Review: The Hopper-Hill Family by Erika Castiglione

The Hopper-Hill Family by Erika CastiglioniThe Hopper-Hill Family
Erika Castiglione

Amazon | Goodreads

Twelve year-old Piper has always dreamed of having a sibling. She never imagined gaining three siblings in one weekend. But that’s exactly what happens when a tragic car accident brings her three orphaned cousins to live under her roof. Between their grief and the shock of the cross-country move, the cousins’ first days are rough. Piper tries to be her best self, to comfort them, but it’s hard to know what to say and do. She and her parents wrestle with the desire to welcome the three into their family without making them feel they have to forget their parents.

I think telling this story from Piper’s perspective was an interesting choice. She functions … Continue reading

Review: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali BenjaminThe Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

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When Suzy’s best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy’s mother says sometimes things just happen. The loss and senselessness of it leave Suzy unmoored. Then she learns about a rare, deadly jellyfish that may have been spotted in waters near where her friend swam. If Suzy can prove why her friend died, maybe the awful ache inside her will go away. Maybe she’ll be able to explain it to everyone. Her effort to prove her case will lead her halfway around the world. But her tenacity and wit will bring her friendship much closer to home.

This is … Continue reading

Review: When You Leave by Monica Ropal

when-you-leaveWhen You Leave
Monica Ropal
Running Press Kids

For Cass, the girl who survived her father’s desertion and best friend’s battle with cancer, love doesn’t come with the possibility of loss but the certainty of it. When the hot boy at her new school seems interested in her, Cass keeps their relationship a secret. At first it’s just flirtation and fun, but Cooper isn’t satisfied with the cool exterior Cass shows everyone else. He wants the real her.

And just when she’s ready to let him into her heart, he’s gone. Dead. Murdered. Worse still, her friend Gavin gets blamed for it. All Cass can do now is try to piece together who Cooper really was and why the real killer wanted him dead. Her search unearths truths she is barely able to face and forces her … Continue reading

Review: Between Shadows by Kathleen Cook Waldron

Between ShadowsBetween Shadows
Kathleen Cook Waldron
Coteau Books

When his grandfather dies unexpectedly, Ari and his remaining family gather at the cabin deep in the woods. At the reading of the will, another surprise greets Ari, his dad and his aunt: Grandpa left the cabin and all his land to Ari. Uninterested in the remote property that conjures painful memories, Ari’s dad and aunt make plans to sell everything. Ari is determined to change their minds.

Author Kathleen Cook Waldron brings to the story her own experience living in the bush. The details of the cabin and surrounding land and community are told in vivid detail so that even the most urban readers can perfectly picture the serene woods, playful stream and peaceful lake.

Through Waldron’s clean storytelling, we follow … Continue reading

Review: Nest by Esther Ehrlich

Nest by Esther EhrlichNest
Esther Ehrlich
Random House Children’s
Published September 9, 2014

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Chirp begins fifth grade looking forward to another year of beloved family traditions: dancing with her mother, bird-watching hikes, and impromptu performances with her older sister Rachel. But something is different in the Orenstein house. Rachel hushes Chirp when she asks questions or wants to show her mother some new dance steps. Chirp can’t understand how these things could make her mother sad like Rachel says.

Then comes her mother’s devastating diagnosis. There will be no more dancing. As her mother’s health deteriorates, Chirp’s family unravels. Even her father’s ever-positive, talk-about-it outlook can make this okay. … Continue reading

Review: Pie by Sarah Weeks

Pie by Sarah WeeksPIE
Sarah Weeks
Scholastic
Published October 1, 2011

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Beloved Aunt Polly’s death leaves Alice miserable and the small town of Ipswitch floundering. Her world-famous restaurant serving free pies must close, but as the will is settled, everyone wonders who will get Polly’s award-winning pie crust recipe? No one is more surprised than Alice when Aunt Polly’s attorney presents her with Lardo, her aunt’s grumpy cat and sole inheritor of the coveted recipe. News ricochets through town. In its wake a mysterious villain vandalizes Polly’s shop and catnaps Lardo (in case the rumors that the recipe is tattooed on the feline’s enormous belly … Continue reading

Review: There You’ll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones

There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. JonesThere You’ll Find Me
Jenny B. Jones
Thomas Nelson
Published October 3, 2011

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Embattled by grief over her brother’s murder, eighteen year-old Finley Sinclaire embarks on a journey, hoping to encounter the God he so powerfully sensed in the beautiful Irish countryside. Though God seems to elude her, she can’t seem to escape the attentions of teen heart-throb and actor Beckett Rush. With mounting pressure to perfect her audition composition for the New York Conservatory, win over her assigned adopted grouch – er, grandmother – and avoid being caught in the web of girls falling for Beckett, Finley’s life spirals out of her control. Only an … Continue reading

Review: Me Since You by Laura Weiss

Me Since You
Laura Weiss
MTV Books
Published February 18, 2014

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It’s not easy being a police officer’s daughter. For Rowan, it means getting caught just about every time she tries have a little risky fun with her friends. Being busted yet again lands Rowan in her room, cornered by her father and his lectures about appropriate teen behavior. His being home means he is closest when a terrible call for help comes in. A call that changes everything.

Sadness. Cruelty. These are lessons Rowan learns. Grief and misery stalk her family, terrorizing them. The only upside to the whole mess is that it brings Eli into her life. But Eli’s no stranger to … Continue reading

Review: It’s Over by Laura L. Smith

It’s Over
Laura L. Smith
Playlist Fiction
Published April 14, 2013

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Tragedy greets Kat when she arrives home from college for fall break. Though her three roomies band together in support, Kat can barely find the strength to move through the motions of her life. Claire, still reeling from her own injuries of heart, seems to be the only one who can reach Kat. As Thanksgiving draws closer, each girl faces a shift in an important relationship, and as Claire suggested, each attempts to discover something to be thankful for amidst the rubble that remains. Palmer fields not-so-subtle comments on her waistline from her mother and expertly blocks her boyfriend’s attempts for sex. But … Continue reading

Review: Canary by Rachele Alpine

Canary
Rachele Alpine
Medallion Press
Published

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Sixteen year-old Kate still reels from the recent loss of her mother. Now she and her brother Brett communicate with their emotionally-absent father through a series of post-it notes. When Dad lands a new job as basketball coach at a ritzy private school, he opts to transfer both kids to the new school.

Kate, determined to adjust and desperate to reconnect with her father, begins attending basketball practices and cheering from the stands. That’s when she meets Jack, a gorgeous and popular star player and boyfriend of any girl’s dreams. But the thrill of being Jack’s girlfriend soon loses its shine when she discovers several unsavory habits of … Continue reading

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