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.

Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray

Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray! Katie Ray has previously published works under the name of Katie Kacvinsky and her books have been popular with my library patrons. I believe that this new book of Katie’s will be a popular read also. Don’t Kiss the Messenger is a retelling of sorts. The story line is similar to the play, Cyrano de Bergerac where inner beauty overpowers outer beauty. This book is intelligent and eloquent in many ways, while still staying a young adult contemporary story! CeCe and Emmett take turns by alternating points of view throughout the book. CeCe has a scar on the right side of her face that she prefers to not be the focal point when she meets someone for the first time. Emmett is new to the school and a known high school football player. They both attend Honors Shakespeare class and are partnered on the first day. CeCe and Emmett share the trait of clever wit and they have tremendous similarities with their tastes in and knowledge of music and literature. They are both intense and dedicated athletes also; CeCe is the captain of the volleyball team and Emmett is the star quarterback. I love this book with its romantic gestures, self-esteem building thoughts and loyalty and friendship. 5 stars for this amazing realistic fiction read!

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!

Other Breakable Things by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Entangled Publishing for the opportunity to read Other Breakable Things by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood! The beginning dropped my heart into my stomach. Immediately after, the story goes back three years and shows a mother waking her son, Luc, because there’s a heart available for his needed transplant. Back to the present beginning with Chapter One and Evelyn’s point of view. Then the chapters alternate between Luc and Evelyn. Evelyn has returned to town with her mother and, once again, they live with Evelyn’s grandmother. Luc and Evelyn were friends three years ago and when she moved away they kept in touch fairly well, until the past four months when Luc hadn’t replied to any of Evelyn’s emails. Luc has been dealing with transplant recovery and therapy but he doesn’t want Evelyn to pity him, so he doesn’t explain this to her. He has kept his sickness from her and she has no idea why he doesn’t feel well and no idea that he has undergone transplant surgery. While reading, we learn about what Luc has been through and what Evelyn’s life has been like. They have both kept things from each other. Now they try to rekindle their friendship and both want to be more than just friends, but they are afraid of scaring the other one off if they share their secrets. Luc doesn’t feel that it’s fair to Evelyn to become involved when he’s not sure how long he will be around and Evelyn has always kept her problems to herself. Little by little, they overcome their obstacles and are able to spend time together on an adventurous road trip to Oregon. I grew to love Luc and Evelyn and cared for their future together. Other Breakable Things is a wonderful love story with a heartfelt touch and appreciation for how short life can be; 5 stars!

Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. 3.5 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Books for the opportunity to read and review Foxlowe by Eleanor Wasserberg. The prologue starts with past events that will be explained later by the narrator. The prologue also gives the reader a glimpse into the past, present and future lives of some of the characters. The story is told in parts – Part One “Green”(past), Part Two “Jess” (present), Part Three “Green” (past). Green and Jess are different names for the same person and she is the narrator of the story. The people that live at Foxlowe all have two names; their Outside name that they came to Foxlowe with and their new name that they were given when they arrived at Foxlowe. The people that reside at Foxlowe are a cult type of society with initiation that causes injury. This initiation is also used as enlightenment, which I see as punishment and it involves stabbing your skin with multiple nails until bleeding occurs. The controlling leaders are strange and have insecurity issues and possible psychological issues. The details of the story are vague at some points and, as a reader, I am not sure how the people came to Foxlowe and how they keep getting members, such as Blue (the infant that shows up in the story). The author’s prose is beautiful and descriptive with the characters’ attributes and the surroundings of Foxlowe, but the point of the lifestyle was never explained. The tone is dark and abusive and I am sure more evil occurred behind the scenes due to the way the leaders treated the children. The Epilogue was a nice conclusion showing the future of Green and how Foxlowe had become a tourist spot. Beautiful writing but a very odd story- 3.5 stars.

Losing Kyler by Siobhan Davis

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I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book.
Losing Kyler by Siobhan Davis, is the second book of The Kennedy Boys series and broken hearts are as prominent as the dysfunction in this family. More secrets come out into the open and cause more family distress, along with one of Kyler’s brothers being accused of rape. Faye shows extreme maturity and true empathy for the situation that her mother and her new guardian James found themselves in many years ago. I appreciate how open minded she tries to be and this shows that she is wise for her age. Her wisdom helps everyone else deal with their struggles. This second book has so much going on that it is intense reading! Siobhan Davis pulls it all together so well and in such a smooth way that makes the suspense build and when the ending hit, I just wanted to read the next book in the series immediately! I am in awe of Siobhan’s writing and I love her style. She has taken a good story and made it great and brings the characters to life realistically. I am looking forward to reading more about the Kennedy boys! 5 stars for this engrossing romantic story!

The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter by J.S. Drangsholt

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Received a free ebook as a Goodreads giveaway.
The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter by J.S. Drangsholt is about a mother, wife and a college employee struggling to find happiness and contentment. Ingrid lives with her three children in a small house with her husband. She seems to be having difficulty with all aspects of her home and work life. Problems and misfortunes pile up and she feels overwhelmed. She mistakenly offers too much money for a house bid, things get crazier at work and little mistakes compound into bigger problems. A story that we can all relate to because sometimes life feels like it’s getting out of hand. 4 stars for this realistic fiction aimed toward an adult audience.

The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Books for the opportunity to read and review The Education of Margot Sanchez. Right off the bat, Margot Sanchez seems and acts like a spoiled brat who is lost and trying to find herself, but so self absorbed that she can’t see that she’s not the only person on earth that matters. She’s being punished for stealing while she was away at an expensive school and, now that’s she’s home for the summer, she has to work at her family’s supermarket to earn the money for what she stole plus enough money to pay for her tuition to attend the same school again in the fall. She feels as though she’s above working there and is embarrassed by her upbringing. During the summer, Margot’s eyes are opened slowly to some things, such as how she treats others, and opened quickly to how dysfunctional her family truly is. Margot matures and learns to value friendship and she begins to find herself and her place in the world. 4 stars for this believable realistic fiction story.

The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski

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The Boyfriend Whisperer by Linda Budzinski is a fun, young adult clean read! Lexi has made a small business of helping young women gain the attention of guys they are interested in. She calls herself The Boyfriend Whisperer and no one knows it’s Lexi, except her assistant Abi. All seems fine until Lindsay hires the boyfriend whisperer to help her get Chris, Lexi’s best friend and long time crush. Lexi questions her matchmaking business, her friendships, her future as a basketball player and even her relationship with Chris. It becomes a roller coaster ride of teen angst and young love. This realistic fiction and romance story is cute and charming with a wide range of characters that keep Lexi on her toes; 5 stars for this enjoyable read!

The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Dundurn for the opportunity to read and review The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead. This story is told in four points of view beginning with Clementine, and telling the story of Kit and how he died, which is a mystery. The target audience is right on as described by the publisher – 12 to 15 years. Clementine, Jake and Ellie are part of the group who last saw Kit, who has special needs. Ellie is blackmailing Clementine for favors, such as lying to her parents so Ellie doesn’t get in trouble when she’s doing something she knows she shouldn’t be. The blackmail has ruined their friendship and Clementine finally decides to tell Ellie it’s over. Holding in and denying their secrets is tearing each of them apart and destroying their relationships. When the truth finally comes out, the community can finally heal. Aimed towards young teens with a passion for mystery and realistic fiction, 3.5 stars.