Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading

I always get so excited about my Friday book posts. To share great books with other people who love to read makes me so happy! Here is what’s on my radar!

 

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The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker sounds right up my alley and it’s gotten rave reviews. It takes place on the east coast which is special to me since I grew up there. It focuses on friendship and who doesn’t love that topic in a book? I get the feeling that its going to be one of those novels I sit down with and cannot put down then think about long after the end.

At a private East Coast college, two young women meet in art class. Sharon Kisses, quietly ambitious but self-doubting, arrives from rural Kentucky. Mel Vaught, brash, unapologetic, wildly gifted, brings her own brand of hellfire from the backwaters of Florida. Both outsiders, Sharon and Mel become fervent friends, bonding over Ren and Stimpy, R. Crumb, and dysfunctional families. Working, absorbing, drinking. Drawing: Mel, to understand her own tumultuous past, and Sharon, to lose herself altogether.

A decade later, Sharon and Mel are an award-winning animation duo, and with the release of their first full-length feature, the “spitting, twitching tour-de-force of epic freaking proportions” Nashville Combat, they stand at the cusp of success. But while on tour to promote the film, cracks in their relationship begin to form: Sharon begins to feel like a tag-along and suspects that raucous Mel is the real artist. When unexpected tragedy strikes, long-buried resentments rise to the surface, threatening their relationships with their families, their lovers, and each other—and hastening a reckoning no one sees coming.

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The German Girl by Armando Lucas Correa got my attention right away because it starts in 1939, in Europe and you know that something big is going to be brewing. I love World War II novels and it’s a bonus when I can learn a little something about that era. Typically I read books like these and imagine it playing out like a movie in my head. Actually, I do that with all books. Nearly every book I read would make a great film.

 

In 1939 before everything changed, Hannah Rosenthal lived a charmed life. Her family moved in Berlin’s highest social circles, admired by friends and neighbors. Eleven-year-old Hannah was often taken by her mother for an afternoon treat at the tea room of the beautiful Adlon Hotel, both dressed in their finest clothes. She spent her afternoons at the park with her best friend Leo Martin. But, in an instant, that sunlit world vanished. Now the streets of Berlin are draped with red, white, and black flags; their fine possessions are hauled away, and they are no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. The two friends make a pact: come what may, they promise to have a future together.

As Hannah and Leo’s families desperately begin to search for a means of escape, a glimmer of hope appears when they discover the Saint Louis, a transatlantic liner that can give Jews safe passage to Cuba. After a frantic search to obtain visas, the Rosenthals and the Martins depart from Hamburg on the luxurious passenger liner bound for Havana. Life aboard the ship is a welcome respite from the gloom of Berlin—filled with masquerade balls, dancing, and exquisite meals every night.

As the passengers gain renewed hope for a bright future ahead, love between Hannah and Leo blossoms. But soon reports from the outside world began to filter in, and dark news overshadows the celebratory atmosphere on the ship; the governments of Cuba, the United States, and Canada are denying the passengers of the St. Louis admittance to their countries, forcing them to return to Europe as it descends into the Second World War. The ship that had seemed their salvation seems likely to become their death sentence.

After four days anchored at bay, only a handful of passengers are allowed to disembark onto Cuban soil, and Hannah and Leo must face the grim reality that they could be torn apart. Their future is unknown, and their only choice will have an impact in generations to come.

Decades later in New York City on her eleventh birthday, Anna Rosen receives a mysterious envelope from Hannah, a great-aunt she has never met but who raised her deceased father. In an attempt to piece together her father’s mysterious past, Anna and her mother travel to Havana to meet Hannah, who is turning eighty-seven years old. Hannah reveals old family ties, recounts her journey aboard the Saint Louis and, for the first time, reveals what happened to her father and Leo.

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All I know is if Alice Hoffman wrote it, I will probably love it. Her new book Faithful is getting stellar reviews and I’m anxious to get started on it.

Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt.

What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night.

Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.

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There was something in the description of Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale that captured my emotions. A perfect life that gets destroyed and the aftermath of a tragedy? A mystery? Sign me up.

Sous chef Aimee Tierney has the perfect recipe for the perfect life: marry her childhood sweetheart, raise a family, and buy out her parents’ restaurant. But when her fiancé, James Donato, vanishes in a boating accident, her well-baked future is swept out to sea. Instead of walking down the aisle on their wedding day, Aimee is at James’s funeral—a funeral that leaves her more unsettled than at peace.

As Aimee struggles to reconstruct her life, she delves deeper into James’s disappearance. What she uncovers is an ocean of secrets that make her question everything about the life they built together. And just below the surface is a truth that may set Aimee free…or shatter her forever.

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When I LOVE a book, I will typically stalk the author’s Amazon or Goodreads pages to anxiously await their next book. Such is the case with Peter Swanson who wrote one of my very favorite novels, The Kind Worth Killing. Not only did I devour that one but I recommended it to everyone I know and obsessed about it. And now, this author is back with a new novel that promises to be equally as gripping as The Kind Worth Killing.

Her Every Fear will be out January 10, 2017 so pre-order now.

Growing up, Kate Priddy was always a bit neurotic, experiencing momentary bouts of anxiety that exploded into full blown panic attacks after an ex-boyfriend kidnapped her and nearly ended her life. When Corbin Dell, a distant cousin in Boston, suggests the two temporarily swap apartments, Kate, an art student in London, agrees, hoping that time away in a new place will help her overcome the recent wreckage of her life.

But soon after her arrival at Corbin’s grand apartment on Beacon Hill, Kate makes a shocking discovery: his next-door neighbor, a young woman named Audrey Marshall, has been murdered. When the police question her about Corbin, a shaken Kate has few answers, and many questions of her own?curiosity that intensifies when she meets Alan Cherney, a handsome, quiet tenant who lives across the courtyard, in the apartment facing Audrey’s. Alan saw Corbin surreptitiously come and go from Audrey’s place, yet he’s denied knowing her. Then, Kate runs into a tearful man claiming to be the dead woman’s old boyfriend, who insists Corbin did the deed the night that he left for London.

When she reaches out to her cousin, he proclaims his innocence and calms her nerves . . . until she comes across disturbing objects hidden in the apartment—and accidently learns that Corbin is not where he says he is. Could Corbin be a killer? And what about Alan? Kate finds herself drawn to this appealing man who seems so sincere, yet she isn’t sure. Jetlagged and emotionally unstable, her imagination full of dark images caused by the terror of her past, Kate can barely trust herself? So how could she take the chance on a stranger she’s just met?

Yet the danger Kate imagines isn’t nearly as twisted and deadly as what’s about to happen. When her every fear becomes very real.

And much, much closer than she thinks.

 

Books I really, really want to read include Amy Schumer’s memoir The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo (did you hear her interview on Howard Stern? SO GOOD), Anna Kendricks upcoming book called Scrappy Little NobodyThe Wonder by Emma Donoghue, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, The Witches of New York by Ami McKay.

 

What I am Using and Loving Right Now

What I am Using and Loving Right Now

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I am very obsessed with all things Patchouli & Buriti right now. The scent is so incredible, it’s just the perfect blend and I am using the body lotion every day, the soap in the shower, and the deodorant daily too. Speaking of the deodorant, it’s made with non-GMO glycols from corn and does NOT contain aluminum, propylene glycol, parabens, triclosan or silicones.

The “certified organic Shea Butter used in all Nubian Heritage products is ethically sourced from women’s co-ops in Northern Ghana and helps protect sensitive underarm skin.”

I’ve featured Nubian Heritage in the past and I really like this brand. The products are gentle and never irritate my sensitive skin, they smell wonderful and are made with oils and butters.

There are so many products to choose from and I love that they are affordable and easy to find online or in the store.

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I am always searching for a good eyelash serum, lashes tend to thin out a little as we age (I just read it might be from lack of magnesium) so I like to take special care of my lashes. I put Plume to the test for the past several weeks and have noticed a thickness in my lashes that was not there before!

Plume eyelash serum is made with natural ingredients such as aloe vera, castor oil, vitamin E, and honey extract just to name a few of the standout ingredients. There’s nothing here that irritates my eye area which is very sensitive.

You apply it to your lash line or brows every night and allow the product to work as you sleep. It took about three weeks to see a difference but I feel my lashes look thicker and seem to be falling out less.

Here’s the full ingredient list:

Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Organic Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot) Flower Extract, Achillea Millefolium (Yarrow) Extract, Cinchona Succirubra Bark Extract, Water, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Glycerin, Honey Extract, Prunus Amygdalus (Sweet Almond) Oil, Sucrose Laurate, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Nasturtium Officinale (Watercress) Extract, Tropaeolium Majus (Indian Cress) Extract, Xanthan Gum, Coleus Forskohlii Root Oil, Carya Ovata (Hickory) Bark Extract.

Very natural and nourishing. I love it and highly recommend to those looking to give their lashes a boost! Go here for more information. 

I also tried Body Merry Lash & Brow Elixir, another non-toxic lash product for longer, thicker lashes and brows. Instead of applying to the root of the lashes like you do with Plume, you apply with a brush to lashes and brows.

This one contains:

Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber Hydrosol), Cassia Angustifolia Seed Polysaccharide (Botanical Hyaluronic Acid), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe), Algae Extract, Camellia Oleifera (Japanese Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetapeptide-7, Globularia  Cordifolia Callus Culture Extract (Plant Stem Cells), Biotin, dl-Panthenol (Vitamin B5), Cucurbito Pepo (Pumpkin Seed Oil), Organic Rosa Canina (Rosehip Seed Oil), Punica Granatum (Pomegranate), Caprylyl Capryl Glucoside, Butylene Glycol, Carbomer,  Polysorbate 20

The serum is thin and dries quickly. Again, I use this in the evenings before bed and let it work its magic while I sleep. Lately, I have been using this on my lashes and loving how they seem to be healthier looking, both thicker and a little longer.

Body Merry offers many products besides this lash and brow elixir. You can go here to learn more!
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Moon Juice is a neat little store both online and in person. Here’s what you need to know:

Moon Juice represents a holistic lifestyle that goes far beyond juices, milks, and snacks. It’s a healing force, an etheric potion, a cosmic beacon for those seeking out beauty, wellness and longevity.

I must get to the shop in Silver Lake because it seems like a place I would love. I’ve been to the Moon Juice website a lot and am so intrigued.

Moon Juice offers tonics and elixirs and I got to try samples of Brain Dust and Spirit Dust.  Check it out:

Brain Dust is “an adaptogenic elixir to maintain healthy systems for superior states of clarity, memory, creativity, alertness and a capacity to handle stress.”

Wow, do I ever need help handling stress! This one is made from  Astragalus, Lion’s Mane, Shilajit, Maca, Rhodiola, Organic Stevia, Ginkgo.

The Spirit Dust helps you “unwind, expand peaceful awareness and align with bliss.” In other words, its for when you want to relax.

It contains Goji, Reishi, Longan, Astragalus, Salvia, Organic Stevia and reminds me a little of a caramel flavor. You can mix it in anything, I just put it in water and stirred it up.

I personally love it and enjoy nature’s remedies  most of all. If I can avoid medication, I will do so and reach for something like these from Moon Juice. Check out some of their other products by going here!

New and Amazing From Acure Organics

New and Amazing From Acure Organics

 

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It’s no secret that I love Acure Organics. I will eagerly and happily dig into whatever this brand introduces because I’ve had really good experiences trying everything in the past. The products are vegan, sulfate free, paraben free, cruelty-free. YAY!

Currently, I am using the following products:

Facial Cleansing Cream- I am always going to love a product that removes makeup and leaves skin soft and clean. This one is perfect to keep in the shower so at the end of the day, I can grab it and wash off everything from mascara to concealer.  It smells fresh and clean too. Contains Olive Oil, Moroccan Argan Oil, and Cocoa Butter, Blackberry and Rosehips plus mint.

Radical Resurfacing Treatment contains fermented lemon peel probiotic, poet’s daffodil stem cells, and organic chlorella growth factor. This product is geared for trouble spots like blotches and acne, dark spots and anything else that needs a little help. It has a light lemon scent, goes on smooth, sinks into skin quickly and works very well with other products. I’ve been using a little each evening under my heavier treatments and I really like it!

Rosehip Oil has long been a favorite of mine and an oil that I use alongside other products. It’s great for scars, fine lines, and dark spots, its full of vitamins and antioxidants, it hydrates and rejuvenates all skin tones and types. I recommend this for the many benefits from head to toe. You can even put it in your hair as a treatment.

I am also loving their Dry Oil Spray which is hydrating and smells incredible yet absorbs quickly so your clothes don’t get all greasy and damp. This is made from marula and argan oil. I’ve also used this on the ends of my hair to tame it.

You can find these and more by going here. Have you tried anything from Acure Organics? Let me know!

 

 

 

How I Finally Found A Way To Smooth My Frizzy Hair

How I Finally Found A Way To Smooth My Frizzy Hair

 

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For as long as I can remember and certainly as long as Hello Dollface has been in existence, I’ve been battling frizzy hair. Not only is my hair color treated but its dry from heat styling and naturally it has a fuzzy texture, not unlike carpet fibers. If heavy metal hair from the 1980’s became fashionable, I’d have the best hair ever.

But it’s not really enviable to have frizz so I’ve been trying to tame it for more than half my life now. In fact, trying to soothe my funky strands is what started me on my clean, green beauty path. Finding out that hair products contained all kinds of nasty chemicals  made me seek cleaner alternatives. I have found some really great ones that certainly helped but nothing cured. I don’t think you can reverse damaged/frizzy/wavy hair but you can find products to help soothe and straighten.

I’ve been reading reviews and trying products and reading more and buying serums and oils like it’s my life’s work to crack the code on owning smooth hair.

After much dedication and research here is what I have found to work! 

I like using Josh Rosebrook’s Nourish Shampoo which smells amazing and is super gentle on my color treated hair. I have also found that Sun Bum shampoo smells super delicious and leaves hair very soft and the So Long Damage Matrix line, though not as clean as I’d like, also has shampoo/conditioner that work well to soothe and smooth my locks. The key is to add moisture without weighing hair down!

A really incredible conditioner that has shown me amazing results is called Silk18 Natural Conditioner By Maple Holistics. I love the results but wish the ingredients were just a little cleaner: Water, Aloe Barbadenasis Leaf Juice, Cetearyl Alchohol, Behentrimonium Choride Glycern, Cetearyl Olivate, Sorbitan Olivate, Phytokeratin, Propanediol, Capryic Capric Triglyceride, Argan Oil, Shea Butter, Certified Organic Blend Pomegrante, Hibiscus Green Tea and Sea Buckthorn, Silk Amino Acids, Jojoba Oil, Natural Vanilla Fragrance, Panthenol, Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate.

After shampooing and conditioning, I use a soft tee shirt to absorb the water in my hair then comb through with a plastic wide-toothed comb. I then use my styling products.

Rusk Str8 serum eliminates frizz in a way that other products could not accomplish. Keep in mind that my hair is thin, shoulder length and fine. People with thick hair might not have the same results. This product is not green and clean but it works better than anything else to give my hair a smooth finish.

To style, I use a big round brush. I typically start at the bangs and work my way around my head, I wish it was systematically but really it’s about how tired my arms get.

When hair is half- way dry, I rub a little tiny bit of Lanza Keratin Healing Oil Combing Cream though the back and ends of my hair. THEN I either put my hair in a ponytail or whip out a curling/straightening tool. If I curl, I use a John Frieda curling iron or the CHI Onyx Euroshine Flat Iron which has ceramic plates which get very hot and evenly distributes heat for reduced frizz and high shine.

To finish this whole process, I use either a little bit of Camellia Oil or Argan and I mean a very little bit like less than a penny size, and finish it with my Josh Rosebrook hair spray which is the BEST hairspray ever. Not only is it clean, green, non-toxic but it locks hair into place and doesn’t dry it out.

I have also tried and liked Garnier Fructis Anti-Frizz Serum, Philip B. Anti-Frizz, Alba Botanica Anti-Frizz and Rene Furterer Karite Leave-In Serum, all which work very well to combat frizz and keep hair looking like it’s naturally sleek!

 

Weekend Reading

Weekend Reading

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I love this one and will be sorry when its over! The Dollhouse by Fiona Davis is keeping me turning the pages as I enjoy the story of Darby, an inhabitant of the Barbizon Hotel for Women in the 1950s. New York City? 1950s? I loved it at page one!

Here is the full synopsis:

When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren’t: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn’t belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she’s introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that’s used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.

Over half a century later, the Barbizon’s gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby’s involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman’s rent-controlled apartment. It’s a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby’s upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose’s obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.

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I read this one a while ago and swore I posted about it! Pam Jenoff is an incredible author. Don’t miss this captivating novel, The Orphan’s Tale. Here’s what you need to know:

Seventeen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier during the occupation of her native Holland. Heartbroken over the loss of the baby she was forced to give up for adoption, she lives above a small German rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep.

When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants, unknown children ripped from their parents and headed for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the baby that was taken from her. In a moment that will change the course of her life, she steals one of the babies and flees into the snowy night, where she is rescued by a German circus.

The circus owner offers to teach Noa the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their unlikely friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

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I am so excited to read this book, The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey. It’s my kind of book- funny and relatable. Take a look:

Forty-four, fit, and fabulous, Liddy James is one of New York’s top divorce attorneys, a bestselling author, and a mother of two. Armed with a ruthless reputation and a capsule wardrobe, she glides through the courtrooms and salons of the Manhattan elite with ease. What’s her secret? Liddy will tell you: “I don’t do guilt!”

This is the last thing literature professor Peter James wants to hear. Devastated by his divorce from Liddy six years earlier, the two have a tangled history his new partner, Rose, is only just sorting out. But Rose is a patient woman with faith in a well-timed miracle and she’s determined to be sympathetic to Peter’s plight. Together, Liddy, Peter, and Rose have formed a modern family to raise Liddy and Peter’s truculent teen and Liddy’s darling, if fatherless, six-year-old.

But when Rose announces she’s pregnant, Liddy’s nanny takes flight, the bill for a roof repair looms, and a high-profile divorce case becomes too personal, Liddy realizes her days as a guilt-free woman might be over.

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I really enjoyed this novel, One Less Problem Without You by Beth Harbison. She’s a great writer, the type whose words flow effortlessly and who clearly has a great sense of humor! This is a breezy, funny book, perfect for vacation.

Meet Prinny, Chelsea and Diana. Prinny is the owner of Cosmos, a shop that sells crystals, potions, candles, and hope. It’s also a place where no one turns down a little extra-special cocktail that can work as a romance potion or heal a broken heart. But Prinny is in love with her married lawyer and she’ll need nothing short of magic to forget about him.

Chelsea works as a living statue at tourist sites around Washington, DC. It’s a thankless job, but it helps pay the rent. That, and her part-time job at Cosmos. As her dream of becoming a successful actress starts to seem more remote and the possibility of being a permanently struggling one seems more realistic, Chelsea begins to wonder: at one point do you give up on your dreams? And will love ever be in the cards for her?

Diana Tiesman is married to Leif, a charismatic man who isn’t faithful. But no matter how many times he lets her down, Diana just can’t let him go. She knows the only way she can truly breakaway is if she leaves and goes where he will never think to follow. So she ends up at Cosmos with Leif’s stepsister, where she makes her homemade teas and tinctures as she figures out whether she’d rather be lonely alone than lonely in love.

 

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I always want to read a great memoir so I was very happy to read Look At You Now by Liz Pryor. In her book, Liz talks about being sent away pregnant at age seventeen in order to save her family from the shame of having a pregnant daughter.

In 1979, Liz Pryor—a girl from a good family in the ritzy Chicago suburbs—fell pregnant during senior year of high school. Her parents made what they thought to be the right decision: to keep the pregnancy a secret.

For six months, Liz lived in a dismal government facility for impoverished pregnant teenagers, hiding from everyone she knew. She was a fish out of water—a girl from privilege surrounded by girls from the foster system and juvie.

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Topping my To-Be-Read pile is The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson. With comparisons to Everything I Never Told You and Prep, it’s bound to be amazing.

 

In an idyllic community of wealthy California families, new teacher Molly Nicoll becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to Molly, a middle school tragedy in which they were all complicit continues to reverberate for her kids: Nick, the brilliant scam artist; Emma, the gifted dancer and party girl; Dave, the B student who strives to meet his parents expectations; Calista, the hippie outcast who hides her intelligence for reasons of her own. Theirs is a world in which every action may become public postable, shareable, indelible. With the rare talent that transforms teenage dramas into compelling and urgent fiction, Lindsey Lee Johnson makes vivid a modern adolescence lived in the gleam of the virtual, but rich with the sorrow, passion, and beauty of life in any time, and at any age.

Due out January 2017!