Wednesday, May 31, 2017

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

McManus, Karen M. One of Us Is Lying. Delacorte Press, 2017. 978-1-524-71468-0. 368 p. $10.99. Gr. 9 and up.  


From the Publisher: 

One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
 

My Review: 




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

Five very different high school students walk into detention. They’re known for being smart, pretty, dangerous, athletic, or outcast. Within a few minutes of being stuck together, something seems off. It turns out science teacher Mr. Avery confiscated a phone from each of them, phones they claim don't belong to them. The problem: Only four students walked out of detention.

While four students are distracted, Simon collapses. 911 is called, the police ask questions, and meanwhile everyone in detention wonders what just happened. Was Simon targeted? He created an app that shares everyone’s juicy gossip. It’s not unreasonable to think someone wanted the gossip to stop, or maybe it was simply revenge.

Narrated by each student, readers are taken on a fast-paced whodunit ride. Each character has his or her own drama to deal with as rumors circulate, and mystery surrounds each suspect. Though these students know each other, this book asks how much do they really know? Readers will quickly learn not all is as it seems.

THOUGHTS: Mystery fiction fans will devour this book, puzzling the details as bits and pieces of the story are given. The multiple narrators add a compelling element as readers will want to know the next piece of the story. Don’t skip around, or you’ll miss out on some key evidence!    
     

Friday, May 19, 2017

Follow Me Back by A.V. Geiger

Geiger, A.V. Follow Me Back. Sourcebooks Fire, 2017. 978-1-492-64523-8. 368 p. $10.99. Gr. 9 and up.  


From the Publisher: 

Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…

Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.

When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast—like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…

Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts.



My Review:



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

Something happened to Tessa that made her an agoraphobic; she hasn't left her house, more specifically her room, since she returned from New Orleans in June. She has limited access to the outside word and relies on her phone, Twitter, and Wattpad. Tessa feels safe in the anonymous worlds she writes with fanfiction about Eric Thorn. 

Eric Thorn was thrown into the spotlight when he rocketed to the top of the music charts, gaining instant fame - and a lot of fans. Eric feels trapped by his recording contract and his fame. Since a fellow singer was murdered by a crazed fan, Eric has become fearful of his fans and bitter about the life he is forced to live.  

Among his tons of fans, Eric connects with Tessa on Twitter. They both feel a connection with each other and look forward to their daily DM conversations. Meeting in real life is a risk for both of them, but is it one they should take? 

Set in the present and the past, readers are given bits of the story as told by Tessa and Eric, their tweets and direct messages, and their police interviews. This fast-paced drama will attract those of the tech generation. While the terminology may become outdated as technology changes, this book will fly off of the shelves today. 


Sunday, May 7, 2017

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley



Crowley, Cath. Words in Deep Blue. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2017. 978-1-101-93764-8. 288 p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.  

From the Publisher: 


Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.
 
 

My Review: 




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

Rachel and Henry were the best of friends until three years ago on the eve of her move to the Australian coast, Rachel left Henry a letter that declared her love for him and told him to call, no matter what time. Henry never called. Instead, he fell in love with Amy. 


Fast-forward three years. Heartbroken in their own ways, Rachel and Henry meet back up when Rachel returns to the city for a distraction from her grief over brother's death. They reconnect in Henry's family's adorable secondhand bookshop, Howling Books. While Rachel catalogs the Letter Library - a room in the bookshop where visitors may leave markings, notes, or letters within the pages of a book - Henry tries to help her heal by writing letters to her. 


Narrated by Rachel and Henry and interspersed with letters and notes from the Letter Library, Crowley expertly writes about grief and missed opportunities. At its heart, Words in Deep Blue is about second chances - in life, friendship, and love - and learning how to move forward when living seems impossible. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith

From the Publisher: 

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.
 
 

My Review: 





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

Alice, Teddy, and Leo have been together through a lot, and luck did not bring them together. Alice moved across the country at age 9 to live with her cousin Leo and his family after both of her parents died a year apart from each other. Teddy’s dad disappeared after losing his family’s apartment as a result of gambling debts. Nine years later they’re the best of friends, and their luck seems like it’s about to change. The lottery ticket Alice gives Teddy for his 18th birthday is a winner, a $140 million winner to be exact. What Teddy sees as a blessing, Alice sees as a curse; she’s had more than enough change for one lifetime. With delicate ease, Smith demonstrates how fears can hold us back and how difficult change can be. Windfall approaches many topics like loss, grief, gambling, graduating, families, and relationships while asking what would you do if you won the lottery, and would it change you for the better?  

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

From the Publisher: 
Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.
   

My Review: 




Brashares, Ann. The Whole Thing Together. Delacorte Press, 2017. 978-0-3-857-36893. 304 p. $18.99. Gr. 9 and up. 


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

Though they share a bedroom on opposite weeks at their families' beach house on Long Island, Ray and Sasha have never met. Family is a complicated term for these two teens who share three older half sisters (Ray with his mom and Sasha with her dad). From mutual childhood toys to books with notes written in the margins, Ray and Sasha's lives are more intertwined than one would expect, considering they've never met. They're like siblings, and something about sharing a space has become almost intimate. Not everything is sunshine and summery as one may expect of a book set at the beach. The carefully constructed modern day blended family dynamics show just how complex relationships can be. Told through multiple points of view, Brashares's The Whole Thing Together will charm readers with it's idealistic setting and family drama. 

Thoughts: Having never read the iconic Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, I was looking forward of getting a taste of Brashares's writing. For me The Whole Thing Together didn't disappoint. I loved reading about dysfunctional family dynamics and a summer of change as described by multiple narrators and set at the beach