Friday, October 27, 2017

The Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle

Hoyle, McCall. The Thing with Feathers. Blink, 2017. 978-0-310-75851-8. 304 p. $17.99. Gr. 9 and up.


From the Publisher: 

Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.

Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.

Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”
 


My Review: 





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

Emilie is perfectly fine staying in the safety of her home with her mom and best friend (her seizure dog). She disagrees with her mom and her therapist: attending public school is not a good idea. She doesn't want to be known as "that girl that has seizures." When Emilie starts school, she makes a decision not to tell anyone about her epilepsy. As she gets closer to her friends and a boy she's paired with her decision not to reveal her medical condition becomes more and more critical. But it's been months since Emilie seized, so she'll be okay, right?

THOUGHTS: Readers will fly through this light-hearted and realistic sweet novel about what it means to be different and what lengths we will go to hide our differences. With a compelling storyline - Will she or won't she tell? Will she or won't she seize? - readers will fall in love with Emilie as she experiences public school, friendship, and first love.



In Some Other Life by Jessica Brody

Brody, Jessica. In Some Other Life. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017. 978-0-374-38076-2. 464 p. $17.99. Gr. 10 and up.

From the Publisher: 

Kennedy Rhodes turns down an acceptance to an elite private school, instead choosing to stay at her high school and jump at the opportunity to date the boy of her dreams. Three years later, Kennedy walks in on that same boyfriend cheating with her best friend—and wishes she had made a different choice. But when Kennedy hits her head and wakes up in the version of her life where she chose to attend the private school, she finds that maybe it’s not as perfect of a world as she once thought. 

My Review: 





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

It's hard not to go through life - at least parts of it - without wondering "what if?" Kennedy has gone through high school and achieved great things for herself. She's editor of her award winning high school newspaper, and has big plans for college and her future career. But she always has the nagging "what if?" in the back of her mind. What if she hadn't chosen public school over the elite private school she wanted to attend? 

After witnessing her boyfriend and best friend kissing, Kennedy has a bit of a meltdown and eventually rushes to the campus she could have attended. What if she had chosen differently and skipped the possibility of a relationship? While getting a glimpse into what could have been, Kennedy is knocked over and bumps her head. When she wakes up her world flips upside down, and the choice she wishes she had made years ago is suddenly a reality. Kennedy has to realize that things aren't always what they seem, and the grass isn't always greener on the other side. 


THOUGHTS: I loved this sweet "what if?" story. It goes a long way in showing readers that things aren't always what they seem - in life and in the happy, smiling posts they see on social media. Life isn't always sunshine and happiness. For all the readers who have ever wondered what if I made a different choice, this is a great read! 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Meant to Be by Julie Halpern

Halpern, Julie. Meant to Be. Feiwel & Friends, 2017. 978-1-250-09498-8. 320 p. $17.99. Gr. 10 and up.

From the Publisher: 



In a world where the names of MTBs—"meant to be" mates—appear on the body at age eighteen, a girl must decide whether to believe the phenomenon or follow her heart in this YA novel.

It started happening a few years ago: the names of MTBs—"meant to be" mates—appeared emblazoned on the skin at age eighteen. Agatha's best friend has embraced the phenomenon and is head over heels in love with her MTB. But Ag isn't so sure. As she searches the interwebs for her MTB (who has a common name, no less) she finds herself falling for a co-worker at the local amusement park. Is he a better match? What does Agatha really want in a mate, and moreover, what does she want for herself?

With her trademark wit and irreverence, acclaimed author Julie Halpern explores an age-old question: Who are we meant to be with? Readers won't be able to resist knowing the answer.

My Review: 




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

When it comes to love, Agatha Abrams is disenchanted. Her parents' relationship didn't survive the MTBs (meant to be), and she firmly believes in free will and choices. Instead of jumping for joy and spending a lot of money to locate her meant to be (or even conducting an online search for him), Aggy rebels against the system. She is determined to fall in love on her own terms - when, where, and with whom she wants. Who more appropriate than Luke, they boy she's been crushing on for the past few years at her summer amusement park job. 

Meanwhile, Aggy's best friend Lish has found her meant to be and fallen head over heels in love - and she's moving way too fast for Aggy! Aggy is begins to question the future she planned and wonders if anyone else feels the way she does. 

THOUGHTS: 
Aggy isn't sure college is for her, and she fights against the norms of society, much like teenagers often do. I really wanted to like this book. I loved the idea of MTBs and a teen girl rebelling against society's new norm of finding one's soul mate; however, I wanted more. How could the "meant to be" phenomenon exist for years without more of an uprising? Many preexisting relationships in the society crumble...did no one fight for the love they had? I wanted more answers. That said, I sometimes loved Aggie and her best friend complemented each other. Without giving too much away, I could have read a whole novel that started with the last few weeks in the book and skipped the whole summer fling. This book is definitely for a more mature audience, as the summer fling had casual, unsatisfying sex, fairly graphically described. 

When I Am Through with You by Stephanie Kuehn

Kuehn, Stephanie. When I Am Through with You. Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2017. 978-1-101-99473-3. 304 p. $17.99. Gr. 10 and up.


From the Publisher: 

“This isn’t meant to be a confession. Not in any spiritual sense of the word. Yes, I’m in jail at the moment. I imagine I’ll be here for a long time, considering. But I’m not writing this down for absolution and I’m not seeking forgiveness, not even from myself. Because I’m not sorry for what I did to Rose. I’m just not. Not for any of it.”

Ben Gibson is many things, but he’s not sorry and he’s not a liar. He will tell you exactly about what happened on what started as a simple school camping trip in the mountains. About who lived and who died. About who killed and who had the best of intentions. But he’s going to tell you in his own time. Because after what happened on that mountain, time is the one thing he has plenty of.



My Review: 




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

Unreliable from the start, Ben tells the story of what happened on the mountain in his own way, on his own terms, and apparently from his prison cell. So begins Ben's story and how he got to be on the mountain to begin with. 

Suffering from migraines and depression and being the only caregiver for his unwell mother, Ben feels trapped by his life in Teyber. He reconnects with former teacher Mr. Howe to help with the school's orienteering (exploring) club. 

Rose, Tomas, Avery, Duncan, Clay, and Archie join Ben on the first hike into the wilderness. Tense from the start, this seems to be a doomed trip. It's not until the end that readers see just how doomed these adventure seekers are.


THOUGHTS: Drinking, drug use, descriptions of causal sex, and violence make this a book for more mature teens.