All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the opportunity to read and review All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. All the Bright Places cannot be described with one word. This book is tremendous in heartbreak, coping skills, love, loss and grabbing life and enjoying it while you can! The best line of the book is on page 23, “Some people hate him because they think he’s weird and he gets into fights and gets kicked out of school and does what he wants. Some people worship him because he’s weird and he gets into fights and gets kicked out of school and does what he wants.” This statement sums up the reputation of Theodore Finch. Finch is a mystery to everyone. Finch and Violet share the narrative through alternating points of view. Finch struggles with depression and Violet suffers from survivor’s guilt. Violet’s sister died in a car accident not long before the story begins. The awkwardness and humor between Finch and Violet pulled me into the story and made me love both of their characters! When the two were paired together for a class project, their lives intermingled in many ways and they helped each other grow and enjoy life. All the Bright Places is a beautiful story of loss, love and what comes after. I appreciate that the author approached the stigma of needing help and the people we all know as fakers. The author’s notes were soul bearing for her and she discussed difficult topics that tend to be overlooked in our society; way to face the tough parts of human nature! 5 stars for this highly recommended book.

The Takedown by Corrie Wang

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Disney Book Group for the opportunity to read and review The Takedown by Corrie Wang! The Takedown is a futuristic realistic fiction story dealing with the overwhelming use of social media and all of the issues that go along with it. Kyla is in the popular clique of the prep school she attends until someone shares a video on social media of Kyla being intimate with a teacher. The story is all about her innocence and trying to figure out who did the posting. She wants to get to the source and get rid of the video that has potentially scarred her reputation and future permanently. The story also involves forgiveness and introspection. 4.5 stars for the ability to give readers food for thought and for making it about a topic most people are interested in these days.

The Castaways by Jessika Fleck

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review The Castaways by Jessika Fleck. Olive is relentlessly bullied by three girls she has named The Trio. She meets her friend Tawny at the pirate-themed traveling carnival after hours, so they won’t be bothered by anyone. They decide to go into the corn maze, which has a mysterious and dangerous past. Teenagers have gone missing and never come out of the maze. Olive ends up going into the maze alone and, while running from bullies, she ends up being transported to a secluded island where no one ages. This island is completely surrounded by ocean as far as the eye can see and seems to be inescapable. Olive meets people on the island that are considered missing in real time. These teenagers were born long ago and have stayed teenagers and only have memories from decades past. Such as sixteen-year-old Tilly, who is from Sheffield England, 1940 and fifteen year old Lewis from 1953 Memphis, Tennessee. Olive discovers each of their stories and secrets and she eventually shares her own. They all realize that they transported to the island because they were running from something and they work together to find out how to face their problems and give each other the hope of returning home someday. I fell in love with the island inhabitants and relished the relationship between Will and Olive. This book is so much more complex than I thought it would be when I first began reading it. The complicated story line and dynamic characters all come together to make The Castaways an interesting read and the cover is perfect for this story, in more ways than one. 4.5 stars for the fantasy realism and lovable characters!

Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Secrets of a Reluctant Princess by Casey Griffin. This silly, charming and sometimes cheesy clean read tells the story of Adrianna Bottom, Andy for short. Andy has to deal with being called Porcelain Princess because of her family’s toilet accessories business as well as the reality TV show highlighting them. Since her real name is Adrianna Bottom, Andy has already been bullied endlessly about her last name, even before becoming the Porcelain Princess. Her family has now moved, so Andy is attending a new school and the bullying doesn’t take long to start. On top of the bullying, she has to deal with the producer of the reality show being pushy and invading every aspect of Andy’s life that he can. This quick read has romance, humor and the lesson of keeping secrets, 4 stars.

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

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Thanks to a Goodreads giveaway, I received a paperback advanced reading copy of The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti! I also received a NetGalley arc from Dial Press in exchange for a fair review!
Loo lives with her father Hawley as they travel from place to place without settling down for long in any one town. That is until they go to the town where Loo’s grandmother ( Loo’s mother Lily’s mother) lives. Lily drowned when Loo was quite young, so it’s just her and Hawley. Loo’s grandmother refuses to see or speak to them, but Loo and Hawley decide to buy a house and live in the town anyway. More than anything else, this book made me realize that every person has a story. Each chapter alternates between the present with Hawley and Loo and then to Hawley and his younger past. Each trip into the past explains how Samuel Hawley received another gunshot wound and scar. This story is sad in the fact that Loo and Hawley struggle with belonging and with lasting relationships besides their own. They are both lonely and seem somewhat lost in their presence and their place in the world. Loo tries to befriend others, but she has a temper and becomes physically angry too often. Hawley seems like he is just trying to get through and raise Loo in the best way he knows how. He is very lonely and misses his wife, Lily daily. Loo sees this loneliness. It’s almost like Loo and Hawley are stuck in a never ending cycle of danger and wrong choices. This book left me feeling how life is just a fleeting moment that passes too quickly. 4 stars.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for the opportunity to read and review Caraval by Stephanie Garber! ¬†Scarlett and Donatella are treated harshly by their father. They have both always wanted to see Caraval since their grandmother told them stories about it years ago. They plan on running away to see Caraval and never coming back to their father. He has threatened them with harm if they ever leave and he has even gone to the extreme lengths of committing murder to keep Scarlett and Donatella on the island with him. Tella left their rooms a mess to make their father believe they were kidnapped while they sailed with Julian to Caraval, Legend’s private island. The game on Caraval that Legend controls is adventurous, daring, mysterious and frightening. Scarlett never knows, from beginning to end, what is real and what is just the game. I grew to care about Scarlett and I wanted her to finally find happiness. I also admire her for the bravery and love she demonstrates to help her sister, Tella. Their father is selfish and violent and I wanted the sisters to be free of him. I also like the setting and time the story takes place in. It was familiar but also new at the same time because of Stephanie Garber’s clever writing. 5 stars for the magical mystery of the game and all of its characters!

Streaks of Blue by Jack Chaucer

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Jack Chaucer for the opportunity to read and review his book, Streaks of Blue, book one of the Nikki White series! Nikki is befriending two students that she suspects need friends to prevent them from committing a horrendous act of violence after she has a dream that she feels is a premonition. Adam appreciates Nikki but Thomas doesn’t. Nikki discovers, along with Adam, how much Adam is truly dealing with. Through the ups and downs of friendship, Nikki and Adam grow and realize that people’s decisions are what make them, develop who they become and create the life they are living. The story pulls at the heart with emotions, startles the heart with suspense and washes away burden and brings out hope for our future. 5 stars for an honest and open story of realistic fiction and circumstances of real life. I appreciate the author’s nod to a fellow author, Cheryl Strayed and her memoir of her struggles and overcoming them. I look forward to reading the rest of the Nikki White series!

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

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Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell was a tear-jerking, warms-the-heart book. The short prologue, narrated by Park, brings the feeling of loss into the story and made me wonder what happened to Eleanor. The first page jumps back to 1986 when the story begins. A lot of this story hit home for me – being the new kid at school (I attended 33 schools from 2nd to 11th grade), riding a bus full of rude strangers, not having a place to live or a home where you feel wanted. I had to take a break from the book for a while to get my cheerfulness back. Alternating points of view between Park and Eleanor help the reader understand how each of them are feeling and the struggles they are both dealing with. Park and Eleanor come from different lifestyles and different family dynamics. Eleanor and Park are good for each other and their beautiful relationship left a mark on my heart. 5 stars for this young adult realistic fiction romance!

Nice Girls Endure

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“Received an advance reader copy for a fair review.”

Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read and review Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn! Chelsea is an overweight teenager who takes after her father in many ways; personality, likes, dislikes, talent and genetics. The doctor suggests Calorie Counts, a weight loss program run by Bridgette, who helps Chelsea see that her self esteem is more important than anything else. Chelsea has four favorite people: her dad, Bridgette, Melody and Trevor (classmates). Chelsea tries to get involved and make friends, but then bullies set her back. The bullying is already bad enough on its own, but they send pictures of everything online for everyone to see. This book is a touching and inspiring story of the challenges we have to deal with in life and the different ways we can strengthen ourselves. 4.5 stars!

The Bad Boy Bargain

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“Received an advance reader copy for a fair review.”

Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review The Bad Boy Bargain by Kendra C. Highley!

Kyle keeps his distance from everyone and he enjoys the reputation that has been created about him, the playboy delinquent. Faith is in a relationship that she wants to end. She is ready to find love, not popularity. Faith walks in on her boyfriend, Cameron, cheating with another girl. Cameron then starts rumors about Faith and how cold and horrible she is. At this point, Faith decides to seek revenge. She strikes up a bargain with Kyle to get revenge on Cameron because it just so happens that Cameron and his friends bullied Kyle horribly in middle school. Kyle wants revenge just as badly as Faith does. The revenge doesn’t work exactly as planned and a lot of things change for both Kyle and Faith. Family dynamics, personal secrets and vulnerable characters make this story endearing. 4 stars!