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The Beginner's Guide to Living - Lia Hills Summary: Following his mother's tragic death by drunk driver, young Will must deal with his (metaphorically) lost father, angry elder brother, and his own questions and angst about the meaning of life and death. Initially he looks for answers in a new and passionate relationship with free-spirited Taryn, but he learns grief can't be washed away with love or sex.

Verdict: An interesting portrait of grief, punctuated by photographs meant to have been taken by Will with his mother's camera.

Yay!: A strong starter, this book is well-written and features an authentically grieving main character. I especially liked the way Hills portrayed the messy family dynamic caused by the death of Will's mother. The photographs are beautiful and add a nice multimedia touch, although sometimes their contrast is too low due to printing method.

Nay!: Toward the end, the narrative dwells too heavily on philosophy and can feel didactic. The ending was a bit too neat and too flat for me. Oh, and the female characters aren't well developed, and I never believed in the love story.