Thursday, January 13, 2011

Bookanista Review: Like Mandarin, by Kirsten Hubbard--AND AN ARC GIVEAWAY!!!!

Okay you guys, I'm nervous about today's Bookanista Review, because it's one of those books that's SO lovely and amazing, I'm pretty sure there's nothing I can say to do it justice. (Bonus: the author is a member of the Bookanistas so I'm pretty sure she'll see this.) So yeah, gotta find a way to explain the wonder of this absolutely gorgeous book--without saying "lovely," "beautiful," or "Wow" too many times. Not going to be easy. But I'll do my best!

Today I'm talking about LIKE MANDARIN, by the insanely talented Kirsten Hubbard.

I love the simple beauty of the cover:


And here's how the publisher describes it:

It's hard finding beauty in the badlands of Washokey, Wyoming, but 14-year-old Grace Carpenter knows it's not her mother's pageant obsessions, or the cowboy dances adored by her small-town classmates. True beauty is wild-girl Mandarin Ramey: 17, shameless and utterly carefree. Grace would give anything to be like Mandarin. When they're united for a project, they form an unlikely, explosive friendship, packed with nights spent skinny-dipping in the canal, liberating the town's animal-head trophies, and searching for someplace magic. Grace plays along when Mandarin suggests they run away together. Blame it on the crazy-making wildwinds plaguing their Badlands town. Because all too soon, Grace discovers Mandarin's unique beauty hides a girl who's troubled, broken, and even dangerous. And no matter how hard Grace fights to keep the magic, no friendship can withstand betrayal.

Which is a pretty good way of explaining the plot. But definitely does not fully convey what makes this book so incredibly amazing.

It's THE WRITING! Kirsten's elegant way of putting words on a page. 

Reading this book kind of feels like sitting in the sun on a breezy day, sipping lemonade. You drink in the tart, sweetness of every word, soak up the warmth of the characters and still feel refreshed by the soft, steady rhythm of the story. Every sentence is perfect. The way she describes the wildwinds, and the badlands, and the dusty, small town, and the pageants--and MANDARIN. Oh man, she totally makes you understand why Grace wants to be like Mandarin. And she manages to keep Mandarin's sense of mystery, even as we get to see more sides of her.

(The only downside to that was that by the end, I kind of wanted to throw my laptop off a bridge and just accept that I would never, EVER write that well.)

Basically, this book is wonderful. Real and honest and heartwarming and amazing. I don't like to put undo pressure on a book, but I have to say I see GREAT things coming for LIKE MANDARIN. The story, writing, and characters are all worthy of awards, and I can't wait to see which lists and honors it manages to snatch up after it debuts. And from this point on I'll pretty much read whatever Kirsten decides to write. Yeah...it's THAT good.

But don't just take my word for it. See for yourself. When I was at ALA I managed to snatch an extra ARC from the lovely people at the Random House booth--and I'm giving it away to one of you! 

To enter, just follow my blog and leave a comment on today's post by 11:59 pm PST on Saturday, January 22. I'll draw one random winner and announce the name on Sunday, January 23rd. International entries welcome!

129 comments:

  1. Ooo--I want to read this book! I am participating in the Contemps Challenge and this book counts...Thanks for the giveaway and the great synopsis of this book.

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

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  2. I've heard so many great things about Like Mandarin, and I would love to win an ARC copy.

    Love your blog too!

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  3. Oh, and my email is jessicasubject.writer[at]gmail[dot]com

    Thanks!

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  4. Sounds like a really good read!

    DreamyCowgirl @ hotmail.com

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  5. Oh LORD how I've wanted a copy, and how I mentally slap myself for not having pre-ordered a copy just yet. I'm dying to see what all the hubba is though. With all the hype--even before all the hype and Contemps challenge--I knew I wanted to read this one. Like Mandarin, what a fantastic title, and the cover is simple yet tells a hell of a lot of the story. Thanks for the contest and internationalism. :)

    cc932005 at hotmail dot com

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  6. The relationship between these two girls must be powerful. And who of us hasn't looked up to someone and wanted to be like them. Can't wait!

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  7. You're giving away LIKE MANDARIN?

    Ohgodohgodohgod!
    I'm so chuffed. You have no idea just HOW MUCH I've been anticipating this one.

    And right now, I'm so darn jealous that you've already read it.

    And YES. For Kirsten's writing.

    speak_to_bidisha@yahoo.co.in

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  8. Can't wait to read this one!

    chanelle(@)chanellegray(.)c0m

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  9. ACK!!!! YES YES YES YES YES PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.......
    I've been dying to read like Mandarin for a while now.

    fussymonkey2 at gmail dot com

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  10. Would love a copy~ thanks for the giveaway! PS- I love reading your reviews--you don't just say, "it's great," you really show us what's wonderful about it from a writing point of view too. Nice.

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  11. This book sounds wonderful. I'm definately adding it to my TBR list. Thanks for the chance to win!

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  12. Sounds awesome! I'd love to win!

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  13. Kirsten's blog was one of the first writer's blogs I followed so I've been wanting to read this for a long time. It sounds wonderful. Plus, I like to support authors with super cool hair. :)

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  14. I am seriously freaking out over this book. And like Tracey, I support authors with really cool hair, too :D

    And an awesome writing style.

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  15. Oooh! I'd love to win this! I follow you on Twitter…I hope that counts? (I'm a wordpress girl who hasn't yet figured out a better way to follow blogspotters)

    But, YES! Really looking forward to this one. In the (very surprising and unusual) event that I actually win, my email address is olsonkayla (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Thanks! :)

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  16. I'd love to read this!!

    bkhabel@gmail dot com

    Thanks for the chance. I follow.

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  18. Oh my goodness, I want this one so much! Even if it makes me want to throw my laptop into the wall because I can't write as well :)

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  19. I can't wait for this book and am crossing my fingers that I win your arc! Thanks for sharing it with your readers!

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  20. OH oh, hand in the air . . . Enter me please :-) I've been hearing about this book for awhile and got jealous when I saw the pictures of you snagging the ARC LOL.

    Thanks for a great spotlight review!! Happy Thursday!

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  21. I am a gfc follower, I would love to read this book.
    debbie
    twoofakind12@yahoo.com

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  22. Oh man, another one to add to my massively-high TBR pile...thanks a lot, Shannon!

    And thanks for the giveaway!

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  23. I seriously CAN NOT WAIT to read this one!

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  24. Would love to win!

    ashleystone@Insightbb.com

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  25. Now, THIS is a book I need to read. I LOOOVE when it's all about the awesomeness of the writing!!

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  26. Wow! Sounds like a great book! I'd love to read it...and own an ARC of it :)

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  27. Wow want a great review. I've never heard of this book (holds head in shame), but now I want to read.

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  28. I've wanted to read this book since I first read about it on Kirsten's blog. Yay for great books!

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  29. Such a nice analogy about sipping lemonade in the sun. Sounds like a great read.

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  30. I can't wait to read this, and would love to win. :)

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  31. Great review! I can't read to read this one.

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  32. I would love to read this book!

    Jessi
    jlelliott08 AT gmail DOT com

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  33. I saw this book from one of your previous posts. I looked it up and instantly put it on my TBR pile. I love to win a copy.

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  34. This sounds fantastic!
    jpetroroy at gmail dot com

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  35. I'm SO excited for this book! :)

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  36. I have been thinking about this book FOREVER! Thanx for the contest :)

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  37. Wow! It sounds incredible!!! Definitely need to get my hands on it sometime soon!! Thanks for the awesome book heads-up!

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  38. thanks so, so much for the lovely review, Shannon!! *blushes furiously*

    and everyone who's commented so far -- I'm thrilled you're excited about Like Mandarin!

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  39. OOOO!! I would love to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!
    I am a GFC follower (Lexie@BookBug)
    lexie.bookbug(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  40. Great review. You have me all excited. Now I'm dying to read this! EEEP!

    addicted2novels(at)gmail(dot)com

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  41. Wow. This is the kind of review every writer dreams of! And now, I absolutely MUST read this book! Nicely done, #1 :-)

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  42. Ooo! I've been keeping my eye on this book for some time now, and it's great tp see such a good review - now I'm even more curious! :D

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  43. Wow, you made this book sound so good! Count me in.

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  44. ohh I really want to read this book so I'd love to win it!

    new follower!

    strandedhero(at)gmail(dot)com

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  45. I'm excited about this book. Awesome giveaway! :)

    naruto_and_hinata(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  46. Can't wait to read this one! I feel like I've been following Like Mandarin's release for forever!

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  47. I've already heard such wonderful things about this book and I can't wait to read it! Getting an arc of it would be super sweet!

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  48. I've also been waiting to read this book!

    wolfinthefable@gmail.com

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  49. Will all you amazing and talented writers stop publishing fantastic books just for ONE month?? Than maybe I can catch up.
    I want to try this book!


    taffy(dot)lovell@gmail.com

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  50. I have to say that your metaphor of the Lemonade clenched it for me. I have to read this book!

    What a great plot. How often I remember wishing I could be somebody else when I was 14.

    Pick me, pick me, pick me...

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  51. Please enter me! I'd LOVE toread Like Mandarin! :)

    yabliss AT gmail DOT com

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  52. Is this giveaway open internationally? If so, consider this my entry! New follower :D

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  53. I really want to read this one. Thank you for the opportunity.

    teresasreadingcorner at gmail dot com

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  54. Oh! I'd love to win this!
    Please enter me!

    ella_press@live.com.ar

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  55. OOHHHHH pick me me me! SO want to read this book!

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  56. You're giving away your ARC of Like Mandarin?! IS THIS LIKE, A JOKE, OR WHAT?!!

    Please enter me! I can't WAIT for this! Thank you so much for making it international!

    Great review, by the way! x

    lovereadingx[at]gmail[dot]com

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  57. This sounds like a great book! I would love to be entered! I am a follower:)
    Thanks!
    bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

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  58. This book sounds really good!

    I am a follower (A Rick)

    danceislove27@gmail.com

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  59. Hey, I'd love to win! :) This sounds excellent...

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  60. I'd love to read this book! Especially if it makes you feel as if you're sitting in the sun! It's so cold here. lol!

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

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  61. Sometimes I do enjoy a story just for the way it's told, rather than what it's about. This sounds like just that kind of writing.

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  62. Oh my goodness I've been hearing about this book for months now and I really really want to read it. Although I don't want to realize how horrible of a writer I truly am... lol.

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  63. Oh thank you for this and especially for making it international, I've had my eye on this for MONTHS! Can't wait to read it :)

    Lynsey(AT)narrativelyspeaking(DOT)com

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  64. BEYOND EXCITED to read this. Simple as that.

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  65. Like Mandarin has been on my wish-list when I stumbled upon the synopsis of it on Kirsten's blog a REALLY long time ago. I'm really looking forward to reading it. Great review.

    smartin_90 (AT) yahoo (DOT) com

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  66. I've been dying to read this book for a while. It sounds FANTASTIC and I would lovelovelove to win it!

    emforbes87[at]gmail[dot]com

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  67. I want to start by saying thank you for this giveaway, your review has made this already great sounding book even more appealing. It truly sounds beautiful and would love love love to win!

    holz_twilight@msn.com

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  68. *moans* HAND IT OVER
    um...I mean, can I please be entered to win it?
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    rivkarno1(At)hotmail(dot)com

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  69. Ooo, I can't wait to read this book. Thanks for the great review. :)
    Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

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  70. oh, please sign me up! You make this book sound simply irresistible.
    jessieharrell@me.com

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  71. Sounds good!

    kristinrae023(at)gmail.com

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  72. I would love to be able to read this book! It's on my TBR list!! :) Hope I can get a copy! Thanks!

    Ivy
    ivykiddo[at]gmail[dot]com
    GFC: Ivy

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  73. Love contemp YA - so excited to read this one. Thanks for the great review!

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  74. Oh, Kirsten's Like Mandarin is a book I'm excited about reading. Count me in on this giveaway, pretty please!

    Nothing I love more than gorgeous writing.

    Thanks and hugs,
    Lola

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  75. Yay! Another great review for this book! I would definitely love to enter :)

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  76. Follow achieved. I wanted to read your further notes on querying anyway. :D Besides, your blog is fantastic.

    This book has been on my to-read list for awhile. Winning a copy would make my week.

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  77. This is a great read. Whoever wins is so LUCKY!

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  78. Oh, this looks good. Really good. Enter me, please.

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  79. I want to read this

    do enter me

    vidishamun@gmail.com

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  80. Kirsten is such a sweetheart...I can't wait to read LIKE MANDARIN!

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  81. I hereby enter this ARC contest!

    Hehe that was fun. Great review.

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  82. OH! Me wants. *grabby hands* I'm really hanging out for this book.

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  83. ::crosses fingers:: I would love to win!

    Vivien
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

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  84. I can't wait for Like Mandarin to come out. If I win this ARC, I wont have to wait:)

    katherine.elliott.scott (at) gmail.com

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  85. You managed to snag TWO ARC's of LIKE MANDARIN?!? Luckyyyyyyy!

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  86. I feel like I've been hearing about this book FOREVER! I'd love to win it :-)

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  87. Following. :) Like Mandarin sounds really interesting. I keep seeing the cover around the internet and it really is pretty.

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  88. This book looks amazing!! *fingers crossed*

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  89. I can't wait to read Like Mandarin. Thank you for snatching an extra ARC for us :)

    judittten at gmail dot com

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  90. SO excited to read this! :)

    bri_ness at hotmail dot com

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  91. SO excited for Like Mandarin!

    tarynal at hotmail dot com

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  92. I cannot wait to read this book! I'm taking part in the Contemps Challenge, so I could knock this one off if I get it. And I did get some signed bookmarks from Kirsten, so they would go perfect with this book!

    stellarbookblog[at]gmail[dot]com

    Thanks!

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  93. This book sounds awesome! And I love Kirsten's blog. She seems like a great gal.

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  94. I was blown away by the writing as well. The images she conveys, the lyrical prose, the characterization. It was all so moving, wasn't it? I love delving into books like that. Beautiful review, Shannon!

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  95. Sounds like a must read, sign me up!

    crystalclearreading@gmail.com

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  96. I'd love to play please.

    lesly7ch(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  97. Love the cover, love the title, love the name "Mandarin," (though I'm not going to have any more children--three's company--so won't be using it for one of mine.)
    And finally, love the concept. For who among us didn't sometimes dream in our teens (perhaps even now?!) of being the wild and interesting other?

    (Oh, and love the review, as always.)

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  98. It's "like sitting in the sun...with lemonade"?

    Yes, please!

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  99. I'd love to read this!!

    Thanks for the chance. I follow.

    khyla_808ATyahooDOTcom

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  100. Would really love the chance to win this one! Especially since it counts for the Contemps challenge and is on my wish list! Thanks a bunch Shannon!

    And yes, I'm a follower :D

    ~Briana
    thebookpixie[at]yahoo[dot]com

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  101. I would love to read this book. I read at night for sanity time, my 4 kids (aged 12, 8, 5, 3) keep me pretty busy, by the end of the day, I need an escape. I have read about this book on Goodreads, I am a fan of Kirsten on there. (pick me pick me ~ jumping up and down waving my hand at you)
    I am now following your blog.
    thank you

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  102. This sounds go good!! Great review, so lucky to have gotten an ARC. I would love to be entered! Thanks for opening internationally :)

    hanging.by.a.moment_@hotmail.com

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  103. I think everyone wants a copy of this! I have heard such good things about Like Mandarin, I can't wait to read it.

    findjessyhere at gmail dot com

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  104. I've been wanting to read this book for months! *crosses fingers*

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  105. Oooh! I've been wanting to read this! Yay contest!

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  106. This sounds really good! Thanks for the giveaway!
    erinberry12 at charter dot net

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  107. Mandarin sounds awesome! Please count me in!

    bdecouverte@gmail.com

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  108. Thanks for passing it on - sounds like a great read. I'm in!

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  109. I'd love to get my hands on this one! Thanks so much!

    texas_gal45(at)hotmail(dot)Com

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  110. Great post! I've been anxiously waiting to read LM for a while now, so please enter me to win! Thanks so much!

    Genna from gsarnak.wordpress.com

    gsarnak410 at gmail dot com

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  111. Awesome review, this book has been talked about sooo much, can't wait to see what it's all about and to review it too! Please enter me to win :)


    Thanks!

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  112. p.s: dawn (at) dawnkurtagich (dot) com

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  113. Ooh I want to read this book too! It looks awesome!

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  114. Growing up in a small town is tough! This books sounds good.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

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  115. This is another one I'm looking forward to. Contemps FTW!

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  116. I've been looking forward to reading this for the longest time. Can't wait!

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  117. Thanks for this giveaway! :D

    magabygc at gmail.com

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  118. I'm a follower! :)

    Thanks for the giveaway!

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  119. Thank you for the chance! I'm a follower, of course.

    feeyonachan at gmail dot com

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  120. You made me bump this to the top of my reading list!!

    I can't wait to want to throw my laptop away too :D

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  121. Thanks, I've been wanting to read this.

    jen4777[at]hotmail.com

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  122. Ohh, this book sounds really good! new year's just begun and my list of 'books I MUST read even if I have to do other million things' is rising at the speed of light! I'd definitely wanna read this one!Amazon loves me, cause I have at least 5 books shipped in my country each month :)

    aliasgirl[at]libero[dot]it

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  123. I have been wanting to read this book! Thanks for the giveaway!
    I am a blog follower
    bangersis(at)msn(dot)com

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  124. After reading a lot of great contemporary YA novels last year, I saw Like Mandarin and I know it's just going to be as awesome as the contemps novels I've read. I have a feeling it's going to be one of my favorites this year. Can't wait to read it!

    Thank you for making this international. :)

    amaterasureads AT gmail DOT com

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Yay-I love comments! Thank you so much! (But please remember to keep your comments spoiler-free. Also, I try to keep this a happy, positive place. Friendly debate is fine, but always be kind to each other). <3