The Kid Travels to NYC

If you read my review of Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan, you’ll know that I recently went to New York City and with that came some bookish adventures!

Besides some generic sight seeing I ended up FINALLY getting a chance to visit Strand Bookstore! 18 Miles of Books, as well as The Stephen A. Schwarzian Building at the New York Public Library main branch on 476 Fifth Avenue (42nd St and Fifth Ave) the big one with the lions in front, guarding all the books obviously.🦁

I was sad to learn that their Rose Main Reading Room was closed for renovations, you might not know the name but it’s used in the beginning of the first Ghostbusters film in 1984. Besides being very hot in the building, when we went there was a Hamilton exhibit! Seeing old documents, maps, books, and learning a bit more about Alexander Hamilton was awesome.

My favorite part was to see all of the bookish gifts to buy for that special reader in the family. Items ranging from totes to socks to pins and poster sheets from stores like Out of Print as well as the Library’s own resources. Traveling to the gift shop where you stared at the walls of all the novel associated presents you’d like to buy, you now can hear the Hamilton Broadway soundtrack filtering through the speakers. My eyes wandered over everything as I was rapping along with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr. Absolute heaven.

The Strand was again another bookish dream come true. The gifts and tote bags I wanted to buy along with every book ever. Downstairs in their basement the shelves of books continued as well as a vinyl section that I was dying to purchase!

The floors were filled with every and any title you could think of. I had a blast in the Comic and Graphic Novel section as part of the wall had a section devoted to employees favorites to read. Shout out to the worker who loves Saga! Hey now 💁 psst…this employee clearly knows what he’s talking about because it’s one of my favorite comics I’ve discovered since reading☺️

Just walking through the aisles and looking at the vast amount of reading material was awesome and even though we were on a bit of a time restraint that afternoon, it was a really great time! It’s close to Union Square which looked like such a blast and I’m sad I didn’t get to spend more time there but… I mean, I did get to gawk at books so it wasn’t too bad of a deal.

I sadly ended my trip back home on a train that was a half hour late, my feet were killing me from walking with no socks on and a shoulder that had a heavy bag I’d been carrying around and hadn’t been able to put down yet. Mix that in with an old train and I end up getting to share a seat with one of the worst passengers ever. UGH. I can’t even think about the torturous trip without getting all ragey again.

Full details here:


Hopefully I can get back to the city soon enough! I always enjoy going and feel very at home there 💕

Love is the Higher Law | Review

*bit of a long post*

Love is the Higher Law | Available for Purchase: « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: David Levithan
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Pages: 176 pages, hardcover
Received Copy: Paperback copy, also signed by author

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

First there is a Before, and then there is an After. . . .

The lives of three teens—Claire, Jasper, and Peter—are altered forever on September 11, 2001. Claire, a high school junior, has to get to her younger brother in his classroom. Jasper, a college sophomore from Brooklyn, wakes to his parents’ frantic calls from Korea, wondering if he’s okay. Peter, a classmate of Claire’s, has to make his way back to school as everything happens around him.

Here are three teens whose intertwining lives are reshaped by this catastrophic event. As each gets to know the other, their moments become wound around each other’s in a way that leads to new understandings, new friendships, and new levels of awareness for the world around them and the people close by.

David Levithan has written a novel of loss and grief, but also one of hope and redemption as his characters slowly learn to move forward in their lives, despite being changed forever.

Just last weekend marked the 15th year anniversary of the terrorist attacks against the United States in: New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, PA. I was invited to meet with a friend on the 9/11 date to spend two days in New York City and in doing so I decided to finally read David’s novel. I bought Love is the Higher Law few years ago when he did an author visit at a local bookstore. It was right near the anniversary and he explained some of the sights he witnessed and also notes this at the end of the book. I thought it was most appropriate reading on the day we remember all of the lives lost, innocent and the brave ones who died saving others.

I read the book on the train, well what I could–there were some loud talkers who ended up breaking my concentration from time to time and I also went in and out of periods where I was overwhelmed with emotion and kept tearing up. I was in high school so I remember more vividly than others who might’ve been younger at the time and also living in New Jersey which wasn’t as far away from NYC as opposed to where I live now. While reading Love is the Higher Law I could relate on various levels of the characters in their feelings, even though I wasn’t a New Yorker or someone extremely close to the situation, that day left a mark on everybody who was able to witness it.

Claire, Jasper, and Peter are coming from different viewpoints on this tragic day–Claire at school Uptown, worried about her younger brother, and getting word from their mother. Jasper has slept through the entire morning in Brooklyn only to be awoken by a phone call from his parents in South Korea to hear of the news, and Peter who skipped school to hang out at a record store and see the effects from Midtown. All present at a party a few nights before, they’re all thrown into the mix Claire and Jasper meeting just by chance, developing a friendship with him and eventually Peter who is a fellow senior such as herself. Peter and Jasper who were supposed to have their first date September 11th, but the day postpones things giving a bad vibe on their meeting. Looking at the devastation and destruction these characters start looking at their lives in a new perspective and realizing they don’t exactly understand what’s happened but know they are forever changed. Thinking deeply, caring more, and an array of emotions helps shape their lives now.

It’s a short read and it’s really interesting from a YA point of view–a time when teens already have so many emotions, to put this new level upon them having the characters examine their lives. I might read it again next year on the date, haven’t decided but I’m glad I have it on my shelf because I haven’t seen a lot of books on the subject like David notes in his final acknowledgements in the back of the book. And again, as someone who was a bit younger than the main characters but still able to witness the impact of that day is really fascinating to read.

The picture above does no justice on how truly amazing this sight was to see in person. The overwhelming emotion of patriotism, love, sadness, anger, and sorrow you have looking at the new skyline and the lights that shine brightly for not only all of the victims but the loss of the buildings which represented a part of the city as well. The sun set beautifully that night and my friend and I watched the sky turn from bright reds, to cotton candy pinks and blues, to a dusty gray, to finally the darkest black to show the twin lights.

I’m pretty sure I’ve shared this on social media at some point, but I’m sharing it again:

For the life of me I can’t remember my first period schedule but, it was our first year using a type of blocking scheduling at our high school. Day Whichever had XXX class first period (driving me crazy I can’t remember), then Driver’s Ed with Mrs. Collura who was BFFs with my English teacher Mrs. Hults–their classrooms were next door to each others, and third period was French II with Madame Cardell…ugh! She was such a useless teacher. I’m getting off topic but I had to set the scene. We started early at my high school, morning bell was at 735am, and classes started 750ish, so I was already a quarter to halfway done with second period.

Mrs. Hults called on our phone system to Mrs. Collura to turn on the news. Most classrooms did have TVs, albeit not modern but would work well enough, and when she did, I believe both towers had been struck by the planes at that point. Either it was just the one, or the second happened in moments that I wasn’t paying attention because I kept thinking ‘Wow, this is just like a movie!’ Not looking at the severity of it nor the sheer magnitude of what happened. Mrs. Collura told us we were probably witnessing history, little did she know how right she would be. Those moments watching the towers burn are forever engrained into my brain. At that point, class ends and it seemed determined by staff that we really shouldn’t be watching the television and try to get back to our classes but within the switch from Driver’s Ed to French, word around school was that the Pentagon had been hit by a plane as well. We watched a little of the coverage, I honestly don’t remember the towers falling or if I watched it live. I think at that point we weren’t allowed to know much else as students but I started going into panic mode.

Before French ended I gathered up two quarters so I could call my mom. With the knowledge I have of Philadelphia now that I live so close and actually working in Center City, I understand the layout and the surrounding towns. I didn’t realize back then that my sister’s attendance at St. Joseph’s University isn’t near the heart of Philadelphia if damage was done but at that time, you honestly didn’t know which piece of news you would hear next. We could all agree that this day, destroying those buildings had a huge impact on markets and big businesses who set up shop in those towers. My dad worked in the financial industry at the time and would seldom have to take the PATH train in right underneath the towers. I never really knew whether or not he would have to go to New York or not until after the fact and he came home after his day. Needless to say I ran to the payphone at school and was able to get a hold of my mom who told me my father wasn’t in NYC today, and my sister should be fine, no reports in Philly so she’s relatively safe.

The weirdest part of that day was hearing some surrounding schools were dismissing kids early. As millennials do, we were sorely disappointed our school wasn’t one of them. The rest of the school day was a blur, everyone and their mother tried to teach us when all we could do is discuss the morning and if there were other revelations we hadn’t heard about. Some kids were called to report to the office over the loud speaker having us all look at each other and morbidly wonder what had happened. A lot of classmates had parents who worked in NY/NJ right where everything happened and you could only imagine.

My neighborhood was next to the high school and I remember walking home, turning on the television seeing every station was reporting the coverage–Nickelodeon, MTV, local news stations, etc. all broadcasting. I came home exhausted and fell asleep listening to the news; I just couldn’t take it. The anxiety for everyone, the anxiety for the people I knew hoping they were okay, the country, the tears I shed when I came home. What’s pretty crazy is my mom would always tape her soap operas on the VCR when she worked. Guiding Light on CBS at 10am, Days of Our Lives on at 1pm on NBC, she recorded a bunch of the coverage that I still have the VHS tape recording history live on TV.

The next year, a family friend and native New Yorker took my sister and I on a day trip to the city. We walked by Ground Zero and the enormous holes in the ground just left you speechless. The construction going on to rebuild, the Missing people’s pictures up and American flags everywhere was a sight to see. Not only that but it was quiet–just so very quiet for the city that never sleeps.


That was my day, my recollection of September 11th, 2001. Parts of it mirror what Claire, Jasper, and Peter experienced that day. Obviously on a more emotional level as I didn’t live as close as they did, but the perspective is there for sure. To learn more information on the events & to donate, check out the 9/11 Memorial website

ARC August – the Finale

Well folks, I did a decent job for the ARC August challenge. I made a fairly lofty goal [click here for my book list to attempt and book challenge details] considering I’ve started a dozen novels this year and end up shelving them to finish at a later date. I’ve gone through numerous reading slumps all year long, with the exception of keeping up with comic book reads, so it’s been a bit rough.


But finishing three books and close to a quarter of the way done with my fourth isn’t too shabby. Again I haven’t been finishing much of anything lately but I’m hoping to keep the momentum going for the month of September. My original list included:

This Savage Life – Victoria Schwab
The Serpent King – Jeff Zentner
P.S. I Like You – Kasie West
You Know Me Well – Nina LaCour & David Levithan
The Crown’s Game – Evelyn Skye
And I Darken* – Kiersten White
*indicating my attempt 😁

I had fun keeping up with the challenge, although the past two weeks my life has been turned upside down with our basement flooding so these weeks have been too busy to concentrate fully with reading time, but half a list is good enough for me! Sadly I haven’t kept up with more participants progression (sorry!) but hopefully everyone were burning holes in their ARC shelves reading everything!

Thank you for hosting Read.Sleep.Repeat! Don’t worry, I’ll be back next year for sure! There are always plenty of titles I’m behind on to use as my list haha👍

You Know Me Well | Review

I’m super pumped that I’ve been really on top of my reading game ….well not only reading more but POSTING more! It’s a miracle of miracles! I’m trying to become better and it’s a tough habit to keep up with if you just go in and out of a routine. Let’s briefly discuss my latest read!

You Know Me Well | Available for Purchase: « Barnes & Noble « Book Depository
Author: Nina LaCour & David Levithan
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Pages: 248 pages, hardcover
Received Copy: Paperback advanced reading copy, also signed by author

Synopsis (via Goodreads):

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour and David Levithan, You Know Me Well is a story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.

Once again I have this habit where I don’t read the back cover and don’t know what said book is about but if it’s a favorite author of mine or I hear good buzz about the novel is enough to get me interested in reading. That being said–I knew this was a contemporary book and David’s writing is some of my favorite so I was ready to read.

You Know Me Well takes two individuals who are classmates that don’t interact with each other but one night during San Fran’s Pride Week have Mark and Kate meeting only to run away from their problems. Kate is head over heels in love with a girl she’s never met but knows they would have a relationship we grow up dreaming of. Mark is pining over his best friend who’s not officially out of the closet gay yet and while they spend time fooling around and exploring, their friendship is only so much for Mark and he wants it all.

Through a series of events, Kate and Mark develop an overnight friendship, quite literally, and it’s interesting how things play out. Kate and her best friend, Lehna, are pretty inseparable but when Violet–Lehna’s cousin who’s finally moving back to the States, Kate can’t handle the pressure of mixing expectations with reality, not just for Violet’s sake but her own. Kate is an artist who is doubting her life choices in attending college and as her senior year is ending the pressure is mounting. Mark on the other hand is a junior who still has time but the fact that his best friend, Ryan, seems to finally be paying attention to another guy making Mark take the plunge in expressing his feelings truthfully.

There’s a section of the book that includes really awesome slam poetry some characters listen to and you can’t help but read it and feel gutted. Straight or not, one can’t imagine having to hide their true self or fight for it like it was something that was so against the norm. I loved that these pieces were written in because not everyone has an easy time figuring out who they are and what sexuality they relate to.

Mark and Kate find a way to balance each other and find a way to grow a friendship out of what they’re missing with their best friends. Tensions are high between both sets of friends and Mark and Kate develop shoulders to lean on and confidence boosts throughout the story.

It’s a cute and quick read that didn’t have much drama. A dash of comedy, journeys in finding themselves, the trials and tribulations of growing into the next step of life, and figuring out sometimes you need to let go is all a part of You Know Me Well‘s storyline.

ARC August – update week 4

So in the midst of the worst week ever, I was actually able to finish a book! Woohoo! It’s pretty crazy because I’ve basically spent all summer not reading much so it’s nice to know this is starting to pay off–signing up for the reading challenge and whatnot👍

I liked this one, You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan–two gay high school classmates find themselves at a gay bar for Pride Week in San Francisco and develop a friendship overnight. I could’ve used more closure for Mark’s storyline rather than just “hey I’ll figure things out” but I enjoyed Kate and Mark’s guide to self-discovery in becoming who they’re meant to be and shedding what they wish could be. Sometimes friendships just click and I liked what these two characters established within the short time the audience gets to spend with them.

I’ve already started on my next read, And I Darken by Kiersten White…it’s my book club pick for August and I’m seriously cutting it close. I’m also trying to decide what to read for September since I’ve had a decent month reading for August! I’m not sure if the challenge somehow helped or not, but I’ll be writing down some titles that I’ve been looking forward to reading as well as finishing a few I’ve started ☺️ [yes Mindy and Game of Thrones, I’m looking at you both–we should so be done by now haha!]

Top Ten Tuesday – Those Books From Wayback When ?!

August 23: Ten Books That Have Been On Your Shelf (Or TBR) From Before You Started Blogging That You STILL Haven’t Read Yet (this is going to be sad considering how many of those I have unread six years later…), the weekly topic provided by The Broke & Bookish

Oh joy! What an easy topic to discuss because my shelves are so jam packed with books from forever ago! Each time I switch things around on my big shelf, I also discard a few more because I think, ugh I’m probably never going to read you–you need a better home than just collecting dust on my shelf!

So yes, let’s discuss this, shall we . . . . . . .

At the end of 2013, I decided I might start blogging. I tried here and there but in 2014, I attended my first ALA Mid Winter conference which was held in Philadelphia and walked away with a pretty decent stack of books! Since then I STILL have some great ones that I have not even cracked the spines on! Let’s examine what needs to be read still:


Guess I need another ARC reading challenge month to help me out with this round of titles 😁



ARC August – update week 3

image via GIPHY

Happy week 3 of ARC August!! YAY! I read  books! Super pumped I was able to get some reading time in! P.S. I Like you was fabulous!! So cute and adorable and I’ve missed falling in love with Kasie West’s stories. A few in the past haven’t blown me away but P.S. I Like You was one book I couldn’t put down. Literally. Read this one in a day. 😳

With the momentum I have, I’m trying to keep it alive for the next few weeks! It just might be possible and I’d love to add to my Goodreads challenge for sure👌Next up I’m starting on You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan. This one sounds promising from the first twenty pages I’ve read. I love David’s work and I’m a newbie to Nina’s writing, so this should be good! Hopefully I can have another successful reading week!

How are the rest of you guys doing? Reading up a storm?!