In this futuristic middle-grade dystopian, Nere learns that she’s one of a group of children who have been genetically engineered to live in the ocean...moreIn this futuristic middle-grade dystopian, Nere learns that she’s one of a group of children who have been genetically engineered to live in the ocean, and she and her two friends must swim up the Western Coast to meet up with her dad in his new underwater colony. This book is incredibly fast-paced without sacrificing character. I felt super sympathetic toward Nere, who’s forced to give up the life she’s known on land for a dangerous one beneath the sea, dodging Marine Guard divers and sharks alike. She’s believably hesitant to lead the group but steps up anyway – and promptly makes some mistakes. I’ve never read an underwater adventure story before, and that setting is a big part of what sets this book apart for me. Nere is a telepath – which is totally fascinating – but she can communicate not only with other humans but with her dolphin friends! The dynamics of the dolphin pod and the other underwater creatures is so cool. There’s a slight, innocent love triangle in which I’m rooting for the group’s winsome medic, but Nere’s entire group is interesting; the minor characters each shine with their own talents and personalities. The author doesn’t pull her punches where the danger is concerned, either; there are a few casualties along the way. I’m really hoping there will be a sequel, because I’d love to read more! Highly recommend! (read via NetGalley; bought)(less)
THE HEIRESSES combines several of my favorite elements – squabbling sisters (in this case triplets!) and a mysterious inheritance and a fabulous histo...moreTHE HEIRESSES combines several of my favorite elements – squabbling sisters (in this case triplets!) and a mysterious inheritance and a fabulous historical setting. Rushby paints a fascinating portrait of high-society London during the Roaring Twenties, as the girls come of age in a new world of lipstick and bobbed hair and motorcars…and costume parties, drug addiction, and sex. It’s an immensely fun, frothy read; I was desperate to find out the mysteries behind the girls’ birth, and even though I pieced together part of it, there were still twists and turns that surprised me. I loved how wildly different the three sisters are – clever schoolgirl Ro, cruel flapper Thalia, and sheltered misfit Clio – and how they’re alternately deeply loyal and at each others’ throats. And their aunt, Lady Hestia, is a wonderful, fierce character in her own right. Recommend – especially if you like DOWNTON ABBEY or GATSBY! (less)
I love the hook of a girl in the Witness Protection Program! It reminds me of a childhood favorite, Lois Duncan’s DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU. Meg is a trem...moreI love the hook of a girl in the Witness Protection Program! It reminds me of a childhood favorite, Lois Duncan’s DON’T LOOK BEHIND YOU. Meg is a tremendously sympathetic main character. Her dad is keeping secrets about why they’ve got to endure this, her spunky little sister is going silent and childlike, and her mom’s drinking is getting out of control. After being abruptly yanked out of her original life and several placements, leaving friends and identities behind in each place, it’s totally understandable that she’s decided not to even try in Louisiana. Of course, that’s before she meets Ethan, who really is adorable. Her attempts to push him away are, again, understandable, but I appreciate that instead of being endlessly patient, he gets frustrated with her and demands the truth. I love the charming small-town setting and the rich family dynamics – but what really kept me flipping pages is the mystery of what got Meg’s family into this situation and the very real sense of danger following her. The neat ending struck me as a tad implausible, but it’s possible that the sequel will make it all make sense. I’ll definitely be reading it! Recommend!(less)
Since her parents’ divorce, Cricket’s mom has gotten depressed and her dad’s gotten remarried. As a way to deal, Cricket's become super-close with her...moreSince her parents’ divorce, Cricket’s mom has gotten depressed and her dad’s gotten remarried. As a way to deal, Cricket's become super-close with her best friend Jules' family, and she's excited to spend the summer with them on Nantucket. But after Jules’ mom dies, Jules unceremoniously un-invites her. Following both Jules and the boy she's been crushing on, Cricket decides to go anyway and ends up with a job as a chambermaid at a quirky inn. She struggles with her broken friendship with Jules even as she falls in love for the first time, with someone totally unexpected...This is a perfect sweet, summery romance! Cricket is a totally take-charge kind of girl who makes things happen for herself and has the strength to apologize when she makes mistakes. (And I always love it when authors allow their characters to make mistakes!) She finds notes her mom wrote when she was Cricket's age about the romance she had during the summer she spent on Nantucket - and immediately starts matchmaking. Cricket’s determination to fix her friendship with Jules (who, in her grief, is a total bitch to Cricket); her interesting family dynamics; her arc of growing self-confidence; her secret romance; and her internship with a local writer all combine to make this compulsively readable and more than “just” a summer romance – but frankly, the romance is adorable, and Nantucket is a gorgeous setting, and this would make a fabulous beach read. Highly recommend! (read via NetGalley; bought)(less)
Brilliant. I stayed up all night reading this in one giant gulp. I had to know what happened to Cady. A clever, twisty story with lovely language &...moreBrilliant. I stayed up all night reading this in one giant gulp. I had to know what happened to Cady. A clever, twisty story with lovely language & an unforgettable family at its heart. E Lockhart remains one of my favorite, must-buy authors!(less)
After Maggie’s parents and brother are killed in a fire, she finds work at a scandalous saloon – but she’s soon whisked away by a rich relic baron. Ca...moreAfter Maggie’s parents and brother are killed in a fire, she finds work at a scandalous saloon – but she’s soon whisked away by a rich relic baron. Can she trust him? And who's responsible for setting fires like the ones that killed her family? Honestly, I’d been dying to read RELIC since I read the deal announcement, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s peopled with Old West prototypes – spunky orphan girl, handsome cowboy, whore with a heart of gold, cruel brothel owner – who come alive on the page. What really stood out for me was the amazing, imaginative worldbuilding – an Old West in which people mine not for gold but for relics imbued with ancient magic – bits of siren and vampire and dragon bone. Some relics are innocent enough (a water-based relic could help farmers get through a drought) while others are dark and twisted, but they all give their users power – and Maggie finds she can wield them better than most. Completely fascinating premise, no? There's a creepy scene in the caverns with ghost coyotes that I loved, and another where Maggie falls under the spell of a dangerous relic, and the one where she meets her cowboy while swimming in a creek and is scandalized and...well, I could go on. I loved this book so much I blurbed it: RELIC is like nothing else I've read - a historical fantasy teeming with ghost coyotes, duplicitous Haciendos, sexy cowboys, and dangerous relic magic. I loved spending time in Collins' magnificent reimagining of the Old West! (read in ms; will buy for sure; obviously recommend)(less)
I sobbed my face off AND swooned, which is basically just how I like my books. I loved the worldbuilding both in the Republic and outside i...moreAMAZEBALLS.
I sobbed my face off AND swooned, which is basically just how I like my books. I loved the worldbuilding both in the Republic and outside it (we get to visit Antarctica!). As always, I'm impressed by how clear and distinct June and Day's voices are - and that the racing plot, while a total page-turner, never overwhelms the characters. I was deeply invested throughout in the bittersweet decisions they were all forced to make. The ending isn't easy but it feels note-perfect.