25 April 2017

Review: The Whole Thing Together

The Whole Thing Together
by Ann Brashares

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: April 25, 2017

Ray and Sasha live in the same house, share the same room, and sleep in the same bed...but they've never even met each other. Sasha's dad was once married to Ray's mom, but a bitter divorce has left the families splitting the same beachfront property (on alternating weekends) and three older daughters, but not much else. Their older daughters are determined to change this and bring the families back together, and Sasha and Ray are caught in the tidal wave of change that follows.

Back after her acclaimed SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS series, Ann Brashares pens a beautifully poignant novel about family, sorrow, and forgiveness in THE WHOLE THING TOGETHER. Each character is unique and well-crafted, every interaction powerful and distinct. While reflective and incredibly rich in both detail and depth, this novel still manages to be bright, funny, and engaging, making it unquestionably one of the best books of this year.

18 April 2017

Review: Missing

by Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 18, 2017

MISSING by Kelley Armstrong is a chilling mystery novel set in Reeve’s End, a destitute small town in rural Kentucky. College-bound Winter Crane is eager to follow in the footsteps of countless other teenagers who have left Reeve’s End seeking a better life elsewhere, but when she discovers Lennon, a teenager assaulted and abandoned in the woods, she finds herself thrust into an intense game of cat-and-mouse with Lennon’s attacker. The mystery only escalates when Lennon suddenly goes missing, his brother Jude shows up asking questions, and Winter is drawn into the boys’ complicated family life. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel; it did an excellent job at balancing page-turning suspense with character development. I found Winter particularly likeable as a character, she is intelligent, compassionate, and incredibly resourceful. I would highly recommend this novel to fans of THE NATURALS.

Review: Bang

by Barry Lyga

Publisher: Little Brown
Publication Date: April 18, 2017

BANG by Barry Lyga is about a boy named Sebastian who shot his baby sister with his fathers gun when he was 4 years old. The book takes place 10 years later, when Sebastian is a suicidal teen. He meets a girl named Aneesa who makes him forget about his past and he altogether forgets about committing suicide. This is a very eye opening story and I truly loved it. It actually brought me to tears. It was so real and beautifully written. It is very heavy. I really enjoyed the plot. It is a hard book to face but once you start reading it, you get wrapped up. BANG is a totally amazing book you must read.

11 April 2017

Review: Literally

by Lucy Keating

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 11, 2017

In LITERALLY by Lucy Keating, Annabelle is a character by Lucy Keating— as in, she is aware of that fact. After a class lecture by Keating herself, Annabelle discovers that everything she’s known her whole life… is just for a book Keating’s about to write. LITERALLY has a very interesting concept, yet the way it is delivered does not stray too far from the genre’s tropes. Cute and fun, LITERALLY is the perfect read for anyone who just wants a nice, familiar YA romance novel. Guaranteed to have you smiling throughout your read, it's perfect for everyone, whether you are green to the genre, or an experienced veteran looking for something comfortable!

Review: Maresi

by Maria Turtschaninoff

Publisher: Abrams
Publication Date: January 3, 2017

Maresi is a young girl living at an abbey situated on an isolated island and only inhabited by women. However, the arrival of a newcomer named Jai will soon disturb this haven of peace away from the violence and poverty of the rest of the world. Let yourself be transported into Maria Turtschaninoff's truly feminist dystopian world. MARESI is a one-sitting book that stays away from any cliché; you will certainly enjoy it even if you are not a fantasy fan.

Review: Beck

by Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff

Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: April 11, 2017

BECK, by Meg Rosoff and Mal Peet, is a story that follows the life of a boy named Beck, an orphan who is shipped from England to Canada and escapes to America, where he struggles to make a life for himself. The story takes place in the early 1900s which is intriguing to me because I am a bit of a history buff. I liked the character development and the side characters. I also enjoyed the book's realistic nature and how it is unique, as it deals with an interesting journey; I have not really read anything similar to this. I would recommend this book to older audiences, as in high schoolers, because there are some intense scenes that are not really appropriate for younger kids. However, I really enjoyed the book and definitely think it is worth reading.

04 April 2017

Review: Keeping the Beat

Keeping the Beat
by Marie Powell and Jeff Norton

Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

KEEPING THE BEAT by Marie Powell and Jeff Norton follows an all girl rock band on their rise to fame that brings them from England to LA, and the path each girl takes once they get there. The hodgepodge group of five girls barely talked at school, but an opportunity on Britain's newest reality show to become a world famous band throws them together into living a SoCal life of nonstop partying and celebrity status. Yet each girl faces their own personal problems that threaten to tear the band apart, and possibly the lives of those around them.

Though the premise seemed a bit cliché, the writing and dialogue was fresh enough to keep it a fun and exciting read. The characters were an interesting take on old tropes and felt well developed and layered. While some of the plot points seemed to be a little out of place and the last few chapters were a bit rushed, it all came together cohesively in a way that kept my attention. Each of the girls brought a unique viewpoint to the story at large and helped tie the book together. I really enjoyed this book as a fun suspenseful read that I would definitely recommend to someone who is looking for the same kind of exciting easy reading experience.

Review: The Last Thing You Said

The Last Thing You Said
by Sara Biren

Publisher: Amulet Press
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

THE LAST THING YOU SAID by Sara Biren is a romance novel about the healing power of love and friendship when confronting grief. It follows Lucy and Ben as they struggle to cope with the untimely death of Trixie, Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s younger sister. Though this story obviously deals with some heavy subject matter, it is ultimately light and uplifting. While Lucy and Ben’s relationship is at the forefront of the plot, I found Lucy’s relationships with the other female characters to be much more compelling than I had anticipated at first; these complex characters provided such a support network to Lucy and added depth to the plot. That being said, I did feel as if Lucy and Ben’s romance seemed unrealistic at times, and it wasn’t as genuine as I would have liked it to be. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone seeking a lighter read.

Review: The End of Our Story

The End of Our Story
by Meg Haston

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Ex-best friends Wil and Bridge used to date, until a drunken mistake by Bridge ended their relationship during junior year. In the midst of their senior year of high school, a tragedy strikes Wil’s family and the two friends attempt to rediscover their connection. Though the novel seems simply like a romance, it explores the complexity of relationships, from friendships, to romance, to family. Throughout the novel, both Bridge and Wil wrestle with their individual family situations, yet they are able to support one another along the way. My favorite aspect of THE END OF OUR STORY was its unique layout. The story is told from two perspectives and two different timelines, but it is always clear who is narrating. This format allows readers to piece together the connecting elements of each character’s story, and to get a complete sense of Wil and Bridge as both individuals and as a pair. Overall, THE END OF OUR STORY by Meg Haston is an excellent read and will encourage readers to think about how a person’s actions and relationships define them.

Review: Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars
by Claudia Gray

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

DEFY THE STARS is a fast-paced action novel that adds a new immersive universe to the world of sci-fi. Noemi is a soldier born and bred to protect the world from an ancient and powerful race that sends machines to fight battles. The twist? Noemi's enemy is none other than Earth, which hungers to regain control over her rogue colony. After a disastrous surprise attack leaves her stranded, Noemi stumbles across one such machine soldier, Abel, whose programming forces him to help Noemi execute a plan to save her world. As the two traverse the galaxy, Noemi learns that the struggle for freedom is far more complex than it seems, and Abel questions his creation in the wake of new feelings.

While in some ways a typical "Beauty and the Beast"-esque romance, it is the writing that sets DEFY THE STARS apart. The universe in which Noemi and Abel live is rich, engaging, and impossible to look away from. Each planet and moon is so distinct and is filled with incredible detail that both supports character development and captivates our imagination in the best way possible.

Review: Alex, Approximately

Alex Approximately
by Jenn Bennett

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

ALEX, APPROXIMATELY by Jenn Bennett is about an east coast teenage girl who moves to Los Angeles and has to navigate her parents' divorce, getting her first job, and of course, love. When she lived in Washington, her life was simple and she started to develop a storybook romance with Alex, her online boyfriend. But when she moves across the country to meet him for the first time she falls for Porter, a risk taking surfer. Who will she choose? Or is there even a decision to make... I thought this book was very well written, playful, and definitely a page turner. If you're into rom-com's and books about teens this is for you.

Review: Geekerella

by Ashley Poston

Publisher: Quirk Books
Publication Date: April 4, 2017

GEEKERELLA tells the story of Elle, a young fangirl who’s obsessed with Starfield, a Star Trek-like show filled with romance and adventure. Although she doesn’t like the choice for the main actor in the reboot, she still hopes to win ExcelsiCon’s costume contest so she can meet him and get the tickets to L.A so she can finally get away from her stepmother and step sisters. Meanwhile, Darien is the new main actor for Starfield, and although it is his dream role, he is written off as just a teenage heartthrob with no respect for the fandom. Now, as he must judge a costume contest at ExcelsiCon, the place he used to love before he was famous, he begins to feel more like a fake, until he meets a girl who makes him think otherwise.

I honestly picked this book up expecting it to be horrible. But it wasn’t. I loved its developed characters and jokes, and how it very much was a Cinderella story, yet wasn’t. I also loved how it had the true essence of a fandom book, which will make all fandom obsessed readers relate to it. It is very much one of those books that is super cheesy, yet addictive. And while it is just one of those feel-good books that you finish in a day, the characters and overall essence will stick with you. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a quick and fun read to brighten up their day. And even if you are not in a fandom, you’ll wish you were after reading this.