Roz has a condition called macular degeneration. There are spots in her vision and she has to mainly use her peripheral vision, as well as her memory,Roz has a condition called macular degeneration. There are spots in her vision and she has to mainly use her peripheral vision, as well as her memory, to see her surroundings. When Roz awakens after a party she can’t fully remember, she finds out that one of her classmates, Tricia, has disappeared and is later found dead. People are telling her different accounts of what happened that night. Roz trusts the wrong people and gets involved in a crime in her pursuit of the truth.
The characters in this novel are schemers and liars. There’s Dellian, an unkind teacher who picks on Roz. Jonathan is a popular boy who’s charming, but the charm wears off since he’s unsavory. Tricia was an addict with a mottled past. While I read this I would predict who the murderer was, question myself, and then be proven wrong.
I thought the middle sagged a bit, especially when it hit the teen drama part related to Roz’s love life—she’s with Jonathan, then her friend Greg, and then she’s upset at girls who may have taken an interest in them. Despite this, I enjoyed the novel. It’s a suspenseful mystery and I enjoyed how everything unfolded. I don’t come across too many YA mysteries, so I was delighted when I found this. I received the galley from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. ...more
Mia is possessed by a demon and an exorcism is performed on her. Relatives from Italy come to her aid and are going to take her to Milan so that sh3.5
Mia is possessed by a demon and an exorcism is performed on her. Relatives from Italy come to her aid and are going to take her to Milan so that she can be protected. That’s where she’ll live, study the language and history of their country, and train to fight demons.
The demonic sequences, where Mia is possessed, spots the demon targeting her, and deals with other people’s states of possession are creepy. This book has a rich atmosphere, where the setting of Milan is a character. And even though the book obviously takes place in the present with internet and video chats, there’s a timeless quality about the writing with its intense description of setting and history. Sometimes I felt like I was reading a gothic classic.
The beginning was excellent, but after that several areas lacked suspense. There is a sequel in the works, or so I read, so perhaps many of the descriptive passages and spots scant on explanation are springboards for book 2. Despite any flaws, I enjoyed the novel and would like to read more about Mia and her demon-catching world. I received the galley from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher....more
Kenny was a bully. He pressed “send” on an embarrassing picture of one of his classmates, which humiliated and hurt his victim. The classmate committeKenny was a bully. He pressed “send” on an embarrassing picture of one of his classmates, which humiliated and hurt his victim. The classmate committed suicide and Kenny was sent to juvie, where boys who were there for bigger offenses tortured him. On his release, Kenny’s family was harassed by the victim’s father as well as townspeople. They moved and changed their names.
He now goes by the name Daniel. Every day Daniel is haunted by what he did as Kenny. In fact, Kenny still lives inside his head; his thirteen-year-old self talks to Daniel, mainly taunting him. In his new school Daniel witnesses a boy named Brandon get bullied, and he intervenes. He’s now a protector, rather than the bully. He befriends Brandon—who’s angry and tense about the bullying he’s experienced—but it’s harder to get close to Julie, a girl he likes who is hot then cold towards him. It’s not easy making friends when Daniel has so much to conceal.
SEND is a thought-provoking book about bullying, vengeance, guilt, and forgiveness. There’s also a twist at the end that shocked me, even though there were clues leading up to it. Kenny/Daniel is a damaged character—yes, he did something horrendous when he was young when he had been unaware of the possible consequences, and not a day goes by that he doesn’t feel torn about what happened. I received the galley from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. ...more
There’s something strange about the new boy, Bennett. Not only is his hair a bit unusual, but something else startles Anna. She had seen him not too lThere’s something strange about the new boy, Bennett. Not only is his hair a bit unusual, but something else startles Anna. She had seen him not too long ago, early in the morning when it was still dark. He had been staring at her before vanishing into thin air.
Other odd things occur until Bennett reveals his secret to Anna. He travels through time and he’s from the year 2012. The novel takes place in 1995, a time Bennett can travel through since that’s when he was born—he’s unable to travel prior to the time of his birth. He’s on a mission, because he lost a loved one he was traveling with. He has a new problem to deal with because he falls in love with Anna when they’re a generation apart and he doesn’t mean to stay in 1995.
This is a lovely YA time-traveling story with romance and elements of science fiction. Anna is a wonderful character and Bennett is fascinating, especially since he breaks “the rules” of time travel as he follows his heart and convictions. I received the galley from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. ...more
Stella Chavez leads a clean life with good friends, soccer practices, excellent grades, and college dreams. When new girl Ruby comes into her life sheStella Chavez leads a clean life with good friends, soccer practices, excellent grades, and college dreams. When new girl Ruby comes into her life she’s torn. Ruby is a “bad girl” who’s into drugs, partying, and older men. By befriending her, Stella pushes away her friends and makes enemies. Stella is wondering if her old friends were true to her or if Ruby is sending her down the wrong path. She also tries to squash Ruby’s self-destructive streak, but that might mean losing her friendship, which at times she values and at other times she dreads.
It was very interesting to see these two different young ladies become friends. I thought their relationship in the beginning was a bit rushed, even though instant friendships do happen in real life. I liked how Ruby was more than just the bad girl and a character who had her own deep dimensions; she was also a vehicle of self-discovery and strength-building for Stella. This was a well-written, relatable novel about friendship, racial identity, romantic pitfalls, and substance abuse. I received the galley from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. ...more
David, once a popular football player, is still grieving the loss of his mother. He’s lost friends and his girlfriend as a result of his plummeting soDavid, once a popular football player, is still grieving the loss of his mother. He’s lost friends and his girlfriend as a result of his plummeting social status. He’s a doting brother, taking care of his brother, Will, who experiences seizures. Both boys are about to go back to school. On their first day there’s an explosion. Hair falls out, people are vomiting up organs, illness spreads rapidly, and soldiers barrage the school shooting at people. The soldiers retreat. If they come too near, they fall ill with symptoms hitting them right away. All the adults, faculty and staff, have died and only students remain.
The area has been quarantined, with a canopy over the entire school. There are food drops. When soldiers visit, they’re heavily armed, wary of the young people carrying the mystery disease. The young people's hair has grown back white, minus pigmentation. Soldiers set up a booth where students can press their thumbs on a pad and a door opens to a chamber that leads to the real world. Only older students are allowed to leave, their bodies no longer able to spread the disease. Meanwhile, everyone else is stuck.
Most students end up joining a gang. There are the Freaks, Geeks, Pretty Ones, Nerds, Varsity, Skaters, Sluts, and Scraps (I think I got them all). Because David lost his popularity and even hit one of his former friends, Sam from Varsity, before school started he’s a Scrap. Scraps leave their hair white, while everyone else colors their hair red, black, yellow, blue, or multi-colored with soot, gelatin powder, and whatever else is at hand based on the color of their gang. The gangs are violent, fighting over food and power. The scariest and most powerful gang is Varsity. Sam is the leader and he’s set on making David suffer not just for punching him before, but for challenging Varsity when David prevents one of their thugs from raping an exiled Pretty One. David can hide forever after what he did or become stronger and battle Varsity. What happens between these gangs is very interesting.
This book reminds me of Michael Grant’s GONE and William Golding’s LORD OF THE FLIES, with its own unique spin on the young-only, adult-free world where bad things happen. The setting is bleak, but people’s interactions with each other and their fight for survival are fascinating. There are some gruesome, gritty scenes that made me wince. Nevertheless, QUARANTINE: THE LONERS is a suspenseful, satisfying read that I recommend for people who enjoy apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels. Although many issues were resolved, there was an open ending that filled me with questions—this is book one of a trilogy. I received the galley from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher. ...more
Valerie is a typical teenager with a best friend, a boy she has a crush on, and a desire to party. One night, while her mom is out of town, her littleValerie is a typical teenager with a best friend, a boy she has a crush on, and a desire to party. One night, while her mom is out of town, her little sister is in bed knocked out from cold medicine, alcohol is around, and classmates are over for a party. Her crush, Adam, is there. They take interest in each other, but she ends up vomiting and passing out.
The next morning Adam returns to her house to finish what she started, or so he thinks. He rapes Valerie while her sister is outside playing in the snow. Her mother contacts the authorities and Valerie has to go to the doctor for a rape kit. It’s bad enough that all this happened, but the aftermath is also harrowing. People call Valerie names, judge her, and ditch her as a friend. They take Adam’s side. Valerie is a loose girl trying to ruin his life and reputation.
This is a short novel, but I felt everything page to page. I was angry at Adam and the classmates who harassed Valerie. I wanted Valerie to do well in group therapy sessions and overcome all the horrible things that rained down on her. Valerie is a brave character who told the truth and wouldn't back down, even during moments of diffidence and confusion. This novel and its characters are realistic; the writing and topic are gripping. I received the galley via NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher....more
This middle grade novel takes place in the South in the 60's. It follows Glory Hemphill as she encounters new people and situations that have her quesThis middle grade novel takes place in the South in the 60's. It follows Glory Hemphill as she encounters new people and situations that have her questioning what's wrong with segregation. In her quest to do the right thing, there's opposition, even from people whom she thought were her friends. This is both a delightful and deep historical novel that has a strong main character who fights injustice. ...more
Travis returns home from Afghanistan haunted by his time as a marine. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and sees visions of his friend, CTravis returns home from Afghanistan haunted by his time as a marine. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and sees visions of his friend, Charlie, who was killed in battle. Back in Florida, Travis grapples not just with his memories of war and Charlie, but with an ex-girlfriend who hooked up with his brother while he was gone, a girl he likes who’s still hurt by something he did in the past, and a mother who won’t stand up to his jerk father. So many things went awry during and after his absence, but by the end of the story there’s hope for him. Travis and the other characters are imperfect and real, and the author did a great job making them come to life so that readers could empathize with them. SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL is a fantastic debut and contemporary read....more
Sonia Nadhamuni’s life is going well until her father loses his job and she’s pulled out of the private school she adores. Now in a public school, sheSonia Nadhamuni’s life is going well until her father loses his job and she’s pulled out of the private school she adores. Now in a public school, she feels out of place. Her classmates make her uncomfortable with their questions geared towards her name and looks. With an Indian father and Jewish mother, the kids focus is on who she is, what she is, and what religion she practices. Sonia tries to fit in with new friends and cheerleading tryouts, but this doesn’t mean she’s being true to herself. Meanwhile, at home, things are getting worse with her parents. Her mother, who works longer hours because of the father’s job loss, doesn’t like all the changes in Sonia’s social life and her unemployed father is going through emotional changes that will rock the family. I enjoyed all the elements of family, friendship, and diversity in this middle grade novel. ...more
Sara waits for her mom to pull up in a parking lot near school, eager and hopeful for a new life away from her abusive father. Both of them had packedSara waits for her mom to pull up in a parking lot near school, eager and hopeful for a new life away from her abusive father. Both of them had packed their bags. The mom supposedly covered all bases to ensure that the father won’t find them when they flee. Sara is filled with dread when, after a long wait, her mom doesn’t show up at all.
People sense something is wrong with Sara, but she won’t reveal what. She can’t tell things to her friend, Zach, because her father might punch the truth out of him. A boy at school, Alex, sends her heart aflutter with his sweet, supportive demeanor, but she doesn’t want to get too close to him since she anticipates leaving town. She believes her mom will come back for her. When she notices things awry around the house and finds possible clues of her mom’s whereabouts, her panic increases. Where is her mother? Is she still alive?
The terror conveyed by the father and his actions, and Sara’s thought processes while she evades his lunacy and searches for her mother, were horrifying. Sara evokes much sympathy, and I couldn’t wait to see how she went about saving herself and her mother. WHAT SHE LEFT BEHIND is an amazing debut. I’d love to read more from this author. ...more
“Butter” received his nickname after eating a stick of butter. Lonely, morbidily obese, and bullied, he gains popularity when he opens a website annou“Butter” received his nickname after eating a stick of butter. Lonely, morbidily obese, and bullied, he gains popularity when he opens a website announcing that he’ll eat himself to death on New Year’s day…live on his webcam. People are now buddying up to him and placing bets on his activities.
Some people think he’ll do it, while others think he’s bluffing. There is some light in Butter’s life, but everything is overshadowed by the loathing he feels from others and the self-loathing simmering inside of him. He’s gifted in playing the saxophone. He has a kind music teacher. He has an online girlfriend who likes him, but he’s never sent a picture and he doesn't want to reveal himself to her. These moments of delight are not enough, though. The deadline looms and he creates a menu for his final day.
There is hope for the character despite all the darkness he encounters. It’s a gut-wrenching book in that the main character goes through horrendous situations that lead him to create a password-protected site where the classmates who taunted him can watch his physical demise. BUTTER is a powerful book, both character- and issue-driven. It’s not easy to read, but I highly recommend it. I received the galley from NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher....more
Goldenrod Moram is on a quest to map her town. Along the way she makes several discoveries: a ragtag bunch of hoodlums who’ve kidnapped her brother, aGoldenrod Moram is on a quest to map her town. Along the way she makes several discoveries: a ragtag bunch of hoodlums who’ve kidnapped her brother, an old woman who might be a witch, and the ghost of famous explorer Meriwether Lewis. Lewis urges her to find a magical blue rose in the forest. This will be hard to do when she’s also rescuing her brother, Birch, from the machinations of the hoodlums. This is a fun, adventure-filled MG read. The imaginative, curious spirit of childhood can be found in the pages of this novel....more