Turtles All the Way Down

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Turtles All the Way Down by John Green opens with Aza as she struggles with self-confidence and feeling like she never belongs. Her best friend and support is Daisy and the two of them set out to earn a reward for finding a missing billionaire. This mystery brings more interest to the story and the dynamic characters are fun, humorous and entertaining as well deep thinking. The three main characters, Aza, Daisy and Davis all bring a lot of interest to the story plus the side characters add an extra depth. I appreciate how John Green portrays mental illness with realism and deeply detailed prose. The author’s note at the end offers insight into his own personal struggles and also help and hotline information. 5 stars for a great portrayal of the human mind and its struggles!

All Things New by Lauren Miller

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Thanks to NetGalley and Three Saints Press for the opportunity to read and review All Things New by Lauren Miller. Jessa struggles with anxiety and panic attacks. She can’t seem to deal with life very well. After her accident, she’s dealing with so much more than she was before, plus the scars on her face. She refuses to talk about why she’s angry with Wren or anything that’s bothering her. Jessa agrees to move to Colorado with her dad and attend an art school. She makes some friends and builds a relationship with her dad while learning to deal with the aftermath of the accident. Along with her anxiety and scars, Jessa sees bruises and scars on people even though their faces are blemish free. She realizes that she’s hallucinating and her mind is seeing what isn’t there. Jessa works on her confidence, the relationship with her father and building friendships and trust in others. As she’s doing these things, Jessa grows and understands more than the eye can see. 4 stars for this eye-opening realistic fiction novel for young adult readers!
I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

 

First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy

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Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to read and review this book! First We Were IV by Alexandra Sirowy involves a group of teenagers that make a secret society and a pact so they will always stay friends. Izzie, Graham, Viv and Harry create the Order of IV as their secret society and their reasoning for taking dares and beyond. The four teenagers want to right the wrongs in their community and make sure justice is received by victims and served by the perpetrators. Their relationships grow and change as they discover the guilty and find out who really caused the death of a Jane Doe that became known as Goldilocks and who caused Harry’s father’s accident. Tragedy takes away more than just a friend, it completely changes their lives. 4 stars for a twisting young adult story.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.

The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst

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The Queen Of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst is an ebook I checked out on Overdrive through Delta High School’s access. The story opens with a mythical quality and the setting of the village in the trees is described beautifully. The first chapter is in Daleina’s Point of view and alternates with Champion Ven. A few chapters are in Queen Fara’s point of view. The Queen is a complex and complicated character. She’s continuously having replacements trained to become Queen. There’s an academy where training takes place to turn girls into heirs for the Queen. She’s tired of hearing about being replaced and she seems to have an underlying cunning and possible ruthlessness. Daleina travels and trains with Ven and the healer Hamon and they take great care of her and help her when she loses her eyesight. The three companions visit the village that Daleina was born in and where her family still resides. She’s saddened by how much time has changed her home. As a challenge, Queen Fara wants Daleina to reclaim a lost village and the village happens to be her hometown. She’s supposed to claim the village from the spirits, then rebuild it and make it safe. Her companions think the Queen is cruel to ask this of Daleina. As often as she works well with her companions and other candidates and proves to others that she’s capable, Daleina never gets over her self-doubt and insecurities. Ven and Hamon have always been confident in Daleina though. The world is interesting and unique because the people completely rely on spirits for everything from warmth, growing vegetation, cooking and all things that come from air, earth, water, trees and fire. The spirits have a natural tendency and desire to destroy all that is human- people and their creations. The story picked up the pace towards the ending and I’m looking forward to reading the sequel, The Reluctant Queen. 4 stars for this new vision of a fantasy world.