Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read and review The Boundless Sublime by Lili Wilkinson. Ruby and her mother are barely surviving after the loss of Anton, Ruby’s brother. Their grief is overwhelming and Ruby blames herself for what happened to Anton. She meets a unique young man and meets his “family”. His name is Fox and he lives in a sort of commune. Ruby goes with Fox to the Outreach building and she decides that she wants to learn more, so she attends the secret Institute and gets more than she bargained for. Any disobedience and you’re thrown in a cell-type room with no food or water for days until you are “elutriated” according to the leader who claims he’s the Daddy of all. Boundless Sublime frightens with its suspense and feelings of entrapment. As the synopsis states, this book is an “immersive thriller”, eye-opening as well as heartbreaking, with its tale of manipulation and a cult-like community led by a charlatan. 5 stars for a book I couldn’t put down!
Thanks to Riveted Lit and Simon & Schuster for the chance to read The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson. Beautiful descriptions of all that Andrew senses bring the story instantly to life. The book description on Goodreads contained the statement, “partly graphic novel”, because the character, Andrew, creates a graphic novel about Patient F, a superhero. Andrew survived something tragic and hides out and lives in the hospital where his family members died. He makes friends with hospital workers and patients and he has an effect on each of them. He eventually has to face terms with hiding behind the fake persona he’s created when everything seems to be falling apart around him. Tastefully written and heart wrenching, The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley ends with hope in sight, worth 5 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Ink Monster for the opportunity to read and review Deadly Sweet by Lola Dodge! Anise wants to be a bake chef for a living but she’s having difficulties being accepted into college. After she causes a large fire at the fair, Anise believes that her future is over until her Aunt Agatha reaches out to her to become her new apprentice. A new world opens up for Anise when she reaches the magical community where Aunt Agatha’s bakery is located. Anise is able to attend college, make friends and is even given a bodyguard for her protection. Because Anise is Agatha’s niece, she’s considered to be rich and therefore in danger of being attacked. Little does she know that a warlock is after her and is willing to do whatever it takes to get what he wants. The magical bakery makes the whole setting fun and the suspense and danger build as the story is told. The fun setting and loyal characters make this read a sweet treat worth 4 stars.
Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza has a bright, fun cover that entices readers. Kat has just started at a new school. Meg attends this school and the two of them become partners for their class Science Project. Neither one of them has any truly good friends and, little by little they grow a friendship beginning with their mutual love of a certain video game. Through the ups and downs of growing up and building relationships, Kat and Meg discover how to cope and enjoy their lives and accept themselves just as they are. You never know when you’re going to find a friend! The maturity level of the two main characters didn’t always feel consistent, but otherwise, this book is a fun read that young teens will be able to relate to. 3.5 stars for this realistic fiction written for teens.
Thanks to NetGalley and Ink Monster for the opportunity to read and review One S’more Summer by Beth Merlin! This is a fun story filled with summer camp adventures and relationship struggles. Gigi is at a rough place and becomes a camp counselor to escape and hopefully regroup before she heads back to her regular life as unemployed and single, after a confusing affair. Perry has been a summer counselor for four years and he’s dealing with his own supposed skeletons in the closet. Gigi treats Perry with only anger, assuming he’s arrogant and immature when she hasn’t even given him a chance. Over the summer and in spite of their bad start, Gigi and Perry began to confide in each other and realize they have a lot in common. Gigi can’t seem to get away from her past and she faces everything head on, thanks to the support of her friends and family. The ending is cute and hopeful after the tumultuous distrust and intensity. One S’more Summer weaves a realistic and rocky story of how relationships come and go and how we handle them and how we deal with the in-betweenness of being single. 5 stars!
Thanks to Entangled Publishing and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Breaking the Ice by Julie Cross! Fletcher seems to have many things he wants to hide and Haley has a good heart and great values. The two of them are working on a class project together and sometimes get along fairly well and at other times they can barely tolerate each other. I enjoyed Off the Ice (the first book in the Juniper Falls series) immensely and Breaking Ice is just as good, dealing with bullying, sexuality, family, learning disabilities and the stressful experience of intense allergies. Unique aspects of solitude and the consequences of social and parental pressures are addressed also. I love the dancing and the teacher who’s willing to work with and help her students based on their individual needs! The only drawback is the often used f-word, which I felt was unnecessary to the story being told. 4.5 stars for a thought provoking story!
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.
Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone for the opportunity to read and review Project You by Aubre Andrus! Just reading the Table of Contents made me feel relaxed and helped me look forward to reading the book. Full of de-stressing activities to help you take care of yourself and feel at peace. Self-care and self-help tips for almost every stressor plus feng shui principles, calming recipes and activities as well as energizing and replenishing tips are found in this book, along with happy music lists categorized by decade, ideas for starting a new hobby and the importance of laughing, ideas about a gratitude journal and a worry box and a cupcake for one recipe for a single serve treat. The book also has a section that explains the benefits of exercise and sunlight and sections for ideas for 30-day challenges to tackle goals, nature journals, inspiring songs list to energize, challenging yourself to build confidence and recipes and ideas for pampering yourself. Project You gives the reader help and resources for a variety of reasons. I am buying this book for the school library. 5 stars!
*I received a complimentary arc of this book for voluntary consideration.
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.
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!