M School by Kevin T. Johns

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M school by Kevin T. Johns packs a punch! Lilith has the emotions and mannerisms of a sociopath. She blends into school life fine and she’s a great goalie for their soccer team. The captain of the team and Lilith’s best friend is brutally murdered and the loss devastates the school. The soccer coach approaches Lilith and states that he needs a replacement for Lara. Immediately, Lilith thinks he means as a soccer captain and when he states that’s not the replacement he needs, she assumes it’s as a sex partner replacement and she becomes extremely and awkwardly uncomfortable. It takes the coach a bit to realize what she’s thinking. He’s a bit flabbergasted, but the truth is even harder for Lilith to believe. Coach Taylor and Lara are undercover agents for M School and they’re trying to take care of The Dissidents, a domestic terrorist organization. Lilith’s life changes completely after she is recruited to M School. Her parents believe that Lilith will be attending school for gifted students but she’s going to become a trained killer. All Lilith wants is vengeance for Lara’s murder but she gets so much more. The M School setting is creative and the characters are strong, but in turmoil. 4 stars for this action packed adrenaline rush of a story!

I received an arc from author for a fair review.

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

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Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the opportunity to read and review Little Monsters by Kara Thomas! Kacey and her younger stepsister, Lauren, sneak out of the house with Bailey and Jade, two of Kacey’s friends. On a Friday night, they venture to the local haunted site and the snowy roof collapses in on them. They’re spooked and run away. Alternately, Bailey tells the story of the night she supposedly caused the popular high school football player to wreck and her story continues to be told throughout the rest of the book using her journal entries in interspersing chapters. Bailey and Jade attend a party and Bailey is not seen again. She’s reported missing and the community rallies together to help find her. The suspect list changes and grows while Bailey is still missing and presumed dead by most of the community. The suspicion and the suspense keep twisting and kept me riveted to the very end. 5 stars for this realistic mystery!

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.

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!

Project Pandora by Aden Polydoros

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Project Pandora by Aden Polydorus. Several teenagers are under a trance and are ordered to kill and commit other crimes for someone that goes by the name of Zeus. The mystery surrounding the teens unravels throughout the story as their pasts are explained and, while their memories gradually return, we see the torture they underwent as part of the experiment they evolved from. The teens have three names each: the regular name they go by, a mythological name and a number. The story is told through their alternating points of view, which is intense and suspenseful. Hades’ story is a bit different from the other teenagers and his is more heartbreaking and tragic, more complicated and interesting. Project Pandora is a multiple genre book which can be classified as science fiction, dystopian and mystery. Worthy of 5 stars because of its riveting plot and the steady unraveling of the mystery.

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.

Just a Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi

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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.

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.

The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. Highley

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Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read and review The Perfectly Imperfect Match by Kendra C. Highley! Dylan focuses on his baseball future only and Lucy is focusing on her future sewing business. While Dylan feels like he has to have his life extremely controlled, Lucy is flighty. An awkward moment pushes them to notice each other. Dylan is also the baseball little league coach for Lucy’s brother, Otis. This is hopeful and unhelpful at the same time. The two of them are attracted to each other, but seem bound to grate on each other’s nerves. Both teens are busy with their own lives, families and relationships and they can’t decide if they should try a relationship together or not and they are both wishy-washy to each other, which gives mixed signals. Fun and frustrating describes their relationship and they have to decide what is most important in their lives. 4 stars for quirky characters and a book full of interesting supporting personalities and side stories!

Pixelated by L.S. Murphy

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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!