Review: Victoria and the Ghost by Janet K. Brown

Victoria and the Ghost
Janet K. Brown
4RV Publishing
Published June 28, 2012

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As if her parents’ ugly divorce wasn’t bad enough, fifteen-year-old Victoria Peterson is yanked away from her whole world in Dallas and plopped down on a rundown farm in a teeny tiny north Texas town. No more good friends a few minutes away, no more fancy city life, and no more Mom nearby to dry her tears. Her older sister Marcy seems to be settling in fine, but the only friend Victoria has been able to find is as fickle as the Texas wind. Victoria retreats to the beautiful cemetery garden for solitude, but even there her peace is disturbed by strange happenings. … Continue reading

Review: The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet by Stephanie Morrill

The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet
Stephanie Morrill
Playlist Fiction
Published May 1, 2013

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Some girls have it all in high school: great friends, perfect hair, the hottest boyfriend. Not sixteen-year-old Ellie Sweet. Next to her gorgeous long-time friend Lucy, Ellie is practically invisible. Everything about Ellie is hidden, from the frizzy hair she tries desperately to control in a knot to her secret passion to finish her novel set in medieval Italy. By day she may be invisible, but by night, all her frustrations and hurts are rewritten into a world where she, Lady Gabrielle, is the star. Only there does the handsome boy of her dreams (Palmer by day, Rafe by night) see her for who she is.

But when … Continue reading

Review: Miracle by Phillipa Vincent-Connolly

Miracle
Phillipa Vincent-Connolly
Pen Press
Published April 5, 2013

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Despite her mother’s fierce hope for her romantic life, seventeen year-old Orianna is certain she’ll never have a boyfriend. She can barely walk normally thanks to the pain caused by her cerebral palsy. Still, she enjoys the company of good friends and a loving (if romance-obsessed) mother and younger sister.

After seeing the latest movie in the Twilight series, Orianna and her friends gush about handsome Edward Cullen. If only there were men like that in real life, they tell each other. Then, as if he fell right off the silver screen, a rich and handsome new boy named Ashley Mason arrives at school. Though he is … Continue reading

Review: Sweet Dreams by Carla Stewart

Sweet Dreams
Carla Stewart
FaithWords
Published May 14, 2013

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When Dusty’s father sends her off to a fancy finishing school instead of the geology program at Miller College, the only consolation for Dusty is the fact that her fun-loving cousin will also be joining her. Paisley was raised on the road by her unmarried mother who still chases dreams of stardom. She’s not exactly any town’s debutante. Though fitting in won’t be easy, Paisley is determined to stick it out for her cousin’s sake.

As the year progresses, Paisley finds making friends easier than she imagined. Things seem to be going well until her mother returns for a surprise visit with a new get-famous-quick scheme she … Continue reading

Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak
Laurie Halse Anderson
Square Fish
Published May 10, 2011 (Orig. published 1999)

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At a high school with an ever-changing mascot, Melinda begins her year friendless and alone. She’s the pariah who called police at a summer party. The one where the awful thing happened. Through a caring teacher and a challenging art project, Melinda struggles to piece herself back together. But when the familiar face of that boy materializes out of the halls of her new school, she spirals into silence and isolation. As the boy, Andy, draws closer to Melinda’s former best friend Rachel, Melinda tries to reach out, to warn her. Rumors swirl that he’s hurt other girls, the same way he hurt … Continue reading

Review: The Girl Who Played Chess with an Angel by Tessa Apa

The Girl Who Played Chess with an AngelThe Girl Who Played Chess with an Angel
Tessa Apa
Big Planet Corporation
Published June 8, 2012

Currently Out of Print

Thirteen year old Florence doesn’t want reasons; she needs answers. About her father’s death. About her mother’s fierce anger. But Florence knows answers change things, and everything is about to change.

Things have been changing ever since the day she played chess with an Angel. One might think meeting a real live angel answers a lot of life’s questions, but Florence is taking things slowly. One answer at a time.

As she wrestles with her father’s sudden death and her mother’s bitterness, Florence begins to see life beyond her own needs. In her tenuous friendship with Max, she finds the courage to ask an even bigger question: is God real? Both … Continue reading

Review: Black Helicopters by Blythe Woolston

Black HelicoptersBlack Helicopters
Blythe Woolston
Candlewick Press
Published March 1, 2013

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She heard the sound of the black helicopters approaching the day Mabby died. Since then, Valley and her big brother Bo have been hiding and waiting for their Da to come home. Staying out of sight because you never know when Those People will show up again. Valley wants to help. Da sends messages to Those People, ones they will not forget. Ticking packages that make Them listen.

But Da is gone now, and it is only Valley and Bo. Bo is forgetting. Only Valley remembers what Da said. Only Valley sees the bigger game. She will make Those People listen to her message. With … Continue reading

Five Books I Couldn’t Stop Reading

In honor of summer’s approach, I wanted to do something a little different today. (A new review will be posted on Wednesday.)

When I was in school, I looked forward to the summer for all the usual reasons. One of my fond memories is taking family vacations with my family. We’d visit my grandparents in rural North Carolina and tube the creek, shop the flea market, hike in the woods and play Nintendo until deep into the night. But one of my most cherished evening activities during those lazy summer trips was reading. I’d often stumble upon an unexpected gem in one of the rundown flea market used book shops. Some of those books I read and reread until my copies came apart. Here are a few of the finds that never left me.

beauty


Beauty
by Robin McKinley

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Review: Colt O’Brien Grows Up by George Matthew Cole

Colt O'Brien Grows Up

Colt O’Brien Grows Up
George Matthew Cole
Createspace (Independent)
Published October 30, 2012

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With computer certifications under his belt and a new job waiting for him on campus, Colt O’Brien, his best friend Bobby and girlfriend Amy head to their first semester of college. Colt is quickly overwhelmed with school work and problems on the job. His boss Gerry is a UNIX guy in a Windows world, and Colt finds himself the only Windows tech providing support for an entire campus of computers. Despite the unfairness and Gerry’s apparent plot to get rid of him, Colt rises to the challenge and is determined to keep up with his work load.

The first semester of college isn’t exactly what freshman Amy Strong expected, … Continue reading

Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why
Jay Asher
Razorbill
Published October 18, 2007

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An unexpected package greets high school student Clay Jenson at home one day. It bears no return address. Inside are seven cassette tapes. Curious, Clay pops one into a dusty player and is shocked to hear the voice of his crush, Hannah Baker, who committed suicide just weeks earlier. Clay is stunned. Through the tapes, Hannah promises to reveal the names and circumstances in which thirteen people contributed to her suicide. But how can he be one of them? He liked her.

Hannah’s story sends Clay spinning through town, visiting locations Hannah has marked on a map, reliving each scene … Continue reading

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