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Category Archives: Realistic

The Upside of Unrequited

Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grade 7 & up
Pages: 336
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Albertalli

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret. Because no matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.

Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. Will is funny and flirtatious and just might be perfect crush material. Maybe more than crush material. And if Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.

There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker Reid. He’s an awkward Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him. Right?

Review: I loved this book. I fell into this one almost immediately and didn’t want it to end. Molly’s character was so great–and it was great fat girl/body positive rep as well. I think the feelings of being afraid to put yourself out there—and then crushing on more than one person–are something that any teen can related to. It also has great GLBTQIA+ rep. Overall, this one tops my list of favorites for the year.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2017 in Realistic, Romance, Teen

 

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Queens of Geek

Title: Queens of Geek
Author: Jen Wilde
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grade 7 & up
Pages: 288
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Wilde

Synopsis: When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever.

Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Reese Ryan. When Alyssa Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own.

Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Review: While the pacing is tad bit off, I really, really like this one. It was such a positive portal of bisexuality, anxiety, and Asperger. Oh, and fandom–I really didn’t feel like there was any making fun of the fandom or making them seems like they were over-the-top. As someone who as been to many Cons, it felt like a pretty valid/realistic portal of what they’re like. Overall, this one of my favorite LQBTQIA+ books of the year and earned a huge THUMBS UP.

 
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Posted by on June 28, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

Max

 

max

Title: Max

Author: Sarah Cohen-Scali

Series: N/A

Recommended for: High School

Pages: 421

 

Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION COHEN-SCALI, S.



SynopsisSet in Nazi Germany. 1936.

In the Lebensborn program, carefully selected German women are recruited by the Nazis to give birth to new members of the Aryan race. Inside one of these women is Max, literally counting the minutes until he is born and he can fulfill his destiny as the perfect Aryan specimen.

Max is taken away from his birth mother soon after he enters the world. Raised under the ideology and direction of the Nazi Party, he grows up without any family, without any affection or tenderness, and he soon becomes the mascot of the program. That is until he meets Lukas, a young Jewish boy whom he knows he is meant to despise. Instead, the friendship that blossoms changes Max’s world forever.

My Thoughts: This was a very intriguing book because it was historically based on a far out Nazi program that actually existed during the Third Reich.  So for historical fiction buffs that would be a great read, as long as you don’t the cover, it is a little intimating. I enjoyed the story and the struggle that Max had with his friend he considered a brother.  The ending was shocking but not surprising.

 

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Kill Me Softly

Kill Me Softly

Kill-Me-Softly

Title:  Kill Me Softly

Author:   Sarah Cross

Series: Beau Rivage
Recommended for:  Ages 14-17

Pages:  336 p.

Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION CROSS 

Rating:   *****

Synopsis:

In this whirlwind of a novel, Mirabelle is an average teenage girl, who lives in an average town. She has two loving godparents who take care of her, and although they’ve been strict with her upbringing, they give her the love and support she’s needed since her parent’s tragic passing. Beyond this seemingly simple life Mira has been leading, she holds within her a secret that is dying to get out. Just a week before her sixteenth birthday, Mira decides to run away to the place she was born, Beau Rivage, to finally visit her parents graves, and make peace with their deaths. However, once she gets to this town she realizes that things are not always as they seem. Here, in this tucked away town, it seems that magic and curses are all too real. Princes and princesses are destined to find each other, fairies flirt with people’s destiny, and what used to be average teenagers, try to escape their fate. Of all the uncertainty, and secrets hiding in Beau Rivage, the most important thing to remember is that not all fairy tales have a happy ending.

Comments:

 

 
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Posted by on May 23, 2017 in Fairy Tales, Realistic, Romance

 

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Optimists Die First

Title:   Optimists Die First
Author:   Nielsen-Fernlund, Susin
Series:   —
Recommended for:  teens who like books that deal with death, family problems, betrayal, support groups – and a little romance. And fans of The Fault in Our Stars, The Breakfast Club and other books/movies where unlikely strangers wind up becoming friends.
Pages:   228 p.
Call Number/Link:   Teen Fiction Nielsen, S.

Ratings:   ***

 

 

Synopsis:

Since her sister’s death, Petula de Wilde sees danger in everything. A mandatory art therapy class with a groups of teenage misfits is the worst part of each week. She wants nothing to do with them– especially Jacob and his prosthetic arm. When they work together on a project, he helps her with her fears. But a secret he’s been keeping from her could unravel everything….
Comments:
I think we’ve all heard the saying:  “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”  I know I have.  And that I still sometimes choose a book to read because the cover grabs me.  Most often, it is because the cover features delicious looking baked goods.  But in this case, I liked the contradiction between the cover and book title.  It looks like the front of a homemade knitted sweater… with skeletons and the title Optimists Die First.  So I read the front flap and found out that the protagonist was in an art therapy group.  Be still my heart!  I’m kind of fascinated with the idea of art therapy, although I only know a little about it.
The book didn’t completely grab me, but I still liked it.  The art therapy group kind of reminded me of the support group in The Fault in Our Stars.  This may be a stretch, but the change in how the group members interacted at the beginning and at he end of the book made me think of The Breakfast Club.  Thus, I think the book could be a hit with teens who like problem novels, support groups, The Fault in Our Stars and/or The Breakfast Club.
And I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that there is a romance….
 
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Posted by on May 1, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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A Season of Daring Greatly

Title: A Season of Daring Greatly
Author: Ellen Emerson White
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 7th grade & up
Pages: 432
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction White, E. 

Synopsis: Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty just made history. Her high school’s star pitcher, she is now the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. Only days after her high school graduation, she’ll join the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season team . . . but not everyone is happy to have her there.

On top of the pressure heaped on every pitcher, Jill must deal with defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, all while living away from home for the first time. She’ll go head-to-head against those who are determined to keep baseball an all-male sport. Despite the reassurance of coaches and managers alike, a few of her teammates are giving her trouble. The media presence following her at each game is inescapable. And to top it all off, Jill is struggling with the responsibilities of being a national hero and a role model for young women everywhere. How can she be a role model when she’s not even sure she made the right choice for herself? Didn’t baseball used to be fun?

Review: I really, really, really liked this book. Although, that’s no surprise as someone who grew up on baseball (and adores the TV Show Pitch). Much like Pitch this book explored both being a player and all the stress encountered being a first. Press conferences, death threats, crowds of adoring fans, and just the the overwhelming pressure to prove she is good enough to be there. Jill have a lot of up and downs throughout the book. She questions if she made the right decision & if she made the right decision. I enjoyed that while some of her teammates where jerks, most were friendly and even had her back. I loved reading about the growing friendships between herself and the boys. If I had one complaint it would be the ending. It felt a bit abrupt and just left me wanting more. It just felt like there was so much left to tell. Secretly, I’m hoping the author will revisit this world/these characters because I would read it in a heartbeat.

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Goodbye Days

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 8 & up
Pages: 405
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Zentner

Synopsis: One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.

The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.

Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.

Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.

Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison?

Review: I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. I enjoyed Zentner’s first book, but this one just didn’t work. Mainly, I think he tried to create drama where no drama was needed. Throughout most of the book, Carver has this threat of criminal charges because he was the one who sent the text. There is an actual case were there was a consideration, but it still seems silly to me and far reaching. Even worse that it was the driver’s dad who was trying to push it! Every time it was mentioned I was just dragged out of the book. I think Zenter has enough drama with just the fact that his three best friends were dead and the self-blame that would have already naturally been there.

There were def. some emotional scenes in there that totally tugged at the heart strings—the goodbye day with Blake’s grandma being the top. Although, I will admit the falling in love with the best friends girlfriend was a little weird. I could have done without that as well. There are some very strong features in the book, but for me it ultimately just didn’t work.

 
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Posted by on April 12, 2017 in Realistic, Teen

 

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