Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tragedy Girl by Christine Hurley Deriso

Tragedy Girl by Christine Hurley Deriso
"Of course Anne would be drawn to Blake. He’s good-looking, he’s friendly, and they both bring sob stories to the table: her parents died in a car wreck; his girlfriend, Cara, drowned. Of course Blake would understand what she’s going through. And of course they can help each other work through the pain. It’s like it was meant to be.

But just as Anne starts to feel like she’s finally found something good in all the tragedy, there are signs she can’t ignore that something’s off. Her friends rarely let her be alone with Blake. Even those closest to Blake seem uneasy around him. And then there are the rumors about the death of Cara, whose body was never recovered. Rumors that suggest Blake’s pain is hiding something darker than Anne can even begin to comprehend . . ."- summary from Amazon

I was really excited to read this book and it was good- a quick, suspenseful, page-turning read! Anne is a great main character and it was interesting to see her slowly burgeoning relationship with Blake and all the red flags surrounding it. The reveal was unexpected and a big twist; there was much more to it than you'd expect. Overall, it was quite a good thriller/mystery and I'm interested to read more from Deriso.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, September 19, 2016

It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt

It Looks Like This by Rafi Mittlefehldt
"A new state, a new city, a new high school. Mike’s father has already found a new evangelical church for the family to attend, even if Mike and his plainspoken little sister, Toby, don’t want to go. Dad wants Mike to ditch art for sports, to toughen up, but there’s something uneasy behind his demands. Then Mike meets Sean, the new kid, and "hey" becomes games of basketball, partnering on a French project, hanging out after school. A night at the beach. The fierce colors of sunrise. But Mike’s father is always watching. And so is Victor from school, cell phone in hand."- summary from Amazon

A fantastic, heartbreaking story of first love, family, discovering who you are, and standing up for yourself and your truth. I've never read a YA novel told like this, in such beautiful yet simple prose; it was honestly a breath of fresh air once I got into the story and became invested in Mike's story. And it really is a heartbreaking novel- there were several times throughout that made me very sad, especially realizing that there are many stories like this in the real world- but ultimately in the end, it's uplifting. The friendship between Sean and Mike that blossoms into something resembling a relationship (albeit a secret one) is extremely sweet and, in a way, uncomplicated. There are definitely factors that keep them from being open about their love for each other, but it seemed like whenever they were together, nothing else seemed to matter and the affection they had for each other showed. I highly recommend this book to pretty much anyone, and I cannot wait to see what Mittlefehldt releases next.


FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Other Broken Things by C. Desir

Other Broken Things by C. Desir
"Natalie’s not an alcoholic. She doesn’t have a problem. Everybody parties, everybody does stupid things, like getting in their car when they can barely see. Still, with six months of court-ordered AA meetings required, her days of vodka-filled water bottles are over.

Unfortunately, her old friends want the party girl or nothing. Even her up-for-anything ex seems more interested in rehashing the past than actually helping Nat.

But then a recovering alcoholic named Joe inserts himself into Nat’s life, and things start looking up. Joe is funny, he’s smart, and he calls her out in a way no one ever has.

He’s also older. A lot older.

Nat’s connection to Joe is overwhelming, but so are her attempts to fit back into her old world, all while battling the constant urge to crack a bottle and blur that one thing she’s been desperate to forget.

Now, in order to make a different kind of life, Nat must pull together her broken parts and learn to fight for herself."- summary from Amazon

I really enjoyed Desir's previous book Bleed Like Me and have been trying to keep up with her other releases, but haven't been successful. But I was able to find time to fit this book in and I was so glad I did. This was such a compelling, insightful and emotional look at teen alcoholism and addiction, among other issues, and I really hope this book finds its way into the hands of teens struggling with this sort of thing. Natalie is a character that teens will be able to relate to, even if it's the smallest thing. Desir writes Natalie's voice so pitch-perfectly and it's a compelling read because of that as well as the forbidden tension between Natalie and Joe, which Desir handles effortlessly and without judgment. Overall, an audacious look at several tough subjects for teenagers that will make readers flock to the rest of Desir's bold oeuvre.

FTC: Received e-galley from Edelweiss. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows
"Princess Wilhelmina is ready for her crown, but declaring herself queen means war. Her magic is uncontrollable and now there’s a living boy made of wraith—destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. Princess Wilhelmina’s ability might be just the thing to help reclaim her kingdom—or ruin it forever."- summary from Amazon

I'm such a huge fan of Meadows' books and this conclusion to the Orphan Queen duology is simply fantastic. It's a big book, but ends up being such a quick read. Meadows keeps the action moving at a good pace and some good humor peppered throughout, with quite a clever climax and sweet ending. Wilhelmina is such a smart, kickass character and I loved following along on her journey as she tries to save her world from the fast-encroaching wraith. If you love fantasy, you need to read this duology!

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe

Concentr8 by William Sutcliffe
"In a not-so-distant future London, riots have become the norm. But when the government suddenly stops distributing Concentr8--a behavioral modification "miracle" drug akin to Ritalin--the city's residents rise up fiercer than they ever have before.

Amidst the chaos, five teens pick a man seemingly at random and chain him up as a hostage in a warehouse. Blaze is their leader, and Troy has always been his quiet sidekick--the only person he has ever trusted. But even Troy didn't see this coming, and as their story unfolds over six tense days, one thing is clear--none of them will ever be the same again."- summary from Amazon

This was an interesting book, but there's a lot left unresolved for me at least and it doesn't seem like there's supposed to be a sequel. It's a quick read from multiple perspectives, which the author does really well. Each character has their own unique British voice (dialect-wise and sometimes grammar-wise) and it's cool to read from each POV as the teens get deeper and deeper into this crazy scheme. It was a quick read, so it's definitely worth a read if you have time and are interested by the summary, but it's not a must-read.

FTC: Received e-galley from Netgalley. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.