Tag: YA

Blog Tour: Day Zero, by Kelly deVos

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Image belongs to Harlequin TEEN/Inkyard Press.

Title:  Day Zero
Author:    Kelly deVos
Genre:  YA, dystopian
Rating:  3.8 out of 5

Jinx Marshall grew up preparing for the end of the world—because her doomsday-prepper dad made her. Krav Magna, survival skills, and drills filled her days, but she thought all that was over when her parents divorced. Until the end of the world happened, and her father is accused of starting it all.

Now Jinx must take care of her little brother, her opinionated stepsister, and her cute stepbrother as she struggles to locate her vanished father, all while evading the law. But she can’t stay more than half a step ahead of the people after her, and safety seems even farther away with every step she takes.

I’m…undecided about this read. I loved the premise, but a few things were a little hard to believe:  the black-and-white nature of the politics (everyone’s either one thing or the other, with no shades of grey), Jinx’s trusting nature (which seems implausible, considering how she was raised), and her propensity to stick to a plan…even if it’s going down in flames. This was intriguing at times, eye-rolling at others, but I’d probably read the second book in the duology.

Kelly deVos is from Gilbert, Arizona. Day Zero is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin TEEN/Inkyard Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Girls Like Us, by Randi Pink

girls like us
Image belongs to Feiwel & Friends.

 

Title:  Girls Like Us
Author:    Randi Pink
Genre:  YA, historical
Rating:  3 out of 5

Georgia, 1972.

Izella and her sister Ola do everything just as their mother, a very religious woman, tells them. Cooking, cleaning, serving…and most of all, staying out of trouble and not getting pregnant. Except Ola didn’t listen to that last one, and now Izella must get her out of trouble somehow.

Their neighbor, Missippi, is also pregnant, through no fault of her own—and she’s too young to understand what the ramifications are. When her father sends her to Chicago to a woman who will take care of her until she has the babies, she meets Sue, also pregnant and the daughter of a pro-life senator.

Four different girls. Four different stories. All facing the same issue.

This book was not what I thought it would be. It’s rougher than I would like not, not fully polished, and while it’s about an emotional topic, I never felt an emotional connection with any of the characters. I found Izella and Ola basically unlikable, although I did like Missippi and Sue. The sisters’ choices show their ignorance of reality—perhaps due to their almost-cloistered upbringing—while Missippi is a character I felt sorry for, making the best of a horrible situation. Sue, on the other hand, is full of great motives, but zero follow-through. She talks a good game, but her rebellion vanishes in the face of opposition.

Randi Pink lives in Birmingham, Alabama. Girls Like Us is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Feiwel & Friends via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Library of Lost Things, by Laura Taylor Namey

the library of lost things
Image belongs to Harlequin TEEN/Inkyard Press.

Title:  The Library of Lost Things
Author:    Laura Taylor Namey
Genre:  YA
Rating:  5 out of 5

Darcy Wells is a literary genius. Her name is Darcy, after all. As long as she can remember, she’s found comfort and solace between the covers of her beloved books—and escape from her mom’s hoarding. But when a new property manager starts making changes at their apartment complex, Darcy is afraid the complex balancing act of her life will topple.

Darcy’s vibrant best friend is the only one she lets in—to her secrets, her life, and her apartment. But when Archer Fleet walks into the bookstore where Darcy works, she finds herself drawn to the wounded guy. He’s experienced a life-altering accident, and he’s struggling to make sense of his new reality, but he truly sees Darcy—who is, for once in her life, at a loss for words.

Darcy wants to let him in—but can she overcome her fears to take a chance on life and love?

I loved this book from the first page! Darcy is a wonderful character:  flawed, struggling, and so strong it breaks my heart. Marisol’s and Darcy’s friendship made this book, but the rest of the characters were fantastic, too. From Mr. Winston (the bookstore owner) to Tess, Darcy’s mom, Archer’s best friend…I loved all these characters, and though the book’s portrayal of mental illness was spot-on. I could not put this book down!

Laura Taylor Ramey is a former teacher who writes young adult novels. The Library of Lost Things is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin TEEN/Inkyard Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Speed of Falling Objects, by Nancy Richardson Fischer

the speed of falling objects
Image belongs to Inkyard Press/Harlequin Press.

Title:  The Speed of Falling Objects
Author:    Nancy Richardson Fischer
Genre:  YA
Rating:  5 out of 5

Danger “Danny” Warren is nothing like her father, a popular survivalist TV star…but she used to be. And she wants to be again. Danny lost her eye in a childhood accident and had to re-learn how to move and relate to spatial relationships. Danny knows that if she’d just been enough, she’d have a relationship with her father now.

So when her dad calls with an offer to join him on the set of his next adventure in the Amazon, Danny is all for it. She’ll get to prove to her dad that she’s still the adventure-seeking girl she was—and getting to hang out with the hottest teen actor on the globe isn’t a bad thing, either. Until their plane crashes in the rainforest and Danny finds out a horrible secret about her father—while fighting to stay alive and find safety.

I enjoyed this book so much! Danny’s feeling of never being enough is something I think we can all relate to, so that made this book completely relatable. Her larger-than-life father is kind of a jerk, but Danny loves him anyway, although finding out who he really is was a tough experience. A movie star crush, a rainforest adventure, a strong female main character—this book had it all!

Nancy Richardson Fischer used to write sports biographs, but now she plans fun adventures and writes. The Speed of Falling Objects is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin Teen/Inkyard Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: The Wendy, by Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown

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Image belongs to Trash Dogs Media LLC.

Title: The Wendy
Author:    Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown
Genre:  YA, fantasy, fairy tale
Rating:  5 out of 5

In 1789 London, all Wendy Darling wants to be is a ship’s captain. That’s a big dream for any orphan, but for a girl, it’s even more impossible, since women aren’t allowed in the Royal Navy. Then she learns the Home Office is accepting a few women into its ranks, and she’s eager to take the first step to realizing her ultimate dream, fighting an enemy she never imagined:  magic.

It’s her job to keep watch for the Everlost, but she doesn’t know what they really are—or if they truly exist. Until she encounters Peter Pan and his flying band of misfits, and realizes she knows nothing about what’s really going on. Peter is the only one who sees beyond her gender, but are the secrets he’s keeping worth betrayal, even if does get her where she’s dreamed of being?

I loved this take on the Peter Pan mythos! Wendy is a great character:  spunky, determined, and smart—and she’s not willing to let other people’s perceptions of her stand in her way. Peter Pan is much more the J.M. Barrie version, not the Disney one, so he’s got depth and darkness to go along with his mystery. As for Captain Hook, well, I’m not sure what to think of him just yet, but Disney or Dustin Hoffman he is not. I can’t wait to read the next book in the series!

Erin Michelle Sky and Steven Brown write sci-fi and fantasy. The Wendy is the first in their Tales of the Wendy series.

(Galley courtesy of Trash Dogs Media LLC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Blog Tour: Six Goodbyes We Never Said, by Candace Ganger

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Image belongs to St. Martin’s Press.

Title:  Six Goodbyes We Never Said
Author:    Candace Ganger
Genre:  YA
Rating:  4.2 out of 5

Naima Rodriguez is aware she’s not like other people:  between her OCD, her GAD, and her PTSD, she’s juggling the entire alphabet of things that make it hard for her to interact with other people. Especially without her dad, a fallen Marine, around to be her buffer and understand all her little quirks, like separating the marshmallows from her Lucky Charms into six—and only six—bags. Her dad understood her, but no one else does, and Naima doesn’t really care.

Dew hasn’t really death with the deaths of his parents and his anxiety—both social and not—makes it hard for him to interact with others, so he uses his trusty voice recorder to filter his observations. But when he finally meets Naima, he understands that helping someone else might end up being the very thing he needs to heal himself.

Six Goodbyes We Never Said wasn’t an easy book to read. Both Naima and Dew have things going on that make their lives harder and sharper than other people’s. They’ve both experienced unthinkable loss, and they feel broken. But sometimes only another broken person can truly understand. The characters are vibrant, although Naima’s jagged edges make her a difficult character to sympathize with at times. She knows she’s hurting other people, but she does it anyway, and that’s not easy to read.

Candace Ganger is an author, a contributing writer to HelloGiggles, and a marathoner.  Six Goodbyes We Never Said is her new novel.

(Galley courtesy of St. Martin’s Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: What Happened that Night, by Deanna Cameron

what happened that night
Image belongs to Wattpad Books.

Title:  What Happened that Night
Author:    Deanna Cameron
Genre:  YA
Rating: 
4 out of 5

Clara Porterfield had a crush on Griffin Tomlin as long as she could remember, but he was always just the boy across the street, never anything else. Until that night:  the night that he showed her who he really was and made her realize that people are not always what they seem.

Four months ago, Griffin was found dead and Clara’s sister, Emily, was arrested for his murder. Emily isn’t saying a word, but she wants Clara to. Clara doesn’t know what to think. Did Emily murder Griffin for what he did to Clara—or is there even more to this story than Clara can imagine? Finding out the truth might set her free from her guilt, but what else will it drag into the light?

What Happened that Night was not what I expected. At all. I liked Clara. She’s been through some horrific things, but she’s struggling to be strong and find out the truth—even if the truth will change the way she sees the world forever. I wasn’t a fan of her dad, but her mom and the other supporting characters were great, especially Anniston, who lives in pink and wants to be a journalist.

What Happened that Night is the new book by Deanna Cameron.

(Galley courtesy of Wattpad Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Echoes of War, by Cheryl Campbell

echoes of war
Image belongs to SparkPress.

Title:  Echoes of War
Author:    Cheryl Campbell
Genre: Dystopian, YA
Rating:  3.0 out of 5

Dani is a Brigand:  living on the fringes of society and scavenging to survive. The Wardens, an alien race, came to Earth centuries ago and lived disguised as humans until they were discovered. Now they’ve destroyed much of humanity—and are trying to destroy the rest. Then Dani’s brother reveals she’s an Echo—one of the near-immortal alien race who reset back to a younger age when they die, but not militant like the Wardens.

Soon Dani is trying to convince the other Brigands they need to work with the military so they can defeat the Wardens. But Dani will have to learn from her mistakes if she’s to help them succeed.

Okay…it was really hard for me to write this summary, which tells me a bit about this book’s issues:  it’s a little too undefined to be completely coherent. Frankly, Dani was kind of childish, and while this is partially explained due to her nature, she never seems to learn from her mistakes and is just hell-bent on doing things her way—no matter the repercussions to other people. I did not find her very likable. And this book felt more like an unpolished manuscript to me:  sometimes there are no explanations/motivations for characters’ actions—I can’t relate to people if I don’t have the slightest idea why they’re doing things. And there are several places lacking transitions, where time passes—four months, in one case—with zero transition at all, which felt very abrupt and threw me out of the story.

Cheryl Campbell lives in Maine when she’s not being a nomad. Echoes of war is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of SparkPress via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Trapeze, by Leigh Ansell

 

trapeze
Image belongs to Wattpad Books.

Title:  Trapeze
Author:  Leigh Ansell
Genre:  YA
Rating:  4 out of 5

Seventeen-year-old Corey Ryder grew up in the circus. She’s a trapeze artist, and lives for the moments she’s flying through the air. To everyone else, life in Circus Mystique looks chaotic and strange, but for Corey, it’s home. When they stop in small Sherwood, California, it’s business as usual for the circus, although Corey does meet a cute local boy, Luke Everett, at a diner.

But that night, tragedy strikes and the circus burns. Corey escapes, but finds her entire life in ruins. Instead of her high-flying life in the circus, she finds herself living with a mother she never knew while struggling to keep her circus roots a secret from a town who thinks circuses—and their people—are bad news.

Talk about issues:  Corey and Luke both have them in spades. I cannot imagine being in either one of their situations, or the strength it would take to walk in their shoes. Corey’s circus-training workout made me exhausted just reading about it, but the strength in her personality was what carried this book. It takes a strong person to stand up for someone who doesn’t want you to.

Leigh Ansell can be found on Wattpad. Trapeze is her newest novel.

(Galley courtesy of Wattpad Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Book Review: Rebel Girls, by Elizabeth Keenan

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Title:  Rebel Girls
Author:  Elizabeth Keenan
Genre:    YA
Rating:    4 out of 5

In Athena Graves’ Baton Rouge Catholic high school, rocking the boat or rebelling can get you expelled. Her riot grrrl leanings are more theoretical than anything, until her younger sister, Helen, leader of the Pro-Life Alliance, is accused of having an abortion.

Helen is popular and pretty, but the rumor leads to bullying from her peers and punishment from the school—while the mean girls who started the rumor get off scot free. And Athena won’t have that. So she and her friends come together to prevent Helen from being expelled because of the lies—and to make their voices heard.

It was a little weird reading a book set when I was in high school. Granted, the Riot Grrrl movement didn’t touch my small country high school back then, but still, I recognize some of the attitudes in the book. I loved seeing how Athena grew from being the shy girl with big ideas to being someone who takes action.

Elizabeth Keenan is a writer, a punk rock expert, and a real estate agent in New York City. Rebel Girls is her debut novel.

(Galley courtesy of Harlequin TEEN/Inkyard Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)