Young Adult and Middle Years Book Reviews

Bloody Seoul jacket art

BLOODY SEOUL, a Young Adult Novel by Sonia Patel, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

To Rocky, the city of Seoul is truly something to behold. Sprawling skyscrapers dare to kiss the sky, thousands of lights rival the sun at night, and millions of people bustle through at any given moment, while the Han River remains a calm force through it all. And it will soon be his to rule, just like his father, the leader of the city’s most notorious gang, Three Star Pa. However, despite Rocky being the sole heir and next in line to become the big boss, his father refuses to turn the gang over to him.

...
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Worthy of love book jacket

WORTHY OF LOVE, a young adult novel by Andre Fenton, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

Andre Fenton’s heartful debut novel Worthy of Love follows Adrian as he struggles not only with his weight, but with his own sense of self-worth. Candid, earnest, and full of emotion, Fenton gives us a unique yet personal story about one journey toward self-love ...
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ECHO NORTH, a young adult novel by Joanna Ruth Meyer, reviewed by Rachel Hertzberg

ECHO NORTH, a young adult novel by Joanna Ruth Meyer, reviewed by Rachel Hertzberg

Joanna Ruth Meyer’s second YA novel, Echo North, opens with a classic fairytale premise: Echo, who was attacked as a small child by a wolf, is scorned by her village because of the brutal scars on her face. When her father remarries, the cruel new stepmother takes every opportunity to let Echo know just how ugly and worthless she is ...
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A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS, a young adult novel by Alyssa Sheinmel, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

A DANGER TO HERSELF AND OTHERS, a young adult novel by Alyssa Sheinmel, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

A Danger to Herself and Others is a wonderful, suspenseful read that does more than just tell a riveting story. The book opens the door to a larger narrative and seeks to cultivate compassion and understanding toward other, real-life stories just like Hannah’s ...
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A ROOM AWAY FROM THE WOLVES, a young adult novel by Nova Ren Suma, reviewed by Rachel Hertzberg 

A ROOM AWAY FROM THE WOLVES, a young adult novel by Nova Ren Suma, reviewed by Rachel Hertzberg 

The title of Nova Ren Suma’s gripping new book, A Room Away from the Wolves, refers to its central location, but also to an unobtainable promise: a place where a girl can go to be truly safe. This novel resists easy categorizations. Not just a ghost story, not just a coming-of-age story, A Room Away from the Wolves will leave readers questioning the notion of safety in a world where the most dangerous enemy is one’s own past—and double-checking dark corners of the bedroom before going to sleep ...
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THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO,  a novel by Carlo Collodi, reviewed by Beth Kephart

THE ADVENTURES OF PINOCCHIO, a novel by Carlo Collodi, reviewed by Beth Kephart

If Disney’s Pinocchio is an affable, pliable ingénue who was reconfigured, according to the lore, to look more like a boy than a puppet, Collodi’s is an anti-hero—a wooden thing with barely any ears who mostly can’t see beyond his own nose, no matter its current proportion. He is persistent, insistent, impossible, exasperating, willfully obtuse, a regular screw-up. You don’t have to stretch to note the parallels that dominate our news cycle. Donald J. Trump was prefigured more than 130 years ago. He was augured by a satirist who was most supremely skilled in imagining poor, and poorly curbed, behavior ...
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LOVE, HATE and OTHER FILTERS, a young adult novel by Samira Ahmed, reviewed by Leticia Urieta

LOVE, HATE and OTHER FILTERS, a young adult novel by Samira Ahmed, reviewed by Leticia Urieta

Maya Aziz sees her world through a camera lens. “One thing I’ve learned,” she says, “People love a camera, and when I’m filming, they see it, not me, so whenever I need to, I can disappear behind my trusty shield.” She is often the observer, experiencing her life on the outside looking in. As the novel opens, Maya is at a crossroads: she has been accepted to NYU’s prestigious filmmaking program, but her traditional Indian Muslim parents want her to go to school in Chicago, within reach of their influence and protection ...
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THE RADICAL ELEMENT: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes, and Other Dauntless Girls, edited by Jessica Spotswood, reviewed by Maureen Sullivan

THE RADICAL ELEMENT: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes, and Other Dauntless Girls, edited by Jessica Spotswood, reviewed by Maureen Sullivan

The Radical Element: 12 Stories of Daredevils, Debutantes, and Other Dauntless Girls is an anthology of feminist fiction, celebrating what editor Jessica Spotswood calls in her introduction the “quiet badassery” of young heroines taking charge of their own identities. This collection is a follow-up to A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers, and other Badass Girls, also edited by Jessica Spotswood. Similar to the first volume, the pieces in The Radical Element span a wide range of historical time periods and geographic locations, from 1838 Georgia to 20th century Boston. A brief author’s note follows each story, ...
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THE PRICE GUIDE TO THE OCCULT, a young adult novel by Leslye Walton, reviewed by Brandon Stanwyck

THE PRICE GUIDE TO THE OCCULT, a young adult novel by Leslye Walton, reviewed by Brandon Stanwyck

For a novel about witches, magic, and family curses, Leslye Walton’s The Price Guide to the Occult has a lot to say about humanity. More than a century ago, a witch named Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island, where she was met with fear and vexation from the island’s founding families. Determined to rid their island of her “as the tide erases footprints in the sand,” they burned her home down. So she, naturally, cursed their entire bloodlines ...
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SOMEDAY, SOMEWHERE, a young adult novel by Lindsay Champion, reviewed by Elaina Whitesell

SOMEDAY, SOMEWHERE, a young adult novel by Lindsay Champion, reviewed by Elaina Whitesell

Dominique, or Dom, seems to have nothing. She lives in Trenton, New Jersey with her single mother and helps run their Laundromat. When Dom and her best friend Cass embark on a field trip to New York City to see the students of the Brighton Conservatory perform at Carnegie Hall, Dom sees Ben for the first time ...
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CHEESUS WAS HERE, a young adult novel by J.C. Davis, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

CHEESUS WAS HERE, a young adult novel by J.C. Davis, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

In the small town of Clemency, Texas Sunday morning worship is even more important than Friday night football. With a population of 1,236 and only two churches in town, everyone looks forward to putting on their Sunday best and lifting the Lord’s name on high ...
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HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD, an anthology for young readers edited by Kelly Jensen, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

HERE WE ARE: FEMINISM FOR THE REAL WORLD, an anthology for young readers edited by Kelly Jensen, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

Feminism. It’s an ideology that has long been approached with trepidation, met with both skepticism and controversy. There have been countless articles, papers, films, and books exploring and defining the concept. However, Here We Are is more than a series of essays on feminism. It’s a collection of stories, blog posts, comics, drawings, and interviews featuring an array of different voices – each more unique than the last – describing what feminism means and how it plays a role in our lives. Each page encourages readers to think about how they, as individuals, can relate to a belief that strives ...
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BETWEEN TWO SKIES, a young adult novel by Joanne O’Sullivan, reviewed by Brenda Rufener

BETWEEN TWO SKIES, a young adult novel by Joanne O’Sullivan, reviewed by Brenda Rufener

From the start, O’Sullivan pulls readers in with well-crafted characters and a beautifully painted setting. She drops the reader deep into the South with Hurricane Katrina looming offshore. The opening pages saturate us with the warmth, hospitality, and food that are so true to this geographical location. But we aren’t allowed to get too comfortable. Not with the bad weather reports and the life-changing storm churning at sea ...
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LOVE, ISH, a middle grades novel by Karen Rivers, reviewed by Christine M. Hopkins

LOVE, ISH, a middle grades novel by Karen Rivers, reviewed by Christine M. Hopkins

Twelve-year-old Mischa Love—or Ish—wants to be among the first colonists on Mars more than anything, and has applied to a program in Iceland offering this chance (and been rejected) nearly 50 times. She knows pretty much everything there is to know about Mars. When it comes to science, her convictions are strong. “Global warming is a real thing,” she tells us with unwavering certainty. “You can pretend it’s not, but that’s just dumb. It’s science.” ...
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LABYRINTH LOST, a young adult novel by Zoraida Córdova, reviewed by Leticia Urieta

LABYRINTH LOST, a young adult novel by Zoraida Córdova, reviewed by Leticia Urieta

Alejandra Mortiz is a bruja. She lives her life in the presence of death. She comes from a long line of brujas, each with their own unique manifestation of power. But Alex, as her family and friends know her, does not revere the magical legacy of her family; she fears it. After seeing her Aunt Rosaria rise from the dead as a child, Alex is burdened by the sense that magic is not a gift, as her sisters Rose and Lula believe, but a curse. Her fear grows more acute as her Death Day approaches. This is a bruja’s coming ...
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IF YOU WERE HERE, a  young adult novel by Jennie Yabroff, reviewed by Caitlyn Averett

IF YOU WERE HERE, a young adult novel by Jennie Yabroff, reviewed by Caitlyn Averett

In Jennie Yabroff’s debut young adult novel, If You Were Here, Yabroff shows the normal struggles of growing up combined with the confusion of dealing with a parent suffering from mental illness. If You Were Here follows Tess Block, a girl who relishes summer vacations where she can hide away in her grandmother’s country cabin and not have to deal with high school or family. It means no contact with her best friend, Tabitha, because there’s no cell service, but Tess enjoys the freedom of escaping NYC for a few months, and the freedom from what’s going on at home ...
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RANI PATEL IN FULL EFFECT, a young adult novel by Sonia Patel, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

RANI PATEL IN FULL EFFECT, a young adult novel by Sonia Patel, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

In her debut young adult novel Rani Patel in Full Effect, Sonia Patel takes us back to the era of faded box cuts, high-top Adidas, and gold chains as thick as your wrist; to the era where hip-hop reigned supreme and rhymes flowed out of boom boxes like water down Moaula Falls ...
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IT LOOKS LIKE THIS, a young adult novel by  Rafi Mittlefehldt, reviewed by Allison Renner

IT LOOKS LIKE THIS, a young adult novel by Rafi Mittlefehldt, reviewed by Allison Renner

When Mike and his family move, just before his freshman year, Mike starts high school in a new state and begins to forge some tentative friendships. But Victor, also low on the totem pole in terms of the high school hierarchy, seems to have a personal beef with him. Mike tries to lay low and mind his own business but Victor’s attention is unsettling ...
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THE LIGHT FANTASTIC, a young adult novel by Sarah Combs, reviewed by Allison Renner

THE LIGHT FANTASTIC, a young adult novel by Sarah Combs, reviewed by Allison Renner

To make a book about school shootings stand out among an influx of young adult books about the topic takes skill and in her new novel The Light Fantastic Combs delivers with detailed characters and a unique premise. Told from several different points of view, the novel covers the span of a few hours across multiple time zones as a new day starts and a nationwide school shooting epidemic begins ...
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SIGNS OF YOU, a young adult novel by Emily France, reviewed by Rebecca Lee

SIGNS OF YOU, a young adult novel by Emily France, reviewed by Rebecca Lee

Books labeled as science fiction and young adult can conjure many stereotypical images; a first kiss awkwardly felt on a playground swing set or a gothic vampire trying to survive an unknown universe. Emily France’s Signs of You defies these stereotypes as it takes on the story of a loss, friendship, and healing ...
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LOCAL GIRL SWEPT AWAY, a young adult novel by Ellen Wittlinger, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

LOCAL GIRL SWEPT AWAY, a young adult novel by Ellen Wittlinger, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

Ellen Wittlinger's Local Girl Swept Away is a gripping story of loss, denial, and deception wrapped up in a page-turning mystery that’s hard to put down. When Lorna is pulled underwater during a storm, her death shakes the community of Providencetown, but no one is more shaken than her best friend Jackie Silva. Lorna was everything Jackie feels she isn’t: untamed, beautiful, brave, and outgoing – not to mention lucky enough to have had Jackie’s crush, their best friend Finn, as her boyfriend. Jackie is the undisputed number two and it's something she has accepted about herself. But, with Lorna ...
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THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill reviewed by Mandy King

THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON by Kelly Barnhill reviewed by Mandy King

There’s something compelling about orphan stories and Kelly Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon draws on this fascination. When I look back at my favorite childhood books, they all have one thing in common—main characters who are orphaned or abandoned. Barnhill’s story opens and immediately draws the reader in with the tragic, forced abandonment of a baby girl in the forest, an annual sacrifice meant to appease the Witch so that the villagers of the Protectorate may live safely for the next year. This middle grade fantasy is a story with a magical twist. Baby Luna is not completely ...
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A TYRANNY of PETTICOATS: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls edited by Jessica Spotswood reviewed by Leticia Urieta

A TYRANNY of PETTICOATS: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls edited by Jessica Spotswood reviewed by Leticia Urieta

Jessica Spotswood has collected fifteen authors, including herself, to contribute short stories that reflect the perspectives of girls across different time periods of American history, starting from 1710 and ending in 1968. The collection spans different regions, cultures, classes and linguistic traditions. As a writer, I can imagine the challenges these authors faced to create this wonderful array of stories, to compress the unique historical and regional circumstances into one young woman’s voice, and fulfill her story arc in just twenty or so pages. Other authors have written four hundred-page historical novels that have had difficulty accomplishing this task. Beyond ...
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BREAKFAST WITH NERUDA, a young adult novel by Laura Moe, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

BREAKFAST WITH NERUDA, a young adult novel by Laura Moe, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

Breakfast with Neruda is a true journey of the self, taking us deeper with every turn of the page. It shows us that healing can only take place once we dismantle the walls we painstakingly build around ourselves and that our most vulnerable selves might hide our strongest truths ...
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THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU, a young adult novel by Beth Kephart, reviewed by Rachael Tague

THIS IS THE STORY OF YOU, a young adult novel by Beth Kephart, reviewed by Rachael Tague

When I sat down to read Beth Kephart’s newest novel, This Is the Story of You, its title and cover art caught my attention—personal, serene, then chaotic. I read the first line of chapter one—Blue, for example—and fell in love with the writing. A quarter of the way through the book, I adored each character, and connected with Mira, the narrator and protagonist. Kephart’s mesmerizing writing, wonderful characters, and themes of strength and endurance thrilled me from beginning to end ...
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A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON, a YA novel by Samantha Mabry, reviewed by Allison Renner

A FIERCE AND SUBTLE POISON, a YA novel by Samantha Mabry, reviewed by Allison Renner

Lucas Knight and his father come to Puerto Rico every summer from Houston, Texas. Lucas’s father transforms abandoned, historical buildings into extravagant resorts, while Lucas is content to find trouble with his friends—at least until he’s old enough to take over his father’s business ...
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SEEING OFF THE JOHNS, a young adult novel by Rene S. Perez II reviewed by Leticia Urieta

SEEING OFF THE JOHNS, a young adult novel by Rene S. Perez II reviewed by Leticia Urieta

In the Texas town of Greenton, the talented few become mythical figures in the eyes of the locals, leaving those outside the spotlight to contemplate where they stand in the scheme of small town life. This could be a familiar story about growing up in someone else’s shadow, but, in this case, Seeing Off the Johns explores what happens in the aftermath of disaster; the loss of young life on the cusp of greatness. Jon Robison and John Mejia, or “the Johns,” as the Greentonites call them, are two high school sports stars who receive scholarships to play baseball for ...
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BURN BABY BURN, a young adult novel by Meg Medina reviewed by Rachael Tague

BURN BABY BURN, a young adult novel by Meg Medina reviewed by Rachael Tague

BURN BABY BURN by Meg Medina Candlewick Press, 305 pages reviewed by Rachael Tague New York City is one of my favorite places to visit. I adore Broadway, Times Square, and ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza. But thirty-some years ago, the Big Apple was not the magical tourist attraction it is today, especially if you had “the wrong skin color or a last name like López.” Disco, dancing, free love, and women’s rights typically define 1970’s America, but, for Nora López, New York City in 1977 means arson, looting, serial murders, a struggling mother, and an increasingly dangerous brother. In ...
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THE GIRL IN THE WELL IS ME, a middle years novel by Karen Rivers, reviewed by Rebecca Lee

THE GIRL IN THE WELL IS ME, a middle years novel by Karen Rivers, reviewed by Rebecca Lee

We’ve all experienced the feeling of being stuck. Whether it’s situational or emotional, sometimes it feels like there is no getting out of the dark tunnel that lies ahead. In The Girl In The Well Is Me by Karen Rivers, the main character, Kammie, is literally stuck in a cold, dark, tunnel with no way out ...
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A 52-HERTZ WHALE, a YA novel by Bill Sommer and Natalie Haney Tilghman, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

A 52-HERTZ WHALE, a YA novel by Bill Sommer and Natalie Haney Tilghman, reviewed by Kristie Gadson

52-Hertz-WhaleA 52-HERTZ WHALE by Bill Sommer and Natalie Haney Tilghman Carolrhoda Lab, 197 pages reviewed by Kristie Gadson When a humpback whale becomes separated from its pod, it emits a unique song in an effort to find its way back to its loved ones. When certain people experience feelings of isolation, they seek companionship through indirect social interaction. Bill Sommer and Natalie Haney Tilghman's A 52-Hertz Whale explores the nature of loneliness through a series of email correspondences, all between people with little else in common other than the desire for understanding. From the conversations of these starkly different ...
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OUT OF DARKNESS by Ashley Hope Pérez reviewed by Leticia Urieta

OUT OF DARKNESS by Ashley Hope Pérez reviewed by Leticia Urieta

OUT OF DARKNESS by Ashley Hope Pérez Carolrhoda LAB, 402 pages reviewed by Leticia Urieta Out of Darkness is broken into parts: before the disaster and after. This compelling novel is rooted in history, and the book begins with the aftermath of the 1937 New London school explosion in East Texas and a town reeling from disaster. Volunteers move debris, collect the severed limbs of school children, and build caskets for the dead. The narrative voice embodies the horror, the grief, and the growing need for someone to blame. This is how the story begins, with a sense of impending ...
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BREATH TO BREATH by Craig Lew reviewed by Heather Leah Huddleston

BREATH TO BREATH by Craig Lew reviewed by Heather Leah Huddleston

reviews, young adult fiction reviews /
BREATH TO BREATH by Craig Lew Little Pickle Press, 432 pages reviewed by Heather Leah Huddleston Seventeen-year-old William has been dealt a bad hand in life. Raised for as long as he can remember by his grandparents, Gramps dies and G’ma can’t take care of him, so William is shipped from Kansas to California to live with his estranged father. He has no real memories of his mother, except the fictionalized ones he makes up for his friends. And there’s this: he has a history of violence; he nearly killed someone in Kansas. The novel unfolds like both a mystery ...
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A BLIND GUIDE TO STINKVILLE by Beth Vrabel reviewed by Mandy King

A BLIND GUIDE TO STINKVILLE by Beth Vrabel reviewed by Mandy King

reviews, young adult fiction reviews /
A BLIND GUIDE TO STINKVILLE by Beth Vrabel Sky Pony Press, an imprint of Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 288 pages reviewed by Mandy King A Blind Guide to Stinkville is a story told through the fuzzy eyes of 11-year-old Alice, whose albinism and near blindness give her the unique perspective to uncover hidden stories of the people in her new town. The genius of Vrabel’s approach is that the reader meets the other characters through nuances of feelings and impressions rather than stark physical descriptions. The book is not a page-turner plot-wise and there are no major catastrophes; instead the novel ...
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THE DEVIL AND WINNIE FLYNN by Micol Ostow and David Ostow reviewed by Rachael Tague

THE DEVIL AND WINNIE FLYNN by Micol Ostow and David Ostow reviewed by Rachael Tague

THE DEVIL AND WINNIE FLYNN by Micol Ostow illustrated by David Ostow Soho Teen, 326 pages reviewed by Rachael Tague I don’t like to be scared. I can’t stand that chill-in-the-air, breath-on-my-neck, sweat-in-my-palm terror that comes with horror stories. The last time I tried to read a scary book, I was twelve, and I flipped to the epilogue before I was halfway through to relieve the tension. That’s the only time I’ve ever read the end of a book without reading everything in between. But if I had the option to stop in the middle of The Devil and Winnie ...
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INK AND ASHES by Valynne E. Maetani reviewed by Leticia Urieta

INK AND ASHES by Valynne E. Maetani reviewed by Leticia Urieta

INK AND ASHES by Valynne E. Maetani Tu Books, 380 pages reviewed by Leticia Urieta Valynne E. Maetani’s debut novel, Ink and Ashes, begins with the narrator Claire’s eerie statement: “I stared at my pink walls, wishing away the smell of death. I imagined the wispy smoke snaking its way through the narrow spaces around my closed door, the tendrils prying at tucked away memories.” This observation cements her voice as protagonist, a mixture of sensitivity, uncertainty, and fierceness. As the smell of incense wafts up to her room – part of a ritual to honor her father since his ...
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ARE YOU SEEING ME? by Darren Groth reviewed by Allison Renner

ARE YOU SEEING ME? by Darren Groth reviewed by Allison Renner

ARE YOU SEEING ME? by Darren Groth Orca Book Publishers, 278 pages reviewed by Allison Renner Books are often seen as a respite from everyday life and road trip books can be an even greater escape. They let you travel without having to go through airport security or get stuck in a strange city's traffic. Darren Groth’s Are You Seeing Me? takes readers from an Australian airport to several stops in Canada and the United States, journeying alongside nineteen-year-old Justine and her twin brother, Perry. The trip is a big undertaking, but it’s meant to be a send-off, a farewell ...
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A HOUSE MADE OF STARS by Tawnysha Greene reviewed by Kathryn Kulpa

A HOUSE MADE OF STARS by Tawnysha Greene reviewed by Kathryn Kulpa

A HOUSE MADE OF STARS by Tawnysha Greene Burlesque Press, 189 pages, 2015. reviewed by Kathryn Kulpa In the very first scene of A House Made of Stars, Tawnysha Greene’s debut novel, the ten-year-old narrator and her sister are awakened by their mother, who spirits them to a darkened bathroom where all three sit in the bathtub, towels piled over them, while the house shakes with thuds so loud even the narrator’s deaf sister can feel their vibrations. Their mother tells them it’s a game. She tells them they’re practicing for earthquakes. But even at ten, the narrator knows it’s ...
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SURVIVING SANTIAGO  by Lyn Miller-Lachmann reviewed by Leticia Urieta

SURVIVING SANTIAGO by Lyn Miller-Lachmann reviewed by Leticia Urieta

Surviving-SantiagoSURVIVING SANTIAGO by Lyn Miller-Lachmann Running Press Teens, 312 pages reviewed by Leticia Urieta Many authors employ a tried-and-true formula for young adult novels with a female protagonist: girl is displaced for a period of time to live with a relative or parental figure from whom they feel disconnected, girl meets love interest, and adventure ensues. Lyn Miller-Lachmann’s Surviving Santiago, the sequel to her first novel Gringolandia, meets these expectations with the inclusion of some of these tropes: the displacement to another country, the disconnected parent, the dangerous love interest and the naïve teenage girl, but the novel partially subverts ...
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THE TRAVELS OF DANIEL ASCHER by Déborah Lévy-Bertherat reviewed by Melissa M. Firman

THE TRAVELS OF DANIEL ASCHER by Déborah Lévy-Bertherat reviewed by Melissa M. Firman

THE TRAVELS OF DANIEL ASCHER by Déborah Lévy-Bertherat translated by Adriana Hunter Other Press, 189 pages reviewed by Melissa M. Firman How well do we really know the people we love? What happens when the family stories and personal histories we’ve grown up believing turn out to be fiction—or, at best, a version of the truth? These are the questions explored in The Travels of Daniel Ascher, the debut novel of Déborah Lévy-Bertherat. Translated from the French by Adriana Hunter, this is a quick, fast-paced read where much happens in this story-within-a-story novel. Hélène, a 20 year old archaeologist living ...
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THE BOOK OF LANEY by Myfanwy Collins reviewed by Kathryn Kulpa

THE BOOK OF LANEY by Myfanwy Collins reviewed by Kathryn Kulpa

THE BOOK OF LANEY by Myfanwy Collins Lacewing Books, 200 pages reviewed by Kathryn Kulpa When terrible acts of violence occur—as they do all too often in America—our thoughts naturally turn to the victims and their families. But what about the families of those who commit violent crimes? What if someone you grew up with was a school shooter, a terrorist, a mass murderer? That’s the reality fifteen-year-old Laney is living. Her brother West and his friend Mark, two high school outcasts, boarded a school bus armed with machetes, knives, guns, and homemade bombs. Six people died; twelve were wounded ...
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WHERE YOU END by Anna Pellicioli reviewed by Allison Renner

WHERE YOU END by Anna Pellicioli reviewed by Allison Renner

WHERE YOU END by Anna Pellicioli Flux, 299 pages reviewed by Allison Renner The trends of paranormal characters and dystopian worlds have played out in young adult fiction, just in time for Anna Pellicioli to step in. Her debut, Where You End, is a riveting work of contemporary fiction that will captivate an audience of both teens and adults. According to the blurb on the back cover, Pellicioli’s book is about a girl getting over a passionate first love. The Library of Congress summary on the copyright page would have us believe it’s about a girl who is blackmailed when ...
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DR. RADWAY’S SARSAPARILLA RESOLVENT by Beth Kephart reviewed by Michelle Fost

DR. RADWAY’S SARSAPARILLA RESOLVENT by Beth Kephart reviewed by Michelle Fost

DR. RADWAY’S SARSAPARILLA RESOLVENT by Beth Kephart illustrated by William Sulit New City Community Press, 190 pages Reviewed by Michelle Fost When I lived in Philadelphia, I sensed its history underfoot. One pleasure of Beth Kephart’s lively new historical Philadelphia novel is the strong fit of the writer’s project and the story she tells. In Dr. Radway’s Sarsaparilla Resolvent, Kephart looks at material from the past that we might consider lost to us and demonstrates how traces of that past stay with us through research and writing. In her story of William Quinn in 1870’s Philadelphia, too, ...
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