grew. And while I’m proud of all we accomplished together, I most treasure the friendships that grew out of our hard work.

It’s bittersweet to let you go, but I can’t wait to shift my focus elsewhere, to other projects with some of the people I’ve bonded with through this site. You were an important part of my life these past three years, and I know I’ll be returning from time to time, reading old reviews and interviews and smiling fondly at the memories.



It’s been quite the time, y’all. Although Lit Up Review has definitely not been my first priority this year- a reason we came to the conclusion to end it now, before we scatter- it was a massive component of many of my friendships with other teen bloggers (love these girls) and a way for me to continue immersing myself in this industry that I adore. I cannot express how thoroughly grateful I am that I was a part of this. Thank y’all all so much for your support and encouragement.



I started blogging at Lit Up Review around the same time I launched my blog platform on Blogger, which was a pretty big step for me because that was when I first started taking blogging seriously. I was a scared teen, with insecurities, and just starting to get into this book blogging thing. When I first started blogging at Lit Up Review, I was actually really nervous about it. I remember opening up my first post, starting it, and just being really nervous about it because of how intimidating everything was. You have me, who has been blogging for just a few months, along-side these wonderful ladies who have been blogging for 2+ years.

Over time, though, Lit Up because less intimidating and as I got to know the wonderful ladies who blog at Lit Up, it became more fun. I really loved being able to be apart of a group dedicated to book blogging and it’s an experience that has definitely changed my blogging journey. I really want to thank Willa, Grace, and Emily for allowing me to share my words on Lit Up Review. I want to thank Jessica for really helping me out when I was first starting to blog here, and also to my other fellow contributors who have joined Lit Up Review. Really am happy to have gone through this journey with you guys. Finally, thank you to Lit Up Review, who has given me so many opportunities, new friends, and just a wonderful experience. So glad I got to be apart of this wonderful website.



While I’m sad to see Lit Up Review go, I remain delighted that I’ve been able to contribute and write to it over the past year. I feel oh-so-lucky to have found a talented, friendly group of bloggers and readers that are just as enthusiastic about books as I am. For our last post, I want to send all my thanks to Willa and Emily, for doing so much behind the scenes to keep LUR looking in tip-top condition; Grace, for being an inspiration to us all; Kaitlin, for joining in the writer fun with me; and the LUR contributors, who write some of the best reviews I’ve seen.



I hate to see Lit-Up Review being closed down. Being a part of the LUR family was one of the best experiences I’ve had in blogging and I’m really going to miss this. Through LUR, I’ve met some amazing people that I really hope to stay in contact with and I’ve learnt a lot about blogging and working with a lot of others. I love you all and I’m really going to miss you guys! <3



I’m sitting here trying to write my goodbye message, and I’m at a loss for words. I don’t even know where to begin, but I’ll try. Firstly, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to visit and interact with our lovely blog. We wouldn’t be where we are if it weren’t for you. But for me, Lit Up Review has never really been just about the blogging. When I think of LUR, I think of support, friendships, books, love, etc. I was over the moon when I joined the crew, but I could not have imagined how it would change my blogging experience. My fellow Lit Up members inspire me every day, both in life and in blogging. They are all so passionate and generous, so supportive and kind, so unique and beautiful. I’m so sad that Lit Up Review is coming to an end, but for me, it doesn’t really end because it’s become something so much greater than any of us writers/contributors. Lit Up Review will live on in those of us fortunate enough to have been part of it, and it lives on and grows as my friendships with these girls grow, and I hope that our readers will feel that too. We’re still going to be out there in the blogosphere, whether on our own blogs, on Twitter, on Instagram, on Goodreads, wherever. So thank you to everyone that’s made LUR what it is, and here’s to seeing this community continue to prosper even long after we’ve stopped posting here. Though it isn’t really a goodbye, goodbye Lit Up Review; thank you for all you’ve given me. <3



LUR has been a really cool experience for me. I started writing book reviews more regularly when I joined the LUR crew and I discovered one of my favorite books, All the Bright Places, by working on an LUR project. The best part of this experience interacting with the other LUR girls and reading your comments on my posts. Thanks for all of your support this past year and a half! I’ll continue blogging over at my personal blog, Gemrene, gemrene.wordpress.com. xx. Martha



Let me start off my saying that even though I only contributed to Lit Up Review for about a year and half, I am beyond thankful for my time here.  Not only have I made some amazing blogging friends in the wonderful group of girls that is our Lit Up Review team, I’ve also had the pleasure of reading some amazing books with them.  Each member of Lit Up Review has made an effort to reach out, push each other to grow, and offer the mentorship of kind friends.  Although this is the end of LUP, I know that this isn’t the end of my friendships with these lovely ladies, and I’m forever thankful that this blog brought us together.  xoxo



I generally don’t like saying goodbye, especially not to people and things that I love, so letting go of Lit Up Review absolutely guts me. I’ve only been a contributor for about year, but I’ve come to really care about this little piece of the Internet. But at the same time, I’m glad that we’re going out on a high note. LUR is something that I’ve been proud to be a part of, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity it’s given me to make new friends and share my love for books with a wider audience. So thanks to the writers for choosing me as a contributor last year, especially to Willa for letting us all in on your brain child. Thanks to the whole team for being so supportive and helpful and for being overall lovely people to work with. We’ve had a good run, and I’m sure this is something I’ll remember for a very long time.

Apr 29 2016

Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

posted by: • in: Reviewpermalink

22692740Novel: Symptoms of Being Human | Goodreads
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: eARC
Source: The publisher via Edelweiss. Thank you!
Also Published On: Reading Over Sleeping

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is . . . Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender-fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.

Once and a while, I’ll read a book that makes me stop and really think. It doesn’t happen very often, but it happened recently. And the book that did it for me was Symptoms of Being Human.

Symptoms of Being Human follows Riley, a gender fluid teenager, who is trying to maneuver through life. I’ve never read a novel with a gender fluid MC before, so I jumped at the chance to read this one early because I’m all about diverse narratives. It was every bit the learning experience I hoped it would be and so much more.

Riley’s struggles as a gender fluid teen are written so vividly. They deal with the issue of keeping their identity a secret from their family and peers. They deal with anxiety and depression. They deal with bullying that is so reflective of what happens to members of the LGBTQ+ community around the world that made my heart ache. I both empathized with and loved Riley. Their strength and drive to want to help others though they had their own problems was admirable, as was their ability to get back up again after they had been wronged and violated. Riley is amazing.

Riley also had people in their life who offered support, which was so amazing to read. The support group and therapy session scenes were some of my favorites because I loved that it endorsed finding a safe space to talk about your struggles instead of internalizing them. Riley’s parents tried their best to understand and support them. And Riley’s two wonderful friends, Solo, whose obsession with Star Wars made me smile, and Bec, who genuinely cared about them. It was refreshing and wonderful.

Symptoms of Being Human, though difficult to swallow at times because of the harsh realities it portrays, is an important novel about love and life and identity that everyone should read and allow themselves to learn from. It’s honest and raw and, at times, absolutely delightful. Seriously, go pick this up.

Apr 27 2016

Waiting on Wednesday {92}

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Waiting On Wednesday is originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, but we just love this meme so much we had to tag along! Each Wednesday, one of the Lit Up Review writers will post a book she is looking forward to, along with the summary and cover. You can find all of these posts by clicking on the category button and selecting “Waiting on Wednesday,” and fill up your Goodreads shelves with great books to get excited about!

25688986Unscripted Joss Byrd by Lygia Peñaflor | Goodreads
Release Date: August 23, 2016
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Katherine Jacobs at Roaring Brook has acquired Unscripted Joss Byrd , a YA debut by Lygia Day Peñaflor about a young actress struggling to meet the demands of an ambitious director, his edgy script, and her pushy mother.

Publication is scheduled for spring 2016. Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency brokered the deal for North American rights.

This debut sounds like Secrets of My Hollywood Life for a new generation of YA readers, and I am so ready to learn more about the protagonist’s struggles with fame and film. Lygia Peñaflor appears to be a promising new author in the world of YA contemporary; I have high hopes for this one.

Apr 21 2016

Ten Illuminations {51}: Best World-Building

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Ten Illuminations is a bi-weekly feature hosted by Lit Up Review where we recommend our ten favorite books that fit under one topic. Inspired by The Broke and The Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday, Ten Illuminations gives you five people’s recommendations in one!

For this Ten Illuminations, we’re taking a look at some of our favorite books with incredible world building.



The Walled City by Ryan Graudin | Goodreads

Based on a real historical lawless city, The Walled City‘s setting is terrifyingly tangible. The author devotes significant time at the beginning of the book to describing the danger of the streets, the run-down buildings, and the rampant crime – which slows the plot slightly but is entirely worth it. And as a side note, the alternate post World War-II setting of Ryan Graudin’s latest novel, Wolf by Wolf, is equally vivid and immersing.


Conversion by Katherine Howe | Goodreads

When readers and bloggers discuss world-building, contemporary novels often fall to the wayside, a trend that, while understandable, I would like to turn around. Conversion is on eof many realistic books that feature brilliant world-building. Set in historical Salem Village (the town where the Salem witch accusations took place) present-day Danvers, Massachusetts  (the town that now lays in the same location), the plot compares the story of the trials to the story of a modern high school struck by an inexplicable disease. Both setting captured me in their frenzy of energy and panic and are still vivid in my mind to this day.

Apr 20 2016

Waiting on Wednesday {91}

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Waiting On Wednesday is originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, but we just love this meme so much we had to tag along! Each Wednesday, one of the Lit Up Review writers will post a book she is looking forward to, along with the summary and cover. You can find all of these posts by clicking on the category button and selecting “Waiting on Wednesday,” and fill up your Goodreads shelves with great books to get excited about!

22733608A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody | Goodreads
Release Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true…

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

From the author 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and the Unremembered trilogy comes a hilarious and heartwarming story about second (and third and fourth and fifth) chances. Because sometimes it takes a whole week of Mondays to figure out what you really want.

I loved reading Jessica Brody’s science fiction Unremembered trilogy as much as I enjoyed her earlier contemporaries, but I’m so excited to see her get back to her realistic roots. A Week of Mondays sounds like it will have the same kind of fun and original plot that the author writes so well, and I can’t wait to find out how Ellie manages to repair her relationship over the course of a single repeated day.


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