Review: Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn

27178701Nice Girls Endure by Chris Struyk-Bonn

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: August 1st 2016
Publisher: Switch Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres &  Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Bullying, High School, Self-Confidence

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BLURB:

Chelsea Duvay is so many things. She s an avid musical lover, she s a gifted singer, and she has the most perfect, beautiful feet. But no one ever notices that. All they notice is Chelsea s weight. Daily, Chelsea endures endless comments about her appearance from well-meaning adults and cruel classmates. So she keeps to herself and just tries to make it through. Don t make waves. Don t draw attention. That s how life is for Chelsea until a special class project pushes the energetic and incessantly social Melody into Chelsea s world. As their unlikely friendship grows, Chelsea emerges from her isolated existence, and she begins to find the confidence to enjoy life. But bullies are bullies, and they remain as vicious as ever. One terrible encounter threatens to destroy everything Chelsea has worked so hard to achieve. Readers will be captivated by Chelsea s journey as she discovers the courage to declare her own beauty and self-worth, no matter what others might think. A must-read for anyone who loves to explore the personal but powerful territory of everyday life.” Continue reading

Review: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

22692740Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Point of View: 1st Person
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres &  Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, High School, LGBT, Gender Fluidity, Bullying

BLURB:

The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?

Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.

On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything. Continue reading

Review: None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: April 7th 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Psychological, High School, Bullying

BLURB:

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self? Continue reading

Review: Weightless by Sarah Bannan

Weightless by Sarah Bannan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: June 30th 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Point of View: 1st Person Plural
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Bullying, Mental Illness, High School

BLURB:

When 15-year-old Carolyn moves from New Jersey to Alabama with her mother, she rattles the status quo of the junior class at Adams High School. A good student and natural athlete, she’s immediately welcomed by the school’s cliques. She’s even nominated to the homecoming court and begins dating a senior, Shane, whose on again/off again girlfriend Brooke becomes Carolyn’s bitter romantic rival. When a video of Carolyn and Shane making out is sent to everyone, Carolyn goes from golden girl to slut, as Brooke and her best friend Gemma try to restore their popularity. Gossip and bullying hound Carolyn, who becomes increasingly private and isolated. When Shane and Brooke—now back together—confront Carolyn in the student parking lot, injuring her, it’s the last attack she can take.

Sarah Bannan’s deft use of the first person plural gives Weightless an emotional intensity and remarkable power that will send you flying through the pages and leave you reeling. Continue reading

Review: All the Rage by Courtney Summers

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: April 14th 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 14+
Genres & Themes: YA, Contemporary, Mystery, Abuse, Bullying, Romance

BLURB:

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive? Continue reading

Review: Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: borrowed
Publication Date: September 9th, 2014
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
POV: 1st (but mostly 3rd person)
Pacing: slow
Genres & Themes: YA, Contemporary, Friendship, Bullying, Mental Illness, Love, Death.

BLURB:

On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.

Why? Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? Vividly told by an unexpected and surprising narrator, this heartbreaking and nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

Continue reading