Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

23341894Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group
Publication Date: June 16th 2015
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Poetry Contemporary, Swoon Romance, Mental Illness, Friendship

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BLURB:

If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear. Continue reading

Review: Interference by Kay Honeyman

23001588Interference by Kay Honeyman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Scholastic Canada
Publication Date: September 27th 2016
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Teen Romance, Football, Photography, Politics, Revenge

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BLURB:

As a Congressman’s daughter in Washington, DC, Kate Hamilton is good at getting what she wants — what some people might call “interfering.” But when her family moves to West Texas so her dad can run in a special election, Kate encounters some difficulties that test all her political skills. None of her matchmaking efforts go according to plan. Her father’s campaign gets off to a rough start. A pro tip for moving to Texas: Don’t slam the star quarterback’s hand in a door. And whenever Kate messes up, the irritatingly right (and handsome) Hunter Price is there to witness it. But Kate has determination and a good heart, and with all her political savvy — and a little clever interference — she’ll figure out what it takes to make Red Dirt home. Continue reading

Review: The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

29241350The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Scholastic Canada
Publication Date: October 11th, 2016
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Point of View: 3rd Person
Recommended Age: All
Pacing: Super Fast
Genres & Themes: Art, Fantasy, Fairy Tales

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BLURB:

Wicked stepmothers, traitorous brothers, cunning foxes, lonely princesses: There is no mistaking the world of the Brothers Grimm and the beloved fairy tales that have captured generations of readers. Now internationally acclaimed artist Shaun Tan shows us the beautiful, terrifying, amusing, and downright peculiar heart of these tales as never before seen.

With a foreword by Neil Gaiman and an introduction by renowned fairy-tale expert Jack Zipes, this stunning gallery of sculptural works will thrill and delight art lovers and fairy-tale aficionados alike. Continue reading

Review: Jed and the Junkyard War by Steven Bohls

29775943Jed and the Junkyard War by Steven Bohls

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: December 6th 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 3rd Person & Masculine
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Super Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Steampunk, Action

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BLURB:

Jed is a regular kid with a normal, loving family . . . that is, if it’s normal for a loving family to drop their child off in the middle of nowhere and expect him home in time for Sunday dinner. Luckily, Jed excels at being a regular kid who-armed with wit and determination-can make his way out of any situation.
At least until the morning of his twelfth birthday, when Jed wakes to discover his parents missing. Something is wrong. Really wrong. Jed just doesn’t realize it’s floating-city, violent-junk-storm, battling-metals, Frankensteined-scavengers kind of wrong. Yet.

A cryptic list of instructions leads Jed into a mysterious world at war over . . . junk. Here, batteries and bottled water are currency, tremendously large things fall from the sky, and nothing is exactly what it seems.

Resilient Jed, ready to escape this upside-down place, bargains his way onto a flying tugboat with a crew of misfit junkers. They set course to find Jed’s family, but a soul-crushing revelation sends Jed spiraling out of control . . . perhaps for good. 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: When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

28449045When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: October 4th 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 8+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Friendship, Adventure

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BLURB:

Pinmei’s gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the Emperor arrive and kidnap the storyteller.

Everyone knows that the Emperor wants something called the Luminous Stone That Lights the Night. Determined to have her grandmother returned, Pinmei embarks on a journey to find the Luminous Stone alongside her friend Yishan, a mysterious boy who seems to have his own secrets to hide. Together, the two must face obstacles usually found only in legends to find the Luminous Stone and save Pinmei’s grandmother–before it’s too late.
Continue reading

Review: Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G. Thompson

25226082Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee by Mary G. Thompson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Random House Canada
Publication Date: October 11th 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Family

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BLURB:

A bittersweet homecoming holds dark secrets in this heart-wrenching story of loss, love, and survival for readers of Room.

When sixteen-year-old Amy returns home, she can’t tell her family what’s happened to her. She can’t tell them where she’s been since she and her best friend, her cousin Dee, were kidnapped six years ago—who stole them from their families or what’s become of Dee. She has to stay silent because she’s afraid of what might happen next, and she’s desperate to protect her secrets at any cost.

Amy tries to readjust to life at “home,” but nothing she does feels right. She’s a stranger in her own family, and the guilt that she’s the one who returned is insurmountable. Amy soon realizes that keeping secrets won’t change what’s happened, and they may end up hurting those she loves the most. She has to go back in order to move forward, risking everything along the way. Amy Chelsea Stacie Dee is a riveting, affecting story of loss and hope. Continue reading

Ultra Negative Review: Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

23587115Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Received: Random House Canada
Publication Date: August 30th 2016
Publisher: Dutton
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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BLURB:

Mara Carlyle’s senior year is going as normally as could be expected, until—wa-bam!—fellow senior Katelyn Ogden explodes during third period pre-calc.

Katelyn is the first, but she won’t be the last teenager to blow up without warning or explanation. As the seniors continue to pop like balloons and the national eye turns to Mara’s suburban New Jersey hometown, the FBI rolls in and the search for a reason is on.

Whip-smart and blunt, Mara narrates the end of their world as she knows it while trying to make it to graduation in one piece. It’s an explosive year punctuated by romance, quarantine, lifelong friendship, hallucinogenic mushrooms, bloggers, ice cream trucks, “Snooze Button™,” Bon Jovi, and the filthiest language you’ve ever heard from the President of the United States. Continue reading

Review: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

22537367Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Recommended Age: 12+
Pacing: Normal
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Drama, Family, Romance

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BLURB:

Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home. Continue reading

Negative Review: Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz

28963881Shutter by Laurie Faria Stolarz

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Hachette Book Group Canada
Publication Date: October 18th 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 10+
Pacing: Fast
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Mystery, (Bad) Romance, Contemporary

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BLURB:

Seventeen-year-old Day Baker views life through the lens of her camera, where perspective is everything. But photographs never tell the whole story. After Day crosses paths with Julian, the world she pictures and the truths she believes-neatly captured in black and white-begin to blur.

Julian is not the “armed and dangerous” escapee the police are searching for, but his alibis don’t quite add up, either. There is more to his story. This time, Day is determined to see the entire picture . . . whatever it reveals. Did he? Or didn’t he?

Day digs deeper into the case while Julian remains on the run. But the longer her list of facts becomes, the longer the list of questions becomes, too. It’s also getting harder to deny the chemistry she feels for him. Is it real? Or is she being manipulated?

Day is close to finding the crack in the case. She just needs time to focus before the shutter snaps shut.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is a master of suspense and romance. In this page-turning thriller, Stolarz tackles dark truths with a powerful, contemporary voice. Shutter will keep readers guessing until the very end. Continue reading