Monday, May 4, 2015

Book Spotlight: Excerpt, Review, and Giveaway for Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone

I'm super excited to have an excerpt from Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone to share with you along with a chance to win a bundle of her YA books!

Some Kind of Normal
By Juliana Stone
Sourcebooks Fire
May 5, 2015

Book Info:
What is normal? For Trevor, normal was playing fast guitar licks, catching game-winning passes, and partying all night. Until a car accident leaves him with no band, no teammates, and no chance of graduating. It’s kind of hard to ace your finals when you’ve been in a coma. The last thing he needs is stuck-up Everly Jenkins as his new tutor, those beautiful blue eyes catching every flaw.
For Everly, normal was a perfect family around the dinner table, playing piano at Sunday service, and sunning by the pool. Until she discovers her whole life is a lie. Now the perfect pastor’s daughter is hiding a life-changing secret, one that is slowly tearing her family apart. And spending the summer with notorious flirt Trevor Lewis means her darkest secret could be exposed.
This achingly beautiful story about two damaged teens struggling through pain and loss to redefine who they are, to their family, to themselves, and to each other is sure to melt your heart.

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Excerpt from Some Kind of Normal: 
“You got any?” he asked.
“Any what?”
“Me?” I had to laugh at that. Wow. Before last year that would have been grounds for major punishment. Heck, up until my senior year, I hadn’t been allowed to wear lip gloss. Now I wasn’t so sure that my mom would even notice, and since I avoided my dad whenever I could…
“No,” I said, shaking my head. “My skin is untouched.”
His eyes widened a bit, and I felt heat creep up my neck. Great. Now I was blushing again.
“Untouched,” he said with that lopsided smile that made my stomach dip. “I like that.”
“You do?”
“Yep. A clean slate. There’s something almost poetic about that, you know? Tragic too. How many people get a do--over?”
Trevor reached for my hand, and though my first instinct was to snatch it back, his long fingers enveloped mine before I had the chance. He turned my hand over so that my palm faced up and then traced the little blue lines that ran down my wrist.
I can’t lie. It felt weird and good, and my heart took off once more, so fast that I was surprised he couldn’t hear it.
“This is…kind of…like ink,” he said, his words a little slow as if he was thinking hard. “But it’s alive.”
He glanced up again, and all I could do was nod before my eyes dropped to his hand. Mine was still there, small and pale next to his large palm and tanned skin. I saw the thin blue veins that ran down my wrist, the ones that carried blood from my heart, electrifying my cells and feeding my body.
His thumb rested just beneath my pulse, and I swallowed thickly. Crap, he was going to feel how fast it was, and that would be embarrassing.
“Your fingers are rough.” I blushed harder and thought that there was no way I could sound any more like an idiot. Not even if I was trying.
“Yeah,” he answered. “It’s from playing guitar. I practice a lot so my calluses are nice and strong.”
“I used to play piano.”
Wow. Good comeback. I guess it was better than a clarinet or trombone, but really. Dork much?
…Had he always looked this intense?
“What?” he asked. He smiled again and I thought that on a scale of one to ten, his smile was a total eleven. “You’re into the classics. That’s cool. Didn’t picture that.”
“Really. What exactly did you picture?” Shoot. Did I really want to hear this?
“I don’t know. PBS and that Jane Austen?”
Okay. First off, I was impressed that he knew who Jane Austen was, and secondly…he knew who Jane Austen was!
I dropped my eyes, because I was pretty sure that my cheeks were as red as the roses planted just outside the library. Trevor Lewis wasn’t anything like what I thought he’d be. He wasn’t stupid and he wasn’t arrogant. He wasn’t slow or weird.
He seemed pretty normal to me.
You know, for a guy with tattoos and blue hair.

★★★★ stars

I can't tell you how excited I was to read this book. I absolutely loved Boys Like You, and I was super excited to read about Trevor who played an integral part in Nate and Monroe's story. I must say I wasn't disappointed, and certainly very impressed with the story and its message.

Trevor and Everly are an unlikely couple thrown together after Trevor awakens from the coma he was in.  Trevor was on top of the world; he was popular, talented, and going places. Everly was the preacher's daughter, a good girl, who knew the difference between right and wrong, and was happy with her life. Of course the Trevor and Everly that meet now are nothing like the people they were before.  Both of them have new realities to face that are causing them significant distress. It's what allows them to really see each other for the first time.

I have to say I loved how the stark reality of both Everly and Trevor's situations were presented.  In Trevor's case I loved the details provided regarding what a person with a traumatic brain injury experiences. Knowing that information made relating to what he was going through and feeling so much easier to understand and relate to. In Everly's case I had a feeling I knew what was going on and it was devastating to see her struggle so much with her mother and her father. I really wished the situation with her mother had been handled differently. It really felt like their roles were reversed and it was too much for Everly. My heart broke for the entire family and what they were facing.

I loved seeing Nate and Monroe again.  It was good to see them in a better more upbeat light. I must also admit I loved seeing the change in them as much as I enjoyed seeing Trevor's father in a different light. The man I met in Boys Like You was not someone I liked a lot, but one I understood.  The man I saw in Some Kind of Normal was phenomenal. He was supportive and loving.  In fact both of Trevor's parents were wonderful. 

I really do hope Juliana Stone writes more about not only Everly and Trevor, but maybe about Taylor, Trevor's sister, or Everly's younger brother. Juliana Stone does a great job at bringing her characters to life and making their problems seem like your own. I always feel destroyed by the end of the books but also slightly smarter and more empathetic towards what people might be facing. After all we're always trying to strive to be and project we're normal, when reality might be something different.

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them in any manner.*

Also by Juliana Stone:

Boys Like You
Sourcebooks Fire
Book Info:
Two Broken souls…one hot summer
Nate Everet’s life was all about acoustic guitar, girls in short shorts, and hot Southern nights.Until the accident.
Monroe Blackwell’s life was full of soccer goals, flirty skirts, and bright city lights. Until the accident.
Now Nate has a best friend who might never wake up, a summer of community service, and enough guilt to drown him. Monroe has a family that’s falling apart, a summer of banishment to her grandma’s, and a choking grief that makes it hard to breathe.
Nate and Monroe are two lost souls struggling with grief and guilt. But together, they have a chance at acceptance and finally finding the forgiveness they crave.

Purchase Links
Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM |!ndigo|  IndieBound | Kindle | Kobo |  Nook

About Juliana Stone:
USA Today bestselling author Juliana Stone fell in love with books in the fifth grade when her teacher introduced her to Tom Sawyer. A tomboy at heart, she split her time between baseball, books, and music—three passions that carried over into adulthood. When she’s not singing with her band, she’s thrilled to be writing young adult and adult contemporary romance, and does so from her home in Canada.

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