Author Archive

Neverworld Wake

October 15, 2018

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Neverworld Wake is the newest YA novel from best-selling author Marisha Pessl (author of Night Film). The book centers around Beatrice who has just completed her Freshman year at college and is home for the Summer in Rhode Island. Beatrice receives an invitation from her boarding school friends who she has not had any contact with since the tragic and mysterious death of her boyfriend, Jim, at their remote and elite private boarding school the year before. Beatrice is apprehensive about seeing her enigmatic friends but decides that she has to see them in order to find out if they know any more information about Jim’s death so that she can put to rest her confusion once and for all.

What starts out as an awkward drunken reunion soon turns into a nightmare when an accident leaves the group in a time loop where they are doomed to relive the exact same day over and over again until they all come to a consensus and vote for the only one of them that will be allowed to survive.

I don’t want to give away too much more about this book. Marisha Pessl is great at combining the real and the paranormal into an amazing mystery and this book is just that – a well-thought out reality-bending (time travelling!) mystery.

A Heart in a Body In the World

September 30, 2018

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I have always been a huge Deb Caletti fan. Her books always include some deep and dreamy romance that in no way exists for real teenagers. But she also has long introspective inner dialogue that leaves me feeling like I’m in a sundress in a field of flowers, or something.

Anyway, her newest book has all of that. It is a great YA book. The characters are charming and quirky. The story is different than some other YA books. There are some moments of humor. But I do not care about all of that. This book is getting five stars from me because of a speech that the main character gives at the end of the novel that is so relevant to current times and so important for young women to read, or anyone to read actually who wants to affect some change, that I don’t even care what the rest of the book is about. 

Annabelle Agnelli lives in Seattle with her divorced mother Gina and her genius younger brother Malcolm. Annabelle is popular and pretty and perfect, but has gone through some kind of tragedy before the book starts which she refuses to let herself think about, so much so that as a reader you do not get the entire story until the end of the book ( but you can pretty much guess). She obviously is not handling this tragedy well and everyone seems to be handling her with kid gloves. Annabelle has so many pent up feelings that she decides to just…run. As in run cross country. As in run with her own two legs to Washington D.C. and she decides this in the parking lot of a fast food restaurant and she takes off with the clothing on her back and nothing else. Cut to a month or so later when she is actually on this trip in a more organized way (accompanied by her Grandfather and his RV) and with a GoFundMe bank account that people who are inspired by her cause (what is her cause again?) have been donating to. Annabelle wants to keep her journey personal but people can’t help but to be inspired by her ability to move on from her tragedy (which is what?) and persevere. Whatever.

Towards the end of the novel is where the speech happens. In a world where school shootings are regular news, the #metoo movement is taking over, and Supreme Court Justice nominees can also have (allegedly) committed sexual assault: Annabelle’s own personal tragedy can take all of these topics into one and she finally is able to speak out loud on her story and MAN does she say everything that I have been thinking for the past few months about all of these topics. I cried while reading it. I wrote it down in an e-mail to myself.

Go Deb Caletti. You are my new personal hero.

I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter

September 15, 2018

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Recently I have been so impressed by the amazing writing and topics that I have been encountering in YA literature. Sometimes YA books tend to approach tough subjects in the same linear way, but, sometimes, like in I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez, it hits you with feeling, emotion, and understanding in an entirely new way.

Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role. Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed. But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first kiss, first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

Nothing about this book is lighthearted. Nothing about it indicates that there will be a happy ending. You won’t ever warm up to most of the characters, including Julia. But there is raw emotion and hope that the main character sometimes feels which will touch you all the same. Sanchez makes you feel the depression crawling into Julia’s skin like it was your own. You feel oppressed and misunderstood just as Julia does by her extremely overbearing and controlling parents. This book is one of my five star books of last year. A MUST READ!

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before

September 10, 2018

The best-selling To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han has been made into a movie! I will admit – I watched the movie before I read the book. But you should read it first! Check out the trailer:

 

 

 

Turtles All The Way Down

August 27, 2018

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John Green’s newest book (which actually came out almost a year ago) Turtles All The Way Down is certainly a slight departure from his other novels. People seem to either love it or hate it – I am somewhere in the middle.

It is about sixteen-year-old Aza who never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred-thousand-dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis. Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.

And trust me- they spiral. If you are squeamish in any way this book might disturb you. Aza’s mental obsessions are a little bit gross. But aside from that- once you get past those parts- John Green does his usual great job of developing complex characters that you will love. Give it a read!


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