Do Tell / Senior Year Wrap Up

Hi friends!

Do TellHappy Tuesday! How is your week coming along? I don’t often share personal posts here on Ciao Bella, but given the significance of senior year, I feel it’d be wrong not to mark down the memories I made in the month of May. And so, I’m taking a cue from my good friend, Paulina, and providing a recap of my end-of-the-year events  — there are quite a few! Fellow seniors, how were your final senior year festivities? To my other readers, how is your summer looking?

College Decision DayMay kicked off on a particularly stressful note with the college decision process. I was so fortunate to narrow down my list to two schools I absolutely adore {and I realize how lucky I am for these opportunities in the first place}, but my choice didn’t come as easy as I had hoped. After a long weekend of visiting both schools again and working through the pros and cons of each place with my close friends and my parents, I came to a decision: I’ll be attending Brown University next year! Since then, I’ve been sporting my Brown t-shirts with pride and filling out forms and paperwork galore. I have a few more months before I move in, but I can’t wait to see what is in store for me there {and to meet other Brunonians!}.

Ciao Bella PromCiao Bella Prom 2Ciao Bella Prom 3With the college decision out of the way, I moved to the next event: prom! I had such a lovely night last year that I feared this year wouldn’t live up to it, but I shouldn’t have worried; my friends and I all had a lovely time. {For anyone bookmarking dresses for next year, mine is from BHLDN}.

After prom, I then focused my attention to any last-minute preparations for my school’s Special Olympics pep rally. The kids and the program mean the world to me, and so, I’m a delighted the day went off without a hitch. I had to makeup my AP Calculus exam, so I myself could not attend the Special Olympics, but the athletes returned to tell me they brought home the gold :)

The Drowsy ChaperoneDuring that same week, I was in tech rehearsals for my school’s spring musical — and my last show — The Drowsy Chaperone. I had a blast stage managing the production, not in the least because so many of my friends participate in the cast and crew {they all rocked in their respective roles}. Over the past four years, the drama department has grown into what feels like my second home, and so, it was a bittersweet goodbye during closing night, filled with standing ovations, crying seniors, and a number of emotional messages. Thankfully, it won’t be long before we gather as a group once more, as I still have Tony Night, our end-of-the-year celebration, to look forward to.

Boat CruiseBoat Cruise 2Like many high schools, my own school sponsors an incredible week of senior activities, with everything from an all-night party at the local YMCA to Class Day, in which a number of seniors are honored with awards. One of my favorite activities was the senior boat cruise, a night on the water that includes an open buffet dinner and plenty of dancing. I had such a wonderful time {even if nostalgia hit hard at the end of the night}, and on a fashion note, I loved seeing everyone dressed up for the occasion.

GraduationFinally, my graduation was this past Sunday! After a busy few weeks, it was refreshing to simply relax during the ceremony and enjoy the moment. As the class president, I gave the welcome address, and though public speaking is far from being my favorite activity, I think it went well. The best part, however, was cheering on my classmates, all of whom helped to make my high school experience as wonderful as it was.

And with that, I’ve now entered into full summer mode. I’m grateful to have the next three months open, with the exception of work and rehearsals, for time with my friends and family. I’m hoping to make the most out of this summer, because I know my orientation will be here before I know it.

Have a lovely day!
B

Top Ten Anticipated Reads for the Rest of 2017

Hello!

Top Ten TuesdayHappy Tuesday! How are things? I’m nearing the end of a whirlwind month of events and am now just left with a few more rehearsals before I gather with my grade for Class Day and Graduation. It’s an exciting time, for sure, but I’ll be honest, I’m also looking forward to reading and blogging a bit more once things quiet down. Are there any other graduating seniors out there? How is your end of the year coming along?

With all that said, I want to thank you for sticking with me through my brief hiatus! To ease back into blogging once again, I wanted to participate in a weekly favorite: The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday. Back in January, I shared my most anticipated releases from the first half of 2017, but now that the year {how does time fly by so quickly?}, this week’s topic has us rounding out the list. So without further ado, here are the novels I can’t wait to read in the coming months, presented in rainbow order, naturally. What books are you excited to grab?

Far From the TreeFirst on my list is Far From the Tree, a new release from an old favorite, author Robin Benway. Dynamics between family and friends are Benway’s sweet spot, and so I’m excited to see what’s in store when the three main characters, Grace, Maya, and Joaquin, all adopted since birth, realize their ties as biological siblings. With a heartfelt plot, a unique and developed group of characters, and a stunning cover to boot, I think I’m in for a treat. October, come quicker? {out October 3}

Neighborhood GirlsI have anxiously been awaiting the release of Jessie Ann Foley’s sophomore release ever since I read and fell in love with her debut, The Carnival at Bray. Fortunately, I won’t have to wait much longer, as Neighborhood Girls will be coming to bookstores in September. A literary coming-of-age tale, the novel tackles the impacts of crime on a family and the harm done by toxic friendships after Wendy’s father is sent to jail. In all truth, it could be about anything and I’d clear my calendar on the release date – I’ll buy anything by Foley! {out September 12}

Little & LionIt’s been several years since I read Brandy Colbert’s debut, Pointe, but its rich characterization and dynamic plot are both still vivid in my mind. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to reading her second book: Little & Lion, which has been described as “a stunning novel on love, loss, identity, and redemption” in its exploration of mental illness and sexual identity. Its release date thankfully falls before I head off to school, so I plan to devour it in a day – I have no doubt the wait will have been worth it. {out August 8}

The ArsonistWhenever someone is in need of a suspenseful, compelling mystery, I have a list handy. The novel on top? Stephanie Oakes’ debut, The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, a page-turner that kept me up far past my typical bedtime so that I could finish it. I wouldn’t be surprised if her next book, The Arsonist, does the same, given its intriguing synopsis: main characters – and outsiders – Molly and Pepper work together to solve the death of a German teenager in the 1980s. Early reviews have consistently praised the lyrical writing and strong character development, so I take that as a sign that Oakes has produced another winner. {out August 22}

The Great HibernationI fell in love with Tara Dairman’s writing at the first mention of a young protagonist who loves to cook {that’d be Gladys of All Four Stars fame}. She’s an author I continually recommend to middle grade fans, and so, I can’t wait to get my hands on her next novel, titled The Great Hibernation. Who can say no to a middle grade mystery, particularly one that involves small town traditions and a cast of whip-smart kids? It goes without saying, but September couldn’t come soon enough. {out September 12}

Genuine FraudThere are few authors as revered as E. Lockhart in the YA world. With a career spanning over ten years, she adds what I expect will be another favorite to her growing list of novels with the release of Genuine Fraud. Inspired by The Talented Mr. Ripley, the story offers a character on the run, hiding with the help of multiple disguises. Additionally, in the fashion of We Were Liars, we readers are surely in for lyrical writing, complex characters, and an intense mystery. Yes, yes, and yes. {out September 5}

Click'dTamara Ireland Stone has written stellar YA contemporaries again and again, to the point that I consider her an “auto-buy” author; no matter the title or topic, I know I’m in for an excellent read when I sit down with one of her novels. I’m sure I’ll find it the same with her new book, Click’d, which follows middle school student Allie after her very own app goes viral. It’s marketed to a different age group than Stone’s typical audience, but I just see that as an excuse to fuel my middle grade obsession. In short? I can’t wait. {out September 5}

They Both Die at the EndIf there’s any consolation to the year 2017 has so far been, it’s the fact that Adam Silvera has not one, but two books hitting shelves. I still need to pick up his earlier release, History is All You Left Me {thank goodness summer vacation is nearly here}, but in the meantime, I’ve been reading up on his next novel, They Both Die at the End. Combining elements of the science fiction and contemporary genres, the story focuses on two strangers brought together by their impending deaths. Tissues will certainly be needed. {out September 5}

Before the Devil Breaks YouLibba Bray’s The Diviners and the sequel, Lair of Dreams, are wonderfully written and developed, but the series is also notorious for the wait between installments. You can then imagine my surprise when I found the title and release date of the third book: Before The Devil Breaks You, out in October. This time around, the Diviners are tasked with facing the ghosts that haunt an asylum on Ward’s Island. I can’t wait to dive into the 1920s paranormal world once again – and, better yet, right before Halloween! {out October 3}

Tash Hearts TolstoyFinally, I haven’t yet read a book by YA author Kathryn Ormsbee, but my excitement remains sky-high for her June release, Tash Hearts Tolstoy. The YA genre is sorely lacking in representation of asexual and aromantic characters, and so, I’m delighted to see the storyline tackled with the grace and respect it deserves: when the protagonist Tash becomes an Internet superstar, she also finds herself crushing on a fellow vlogger. Her only issue? How to tell him she’s asexual. It’s a book that already makes my heart happy. {out June 6}

Have an awesome day!
Bella

Psst. Need more 2017 books? Here’s my list of debuts that have caught my eye.

May 2017 Hiatus

Hi friends!

May 2017 HiatusHow are things? Terrific, I hope. I’m popping in to share a short announcement: I’ll be taking a brief blogging break! So what does that mean for Ciao Bella? While posts have been sporadic throughout the spring, I’ll officially be on hiatus for a few more weeks, with new content returning Tuesday, May 30. It’s my hope that after my final spurt of senior activities {prom, spring musical, Top Ten Breakfast, and the like}, I can devote plenty more time to both blogging and reading, hobbies I’ve sorely missed over the past several months.

In the meantime, I wish you all the most wonderful May and a happy spring! :)