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Nemesis

Title: Nemesis
Author: Brendan Reichs
Series: Project Nemesis
Recommended for: Grade 7 & up
Pages: 443
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Reichs, B.

Synopsis: He killed me. He killed me not. He killed me.

It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.

Review: This book had such a great premise. However, it utterly and completely failed. After reading 400+ pages, I still can’t tell you WHAT is going on. I’m not sure the author/book quite has an idea as well. It was a bit like reading whiplash to be honest. One moment we’re trying to figure out if she’s having psychotic breaks then we’re at conspiracy theories and then we end at…well, I’m not quite sure where we end up. But it’s doesn’t make much sense. And perhaps in book two, more will be revealed/it’ll make sense, but I’m not sure I want to even wade in that world again. There may be some teens who love this head-spin tale, but for most I think this book will them simply frustrated.

 
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Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Sci-Fi, 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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If I Was Your Girl

26156987Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 8th grade and up
Pages: 288
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Russo, M. 

Synopsis: Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself…including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant 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.

Review: This was another book club book and hands down all my teens (and I) loved it. Not only is it about a trans teen, but it’s written by a trans author as well. (OH, and the model is a transwoman!) One of my trans teens was in attendance and he had nothing but positive things to say. As someone who has gone through the transition and had to deal with schools/classmates/etc the overwhelming response was how realistic it was. Not everything is perfect go-lucky for Amanda. She has to go through some tough crap, including being outed by a friend in front of the whole school at homecoming. However, with the help of friends and family, she manages to keep moving forward. I do like that she doesn’t forgive the person who outed her. Too often, in books, we get the outing and things are still sunshine and rainbows. This is much more realistic. I also adore how the people you think are the least likely to support you are really the people who have your back. And of course, some of the reactions and thought processes are highly realistic as well. All in all, this is a highly recommended book by me and my teens.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2016 in Realistic, Teen

 

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The Nerdy and the Dirty

27779274Title: The Nerdy and the Dirty
Author: B.T. Gottfred
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 9th grade and up
Pages: 304
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Gottfred, B.

Synopsis: Pen Lupo is sick and tired of hiding who she is. On the outside, Pen is popular, quiet, and deferential to her boyfriend. On the inside, however, Pen is honest, opinionated–and not quite sure that she’s like other girls. Do they have urges like she does?

His classmates may consider him a nerd, but Benedict Pendleton knows he’s destined for great things. All he has to do is find a worthy girlfriend, and his social station will be secured. Sure, Benedict is different–but that’s what he likes about himself.

When fate intervenes, both Pen and Benedict end up at the same vacation resort for winter break. Despite their differences, the two are drawn together. But is there such a thing as happily ever after for a nympho and a nerd?

My Review: I wanted to like this book. I did. It had two stars. I thought, yes! And updated Forever by Judy Blume type book. Instead, I got a book full of abuse (which is explained away), trying to make a kid most likely on the spectrum “normal”, & casually uses words like crazy, whore, and retard. Seriously, it’s 2016. Let’s not use the r-word as an insult, okay? Even worse, the possible autistic teen starts to use the word internally at himself. (Seriously, don’t know how this book got two stars! Reviewers do better!)

The only positive this book holds is that sex, at least between Benedict and Pen, is straightforward and very consensual. However, it does feel a bit too mature for a first time experience, but I can still appreciate it. It’s very insta-love though (read three days). Also, Pen thinks she’s a freak because she thinks about sex/likes to masturbate. Benedict does say something to the contrary, but there’s still a sense that Pen has an unhealthy look at how she thinks.

Bottom line. This is a high “do not recommend” book for me. If you want to see a more in-depth of why you can see my review at my personal blog.

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2016 in Realistic, Teen, Uncategorized

 

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Ghosts

GHOSTS Front Cover

Title: Ghosts
Author: Raina Telgemeier

Series: N/A Expected Publish Date September 13, 2016
Recommended for: 8th – 12th grade
Pages: 256
Call Number/Link:  GN TEEN

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn’t happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister’s sake — and her own.

Opinion:  I was asked to review an ARC copy of this book for my library.  I thought it was quite good.  Nice to see that there is going to be an interesting graphic book about Dia de los muertos.  This book is well written and respectful of the topic. I really liked the ways in which they explained the spirits though the ending is a bit different.  A must read if wanting to know more about the topic but definately meets a fans expectation of great visual quality at the level of a teen. I would recommend for middle and high school readers.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2016 in Graphic Novels, Teen, Uncategorized

 

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Never Missing, Never Found

27190610Title: Never Missing, Never Found
Author:  Amanda Panitch
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 8th Grade & Up
Pages: 320
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Panitch

Synopsis: Some choices change everything. Scarlett chose to run. And the consequences will be deadly.

Stolen from her family as a young girl, Scarlett was lucky enough to eventually escape her captor. Now a teen, she’s starting a summer job at an amusement park. There are cute boys, new friends, and the chance to finally have a normal life.

Her first day on the job, Scarlett is shocked to discover that a girl from the park has gone missing. Old memories come rushing back. And now as she meets her new coworkers, one of the girls seems strangely familiar. When Scarlett chose to run all those years ago, what did she set into motion? And when push comes to shove, how far will she go to uncover the truth . . . before it’s too late?

Review:  This book is my…man, I just don’t know. I keep reading these thrillers in hope of getting one that’s awesome, but I’m continuously let down. This one was hard enough to follow at times due to the jumping back and forth from past to present. I’ll be honest in that the past scenes were much more interesting than the present timeline. But then you get to the end and it’s like SERIOUSLY?! This is an unreliable narrator to the max. In fact, I truly question how truthful the past scenes were now.

But will teens like it? Maybe? Either they’ll love it or be completely frustrated/disappointed like I was. The ending twist caught me off guard, but I guessed a lot of the rest as the story unfolded. Or at least guessed their involvement. I would say give this one to teens are who older and newer-ish to the thriller scene. I think teens who are well-read in this area will see it mostly as predicable.

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2016 in Mysteries, Realistic, Teen

 

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