Antisocial by Jillian Blake

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Received an advance copy from a Goodreads giveaway and Random House Children’s Publishing and NetGalley! Antisocial by Jillian Blake- Goodreads giveaway; Anna Has social anxiety disorder and this is her tale of her school year of ups and downs. Last semester she spent all of her time with Palmer, her new boyfriend, while inadvertently ignoring her friends. Now after the breakup, she’s trying to reconcile with her friends and some of them aren’t making it easy for her. Jethro is an amazing friend to Anna and he knows what he wants. Anna’s indecisiveness hurts Jethro and I kept thinking that she was throwing a great friendship away for a second time. Trying to figure out the story took me a bit, but once I understood where it was going, I dived right into the teen angst and emotional and relationship confusion. Oh, the joys of being a teenager. The regular teen rivalry increases to hateful when someone publicizes dirty laundry of a basketball player at a basketball game and then everyone jumps on the troll wagon. People and their secrets are exposed and friendships are ruined because of photos, texts, and all social media being revealed. Not only is this book a young adult contemporary but it’s also a great mystery. The suspense builds while the community deals with the aftermath and continuing cyber bullying. The author’s writing shows the complexity of the diverse characters and I grew to care about the main characters and my heart broke along with them and I also enjoyed their happy moments. 4 stars for this realistic fiction book!

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.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the opportunity to read and review All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. All the Bright Places cannot be described with one word. This book is tremendous in heartbreak, coping skills, love, loss and grabbing life and enjoying it while you can! The best line of the book is on page 23, “Some people hate him because they think he’s weird and he gets into fights and gets kicked out of school and does what he wants. Some people worship him because he’s weird and he gets into fights and gets kicked out of school and does what he wants.” This statement sums up the reputation of Theodore Finch. Finch is a mystery to everyone. Finch and Violet share the narrative through alternating points of view. Finch struggles with depression and Violet suffers from survivor’s guilt. Violet’s sister died in a car accident not long before the story begins. The awkwardness and humor between Finch and Violet pulled me into the story and made me love both of their characters! When the two were paired together for a class project, their lives intermingled in many ways and they helped each other grow and enjoy life. All the Bright Places is a beautiful story of loss, love and what comes after. I appreciate that the author approached the stigma of needing help and the people we all know as fakers. The author’s notes were soul bearing for her and she discussed difficult topics that tend to be overlooked in our society; way to face the tough parts of human nature! 5 stars for this highly recommended book.

Bang by Barry Lyga

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I checked out Bang by Barry Lyga on our school’s Overdrive ebooks site. The opening literally blew me away! The narrator states that his sister is gone. She’s gone because he killed her! He was four years old at the time and now he’s telling the story ten years later. The narrator, Sebastian is just living, but not enjoying anything. He’s consumed by guilt and doesn’t believe he has any right to be happy. Sebastian has been biding his time until the tenth anniversary of his sister’s death because that’s when he plans on taking his own life. This story is difficult reading at times, but other times it’s friendly and healing. I’m not going to spoil the book for you because it will take the curiosity away and this story is worth reading! Bang is contemporary, realistic fiction for a young adult audience and my rating is 4.5 stars.

Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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Tattoo by Jennifer Lynn Barnes features four friends on an adventure together. Delia, Annabelle and Zo are friends with the main character, Bailey. Bailey has a crush on Kane Lawson, which is portrayed honestly and in an awkwardly cute way. We’ve all had similar crush experiences;). The four friends are shopping at the mall and purchase fun accessories to match their personalities. Bailey chooses temporary tattoos because she can’t decide on anything else. The tattoo set contains four temporary tattoos, one for each friend. Each girl’s item and tattoo gives them unique powers, which they realize eventually. These powers come in handy when they have to save their classmates from an evil mythological character. Tattoo is a fun fantasy with the great bond of loyal friends; 4 stars!

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!

Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty

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Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Lock & Mori: Mind Games by Heather W. Petty. This sequel begins two weeks after the first book in the Lock & Mori series ends. Alice, a close friend of their mother, comes to stay with Mori and her brothers while their father is being investigated. A severed hand is found in the outside garbage can causing suspicion to fall on Mori. The four siblings try to go to school, but are bombarded by reporters and angry people. Alice helps more than the siblings could have imagined and even though their father has been arrested, he still continues to threaten their safety. This story keeps twisting and unraveling and then finally shows who the killer is and why. Mori loves her brothers and struggles to keep them safe and together and she shows maturity beyond her years. Lock and his brother Mycroft help keep the siblings safe and work with Mori to solve the murders that have been taking place. The author has created a complex story around Sherlock and Moriarty and they have a strong friendship and charming relationship. 5 stars for this suspenseful and thrilling mystery!

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!