Nora was thrilled to be chosen for the Maker Project: three weeks at the elite Winthrop Academy where she’ll have the chance to put her coding skills to use on the dazzling new project she’s sure she’ll have an idea for. But everyone seems to know each other already and have formed their groups, and Nora’s left on the fringes, watching.
Until Maddox befriends her and they have a great idea for their project. But Maddox’s girlfriend is atop the hierarchy at the Maker Project and making her angry is the last thing Nora wants to do. Then someone winds up dead…and Nora is left wondering if anyone is who they say they are.
I’m not a huge social media person, but I can see where the InstaLove App would be hugely popular, especially for wallflowers like Nora. I liked her well enough, even if her social awkwardness was sometimes a bit much. Surely she wasn’t really that naïve? I enjoyed this book for what it was and read it in one sitting, but nothing in it was completely unexpected (except maybe the scene with Nora and the pool).
A.V. Geiger is an epidemiologist. Scared Little Rabbits is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Sourcebooks Fire via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
Harbour is fourteen years old and living in a tent in a ravine outside Toronto with her dog and what feels like a million cans of tuna. She’s not homeless—she’s just waiting for her dad and their thirty-six-foot sailboat to arrive. She can’t tell a soul about her past, not if she wants to remain safe. So she ignores the overtures of friendship from homeless Lise as she waits for her dad.
Then summer turns to fall and her dad still hasn’t arrived. The eccentric reading list he left her didn’t cover how to survive in a tent in the winter, and soon Harbour’s confidence in her father fades, and she’s forced to accept Lise’s help if she wants to survive.
This was an excellent read. Harbour doesn’t seem like she’s only fourteen—she has a much more mature voice—and with everything she’s been through, I can see why not. Her struggles were so vividly portrayed that I almost felt cold when she did. There are a lot of scenes that show an intimate look at being homeless—and surviving—and this book was both sad and full of hope.
Christina Kilbourne is from Ontario. Safe Harbour is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Dundurn Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.)
Lyra Daniels is dead. To be fair, she was only dead for sixty-six seconds, but now she has a new name (Ara), a new job—and the rest of the world has to continue to believe she’s dead, so murdering looter Jarren won’t know she’s still alive and out to get him. Because he’s blocked their planet from communicating with the rest of the galaxy, and now everyone thinks they’re dead, which is what going dark like that usually means.
A spaceship is coming to check it out, but it will be almost two years before they arrive. And Jarren isn’t the only threat Ara and her team face: they still have a deadly alien race to contend with and figuring out what exactly the Terra Cotta Warriors do—along with how they got there and why—is also at the top of the list.
It’s all in a day’s work for Ara. Good thing she got crazy good at worming through the Q-net after she died. Because that may be the biggest mystery—and the most important to figure out—of all.
Just like Navigating the Stars, I was hooked from the first of this. Ara grows up a lot in this book—dying will do that to you—as she starts to look beyond herself and her own wants. And everything isn’t easy for her. The rest of the security team doesn’t always listen to her or respect her opinions, which is hard to swallow for someone used to doing what she wants and asking forgiveness after. The growths of all her relationships was well-done and compelling. And I love the mystery of the Terra Cotta Warriors!
Maria V. Snyder is a bestselling author. Chasing the Shadows, the second book in the Sentinels of the Galaxy series, is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.)
Lyra Daniels just wants to stay in one place and finish school with her friends. But her parents, the leading experts on the Terra Cotta Warriors found on twenty-two planets, refused to leave her behind when they set off to study a new discovery—and the time dilation leaves decades between Lyra and her best friends.
Lyra spends her days worming into the Q-net, which made traveling the vast distances of space a reality. The only person on board the ship near her own age is a security officer who keeps poking his nose into her business and threatening to throw her in the brig.
But when the planet they just left goes silent, Lyra’s not the only thing capturing the attention of security—missing data files and looters—and soon Lyra realizes there’s far more going on that two parents trying to ruin her social life.
I love Maria V. Snyder’s books, and this one was no exception. The concept was fascinating, and the details were even more interesting. Lyra’s attitude made me laugh frequently, and her escapades kept me shaking my head, but I could not put this book down!
Maria V. Snyder was a meteorologist before she became an author. Navigating the Stars is the first book in the Sentinels of the Galaxy series.
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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.)