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.

Streaks of Blue by Jack Chaucer

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to Jack Chaucer for the opportunity to read and review his book, Streaks of Blue, book one of the Nikki White series! Nikki is befriending two students that she suspects need friends to prevent them from committing a horrendous act of violence after she has a dream that she feels is a premonition. Adam appreciates Nikki but Thomas doesn’t. Nikki discovers, along with Adam, how much Adam is truly dealing with. Through the ups and downs of friendship, Nikki and Adam grow and realize that people’s decisions are what make them, develop who they become and create the life they are living. The story pulls at the heart with emotions, startles the heart with suspense and washes away burden and brings out hope for our future. 5 stars for an honest and open story of realistic fiction and circumstances of real life. I appreciate the author’s nod to a fellow author, Cheryl Strayed and her memoir of her struggles and overcoming them. I look forward to reading the rest of the Nikki White series!

Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Spencer Hill Press for the opportunity to read and review Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher! A wonderful story of finding what you are capable of and figuring out what you truly want in life AND giving everything you have to accomplish both. Savannah is recovering from a gymnastic injury and trying to figure out how to deal with life without gymnastics. Her life gets fuller and she has to decide on her priorities compared to the people around her. The surrounding characters grew on me and the author’s writing made them feel realistic and the struggles of these characters were dimensional, just like real life. I love this book; 5 stars for a must read realistic fiction!

You Belong to Me by Mamoru Suzuki

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Museyon for the opportunity to read and review You Belong to Me by Mamoru Suzuki! This beautiful picture book comprised of simple yet elegant illustrations creates a safe and comfortable feeling, which this book is trying to portray. The illustrations are colored sketches that feel natural and bring a relaxed atmosphere to the story. I rate You Belong to Me 4 stars for a book that makes you feel loved!

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!

Girl Rising by Tanya Lee Stone

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read and review Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time by Tanya Lee Stone! The research done by Tanya Lee Stone after watching the film, Girl Rising, is attributed to the film producers sharing over forty-five hours of video interviews with her. The author combed through the videos to find touching, true, heartbreaking stories that will open up our eyes to what is happening to so many innocent young women and girls all over the world. The whole concept of Girl Rising is overwhelming and a vicious cycle. Families having too many children and they can’t afford to take care of them, so they sell or trade their daughters off to continue the cycle with another generation. The entire time I was reading this book, I kept thinking about birth control and trying to brainstorm some way of stopping the injustice. The cultural reasoning is one-sided and doesn’t take into account the loss of education and childhood/teenage-hood that these girls are missing out on. A girl’s eye view of human slavery, child marriage, lack of education and educational opportunities make this a difficult book to read, but we all need to be aware. This book is inspiring because of the highlighted stories and struggles that these girls have overcome – 4 stars! I want to get books to these places, if possible, so these young women and girls have a chance to read even if they can’t attend school on a daily basis.

Nice Girls Endure

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“Received an advance reader copy for a fair review.”

Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read and review Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn! Chelsea is an overweight teenager who takes after her father in many ways; personality, likes, dislikes, talent and genetics. The doctor suggests Calorie Counts, a weight loss program run by Bridgette, who helps Chelsea see that her self esteem is more important than anything else. Chelsea has four favorite people: her dad, Bridgette, Melody and Trevor (classmates). Chelsea tries to get involved and make friends, but then bullies set her back. The bullying is already bad enough on its own, but they send pictures of everything online for everyone to see. This book is a touching and inspiring story of the challenges we have to deal with in life and the different ways we can strengthen ourselves. 4.5 stars!