Source: Publisher (via YA Books Central)

Love, Life, and the List…by Kasie West

Love, Life, and the List…by Kasie West

Abby’s goal in life is to become a serious artist. Her hope is to get into a special art camp. To carry out this she must put more heart into her work so Abby makes herself a bucket list. Abby is also dealing with an agoraphobic mother, a deployed father, and a growing crush on her best friend Cooper. I have read a couple of Kasie West novels and enjoyed them. They are generally fun, young, romantic, novels. I really enjoyed ‘Lucky in Love’, so I was really excited to read this one. I did enjoy the storyline in general. I loved the idea of experiencing life in order to give yourself a wider perspective.  I just didn’t connect with the characters. Maybe, I’m just too old or maybe I just don’t get the California lifestyle thing. For me Abby and […]

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Ray vs. The Meaning of Life…by Michael F. Stewart

Ray vs. The Meaning of Life…by Michael F. Stewart

Ray must figure out the meaning of life in order to be the beneficiary of his late grandmother’s will. At stake is the trailer park where he and his whole family live and work. In the process of finding the meaning of life, Ray begins to experience life and change the way he lives it. The concept of this book is wonderful. A teenager must experience the world around him in order to earn a great reward. This concept intrigued me and I couldn’t wait to figure out what would happen with Ray and his family. The story started out both sad and odd. Ray’s grandmother is killed in a freak run-in with a grizzly bear. Then in a turn of events ,that reminds me of a Simpson’s episode, a surgical team arrives in a  helicopter and freezes grandma’s brain. […]

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My Life as a Bench…Jaq Hazell

My Life as a Bench…Jaq Hazell

Seventeen year old Lauren ‘Ren’ Miller has just died. She finds that her spirit lives on inside her own memorial bench. Although the story is called, ‘My Life as a Bench,’ it is really the story of Lauren contemplating her life after her death.   Ren can’t eat or sleep. She can only observe people as they pass by.  Every night Ren must mentally relive her life over and over. Her only companion is the old bench next to her. Ren learns that the other bench is named Lionel. Lionel was elderly baker before he died. Lionel has his own life story to tell.   The undercurrent of the story is that Ren has unfinished business that must be resolved before she can be at peace. Ren’s boyfriend is in jail on charges of killing her. She knows that he didn’t do it. […]

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Lucky Broken Girl…by Ruth Behar

Lucky Broken Girl…by Ruth Behar

‘Lucky Broken Girl’ is a middle-grade novel about a girl named Ruth. Ruth is growing up in 1960’s NYC. Her family is Jewish and Cuban . It is a semi-autobiographical novel about Ruth Behar’s childhood. ‘Lucky Broken Girl’s focus is on the year Ruth was in a full body cast following a car accident. ‘Lucky Broken Girl’ gives the reader a unique perspective about childhood injury. It explored, in gritty detail, the boredom, humiliation, sadness, and fear that Ruth experienced during her year in bed. This story was well written and I loved that none of the characters were picture perfect. Ruth could be whiny and self adsorbed at times. Her father is macho and controlling. While her mother is often resentful of Ruth’s situation. ‘Lucky Broken Girl’ is richly detailed. The diversity was well done and the history in ‘Luck […]

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The Book That Made Me…by Judith Ridge (Editor) et al

The Book That Made Me…by Judith Ridge (Editor) et al

‘The Book That Made Me’ is an anthology by several authors that tells about a book that influenced their life. ‘The Book That Made Me’ gives us a chance to  look inside the authors’ mind and how they first became inspired to write. I am not usually big on anthologies. I’m a cover to cover reader and I don’t like to skip stories (even if I don’t enjoy them). I find that with most anthologies there are stories/essays I love,  a few that are ok, and ones I just don’t enjoy. This was the case with the ‘The Book That Made Me’. When I started reading I noticed that I only recognized two authors, Markus Zusak author of ‘The Book Thief’ and Jaclyn Moriarty (whose sister Liane wrote ‘Big Little Lies’). After a couple of essays, I realized why. All the authors are either […]

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If We Where a Movie…by Kelly Oram

If We Where a Movie…by Kelly Oram

‘If We Were a Movie’ tells the story of ‘Nat’. ‘Nat’ is a triplet and struggles to have individuality from his brothers. Nat applies and is accepted to the NYU music program. The novel begins with Nat’s brothers inadvertently destroying his laptop along with his school project. Soon after this happens the character of ‘Pearl’ is introduced. She is an intricate part of the story and is the common thread thought the ‘Power of the Matchmaker’ series. She in turn introduces Nat to Jordan who ends up becoming his roommate and friend. Jordan is as obsessed with movies as Nat is with music. As the mother of twins I can identify with Nat and how being a multiple can be both a good and a bad thing. I was excited to read a book that touched on the subject of a multiple struggling […]

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Laerka…by Laura Matthias Bendoly

Posted June 6, 2017 by Karen in Books, Reviews , , , / 0 Comments
Laerka…by Laura Matthias Bendoly

‘Laerka’ is a modern-day retelling of  the fairytale ‘The Little Mermaid’. Stella is a teenager in modern-day Savannah, Georgia. While working a part-time job in Savannah’s port, she sees a women (who she thinks is a mermaid) jump from a Russian container ship into the ocean. What I Loved I thought the choice of  Savannah, Georgia as the setting for ‘Laerka’ was a great choice. Savannah is such a unique  and beautiful place. It also has a rich history and a vibrant port culture. This makes it the perfect choice for ‘Laerka’ . The historical and nautical information was interesting and helped to add to the story line. ‘Stella’ herself as a character was well-rounded with a unique voice. Even though she is a teenage girl, she is very strong and self motived. She helps her father with his fishing business and is able to […]

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Painless…by Jamie Mayer

Painless…by Jamie Mayer

Quinn is a seventeen year old who suffers from Congenital Analgesia. Congenial Analgesia is a disease where the sufferer feels no pain. This disease is extremely fascinating. I have heard in the past about children who could not feel pain. It is explained in ‘Painless’ that it is a rare but deadly disease. Children who inherit this disease rarely make it to adulthood. Pain is an evolutionary trait that helps prevent injury. The inability to feel pain cause the victims to unknowing cause life treating  damage to themselves. Quinn takes this to another level by intentionally hurting himself. Adding to Quinn’s problems is the fact that his mother left when he was a child. This leaves Quinn at the mercy of his older sister Caitlin. It is revealed early on the Caitlin is also having a hard time juggling responsibilities in […]

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Otherwise Known as Possum…by Maria D. Laso

Otherwise Known as Possum…by Maria D. Laso

‘Otherwise Known as Possum’ is a middle-grade historical fiction novel. The story takes place in the deep south during at the height of the great depression. The titular character, Possum Porter’s, mother and baby brother recently died in childbirth. Adding to Possum’s grief, her father decides to send her to the town school (up until then she had been homeschooled). Possum’s goals  become to show her daddy that she is too smart for school and to keep her teacher, Ms. Arthington, away from her father.     ‘Otherwise Known as Possum’ reminded me a lot of ‘Little House on the Prairie.’ There were major differences such as the setting and time period. However,the story just had the ‘Little House ‘feel to me. There were also obvious similarities such as ‘Mary Grace’ being the daughter of the  town store owner and she constantly teases ‘Possum’. Also, the town Possum […]

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Between Two Skies…by Joanne O’Sullivan

Between Two Skies…by Joanne O’Sullivan

‘Between Two Skies’ is the story of Evangeline. She loves her Mamére (grandmother), her small Louisiana town, and being out on the water. This novel highlights her family’s  pain and struggles after Hurricane Katrina hits their small Louisiana town.   A Brief History of the Cajuns The history of the Cajun people is central to the theme of ‘Between Two Skies’. For that reason, I would like to briefly review their history . I think most of us know that a sizable part of the population of southern Louisiana are Cajun. We all know that Cajun’s are of French descent and have their own food,culture,and even language. Even though the Louisiana Purchase and the French and Indian War are touched upon in American history classes, I don’t think most of us know what that has to do with how the Cajuns got to Louisiana. Back in […]

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