Showing posts from April, 2016

If I Was Your Girl - Meredith Russo

Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school. Like anyone else, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. She's determined not to get too close to anyone.

But when she meets sweet, easygoing Grant, Amanda can't help but start to let him in. As they spend more time together, she realizes just how much she is losing by guarding her heart. She finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself--including her past. But Amanda's terrified that once she tells him the truth, he won't be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda's been keeping? It's that she used to be Andrew.

Will the truth cost Amanda her new life--and her new love?

This book ruined me... In a good way, mind you, but still... 
This book made me so angry. Angry about how trans people are treated in society. Angry about how often trans youth are driven to suicide and self-harm because of peer hostility. Angry about how we view sexual violence as an ine…

Wolf Hollow - Lauren Wolk

Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount.
The year I turned twelve, I learned how to lie. I don't mean the small fibs that children tell. I mean real lies fed by real fears--things I said and did that took me out of the life I'd always known and put me down hard into a new one. It was the autumn of 1943 when my steady life began to spin, not only because of the war that had drawn the whole world into a screaming brawl, but also because of the dark-hearted …

Whisper to Me - Nick Lake

Cassie is writing a letter to the boy whose heart she broke. She’s trying to explain why. Why she pushed him away. Why her father got so angry when he saw them together. Why she disappears some nights. Why she won’t let herself remember what happened that long-ago night on the boardwalk. Why she fell apart so completely.

Desperate for his forgiveness, she’s telling the whole story of the summer she nearly lost herself. She’s hoping he’ll understand as well as she now does how love—love for your family, love for that person who makes your heart beat faster, and love for yourself—can save you after all.

This book is INTENSE! I don't know a single book by Nick Lake that isn't intense, of course, but this one in particular just shook me. The novel, written as an email (albeit a VERY LONG email) to a young man, takes readers on the mind-bending, emotionally raw, and deliciously twisted journey from sanity to insanity and (maybe) back again. Lake explores mental illness (schizophreni…

Highly Illogical Behavior - John Corey Whaley

Teen and adult fans of Matthew Quick, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will adore this quirky story of coming-of-age, coming out, friendship, love...and agoraphobia.

Sixteen-year-old Solomon is agoraphobic. He hasn’t left the house in three years, which is fine by him.

Ambitious Lisa desperately wants to get into the second-best psychology program for college (she’s being realistic). But how can she prove she deserves a spot there?

Solomon is the answer.

Determined to “fix” Sol, Lisa thrusts herself into his life, introducing him to her charming boyfriend Clark and confiding her fears in him. Soon, all three teens are far closer than they thought they’d be, and when their facades fall down, their friendships threaten to collapse, as well.

What I love about this book is... well... everything! I fully admit that I'm a total John Corey Whaley fanboy, but that being said, I am also attempting to be a professional where this review is concerned. Solomon is not a stereotypical teen with …

The Darkest Corners - Kara Thomas

There are ghosts around every corner in Fayette, Pennsylvania. Tessa left when she was nine and has been trying ever since not to think about it after what happened there that last summer. Memories of things so dark will burn themselves into your mind if you let them. Callie never left. She moved to another house, so she doesn’t have to walk those same halls, but then Callie always was the stronger one. She can handle staring into the faces of her demons—and if she parties hard enough, maybe one day they’ll disappear for good.

Tessa and Callie have never talked about what they saw that night. After the trial, Callie drifted and Tessa moved, and childhood friends just have a way of losing touch. But ever since she left, Tessa has had questions. Things have never quite added up. And now she has to go back to Fayette—to Wyatt Stokes, sitting on death row; to Lori Cawley, Callie’s dead cousin; and to the one other person who may be hiding the truth.

Only the closer Tessa gets to the truth, …

Every Exquisite Thing - Matthew Quick

Nanette O'Hare is an unassuming teen who has played the role of dutiful daughter, hardworking student, and star athlete for as long as she can remember. But when a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper--a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic--the rebel within Nanette awakens.

As she befriends the reclusive author, falls in love with a young troubled poet, and attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion sometimes comes at a high price.

You may call this melodrama, but I call it hormones, angst, and trying to discover a place in the world... basically an average teenage experience! Nanette goes from being a star soccer player, a popular girl, and a conformist, to a tortured rebel and self-aware individual. Of course, along the way she makes mistakes, alienates friends, brings new people together, hurts others, and loses some entirely. And all of this comes about because of Mr. Graves, Nanette…

Paul Meets Bernadette - Rosy Lamb

Paul is a fish who used to go around in circles. He made big circles and little circles. He circled from left to right and from right to left. He circled from top to bottom and from bottom to top. What else was there to do? Until one day Bernadette drops in and shows Paul that there is a whole world out there, right outside his bowl, with so many things to see. A banana-shaped boat! A blue elephant with a spoutlike trunk (be quiet when she’s feeding her babies)! A lovely lunetta butterfly, with tortoise-shell rims! Simple saturated paintings play off this charming ode to an active imagination — and the way that life changes when a bewitching creature opens your eyes.

For the longest time, all Paul saw was his bowl. He saw up and down and side to side, and he went around and around, and there was a whole lovely little world that Paul knew very well. But then one day Bernadette is introduced to Paul's bowl, and he's introduced to a whole new way of seeing the world outside the b…

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard - Jonathan Auxier

It’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far and wide in search of adventure. Now Peter and Sir Tode have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: find a 12-year-old girl named Sophie Quire.

Sophie knows little beyond the four walls of her father’s bookshop, where she works as a bookmender and dreams of leaving the confines of her city walls. But when a strange boy and his talking cat/horse companion show up searching for a rare and mysterious book, she finds herself pulled into an adventure beyond anything she has ever read.

This book had me hooked from the first page, and that's saying a lot for me. Reading as much as I do means that I often see a lot of similarities and adherence to cliche throughout a year's worth of publications, but Sophie Quire pulled me in immediately. The informal, humorous, and often irreverent narrator helps to make the often tens and dark situations more accessibl…

When We Collided - Emery Lord

We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know…

Jonah never thought a girl like Vivi would come along.

Vivi didn’t know Jonah would light up her world.

Neither of them expected a summer like this…a summer that would rewrite their futures.

In an unflinching story about new love, old wounds, and forces beyond our control, two teens find that when you collide with the right person at just the right time, it will change you forever.

I must admit that I received this book a long time ago and only just got to it, and now that I've read it, I can't believe I didn't start it WAY sooner! Lord is an incredibly talented writer, building up a nuanced and complicated love story that also handles mental illness with great sensitivity. Though a number of novels so far this year (2016) seem to feature teens who have stopped taking anti-depressants or anti-psychotics, Vivi is a particularly well-constructed char…

Lilly and Dunkin - Donna Gephhart

Sometimes our hearts see things our eyes can’t.

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade.

Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse.

One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.

I am in love with the fact that more and more representations of trans lives of younger people are being included in children's publishing. Though I continue to be glad that such characters are becoming more plentiful in middle grade fiction, I must make a note that I think there needs to be more representation of racially diverse trans characters and trans characters with disabilities, etc. That being said, Lily and Dunkin …