Tag: young adult

Confessions of a High School Disaster…by Emma Chastain

Confessions of a High School Disaster…by Emma Chastain

Confessions of a High School Disaster is the first installment of the Chloe Snow series. I read the second installment first and enjoyed it so much that I decided to go back and read ‘Confessions of a High School Disaster’. In this book Chloe is just about to start high school. Her immaturity definitely shows through in this book. This makes sense as she is just at the beginning of both high school and her parents divorce. The combination of these two things definitely would push Chloe to concentrate on more important things than basic teenage stuff ( i.e. being a kissing virgin). I think divorce is an important topic for YA to tackle as its something many teens must work through and I think COAHSD did it well. One of the most eye-opening aspects for me was Chloe was how her opinion of her mother’s actions changed throughout the story. In the beginning Chloe made excuses for her mother’s actions. Later on she realized that her father is the one who stayed and her mother was the irresponsible one. I also really enjoyed Chloe’s relationship with her dog. I love YA stories that include pets. I also loved that this […]

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Sneaking Out…By Chuck Vance

Sneaking Out…By Chuck Vance

‘Sneaking Out’ is the first installment in the ‘Chase’ series. The setting is an élite New England boarding school. Oliver and Luke are roommates at said school. They sneak out one night to meet up with girls. During this meet-up they witness a murder. They can’t confess up to what they know without being expelled for sneaking out (hence the title). The setting of a  boarding school in New England really intrigued me. It is interesting to take a peek inside their rules and routines. I hadn’t realized that boarding schools were so strict. The students have to have quiet time and are expected to do things like dress up for formal dinners. The whole atmosphere of the school seemed really rigid and creepy. The murder mystery storyline is interesting. Although I guessed the identity of the murderer early on, I still second guessed myself all the way through. I really didn’t connect with Luke’s back story. It just seemed farfetched and distracted from the storyline. I realize his back story experiences helped him solve the mystery but I could have done without this part of the story all together. I also found it hard to believe that teenagers would […]

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The Year of Living Awkwardly…by Emma Chasten #blogtour

The Year of Living Awkwardly…by Emma Chasten #blogtour

  “The point of the musical is that Nellie’s racism is disgusting and that you can be a cute, fun girl everyone considers so nice and still have this snake coiled in your heart. “   “It’s like Tris let go of his trapeze and he’s falling through the air, waiting for Roy to catch him, but Roy is outside the circus tent making out with the lion tamer.”   “It was a perfect fall afternoon. Cool air Lavender sky. Leaves the color of cherries. Smell of wood smoke. Sometimes New England is so New Englandly.”      Chloe Snow is a high school sophomore who is struggling with the abandonment of her mother. She also is absorbed in taking her PSA, school, boys and friends. She must keep it all together to make it through her sophomore year.     I really didn’t know much about ‘ The Year of Living Awkwardly’ going into it. It is book #2 in the Chloe Snow’s Diary series. They synopsis made Chloe sound very angsty. As I read though the diary (the story is told in diary format) I realized Chloe is typical of how many teenagers truly are. I haven’t been […]

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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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The Unusual Suspects…by Dominic Carillo

The Unusual Suspects…by Dominic Carillo

Fourteen year old Bulgarian, Nia, is attacked while taking a train across Europe (she is going to face her cheating ex-boyfriend in Berlin). She is rescued by Kurt, an unlikely hero.  Kurt is a eighty-nine WWII American war veteran.   The premise of this story fascinated me from the start. I mean how often do you read a story about an eighty-nine year old man and a fourteen year old girl who become international crime suspects. It also is an amazing idea to flip points of view between Kurt and Nia. It is interesting to see the same situations through the eyes of two vastly different people.   I really love the personal and historical background that is sprinkled throughout  ‘The Unusual Suspects’. I really fell in love both Nia and Kurt. The flashback of Kurt’s budding romance with his wife is one of the sweetest love stories I have read in a while.  Kurt is one of my favorite characters of all time. He exemplifies the friendship you can develop by getting to know someone who is totally different from yourself. Nia’s character shows amazing growth along the trip, both from her own experiences and from spending time with […]

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We Are All That’s Left…by Carrie Arcos #Blogtour

We Are All That’s Left…by Carrie Arcos #Blogtour

Zara feels shut off from her Bosnian born mother. She knows that her mother survived some horrible things in the Bosnian war but Zara wants desperately to understand who her mother is. So when Zara, her mother, and her little brother are victims of a tourist attack, Zara begins to understand what emotional and physical trauma can do to a person and a family.   I really love a good historical fiction. Good historical fiction is entertaining while at the same time teaches us about significant events. I have noticed that much of the historical fiction out there covers the really well-known periods of history. For example: the Tutor period, the American Civil War, WWI, and especially WWII. I really love it when I find a  novel that explores world events that are lesser known . When I read the synopsis of, ‘We Are All That’s Left’, I knew this was a book that I had to read.   ‘We Are All That’s Left’, alternates between Zara dealing with the aftermath of a present day terror attack and Zara’s mother, Nadja, living in war-torn Bosnia in the past. Going into the story, I did know a little about the Bosnian […]

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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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No Sad Songs… by Frank Morelli

No Sad Songs… by Frank Morelli

Gabe is used to helping care for his ailing grandfather. Then tragedy strikes and thrusts eighteen-year-old Gabe into the position of primary care giver for his grandfather with dementia.   They’re so many things to love about, ‘No Sad Songs’. The thing I love most is that the book is set in the 1990’s.  This is a time period I haven’t seen a lot of in YA fiction ( or really fiction in general). The nineties are such a nostalgic time period. It is the last decade were our lives were not totally run by cell phones and computers. The simple things in the life of a teenager was very evident in this story. Gabe’s main worries are eating pizza and attracting girls.   The most important theme in, ‘No Sad Songs,’ is caring for someone with dementia. This novel really highlights the divesting situation or a child or grandchild caring for a parent or grandparent with this disease. The dementia sufferers often don’t know who they are or where they are anymore. For example, Gabe’s grandfather constantly relives his time fighting in WWII. Game’s flashbacks also really highlight Gabe’s pain as he remembers the wonderful times with his grandfather. I have read […]

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Turtles All the Way Down… by John Green

Turtles All the Way Down… by John Green

Aza is a high school student who struggles with severe OCD (she constantly worries that C.Diff is going to kill her). She must fight against her own mind and help her friend Daisy find a fugitive billionaire and claim her reward. Oh, John Green, how I love to hate you. I told myself there was no way on earth that I would ever read another John Green book.  Then I found out that ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ is about OCD. I’ve had severe OCD since I was a child so here we are.   I’m going to separate this review in two separate areas. First a general review and secondly how well Green paints an accurate picture of OCD.   First the Book In General: John Green is the master of writing a book that’s easy to read. All his books have been quick reads for me. His prose is among the best I’ve read in YA but a good book is about so much more than the prose. A great novel is complex and imaginative  and deep and original and (for a contemporary) true to life. So to begin ‘TATWD’ has all the normal John Green tropes: double entendre […]

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Dress Codes for Small Towns…by Courtney Stevens

Dress Codes for Small Towns…by Courtney Stevens

Billie McCaffrey is a gender fluid teen who lives in a small Kentucky town. Even though she is the daughter of the town’s preacher, she is living life by her own terms. This is to chagrin of both her father and the rest of the town of Otters Holt. At the beginning of ‘Dress Codes for Small Towns’ Billie is at a lock-in with her best friends . Billie and her friends ( who she calls them the hexagon) do something that results in major damage to the church. This and the future of the town’s fall festival is the main focus of the characters in DCFST.  I went into ‘Dress Codes for Small Towns’ having heard really great things about it. DCFST does have many original concepts such as a teen who can’t quite pin down her sexuality, the dynamics of small town America, and loving parents that are not perfect. What I Loved: I found  that Stevens has a  John Green type writing style. It  moves the story along quickly and is easy to read. I love Billy and her diverse set of friends. Her friends all have different personalities and different backgrounds. I also love that a small […]

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