The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

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Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the opportunity to read and review The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan! The author’s foreword explains the reasoning for the story and also forewarns the reader of difficult content. The story is based on the author’s ancestry and heritage. Bethan meets Martyn at the market and they become friends and Martyn protects Bethan from a group of bullies. The bullies are led by Silas, who’s selfish and entitled and cruel. He and his group do terrible things to Bethan and harm Martyn in the process. This book is full of darkness and full of hope and interestingly eye-opening because of the Romani history. 5 stars for a story full of strength and retribution.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

A Messy, Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review A Messy Beautiful Life by Sara Jade Alan. The story begins with theater students putting on a show with another school and describing how much fun the improv acts turned out. I kind of wish I could have been in that audience. Later, Ellie and her stepbrother Craig head to the beach and then to a house party after being invited by Jason, the guy who acted out improv with Ellie at the show. That’s how Ellie and Jason met, an improv performance. While Ellie is walking to a fire with Jason at the party, she falls and ends up at the hospital and everyone thinks she’s broken her leg. When her mom, Craig and her friends Hana and Quinn are visiting with Ellie in her hospital room, the doctor informs Ellie that she has cancer. I love how people rally around Ellie and how she keeps her attitude as upbeat as possible. The school counselor is fantastic, Ellie’s mom is amazing and Craig is the best stepbrother ever. The author’s note describes her own battle with cancer and her involvement with improv and the similarities she has with her character Ellie and just like Ellie, she had many people show true support when she needed it most. This heartwarming story is enjoyable to read and is full of endearing characters! 5 stars for this young adult realistic fiction!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

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Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth involves two peoples that have different beliefs and are enemies. Cyra ends up relying on and becoming friends with the enemy after he, Akos, is captured and forced into serving Cyra. Her brother thrives on hurting others and uses Cyra to accomplish this. Ryzek uses Cyra for everything he wants to gain through fear and intimidation. He wants to conquer all. Cyra and her servant Akos grow a friendship with trust and honesty which gives Cyra something she’s never experienced before. Her family has always been manipulative and cruel. Cyra and Akos are captured and the wound Ryzek gives Cyra made me physically sick. Revenge is all that Cyra wants against Ryzek because of every harm he has ever inflicted on her. This first book in the Carve the Mark duology builds the world setting and the character’s backgrounds and ends with an unfinished rebellion, leaving me ready for the sequel. 4 stars for this science fiction fantasy.

Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

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Thanks to NetGalley and Carolrhoda Lab TM for the opportunity to read and review Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield! June lives with her father, stepmother and stepsister and, unbeknownst to her father, is abused by the other two. The story is told in June’s point of view and describes the abuse she endures at home, the bullying she receives at school and her wonderful friend Blister and his loving family. Blister and his family are the only light in June’s life and when tragedy strikes, they stand by her the entire time. At times both heartbreaking and hopeful, this story reminded me that things aren’t always what they seem and how important it is to have someone believe in you. 4 stars for a story that starts out simple but builds in intensity and follows through with a punch. Realistic fiction that deals with abuse, tragedy, friendship and relationships.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for review consideration.

If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for the opportunity to read and review If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout! If There’s No Tomorrow by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The story opens with Lena waking up and not knowing where she is. Time moves backward. Lena keeps to herself and has more than a crush on her neighbor, Sebastian. She’s kind of a homebody and enjoys reading. We get to see into all aspects of Lena’s life and the choices she makes. My heart stopped a few times during the story because of suspense. It also stopped because of the fear of what happened to Lena and her friends and, for a while, not knowing which friends were involved in the accident. This heartfelt story teaches us that we’re all capable of making mistakes and wrong choices and we’re also capable of healing. We also need people to help us overcome and handle grief. 5 stars for another great young adult book from Jennifer L. Armentrout!

I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

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Thanks to Entangled Teen and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel. Angie has lived with her father since she was twelve. That’s when her mother died of an overdose and the abhorrent environment she was raising Angie in became headline news. Angie and her father live next to a house that was the site of a murder. This house seems to be haunted and has evil within its walls. Reece moves into the house with his mother and siblings and Angie can’t quite figure him out. They develop a relationship and learn the secrets each other is keeping. I like that Angie has other aspects of her life that make her happy and that everything doesn’t revolve around the guy next door. The mysteries of Angie’s past and the mysteries surrounding Reece kept the story interesting. I also enjoyed the friendship between Angie, Deno and Lacey. 4 stars for a suspense filled story!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.

Summoner by S. D. Grimm

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Teen for the opportunity to read and review Summoner by S.D. Grimm. Divining rods, a cemetery and a dare open the story. Allie’s new next door neighbor, Cody, is nice and is dealing with the aftereffects of an accident. Cody’s reluctant to discuss the accident and Allie eventually finds out why. For some reason, Allie is hearing a voice, blacks out and acts strange while she’s hearing the voice that no one else hears. It’s embarrassing her and she doesn’t want to tell anyone about the voice. Cody and Allie bond a friendship and more, become best friends and help each other with the struggles they’re both dealing with. The two of them fight together to end the existence of an evil that wants to conquer them. 4 stars for this romantic supernatural read.

Trust by Kylie Scott

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Trust by Kylie Scott opens when Edie is unknowingly caught in a convenience store during a robbery gone bad. John happens to be there also and he saves their lives because he happens to know the shooter, who is a friend of John’s older brother Dillon. The shooter is a drug addict with erratic behavior and ends up shooting the store clerk and Isaac, a young man who was with John. Edie feels extreme gratitude for John’s actions and lets the police know what he did. Edie changes schools after the robbery and enrolls in John’s school without realizing it. She’s surprised to see him in English class and he’s just as surprised to see her. Edie learns about his background but she isn’t deterred from being grateful to him. John and Edie become friends and rely on each other to cope with their experiences at the convenience store. Edie is cute and keeps to herself and John becomes protective of her. He’s also turning his life around. They are funny together and they made me laugh several times throughout the book. Realistic fiction with some new adult content, Trust is a great story that I couldn’t put down and I want to visit the characters again-5 stars.

Beast by Megan Crewe

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Beast by Megan Crewe caught my interest immediately! The opening of the story sets the tone of suspense and the tale is refreshingly told entirely from a male point of view. Max has been best friends with Davey since kindergarten. They throw a party at the lake with a bunch of friends and then Davey is horribly gouged by a beast that defies description. Davey’s external wounds heal miraculously fast while they speed to the hospital. He stays with Max and while Davey looks fine on the outside, he has violent flu symptoms. Eventually the symptoms stop and Davey feels better but he’s changed. His friends try to help every way they possibly can but they grow frightened of Davey as he becomes violent and erratic. This thriller kept me riveted and I read it straight through because of the suspense. 5 stars for a young adult supernatural horror!

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!