The Book of Essie – Meghan MacLean Weir

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The Book of Essie by Meghan MacLean Weir

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: June 12th, 2018
Publisher: Knopf
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Fiction, Contemporary, Religion, Abuse, Family Drama


BLURB:

Esther Ann Hicks–Essie–is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She’s grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they try to arrange a marriage–and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media–through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell–Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom? Continue reading

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All We Ever Wanted – Emily Giffin

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All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: June 26th, 2018
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Recommended Age: 15+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Adult, Contemporary, Abuse, Scandal, Privacy, Parenting, Teenage Love


BLURB:

Nina Browning is living the good life after marrying into Nashville’s elite. More recently, her husband made a fortune selling his tech business, and their adored son has been accepted to Princeton. Yet sometimes the middle-class small-town girl in Nina wonders if she’s strayed from the person she once was. Tom Volpe is a single dad working multiple jobs while struggling to raise his headstrong daughter, Lyla. His road has been lonely, long, and hard, but he finally starts to relax after Lyla earns a scholarship to Windsor Academy, Nashville’s most prestigious private school. Amid so much wealth and privilege, Lyla doesn’t always fit in—and her overprotective father doesn’t help—but in most ways, she’s a typical teenage girl, happy and thriving. Then, one photograph, snapped in a drunken moment at a party, changes everything. As the image spreads like wildfire, the Windsor community is instantly polarized, buzzing with controversy and assigning blame. At the heart of the lies and scandal, Tom, Nina, and Lyla are forced together—all questioning their closest relationships, asking themselves who they really are, and searching for the courage to live a life of true meaning. Continue reading

Paper Butterflies – Lisa Heathfield

34007508Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: October 1st, 2017
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Abuse, Racism, Bullying, Romance, Family, Friendship


BLURB: 

June’s stepmother physically abuses her, but June can’t find the words to tell anyone. Her only hope is her friendship with Blister, a boy who helps her believe she can escape. Then a shocking tragedy occurs and June finds herself trapped, potentially forever. Continue reading

Speak: The Graphic Novel

34495927Speak: The Graphic Novel by Laurie Halse Anderson & Emily Carroll

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Distributor
Published: February 6th, 2018
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux (BYR)
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Slow/Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Abuse, High School, Depression


BLURB:

From the first moment of her freshman year at Merryweather High, Melinda knows this is a big fat lie, part of the nonsense of high school. She is friendless–an outcast–because she busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops, so now nobody will talk to her, let alone listen to her. Through her work on an art project, she is finally able to face what really happened that night: She was raped by an upperclassman, a guy who still attends Merryweather and is still a threat to her. Continue reading

The Last Black Unicorn – Tiffany Haddish

The Last Black Unicorn by Tiffany Haddish

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Published: December 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Recommended Age: 16+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Adult, Memoir, Humor, Nonfiction, Abuse, Coming of Age, Celebrity Life, Life Experiences


BLURB:

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money—as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman—to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend. None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy. Tiffany can’t avoid being funny—it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others. Continue reading

I Stop Somewhere – T.E. Carter

29751533I Stop Somewhere by T.E. Carter

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
First Published: February 27th, 2018
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Abuse, High School, First Love, Investigation


BLURB:

Tormented throughout middle school, Ellie begins her freshman year with a new look: she doesn’t need to be popular; she just needs to blend in with the wallpaper. But when the unthinkable happens, Ellie finds herself trapped after a brutal assault. She wasn’t the first victim, and now she watches it happen again and again. She tries to hold on to her happier memories in order to get past the cold days, waiting for someone to find her. The problem is, no one searches for a girl they never noticed in the first place. Continue reading

A List of Cages – Robin Roe

25613472A List of Cages by Robin Roe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: January 10th, 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Abuse, Contemporary, Friendship, High School, Family


BLURB:

When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian—the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years. Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kindhearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives… Continue reading