Confessions of a Capital Mother: Feeling American

On this day, September 11th, 2015, I am feeling particularly “American,” which, maybe oddly, isn’t a feeling I get very often. I’m not even one to feel very patriotic on the classic bank holidays: Labor Day, Independence Day, not even Memorial Day–the day I should feel the most “American.”

Today is a day that I feel like a Capital mother again–a mother so used to not even noticing just how privileged my children are to live in a nice home with well-made clothes and access to Netflix at the touch of a button.

No one, besides my grandfather and my husband’s grandfather, from our immediate family is in the military and I feel like I am the classic American case of the soft, fat-and-happy citizen that is completely disconnected from the sacrifices that our military men, women, and families make every single day. I know that they make so many of them: spouses not seeing each other for months at the time, the very real and present truth that each time they speak may be their last time, one parent raising children by themselves, many not even being present at their children’s births, moving every few years and uprooting from friends and schools, living where they have no grandparents or other family to help raise kids. They do this all so I can sit here in my comfortable house and type this. So I can choose the schools my kids attend. So much. I can’t even begin to imagine being a military spouse, much less military personnel.

Today is different, though, and oddly, this year hit me harder in the gut than any of the past anniversaries of 9/11.

Jason and I flew to New York in January 2012, just two months after the attack. We went to ground zero, which, at that point, looked like a construction site with mounds and mounds of flowers, notes, tributes and photographs tacked to the plywood barriers. Even standing there, in the same place that so many people had fled, I felt disconnected. The ground on which I stood had been worn under feet that were panicked, scared, frozen–quite probably the sidewalk where many, many, many people had stepped not even two full months earlier in what would be their last steps on a New York sidewalk–that ground was like another planet to me and I was an outsider looking in.

It’s taken me this long (and a marriage and two kids later) to even begin to grasp what that day was like for so many. I’ve recounted my “Where Was I” story every year, but this year, as I was telling my 8-year old about the day, I couldn’t finish because tears were running down my cheeks. I suddenly felt very connected to everyone around me–not as human, not as Southern, not as any particular group except “American.”

I’ve only felt this way once before that I can really remember, and it was in a completely different capacity. Of course, it was after reading a book–because isn’t that the point of reading? To evoke strong emotion and reaction?

This book, which I read in eighth grade, is titled Nothing but the Truth: A Documentary Novel, written in 1992 by Avi (pen name of Edward Irving Wortis).

Nothing_But_the_Truth_(Avi_novel)_coverShort synopsis: A boy hums during the National Anthem during the pledge break in his 9th grade homeroom class. He’s asked to stop; he doesn’t. He is suspended. The media goes CRAZY. He changes schools. He’s asked to lead the National Anthem (because hello, he was suspended for being super patriotic, right?) in his new class. He can’t. He doesn’t know the words.

The book is written in a documentary style by using diary entries, press memos, newspaper articles, etc. surrounding the event. Can you guess what the take-away lesson was? The media doesn’t always tell the whole truth. Get the whole story. Look at things from every angle.

It was while reading this book that I felt suddenly and intensely “patriotic.” “American.” How dare this boy take something so far by using our American symbol? Of course, I was in eighth grade, so I couldn’t even name the emotions that this book evoked, but it was strong.

I’d like to see this book updated to employ a modern approach to the same story. This version would include emails, texts, snapchats, Instagram, and especially Facebook posts. I’m sure the outcome would be no different, but it would certainly be something that would resonate well with students.

Have you read this book, Nothing but the Truth: A Documentary Novel? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

For now, on this somber day that even the weather is feeling, I wish everyone the power and courage to recount their own “Where Was I” story. To tell it with tears running down your cheeks. To never, ever, ever forget that deep, horrible feeling in your gut when, as you were watching the same new I was watching, you saw the second plane approach the towers.

I will never forget. I will continue to try to thank our first responders and our brave military personnel and their families for their sacrifices and contributions to our great country. For even though we complain about our first-world problems, we would have it much worse without those that defend our rights to the death.

Read Up.

Problems in Panem: Guilty Confessions of a Capitol Mother

grassroots corner

I remember when The Hunger Games got really popular and we all played the game that gave us our ID cards with the District and job, etc. Mine said I was from District 12 and had some really awesome rock-identifying job of some sort.

Well, the game got it wrong. I imagine it probably got it wrong for a lot of us, because I, for one, am definitely from the Capitol.

I’m sitting in Grassroots this morning, feverishly studying. My first exam is next Tuesday and I’m beyond nervous: and this isn’t even THE exam. I’m beyond stressed.

I’ve been struggling for a long while now about my body image and I’ve been thinking long and hard about posting a series of progress and/or fallbacks with the emphasis on positive reinforcements and encouragement, and especially in dealing with the guilt that accompanies a person like myself during these times.

I’m taking this short digression from studying to write the first post because a series of events have happened in quick succession this morning such that I’ve ended up here, in the back corner of the coffee shop, to avoid seeing (and thus, having to speak) to anyone I may know that comes in (and since this is Thomasville, that means pretty much everyone).

1) No shower, dry shampoo, hair pulled back into a bun. Like…slicked back in a bun. And not intentionally. Gross.

2) The jeans I wanted to wear simply wouldn’t fit…over my thighs.  (I also know that it is all my fault…well, mine and Snickers) (and Red Bull) (sugar-free…).

3) Twenty minutes ago, I called my dietician and clinic nurse who manages my weight to make an appointment to come weight in and start a PA diet…again.

4) I’m worrying a few bumps on my face and hairline. Weren’t these supposed to magically go away forever when I turned 21?

5) Overall, I’m feeling gross, yucky, stressed, fat, un-attractive, etc. (this is not a line cast for compliments…just accept this and move on).

6) This morning, little W came down is the prettiest little dress and shoes and she felt so good about her outfit and I just thought about how much I always want her to feel that way about herself.

7) Five minutes ago, a complete stranger (again…strange in Grassroots) stopped by my table (in the back corner, by the restrooms) and just said, “Excuse me, I just wanted to say that you are so pretty.” And then she walked away.

And so, here I sit. Feeling sorry for myself and feeling guilty that I feel sorry for myself when there are so many things happening in the world today that I should be nothing short of immensely thankful that I am not directly involved in.

Not only is it the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, but there is war, families being torn apart, killed, enslaved. Children around the world being abused in horrific ways. Poverty so immense that families must sell children just to survive. Cruelty. Sickness. Death.

And all I can worry about is the 22 pounds I’ve put on in five months.

But, a stranger, who also knew all about all of these world issues, thought it imperative enough to stop and tell me I was pretty. And I’m so glad she did. Not because I needed to know that someone thought I looked at least half-way decent, but as a reminder that, as I sit in the back, worried that people I know will be disgusted by my unwashed, ragged-from-studying self, I should stop being so selfish as to think that people (whose negative opinions really shouldn’t matter) would actually think I was disgusting, unwashed and ragged-from-studying. I honestly don’t think people are that mean. Normally. More on this later…

So today, I’m turning over a new leaf. I can’t do much to help those around the world with problems far beyond my reach, but I can try harder to both improve my own self-awareness of those around me and compliment and encourage whenever and wherever I see fit. To remind those that, even though I have no idea how they feel about themselves, I think they are beautiful. Or pretty. Or have a nice necklace. Or whatever little words of encouragement I can give.

Let’s do it together.

Have you and any small words of encouragement lately?

Read Up!

Can you guess what these boys are dressed up for?

I know that you’re thinking the same thing as me…little Abnegation kids!

Alsas, we are wrong. Apparently they’re dressed up as Biblical times kiddos for Vacation Bible School ; )

A friend of mine posted this photo of her two sweet boys heading out to VBS. I couldn’t resist sharing, but since I’m not fond of other people posting pics of my kid, I did a little crop crop.
Are these costumes not awesome?!
Read Up!

I wasn’t kidding about the Week of Silence thing or Why I will not like you anymore if you post Spoilers for a huge, massively important book.

I really wasn’t. The Shadowhunters Week of Silence was foh real, ya’ll.

So much so that I am extending it for a few more days. You see, I had this thing called “theatre week” in which I thought I would be able to knock out CoHF in no time. I was wrong. In fact, I’ve barely gotten into the book. As such, I am having to avoid Twitter, Instagram and most of the extended blogosphere (because people just cannot keep their traps shut!). Sometimes I welcome spoilers (when I’m trying to decide whether or not to read a book). In this case however, the book can’t be bad and it’s a gigantour finale to a series that I absolutely adore. So, if you ruin it for me by POSTING A SPOILER REVIEW 5 HOURS AFTER THE BOOK IS RELEASED when I know you didn’t really read it but only skimmed it and didn’t read an ARC because they weren’t available to bloggers, I will send evil south Georgia summer death gnats to your home. I am not kidding.

For my few loyal readers, please, miss me. Miss me a lot in the next few days.

In the meantime, while you’re missing me and my wonderful posts, I’m going to finish CoHF, finish writing my review for the two books I read previously and then update you on all the reasons why I pretty much am not happy with summer (hint: no school).

Also in the meantime, you should be Reading Up!

I’ll be back soon, I promise. Cross my heart and hope to die (but not really…because I’m not 100% sure that my husband could raise the kids by himself…love you, Mr. J).

The Top Ten List: College Advice from the Joneses

It’s graduation season. The time for commencement speeches, well-wishes and cards that better be filled with something bigger than a $20 bill. Because ya’ll…college ain’t cheap.

For my dear graduates, I’d like to share a bit of advice. Please pay attention.

Here’s my top ten lessons learned in college:

  1. Live in a dorm. It’s part of the college experience and no matter how crappy it is, it’s probably the one and only time you’ll live in a community such as this.
  2. Make new friends in college.
  3. Delay picking your major. Give yourself time to find out what you really like.
  4. Take crazy classes. College is the only place that you will have the opportunity to discover those hidden loves and talents and probably even get class credit for them…I’m talking PE credit for taking Beginner Ballet…or scuba diving. Art credit for Photography. Science credit for Mental Illness at the Movies. It doesn’t get better than that and you won’t ever have the chance again.
  5. Spend your weekends and maybe even minor holidays at school. You’ve been home for years. Give your parents and yourself a break. Enjoy the college experience…all of it.
  6. Take philosophy classes.
  7. Study abroad. You may never have another chance to see the world. Take it now.
  8. Get to know your professors.
  9. Don’t rush. There’s no need to finish early.
  10. Fall in love. Many times.

And of all the best advice I can give to any if you, it is this: do whatever brings you happiness, especially if that thing is reading up with the Joneses ; )

Congratulations Class of 2014! Read Up!

What the Civil Wars, Florence Welch, my 8th grade boyfriend, and Lena Duchanne’s claiming all have in common.

My dear sweet Audi Q5 has been having a few heart problems lately. After Dr. Theresa at German Auto Imports here in TVegas did all she could for him, he had to visit the specialist at Audi Gwinnett.

These trips entail road trips to Atlanta, 4-hours each way. I went up last Friday and then again this Saturday (16 hours in the car). I made both trips by myself. They were great ; )

Mr. J offers to go with me every time I have to make a trip to Atlanta (which is more often than you might think), but I usually end up going by myself. As an introvert, 8 hours in the car is actually a great time for me to recharge my batteries. I don’t think Mr. J understands this, even after 10 years of marriage. I think he thinks I’m kind of crazy (and secretly up to no good) when I insist on making the 8-hour round trip by myself (which I somehow always manage to turn into a 12-hour trip every time…Tanger Outlets are right in the middle).

For an introvert, it’s empowering to have complete control over a situation. To go when we want, where we want. I choose the time I leave. I choose the route. I choose where I want to eat lunch (I don’t mind eating at sit-down restaurants by myself…another thing Mr. J doesn’t understand). I choose when to stop for potty breaks. If I decide I want to detour over to the Wesleyan campus for a quick walk around memory lane, I can do that without consulting anyone.

Don’t get me wrong, I also love road trips with my family. I love stopping at little road-side vegetable stands. Impromptu trips to High Falls to play in the water and hike down a trail. Sharing the Wesleyan campus with my kids.

But when I really need to unwind, a long trip in the car on my own is perfect. Probably the best part of solo road trips though, is choosing the music.

Just like my taste in books, my range of favorite music genres is vast. I can listen to most anything. On these trips, the route is one I can pretty much drive blind-folded (though I don’t, you know…for safety purposes), so I love to roll down every window, open the moon roof as far back as it will go, let my hair down to fly around my face, and sing at the top of my lungs to my four favorite artists and albums with no regard for anyone else’s preferences. It’s pretty sweet.

I’m always downloading new music, but it seems that over the past year or so, I consistently listen to the same four artists/albums:

The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow

1) The Civil Wars: Barton Hollow

Their album, Barton Hollow, is perfect for starting a trip. I’m a sucker for mountain music. If my cousin, Daniel, a professional upright bass player in this very genre, read this, he would probably hate me forever because I’m sure that that’s not what the actual genre is called. But it reminds me of Tennessee and West Virginia and I just don’t have anything better to call it. There are plenty of other artists in this genre that I love, but it’s this one album that I just can’t get enough of. Favorites: C’est La Mort and Poison & Wine.

Florence + The Machine: Ceremonials Album

2) Florence + The Machine: Ceremonials (and other soundtrack singles)

I adore Florence Welch. Any and every single song from Florence + The Machine is on my phone. Every song is different, but they’re all SO. GOOD. These songs are like fantasy fiction in music form. All of the magic from every book I’ve read can be summed up in a Florence + The Machine song. Which is probably why they also write the songs for either the movies or the movie trailers for a lot of the most popular YA paranormal books. My personal favorites, most from the Ceremonials album, are Seven Devils, Breathe of Life, No Light, No Light and Spectrum.

Mayday Parade: A Lesson in Romantics

3) Mayday Parade: A Lesson in Romantics (and other albums)

I know, this is probably ten miles away from the other genres and not even close to what I usually listen to (which on the radio is NPR, country or pop). I’m not even sure what this genre is. Ska? Is that still a genre of music? Alt? I don’t know. I came across this band when some of my high schoolers were fangirling over their music during drama class a few years ago. I asked who it was and they told me it was a local band from Tallahassee. They were “so cute!!!” and “their music is so awesome!!” and “one of the guys is from Cairo!!” Hmm…with that comment, I thought I’d heard the name before, but not sure where. With a little research, I found out that the drummer (the one from Cairo) was a guy I grew up with, and was even my boyfriend for a hot minute in 8th grade! I use the term ‘boyfriend’ very loosely. We were in middle school. Regardless, I actually know his aunt very, very well. I’ve been the production manager for her ballet company for the past dozen years. Back to the music, though. It’s actually not bad at all. If you love contemporary YA lit, especially from the guy’s POV, then I’d venture to guess that you’d love Mayday Parade. Angst-ridden love songs that sound like they’re being sung by love-stung teen idols (when really they’re probably all around my age…and the drummer’s age….which is NOWHERE NEAR high school). If I were an author of YA lit, this band would definitely be on my inspiration playlist.

Beautiful Creatures: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

4) Beautiful Creatures: Official Soundtrack from the Film

Let me begin by saying that this is probably my least favorite book-to-film adaptation ever. It was terrible. Visually and musically, it was great, but the storyline just dropped way, way too much (and you all know that I’m really forgiving when it comes to b2f adaptations). I can’t imagine a film being made of the second book just because so much was taken out.

Regardless, the score is fantastic. Fun fact about me: I was the drum major of my middle school marching band. I know. Touch me. I sizzle.

Thanks to this little bit of history, the muscle memory from the down beat never left and I love to really get into  conducting a score. I’m sure the people driving by me probably think I’m either crazy or possibly yelling at someone on the phone. I get really into it. I have a lot of scores that I’ve listened to on road trips for years (Jurassic Park  and Queen of the Damned are other favs), but lately, I’ve really started to adore this one most.

So there you have it. I don’t listen to audiobooks while I drive, but I do stick with the themes and really jam out on my long and lovely solo road trips.

Thankfully, I got to spend some time with my older brother and a good friend while I was in Atlanta and my dear Audi Q5 is all better now and back home.

What do you prefer to listen to on long drives? Solo or with company? Let me know! I love, love, love comments : ) If you want to hear a few snippets, I’ve linked to each album (plus a few more) in the Jones’ Book Store through Amazon (or just link through the album covers above). Listen Up and Read Up!


The Big News!

If you’re truly keeping up and Reading Up with the Joneses on Facebook, you’ve already seen the big news. If not, here it is! No, we’re not adding another Jones. Keeping up with the four of us is enough, don’t you think?

We’ve opened an online jewelry boutique with Chloe + Isabel, a really gorgeous line of jewels to bedazzle your neckline (or your lady’s neckline) while reading the classics (or latest contemporary romance, which is more my speed) at the local coffee shop. Please check out our c+i shop and let us know what you think! It will always be open and available for your chapter breaks. If you’re local, I’m available for pop-up shops, a girls’ night in, or a social night. Read Up to Keep Up and look swell while doing it in your new c+i sparklies!

c+i Spring 2014 Collection

Southern Glamour or Why You Should Get Married in Thomasville

Ya’ll…it felt weird typing that.

I promised I’d post about the wedding event of the year (or, production week for me) that I was privy to a few weekends ago, so, before I forget, here it is. I’ll keep it short, simple and of course, sweet as Georgia sweet tea.

Bride: the one and only, Emily Loftiss (whose “friends” call her Loftiss, which I am apparently not one of because she’s always been and will always be “Emily” to me…sorry Emily…name your first-born Loftiss and maybe I’ll catch on) If you don’t know her personally, you may know her as the fashion blogger du jour at I’ve mentioned her before, only because it’s the only fashion blog I subscribe to because, let’s face it…I am not fashionable. Her dress, which she designed herself was the epitome of glamour.

Groom: Jay Carlington, Mr. Handsome and oh-so-perfect for Emily (who I’ve only met a handful of times prior to the wedding…the first being at a field party or concert or something on the night one of our dogs ran away and terrorized a neighbor and I was probably really bitchy…more so than normal…so, Jay, if you’re reading, I’m sorry that you probably hated me the first time we met)

Wedding Venue: Thomasville First United Methodist Church (Since I was managing logistics of the reception, I didn’t get to go to the ceremony…sad face…)

Reception Venue: Pebble Hill Plantation (I’ve been obsessed with this place for years. Long before I met Jason, though by some alignment of the stars, we ended up there on our very first accidental date. We also married there…10 years ago!)

Colors: Peach, Masters (as in golf tournament) Green (So….I’m just going to throw this out there…Jay, you do realize that you’re NEVER going to go the the Masters in Augusta ever again? Your anniversary trip…which you know you will be taking…will screw those plans from here till death does you part…unless the Masters are on a different weekend every year, in which case, disregard what I just said. I know nothing about golf. I do, however, know about having a screwy anniversary…since I was the brilliant one to get married the day before Halloween and then seven years later give birth to a child on the very same date. Brilliance)

My Part in the Party: Reception Director/Cocktail-to-Reception Logistics Coordinator/Production Manager/Golf Cart Driver/Guest Chauffeur/Set Decorator/House Manager/Stage Manager…just pick one. Whatever I did, it was fun. I moved a lot of antique furniture, shed blood, sweat and tears (I do not lie), got an awesome sunburn (which, ironically, Emily gave me sunscreen the night before at the rehearsal dinner…) and had a fantastic time. Getting to wear a pretty dress, dance the night away and then breakdown and load out is pretty much what my husband and I do for every production! Well, I wear the dress…he wears a tux and an awesome bow tie ; )

The Guests: All of their friends from NYC and LA. Being the small-town southern gal (I don’t ever actually use that word, btw), I didn’t know any of them. Well, Becca Tobin was there (Kitty on Glee), but I figured fangirling out on someone at a wedding would probably be frowned upon, considering our genteel southern manners. Also…I haven’t watched the last 6 episodes of Glee, so that would probably not be cool. What if her character had been killed off or something? Yikes. Talk about an awkward conversation. I did get to catch up with an old friend from my dancing days, though. Shout out Katie Lumpkin!!!

The Food: “southern” food that I actually try to avoid because it’s everywhere. Chicken strips, grits, salad (a good harvest salad, not the classic southern chef’s), biscuits (the Biscuit Bar was quite cute, if I must say so), banana pudding, peach cobbler, lemon squares and carrot cake groom’s cake (photo at the top, which Kyler at Sweetpeach Cakes baked and I decorated…what do you think?).

Best part about the entire thing: PHOTO BOOTH!!! Ya’ll (I promise to never type this word again after this post), I LIVE for photo booths. Love, love, love. I’m the annoying person that drags everyone over and pre plans poses.

Now, I could link to a bunch of “southern” themed books, but I won’t. I’ll let you dig around for those yourself. In the meantime, if you’re ever in TVegas, make sure to schedule a stop at Pebble Hill, especially if you’re a horse person. The entire main house is equestrian themed (think custom-built ribbon closets, a room dedicated to stirrups from around the world, you get the picture) since Miss Pansy, the last owner, was more horse crazy (with the money to go with it) than most of us combined. Check out the awesome shot of her jumping!

Miss Pansy riding.

Miss Pansy riding.

Hope you enjoyed this peak into the ritzy lift…which, apparently, is just like our normal lives. With more photos. And make-up. And camera-ready poses. Read Up!

High School Shenanigans or Why I Went Off the Grid for a Week + Book Review: #scandal

I’ve been involved in this little thing called Life that occasionally happens around these parts. Two productions went off without too much of a hitch (well, one where the leads actually got hitched and the other where the leads pretended to get hitched).

Theatre week can bring out so many emotions, especially in the director, which was my lucky title.

I spent this past week deep in the ire of the theatre at Cairo High School, where my students were finishing up their Spring production of Guys and Dolls. On Monday afternoon, we put together Act I (for the first time…I know, scary). By Friday night, the kids did a pretty jam up job. Was it perfect? Nope. Was I proud? Yep. They came a long, long way in 4 days and all I could ask for was improvement at every rehearsal–that’s what they gave me!

I’ve decided that after many years of working with high schoolers, teaching them, and especially trying to mount a production with them, is like taking a trust fall off of a cliff and hoping (read: praying) they catch you at the bottom. It’s really all up to the students. I can give them costumes, sets, props, make-up and mics, but I can’t learn their lines or songs for them. I can share my passion, but I can only hope to inspire theirs.

So of course, while I’ve got 40+ kids packed into dressing rooms, wings & any other nook and cranny of a backstage space, high school shenanigans were bound to happen. Someone’s boyfriend showed up uninvited and a chivalrous guys from the cast made him leave. Someone’s foot got stomped by a character shoe heel (tell me a show where this doesn’t happen) and her friends tried to “jump” (their word, not mine) the girl whose foot was found in the offending shoe. Phones (read: cameras) were everywhere. God only knows what dressing photos were caught. Curse words were slung from here to Broadway. I had to give tear-inducing speeches about making great memories in the dressing room rather than those they’d rather forget. Awesome. Hugs and kisses, ladies and gentlemen of the cast.

All of this got me thinking about #scandal a pretty fab book about modern-day shenanigans (read, those of kids currently in high school, which are probably pretty tame compared to what would’ve happened if we’d had Facebook, SnapChat and FaceTime in high school).


Written by Sarah Ockler, #scandal is a contemporary YA mystery novel; a cautionary tale about keeping up with your phone lest someone steal it and hack your Facebook account. Also, it has a pretty good message about 1) keeping business to yourself 2) the perils of social networking and 3) labeling is so not meta (read: cool/inducing of good karma points). Also, point 4) if your best friend tells you to go to prom with her “boyfriend,” the same guy you’ve been crushing hard on for 3 years…you probably should say no.

The characters (of which there are many…it is high school, after all…) are well-rounded, though sometimes hard to keep straight. It seems at first that there will be a “token” character to fill every high school stereotype, but once we’re deeper into the pages, we find…well, we find that we, as the reader, are doing exactly what we aren’t supposed to be doing: labeling.

Written from multiple POV’s, we get to see the social networking scandal unfold from different angles. My favorite character, of course, is Miss Demeanor. An alias for a character in the twists and turns of this mystery, Miss Demeanor keeps us up to date on all manners of social scandals and other happenings. Her actual identity and ulterior motive are a complete mystery until the end. Along the way, there are countless pop-culture references from Oprah to Ani Defranco and everything in between. These kept me laughing through the entire book. The downside to these references (and the Facebook postings from Miss D) is that in a few years, it will just be nostalgic to think back on the time of Facebook; surely something else will have taken over and branded us all followers of the anti-christ by then (totally j/k on that, by the way). It may not stand the test of time, or it may come back later and everything will be cool again (think Eleanor and Park and how kids reading it think tape players, mixed tapes and…ah! changing batteries!…is “just so 80’s and cool”….please…make me throw up kids, I LIVED through the 80’s…big bangs, batteries and all). Another downside (I hate that I’m finding these downsides, because honestly, the pop-culture references were my favorite part of the book) is that an older reader may not “get” all of them. Even I (29 Foh evah, ya’ll!) didn’t get one of them until…well, until this week actually (there’s a character nick-named 420…I’m going to let you figure out which slot he fits in). Maybe it’s not age, but the fact that I’m not a stoner…we’ll leave that to dwell on later.

Anyway, back to the book. The scandal is actually pretty crappy for the characters and there were times when I really just wanted to jump through the pages and shake some of those silly high schoolers by the shoulders. Grrrr!!!! GROW UP!!! And then, I remember that they are, in fact, just high schoolers. The book comes out June 17th and before you dismiss it (like SOME people already have) just because there’s a hashtag in the title, let me remind you that this is the very reason to pick it up. Put it on your TBR list NOW!

Here are two more books that I loved to read about high school shenanigans.


Kiss and Make Up, by Katie D. Anderson, is a hilarious novel about a girl, her lipstick and some really, really awesome, like, my absolute favorite ever, pop-culture reference…


Are you following the Joneses? How do you intend to keep up? Follow us on Instagram and Facebook @readingupwiththejoneses tell me that didn’t make you laugh.

It’s actually a really cute read that deals with a younger high schooler, bad boyfriends, tough family history and a little tiny bit of magic. You’ll enjoy it.

The next is probably one you’ve already read, especially if you’re a Lauren Oliver fan, which I am (although I will be the first to admit that the Delirium series was not my favorite).


Before I Fall is a YA contemporary novel dealing with some pretty heavy issues. I’ll just give you a synopsis and then tell you that you plus anyone over the age of 14 in your inner circle must read it:

Girl goes to party. Girl leaves party. Girl is in car accident. Girl thinks she’s died in said accident. Girl wakes up. Girl realizes it is the same day. Six times.

Now, I know that this isn’t an original theme, but the way Oliver writes this high schoolers revolving door of emotions is pretty awesome. It’s deep and deals with tough issues, but I think it’s an absolute must read, especially if you’ve got a teen nearby.

So there you go! Enjoy these YA contemporary novels and never stop Reading Up with the Joneses! Don’t forget, you can pre-order #scandal or purchase kindle or bound editions of Kiss and Make Up and Before I Fall in the Jones’ Book Store, up there on your right.