Boys Like You by Juliana Stone

Boys Like You by Juliana StoneBoys Like You by Juliana Stone

Genres: Young Adult Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 6, 2014
Pages: 288
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-half-stars  

If you’re looking for easy, light and fluffy, this is definitely not it, but if you’re looking for something that will move you and challenge you then proceed. It is a painful, touching and sweet story of how these two kids manage to find their way back after going through separate tragedies in their lives and, in a sense, it is the stories of all those others who were touched by the circumstances.

Monroe Blackwell has arrived in Louisiana to spend the summer with her Gram.  It is a relief to her in ways but for the most part it is just a change of scenery and a new place to ‘not care’ and ‘not feel’.  From her perspective, nobody understands what she is going through and she is alone.  Her parents react to what happened in different ways, but both leave Monroe angry and irritated.  Not even her best friend can touch her.  Then she encounters the hired guy who is there to fix things up around her Gram’s family plantation property.  Monroe bristles and gets snarky.  She is a rude Princess B because she knows just what kind of guy this is and she won’t be the next victim of his devastating looks and charm.

Nate Everets feels the need to stay isolated from everyone.  The whole town knows what he did and they all believe that he should be rotting in juvie for it.  They can’t blame him more than he blames himself for what happened to his best friend that night he got behind the wheel drunk.  His girlfriend just wants to party and get wasted, but that’s the last thing that Nate wants.  It’s pretty much over between him and Rachel and has been for some time.  It has little to do with what sparks between him and that rude girl from NYC that has the same expression or lack of expression in her eyes that he knows is in his own.

Over time, Nate and Monroe slowly reach out and discover that shared pain and understanding allow them to open up a little when nothing else has worked.  It’s one painful baby step at a time.  Monroe swears she’ll never talk about her pain, but fears when Nate starts talking about his that it will force open her own floodgate.  And when that happens?  She doesn’t know.  Just like Nate doesn’t know what will happen if Trevor slips out of his coma into death.

The story is a character-driven process of two teens through their trauma and grief.  It is told first person from alternate perspectives.  It’s a story in which the reader has to be patient.  Neither of these two are very likeable in the beginning particularly Monroe.  The walls and bristling defense mechanisms are up and in full force.  Even when the tide starts to turn, it’s not a quick fix.  So yes, it needs the time to spin out slowly and authentically.  It’s a cautionary tale of the consequences of behavior and because a death is involved and the prospect of death both teens end up doing some philosophical thinking.

I really liked the supporting characters in this one particularly Monroe’s Gram who was a wealth of wisdom.  I also like the presence of the parents.  Both teens have that skewed perspective going in of the ‘nobody understands what I’m going through’ attitude and its true a little, but in this case, the parents of all the teens involved suffer right along with them.  I’m glad that dynamic was included.

As to my cautions, this would be for mid-to older teens and adults due to the heavier theme of death, guilt and partying scenes, the presence of language and some sexual situations that were behind the closed bedroom door.

In the end, my heart was warmed and I was left satisfied with how the long dark tunnel ended and there was some sunshine to the story.  It was engaging from cover to cover and I was extremely impressed with the author’s first attempt at YA storytelling.

My thanks to Sourcebooks for the opportunity to read this one in exchange for my honest review thoughts.

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • Grrr! My May is full but you’re making me want to move things up and squeeze this in. First off, I love JStone so I’m sure that I will love this as well. I love challenging and moving stories.

    • Haha! Cruel of me to dangle just one more good one under your nose. 😉 You get me that way with some too when I read your reviews.

  • Ah Sophia pure torture visiting blogs today knowing I have like no reading time until June. lol This one sounds incredible. (and you know I’m totally digging that cover). I’ve been wanting to try Juliana for ages. Glad it was a great experience 🙂

    • Yeah, that cover is boss. The guy plays, but he hasn’t played since his life when crazy so the guitar is a symbol for him and others.

      I know what you mean about full schedule. How dare all these people have life events like birthdays, babies, weddings and graduations to interfere with my reading time. Haha!

      • LOL I know! I totally (and jokingly) wanted to be like X could you not have waited until June?? I have books to read now!! lol

        • This is funny. I don’t mean it either, but it is true that every weekend for two months is parties and receptions it seems and I didn’t take that into consideration when I lined up my reviews so I’ll have to step it up on the reading on other days.

          • LOL yep so know how that goes. I did pretty good in May though. Have all but one of my review books done since I hardly took any on because of a move/construction. But June is a whole ‘nother story.

            • Oh, moving and all that, yeah! That’s like a black hole for sucking in all the time. Glad you’re caught up.

  • This sounds really emotional, but wonderful. Lovely review, Sophia.

    • Thanks Sabrina! It is one that definitely engages the emotions.