Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

23009402Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Publisher: Viking
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Romance

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BLURB:

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time. Continue reading

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

20912424The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: January 8th, 2015
Publisher: Dial Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 9+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Historical Fiction, WWII, Disability

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BLURB:

Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada’s twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn’t waste a minute—she sneaks out to join him.

So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan—and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother? Continue reading

Fish In a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

22402972Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: February 5th, 2015
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Learning Disabilities, Bullying, Education

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BLURB:

Ally has been smart enough to fool a lot of smart people. Every time she lands in a new school, she is able to hide her inability to read by creating clever yet disruptive distractions. She is afraid to ask for help; after all, how can you cure dumb? However, her newest teacher Mr. Daniels sees the bright, creative kid underneath the trouble maker. With his help, Ally learns not to be so hard on herself and that dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of. As her confidence grows, Ally feels free to be herself and the world starts opening up with possibilities. She discovers that there’s a lot more to her—and to everyone—than a label, and that great minds don’t always think alike. Continue reading

Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

32623542Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Publisher: Dutton BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Family, Historical Fiction

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BLURB:

Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift on a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.

Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger. Continue reading

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

20821284Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: August 28th, 2014
Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Memoir, Social Issues

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BLURB:

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become. Continue reading

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

28243032We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Dutton BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Family, Grief

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BLURB:

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart. Continue reading

The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

6604794The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: March 9th, 2010
Publisher: Dial Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Romance, Grief, Music

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BLURB:

Seventeen-year-old Lennie Walker, bookworm and band geek, plays second clarinet and spends her time tucked safely and happily in the shadow of her fiery older sister, Bailey. But when Bailey dies abruptly, Lennie is catapulted to center stage of her own life – and, despite her nonexistent history with boys, suddenly finds herself struggling to balance two. Toby was Bailey’s boyfriend; his grief mirrors Lennie’s own. Joe is the new boy in town, a transplant from Paris whose nearly magical grin is matched only by his musical talent. For Lennie, they’re the sun and the moon; one boy takes her out of her sorrow, the other comforts her in it. But just like their celestial counterparts, they can’t collide without the whole wide world exploding. Continue reading