One Year at Ellsmere – Faith Erin Hicks

46223329One Year at Ellsmere by Faith Erin Hicks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: July 14th, 2020
Publisher: First Second
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle School, Graphic Novel, Friendship, Bullying, Boarding School


REVIEW:

I don’t understand. I don’t understand why some authors decide to include one fantasy element in an otherwise completely contemporary story. I understand magical realism. I think it can be very beautiful, surprising and, well, magical. But this was no magical realism story. Continue reading

We Contain Multitudes – Sarah Henstra

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We Contain Multitudes by Sarah Henstra

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Penguin Teen
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Romance, Family, Friendship, Death, Abuse, Bullying


REVIEW:

That was an intense reading experience. A rollercoaster ride, really. A thorn to the heart and a sunrise of a thousand different colours. Let me tell you right from the start that if Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe did not work for you, you will probably hate this. If you dislike epistolary novels, you will probably hate this. If you prefer your LGBTQIA+ reads to be light and entertaining, kind of like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, you will hate this. Actually, it will hate you because this book deserves a reader who is ready for baggage and heartbreak and a hundred different conflicting emotions. Continue reading

Michigan vs. the Boys – Carrie S. Allen

43885997Michigan vs. the Boys by Carrie S. Allen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Published: October 1st, 2019
Publisher: KCP Loft
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Sports, Bullying, Romance, Sisterhood


REVIEW:

Let me tell you right from the start that Michigan is one strong, dedicated, admirable heroine who deserved to have her story written. She could be a real girl, literally, because she feels real and she faces real challenges and relating to her was one of the easiest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. Continue reading

Home After Dark – David Small

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Home After Dark by David Small

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: September 25th, 2018
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Graphic Novel, Coming of Age, Historical Fiction, Bullying


BLURB:

After his mother abandons the family, thirteen-year-old Russell Pruitt moves with his Korean War veteran father to a small town in southern California. Eager to fit in and figure out the mystifying rules of being a man, he succumbs to the sway of boys more feral than himself–leading to an act of betrayal that will have devastating consequences. Told through cinematic artwork that will transfix readers with its visceral potency and grace, Home After Dark is a mesmerizing evocation of a boy’s struggle to survive the everyday brutalities of adolescence, and forge his own path to manhood. 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

Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

26026063Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016
Publisher: Dutton BFYR
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 11+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction, WWII, Bullying

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


BLURB:

Growing up in the shadows cast by two world wars, Annabelle has lived a mostly quiet, steady life in her small Pennsylvania town. Until the day new student Betty Glengarry walks into her class. Betty quickly reveals herself to be cruel and manipulative, and while her bullying seems isolated at first, things quickly escalate, and reclusive World War I veteran Toby becomes a target of her attacks. While others have always seen Toby’s strangeness, Annabelle knows only kindness. She will soon need to find the courage to stand as a lone voice of justice as tensions mount. Continue reading

Review: Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

9711714Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: October 3rd, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Bullying, Contemporary, Family

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide


BLURB:

Lucky Linderman didn’t ask for his life. He didn’t ask his grandfather not to come home from the Vietnam War. He didn’t ask for a father who never got over it. He didn’t ask for a mother who keeps pretending their dysfunctional family is fine. And he didn’t ask to be the target of Nader McMillan’s relentless bullying, which has finally gone too far.

But Lucky has a secret–one that helps him wade through the daily mundane torture of his life. In his dreams, Lucky escapes to the war-ridden jungles of Laos–the prison his grandfather couldn’t escape–where Lucky can be a real man, an adventurer, and a hero. It’s dangerous and wild, and it’s a place where his life just might be worth living. But how long can Lucky keep hiding in his dreams before reality forces its way inside?

Michael L. Printz Honor recipient A.S. King’s smart, funny and boldly original writing shines in this powerful novel about learning to cope with the shrapnel life throws at you and taking a stand against it. Continue reading