12 May 2016

Review: The Incident On The Bridge

The Incident On The Bridge 
By Laura McNeal

Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 26th,2016

Thisbe Locke was last seen standing by the side of the Coronado Bridge, leading to an inevitable conclusion--suicide. However, Thisbe’s sister Ted doubts this story, and sets out on a mission to figure out what really happened to Thisbe. THE INCIDENT ON THE BRIDGE by Laura McNeal is a novel that integrates mystery and suspense into a believable, highly developed storyline. I enjoyed this book not only because of the captivating writing style, but because of plot twists that make the story unpredictable. I also enjoyed that this book offered alternating perspectives between children and adults in the community, which provided an interesting contrast between the often angsty teenage perspectives and the more mature, less open-minded adult perspectives. This novel grappled with many issues that teenagers face today, such as romantic relationships and depression, while accurately capturing teenage perspectives on these issues. 

Review: This Is My Brain On Boys

This Is My Brain On Boys 
by Sarah Strohmeyer

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: May 10th, 2016

THIS IS MY BRAIN ON BOYS is about Addie Emerson, a senior in high school who doesn't believe in love, at least not for herself. She thinks she has figured out a scientific way to make people fall in love with each other, but then a mysterious boy comes into the picture and Addie's world is turned upside down. The book was a little confusing in itself because everything happened so fast, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it. THIS IS MY BRAIN ON BOYS, was a pleasant surprise because I usually don't like books in this genre. I also enjoyed the straight to the point writing style. The plot was nicely developed with quite a few twists, which came at times you wouldn't expect them to. I recommend this to people who like warm and funny books. 

10 May 2016

Review: The Way Back To You

The Way Back To You
by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016 

THE WAY BACK TO YOU by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott is a story about grief and hope. The two main characters, Cloudy and Kyle are thrown into chaos when Ashlyn, Cloudy’s best friend and Kyle’s girlfriend, tragically loses her life in a bike accident. Ashlyn, a healthy young girl at her death, donated her organs to several individuals. Cloudy and Kyle are brought together in an attempt to get over their grief. When Cloudy discovers identifying information about the recipients of Ashlyn’s organs, she and Kyle set off to meet them, desperate to see what Ashlyn left behind.  Along the way, their relationship mends and tears, foreshadowed by indelible vacancy Ashlyn left in her wake. Their spontaneous journey across the Southwest brings out long buried feelings of regret, loss, and love.

Andreani and Scott do a wonderful job of portraying the two teenagers conflicting feelings of dread and contentment. Although this novel is a love story, it’s more than that. Both Cloudy and Kyle are given the same loss, but they deal with it in drastically different ways. Cloudy presses her feelings down, while Kyle falls apart. They are written with delicate detail, their stories continue to intertwine as the book progresses. Because view points change throughout the book, the reader has the ability to see the emotions of both characters easily. This story is about dealing with what life gives you, and accepting the truth even when it hurts. The authors also put a lot of thought into the journey their characters take. I found it especially interesting because they visited some areas that I’ve been able to experience for myself. The way that these different cities are described, gives the reader a vivid image that encompasses not only the scenery, but really the whole feeling of the city. I really enjoyed this book, and I would definitely recommend it.

Review: Quiet Power: The Secret Strength Of Introverts

Quiet Power: 
The Secret Strength of Introverts
by Susan Cain 

Publisher: Dial Books
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016 

In 2012 Susan Cain wrote QUIET: THE POWER OF INTROVERTS IN A WORLD THAT WON'T STOP TALKING, sparking a shift in what being an introvert means to people. QUIET POWER: THE SECRET STRENGTH OF INTROVERTS, is her guide for kids and teens, discussing everything from school to friends to extracurricular activities. As a self-proclaimed introvert, I was so excited to read this book, and it did not disappoint. Cain used her interviews with kids to illustrate the importance of understanding and staying true to oneself while using one’s “quiet power” to its full potential. While extroversion is often seen as more appealing than introversion, Cain’s book celebrates the special qualities possessed by introverts, and offers techniques for utilizing them. I would recommend Quiet Power to kids, teens, parents, and teachers looking to better understand themselves, their kids, their friends, or their students.

Review: Love & Gelato

Love & Gelato
By Jenna Evans Welch 

Publisher: Simon Pulse 
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016 

LOVE & GELATO by Jenna Evans Welch is an uplifting and light read that will restore your faith in love, friendship, and the power of dessert. Sixteen-year-old Lina has just begun recovering from her mother’s death when she is sent to live with her father, a man she has never met, who lives in a graveyard, in Italy. However, she soon discovers her mother’s journal, filled with glimpses into a past that Lina never knew existed. She also finds family, romance, and bakeries as she begins to explore not just her mother’s past, but herself, her future, and the beautiful country of Italy.
LOVE & GELATO is an absolutely wonderful read that gives contrast to the stampede of dark dystopian teenage fiction that seems to fill bookshelves these days. While it remains cheerful and funny throughout, there’s an element of depth to it, but it’s written without feeling heavy handed or overly moralistic. I genuinely enjoyed both the plot and the characters and loved watching both develop throughout the story. The descriptions of the setting are equally enrapturing; the author’s attention to detail adds another dimension to the novel. I really appreciated taking the time to read this book and I highly recommend it.

Review: Tell Me Three Things

Tell Me Three Things 
By Julie Buxbaum

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 5th, 2016 

TELL ME THREE THINGS is about a girl named Jessie who has just moved to L.A to live with her dad after her mom's death. Jessie continues to deal with the death of her mother as she adjusts to a new family and school. When SN (Somebody/Nobody), an anonymous student, offers to help Jessie at her new school, she accepts and eventually befriends SN. While parts of this book were predictable, it was not too cliché and it was still enjoyable. Jessie is a smart, sincere, and realistic character that makes her relatable and likeable. There's also a fun cast of characters adding a sense of lightness and humor to the story. It's pretty easy to guess who SN would be but there's still a slight suspense by the end to confirm who they are. I would recommend this to readers that enjoy contemporary fiction, and want to read a sweet, heart-warming story, also for fans of Stephanie Perkins. 

Review: The Last Boy and Girl In The World

The Last Boy and Girl In The World 
by Siobhan Vivian 

Publisher: Simon and Shuster 
Publication Date: April 26, 2016 

In THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD, Keeley Hewitt lives in a net of carefully structured relationships with her friends, parents, and school. When her home town of Aberdeen begins to flood, it feels like the end of the world for everyone. Then Jesse, Keeley’s long time crush, begins to take an interest in her. Drastic times may call for drastic measures, but Keeley decides that rather than wait for the ending, she would make a new one. When pieces begin to click together, and fall apart, Keeley rapidly loses her grip on what is true, and what’s just for show.

This book starts innocently enough. Keeley hangs out with her friends, flirts with a boy, and fusses over dresses for the formal, but as the story evolves, Keeley’s world begins to collapse around her. Although this book seems like a simple, coming-of-age story, around three quarters of the way through, the tone darkens, and the reader can see the full-blown damage of Keeley’s mistakes. This book is definitely more than meets the eye. It also has many sweet components to it. Keeley is able to maintain a light, cheery disposition, and cracks more than a few jokes throughout the novel. Overall, this book is a page turner and I enjoyed it immensely, and I would recommend it.

Review: Twenty Questions For Gloria

Twenty Questions For Gloria
By Martyn Bedford

Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Publication Date: April 12th, 2016

In TWENTY QUESTIONS FOR GLORIA, the funny, confident, and smart Uman transfers to unadventurous Gloria’s school, they are immediately drawn to each other. With Uman’s glum past and Gloria’s new desire for adventure, they start to hang out more often. Then one day, Uman and Gloria decide to run away together. After fifteen days of being missing, Gloria comes back but Uman does not and the entire country is wondering: Where did Gloria go? TWENTY QUESTIONS FOR GLORIA is a spontaneous mystery-thriller with a YA contemporary love twist. Gloria’s naive character and Uman’s love for adventure makes them very relatable to young adults. Bedford’s intricate characters and quirky dialogue draws us in from the very start. This ‘Bonnie and Clyde’-esque book is perfect for teenage fans of GONE GIRL.