All tagged C.K. Kelly Martin

Recommendation Roundup: Winter/Spring 2014-15

Well, I got a bit behind on, like, life, so I thought I'd bundle a few months of our recommended reads for you, rather than trying to catch up month-by-month. 

I did a bit of re-reading over the last few months, which has been pretty fun. I think I will continue to revisit my favorites as a matter of course, because there's something enjoyable in revisiting a beloved story. We all read The Carnival at Bray for book club right before it was a Printz honoree and we all loved it so much, so if you haven't snagged that brilliant little book, do so!

As always, click on the cover for more information. If we have a review available, it will be noted.

Recommendation Tuesday: The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing by C.K. Kelly Martin

Recommendation Tuesday started as a joke and is now an official thing. Basically, this is my way of making Tuesday a little more awesome. If you've got a book to recommend on this or any Tuesday, tweet me at @FullShelves and I'll help spread the word.

View all of the past recommendations over here. 

Quiet books aren't the trend right now, but they're still my favorites.

One of the real masters of quiet YA novels is C.K. Kelly Martin, who's been writing for a long time, but is deserving of far more acclaim and attention than she receives. So, it's no surprise that her latest, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing, is another excellent, subtle novel that fans of contemporary YA shouldn't miss. 

Podcast: What the hell is "New Adult"?

We're back with another installment of the Clear Eyes, Full Shelves podcast! In this episode we ask a lot of questions about the idea of "new adult" fiction.

Is it a genre? Is it a category? Is it even a thing in the real world beyond the internet? Why are most of the New Adult novels seemingly contemporary romance with 18-24 year old? What types of books would we like to see come out of this trend?

As an added bonus, we both reflect on what we were like during that tumultuous--and hilarious--time in our lives. e'd love to hear your thoughts on what you'd like to see from this trend.

You can listen by steaming the audio in this post, by control- or right-clicking the "download" link or subscribing in iTunes. (If you're an iTuner, we very much appreciate your rating the podcast--it helps us show up in searches.)

Thanks for listening!

List-O-Rama: 3 Backlist YA Novels You May Have Missed

And by “backlist,” I mean books published prior to the explosion in popularity of YA in the last few years. These are a few of my go-to books when I make recommendations to folks who fell in love with young adult fiction and plowed through most of the popular titles.

These are all contemporaries, natch. And bonus: they’re generally way cheaper than new releases, so it’s easier to feed your book addiction. 

Adios to My Old Life by Caridad Ferrer

MTV Books 2006

I adored Caridad (aka “Barb”) Ferrer’s 2010 novel, When the Stars Go Blue (which is inexplicably omitted from lists of “New Adult” titles, by the way), so I immediately bought both of her previous novels. (I’ve actually held off on reading It’s Not About the Accent because then I will have no other books of hers to read—please tell me I’m not the only one who does this.) Frankly, I’m surprised Adios to My Old Life wasn’t more popular when it was released, since it was published during the height of the American Idol craze, when everyone was talking about Idol around the watercooler. Adios follow Alegria, a talented 16 year old from Miami who’s competing in Oye Mi Canto, a reality show searching for the next Latin pop star. This is a fast-paced novel that I read in one sitting.

List-O-Rama: Some of Our Favorite Male POV Contemporary YA

Gabrielle’s excellent post this week, “The Broken Boys of YA,” and subsequent huge Goodreads list inspired me to dedicate today’s post to highlighting some of our favorite young adult novels written from a male point-of-view.

These are all contemporaries, which is near and dear to us here, though there are some excellent paranormals and dystopians which Gabrielle’s Goodreads list highlights as well. It’s interesting, because I didn’t realize until now that many of my favorites are written by women. It’s funny, because many of the books I’ve had the biggest problems with have also been written by women. It seems like authors either knock this out of the park for me or absolutely fall flat. Funny… I would have thought there’d be more of a gender divide. 

Freefall by Mindi Scott 

“I just love that feeling when things are about to change. Like when you know that in a few seconds you’re going to do something and become someone else.”

I’m pretty sure that Laura and I are friends thanks to this book. Seth’s voice is one of my absolute favorites, it has a wonderful note of authenticity that makes Seth seem absolutely real. (I read Mindi’s new book last week and I literally squealed because Seth is mentioned and thought something along the lines of “I hope he’s doing well” before reminding myself that Seth is a fictional character.) Freefall has a very strong theme about actively choosing to make things change and it really resonated with both Laura and I. Seth Rocks.

{Laura’s Review | Amazon | Goodreads}

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

He was the person all of us should be, but most of us aren’t. And if I could have taken his place to buy him a little more time in the world, I’d have done it. I’m sorry I couldn’t.

Trish Doller’s debut is still reigning as one of my absolute favorite books of 2012. A 19-year old Marine coping with PTSD, on leave back in his hometown, in his family home, Travis’ should be pretty unrelatable for a dorky girl like me, but his story is told with such emotional authenticity that ultimately I found extremely compelling and familiar. 

{My Review | Amazon | Goodreads}

Mystery is supposed to be the next paranormal, right?

Well, our latest Book Matchmaker victim participant, Victoria, wants a bit of both, plus some quality contemporary reads— only YA need apply, please. And add in a dash of romance for good measure!

Victoria’s Book Matchmaker Responses

YA or Adult: YA

Genres: Contemporary, Dystopia, Romance, Paranormal, Mystery/Thriller

POV or Narrative Style: First Person, Third Person, Multiple POV, Epistolary, Male POV, Main Character or Narrator, Female POV, Main Character or Narrator

Likes: Patrick Ness, Courtney Summers, Sarah Dessen, JK Rowling… probably my favourite authors EVER!

Dislikes: Instant love

Smut Factor: 2 

Fluff Factor: 2 

Swoon Factor: 4

Gross Out Factor: 3

We had a ton of fun with this matchmaker, since all of us love YA. 

The Results

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher

This is a genre-bending psychological novel that’s very challenging. It’s YA, but mature, and told in second person, in the form of a letter from a kidnapped girl to her captor. It takes place in the Australian outback and the landscape adds to the atmosphere of the novel.

{Buy at Amazon | Add on Goodreads}


Our latest book matchmaker victim participant is Kate, who loves good young adult fiction. This is one of the most fun book matchmaker posts we’ve done, since Kate’s tastes appear to be very similar to Laura’s and mine. She’s looking for YA novels that have either historical or contemporary settings and have some depth.

The biggest challenge was finding books to recommend that Kate hadn’t read yet! 

Kate’s Responses

Adult, YA or Both: YA

Genres: Contemporary, Historical, Romance

Narrative Style & POV: First Person, Multiple POV, Present Tense, Past Tense, Male POV, Main Character or Narrator, Female POV, Main Character or Narrator 

Swoon Factor: 4

Gross Out Factor: 1

Fluff Factor: 3  

Smut Factor: 3

Likes: “Favorites include: The Summer books by Jenny Han, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, Nicholas Sparks. But I also books with deep themes, such as dealing with death, etc. I’m really up for anything. Just not a huge fantasy fan!”

Dislikes: Vampires, made-up creatures, really improbable plotlines :)

The Results

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg

This is a novel in verse recommended by Laura that deals with several big issues and has a semi-historical setting (the 1970s—which I can’t really comprehend as “historic,” but oh well). This is an emotional book in which the author makes every word count. 


{Review} Come See About Me by C.K. Kelly Martin

Love is real and real love lasts. I used to feel sorry for people who didn’t believe in it—the people who were lonely with someone else or lonely alone. For awhile I was was one of the lucky ones.

C.K. Kelly Martin, who’s written several marvelous young adult novels, couldn’t find a traditional publisher for her first book for adults, Come See About Me.

According to Martin, no one knew how to market a novel with a 20 year old protagonist. Come See About Me certainly isn’t a teen novel, it’s mature and addresses themes that are not seen in the YA category. And since “Adult” fiction typically features older narrators, not a recent college dropout, it couldn’t be marketed as “Adult.” Essentially, a marketing problem* prevented this novel from hitting bookstore shelves. 

This is absolutely perplexing to me.

Luckily for us, Martin couldn’t keep to herself the story of Leah, a young woman who’s life has wholly stalled following the death of her boyfriend, Bastien, who was killed while crossing the street in Toronto. She flakes on her job, fails out of school, hides from her friends and family—she can’t move forward because of the loss. She wants to be alone with her memories and sadness over what should have been, over their lost future together.

Alone is what’s easier. Everyone else would prefer that I pretend my life hasn’t been hollowed out. They believe their expectations should carry some weight with me. Only Bastien truly carries any weight and people try to use that fact against me too and tell me what he would want for me. Some of the things they say about that might be right, but since he’s not here he doesn’t get to decide how I should handle his absence.

The early chapters, in which Leah recounts her relationship with Bastien, were incredibly difficult for me to read. The two went to high school in British Columbia together, though they weren’t even friends—acquaintances is a better description—and connected later, when they both went to college in Toronto. Their love was the forever sort, not the college dating temporary sort.

C.K. Kelly Martin is one of my favorite “sleeper” young adult authors.

It boggles my mind that her work is not more widely known. The Lighter Side of Life and Death is an outstanding example of authentic, engaging teen male point of view, while One Lonely Degree is a heartwrenching story of friendship. (I haven’t read I Know It’s Over, as it deals with teen pregnancy and I usually avoid that theme, but many folks have told me it’s excellent as well.)

My Beating Teenage Heart was unexpected.