Ghost Boys – Jewell Parker Rhodes

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Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: April 17th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Police Brutality, History, Racism, Family, Friendship, Ghosts


REVIEW:

Some authors write 400-page books and never manage to successfully convey their intended message to their readers. Jewell Parker Rhodes here wrote a 200-page story that brims with strength, power and importance. Continue reading

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Call It What You Want – Brigid Kemmerer

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Call It What You Want by Brigid Kemmerer

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Published: June 25th, 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Romance, Family Drama, Friendship Dynamics, High School, Social Issues


REVIEW:

I am always impressed when authors are able to successfully alternate between genres. I have read A CURSE SO DARK AND LONELY from this author not so long ago and it was an incredible fantasy. CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT is a contemporary romance devoid of any magic and curses, but it’s a gripping story nonetheless and proof that authors should be encouraged to explore multiple genres and topics. Sometimes they fail, but they still deserve points for trying. In her case, Brigid Kemmerer can write anything and everything because she fully understands emotions, compassion and the concepts of intention, motivation and dedication. She manages to breathe that knowledge into her own characters so that they, too, can be three-dimensional human beings who have a purpose. Continue reading

Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee – Jeff Zentner

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Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: February 26th, 2019
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Recommended Age: 12+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Friendship, Family, WEIRDNESS


REVIEW:

What the hell happened to Jeff Zentner? THE SERPENT KING was beautiful and well-written. GOODBYE DAYS was emotional and original and all sorts of great. But RAYNE & DELILAH’S MIDNITE MATINEE is nothing like those two books. It’s dull and kind of weird. I do believe Jeff Zentner has his own style, different from other Young Adult authors, but this is a new weird even for him. Continue reading

No Fixed Address – Susin Nielsen

No Fixed AddressNo Fixed Address by Susin Nielsen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Penguin Random House Canada
Published: September 11th, 2018
Publisher: Tundra Books
Recommended Age: 8+
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Friendship, Family, Social Issues, Competition


REVIEW:

I admire the hell out of Susin Nielsen for tackling the topics she does. It isn’t easy to talk about controversial subjects like poverty and homelessness to a middle grade audience. And yet, Susin Nielsen tries… and, in my opinion, does a superb job of discussing them. Continue reading

Stephen McCranie’s Space Boy Volume 1

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Stephen McCranie’s Space Boy Volume 1 by Stephen McCranie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Diamond Comics Distributors
Published: July 3rd, 2018
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Friendship, High School, Mystery


BLURB:

A sci-fi drama of a high school aged girl who belongs in a different time, a boy possessed by emptiness as deep as space, an alien artifact, mysterious murder, and a love that crosses light years. Continue reading

The Leading Edge of Now – Marci Lyn Curtis

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The Leading Edge of Now by Marci Lyn Curtis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: KCP Loft
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast/Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Sexual Assault, Mystery, Grief, Family, Friendship, Romance


BLURB:

Just when Grace is beginning to get used to being an orphan, her estranged uncle suddenly comes forward to claim her. That might have been okay if he’d spoken to her even once since her father died. Or if moving in with Uncle Rusty didn’t mean returning to New Harbor. Grace once spent the best summers of her life in New Harbor. Now the place just reminds her of all she’s lost: her best friend, her boyfriend and any memory of the night that changed her forever. Continue reading

The Last Wish of Sasha Cade – Cheyanne Young

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The Last Wish of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Published: October 2nd, 2018
Publisher: KCP Loft
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Grief, Friendship, Romance, Family, Adventure


BLURB:

The day Raquel has been dreading for months has finally arrived. Sasha, her best friend in the whole worldthe best friend in the whole worldhas died of cancer. Raquel can’t imagine life without her. She’s overwhelmed and brokenhearted. And then a letter from Sasha arrives. Has she somehow found a way to communicate from the afterlife? In fact, Sasha has planned an elaborate scavenger hunt for Raquel, and when she follows the instructions to return to Sasha’s grave, a mysterious stranger with striking eyes is waiting for her. There’s a secret attached to this boy that only Sasha—and now Raquel—knows. Continue reading