Review: For This Life Only by Stacey Kade

For This Life Only by Stacey KadeFor This Life Only
Stacey Kade
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

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A bonfire he had to escape. Ice on a roadway. A night that changes everything for Jacob Palmer. The night his twin brother is killed in a car accident. Jace almost shared his brother’s fate, and in that moment when his heart stopped, there was no light welcoming him to something after. There was only nothing. And now that Jace has survived, he can’t help feeling like fate got it wrong. Eli, the good son, the one who loved everyone around him, the one who made people feel loved, should have been the one to live.

As … Continue reading

Review: First & Then by Emma Mills

First & Then by Emma MillsFirst & Then
Emma Mills
Henry Holt & Co.

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With college application deadlines fast-approaching, Devon is under pressure to be her most extraordinary self. The problem? How would Jane Austen say this? She’s remarkably uninteresting. Devon has never minded the sidelines. Especially when her best friend Cas and secret love takes the football field. When her socially awkward cousin Foster moves in with Devon’s family, his presence changes everything, bringing the local unapproachable football star, Ezra, into Devon’s path. Like, almost constantly. Ezra’s new closeness seems to stir some jealous feelings in Cas, and at first Devon thinks this might be the moment in which he discovers his deep love for her. … Continue reading

Review: Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schröder

Be Light Like a Bird by Monika SchröderBe Light Like a Bird
Monika Schröder
Capstone Young Readers

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After Wren’s father unexpectedly dies, her mother rips her away from her only home. Move after move takes Wren further and further across the country, and Wren can’t help but wonder what her mom is running from. Then Wren finds a beautiful pond to secret herself away to watch birds the way she and her father used to do. When Wren discovers the local landfill owner plans to demolish her sacred place, Wren vows to stop him.

The birdwatching elements felt very natural to me. I’m not an experienced birdwatcher by any means, but my daughter and I kept … Continue reading

Review: The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone

loose-ends-listThe Loose Ends List
Carrie Firestone
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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With Maddie’s high school graduation behind her, she and her friends make lists of loose ends they want to wrap up before leaving for college in the fall. When Maddie’s Manhattan grandma, Astrid, announces she’s terminally ill and is taking the family on a “death with dignity” cruise, Maddie’s summer plans take a turn. Maddie has never dealt with death well, but now she’s facing the loss of her closest confidante. As the trip unfolds with one exotic destination after another, she rediscovers family connections, falls in love, and braces herself for the most difficult grief she’s ever experienced.

I really can’t decide … Continue reading

Review: I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan

woke-up-dead-mallI Woke Up Dead at the Mall
Judy Sheehan
Delacorte Press

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When Sarah wakes up, still wearing the mango-colored monstrosity of a bridesmaid dress, she is surprised by two things: she’s far from her New York home in the Mall of America, and she’s dead. Murdered. Sarah’s mentor encourages her (and the other teen ghosts who’ve taken up residence in the mall) to let go of her past, but Sarah can’t let go, especially when she learns what happened and realizes someone she loves is still in terrible danger. Now she can’t rest in peace until her murderer has been stopped and her family saved.

The concept of this story might be a bit dark, but the … Continue reading

Review: Remember to Forget by Ashley Royer

Remember to Forget by Ashley RoyerRemember to Forget
Ashley Royer
Zonderkidz

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After Delia’s unexpected death, seventeen year-old Levi spirals into depression, unable to speak to anyone. When several attempts at therapy fail, Levi’s mom sends him from their home in Australia to Maine to live with his estranged father. Bitter, angry, and hopeless, Levi’s determined not to let anyone into his life, especially the girl who reminds him so much of Delia. For her part, Delilah’s content to let Levi to himself. He’s rude and erratic, definitely not the kind of guy she needs in her life. But beyond his angry exterior, she senses his deep hurt and finds herself powerfully drawn to … Continue reading

Review: Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

Belzhar by Meg WolitzerBelzhar
Meg Wolitzer
Dutton Books for Young Readers

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When Jam can’t recover from her boyfriend’s death, her desperate family sends her to The Wooden Barn, a boarding school for distraught teens. There Jam finds herself enrolled in Special Topics in English, an elite, invitation-only course. This year, Jam and her classmates will study the works of Sylvia Plath, and will write about their own experiences in special journals given to them by their fascinating instructor, Mrs. Quenell.

As Jam begins to write in her journal, she’s transported to a place where Reeve still lives, and they can be together. A place she calls Belzhar. As the semester winds down, and the pages … Continue reading

Review: You Were Here by Cori McCarthy

You Were Here by Cori McCarthyYou Were Here
Cori McCarthy
Sourcebooks Fire

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Jaycee intends to spend the anniversary of her brother Jake’s death the same way she spent the last one: exploring an abandoned building with her brother’s best friend. Jake’s death fractured Jaycee’s entire community, and even though it’s been five years since his death, her relationships remain in the same ruined condition as the broken mental institution she visits.

Her friends are determined to reach her, though. Even Mik, with whom Jaycee feels a powerful if wordless connection. As grief pushes Jaycee closer and closer to the edge, her friends realize the only way to save her is to join her … Continue reading

Review and Author Interview: Jacqueline by Jackie Minniti

Anaiah Press Blog Tour for Jacqueline by Jackie Minniti

 Jacqueline by Jackie MinnitiJacqueline
Jackie Minniti
Anaiah Press

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When Jacqueline and her mother receive news that her father, a French soldier in World War II has been shot down, she refuses to give up hope that he’ll return home. She studies hard, prays to the saint in the book her father gave her, and visits the train yard where wounded prisoners arrive. As the Nazis who occupy her small French town begin to remove local Jews from the neighborhood, Jacqueline and her mother hide a boy in their home. Soon the Americans come to liberate France from German control, and Jacqueline befriends … Continue reading

Review: The Sister Pact by Stacie Ramey

sister-pact

The Sister Pact
Stacie Ramey
Sourcebooks FIRE

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They were supposed to do it together. Allie and Leah had made a pact that if their parents’ failing marriage destroys their home life, they’ll escape into death together. Only, Leah makes the jump without Allie. And Allie is left behind to pick up the pieces.

So many things happen to this poor girl. Her best friend Max, who she’s in love with, totally doesn’t deserve her. But she can’t seem to get into the sweet boy who treats her well. Her painting massively suffers in the wake of her sister’s death. It’s like the colors have gone out of her world. No pressure. Just that whole … Continue reading

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