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.

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 Dragon’s Price by Bethany Wiggins

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Crown Books for the opportunity to read and review The Dragon’s Price by Bethany Wiggins! Sorrowlynn, Sorrow for short, is destined to die by her own hand and is awaiting the choice of a forced marriage or becoming a sacrifice for the fire dragon. Sorrowlynn meets the royalty of Andhar and is angered that she has to marry an heir from their kingdom. The young Prince Golmarr follows Sorrow when she’s lowered into the dragon’s cave to become the sacrifice because he wants to help her survive. Sorrow has been raised by an abusive father, her king, who whipped her violently and now she has white, puffy scars all over her legs. One of the reasons she was whipped was when Sorrow called the queen “mother”, even though the queen is Sorrow’s mother. She has felt completely alone and unloved her entire life except for the woman who helped take care of her. Golmarr and Sorrow live through and save each other from life threatening adventures while their relationship grows. Fantasy is my all-time favorite genre and The Dragon’s Price hit the spot! The first book in the Transference series had me diving into a world with dragons and princesses, loyalty and danger, love and kingdoms. I anxiously await the sequel! 5 stars! I appreciate the acknowledgements at the end of the book because Bethany Wiggins’ struggles with being backed by a publisher will give encouragement to aspiring authors everywhere.

Incriminating Dating by Rebekah L. Purdy

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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 Incriminating Dating by Rebekah L. Purdy. Ayla’s point of view alternates with Luke’s point of view throughout the story. Ayla is a good student that minds her own business and doesn’t like to make waves. That changes when funds are being cut for drama and the school paper; the activities she participates in. Luke looks like a normal popular high school guy but he struggles with poverty and a dysfunctional family and he has only one true friend that he feels like he can confide in. Ayla decides to run for class office to make a difference but she’s taking on the entire school culture when she runs. Luke and Ayla build a relationship under interesting circumstances, but sometimes that’s the only way to find out who your true friends are. 4 stars for this realistic fiction story geared towards young adults who want to see fairness in the world a little more often!