Release by Patrick Ness

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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.

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.

Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O’Beirne

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I voluntarily read and reviewed Future Leaders of Nowhere by Emily O’Beirne. Finn is attending a camp for overachievers. The campers are divided into two teams and Finn becomes the reluctant leader of her team. Willa is the leader of another team. Several teams are created and given directions and rules to pretend each team and its territory (each team has been given a spot of land with different attributes) are a real part of civilization. The teams compete and combine together if they choose to, and see who creates and sustains their society. The story is about relationships and self-awareness as well as the skills of these select groups of students. It is also a survival adventure and part LGBT, tastefully written. The book is interesting because of the differences of leadership styles and skills and the array of personalities that make up each team. Realistic fiction and a well written young adult story; 4 stars! FYI: There’s a sequel planned for release in Fall of 2017, All the Ways to Here by Emily O’Beirne.

The Wishing Heart by J.C. Welker

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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 Wishing Heart by J.C. Welker! As the story opens, Rebel is breaking into a rich London apartment. She thinks of herself as a modern day Robin Hood, but she keeps the loot for herself so she can make wishes. She’s an orphan living in a dreary institute run by an unkind matron and needs all the happiness she can find. She steals a golden vase, not realizing that it’s actually a vessel holding a jinni named Anjeline. Rebel has a heart condition and she ventures on a journey to free Anjeline and repair her own heart. Along the way, they run into a variety of characters and creatures, some friendly and some dangerous. Rebel learns about her parentage and all of its mysteries. This story brings fantasy, mythology, supernatural and LGBT together tastefully and smoothly. The author, J. C. Welker, has a goal, “…to work toward giving a voice to LGBTQ stories, while facing magic and monsters along the way. “. 4 stars for a job well done!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

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I have finally gotten around to reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. This book is monumental and legendary in how it faces life head on. The story contains everything from adolescence that defines us – teen angst, popularity or lack thereof, family struggles, dysfunctional families and the relationships that we form during this impressionable time that will help shape our futures. Empowering and overwhelming, this contemporary classic bears its soul for the world to see, learn from and to grow with- 5 stars!

The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen

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The You I’ve Never Known by Ellen Hopkins confronts many difficult and possibly controversial circumstances. A young woman lives with her father, but they never stay in one place very long. Ariel loves her father when he isn’t drinking or being too overprotective. Other times he is abusive and angry. Ariel and her father finally stay in one place for an entire school year and she makes friends that she feels comfortable with. She is struggling with her sexuality because her father has always claimed that her mother is a lesbian. Ariel isn’t sure about what she wants or who she wants it with. Another story is being told alternately with Ariel’s. Maya also struggles with family situations and friendships. The stories of these two young women hold a strong, emotional mystery that knocked my socks off! In Ellen Hopkins standard writing, the mystery unfolds. 4 stars for an emotional book full of growth!

Chasing Truth

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks to Entangled Teen for the arc of Chasing Truth by Julie Cross! Wow, what a ride! This adventure, mystery, thriller, romance, young adult story held my attention from beginning to end.

Chasing Truth is cleverly written, with complex main characters and side characters, and mysterious because the main character has hidden agendas and a secrecy surrounding her. I like Ellie (Eleanor) with her clever, quick wit and the fact that she seems to care about people and also values integrity in others. Ellie’s friend, Simon, supposedly committed suicide but the investigation into his death is ongoing. This book is hard to put down and I just wanted to keep reading, but alas, life needs to be lived;).

I loved this line, “This makes me hate him 2 percent less, which is useful when I have to pretend not to hate him”. I laughed out loud! It’s priceless! Out of context, this line doesn’t make much sense, but when you get to know Ellie and how she is dealing with her con-artist background while trying to be normal, it makes great dialogue!

The mysterious background of Ellie and the mystery surrounding Simon’s death kept me riveted throughout the book, 5 stars!

Three Truths and a Lie

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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon Pulse for the arc of Three Truths and a Lie by Brent Hartinger! This suspenseful mystery thriller involves four friends who go away for the weekend. Rob, Liam, Galen and Mia all go to Mia’s family cabin in logging territory. They play the game Three Truths and a Lie and after that, strange things start to happen and they wonder if someone wants to cause them harm. The suspense builds and the mystery stays unsolved. The story winds itself around to the beginning of the weekend and all is explained. This book contains some explicit sex, just to be warned, but is psychologically twisted and maddeningly interesting and a wonderful mystery thriller read!