The Hate U Give Review

32075671The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Edelweiss
Publication Date: February 28th, 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Social Issues, Race

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BLURB:

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star. Continue reading

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Review: American Girls by Alison Umminger

30192921American Girls by Alison Umminger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Raincoast Books
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Crime, Family

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BLURB:

Anna is a fifteen-year-old girl slouching toward adulthood, and she’s had it with her life at home. So Anna “borrows” her stepmom’s credit card and runs away to Los Angeles, where her half-sister takes her in. But LA isn’t quite the glamorous escape Anna had imagined.

As Anna spends her days on TV and movie sets, she engrosses herself in a project researching the murderous Manson girls—and although the violence in her own life isn’t the kind that leaves physical scars, she begins to notice the parallels between herself and the lost girls of LA, and of America, past and present.

In Anna’s singular voice, we glimpse not only a picture of life on the B-list in LA, but also a clear-eyed reflection on being young, vulnerable, lost, and female in America—in short, on the B-list of life. Alison Umminger writes about girls, sex, violence, and which people society deems worthy of caring about, which ones it doesn’t, in a way not often seen in YA fiction. Continue reading

Review: Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

20344662Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O’Malley Cerra

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
Publication Date: September 2nd, 2014
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Point of View: 1st Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, War

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BLURB:

Ever since he was little, Jake Green has longed to be a soldier and a hero like his grandpa, who died serving his country. Right now, though, he just wants to outsmart—and outrun—the rival cross country team, the Palmetto Bugs. But then the tragedy of September 11 happens. It’s quickly discovered that one of the hijackers lived nearby, making Jake’s Florida town an FBI hot spot. Two days later, the tragedy becomes even more personal when Jake’s best friend, Sam Madina, is pummeled for being an Arab Muslim by their bully classmate, Bobby.

According to Jake’s personal code of conduct, anyone who beats up your best friend is due for a butt kicking, and so Jake goes after Bobby. But soon after, Sam’s father is detained by the FBI and Jake’s mom doubts the innocence of Sam’s family, forcing Jake to choose between his best friend and his parents. When Jake finds out that Sam’s been keeping secrets, too, he doesn’t know who his allies are anymore. But the final blow comes when his grandpa’s real past is revealed to Jake. Suddenly, everything he ever knew to be true feels like one big lie. In the end, he must decide: either walk away from Sam and the revenge that Bobby has planned, or become the hero he’s always aspired to be.

A gripping and intensely touching debut middle grade novel by Kerry O’Malley Cerra, Just a Drop of Water brings the events of September 11, which shook the world, into the lens of a young boy who is desperately trying to understand the ramifications of this life-altering event. Continue reading

Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

28587957Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Received: Random House Canada
Publication Date: October 11th, 2016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 14+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Racism, Law, Family

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BLURB:

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game. Continue reading

Review: The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

29223495The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: Alternative
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Slow
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Friendship, Refugees

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BLURB:

Subhi is a refugee. Born in an Australian permanent detention center after his mother and sister fled the violence of a distant homeland, Subhi has only ever known life behind the fences. But his world is far bigger than that—every night, the magical Night Sea from his mother’s stories brings him gifts, the faraway whales sing to him, and the birds tell their stories. And as he grows, his imagination threatens to burst beyond the limits of his containment.

The most vivid story of all, however, is the one that arrives one night in the form of Jimmie—a scruffy, impatient girl who appears on the other side of the wire fence and brings with her a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it herself, she relies on Subhi to unravel her family’s love songs and tragedies.

Subhi and Jimmie might both find comfort—and maybe even freedom—as their tales unfold. But not until each has been braver than ever before. Continue reading

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

15745753Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Publication Date: February 26th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 13+
Pacing: Very slow
Genres &  Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, High School, Family Issues, Bildungsroman, Realistic Fiction

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BLURB:

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. Continue reading

Blog Tour Review: Summer Days & Summer Nights by Stephanie Perkins

25063781Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: May 17th 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres &  Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBT

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BLURB:

Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith. Continue reading