Jennifer Pickrell

YA Writer


June 2016 SummySeries Reading Wrap-up

Covers from Goodreads, click on the titles for more info.


MG novel that follows protagonist, Nell, as she searches for clues about the lost colony of Roanoke.

Summer Lost and FoundI loved all the details, both about the past and the present. It seriously felt like I was exploring North Carolina with Nell because Rebecca created such a vivid picture of the small community. And the descriptions of the humidity? SPOT ON. I’m in Virginia, I know that soupy misery.

When a book makes history fun, that’s a big thumbs up.


JUST LISTEN by Sarah Dessen

YA contemporary about a girl dealing with family drama and being dropped by her best friend.

This one is up there with THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER for me. Annabel was relatable and her family life was realistic. Is there anyone who writes about sisterly bonds better than Sarah Dessen??? Plus Owen. Infuriating music snob, Owen. Somehow I liked him anyway, so kudos to the author.

THE LAST STAR by Rick Yancey

The final book in the YA sci-fi 5TH WAVE trilogy.

I hate to ever say this, but: I didn’t like this book

There were multiple POVs, mostly in first person, and the similarity of voices made the whole story confusing and disjointed. Plus the purple prose, especially during a couple of cringe-worthy Cassie passages.

And I know this is a plot driven book, but the characters just kinda fell flat. Even the ending felt anti-climactic and it shouldn’t have because this is, in theory, an exciting book.

Great potential, but it just didn’t deliver for me.

THE RAVEN KING by Maggie Stiefvater

The fourth and final book in the RAVEN CYCLE. Fantasy? Paranormal? I have no idea how to classify this unique series.

I know I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – I love being immersed in the world of these books. The magic, the nature…the Ronan.

Ronan, ferocious and loyal and fragile. (p. 263)


But, really, I adored all the main characters, even Adam, who had to grow on me.

This book was a satisfying conclusion to a magical series.

I’ll never look at trees the same way again.

Under a Painted Sky coverUNDER A PAINTED SKY by Stacey Lee

YA historical fiction, set in 1849, about a Chinese girl and a runaway slave who disguise themselves as boys to escape pursuing lawmen.

This book pulled me in completely. I picked it up one evening, thinking I’d read a few chapters before bed, and before I knew it, I was halfway through and had to make myself put it down so I could sleep.

Then I read it during breakfast the next morning and finished it at lunch because I HAD to know how Sammy and Andy’s journey turned out.

Now I’m sad because the book has ended, but I’ll try to console myself with Lee’s next book, OUTRUN THE MOON, which I need to read ASAP. And she has another book coming out in December!


LOVE STORY by Jennifer Echols

Girl writes about dream guy for her college creative writing assignment, he joins the class, writes his own steamy stories about her.

I thought this would be a sexy, swoony read, but 95% of the book was misunderstandings that could have been solved by simple conversations and I didn’t get my swoon 😦

Out of Darkness coverOUT OF DARKNESS by Ashley Hope Pérez

From Goodreads, which sums it up beautifully: Ashley Hope Pérez takes the facts of the 1937 New London school explosion—the worst school disaster in American history—as a backdrop for a riveting novel about segregation, love, family, and the forces that destroy people.

This book…

How do I even put my thoughts into words? Beautifully written, painful, real.

Naomi and her twin brother and sister. Their relationship was love. I wanted to put them, and Wash and his family, into a protective bubble and keep them safe forever.

Other characters (no names, as to not spoil anything) made me want to vomit, to scrub my skin off.

The cover is perfection.

The story is haunting.

It’s important.

Read this book.



Writing fun, reading bingo and even more books from the 1980s!


I’m coming to you from my new laptop!!! I finally retired my five and a half year old Walmart special. It was a good run but I was tired of a battery that only kept a 20 minute charge and a keyboard that curled up on one side.


I entered Nestpitch with JULES and got several requests from agents! I’ve sent off my pages and now it’s back to the query trenches.

I took part in the YA Buccaneers 2015 Writing Bootcamp, which was a blast, although I should have made a goal more concrete than “write” because I slacked off all over the place.

Next up is Ready.Set.WRITE! and I’m making specific goals which I’ll post on Monday, June 8.


I’m also having fun with YA Buc’s Reading Bingo

YAB Reading Bingo 2015

And it’s once again SummySeries (my totally made up word for when I spend the hot, humid months catching up on reading). I’m currently in the middle of THAT SUMMER by Sarah Dessen which I’ve read before but…

CONFESSION: I’ve only read two Sarah Dessen books. For shame, since I call myself a YA contemp lover. So I’m starting with her first book and going until I get to her most recent. #RandomSummerGoals

Speaking of random, I found another one of the Sweet Dreams teen romance books at a yard sale in Maryland (FYI, this is not the state where I live). I may have shrieked and danced around while my husband rolled his eyes at me.

(cover and description from Goodreads)

Crossed Signals cover

A teenage romance, this book is about Amy Tyler’s friendship with her best friend Laura and how this was affected by Amy’s growing relationship with Ben Richardson, Laura’s ex-boyfriend.

The hair! That sweater!

And finally:

I met writer friend Rebecca Behrens when she was in the DC area for a book event and she was super sweet. She’s the first online friend I’ve met and now I want to meet all of you 🙂 Tell you what, if I win Mega Millions tonight, let’s have a giant writing meet-up – I’m paying!

Note: I’m having some issues with formatting so my text size isn’t uniform through this post. Oh well…new laptop can’t fix all the issues of The Internetz.