Contemporary Reviews: Take Me Home Tonight & The Shape of Thunder

June 3, 2021 by Jenna | 4 stars, Books, Reviews

Contemporary Reviews: Take Me Home Tonight & The Shape of ThunderTake Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson
on May 4, 2021
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
meets Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist in this romp through the city that never sleeps from the New York Times bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone, Morgan Matson.
Two girls. One night. Zero phones.
Kat and Stevie—best friends, theater kids, polar opposites—have snuck away from the suburbs to spend a night in New York City. They have it all planned out. They’ll see a play, eat at the city’s hottest restaurant, and have the best. Night. Ever. What could go wrong?
Well. Kind of a lot?
They’re barely off the train before they’re dealing with destroyed phones, family drama, and unexpected Pomeranians. Over the next few hours, they’ll have to grapple with old flames, terrible theater, and unhelpful cab drivers. But there are also cute boys to kiss, parties to crash, dry cleaning to deliver (don’t ask), and the world’s best museum to explore.
Over the course of a wild night in the city that never sleeps, both Kat and Stevie will get a wake-up call about their friendship, their choices…and finally discover what they really want for their future.
That is, assuming they can make it to Grand Central before the clock strikes midnight.

I love Morgan Matson’s writing and storytelling so much and Take Me Home Tonight did not disappoint. It’s a fun story of unexpected situations, strange coincidences and lots and lots of excitement. Best of all, it’s a great coming-of-age story about all kinds of relationships and figuring out what matters the most to you.

The novel follows Kat and Stevie who spend a wild night in New York City where everything seems to go wrong but turns out to be just the trip that they needed. When Stevie gets stood up by her dad, she decides to take a trip to the city with Kat but things start going wrong almost immediately. It also doesn’t help that the two girls have different ideas about what they should do on the trip. Which is why it might almost be for the best that they get separated soon after they reach the city. The two girls make their own way around the city, hanging out with cute boys, stepsiblings and a very cute Pomeranian!

I absolutely loved the themes and the story of this book. Morgan Matson’s characterisation is spot on and I loved both girls – though it did take me a while to warm to Kat, who I found a bit overbearing at the start. Stevie, however, was my kind of girl and I related to her and her temperament very much right from the beginning. I enjoyed the friendship between the two of them but I also enjoyed the relationships that they forged with others throughout the night. I particularly enjoyed seeing Stevie form a relationship with her stepsiblings, all of whom she had avoided previously.

The plot is so full of action and excitement, that I sped through it in two short sittings. It’s a real whirlwind of a book and if you’re looking for something packed with fun but also a good dose of self-discovery, Take Me Home Tonight is the perfect book to pick up!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Contemporary Reviews: Take Me Home Tonight & The Shape of ThunderThe Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga
Published by Balzer + Bray on May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher, Edelweiss
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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Cora hasn’t spoken to her best friend, Quinn, in a year.
Despite living next door to each other, they exist in separate worlds of grief. Cora is still grappling with the death of her beloved sister in a school shooting, and Quinn is carrying the guilt of what her brother did.
On the day of Cora’s twelfth birthday, Quinn leaves a box on her doorstep with a note. She has decided that the only way to fix things is to go back in time to the moment before her brother changed all their lives forever—and stop him.
In spite of herself, Cora wants to believe. And so the two former friends begin working together to open a wormhole in the fabric of the universe. But as they attempt to unravel the mysteries of time travel to save their siblings, they learn that the magic of their friendship may actually be the key to saving themselves.

It’s been a long long time since I’ve read a middle grade book and The Shape of Thunder was absolutely wonderful. It was a beautiful story about loss, trauma and grief, tackling important issues in a way that connects with the middle grade audience.

The Shape of Thunder follows Cora and Quinn, two 7th grade students, who were best friends but now no longer talk due to the death of Cora’s sister in a school shooting the previous year, and the role that Quinn’s brother played. Quinn tries to reignite their friendship and “fix things” by proposing that they time travel back to prevent the incident and the two girls work together to try and make it happen. Along the way, they learn more about themselves, how to cope with their grief and trauma and how the responsibility for fixing these sorts of issues don’t lie on their shoulders.

I absolutely loved the story and how grief and trauma were explored. We got to see Cora dealing with the loss of her sister with the support of her family and professional help. And we also got to see Quinn dealing with her trauma in a different way – and how her family were not receptive to listening to her speak about her feelings and the way she’s been affected. I wasn’t really into the whole time travel concept and the role that it played but I enjoyed how the story ended and that it wasn’t fully resolved… because I don’t think the issues could be resolved in the span of a book.

I really liked Quinn as a character but I struggled with Cora. I think a huge part of this was because I listened to the audiobook and the narrator for Cora was atrocious in my opinion. It really gave me a bad impression of Cora and I wish I had read the e-book instead. Cora came off as bossy, overbearing and just unpleasant, whereas I’m sure that wasn’t what was intended. I loved Quinn though and was really rooting for her throughout. And I really thought the other characters added a lot to the story and brought it to life.

I absolutely loved The Shape of Water and think it’s such an important book for middle grade readers, but also older readers too. However, I wouldn’t recommend the audiobook and high recommend that readers pick up the physical copy or an e-book instead!

Rating: 4 out of 5

Thank you to Harper Collins for providing a review copy through Edelweiss.

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Jenna is an Aussie blogger and reader who loves to indulge in great books and great food. She is a doctor (of philosophy) and can usually be found fangirling about something, devouring delicious food, or taking a nap. You can find her on Twitter @readwithjenna and on Instagram @readingwithjenna.

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4 responses to “Contemporary Reviews: Take Me Home Tonight & The Shape of Thunder

  1. I wasn’t sure if I was going to pick up Take Me Home Tonight. YA hasn’t been working for me lately. You have me wanting to read it, though! I need to request it from my library. Great review!

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