Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 | 14 comments

This week’s YA Highway Road Trip Wednesday asks:

What’s the best book you read in July?

I read nine books in July—an unusually productive reading month for me. I loved Maggie Stiefvater’s Lament and Sarah Dessen’s The Truth About Forever, but my favourite reads were Sharon Jones’ Dead Jealous and Brenna Yovanoff’s Paper Valentine. I can’t choose between them, so I’m going to cheat and have two favourite July reads.


From Goodreads:

Sharon Jones Dead JealousPeople think of Mother Nature as a gentle lady. They forget that she’s also Death…Sixteen-year-old Poppy Sinclair believes in quantum particles, not tarot cards, in Dawkins, not druids. Last summer, in a boating accident in the Lake District, Poppy had a brush with death. But the girl she finds face down in Scariswater hasn’t been so lucky. As she fights to discover the truth behind what she believes is murder, Poppy is forced to concede that people and things are not always what they seem and, slipping ever deeper into a web of lies, jealousy and heart-stopping danger, she comes to realise – too late – that the one thing that can save her has been right there, all the time.


Sharon Jones is a UK author and Dead Jealous (released last month) is her debut novel. I read Dead Jealous in about four hours straight, it’s such a fun, compelling read. As a murder mystery, it’s very satisfying—I didn’t see the ending coming at all. The pacing is great and at no point was I tempted to put the book down. The characters are very easy to warm to, with lots of humour from the main character Poppy, and enough (very sweet) romance to keep me happy.

I definitely recommend checking out Dead Jealous. Really looking forward to its sequel, Dead Silent, which is out next year.



From Goodreads:

Paper ValentineThe city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.


For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.


With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realises that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life – and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Brenna Yovanoff is quite possibly my favourite YA author. Her stories are macabre and beautiful at the same time—a combination I love.

Paper Valentine is a murder mystery with ghosts, touching on serial killing and anorexia and child abuse and grief, but it is just as much about friendship. On her blog, Yovanoff describes it this way:

Paper Valentine is a love story about two best friends, and one of them is dead.


There. That’s it. One sentence. And all the ghosts, murders, kissing, social scuffling and jockeying and backbiting—those things are there, they’re story, and story is gorgeously, vitally important. But it’s different from DNA.

If you haven’t read one of Brenna Yovanoff’s books, I highly recommend Paper Valentine, or one of her previous books: The Replacement, or Smoulder / The Space Between.

What was the best book you read in July?


  1. Wow, these sound like interesting books, Kendra–I’m especially intrigued by the first. I enjoy a good murder-mystery. Thanks for the recommendations. 🙂

  2. Wow! What varied tastes. From “Paper Valentine” to “The Truth about Forever.” I admire your range. This is such a great way to find new reads.

    • Thank you! I do read pretty much anything, especially if it’s YA.

      • Same, though I’m most well-read in YA contemporary (my genre). It’s amazing what you can learn about writing from reading.

        • Also, just wanted to say it’s awesome that you taught English in China. That’s what I’m hoping to do once I get my TESOL degree (that and writing, of course)

          • Really? That’s great! China was an amazing experience. Hope you get to go there soon!

  3. I’ve never read either of these authors. I’ll have to check them out.

  4. These both both sound fantastic! I might have to add Paper Valentine to my list. I’ve heard a lot about The Replacement (all of it good) but I haven’t read any of her books yet.

  5. Ooh both of these sound great, definitely adding to my to be read list. Also, nine books in one month is pretty impressive!

  6. Woo! I love DEAD JEALOUS. Glad you enjoyed it. x

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