All tagged Morgan Matson

Kicking Off Podcast Season 3: Episode #27, "Hug It Out"

Hi folks! Welcome to season three of the Official, One and Only Clear Eyes, Full Shelves Podcast!

Apologies for the long hiatus, but we had reasons. We've both done a lot of reading and watching television/movies during our time off, and we kept circling back to the idea of the way family relationships are portrayed. More often than not, it's hard for both of us to see familiar patterns and resolutions that feel "real." Obviously, as we mention in this episode, we only have our own experiences to draw on, but we also know we can't be alone. 

Remember, if you want to get your new episodes early, subscribe in iTunes, the show drops there about a day earlier than it does here. 


Mini Reviews: Three Contemporary YAs

I’ve had semi-written drafts of reviews of three contemporary YA novels sitting in the queue for ages. Ages as in months.

So, I thought I’d just admit that I’m not going to be able to write one of my patented epically long reviews for every book, and instead pass along my thoughts of three contemporary young adult novels I read and enjoyed this summer. 

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby

I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now I’ve thought maybe my mother drowned in both.

I wasn’t as in love with Jessi Kirby’s 2012 release, In Honor, as I hoped I would be, but even though I wasn’t swept away by that story, I thoroughly enjoyed the writing. So, when I spotted her debut, Moonglass, deeply discounted, I snapped it up and absolutely loved it. This novel has that same quality of Melissa Walker, Sarah Ockler or Sarah Dessen—it’s a gentle little story featuring relatable characters and a subdued style. (This is such a refreshing contrast to the high drama that’s so trendy in contemporary YAs this year.) While the themes are heavy (the main character’s mother killed herself), it never feels HEAVY.

Moonglass stands out among the many grief/loss YA novels for a number of reasons, but firstly because the death occurs well before the book’s opening, making the story very much about Anna, the main character, finding herself and figuring out where the loss of her mother at such a young age fits into how she is. There’s a very lightweight romance that progresses in a natural way, and it takes place in a swoon-worthy California beach community that absolutely comes alive, despite the novel’s short length. (Yes, a setting can be swoon-worthy.) 

My only issue with this book is that the symbolism felt a bit over-the-top, but it’s also executed quite well, so that’s more of a personal preference than something that will bother most people. 

{Buy it at Amazon | BN | iBooks | Book Depo}

{Add it 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. 


Contemporary Young Adult fiction is a sub-genre near and dear to my heart.

I think it goes all the way back to my 13-year old self’s undying love for Judy Blume’s incredible novel, Tiger Eyes (Goodreads, Amazon). (Seriously, it is her absolute best, despite that it’s not nearly as widely read as Forever et al.) So, I watch Kirkus reviews, Goodreads lists and blog posts like a hawk for buzz about my favorite contemporary YA authors and new and new-to-me authors and then tap my fingers while waiting, waiting, waiting for these new releases. The following are five contemporary YAs that I’m eagerly anticipating.

In Honor by Jessi Kirby

Sarah Ockler raved about this book on Twitter, and since Sarah is amazing, I immediate but it on my “omigod I must read ASAP” list. Then, I discovered that one of the characters was inspired by Tim Riggins. After picking myself up off the floor, this rocketed into another level. (A note: I love Tim Riggins, but I will maintain forever and always that Coach Eric Taylor/Kyle Chandler is hotter than Tim Riggins/Taylor Kitsch. I dare you to try to change my mind.) In Honor takes place in the aftermath of the main character’s brother’s death in Iraq and the subsequent road trip (sa-woon—I looooove road trip novels) she takes with her brother’s best friend. It’s got to be awesome, right?

Simon & Schuster, May 2012

{Preorder In Honor as an ebook or hardcover.}

{Add on Goodreads.}