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Stumped…By Kate Larkindale

Stumped…By Kate Larkindale

Ozzy has everything a teenager could want, good grades, a hot girlfriend, and  successful high school swimming career. When a car crash leaves him without legs  he stands to lose everything. The story begins with Ozzy planning his first intimate outing with his girlfriend, Lainey. The outing goes array and as Ozzy is driving home he gets into a devastating car accident. ‘Stumped’ has a unique take on someone dealing with a disability.  Some of the issues Ozzy goes through is truly eye-opening. One of the biggest obstacles he has  to overcome is the way others treat him. Some people in his life are really terrible to him, like his girlfriend and friends. The story left me wondering if it is because they are teenagers and they don’t know what to say and how to act or if is it just that the characters are terrible people. Ozzie then learns to find comfort from a support group for teenage amputees. Since Ozzy is a teenage boy his sex drive takes on a life of its own. One of the main focuses in the story is Ozzy’s interaction with sex workers. ‘Stumped’ takes place in New Zealand and prostitution is legal […]

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Burning Bright…by Chanda Stafford

Burning Bright…by Chanda Stafford

Sam is haunted by her parents death. She is at fault for what happened to them. Her punishment is to live with abusive foster parents that only care about the stipend she brings them. Sam’s life changes when she meets California boy, Ben. Ben is the son of movie star turned animal conservationist parents. What will happen when Sam becomes wrapped up in Ben’s world. To me there is two separate plots to, ‘Burning Bright’. The first is Sam’s gritty struggle to survive. She lives in a tent so as not to have to live in her foster-parents house. She is in constant fear of her foster-father. Sam also has to work in a second-hand store in order to pay for essentials such as clothing and food. She sees this as a penance for what she did to her parents. What happened to Sam’s parents is not revealed until the end of the book but it is implied that she is someway caused their parent’s deaths. This section of the story was my favorite. It delved into the world of foster care. It felt real and different and it kept me wanting to find out how  the story turned out. I […]

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22 Scars…by C.M. North

22 Scars…by C.M. North

Amy leads a tortured life. She has a monster for a father and a distant mother. Amy self-harms and has suicidal tendencies. Then tragedy in her life leads her in a dangerous direction.   ’22 Scars’ highlights  mental illness in teenagers. With recent events, I think a young adult book that focuses on mental health is an important thing. ’22 Scars’ did an excellent job taking on this difficult topic. I did read ’13 Reasons Why’ and found it somewhat lacking. Not only was the plot unrealistic and contrived, I don’t think that it really approaches the underling mental illnesses that drives someone to suicide. I think ’22 Scars’ approaches this subject better. Not only is Amy’s deep seeded problems explored but it also shows how her mental illness progresses through time.   ’22 Scars’ has two storylines. The connection between these storylines is not realized until late in the book. I found both storylines interesting although I did find that the one not involving teenage Amy more interesting. The main issue I had with teenage Amy’s storyline was the plethora of characters, especially Amy’s friends. There were so many I could not keep them straight. Also, the character of […]

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What I Leave Behind…by Alison McGhee #BlogTour

What I Leave Behind…by Alison McGhee #BlogTour

Will’s dad commits suicide. His childhood friend, Playa, is raped at a party. His mom works long over-night shifts as a nurse. Will then decides to take the negatives in his life and turn them into something completely wonderful.   Will’s father’s death helps him realize that everyone needs positive acknowledgement. He also realizes that sometimes it’s the little things that can make a difference. He gives small gifts and kind words to those around him ( his lonely boss, his friend Playa, a neglected little boy, an abused neighborhood dog).   OMG……This book is powerful, and wonderful, and heart wrenching ! ‘What I Leave Behind’, is a prime example of, “less is more.” There are so many books out there that are just way too long for what they are trying to say (read ‘The Goldfinch’). McGhee delivers a strong and pointed message with just one hundred chapters with one hundred words each. With this she demonstrates that you don’t need a mega size book to deliver a powerful punch.   I really loved that symbolism played such an important part in the novel. From the way that butterflies that  ‘little dude’ watches everyday to Will’s quest to recreate his […]

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Faithful…by Alice Hoffman

Faithful…by Alice Hoffman

Seventeen year old Shelby and her best friend, Helene, are in a horrific car crash. Helene is left in a permanent coma. Shelby recovers physically but she follows a path of self-destructive behavior. Shelby’s behavior is not only a way to punish herself for the accident but also a way to form a barrier to her mental recovery.   Having read Hoffman’s previous book, ‘The Rules of Magic’, I went into, ‘Faithful’, with the impression that it would have paranormal elements. When the story begins, I thought that the story would follow both Helene and Shelby. I was pleasantly surprised when, ‘Faithful’ turns out to follow Shelby’s mental health after the crash. I’ve put off writing this review for a while. I wanted to give some thought into how I really felt about ‘Faithful’.   I really love Shelby’s story. In many ways, Shelby is just an ordinary person trying to overcome a tragedy. The way that Hoffman portrays Shelby as a flawed human but as an overall good person really endeared her to me and the story in general.   Shelby’s PTSD follows a true to life behavior pattern. Since Shelby blames herself for the accident, she justifies her […]

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The Scent of Rain…by Anne Montgomery

The Scent of Rain…by Anne Montgomery

‘The Scent of Rain’, centers mainly around Rose. Rose is a teenager living in a fundamentalist Mormon community. The main storyline centers on Rose’s terrifying  life. The story is told through multiple points of view. The POV’s are those of Rose, Adan ,the FLDS ‘prophet’, Trak, Chase, and Brooke (Adan Trak, Chase, and Brooke are neighbors and not part of the FDLS community).   One of my favorite topics to read about is subcultures that are embedded within our own communities. ‘The Scent of Rain’ takes on the huge task of bringing to light the FLDS community. Absolutely nothing prepared me for the inner workings of the FLDS.   FLDS members never leave their small community. The women must dress, and style their hair a certain way. Young girls are forced into plural marriages with older men. Most importantly everyone must follow whatever the ‘prophet’ dictates. The ‘prophet’, in Montgomery’s story, is a mentally ill man who dictates his every whim to the community. He lives a lavish lifestyle (with over 70 wives) while the rest of his community scrape together a meager existence.   The characters in ‘The Scent of Rain’  added to an already amazing storyline. The various points of […]

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Corner of Ocean and Bay… by Gina Azzi

Corner of Ocean and Bay… by Gina Azzi

Nessa and Jacie have been friends since kindergarten. When they both have had a terrible year, they decide to take up Jacie’s aunt’s invitation to stay with her at her home on the Jersey Shore. Jacie and Nessa plan to live summer to the fullest before they begin their senior year of high school . On the surface, ‘Corner of Ocean and Bay’ seams like a fun summer beach read. This novel does touch on the fun, carefree, lifestyle of teens on vacation. However, Azzi takes it a step further and explores some of the harsh realities of being young. While Nessa is the ‘good girl’ and Jacie is the wild one, both girls have their own ups and downs. Jacie and Nessa handle their romantic relationships in very different ways. Nessa takes the slow approach with the new boy she meets while Jacie jumps into a new relationship impulsively. Although I can’t really delve into both Jacie and Nessa’s romantic interests without spoiling the plot, I will say Jacie heads off in a dangerous direction. I really loved both Jacie and Nessa, although I kept thinking that Nessa was a little too good. There were even times that I […]

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That Night…by Cecily Wolfe

That Night…by Cecily Wolfe

‘That Night’ is the story of Kayla and her two best friends Sarah, and Cassidy. Kayla is an honors student and a top-level soccer player. One night Kayla tries heroin at a party and abruptly dies. The rest of the novel is Cassidy and Sarah dealing with the aftermath of Kayla’s death.   What I Loved:  I loved the message of Kayla’s story. Anyone can die from a drug overdose. That those who overdose are not just addicts and junkies. Anyone can fall victims to drugs and teenagers are especially at risk. Another important message of ‘That Night’ is that your bad choices can be dire and don’t just affect just you but everyone around you. Your decisions have the potential to affect your family, your friends, and even your community.   What Left Me Wanting More:  So, first thing is I found the process of the story to be extremely slow. For me there didn’t seem to be a definite plotline. There wasn’t a lot of progress in the story. Most of the book was just what Sarah and Cassidy were feeling about their friend’s death. There was a ton of internal dialogue and,other than Sarah and Cassidy’s fights, […]

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