Review: KOOK by Christopher Vick

by Christopher Vick
Published: August 30th 2016
Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Source: Publisher
Rating: ♥♥♥♥

A heart-pounding love story that grips like a riptide, and doesn’t let go…
Fifteen-year old Sam has moved from the big city to the coast – stuck there with his mum and sister on the edge of nowhere.
Then he meets beautiful but damaged surfer-girl Jade. Soon he’s in love with her, and with surfing itself. But Jade is driven by an obsession: finding and riding a legendary huge wave no one has ever ridden.
As the weeks wear on, their relationship barrels forward with the force of a deep-water wave – into a storm, to danger … and to heartbreak.

My Thoughts:

Excuse me while I pick up all the tiny shards of my heart, as this book just took it and completely smashed it to smithereens. 

Jade got me in trouble from day one.

When I started Kook, I wasn't sure what direction it was going to take. Was this a story of two broken characters and their journey toward something better? Was it going to be more contemporary and about a summer a group of teens spent together? Whatever I thought it might be, it was so much more. 

Kook is the story of Sam, a newly relocated teen with a slight chip on his shoulder thanks to losing his dad in a hazy accident when he was young, and Jade, a girl who also lost a parent (though not how you'd expect) who surfs as a way to cope with her home life. Newly relocated near the water, Sam is closer to learning the true story of what happened to his dad, and also to discovering what his dad was working on when he died. This knowledge helps deepen his relationship with Jade, and takes them down a path that will forever change them. Sam starts out secretly learning to surf to impress Jade into thinking he's no longer a kook - a learner or wannabe. She's a bit guarded so it's not going to be that easy to persuade her. But Sam is pretty persistent and before long, he's somewhat of a regular to her group of surfer buddies. 

This book feels deeply personal, as I imagine it is for the author. I had no idea the emotional pull it would have until it hit me like a ton of bricks. The story largely revolves around surfing and Sam's journey in learning, but ends up in a place you won't expect. It's a story of healing and being a teen, all at the same time. The teens in this book are definitely reckless and daring, for better or for worse. 

Originally published abroad, Kook is stylized for the country it takes place in, meaning I had to look up some of what the terms mean in American English. That doesn't take away from the story, though! I hope you'll take a chance and check it out! 

See our interview with Christopher Vick and check out Kook, in store tomorrow! 

by Kathleen Glasgow
Published: August 30th 2016
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Publisher (at YallWest!)
Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.

Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
My Thoughts

Take a deep breath before starting this one because you'll likely be holding it the entire time you're reading. What a beautiful, weighted, perfect story that I didn't know I needed until I read it! 

I'm tired of drunk and desperate. I'm tired and angry at me. For letting myself get smaller and smaller in the hopes that he would notice me more. But how can someone notice you if you keep getting smaller?

I absolutely love Charlie. She is anything but perfect. She's messy and a little messed up. Her support system is worse off than she is, at best. So much bad shit has happened in her life and yet, she's still here. She makes it clear: she's not trying to die by suicide. But how do you live when you never really have?

The book starts off with Charlie's hospitalization. Charlie isn't saying a word but her message is loud and clear: bad stuff has happened and her self harming behavior took a turn for the worse. Her body is riddled with scars from cutting and her self-worth is minimal. She's homeless, the walking wounded, and her friends and family have enabled her in some fashion. Upon a too-soon release from the institution, she heads out to a friend's place. From there the story develops into her journey of healing and growth.

I had recently finished Exit, Pursued by a Bear, and was pleasantly surprised by how the main character handled her trauma. I was equally surprised with Girl in Pieces because while Charlie's journey isn't straightforward (it's very much one step forward, two steps back for quite a long time), it's clear she understands what she needs to do and is fumbling through figuring it out. Her small triumphs made me smile and cheer for her. Her backslides made me sad and I hoped for her the way you would a good friend who's struggling. 

I remember when the publisher's representative handed me a copy of Girl in Pieces. She told me it was one of the best books coming out this fall and also one of the most emotional releases. She couldn't have been more correct. This is a story of mental health that gets it right, not because the adults are so great and because the person gets what they need (they aren't and she doesn't), but because Charlie navigates through this period of time and comes out at the end. Sometimes that's all you can hope for. And it's enough.

Kathleen Glasgow is offering preorder bonuses so grab your copy now and get some goodies! 

#IANASK | August 26th, 2016
Starring Max Records, Laura Fraser, and Christopher Lloyd

In a small Midwestern town, a troubled teen with homicidal tendencies must hunt down and destroy a supernatural killer whilst keeping his own inner demons at bay.

My Thoughts

ICYMI you can find our 4 review from earlier this week, found here

Beginning - Middle - End

One of the most stomach turning scene takes place at the beginning of the book. Dan Wells' description of the body-preparing process was so visceral and unfortunately the beginning of the movie did not cause me to have the same reaction. Sadly it does not improve through the movie. 

Can they play the part?

Overall, Max Records and Christopher Lloyd were good fits for John and Crowley. Max was convincing in his sociopathic portrayal and Christopher played the monster with a heart (lol...With a heart ;)).

Emotional Connection

Overall I did not find myself reacting to the movie in the same way, but I'm not sure if that's because I already knew what was going to happen. I was disappointed in the characterization at the end - I felt John could have more depth to his antisocial personality disorder and how the events that took place impacted him. The book does a fantastic job of making you worried so that you'll want to read the sequel.

Overall, it's worth checking out, especially if you haven't read the book. The content closely mirrors the book, which can't always be said for adaptations! 

I Am Not a Serial Killer is available now on-demand on iTunes and in select theaters. 

The Ravenous Readers are here today with an interview with Christopher Vick, author of Kook, a story of figuring out the teen experience that will remind you of a surf ride - thrilling, a bit scary (not going to lie, I'm still picking up pieces of my heart), and triumphant at the end. 

ICYMI, Kook was our #WaitingOnWednesday last week but lucky readers we are...It's out four days from now (August 30th!). Get to know Chris now and catch our review on August 29th!

Interview with Chris Vick

I love how you define "Kook" at the beginning of the book. How did the title come about?

Kook is surf-slang for a leaner; a wannabe; someone who is inexperienced and out of their depth. That applies to Sam, the MC, in so many ways, not just as a surfer. So it seemed an apt title.

Also, my writing ‘voice’ uses language that is compact and straightforward, so I wanted a short, bold title that reflected that.

What books would you say inspired you to become a writer? Are you reading anything now?

Sooooooo many! There’s the greats like Hemingway and Orwell, of course. Then YA writers like Meg Rosoff, David Almond, Kevin Brooks, Stephen Chbobsky and Alexi Sherman.

Am I reading something now? Yes, always. I’m reading Nick Lake’s Whisper to me, which is up to his usual high standard. I just finished Sarah Crossan’s One, (a poem about conjoined twins? The idea didn’t grab me, however, it’s incredible). I’m also re-reading 1984, and when I’ve finished Nick’s book I’m going to get my Stephen King fix with The Dark Half (this is all more than usual: it’s because I’m on vacation in the Canary Islands, so I’m lugging a heap of books as well as a surfboard).

Talk a little about your writing process. Do you plan or are you more of a "pantser"? Do you have a place where you like to write?

I don’t know the word ‘pantser.’ Flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, right? Ha! Love it.

I plan, but I wing it too. I have to know where I’m going, and what it is I’m trying to achieve. However, the route there is often strange, twisted, maddening and fun. And definitely not the route I planned.

So, I’m a planner and a pantser.

I write in lots of places. Cafes, trains, in bed, on the beach. Wherever. Whenever.

What do you want people reading Kook to take away from their experience in reading it?

A feeling like they just went on the scariest, but most fun fair ground ride ever; like they just lived the love, the surfing and thrilling experiences that Sam and Jade just went through.

And – no spoilers –but the sense of life being incredibly precious and as someone once said, ‘all too brief.’

by Christopher Vick
Published: August 30th 2016
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books

A heart-pounding love story that grips like a riptide, and doesn’t let go…

Fifteen-year old Sam has moved from the big city to the coast – stuck there with his mum and sister on the edge of nowhere.

Then he meets beautiful but damaged surfer-girl Jade. Soon he’s in love with her, and with surfing itself. But Jade is driven by an obsession: finding and riding a legendary huge wave no one has ever ridden.

As the weeks wear on, their relationship barrels forward with the force of a deep-water wave – into a storm, to danger … and to heartbreak.


Womanizer by Katy Evans

Series: Manwhore #5 Release Date: December 5th, 2016 Genre: Contemporary Romance



You've seen the headlines: Womanizing billionaire player! Watch out! Stay away!
We were just two strangers. Facing a forbidden attraction, a chemical connection. Neither of us expected or wanted it to amount to more. But I had never been drawn to a guy the way I was drawn to this one: my brother's best friend, and CEO of the company where I interned.
Even knowing I should stay away, I proved to be too human, after all. The chemistry was amazing. The laughs were incredible. I opened up to him in more ways than I'd opened up to anyone before. But sex was as far as I'd go. Just sex because he was too irresistible. Just sex because I wouldn't be falling for him. Just sex because I'd leave in three months, and I'd like for my brother not to kill me, and for nobody to find out he was my wicked little secret. He wasn't the One. He was just a womanizer. But for a time, he would be mine.

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About the Author:

Katy Evans grew up with books and book-boyfriends until she found a real sexy boyfriend to love. They married and are now hard at work on their own happily ever after. Katy loves her family and friends, and she also loves reading, walking, baking, and being consumed by her characters until she reaches “The End.” Which is, hopefully, only the beginning…

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I Am Not a Serial Killer
by Dan Wells
Published: March 30th 2010
Publisher: Tor Books
Source: Audible
Rating: ♥♥♥♥

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it.

He's spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential.

He's obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn't want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he's written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Dead bodies are normal to John. He likes them, actually. They don't demand or expect the empathy he's unable to offer. Perhaps that's what gives him the objectivity to recognize that there's something different about the body the police have just found behind the Wash-n-Dry Laundromat---and to appreciate what that difference means.

Now, for the first time, John has to confront a danger outside himself, a threat he can't control, a menace to everything and everyone he would love, if only he could.

Dan Wells's debut novel is the first volume of a trilogy that will keep you awake and then haunt your dreams.
My Thoughts

I am so guilty of having this book on my TBR for a long time and suddenly realizing the movie is coming out TOMORROW so eep, I better read (or listen!) to it.

Does anyone else not fully read book descriptions before picking them up? I am a big advocate for having the least amount of expectations (and spoilers) going into any book/movie/tv show to the point where I don't typically watch trailers or anything, including reading book descriptions.

With that said, not reading the description lead me to a big surprise in the middle of the story. That turned out to be less of an issue than I thought it would be, though I shouldn't have been surprised considering Dan Wells is a scifi writer and this book is published by Tor. Big DOH on my part.

Anyways, John Wayne is posed as a teen with murder-ish thoughts. He's diagnosed anti-personality disorder but he's self aware enough that he knows how to limit himself. He's got a good therapist and supportive family, something not often seen in books. This was a pleasant surprise to me, as it's not often that mental illness is being managed appropriately (but YA does this much more often than adult fiction and it seems lately that we are seeing more and more of this). 

Of course, it's harder to keep yourself in check when the murders are happening all around you. Those of us who enjoy (weird choice of words, I know) true-story crime can understand the fascination. John himself picks the BTK killer for an assignment, much to his teacher's and mother's dismay. This is not only a story of him uncovering a killer but the story of how he changes. There are three more books in this series so I can only imagine how he changes into young adulthood.

It's hard to imagine this was Dan Wells' first novel, as it's well written and easy to follow. I listened to the audiobook, which I would not recommend (first one ever) because the narrator is clearly an older man with little intonation. The performance doesn't match the characterization at all.  

Watch out for our upcoming Novel to Reel post! Tell us, have you seen the trailer?

Blogging besties...Boy, do I have a treat for you today! Are you listening? Come a little closer. closer. TOO CLOSE. Just kidding.

Allow me to introduce you to the latest way to consume YA fiction. 
Behold: Serial Box.

No never-ending hiatuses. YASSS.
What is Serial Box?

Serial Box produces and publishes fiction serials, blending story production and distribution practices from television, book publishing and narrative podcasting. These team-written original serials span a range of genres including sci fi / fantasy, espionage, contemporary and historical drama, post-apocalyptic, etc. Serial Box delivers episodes to fans’ digital devices every Wednesday over the course of 13-16 week seasons. Each episode is available in ebook and audio and takes about 40 minutes to enjoy. Learn more at Serial Follow Serial Box on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and our blog. Oh, and they were just featured on NPR.

And they're bringing us their first YA serial...

What: ReMade is a serial presented episodically in 15 parts by Serial Box Publishing.

In one moment the lives of twenty-three teenagers are forever changed, and it’s not just because they all happen to die. Remade in a world they barely recognize – one with robots, space elevators, and unchecked jungle – they must work together to solve the mystery and stay alive. They came from different places, backgrounds, and families, and now they are our only hope. Lost meets The Maze Runner in this thrilling serial that combines contemporary YA with classic Science Fiction to fling you headfirst into adventure.

Who: ReMade is team written by Matthew Cody (Super), Andrea Phillips (Revision), Kiersten White (And I Darken), Gwenda Bond (Girl on a Wire), Carrie Harris (Bad Taste in Boys), and E. C. Myers (The Silence of Six).

When: ReMade will premiere on September 14, 2016 (though the first episode is available now...Find it here). Episodes will release every Wednesday until the season finale on December 21.

Where: Episodes are available in text and audio and can be enjoyed through the Serial Box App, at, or wherever eBooks are sold. Get social with ReMade on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Cost: First episode is free! Fans pay just $1.59 each week to subscribe. Episodes can be purchased individually at any time for $1.99. Season Passes allow readers to pay for an entire serial upfront at a discount – $21.99 gets you all 15 episodes in both text and audio.

We will be sharing a cover reveal for the first three episodes on September 7th and our review of ReMade S01E01 on September 13th (spoiler alert: IT'S AWESOME). Be sure to come back as we will do a giveaway for the second and third episodes! 

“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I've accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it's a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it's a way of making contact with someone else's imagination after a day that's all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.”

Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

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We are avid readers from Northern California and if you are a publisher and would like to have your YOUNG ADULT or NEW ADULT book reviewed, please email us. We accept ARCs, as well as books that have already been released. We are also more than happy to do author interviews, guest posts, and contests to promote your book as long as they are in the Young and New Adult genre. Please check our review policy prior to sending me an email, thank you. talesoftheravenousreader

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Upcoming YA Bay Area Book Events

We have compiled all the SF, bay area YA events in this section. If you know of any events that we have failed to post, please let us know. Also, please keep in mind that some events may change and it is always best to verify any event prior to attendance.


Books Inc. at Laurel Village
Monday, August 29 @ 7pm

Copperfield's in Petaluma
Tuesday, August 30 @ 4pm

Book Launch: SABAA TAHIR
Kepler's in Menlo Park
Tuesday, August 30 @ 7pm



Kepler's in Menlo Park
Thursday, September 1 @ 7pm


Rakestraw Books in Danville
Saturday, September 3 @ 9am TICKETED EVENT


A Great Good Place for Books in Montclair
Saturday, September 3 @ 11am TICKETED EVENT

NYMBC Books Inc. Opera Plaza
Saturday, September 3 @ 2pm TICKETED EVENT


Book Passage in Corte Madera
Saturday, September 3 @ 4:30pm

Copperfield's in Petaluma
Saturday, September 3 @ 7pm

The Avid Read in Davis
Sunday, September 11 @ 2pm

Hicklebee's in San Jose
Monday, September 12 @ 7pm


Copperfield's in Petaluma
Tuesday, September 13 @ 4pm

Books Inc. In San Francisco
Wednesday, September 14 @ 7pm


Books Inc. in San Francisco
Thursday, September 15 @ 7pm

Book Launch for The Reader
Kepler's in Menlo Park
Friday, September 16 @ 7pm


Copperfield's in Santa Rosa
Friday, September 16 @ 7pm

St. John's Presbyterian Church
in Berkeley
Tuesday, September 20 @ 7:30pm

Hicklebee's in San Jose
Friday, September 23 @ 7pm

Kepler's in Menlo Park
Monday, September 26 @ 7pm

Copperfield's in Santa Rosa
Tuesday, September 27 @7pm

Kepler's in Menlo Park
Wednesday, September 28 @ 7pm

DAVID ARNOLD in conversation with JANDY NELSON

Books Inc. in Palo Alto
Wednesday, September 28 @ 7pm



Linden Tree Books in Lost Altos
Sunday, October 2 @ 4pm
(there are very specific rules for this event so please visit the link and check it out beforehand)

Hicklebee's in San Jose
Sunday, October 2 @ 4pm


Kepler's hosted event at Redwood Shores Library
Wednesday, October 5 @ 7pm

Hicklebee's in San Jose
Wednesday, October 5 @ 3pm

Kepler's in Menlo Park
Monday, October 10 @ 7pm

Kepler's in Menlo Park
Friday, October 14 time TBA

Borderlands Books in San Francisco
Sunday, October 16 @ 3pm

Mrs. Dalloway's North Branch of the Berkeley Public Library
Tuesday, October 18 @ 6:30

Hicklebee's in San Jose
Tuesday, October 18 @ 7pm


Kepler's in Menlo Park
Wednesday, October 19 @ 7pm

A Great Good Place For Books
Friday, October 21 @ 7pm

Books Inc. Laurel Village in San Francisco
Tuesday, October 25 @ 7pm



Hicklebee's in San Jose
Tuesday, November 1 @ 7pm

TARA SIM book launch for TIMEKEEPER

Kepler's in Menlo Park
Saturday, November 5 @ 5pm


Kepler's in Menlo Park
Wednesday, November 9 @ 7pm

Rating System

♥♥♥♥♥ Love it! A must read

♥♥♥♥ Great, give it a try

♥♥♥ Okay, a decent read

♥♥ Meh, read at your own risk

Would not recommend

DNF=Did Not Finish

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