Thanks to NetGalley and Kids Can Press for the opportunity to read and review Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi! Kai and her parents are consumed with grief over the suicide of her sister Jen. I like how the story covers their grief and how each of them handles everything differently from finding Jen, her letters to each family member, the funeral preparations, their relationships with others and work and school when they try to get back to “normal”. All of this is covered in the first half of the book then Kai hits rock bottom and her friends and family don’t know how to help her, so she’s sent to a grief camp. This turns out to be the best possible choice. Small group discussions and activities help the teenagers learn how to move forward without forgetting the loved ones they have lost. Helping others seems to be the best way to overcome sadness because of thinking about someone else instead of just yourself heals broken hearts. I’m impressed with this book, the realistic feel of it, and I fell in love with the characters and wanted them to heal. The background of the story is interesting also and I appreciate the author being willing to share her personal experiences along with her pain. The resources included at the end will help many readers know where to find the help they need; 5 stars for a beautiful story of experiencing loss and the hope that brings light back into our lives.
I received Release by Patrick Ness through a Goodreads giveaway! Adam is plugging along until he can be on his own in one more year, when he graduates high school and can leave his small town. A strict family and a priest father with a lot of rules make him feel suffocated at times. His perfect brother, Marty, shocks Adam with the news that he got a woman pregnant and she’s not the girlfriend the family knows. Everything is changing and it seems to be happening all in the span of one day. This book contains graphic sexual content and belongs in LGBT and new adult genres, to make the reader aware. The characters are realistic with realistic problems and faults. The story comes full circle and I can see it helping readers deal with acceptance. I never truly understood the ghost part of the story other than making a point with the title. 4 stars for a well-written book with a punch.
Skinny Me by Charlene Carr involves a young woman who has battled her weight her entire life and is dealing with the feeling of hitting rock bottom. She feels that her weight is out of control, she’s unemployed and her mother has passed away. She picks herself up and focuses on what she can do to improve her life and relationships. Little by little, Jenny makes changes starting with a new menu and beginner exercises and a job acceptance. She tries to socialize more and also pushes herself to run. Jenny meets with a personal trainer and sets a possible goal and continues to work on her relationships. She realizes that losing weight isn’t going to stop her insecurities and internal struggles; she has to work on her self esteem also. 4 stars for a realistic story geared toward adult readers. Per author request, I voluntarily read and reviewed this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for the opportunity to read and review Pixelated by L.S. Murphy! Piper lives in Clarkton, Iowa and she just moved in with her mother and stepfather while her father takes a new job in Kansas. Piper had to leave all she’s familiar with and start her senior year of high school as the new kid in this very small town. Her mother works for the local paper, Clarkton Gazette, and has Piper help as a photographer, since that is her talent and career choice. Piper becomes part of the yearbook staff, thanks to the teacher and despite the yearbook editor, Morgan, who is immediately threatened by Piper. Small town gossip and assumptions make her life miserable. Piper feels as though everyone close to her has been lying to her and she’s devastated when she walks straight into her father’s lie. Her life is spiraling downward and she feels like she has absolutely no control over anything. A realistic fiction story with all the relationship struggles of real life. 5 stars for this intense book full of angst and clever characters!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of Hearts Are Like Balloons by Candace Robinson! The story begins with May in her teen years helping her mom take care of her cancer stricken father. The story continues on with May and her mother trying to deal with the loss of their loved one, after her father took his own life. They handle things differently and in their own ways but eventually they move forward with their lives, still keeping him close to their hearts. This book is about relationships, tragedy, friendship and love and is a tear-jerking read; both sad and happy tears. It’s also a soothing balm to help heal wounds and sadness. I love Hearts are like Balloons with its humor and strong characters. 5 stars for this realistic fiction, romance story!
I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Secrets of Skin and Stone by Wendy Laine! Gris is a shape-shifting gargoyle called a Watcher. He travels to Hidden creek to reside in his relatives’ extra house. He meets Piper while she is searching for what attacked and killed her dog, Jester. For some reason, Hidden Creek is full of fiends and that’s why Gris has been called to live there. Gris becomes intrigued with Piper and they start a friendship and try to solve the mystery of Jester’s death and why there are numerous fiends in Hidden Creek. Piper deals with a specific type of obsessive compulsive disorder and it interested me because of how she handles it in her daily life. The author discusses OCD at the end of the book and opens up with her own experiences of dealing with the constraints and struggles that go along with it. 5 stars for a fun supernatural read for young adults and for the advice and wisdom offered by the author!
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Remember Me Forever by Sara Wolf! The refreshing sense of humor of Isis Blake opens the story and I’m so happy to be with her again:). She’s setting off fireworks at the top of a chimney with her beloved grandmother at four in the morning. We can see where Isis gets her interesting personality. The author recaps the past events of Isis’ and Jack’s lives smoothly and through alternating points of view. Their roller coaster relationship makes life difficult for both Isis and Jack. They are both trying to figure out their present plans and their futures. This book is the culmination of past relationships, struggles and secrets that have haunted their individual lives and the people they love. I love the snark and out loud ramblings from Isis and also her generous personality and the mystery of Jack and ALL that he encompasses. Remember Me Forever is romantic, suspenseful and fun and ends the series perfectly, 5 stars. Sara wolf knows how to bring her characters to life and have them grow and become part of her readers’ hearts. At the end of this book, a new series by Sara Wolf is introduced- Bring Me Their Hearts which is planned for release in 2018! I’m interested!
I voluntarily read and reviewed Keeping Kyler by Siobhan Davis. Just when I thought there couldn’t be any more surprises, more pop up in this book, the third installment in The Kennedy Boys series! As the story is opening, Kyler runs in anger and doesn’t even tell Faye where he’s going. He won’t respond to her texts, frustrating and worrying her even more. This leaves Faye to deal with her own surprises without him, so they are both alone in their struggles. Kyler meets his biological father and turns away with complete disbelief and disgust. And the surprises keep coming, loaded with twists and turns. The relationship between Kyler and Faye is cute, sometimes cheesy, to the annoyance of everyone around them. They are mature for their age and I suppose it’s because of the difficult experiences they have lived through, which makes their lives anything but dull. 5 stars for this new-adult romance and mystery story!
Voluntarily read and reviewed an arc of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the opportunity to read and review One was lost by Natalie D. Richards. The first two chapters show the setting and describe the main and surrounding characters. The action and suspense begins in the third chapter. There’s some kind of animosity between Sera and Lucas that comes to light a little at a time. As I read, I learned more about the four main characters and the struggles each of them has in their lives. Being in a forest is a perfect setting for a horror story and the bridge washing out helped move the danger of being stranded along. Nice steady pacing of the mystery and suspense. The book kept me wondering to the end. Great horror story for young adults, 5 stars!
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.