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: Tell Me Something Real by Calla Devlin

tell-me-something-realTell Me Something Real
Calla Devlin
Simon & Schuster / Atheneum

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Her mother’s cancer dominates Vanessa’s life. Alternative treatments in Mexico are the only hope for her mom, whose cancer is terminal. While Vanessa tries to anticipate her mother’s every need and keep her sisters (foul-mouthed Adrienne and saint-obsessed Marie) together, she also dreams of a day when she can pursue her own dreams. She pours out her grief in her music and counts the days until she’ll hear back from music schools about applications she’s secretly sent out.

Then two new members join Vanessa’s family group—a boy whose cancer is in remission and his overprotective mother. As Vanessa and Caleb begin to fall in love, … Continue reading

Review: Detached by Christina Kilbourne

detachedDetached
Christina Kilbourne
Dundurn Press
Available August 13, 2016

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After her grandparents’ unexpected deaths, Anna begins to feel untethered from her life. She fantasizes about suicide, the only end to the awful pressure of existing that she can see. On the outside, her best friend Aliya senses something isn’t right with her usually level-headed friend. But as Anna’s behavior becomes more and more erratic, it’s hard for her friends and family members to face the truth that something is deeply wrong.

This is a fairly dark story about a teenage girl suffering from depression. What I liked most was having the inside and outside views of Anna—in her point-of-view and her friend Aliya’s. I … Continue reading

Review: Gemini by Sonya Mukherjee

geminiGemini
Sonya Mukherjee
Simon & Schuster
Available July 26, 2016

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A small town home fits just right for Clara, who longs to study the night sky and live in the familiar community where everyone knows her and her sister Hailey. But Hailey wants more. She learns of an art program in San Francisco, and soon it’s all she can think about. Problem is, where Hailey goes, Clara must go, as the two are conjoined twins. While Clara and Hailey can’t imagine life any other way, they each long for things that seem impossible. A boyfriend. World travel. A trip to the stars.

Last year I read One by Sarah Crossan, and I kind of … Continue reading

Review: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet by Charlie N. Holmberg

magic-bitterMagic Bitter, Magic Sweet
Charlie N. Holmberg
47 North

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Maire arrives in Carmine without any memory of how she got there. A kind couple take her in and she spends her days baking sweets infused with love, hope, or strength. That is Maire’s gift: she can impart these things through her cakes. She has a good life, one which she may yet share with Cleric Tuck. But before she can find out what an ordinary life in Carmine might hold for her, she meets a ghostly form from her past, a winged man named Fyel, who desperately wants her to remember who she is.

Before she can pursue her lost memories, marauders tear through her … Continue reading

Review: Machinations by Hayley Stone

machinationsMachinations
Hayley Stone
Hydra/Random House

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Rhona remembers dying on the battlefield as Camus held her. When she wakes in a chamber, far from the battlefield, she learns a startling truth: she’s not the original Rhona. She’s a clone.

She races home to a hidden military base where her team of resistance fighters waits for her to lead them against the Machines who’ve chosen to end humanity as a logical solution to establishing world peace. There, she must convince her former allies and the man who first loved Rhona that she’s capable of leading them in a war for humanity’s survival.

I liked that this book paired the elements of a robot/artificial intelligence uprising and the … Continue reading

Review: I Wish My Teacher Knew by Kyle Schwartz

I Wish My Teacher Knew by Kyle SchwartzI Wish My Teacher Knew
Kyle Schwartz
De Capo Lifelong Books
Available July 12, 2016

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When her Twitter post became a social media sensation, Kyle Schwartz realized that her classroom exercise asking students what they wished she, their teacher, knew about them was something other teachers and students needed in their classrooms. In her book, Schwartz explores what led her to performing the exercise with her class. She explains how it has changed her experience as a teacher. She breaks down her approach to building a community within her classroom and how important that is to supporting a successful learning environment.

The chapters also connect current research … Continue reading

Review: Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda Bond

Girl in the Shadows by Gwenda BondGirl in the Shadows
Gwenda Bond
Skyscape / Amazon

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Moira longs to prove to her father, a famous magician, that she has what it takes to carry on in the family tradition. The real problem? Moira’s dad doesn’t want her anywhere near magic. An invitation to audition for the Cirque American falls into Moira’s hands, and she leaps at the chance to make her own destiny. During her audition, Moira’s routine goes awry when she accidentally performs real magic. Suddenly Moira finds herself surrounded with questions about her impossible abilities and a secret society of similarly the similarly talented. Her absent mother seems to be the only one who … Continue reading

Review: Towers Falling by Jewell Parker Rhodes

towersfallingTowers Falling
Jewell Parker Rhodes
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Available July 12, 2016

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When Deja’s family loses their home and are forced to move to a shelter, she starts fifth grade at a new school. She’s embarrassed by her family’s situation and braced for judgment from the other kids. Instead, Ben, also a new kid, and Sabeen, a sweet girl who covers her hair with a scarf, become Deja’s new friends. As their teacher, Miss Garcia, begins a unit about history connecting to the present, the class learns about the World Trade Center towers falling on September 11, 2001. The material covered in the classroom is gentle and oblique, but Deja feels … Continue reading

Review: Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine

Paper and Fire by Rachel CainePaper and Fire
Rachel Caine
New American Library/Random House
Available July 5, 2016

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Jess survived induction into the Library, but life as one of their soldiers is far more grueling than he expected. The girl he loves is locked away forever, and his best friend is lost. When rumors bring Jess’s old classmates together again, they face a terrible choice: a rescue mission that would mean living the rest of their lives on the run from the Library, if they manage to escape. Jess promises refuge with his family, but even he isn’t sure he can count on his father to hide them without having something valuable to offer … Continue reading

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