Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Hidden Pieces by Paula Stokes

Stokes, Paula. Hidden Pieces. HarperTeen, 2018. 978-0-062-67362-6. 448 p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.


From the Publisher: 

Embry Woods has secrets. Small ones about her past. Bigger ones about her relationship with town hero Luke and her feelings for someone new. But the biggest secret she carries with her is about what happened that night at the Sea Cliff Inn. The fire. The homeless guy. Everyone thinks Embry is a hero, too, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Embry thinks she’ll have to take the secret to her grave, until she receives an anonymous note—someone else knows the truth. Next comes a series of threatening messages, asking Embry to make impossible choices, forcing her to put her loved ones at risk. Someone is playing a high stakes game where no one in Embry’s life is safe. And their last move...is murder.


My Review: 





I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. 


Worried that everyone eventually will leave her, Embry doesn't share all of herself with many people. In fact, there's only one person who really knows her, and he's her best friend's ex-boyfriend. Immense guilt over choices she's made and things she's done prevents Embry from telling the truth to those she loves. When Embry begins to receive anonymous messages threatening to expose her biggest secrets and hurt the people she loves, Embry spirals into constant paranoia, suspecting everyone. 

THOUGHTS: At the heart of this page-turning mystery, readers will find one girl's many insecurities - about friendship, family, love, and future plans. Desperate to solve the mystery and anxious to know the damages, mystery fans will fly through this one. Underage drinking, descriptions of sex, and language make this suitable for most high school readers. 


#MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil

McNeil, Gretchen. #MurderTrending. Freeform, 2018. 978-1-368-01002-3. 352 p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.


From the Publisher: 

WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest 8/18 citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0.

When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one?


My Review: 



I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Dee Guerrera wakes up in the middle of a nightmare. She's been sentenced to live out the remainder of her days (which won't be many) on Alcatraz 2.0, a modern reality app where convicted criminals are sent to be hunted by one of many authorized serial killer personalities. With a reality television star elected President of the United States and the Department of Justice sold to the highest bidder, convicted criminals have little hope of surviving until an appeal date. Initially Dee isn't hopeful, but as things seem to go her way, she aims to prove her innocence. On an island of serial killers hunting down convicted criminals, is there anyone Dee can trust or anyone who will believe her? 

THOUGHTS: Teens hungry for fast-paced, serial killer fiction will rejoice with this YA title. #MurderTrending is an essential purchase where horror books are requested. Gruesome descriptions of death throughout the novel make this suitable for mature students. 


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Nine by Zach Hines

Hines, Zach. Nine. HarperTeen, 2018. 978-0-062-56726-0. 352 p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.


From the Publisher: 

In an alternate world startlingly close to our own, humans have nine lives—and they can’t wait to burn straight through them.

As you shed lives, you shed your awkward phases: one death is equal to one physical and mental upgrade. Julian’s friends are obsessed with the idea of burning lives, but Julian is determined to stay on his first for as long as he can. His mother, the ultimate cautionary tale, burned through her first eight in just a few years, and Julian has no intention of succumbing to the debilitating rebirth sickness that she inflicted on herself.

But the regime has death incentives aimed at controlling overpopulation, and Julian realizes that he’s going to have to burn at some point—especially when he becomes a target for Nicholas, the manipulative leader of the Burners, the school’s suicide club. And when Julian eventually succumbs, he uncovers suspicious gaps in the rebirth system that may explain exactly why his mother went so far down the rabbit hole years ago. Along with a group of student dissenters, Julian sets out to find answers and is soon on the verge of exposing the greatest conspiracy ever unleashed on the world.

He has just eight more lives to uncover the brutal truth.
 


My Review: 





I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. 


Enter a futuristic world that is eerily similar to our own except for one major difference - humans have nine lives. As they burn through their lives on a government sanctioned schedule, humans are reborn into new bodies with physical and mental upgrades. Burning through lives too quickly, though, can cause rebirth sickness (most similar to dementia). After seeing his own mother become unrecognizable with rebirth sickness, Julian is not interested in burning; in fact, he's one of the oldest ones in his school. With pressures from his peers and a desire to help his family, Julian joins the Burners, the schools secret suicide club that makes a mockery of burning through lives in an ostentatious manner. Not all is as it seems, though, and as Julian advances through lives, he begins to question the society in which he lives, determined to protect his family and find answers about what happened to his mom. 

THOUGHTS: This standalone will be great for fans of dystopians, looking at a unique new approach. Trigger warning: Group suicide is explicitly described (and encouraged) throughout this book. Specific, often graphic, and attention-getting methods are used, making this a mature high school read. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Little Do We Know by Tamara Ireland Stone

Stone, Tamara Ireland. Little Do We Know. Disney Hyperion, 2018. 978-1-484-76821-1. 304 p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.


From the Publisher: 

Next-door neighbors and ex-best friends Hannah and Emory haven’t spoken in months. Not since the fight—the one where they said things they couldn’t take back.

Now, Emory is fine-tuning her UCLA performing arts application and trying to make the most of the months she has left with her boyfriend, Luke, before they head off to separate colleges. Meanwhile, Hannah’s strong faith is shaken when her family’s financial problems come to light, and she finds herself turning to unexpected places—and people—for answers to the difficult questions she’s suddenly facing.

No matter how much Hannah and Emory desperately want to bridge the thirty-six steps between their bedroom windows, they can’t. Not anymore.

Until their paths cross unexpectedly when, one night, Hannah finds Luke doubled over in his car outside her house. In the aftermath of the accident, all three struggle to understand what happened in their own ways. But when a devastating secret about Hannah and Emory’s argument ultimately comes to light, they must all reexamine the things they hold true.

In alternating chapters, a skeptic and a believer piece together the story of their complex relationship and the boy caught somewhere in the middle. New York Times best-selling author Tamara Ireland Stone deftly crafts a moving portrait of faith, love, and friendship.

My Review: 


     


I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Ever since former best friends Emory and Hannah said things they couldn't take back, they haven't spoken or crossed the 36 steps separating their houses. 

Emory is preparing for the lead role in her school's production of Our Town and spending time with her boyfriend Luke before they go to separate colleges. With UCLA drama department auditions and Luke's lacrosse games to fill her time, Emory doesn't seem to notice Hannah's absence. 

Hannah begins to question her faith - the one thing she could always count on - when she learns about her family's financial crisis. She listens to her father's sermons differently and can't seem to get Emory's words out of her mind. When Hannah helps Luke in unexpected ways, all three teens begin to rethink their paths. 

THOUGHTS: Beautifully written with dual narrators, Little Do We Know is about losing yourself, your best friend, and your faith, then trying to find your way. Readers will appreciate the honest portrayal of these characters and their parents, who demonstrate that not every decision is the right one. Mature relationships are included, making this book most suitable for high school readers.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Goo, Maurene. The Way You Make Me Feel. Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books, 2018. 978-0-374-30408-9. 352 p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.


From the Publisher: 

From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn't so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? 

With Maurene Goo's signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.


My Review: 




I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 


With a young father who feels very chill and never follows through on punishments, Clara is known for pulling off epic pranks. When one goes too far and Adrian is called into the principal's office with other parents, he's ready to lay down the law. Instead of roaming free for the summer, Clara will spend it working on the KoBra, Adrian's food truck. To make matters worse, Clara's arch nemesis Rose will be joining her. If things don't go well, Clara can kiss her end of summer trip to visit her mom in Tulum, Mexico goodbye. 

Forced to work together in a confined space, Clara begins to see that Rose might not be so bad. Does being friendly with Rose mean she can't be friends with Felix and Patrick, and what about the coffee cart guy Hamlet? He's not Clara's type - at all! 

THOUGHTS: 
Readers will be hungry for LA's food truck cuisine after devouring this one. The Way You Make Me Feel is a fun and lighthearted summer read about growing up and features a great father-daughter relationship. With older characters and references to prom, it will be a hit in high schools, but it could be appropriate for younger readers too. 

Release by Patrick Ness

Ness, Patrick. Release. HarperTeen, 2017. 978-0-062-40319-3. 279 p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.


From the Publisher: 

Adam Thorn doesn’t know it yet, but today will change his life.

Between his religious family, a deeply unpleasant ultimatum from his boss, and his own unrequited love for his sort-of ex, Enzo, it seems as though Adam’s life is falling apart.  At least he has two people to keep him sane: his new boyfriend (he does love Linus, doesn’t he?) and his best friend, Angela.

But all day long, old memories and new heartaches come crashing together, throwing Adam’s life into chaos. The bindings of his world are coming untied one by one; yet in spite of everything he has to let go, he may also find freedom in the release.


My Review: 





Adam has never lived up to his parents' expectations like his golden boy brother (who is following in his preacher father's footsteps). Not openly out to his parents (though they suspect) and faced with saying goodbye to his ex, Adam spends the novel exploring the ways in which his life is changing - for his family, his new boyfriend Linus who he loves (but does he love him as much as Enzo?), his best friend Angela, and his boss and coworkers. 

Intertwined with Adam's story is a second narrative about a faun and his Queen which I did not get - at all.  

THOUGHTS: I listened to this book, and honestly, it wasn't the easiest book to stick with. While I enjoyed Adam's chapters, I really didn't understand the connection to the second narrative. Well-written, but not my favorite. 

The Opposite of Here by Tara Altebrando

Altebrando, Tara. The Opposite of Here. Bloomsbury YA, 2018. 978-1-681-19706-7. 256 p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.


From the Publisher: 

There's no hiding on a cruise ship-not even from yourself. 
Natalie's parents are taking her and her three best friends on a cruise for her seventeenth birthday. A sail-a-bration, they call it. But it's only been a few short months since Natalie's boyfriend died in a tragic accident, and she wants to be anywhere but here. 
Then she meets a guy on the first night and sparks fly. After a moonlit conversation on a secluded deck of the ship, Natalie pops down to her cabin to get her swimsuit so they can go for a dip. But when she returns, he's gone. Something he said makes her think he might have . . . jumped? No, he couldn't have. 
But why do her friends think she's crazy for wanting to make sure he's okay? Also, why do they seem to be hiding something from her? And how can she find him when she doesn't even know his name? Most importantly, why is the captain on the intercom announcing the urgent need for a headcount? 
With her signature thrilling storytelling, the author of The Leaving and The Possible explores our vulnerability to the power of suggestion-and the lies we tell others and ourselves-in a twisting, Hitchcock-inspired mystery with high stakes and dark secrets.


My Review: 





I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 


After losing her boyfriend to a tragic accident, Natalie's parents take her and her three best friends on a "sail-a-bration" cruise to distract her and help her move on. Not feeling the party vibe, Natalie takes a break on deck and meets someone, but she doesn't catch his name before losing track of him. When rumors about someone going overboard surface, Natalie worries she knows who it was. Caught up in her feelings and what happened to the mystery guy, Natalie can't enjoy herself until she knows the truth. 
THOUGHTS: Readers will want to know the outcome and find out who Natalie's mystery guy is and if he's okay. The premise of the "sail-a-bration" cruise and the amount of lack of transparency with the passengers seems far-fetched. An additional purchase where mysteries are popular.