Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

… is a really precious book I wish I had in high school. I am not even going to review it, because I want you to read it yourself. All I will say is it is not perfect but even its flaws make it worth reading. if you read the book, I have had a similar experience to Claudia and it really struck a chord with me. If I read this as a teenager, I would have identified as a feminist earlier in life.

As a bookseller, I will be recommending this book to all kids of all genders, and parents and aunts and uncles and people who like YA and people who don’t. I think this is a really quick, but important read that could justify or change your perspective. I would love to hear your thoughts, and hope you might purchase this book upon its release.


not a review, a meditation

There is a saying: the cure for anything is salt – sweat, tears, or the ocean.


The ocean is full of secrets and dreams. it has the power to cleanse, to heal, to pull you under. They say salt – the kind in tears, sweat, and the ocean – is everything. The ocean is beauty. To quote Andre Breton, french surrealist of the twentieth century, beauty will be CONVULSIVE, or not at all. Synonyms for convulsive include, but are not limited to: fiery, hazardous, stormy, raging, perilous, uncontrollable, unstable, bursting, wild, violent… the list goes on and on. Nadja, with it’s dreamy and sometimes nightmareish prose, is certainly convulsive.
I always say love and hate are not opposites. They are twins. The same goes for the above words, and beauty. Nothing beautiful is easy. Nothing beautiful is still or easily controlled. Roses have thorns. The ocean can pull you under. Even the sun burns. You cannot touch a butterfly’s wings or it will die.  “Beauty will be CONVULSIVE or will not be at all” is the truth.  It means that with everything in life, you will have positives and negatives. The most pure example of this is LOVE. Love is patient, love is kind… but sometimes it’s not. Sometimes love is working through pain and hard times. Love can make you feel every emotion. You sometimes could not be happier, sometimes your heart is quite literally broken. Love stinks, love hurts. But for every low, there is an impeccable high. Where dreams are brought to realization. A love for writing, what was once an ideal, is now a fiery passion I fight for each day. The right to exist in this space. The right to worship at the altar of voice and courage and the grotesque beauty that is life, and committing life to record for future civilizations.

an invitation

INVITATION by Shel Silverstein

If you are a dreamer, come in
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er. a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by the fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

I am a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer and a pretender. Because I am a writer. I was born a writer, I will die a writer. I am also a person who likes deadlines, and to-do lists, and unambiguity. So I have given myself a deadline for my first essay collection (I have eight possible essay collections, five retellings, eleven original novels, some short fiction, children’s stories, three spec scripts, and many ideas that have not fully formed yet planned…)which I will self-publish on kindle. And I will be attempting to chronicle my journey along the way while I finish my Master’s,  and finish the essay collection, and there will be more posting about the personal on this blog as well. My writerly journey is personal, but I am excited to share it with you. If you would like to tell me what you want to know more about, I will be happy to share with you. Please email with any suggestions, comments, questions, concerns.


Things that might come up –

Bookseller musings, Writer musings, reader musings, my coffee recipe, francophilia (both james franco and france), smoker musings, team jess musings, art musings, sexuality, yoga, portland…. and anything you suggest that i truly feel i can write about.



All the Lives I Want – Alana Massey

All the Lives I Want by Alana Massey is the book I’ve wanted to write, and wish I did write. Ms. Massey dwells on pop-culture with the eye of a lit critic and the heart of a sad girl. From her essays on Lana del Rey and Fiona Apple to her explorations on Amber Rose, stripping, and Winona Ryder, I was glued to my kindle. Almost every essay in this book was a more serious and thought provoking adventure into my mind than I had ever taken myself, and I recommend this to all who have ever embarked on the sad girl journey and those who are intrigued.

The Red Car

If you’re a writer, you have lots of random influences from other books, movies, songs, et cetera. It would take forever for me to explain to you how many influences I have, and you to me. One of my top five influential fiction writers is Marcy Dermansky. Her writing is clipped and functional, focused around her narrative and not prose, and this is just what I need after studying Fitzgerald for the past few weeks. His language blows me away, his stories capture my heart, but sometimes you need a break. Marcy Dermansky’s books give me a break, but not because they aren’t thought provoking or surreal. They are. I think that her style lends for easy reading of hard subject matter. Her characters are typically women who are bold, immature, and finding themselves for real, for the first time. In her debut novel Twins, Dermansky led us into the world of teen twins Chloe and Sue. I read this story after reading her sophomore effort, Bad Marie. I remember being struck by how different the subject matter was, while the quality and voice of the writer remained. 2016’s The Red Car is no different. I slipped back into reading Marcy’s work like a lavender scented bath robe and read about Leah’s literal and figurative journey like my life depended on it. I was not disappointed. As long as Marcy keeps writing, I will keep reading.

Now that I’ve read all of Marcy’s books I must patiently wait for the next. My TBR certainly will keep me busy.
I also truly recommend Megan Abbott’s book Dare Me, if you’ve already read Dermansky and enjoyed her – or if you’ve read Abbott and enjoyed her then I would try Dermansky.

UpDaTeD rEaDiNg LiSt 2016-17

Grad school has gotten in the way of my reading! (But my writing game is strong… I just completed the first draft of a short story that I will be submitting to an anthology, and I am already prewriting for a novel). The list below is my “short list,” but you can follow me at to see what I have read and intend to read 🙂 Happy Rainy October Day 🙂



Carve the Mark – Roth – ARC
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – Rowling
The Red Car – Dermansky
The Land of Enchantment – Stein
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -reread
Talking As Fast As I Can – Graham


X-Mas Break
Assasin’s Blade – Sarah J Maas
Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas
Crown of Midnight- Sarah J Maas
Heir of Fire- Sarah J Maas
Queen of Shadows- Sarah J Maas
Empire of Storms- Sarah J Maas

Frida: A Biography Of Frida Kahlo – Hayden Herrera
Chocolates for Breakfast
Bonjour Tristesse
Tender is the night – Fitzgerald
I’ll give you the sun – Jandi Nelson
Furthermore – Tahereh Mafi
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
I love dick – kraus
Still Life with Tornado – AS King
What Light – Jay Asher

My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante
The Story of A New Name – Elena Ferrante
Those Who Stay and Those Who Leave – Elena Ferrante
The Story of the Lost Child – Elena Ferrante
Ready player one – Ernest Cline
M-Train – Patti Smith


Swear on this life – Rene Carlino
Sunday’s on the phone to Monday
The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
Arrows of the Queen – Mercedes Lackey
The Beautiful Struggle – Ta Nahesi Coates
Desert Tales – Melissa Marr
More Happy than Not – Adam Silvera
Jazz – Toni Morrison – reread of the first half, new read of the second – research
Middlesex – Eugenides
Black Wave – Michelle Tea
Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
It ends with us – Colleen Hoover
My Mad, Fat, Teenage Diary – Rae Earl
Orphan Black Clone Club Science Book
The House on Mango Street – reread – research
The Bell Jar – Plath – reread – research
The Virgin Suicides – reread – research
Smashed – Zailckas – reread – research
Fury – Zailckas – reread – research
Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johannsen

Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Becky Albertalli’s debut novel, Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, gave me “all of the feels.” I had been mildly interested in reading this book (as I am mildly interested in reading most YA books, and actually most books!), but it was the August selection for Forever Young Adult Bookclub. I read this book in one night, one sitting. Just a few hours of my time for a delightful, emotional non-cliched story about Simon, a mysterious penpal, and Simon’s real-life non-internet friends.

What I really liked about this book was Albertalli’s pacing and her ability to switch between light and serious matter non-abruptly. This novel revolves so much around the ups and downs of friendships in your teens. And yes, the novel is about being true to yourself. But Simon doesn’t try to be anyone he’s not. The hurdle is telling his friends he is gay, but he doesn’t have to break any hearts to do so. And when he finds out who he’s truly been conversing with online, there is the best meet-cute ever, followed by Albertalli describing Simon and Blue’s relationship as I imagine she would write about a straight relationship. Nothing seemed forced or over-compensated for.

I would definitely read this book again.