New York City girl Lexi Ryan is doing just fine—she’s got her music, her friends, and her dad, and that’s all she really needs. But when a terrible miNew York City girl Lexi Ryan is doing just fine—she’s got her music, her friends, and her dad, and that’s all she really needs. But when a terrible mistake and a terrible accident leave her on her own in the only city she’s ever called home, Lexi has no choice but to track down her estranged mother, who’s apparently somewhere in Florida with a traveling circus. Arriving at the circus’s next stop with her few worldly belongings and only a little bit of hope, Lexi is disappointed to find that her mother isn’t there, but with nowhere else to go and no idea what to do next, Lexi decides to stay on and join the circus. What she finds amongst the animals and midway rides are unexpected friends and the surprise that this traveling circus is starting to feel like home. But Lexi can’t ignore her past forever, though with a little help from friends both new and old, she just might be able to find what she was looking for all along.
That Time I Joined the Circus is a sweet and funny debut about family, friendship, love, and, of course, the sometimes hectic but somehow rewarding life at the circus. I found myself quite along for the ride (pun not intended) as Lexi navigated her transition from tough city girl to a girl running from her past to a circus performer, and I especially enjoyed how that narration switched between Lexi’s present story and the events that happened before Lexi left to find her mom. I felt like I really got to know Lexi’s character through seeing her background and her current hopes and anxieties, and that made reading her story all the more satisfying. That Time I Joined the Circus may not necessarily be particularly deep, but it does touch on a lot of important subjects, and I found the mix of humor and heart made this book a thoroughly worthwhile read.
That Time I Joined the Circus appeals to fans of Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson and The Beautiful Between by Alyssa Sheinmel.
Lexi’s always been the funny one, the girl with the great personality. Everybody loves to hang out with her because they can always count on her to maLexi’s always been the funny one, the girl with the great personality. Everybody loves to hang out with her because they can always count on her to make them laugh. And while that’s all fine and well, lately Lexi has been getting tired of being shoved into that category. She wants guys to see her as girlfriend material, not just as a friend who’s a girl. But how can she get everyone to start thinking about her differently? With a little help from her friends and some inspiration from the beauty pageant scene her seven-year-old sister Mackenzie frequents, Lexi hatches a plan: with a little makeup and some hair product, Lexi’s going to be the new beauty queen at school. But things don’t quite turn out as planned, and Lexi will have to figure out, under her new exterior, who she really wants to be.
With a fabulous title like Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality and the promise of the lighter and darker sides of beauty pageants, I knew that I would enjoy this book before I picked it up. My instincts were correct, and I blew through this story. I was expecting quite a few laughs, but I wasn’t as prepared for how heartwrenching Lexi’s story could be at times; Eulberg adds a lot of depth to what could have been a more frivolous, lighthearted look at the beauty scene by including the complexities of Lexi’s family as well as her desire to break out of her “great personality” shell. I’m not always a fan of stories that aren’t completely or mostly self contained, since I find a lack of concrete conclusion unsatisfying, but even though everything doesn’t wrap up for Lexi at the end of this book, I still left her story with a sense accomplishment—that Lexi had grown as a person and that she was on her way to living her life on her terms. So, even if she doesn’t get everything she’d hoped for at the beginning of her story, in terms of guys and her family, she’s become more comfortable with herself, as a girl who’s proud to have a great personality. And that made for a very satisfying story.
Fans of Eulberg’s earlier novels, especially The Lonely Hearts Club, will not want to miss Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality, nor will readers who also enjoyed North of Beautiful by Justina Chen and My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters by Sydney Salter.
Madeleine and her mother have run away from their old life—well, Madeleine ran away, her mother followed, and they just never went back. Now they’re lMadeleine and her mother have run away from their old life—well, Madeleine ran away, her mother followed, and they just never went back. Now they’re living in Cambridge and Madeleine’s doing her best to adjust to things and not miss everything she used to have. Meanwhile, in the town of Bonfire in the Kingdom of Cello, Elliot is in search of his father. The whole town thinks that his dad killed his brother and ran away with the Physics teacher, but Elliot is sure this can’t be what really happened and is determined to figure out the truth. As Madeleine and Elliot go about their lives, a crack—the first in centuries—opens between their worlds, and the two begin a very strange correspondence. At first, it’s the companionship and their sometimes silly exchanges that spur them to unravel their own mysteries, but soon it becomes clear that there are greater things at stake: color storms, old forgotten friends, the Butterfly child, the lives of their loved ones, and a set of perplexingly missing persons.
I have been a devoted fan of Jaclyn Moriarty ever since I read and fell in love with The Year of Secret Assignments years ago, and while I have not absolutely loved every single of her books that I’ve ever read, I am always eager to pick up her new ones. I am so pleased to say that Moriarty’s newest novel, A Corner of White, is most certainly one worth reading. Though it took me some time to truly get into the story, especially since there are so many different perspectives, I soon found myself thoroughly invested in the happenings of Madeleine’s life in the real world and Elliot’s life in Cello. Moriarty is a delightful storyteller; as in her previous books, she weaves so many charming, quirky, and sometimes strange details into A Corner of White that the reader feels transported to these rich new settings, both realistic and fantastical. I was completely along for the ride in this spectacular book, and the cliffhanger ending only makes me more eager for the next installment in The Colors of Madeleine trilogy.
Fans of Moriarty’s previous books will not want to miss her new one in A Corner of White, nor will readers who also enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and Why I Let My Hair Grow Out by Maryrose Wood.
No one expects to find any survivors in the wreckage of Freedom Airlines flight 121, so it’s a strange shock to everyone when they find her. She’s a sNo one expects to find any survivors in the wreckage of Freedom Airlines flight 121, so it’s a strange shock to everyone when they find her. She’s a sixteen-year-old girl, mysteriously uninjured from the plane crash. She doesn’t remember anything, not her name or even that she was on that flight. What’s eerier is that no one else remembers her either—the airline has no record that she was a passenger. Unfamiliar with the ways of the world and unsure of who she can really trust, Violet, so called because of the color of her eyes, is determined to piece together her forgotten past. But the more she learns, the more she realizes that maybe there was a reason she needed to forget—and that some things can never be truly forgotten.
Unremembered is a difficult novel to summarize, partly because so many crucial plot details are also spoilers but mostly because the plot is just so complex to begin with. While I normally love complex and interwoven plotlines, especially when they are done well, I have to say that I had a sort of strange relationship with the plot of Unremembered. I spent the first portion of the novel questioning the science surrounding the main character’s condition, only to find out later that I had predicted a major plot revelation. This was unfortunate, because I would have liked to have been more surprised. Ultimately, even though I felt that some of the scientifically-based explanations weren’t quite sufficiently developed, I did quite enjoy this story’s clever plot. I am pleased to say that despite a few bumps, Brody has handled the transition from her usual contemporary stories to science fiction rather well.
Unremembered is sure to appeal to readers who also enjoyed False Memory by Dan Krokos, Altered by Jennifer Rush, and Adaptation by Malinda Lo.
Rory Devereaux escapes her nearly fatal encounter with a vengeful ghost a changed girl. As she found out the hard way, Rory has become a human terminuRory Devereaux escapes her nearly fatal encounter with a vengeful ghost a changed girl. As she found out the hard way, Rory has become a human terminus, meaning that any contact between her and a ghost will destroy it. Rory isn’t too sure how she feels about her new abilities, especially since she’s no longer allowed to be in contact with her ghost-fighting friends, but she quickly puts all of this behind her once she’s allowed to go back to Wexford. But returning to school isn’t the return to normality that Rory hopes for, especially given the unexplainable deaths around the school’s neighborhood. Rory is sure that something sinister is at work here, but she’s not so sure she can tackle it herself.
After the spectacular Ripper-themed frenzy that was The Name of the Star, I was curious to see where Johnson would lead Rory’s story next. And even though The Madness Underneath is somewhat of a departure from the historically-steeped mystery of its prequel, I have to see that I am overall mostly pleased with the results. Johnson does present readers with another fascinating mystery, that of the new set of mysterious deaths, but she also shifts some of the focus of the plot to Rory’s personal problems, such as her inability to truly assimilate back into her routine at Wexford. I enjoyed being able to see that different side of Rory’s life, especially as it made her feel like a more vivid character. The only issue that I really had with this story was the pacing: while some of the plotlines wrapped up by the end of the novel, one major one actually began there instead; while this certainly makes me want to read the next book in this trilogy, it was still strange to feel like the story wasn’t even close to being over at its conclusion.
Fans of The Name of the Star will not want to miss its sequel in The Madness Underneath, nor will readers who also enjoyed Croak by Gina Damico, Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake, and Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride.
The year is 1950, and Josie Moraine is tired of living in New Orleans. She’s tired of the way people look at her because of what her mother does for aThe year is 1950, and Josie Moraine is tired of living in New Orleans. She’s tired of the way people look at her because of what her mother does for a living, and she wants more than what the Big Easy has to offer her. She has dreams of attending college in New England, but every day those dreams seem more unreachable, especially when there’s a mysterious death in the French Quarter. Josie isn’t so sure why she’s so curious, but she wants to—no, has to—know more about this dead man. But what she learns will only further unbalance her already unsteady world, challenging her allegiance to her mother and the only other people Josie can reasonably call family.
Out of the Easy is a novel that completely blew me away. I’m not sure I can even begin to express how, but I’ll definitely try. Sepetys has created such a layered, complex story in Out of the Easy, with so many complicated relationships and frightening new plot developments; in almost any other book, the sheer amount of important details and goings on would feel overwhelming, but Sepetys pulls all of this together remarkably well to the extent that all of these details and events feel completely natural. More than anything, I was impressed by how Sepetys managed to make a story that is so steeped in historical detail feel so contemporary and relevant to the modern day; Josie’s struggles, fears, and wants, though particular to her situation and the setting of her story, felt truly akin to the same emotions of any girl nowadays. It’s hard not to get swept up into the passion, intense emotions, beautiful detail, and truly gorgeous writing of this novel—Out of the Easy is so superb that it feels real.
Out of the Easy is sure to be enjoyed by fans of A Northern Light by Jennifer Connolly, Ten Cents a Dance by Christine Fletcher, and What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell, but I recommend this book to any and all readers interested in a spectacular story.
For Lexi, her beauty is everything. She’s grown up knowing that she is pretty, especially since that’s usually the first thing that people tell her. BFor Lexi, her beauty is everything. She’s grown up knowing that she is pretty, especially since that’s usually the first thing that people tell her. But all that changes the night that she flies through the windshield of her best friend’s brother’s car. Lexi knows she’s lucky to be alive, but it’s hard to keep that perspective when she looks in the mirror—facial scarring from the accident has marred her perfect face. She feels like she’s lost everything, especially when she remembers what she saw that night that made her get in the car in the first place. Friendless and ugly, the last thing that Lexi wants to do is go back to school, but in order to start to emotionally heal, she’ll have to face the world again. With the help of her not-quite band geek older sister and a new friend with his own baggage, she’ll learn that there’s a lot more to her than her beauty.
Natasha Friend consistently writes thoughtful stories with great emotional depth, and her most recent novel My Life in Black and White is no different. This book deals with a lot of complex issues, including body image, confidence and popularity, expectations, and different types of relationships, but I found that more than anything, this story was about forgiveness. While a major part of Lexi’s journey was learning to live with her altered appearance, ultimately her happiness was tied to forgiving those involved in the events preceding the car accident, especially her best friend and her boyfriend, and also forgiving herself. Lexi’s path to forgiveness is definitely a bumpy one, and more often than not, I actually found myself somewhat irritated with Lexi’s propensity for wallowing and self-pity; though I certainly understood where Lexi was coming from, my inability to truly connect with her character unfortunately made the story overall less satisfying. I still quite enjoyed My Life in Black and White, but this novel definitely isn’t my favorite of Friends’s.
Fans of Friend’s previous novels, especially For Keeps, will enjoy My Life in Black and White, as will readers who also enjoyed Not The Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian and The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle.
It’s 1925, and Jo Winters is a modern girl, but not in the same way as all those flappers. No, she wants to finish up high school, maybe go to collegeIt’s 1925, and Jo Winters is a modern girl, but not in the same way as all those flappers. No, she wants to finish up high school, maybe go to college, and get a job. But her father has different ideas for her, and she doesn’t have much of a choice when he sends her off to Manhattan to find a husband. But as soon as she arrives, Jo starts to suspect that’s there’s more to the story than her future marriage. Too many people are asking her questions, particularly about her beloved older brother Teddy—questions that she can’t or won’t answer. Teddy trusted her, and she can’t betray that, no matter how alluring a new life as one of Manhattan’s elite could be. But, whether she knows it or not, Jo has been ensnared in a grander scheme of the most powerful man in town. Forced into the glamorously dangerous world of New York’s gangsters and their molls, will Jo be able to save herself?
I am definitely a huge fan of the flapper era, particularly its danger and decadence, which is why I was drawn to Sirens. Unfortunately, there was something about this world that failed to draw me in; while I certainly got the sense of the magic of New York City in the 20s, at the same time I felt distanced from it, perhaps because Jo is somewhat resistant of some of the attitudes of the time. This is certainly a different type of 20s story, despite having its fair share of the glitz, and that maintained my interest, though only up to a certain point. The plot has a good mixture of mystery, romance, and Jo’s more personal quest to find a place in her world, but ultimately, I just wasn’t very engaged in what was happening. Part of this had to do with the awkwardly paced released of information regarding Jo’s brother Teddy and the fact that some details were just too overwritten, but more than that, Jo’s character was just not sufficiently emotionally developed to make me truly care about her story.
Though I failed to really connect with this story, Sirens will still be enjoyed by fans of Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen and The Girl Is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines.
Mary is tired of being in the backseat of her own life. And more than anything, she’s tired of being second best. That’s why she’s determined to win tMary is tired of being in the backseat of her own life. And more than anything, she’s tired of being second best. That’s why she’s determined to win the Oyster Point High Official Unofficial Senior Week Scavenger Hunt: not only is it her last chance to leave her mark at school, but there’s no way that she’s going to let bully Jake Barbone come out on top again. But as the competition heats up, Mary’s team is no longer sure that they’re cut out for all of it, especially when every little tension between the friends comes to light. Mary thought that she was prepared to win this scavenger hunt at all costs, but with feelings and futures in the balance, she’s starting to reconsider just how far she’s willing to go—and how important winning really is.
The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life is a fast-paced story of scavenger hunt madness and more: basically the type of competition I’d love to be a part of in my head but would probably hate to do in real life. That’s probably the main reason I’m drawn to stories like these, because they allow me be along for the ride without running around and strategizing myself. And for the most part, I really enjoyed riding around with Mary and her friends and watching as they checked item after item off their lists. This story isn’t just about an epic scavenger hunt adventure, though; it’s also about Mary’s changing relationships with her closest friends. While I was certainly interested in this aspect of the story, I found that unfortunately, emotions and feelings often got drowned out by the manic pace of the plot and the urgency to get as many points as possible. As a result, I never truly connected with any of the characters of this story and the ending wasn’t nearly as satisfying as it could have been, even though it ends on a hopeful note. Despite this, I still found The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life a fast and fun read.
The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life appeals to readers who also enjoyed Take a Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg and One Lonely Degree by C.K. Kelly Martin.
After spending the last three weeks in a mental hospital, Anna Bloom isn’t quite sure where she fits in the real world. At school, her friends and teaAfter spending the last three weeks in a mental hospital, Anna Bloom isn’t quite sure where she fits in the real world. At school, her friends and teachers are all dying to know what happened but won’t ask, and Anna herself is afraid to volunteer information, lest she be labeled as the crazy girl. At home, things are worse than ever between Anna’s parents, and she can’t help but wonder if it’s all because of her. And at her former mental hospital, well, who knows what’s going on since Anna can’t work up the nerve to write to her crush and maybe-boyfriend Justin. All Anna wants is for things to go back to normal, but she’s not so sure that she knows what normal is anymore. But with a little help from her friends, both old and new, Anna is starting to figure out how to be, if not normal, then totally okay.
I read Get Well Soon almost five years ago, and while I enjoyed it then, I unfortunately barely remember anything now about the story except in generalities. Luckily for me, though its sequel Have a Nice Day picks up almost immediately after Get Well Soon leaves off, Halpern weaves in just enough information about Anna’s hospital stint that old readers who haven’t refreshed their memories as well as new readers won’t be confused. I have to admit that this time around, though, it took me a little bit longer to adjust to Anna’s voice, perhaps because I’ve changed as a reader in these five years while almost no time has passed for Anna at all; as a result, some of her reactions, particularly to her parents, seemed just so petty to me. Despite this, her voice and character did grow on me, especially as she started to grow as a person, and I was ultimately thoroughly invested in Anna’s life and her attempts to figure out her new normal. In all, Have a Nice Day is a completely enjoyable and, with only a few exceptions, satisfying read.
Fans of Get Well Soon will enjoy its sequel in Have a Nice Day, as will readers who also enjoyed Purge by Sarah Darer Littman and Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford.
Cas Lowood, ghost hunter, is having a hard time keeping his head in the game. It’s been months since Anna opened a gateway to Hell, dragging herself aCas Lowood, ghost hunter, is having a hard time keeping his head in the game. It’s been months since Anna opened a gateway to Hell, dragging herself and the Obeahman away from Cas’s world for good, but he just can’t her out of his head, and frankly, it’s starting to interfere with his work. He keeps seeing Anna everywhere, in his dreams, out of the corner of his eye, and lately, while he’s hunting dangerous ghosts. But the more he sees her, the more he’s convinced that this isn’t just wishful thinking, because every time she appears, she’s being gruesomely tortured. Wherever Anna really is, Cas knows that she doesn’t deserve this terrible punishment. Anna saved him, and now it’s his turn to save her, even if it kills him.
Even though I tend to shy away from horror stories, I absolutely loved Anna Dressed in Blood, which is why I knew I had to get my hands on its sequel, Girl of Nightmares. Though a lot of what I loved about Anna Dressed in Blood, such as Cas’s voice and dark humor, carried over into its sequel, what really drew me into the story of Girl of Nightmares was how Blake took things into a completely new direction. As a result, readers get to learn a lot more about the history of the athame, the people who created it, and how they’re connected to Cas in the present day. Additionally, and more importantly, this also allowed for an entire new slew of threats and dangers to complicate the plot and make it more interesting. My only real complaint about this book was that the ending felt a little too abrupt; too much was happening at once that when things finally concluded, I still felt like I needed to be charging forward. Despite this, Girl of Nightmares is still a thrilling and mostly satisfying read.
Fans of Anna Dressed in Blood will not want to miss its awesome sequel in Girl of Nightmares, nor will readers who also enjoyed The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson and Croak by Gina Damico.
For as long as she’s remembered, Anna has led a life full of secrets: both her own and those of others. In a secret lab in the basement of their home,For as long as she’s remembered, Anna has led a life full of secrets: both her own and those of others. In a secret lab in the basement of their home, Anna’s father runs experiments on four genetically altered boys, and Anna has been sneaking in to visit them long before she was allowed to even enter the lab. But now that she’s helping her dad out there, Anna has gotten to know the boys a lot better: moody Nick, teasing Cas, thoughtful Trev, and especially enigmatic Sam. She’s come to care a lot for them, which is why she’s so upset when she learns that the Branch, the mysterious organization that her dad works for, is coming to retrieve their property. But when the Branch does show up, things go drastically wrong: people are killed and the boys escape, taking Anna with them at her father’s request. But they can’t run forever, because what they need more than safety is answers. What happened before the boys were brought to the lab? And how is Anna really connected to them?
There isn’t any one reason for why I picked up this book; sure, I’d heard a few positive things from other readers I trusted and sure, the plot sounded interesting. But I was never truly excited to read this story—until I did. Altered really does have a lot going for it, from four superhot, genetically altered boys to a strong but imperfect heroine and memory manipulation to an extra-governmental conspiracy. While I certainly found the characters complex and interesting, what really made this book impossible to put down was the incredible plot; I was enthralled with the action, the danger, and the gradual trickle of shocking secrets about the pasts of the boys and Anna. With excitement, romance, identity crises, the wonders of science, and a whole lot of suspense, Altered is a story that is sure to satisfy, if not completely wow, any eager reader.
Altered will be enjoyed by fans of False Memory by Dan Krokos and Adaptation by Malinda Lo.
Jade Moon is a Fire Horse and much too stubborn, strong-willed, and inquisitive for a girl in a Chinese family. All she wants is to be allowed to be hJade Moon is a Fire Horse and much too stubborn, strong-willed, and inquisitive for a girl in a Chinese family. All she wants is to be allowed to be herself, but as long as she remains in her small town in China, she has a duty to marry, even if it seems increasingly unlikely that anyone will want to take her. But then a young, smooth-talking man named Sterling Promise shows up with an opportunity, and soon, Jade Moon finds herself traveling with Sterling Promise and her father to America. This is the chance that Jade Moon has been waiting for, it seems, and she plans to make the most of it. But, as she finds out the hard way, America in 1923 is hardly receptive to Chinese immigrants and that Chinese women in particular are only ever brought to America for two reasons—marriage or prostitution. But Jade Moon isn’t about to give up her only chance at freedom without a fight, and if anyone can make their way in America, it’s a Fire Horse.
The Fire Horse Girl is a book with historical adventure, mystery, and romance, but more than anything, it is the coming of age story of a girl finding her way in an unfamiliar new world. Debut author Honeyman wonderfully blends the richness of the past with more modern sentiments in this story and especially with Jade Moon’s character; the country of China in the 20s is struggling between tradition and modernization, and so is Jade Moon, as she tries to honor her honor her family while also forging her own path. I was initially drawn into this story because of my sympathy for Jade Moon’s family struggles and fiery temper, but my interest soon shifted to the plot as well as things got a lot more dangerous, surprising, and exciting. Though I found the development of the some of the more minor characters less believable, overall I found the story of The Fire Horse Girl a fantastic one full of vivid cultural history, interesting and complex characters, and a thoroughly engaging plot.
The Fire Horse Girl appeals to readers who also liked The Girl Is Murder by Kathryn Miller Haines and Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury.
Seventeen-year-old Max Scott is a girl with a plan. Ever since her boyfriend dumped her and basically destroyed the world as she knew it, Max has deciSeventeen-year-old Max Scott is a girl with a plan. Ever since her boyfriend dumped her and basically destroyed the world as she knew it, Max has decided that she won’t stand for it—any of it. She is sick and tired of feeling terrible for no fault of her own, so she develops a foolproof way to get over heartbreak, speeding up a natural process that normally takes months or years to a mere few weeks. With strong and steady business from heartbroken teen girls, Max is more than ready to take her plan to the next level by getting into NYU. But then her ex shows up—and everything starts to fall apart. With her business, her future, and her friends at risk, Max is going to have to take her own advice and get over him once and for all.
Over You is a charming, funny, and sweet look at relationships, specifically their beginnings and ends. I was almost instantly won over by Max’s no nonsense voice and her determination to help other girls who’ve been dumped get over those past relationships. I especially enjoyed getting to see Max’s procedure for overcoming heartbreak, which was frankly the greatest source of my amusement and enjoyment of this book. Unfortunately, though, the third person narration and the occasional glimpses into other characters’ perspectives made it a little hard to completely get into Max’s story. While it is certainly a sweet and ultimately emotionally satisfying one, I can’t say that I was ever truly invested in its outcome. Despite that, I wholeheartedly enjoyed reading this book and appreciate its story for its charm and humor.
Over You is sure to be enjoyed by fans of The ABCs of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro, The Espressologist by Kristina Springer, and Love? Maybe. by Heather Hepler.
Blue Sargent is the only normal person in a family full of psychics, but that doesn’t mean that she leads an ordinary life. Ever since she was little,Blue Sargent is the only normal person in a family full of psychics, but that doesn’t mean that she leads an ordinary life. Ever since she was little, she’s been warned that if she kisses her true love, he will die. Blue never thought this would be a problem, having resolved that she would never fall in love, but everything changes when she meets Gansey, or, more accurately, his spirit. Gansey, a wealthy student attending Aglionby, is to die within the year. Going against all she knows, Blue finds herself getting involved with Gansey and his friends from Aglionby, people she’s always despised as Raven Boys, and their crazy quest to find something that most people don’t believe exists. Only, as it turns out, what they seek is very real—and they’re not the only ones who will do anything to find it.
I definitely enjoyed reading Shiver way back when, but hearing readers who previously didn’t much care for Stiefvater’s books rave about The Raven Boys was what really convinced me that I needed to read this book. And I have to say that was a very good decision. The Raven Boys spirits readers away to a vivid, complex world where the supernatural coexists with nature and nothing is truly as it seems. I became thoroughly invested in almost every aspect of this story, especially Blue’s journey in figuring out her relationship with the Raven Boys and the true meaning of the prophecy of the death of her true love. The only thing about this book that was in the slightest bit off-putting was the fact that its scope is just so enormous; I sometimes found it difficult to keep track of some of the subplots and smaller details that, though they may not be so significant for this book, surely will be more important in subsequent books. Despite this, I still found The Raven Boys an enthralling and epic story.
The Raven Boys will be enjoyed by readers who both liked and disliked Stiefvater’s earlier books as well as fans of City of Bones by Cassandra Clare and A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray.
Ruby remembers the first time she saw someone die—it was right in front of her in elementary school. That’s back when the disease was still new and noRuby remembers the first time she saw someone die—it was right in front of her in elementary school. That’s back when the disease was still new and no one knew how to deal with it, especially the children who didn’t die, especially the children who started exhibiting strange…abilities. When Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday, there’s something different about her, something so terrifying that she immediately gets sent to Thurmond, a government “rehabilitation” camp, meant to fix her and the other hundreds upon thousands of kids like her. But there is no cure but death for the dangerous ones, and six years later, when she finds out that’s the category into which she falls, she barely makes it out of Thurmond alive. On the run from too many enemies and desperate for answers, Ruby joins up with another group of runaways. She’s reluctant to completely trust them with her secrets, because if they knew who she was and what she was really capable of, they might not see her the same way. Torn between a life of danger but the first chance at freedom she’s ever had and her fear of hurting her new friends, especially Liam, Ruby will have to decide whether she’ll let herself be used as a weapon or if she can take control of her power for good.
I was such a huge fan of Bracken’s first YA, Brightly Woven, that I knew that I had to get my hands on her second, The Darkest Minds. And just as I hoped and expected, all the best qualities from her first transferred to her second, from her exquisite attention to detail to her superb storytelling. This was a story that completely swept me away, because whether it’s a fantasy world, as in Brightly Woven, or a dark futuristic America, like in The Darkest Minds, Bracken really knows her worldbuilding. And the backdrop for this story is a particularly harrowing one, where children are imprisoned because adults fear their mysterious powers. In the midst of all this horror is Ruby, a strong girl who doesn’t realize just how strong she is. Her character was really the main reason that I had to keep reading on, because I had to know where her choices would lead and how this would affect all the other people she had come to love. With extremely vivid characters, a suspenseful plot, a richly developed world and an incredible story, The Darkest Minds is a novel that will stay on my mind for a long time.
The Darkest Minds will be enjoyed by fans of Candor by Pam Bachorz, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, and Wither by Lauren DeStefano.
Alice and Charlie have always been close as sisters, but everything changes when their mom remarries and moves to Serenity Point. There’s something abAlice and Charlie have always been close as sisters, but everything changes when their mom remarries and moves to Serenity Point. There’s something about this exclusive little community and all its secrets and lies that threatens to tear apart the sisters’ world as they know it. Charlie’s doing her best to fit in, by making nice with queen bee Cybill and resident bad boy Jude, but her tough act is just that—an act. As hard as she’s trying, she’s not actually sure that she belongs here. Alice, on the other hand, is keeping her distance. She doesn’t want to alienate everyone, least of all her sister, but it’s hard for her to get close to anyone when she can’t trust them. And then there’s Camilla, Alice and Charlie’s would-be stepsister, except for the fact that she’s dead. As the sisters delve deeper into their family history and Camilla’s past, they start to realize that some secrets are better buried—or they’ll tear the two apart forever.
The Innocents is a juicy, fast-paced read that reminds me of the TV show Revenge in the best possible way. I have to say that I’ve always been a sucker for these kinds of books, since there’s something so enticing about the mixture of glamour, grit, and scandal, and fortunately, The Innocents both fits right into this mold and manages to stand out among the rest. Peloquin’s focus on the two sisters’ lives allows readers to see just how each is affected and reacts to Serenity Point, and despite how different Alice and Charlie are, they are both sympathetic in their own ways of handling each new situation thrown at them. This was a story that I didn’t want to put down, because of the fantastic plot and because I needed to know how Alice’s and Charlie’s experiences in Serenity Point would turn out. And while I wouldn’t say that this debut is the overall best among similar books, it’s still a strong contender and one that has left me anxious to see its continuation in its sequel, This Side of Jealousy.
The Innocents appeals to fans of She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott, the Private series by Kate Brian, and the Gossip Girl series by Cecily Von Ziegesar.
Allyson Healey has always been the good girl, which is why she’s not exactly sure why she’s ditching the rest of her tour group to see an undergroundAllyson Healey has always been the good girl, which is why she’s not exactly sure why she’s ditching the rest of her tour group to see an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England. But when she sees him again—Willem—she knows he’s the reason. There’s something about him that makes her want to stop being good, rule-following Allyson and become the wilder world traveler Lulu. So, against all her inhibitions, she goes off with him to Paris for a day that she will never forget. And it’s a truly amazing day, but when Allyson wakes up the next morning to find Willem gone, all that’s left is the memory of it, horribly and irrevocably burned into her mind. Over the next year, as Allyson struggles to come to terms with that day and her connection with Willem, she starts to realize that she is simply not living the life that she wants. She’s barely making it through college classes that she has no interest in taking, and she’s having a hard time connecting with her roommates. She’s starting to wish that she were Lulu again, but Lulu was only a dream that existed for a day, it seems, a terrible, beautiful day that ended too long ago. But in order to understand who she is, Allyson realizes that she first needs some answers, from herself and from Willem.
Now that I’ve finally read a book by Gayle Forman, I can see what all the fuss is about! Forman really knows how to tell a great story, from a plot that spans just the right amounts of glamour and ordinary, to characters that experience life and all its emotions, to issues that are both personal and universal. Just One Day swept me away from the very beginning, and not just because of the thrill of traveling through Europe; it was really Allyson’s voice that made me want to read on, with all her doubts, insecurities, despair, and hope. Her story, both her yearning for this spark between her and Willem and her rocky assimilation to college life, felt so real to me. While Allyson’s connection with Willem was certainly one of the focal points in this story, I have to say that I also really enjoyed how Forman depicted Allyson’s relationship with her parents, especially her mom; the tension surrounding an only child going away to school is not something that I often see in YA, but Forman did a very good job of weaving these complexities into Allyson’s life in a very natural way. In all, I truly loved reading Just One Day and I am extremely eager to see how the story continues in the companion to this book, Just One Year.
Just One Day will be enjoyed by fans of Don’t Stop Now by Julie Halpern and Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard.
Life as a time traveler is one of nonstop action and activity, especially for Gwen who only learned in the last week that she was the Ruby, the finalLife as a time traveler is one of nonstop action and activity, especially for Gwen who only learned in the last week that she was the Ruby, the final member of the Circle of Twelve. Gwen really doesn’t understand why apparently everyone is upset at the lack of progress she’s made learning to fit into the eighteenth century—it isn’t her fault she hasn’t been training for this for her entire life and besides, memorizing all those facts and names from way back when is kind of hard. At least she’s not completely on her own: she’s got her friend Lesley for research, the ghost James to help her learn to be a proper eighteenth century lady, and Xemerius the gargoyle demon who loves offering his opinion on everything and is willing to do all of Gwen’s dirty work (a.k.a. spying). And sometimes she also has Gideon’s help, although that’s becoming a little confusing when he’s kissing her one moment and completely ignoring her the next. But even as she strives to do her best on her next big trip to the past, to go along with the Circle’s goals, she’s starting to realize that the Circle and its prophecies aren’t as perfect and good as she’s been led to believe—and that completing the Circle might not be a worthy achievement after all.
I was thoroughly enchanted by Ruby Red that it’s no surprise that I had to read its sequel Sapphire Blue. This novel picks up almost immediately after Ruby Red leaves off, throwing readers right back into all the drama; while this was a little difficult to adjust to, especially since I read the first book over a year ago, fortunately it didn’t take long for me to become reengaged with Gwen’s story. Gier does a really good job of balancing the plot between time traveling and all the pressures and excitement associated with it and Gwen’s personal life, especially her relationship with Gideon, and I think that this had a lot of do with Gwen’s voice; she is just such an entertaining character that her story is enjoyable to read whether she is worrying about herself in the eighteenth century or freaking out about her interactions with Gideon. While I was a little disappointed that nothing truly wrapped up by the end of this book aside from Gwen’s planned trips to the eighteenth century, I am still more than eager to see how her story concludes in the final installment of this trilogy, Emerald Green.
Fans of Ruby Red will not want to miss its sequel Sapphire Blue, nor will fans of Once a Witch and Always a Witch, both by Carolyn MacCullough, and Hourglass by Myra McEntire.
Cassandra Caravello leads a charmed life as a member of one of Renaissance Venice’s elite families, but lately, she’s felt more like a bird in a cageCassandra Caravello leads a charmed life as a member of one of Renaissance Venice’s elite families, but lately, she’s felt more like a bird in a cage than a glamorous girl in the prime of her life. With one of her closest friends recently deceased after succumbing to illness and the other about to be married, Cass feels like she has no one to talk to. It seems almost a blessing when Cass stumbles upon a mystery in the cemetery near her home: the body of her friend Liviana has been replaced with that of another woman—probably a courtesan and most likely murdered. Determined to figure out what’s really going on, Cass teams up with Falco, a mysterious and attractive young artist with dubious intentions. But the deeper they delve into this mystery, the clearer it becomes that something sinister is haunting the city of Venice, and that no one is in more danger than Cass—with her life and her heart.
Venom certainly has all the trappings of a spectacular, swoon-worthy historical book, especially with the gilt charm and romance of Venice. And I have to say that I was quite swept away to another place and time with Paul’s exquisite attention to historical detail, which really brought the Renaissance to life. This gorgeous setting only enriches the other elements of the story, particularly the plot, which is quite well balanced between a murder mystery and Cass’s more personal problems, such as her struggle between her loyalty to her fiancé and her intense attraction to Falco. What I would have liked to see more of, however, was Cass herself; this might seem a little confusing, since the story is told from her point of view, but what I am specifically referring to are her emotions. I certainly got the sense that Cass was undergoing an emotional struggle, particularly in relation to Falco, but I wanted to know more of how she felt about things in her life in relation to herself, not others. Her character needed a lot more emotional development in order for me to truly care about her struggles and to make her ultimate decision regarding her fiancé and Falco meaningful, instead of rather anticlimactic. Despite this, I still found Venom an enjoyable read that wonderfully capture the glamour and grit of historical Venice.
Venom will be enjoyed by readers who also liked Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury, A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly, and Sovay by Celia Rees.
Wren Wells is in hiding. After everything that happened, after her boyfriend died in a car crash while she survived, Wren has shied away from the vestWren Wells is in hiding. After everything that happened, after her boyfriend died in a car crash while she survived, Wren has shied away from the vestiges of her old life. Her mom may still call her Mamie, but she isn’t really Mamie anymore. She’s just Wren, a quiet girl hiding out in a small town in Maine, trying to piece her life back together. When she meets Cal Owen, though, there’s something about him that forces a connection between the two. He’s also in hiding and, like Wren, has a few secrets of his own. But even as Wren begins to hope, that she might be able to have a normal relationship with someone despite her past, she continues to doubt herself—she’s afraid that if she stays with Cal, she’ll just end up hurting him, like she’s hurt everyone else. But, as she comes to realize, she can’t protect herself or Cal from everything and that to live again, she’ll have to open up her heart, to the hurt, but also to the hope.
I really wanted to read this novel before I even know what it was about, since the title is a line from Robert Frost’s poem “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” a poem I loved from the first time I read it years ago. But what really convinced me to pick this book up was hearing the author read from the first chapter—just that small snippet managed to capture the musical, lyrical, deeply emotional quality of the story, and I instantly knew that Wren’s story was one that I needed to know and understand. Though it took me a little while to truly get into the story, McNamara’s beautiful writing slowly drew me in until I was inextricably invested in Wren’s journey, in the tragedy from which she was running, her desperation for solitude, her struggles with grief and depression, and her simple gratitude for the kindest human connections. McNamara really captures the intense emotions of both Wren and Cal so well that it would be impossible not to feel for these two as people, not characters. The very internal nature of this story makes it certainly a quieter sort of tale, but it is one with a big emotional impact—and one that will stay with me for a long time.
Lovely, Dark and Deep is a beautiful story for fans of character-driven contemporary stories like Saving June and Speechless, both by Hannah Harrington, and Welcome, Caller, This Is Chloe by Shelley Coriell.
All across North America, birds are plummeting from the sky, a perplexing and dangerous phenomenon that’s causing planes to crash. For safety, the UniAll across North America, birds are plummeting from the sky, a perplexing and dangerous phenomenon that’s causing planes to crash. For safety, the United States government has delayed all flights for the near future until they can complete a thorough investigation—leaving Reese and her debate partner David stranded in Arizona. They don’t really know what’s going on, but they’re desperate to get home to San Francisco any way they can. But things go wrong, and they’re in a terrible car accident. When they finally wake up, they’re in a strange medical facility and neither can remember anything that happened in the last twenty seven days. All that they know is that they’ve been miraculously healed—and that they’re not allowed to tell anyone what’s happened to them. When they return home, everything is different. The city enforces a strict curfew, dead birds are treated as biohazardous waste, rumors of government conspiracies are circling, and Reese seems to be developing some strange and disturbing abilities. What really happened to Reese and David during those twenty seven days? And how is it connected to the government cover up of the birds?
I’ve been very into science fiction of late, mostly because there are just so many possibilities in this genre, so I was very excited to see where Lo would take the idea of birds falling from the sky. I was initially so intrigued by this premise and rather anxious to figure out what was really going on in this near-future. However, I found that Lo did not sufficiently develop this concept for my tastes; as more details pertaining to the conspiracy were revealed, I had more questions than I received answers. And unfortunately, there was a point at which I could no longer suspend my disbelief, and I found it hard to buy into the overarching explanation that Lo gives. This was rather frustrating to me because I quite enjoyed the rest of the story, particularly the way in which Lo develops Reese’s relationships with those around her. In the end, I still found Adaptation an interesting read, but I was disappointed by what I felt to be inadequate worldbuilding.
Adaptation will still be enjoyed by fans of Skinned by Robin Wasserman, Tankborn by Karen Sandler, and The Lab by Jack Heath.
Aside from sharing the same full name, Sloane and Maggie couldn’t be more different. Sloane is the good girl, a dedicated student and loving daughter;Aside from sharing the same full name, Sloane and Maggie couldn’t be more different. Sloane is the good girl, a dedicated student and loving daughter; for the most part, she’s content with the life she has, though sometimes she wishes it were a little more exciting. Maggie, on the other hand, is living the high life as an up-and-coming actress in New York City, though she rarely admits that it sometimes gets lonely amidst all the glitz and glamour. But even though these girls’ lives seem to be the complete opposite, they’re actually not—because every night, each dreams that she’s the other. At first, it’s a delicious little secret, a sweet escape from their own lives once they close their eyes, but soon, things start to get messy. As people from their dream worlds start to bleed into their waking states, neither Sloane nor Maggie is sure anymore what’s real and what’s imaginary.
For me, Lucid was a book that held so much promise. I was captivated by the idea of two different people who dreamed each other’s lives, only to find out that only one of them might be real. And for a while, I was quite enchanted by this; I enjoyed watching how Sloane would react to what went on in Maggie’s life and vice versa. After a while, though, I started to get bored because unfortunately, I just couldn’t quite connect with either Maggie or Sloane and the pacing was lagging too much to maintain my interest, though I briefly became more interested in the plot again as it began to pick up, once the dream and waking worlds started to blend together. Ultimately, though, I was rather dissatisfied. The ending was too ambiguous and open ended that it felt like none of the questions of identity that were posed in this story were answered. Unfortunately, while I loved the concept for this book, in the end, I felt that it failed to fully deliver.
Lucid will still be enjoyed by fans of Dream Girl by Lauren Mechling, And Then Everything Unraveled by Jennifer Sturman, and Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson.
For most of her life, it’s just been Ricki and her mom, and that’s the way Ricki likes it. But when her mom takes off for an extended vacation, RickiFor most of her life, it’s just been Ricki and her mom, and that’s the way Ricki likes it. But when her mom takes off for an extended vacation, Ricki finds herself living with her father for the first time. As a bounty hunter, he’s always spent more time chasing down criminals evading parole than with her, and Ricki isn’t really too thrilled that he’s now back in her life. Why should she have to do homework while he goes after skips? She’d much rather be taking notes on this real life action, however unglamorous. Things get more complicated when Ricki’s dad starts chasing Ian Burnham. Ian’s not much older than Ricki, and there’s something about him that draws her to him and she’s starting to realize that things aren’t quite as black and white as they seem. Ian’s not just a criminal, her father isn’t just the absentee parent from her childhood, and Ricki’s not just along for the ride. For the first time, she’s going to take charge of her life, even if she doesn’t realize how much trouble she’ll cause.
When I first heard about Chasing the Skip, I thought the book would be about Ricki’s relationship with the young skip her dad is chasing, but while this does feature into the plot, I found that there’s really much more to the story. For me, Ricki’s story was about her relationship with her parents, and while that made the story less exciting in terms of action, it was still a good story nonetheless. I loved being able to read about Ricki’s past and especially how she reevaluates everything that’s happened to her once she understands more about who her mother and father are as people. Unfortunately, though, I found that I could never completely connect to Ricki’s story, in spite of how interesting it was, because she felt too emotionally distant at times, and this made the story have less impact overall. Despite this, Chasing the Skip is definitely a sweet and enjoyable read, though not necessarily in the way most readers would expect.
Chasing the Skip appeals to readers who also enjoyed All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin or are in any way intrigued by bounty hunting.
Jack and Conner thought they had it all figured out. They thought they could fix everything, their addiction to coming to Marbury. But they’re wrong,Jack and Conner thought they had it all figured out. They thought they could fix everything, their addiction to coming to Marbury. But they’re wrong, and everything goes wrong. He and his friends Conner, Ben, and Griffin end up scattered across Marbury, in different places and different times, with no way of finding each other but pure dumb luck. Jack is trying to find his way home, but he keeps getting stuck in Marbury, and Marbury that isn’t really Marbury but is, and a place that looks suspiciously like his home in Glenbrook but can’t be. And what’s worse is that Marbury and all the versions of Marbury and every other world that Jack stumbles into are falling apart. Jack thought he was fixing everything, but he might have just destroyed it all instead.
There are probably many words to describe my feelings and emotional state after finishing reading Passenger, but I’m sure that if you had asked me in that precise moment in time, all that would have come out of my mouth would have been a soundless, meaningless garble. That is what reading Passenger does to you. It takes all your expectations, horrors, and confusion from reading its prequel, The Marbury Lens, muddles them around some more, and presents you with yet another reading experience that, well, just blows your mind. There’s really no way else to describe it. Smith has just created such an incredibly complex and layered story here and with characters so achingly real that readers will be sucked into the horrifically fascinating world of Marbury along with Jack. This is definitely not your typical story about alternate worlds, horror, danger of apocalyptic proportions, or any of that—and that’s why it’s also one that everyone should experience for themselves.
Fans of The Marbury Lens will not want to miss its crazy yet wonderful sequel in Passenger, nor will readers who also enjoyed Darkside by Tom Becker and Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves.
Ever since her parents died, Noa has been a victim of the system, shuffled in and out of foster care. Now sixteen, she’s finally found a way to beat tEver since her parents died, Noa has been a victim of the system, shuffled in and out of foster care. Now sixteen, she’s finally found a way to beat the system by using her hacker skills to create herself a quiet and comfortable life. But whatever sense of calm Noa had built up for herself shatters when she wakes up on an operating table in a warehouse and no memory of how she could have gotten there. On the run from an enemy she doesn’t even know, Noa crosses paths with Peter, a fellow hacker. He needs her help digging up info on a mysterious corporation that seems to be after him, and, though she doesn’t realize it at first, she needs his help too. It turns out that both have unwittingly become embroiled in a terrible plot involving disappearing kids and controversial human experimentation—and their enemies will stop at nothing to keep their deadly secrets from being exposed.
When I picked up Don’t Turn Around, I was hoping for a lot of great action, and thankfully, that’s what I got. The plot of this book is absolutely packed full of serious threats, desperate chases, fights, escapes, and close calls, which makes reading all of it certainly a thrilling experience. Noa’s and Peter’s hacking efforts added another layer of excitement to this story, and I found that the mystery and investigation aspect of the plot was quite smart and well structured as well. So overall, the action-packed plot most definitely lived up to my expectations. However, I did find myself distracted at times while reading because some of the exposition and descriptions were awkwardly integrated into the story; while I did enjoy learning these little details about various characters, more often than not they weren’t necessary to the plot and caused the pacing in these instances to lag a bit. Despite this, I was thoroughly entertained by Don’t Turn Around and look forward to seeing where Noa’s and Peter’s paths will take them next.
Don’t Turn Around will be enjoyed by readers who also liked The Lab by Jack Heath, A Girl Named Digit by Annabel Monaghan, Cold Fury by T.M. Goeglein, and Tunnel Vision by Susan Shaw.
Darcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before she was five, when she was abandoned outside a firehouse in Chicago. She’s never really belonged anywhereDarcy Jones doesn’t remember anything before she was five, when she was abandoned outside a firehouse in Chicago. She’s never really belonged anywhere, but for now, she’s at least content to start the school year with friends. But then Conn shows up, and there’s something about him that makes her feel and want things she never allowed herself to feel and want before—until she finds out that Conn isn’t who she thinks he is. He’s not even from this world—and it turns out that neither is she. As Darcy navigates a new world where the Great Chicago Fire never happened and she is hated on impulse for who she is, a Shade, she struggles to piece together a past she now desperately needs to know. Confronted with the darkness of the past and the danger of her present, Darcy knows that for once she can’t just run away—she has to face her demons if she wants to save herself and those she’s come to care for.
The Shadow Society is a skillfully written and stunning story of betrayal, secrets, and love. I found it impossible to put this book down for so many reasons, but most of all, it was because I became so deeply invested in these characters’ lives. Initially, I found it harder to connect with Darcy’s character because of the somewhat stylized nature of Rutkoski’s writing, but I later found that this is actually what really swept me into Darcy’s story. I needed to find out who Darcy really was, how she would overcome all the obstacles thrown her way, and especially what her relationship with Conn would turn out to be. These vividly real characters combined with an eerily enchanting backdrop of an alternate Chicago and Rutkoski’s beautiful storytelling make The Shadow Society such a gorgeous and worthwhile read—and one that will stay on your mind for a long time.
The Shadow Society appeals to fans of Divergent by Veronica Roth, Unraveling by Liz Norris, and Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood.
Things were going great for Elvie Nara. She got along with her dad, she had a fantastic best friend, and she had her future all planned out. She neverThings were going great for Elvie Nara. She got along with her dad, she had a fantastic best friend, and she had her future all planned out. She never expected to get involved with the gorgeous but totally dumb Cole Archer—and she most certainly never expected to get pregnant. But that’s what happened, and that’s why Elvie finds herself in outer space (okay, low Earth orbit) at the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers. Dealing with her arch-nemesis and fellow baby mama Britta is bad enough, but things are about to go from bad to worse once the ship is invaded by a bunch of seriously hot commandos—including, to Elvie’s great surprise, her baby daddy Cole. Now, with a limited supply of oxygen due to a hull breach, a slow descent into Earth’s gravity, and some evil aliens on the way—because, oh yeah, all the teachers at Hanover were evil aliens and they’ve called for backup—things really aren’t looking so good. But Elvie’s got a ray gun and a plan, and she’s determined to kick some serious alien butt and make it back to Earth in one piece.
I’ve never been too big a fan of aliens when it comes to science fiction, but the hilarity and awesomeness of Mothership may have just changed my mind. Leicht and Neal have done a fantastic job of combining the more ordinary (though not by much) drama of Elvie’s pregnancy with the added excitement of futuristic technology and literally alien species, ensuring a thoroughly engaging plot. For me, though, what makes Mothership truly great is Elvie’s distinctive voice. She’s undeniably smart and applies sarcasm to any topic without discrimination, but underneath it all, she’s really just a teenage girl, and a pregnant one at that. Seeing this story through Elvie’s eyes makes it even more entertaining, and her running commentary is priceless. This is a story full of giggles, action, danger, and also a lot of depth, and its cliffhanger ending just makes me more impatient for the next installment in this out-of-this-world (sorry, I couldn’t help it!) trilogy.
Readers who liked Across the Universe by Beth Revis and Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder and really anyone in need of a good laugh will not want to miss Mothership.
It’s not easy being a teen Grim Reaper, and it’s especially harder for Lex—not only does she have the strange and feared ability to Damn souls, but shIt’s not easy being a teen Grim Reaper, and it’s especially harder for Lex—not only does she have the strange and feared ability to Damn souls, but she also inadvertently transferred that power to Zara, a Grim turned psychopathic, murdering outlaw. Now it seems that everyone in Lex’s new home of Croak can’t stand the sight of her. But there’s no time for Lex to wallow, because Zara is on a killing spree, Damning criminals and innocents alike with no intention of stopping—unless Lex agrees to cooperate with her. The last thing Lex wants is to help Zara, but after control of Croak shifts to a couple of hotheads and Zara’s threats keep getting closer to home, it looks like Lex doesn’t have very many alternatives. But if there’s one thing Lex knows, it’s that she’s going to give Zara exactly what she deserves—and that no matter what happens, Lex’s not going down without a fight.
Croak was a bundle of thrilling, raucous fun, and I am happy to say that its sequel Scorch carries on much in this spirit. From the opening pages on, I was enthralled with the dynamics of life in Croak, Lex’s characteristic sharp wit, and anticipation of all the drama and excitement yet to come. Damico really does a fantastic job with the plot here; it’s well structured and full of suspense and surprises—enough to keep any reader thoroughly engaged from start to finish. To top that off, Damico reveals a lot of juicy details about Lex’s abilities and the more sinister side to Grim history, which I absolutely loved, even if I didn’t always enjoy how some of these details snuck up on me. In all, I was completely entertained by Scorch and will be hanging in suspense until I can read what comes next in Lex’s story.
Fans of Croak will not want to miss its awesome sequel in Scorch, nor will readers who also enjoyed Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride and Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake.
Farrah Higgins isn’t just good with numbers—in fact, her math skills are off the charts. No wonder she’s been nicknamed Digit and is going to MIT in tFarrah Higgins isn’t just good with numbers—in fact, her math skills are off the charts. No wonder she’s been nicknamed Digit and is going to MIT in the fall. But as much as Farrah takes pride in her math genius, sometimes she’d just rather be Farrah, the ordinary high school senior. When she transfers to a new high school, she finally has that chance—that is, until she inadvertently cracks the communication code for a terrorist group. Now Farrah is faking her own kidnapping with the help of the FBI and hiding out until they can crack the case. Farrah misses her friends and family, and especially her private bathroom, but she has to admit that having a young and very attractive FBI agent as her only companion isn’t too bad. But when things take a turn for the more dangerous, Farrah realizes that she needs to get serious, because she might be the only one who can figure out the terrorists’ next target before it’s too late.
A Girl Named Digit is a fun and enjoyable book with a perfect blend of action and romance. Though I found the plot immensely enjoyable, especially with all of the awkward the exciting situations in which Farrah finds herself, I have to say that I think I liked Farrah’s character even more. She really has such a unique voice because of the interesting way her mind works, and all her hopes, doubts, and insecurities just made me even more invested in her character and story. Even when I couldn’t exactly follow her mathematical patterns, I absolutely loved reading from Farrah’s perspective. With a story that satisfyingly delivers both in terms of mystery and romance, A Girl Named Digit is the easy choice for a quick, fun read.
A Girl Named Digit will be enjoyed by fans of the Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter and Model Spy by Shannon Greenland.