The Art of Losing, Cold Day in the Sun & Comics Will Break Your Heart | New Release Reviews

March 7, 2019 / 1 Comment / Review

mostly-ya-lit-reviews-art-of-losing-cold-day-comics-will-breakHi guys, I’ve got some reviews of new releases up today – all contemporary romances, all good, but missing a little something for me. Would love to hear your opinions on these!

The Art of Losing, Cold Day in the Sun & Comics Will Break Your Heart | New Release ReviewsThe Art of Losing

Author: Lizzy Mason
Publisher: Soho Press
Publication date: February 19, 2019
Source: Edelweiss
Format: eARC

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating:
Buy It: | | The Book Depository

The Art of Losing is a compelling debut that explores issues of addiction, sisterhood, and loss.

On one terrible night, 17-year-old Harley Langston's life changes forever. At a party she discovers her boyfriend, Mike, hooking up with her younger sister, Audrey. Furious, she abandons them both. When Mike drunkenly attempts to drive Audrey home, he crashes and Audrey ends up in a coma. Now Harley is left with guilt, grief, pain and the undeniable truth that her now ex-boyfriend has a drinking problem. So it's a surprise that she finds herself reconnecting with Raf, a neighbor and childhood friend who's recently out of rehab and still wrestling with his own demons. At first Harley doesn't want to get too close to him. But as her sister slowly recovers, Harley begins to see a path forward with Raf's help that she never would have believed possible--one guided by honesty, forgiveness, and redemption.

Review: The Art of Losing by Lizzy Mason

A moving novel about finding yourself in the midst of failure and tragedy, and the consequences of addiction and alcohol, The Art of Losing stars Harley Langston, a 17-year old who is super close with her sister Audrey. On the night of a party at her best friend’s place, Harley catches Audrey with her boyfriend Mike and races out of the house. Later that night, Mike drives Audrey home – drunk – and ends up crashing. Mike walks away with a few scratches and court-mandated rehab, but Audrey lies in a coma.

Furious but guilt-ridden, Harley has to deal with her own feelings that she failed her little sister in leaving her there, but also keeping the secret of Audrey and Mike’s betrayal. Meanwhile, Harley finds herself alone and lost in a world where her mom and dad are always at Audrey’s side. She doesn’t have anything to do but sit and watch rom-coms with Audrey and hope she wakes up. One night, she finds herself falling back into conversation with Raf Juarez, her former childhood friend and crush, and a recovering alcoholic. Raf gives her insights into her own strength and Harley begins to look at him in a new light. But how can she get together with someone who has the same issues as Mike? And how can she look for happiness when Audrey is fighting for her life?

This was one of those reads that was compelling from the first, but dragged as it went on. I feel like I didn’t get how Harley really ended up with Mike or how she ended up losing so much of herself. And similarly, I didn’t see real reasons for Harley not to be with Raf (other than his recovery, which he assured her he could deal with). I think this book was trying to do too much – there were a lot of factors in play that didn’t fully get resolved, like how Harley’s mom was overprotective, Harley’s dad was a bit prejudiced against Raf, Harley herself treated Audrey badly. It felt a bit messy – but maybe that’s what debut author Lizzy Mason wanted, though – something messy to go along with the chaos in Harley’s life. I did enjoy the romance between Raf and Harley, and I thought the writing was solid.

The Final Word:

Told in flashbacks to various times before the accident, and Harley’s life now, I appreciated that The Art of Losing discussed addiction and teenage drinking without being preachy or judgmental. But I felt like there was too much going on in this book, and as such, none of the threads felt fully explored or resolved by the end of the book. Nevertheless, The Art of Losing is a promising, heartfelt debut.

The Art of Losing, Cold Day in the Sun & Comics Will Break Your Heart | New Release ReviewsCold Day in the Sun

Author: Sara Biren
Publisher: Abrams
Publication date: March 12, 2019
Source: ARC from Manda Group (thank you!)

I received this book for free from ARC from Manda Group (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating:
Buy It: | | The Book Depository

Holland Delviss wants to be known for her talent as a hockey player, not a hockey player who happens to be a girl. But when her school team is selected to be featured and televised as part of HockeyFest, her status as the only girl on the boys’ team makes her the lead story. Not everyone is thrilled with Holland’s new fame, but there’s one person who fiercely supports her, and it’s the last person she expects (and definitely the last person she should be falling for): her bossy team captain, Wes.  

Review: Cold Day in the Sun by Sara Biren

I’m a sucker for hockey romances, so when Manda Group offered up this YA love story about a girl who plays hockey on a boys’ high school team and falls in love with the captain…I was in.

Holland Delviss has always played hockey on boys’ teams, with three brothers and a dad who are super into hockey. Now, as a junior, she’s finally on the varsity team, with teammates and a coach who respect her. But Minnesota’s annual HockeyFest is coming up and Holland’s little town of Halcyon Lake is one of five towns who could be part of the televised game, with recruiters watching. And since Holland’s status is the big draw of the team, she’s on the hook to help the team get votes. This pressure, added to the fact that Holland’s captain, Wes, is on her back, is a lot for Holland to bear. But she’s surprised when outside the rink, Wes starts to provide a lot more support than just a teammate.

But Holland doesn’t date teammates. She doesn’t want to be seen as a gimmick, or taking advantage of her girl in a guy’s world status. But can she resist Wes’ pull?

Cold Day in the Sun was a super fast, addictive read for me. Sara Biren’s writing is loose and natural, and I loved how much it fit the sort of tough girl attitude of Holland. The romance between Holland and Wes was also very natural, and sweet, although I was pretty frustrated with it, since it felt like Holland was holding back because of her own arbitrary rules. Yes, there would be fallout from dating the captain, but this was much more about Holland coming to terms with her own feelings of needing to prove herself. I almost wished the book was more swoony, but at the end of the day, this was definitely a story about Holland, and not just Holland and Wes. Still, there are definitely cute moments. I just wanted them to go further (maybe because I usually read new adult/sexy hockey romance books! I wanted more kissing!).

A couple of things I really enjoyed: Holland has the goal of becoming a music editor at a magazine, and she writes a blog about her interest in grunge and glam metal. It was cute that we got to see a few posts about that, especially since her love of music is what gets her to see Wes differently.

I also loved that no one treated Holland like she was a tomboy throughout the book. There are definitely moments where Holland calls people out for being sexist, but not once does anyone act like she’s not girly because she plays sports with guys.

It was both a refreshing and interesting take on the situation, because in Holland’s town, there’s also a girls’ team and it’s very clearly a town where hockey dominates. So why wouldn’t Holland join the girls’ team, you ask? Partly because she’s always played with the boys, but the fact is, she’s also a stronger player than the girls and many of the guys. The book acknowledges that the boys’ team is probably more aggressive and faster, but it never belittles the girls team.

The Final Word:

Cold Day in the Sun is a unique character-driven, angsty hockey romance with a lot of heart. It deals well and sensitively with a female on a boys’ hockey team and sensitively addresses gender issues. I could have used more romance, but I enjoyed this one a lot.

The Art of Losing, Cold Day in the Sun & Comics Will Break Your Heart | New Release ReviewsComics Will Break Your Heart

Author: Faith Erin Hicks
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Publication date: February 12, 2019
Source: Raincoast Books (thank you!)
Format: eARC

I received this book for free from Raincoast Books (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

My rating:
Buy It: | | The Book Depository

A sweet, funny contemporary teen romance for the inner geek in all of us from graphic novelist Faith Erin Hicks.

Miriam's family should be rich. After all, her grandfather was the co-creator of smash-hit comics series The TomorrowMen. But he sold his rights to the series to his co-creator in the 1960s for practically nothing, and now that's what Miriam has: practically nothing. And practically nothing to look forward to either-how can she afford college when her family can barely keep a roof above their heads? As if she didn't have enough to worry about, Miriam's life gets much more complicated when a cute boy shows up in town . . . and turns out to be the grandson of the man who defrauded Miriam's grandfather, and heir to the TomorrowMen fortune.

In her endearing debut novel, cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks pens a sensitive and funny Romeo and Juliet tale about modern romance, geek royalty, and what it takes to heal the long-festering scars of the past (Spoiler Alert: love).

Review: Comics Will Break Your Heart by Faith Erin Hicks

Comics Will Break Your Heart is an unusual YA that discusses issues of comic book creation, inheritance, small-town poverty, and class issues. Miriam is the granddaughter of Micah Kendrick, the co-creator and illustrator of the Tomorrow Men, a huge, classic comic. Unfortunately, Micah sold the rights to the Tomorrow Men to the other co-creator, Joseph Warrick, for a mere pittance. Miriam’s grandfather spent his life trying to get the rights back – or at least some fair payment for his creation. As a result, though, Miriam and her family are fairly poor, and living in the same small Nova Scotia town where the Tomorrow Men started.

Weldon Warrick is the grandson of Joseph Warrick, and heir to Warrick Studios, the publisher of the Tomorrow Men. Weldon is rich, but acts out a lot, and ends up sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Nova Scotia for the summer, while his father sets about making the Tomorrow Men movie happen. When Weldon and Miriam meet, there’s an immediate spark, but when they find out more about each other, there’s also a wariness. Can they get past the sins of the past to be together?

The best part about this book is how alive and honest it was about this family feud over comic book rights – and how that resentment and fight trickled down to Miriam and Weldon, the two protagonists caught in a Romeo and Juliet situation. I completely understood Mir’s resentment and bitterness, Weldon’s guilt, and how much they had to get past just to fight for a beginning together. Like a comic book, I also liked how this book focused on so many other aspects of Miriam’s life as well, like her slowly changing friendship dynamics, and the class and overtly struggles in small town Canada. Weldon’s family dynamics were a bit more typical for YA but done well. The romance was cute, but maybe a bit too young for my liking. And for the life of me, I couldn’t quite get into Mir and Weldon’s headspaces enough. I wanted to be there, but it felt like we were only scratching the surface of who they were.

The Final Word:

Comics Will Break Your Heart was a good book that got me thinking a lot about the commercialization of art, but I wish it had gotten me more invested with the characters. Still, it was a unique book that dealt with issues I’ve not seen a lot of in YA – class and poverty, and how they shape a teen’s future. A very solid YA debut for comic book writer and artist Faith Erin Hicks.


The Art of Losing and Comics Will Break Your Heart are out in bookstores now.  Cold Day in the Sun will be out next week. Have you read any of these or are you excited about them? What gets you to pick up a contemporary YA romance – is it issues or characters or tropes? Let me know in the comments!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Want more YA reviews and bookish fun? Get Mostly YA Lit in your inbox and be the first to get notified on new updates.

One response to “The Art of Losing, Cold Day in the Sun & Comics Will Break Your Heart | New Release Reviews

  1. Yeah, if I remember correctly Comics Will Break Your Heart was in third person? Or alternating third? I remember also feeling a bit distanced, but I really enjoyed the book.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.