A List of Cages by Robin Roe

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Thanks to NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion for the opportunity to read and review A List of Cages by Robin Roe! Julian doesn’t feel as though he belongs anywhere, at school or at home where he lives with his uncle. He likes to hide in a small secret room behind the school stage where he can be alone and no one knows where he is. I immediately felt protective of Julian and hated how people assumed that he was stupid and treated him horribly. He’s had a tragic past and he’s presently living in an unhappy world. Adam knows Julian because his family fostered him for a while after the death of his parents until Julian’s Uncle Russell stepped into their lives and took Julian away. Uncle Russell is a force to be reckoned with and has more issues than anyone realizes. This tragic and touching realistic fiction story earns 5 stars!

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

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Thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the opportunity to read and review Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow! A young woman named Charlie is found outside a hospital, hurt and alone. She’s treated in the hospital for seven days and then is taken to a psychiatric ward. She has cut herself to cope with the struggles in her life. She’s released from the ward and tries to get through it all one day at a time, and sometimes one moment at a time, while she finds a place to live and a job. Her social circle grows and she finds herself dealing with other’s problems and she wants to move forward not backwards. Girl in Pieces is a true pay-it-forward story and the author relays her own story and shares resources with readers at the end of the book. A deep, complex story as raw and realistic as life gets. 5 stars for this young adult realistic fiction story that’s inspiring and eye-opening.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia

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Made you up by Francesca Zappia- Alex goes through each day trying to figure out what is a hallucination and what is real. She keeps her schizophrenia hidden from everyone and deals with it secretly and on her own, besides her family and her therapist. This book contains completely endearing and realistic characters with clever writing and interesting background building. Laugh-out-loud funny at times and empathetic at others, as well as heart-breaking, Made You Up is a must read realistic fiction story with food for thought; 5 stars. The minute I finished reading it, I wanted to turn around and read it all again.

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake

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I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake. This story is about a dysfunctional flaky mother and her teenage daughter, Gracie, who is tired of how her mother acts. Her mother can’t settle down in one place for long AND she’s never in a relationship for long either AND she never takes the blame for her actions. This is all driving Gracie crazy because all Gracie wants is peace, happiness and contentment and to be able to focus on her goals. Gracie is a pianist and she wants to attend college in New York. She finally finds happiness with her friends, who are more of a family to her than her mother ever has been. Young adult content and LGBT diversity broaden the story to make an interesting realistic fiction read, 4 stars.

Confessions of a High School Disaster by Emma Chastain

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I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book. Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the opportunity to read and review Confessions of a High School Disaster: Chloe Snow’s Diary by Emma Chastain! Chloe is nervous about starting high school and is trying to figure out who she is and what she wants. Her freshman year turns out to be nothing like she imagined and so much bigger than she could have guessed it would be. Through the year, Chloe has crushes, makes friends and learns how to grow and still hang onto lifelong friendships. She’s also involved in drama, some she causes and some she’s blameless for. Her dad is a solid part of her life, while her mother turns out to be selfish and flaky. In the span of that eventful year, Chloe matures and ends up being a sophomore willing to share her painfully gained wisdom with her underclassmen. 5 stars for an entertaining realistic fiction read for young adults!

Keeping Kyler by Siobhan Davis

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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!

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.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Delacorte Press for the opportunity to read and review Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon! Madeline suffers from immunodeficiency and has many life restrictions because of this. She stays home twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Her mother is a doctor and goes to work while Nurse Carla takes care of Madeline. New neighbors move in next door and Madeline can’t hide her curiosity. The teenagers that moved in next door, Olly and Kara, bring a bundt cake to be friendly, but Madeline’s mom has to turn it away. Olly ends up dropping the cake afterwards. He notices Madeline watching him and sets the cake on his windowsill and dresses it up to give it personality. Olly has a wonderful sense of humor and he makes Madeline’s life more interesting. Her life blossoms after seeing Olly and she can’t feel contentment like she used to. The illustrations are fun and bring extra life to Madeline and Olly. Everything, Everything is one of those books that cannot be put down and I fell in love with all of it: the story, the energetic characters, the dysfunctionality of family, the humor and the romance. A wonderful young adult book worthy of 5 stars!

The Things They’ve Taken by Katie McElhenney

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review The Things They’ve Taken by Katie McElhenney! Lo, short for Delores, needs help retrieving her mother from a burning pentagram that pulled her through the floor. Shaw, a tracker, is willing to help her for fifteen thousand dollars in cash. He brings his large dog, Mange, along for the journey. They visit a seer at a nursing home and then every other being they can find to get guidance from. Lo feels like she is going in circles and not accomplishing anything that she has set out to do in her quest to rescue her mother. The variety of characters is fun and I enjoy Lo’s sense of humor and snarky comments. Shaw, in all his mystery, is intriguing and interesting and I want to get to know him better. The book ends as though there is a sequel planned and I look forward to reading it. The Things They’ve Taken is a mix of supernatural, fantasy, mythology, adventure and humor. Fun and enjoyable and worthy of a 5 star rating!

The Girl From RawBlood by Catriona Ward

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Edelweiss, NetGalley and Sourcebooks for the opportunity to read and review The Girl from RawBlood by Catriona Ward. Iris lives with her Papa in the house called RawBlood. This house has been in their family for generations and the family members supposedly have a disease called Horror autotoxicus. They are supposed to live by a strict set of rules, one of which states, “no friends “. The story splits between past and present and dives into the sordid history of RawBlood. The prose is reminiscent of classical writing and brings the reader into that atmosphere with a Gothic feel. Vivisection, drugs, hallucinations and dysfunctional relationships help the story move forward into the horror genre. Even though the story line is somewhat confusing, the disjointed feeling also helps with the oddities and creepiness of the story. 4 stars.