Posts Tagged With: realistic fiction

Review: Before They Find Us by Michelle A. Hansen

Before They Find Us cover I’m going to make you wish you were dead.

In the grand scheme of things, a random text doesn’t seem like that big a deal to Beck. It was probably just a wrong number. But the texts keep coming, and when her best friend is framed for bombing his school, Beck realizes that whoever is texting her isn’t just after her–they’re after Ryan, too.

Now Beck and Ryan are on the run, trying to figure out who set up the bombing and planted all the evidence to point to Ryan. And why would someone even want to? How is this related to the crime Beck witnessed when she was eleven? And why is a dead man sending her Facebook messages?

The search for the truth will take Beck and Ryan from Wyoming to Las Vegas, from seedy motels in bad neighborhoods to the glamour of the Vegas Strip. It will bring them closer than ever, test their friendship to the limits, and force them to finally admit the way they feel about each other. And it will force Beck to finally face the demons that have haunted her for the past six years.

Before They Find Us is a tightly-plotted mystery that will appeal to fans of shows like CSI or Criminal Minds, even though the protagonists are ordinary teens.

Recommended for grades 9 and up – sexual humor, depiction of rape and murder, references to rape, swearing, etc.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Boys Like You by Juliana Stone

Boys Like You coverMonroe’s parents have sent her to her Gran in Louisiana for the summer in hopes that something will help bring her back to life. But Monroe is quite content to continue napping the days away, numb and not thinking, until the day that Nathan Everets interrupts her nap. Intrigued despite herself, Monroe knows better than to think a boy like Nate could be interested in her.

Nate is actually glad for his court-appointed job working for his uncle; without it, he would have too much time to think. Time to think about that night, and the biggest mistake he ever made. Time to think about what it cost Trevor. But when he meets Monroe, he sees something he recognizes.

As Nate and Monroe slowly share the broken pieces of their lives, they start to heal, start to feel again. Their lives were changed forever before they even met, but together they start taking steps into a new future.

Boys Like You is an achingly raw book. Nate and Monroe are both in a great deal of emotional pain, and with a less able writer, this could have been incredibly whiny and angst-ridden, but they come off the page as real, living, breathing teens dealing with impossible circumstances. I was glued to my Kindle until I finished. This book will appeal to fans of John Green, and any reader who enjoys realistic fiction with emotional depth.

Boys Like You will be released on May 6, 2014, and is definitely worth preordering.

Highly recommended for grades 10 and up — references to and depictions of underage drinking and recreational drug use, teenage sexual encounters, drunk driving, etc.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About It coverHomeroom 10B was just going to get their flu shots. They didn’t want to get sick. All of them got the shots except Renee and Adam.

Now all of them can hear what people are thinking.

Now 10B has no secrets from each other…but they do have a secret weapon. Pi can finally be the kid with the highest grades. Tess can find out if the friend she’s crushing on feels the same way. Olivia knows exactly what her boyfriend is thinking, so she can do whatever he wants.

But everybody knows Mackenzie’s secret…including her boyfriend, Cooper. Tess knows that Mackenzie thinks she really could stand to lose those seven pounds. Cooper knows about his dad’s affair and that his mom has hired a divorce lawyer.

Don’t Even Think About It is a lighthearted look at a serious topic. There is no exploration of the ethics of invading other people’s privacy, although it is touched on briefly, and the narrative style can be a little clunky at times. This book will appeal to readers who like light, easy reads with some drama, such as the Clique or Gossip Girl novels.

Recommended for grades 8 and up – some kissing, references to making out and parents having sex.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Thirty Sunsets by Christine Hurley Deriso

Thirty Sunsets coverForrest can’t believe it when her crush actually comes over to talk to her. Maybe this is it! Or maybe…maybe he just wants to know if her older brother and his girlfriend are still together. Because he has a crush on Olivia. Olivia, who curls her lip at Forrest. Olivia, who is keeping Brian in town at the local community college instead of studying pre-med at Vanderbilt. Olivia, the ultimate popular hot girl.

Not only are Brian and Olivia not broken up, Olivia is coming along on the family trip to their beach house. A whole month of Olivia’s curled lip, picky eating, and sudden disappearances to the bathroom after meals, not to mention a whole month of Olivia as a roommate.

But there are a lot of things Forrest doesn’t know about. Things about Olivia. Things about her brother. Things about her parents. And things about herself.

Although toward the end the number of issues in this book seemed to approach after-school special levels, Thirty Sunsets is a sweet book that will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen and readers who like realistic fiction with real-life issues.

Recommended for grades 9 and up – some swearing, references to sex, teen pregnancy, references to and depiction of rape.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Complicit by Stephanie Kuehn

Complicit coverEverybody knows that Jamie’s sister Cate set the fire that burned down the barn. Everybody knows that Cate was a bad girl; drinking, doing drugs, hypnotizing other girls in the woods behind the stable. Everybody breathed a sigh of relief when Cate went to jail. Including Jamie.

Now Cate is out…and she’s coming back for Jamie. She needs to talk to him. She needs him to understand.

She didn’t burn down the barn.

But she knows who did.

Complicit is a deeply psychological book. Jamie and Cate’s story unfolds steadily, bringing you ever deeper into their world, until the true story seems not only obvious, but inevitable. Fans of psychological thrillers will definitely enjoy this one!

Recommended for grades 9 and up — underage drinking, sexual references, etc.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

The S-word coverAfter walking in on her best friend and her boyfriend on prom night, Angie never spoke to Lizzie again. Not when the first slut appeared on Lizzie’s locker. Not when the locker was covered with the ugly word. Not ever again.

And then, Lizzie jumped. Now Angie won’t be able to speak to her. Not ever again.

But people were starting to forget…until someone started writing Suicide Slut. On the senior lockers. In the bathrooms. In Lizzie’s unmistakable, looping handwriting. Until someone started bringing copies of Lizzie’s diary to school.

Angie wants the truth. The truth about who hurt Lizzie. The truth about why her best friend is gone. The truth about what happened on prom night. But along the way she will discover other truths, all of them ugly. And she will have to make a decision. Can you drive out hate with hate?

The S-Word is a painful, deeply psychological book about the damage we do to each other, and to ourselves. It will appeal to fans of Looking for Alaska and readers who like emotionally wrenching stories.

Recommended for grades 9 and up–bullying, underage drinking, references to sexual abuse, descriptions of rape, etc.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were Liars coverWelcome to the beautiful Sinclair family.

No one is a criminal.
No one is an addict.
No one is a failure.

Cadence has always spent the summer with the other Sinclairs on their private island off the coast of Massachusetts. Since summer eight, Cady, Mirren, Johnny, and Gat have been inseparable. The Liars, together.

But summer sixteen something happened. Something Cady can’t remember. Her mother tried to tell her. Others tried to tell her. But her brain cannot wrap itself around what happened.

So Cady has come back to the island. Back to her Liars. Back to finally figure out what happened. Why she is broken.

We Were Liars is not an easy book to read. But it is a deeply compelling one. None of these characters are larger than life. All of them are deeply flawed. As Cady searches for her truth, she discovers more than she had bargained for.

This book will appeal to fans of John Green, as well as readers who enjoy psychological puzzles and thrillers.

Recommended for grades 9 and up – swearing, sexual references, underage drinking, etc.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Caged Warrior by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Caged Warrior Cover“Why are we tough?”

“Because that’s how we get out.”

McCutcheon Daniels has many names. To some he’s known as M.D., to his little sister as Doc. But to most of Detroit, he is Bam Bam, a star MMA fighter despite his young age.  McCutcheon fights hard, brutal, bloody, illegal matches organized by The Priests, a street gang, to cover his violent, vicious father’s bets. This is the life he has known for as long as he can remember.

When McCutcheon wins the lottery for spaces in an expensive charter school, he doesn’t want it. He tries to tell the school to give it to someone else. School isn’t part of his plan; next year, when the truant officers stop caring, he is going to drop out and train full time. Who needs school when you can be an MMA champion?

But his science teacher and the principal of Radiance refuse to give up on him. After touring the campus, and especially after meeting Kaitlyn, McCutcheon starts to think that maybe he could be something more than an animal, fighting for others’ bloody amusement.

When his beloved little sister disappears, McCutcheon has to make a choice. Will he continue fighting to keep his father happy and his sister safe? Or is there another path he can take?

Caged Warrior is a great pick for reluctant readers, especially boys. The author paints a clear, realistic picture of McCutcheon’s life without resorting to cliches.

Recommended for grades 9 and up – explicit sexual references, language, depictions of violence, and drug use.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: The Tyrant’s Daughter by J.C. Carleson

The Tyrant's Daughter CoverLaila’s brother Bastien is the King of Nowhere. Her mother acts like nothing has changed, even though they now live in a tiny apartment in not-quite-Washington, D.C., instead of the palace where they grew up. And Laila? Laila is the Invisible Queen–just trying to make sense of the strange new world that she now lives in.

Now, instead of cereal and peanut butter being a carefully hoarded treat, brought back by their mother from trips abroad, there are dozens and hundreds of varieties, available for everyone. Instead of private tutors, Laila and Bastien attend public school. Instead of their dead father being the King, he is an executed dictator, dead at their uncle’s hands–a man who did terrible things.

Awash in a strange new world world of revealing clothing and access to information, where it seems that everything she knows is wrong , Laila is just trying to make sense of it all. And when her mother maneuvers to reclaim Bastien’s birthright, Laila must decide where she stands.

The Tyrant’s Daughter is a fascinating story, especially for teens who follow international news or are familiar with the events of the Arab Spring. This book will appeal to readers who like their fiction realistic and politically relevant, or who enjoy exploring moral and ethical questions.

Recommended for grades 7 and up – some language, kissing, and sexual references, depictions of violence, and women’s rights issues

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Divided We Fall by Trent Reedy

Divided We Fall coverDanny Wright joined the Idaho National Guard to follow in his late father’s footsteps by serving his country, and to get access to the training and education he would need to keep his father’s auto repair shop running. Balancing Guard training and finishing high school is tricky, but he’s finished with his training for the summer and ready for a senior year full of football, friends, and time with his girlfriend, JoBell.

But everything changes the night Danny’s unit is called up to help suppress riots in Boise. When a rock thrown by a rioter causes his gun to misfire, chaos ensues. Twelve are dead when the dust clears, and Danny is living in a nightmare he can’t wake up from.

The Boise shootings rapidly become the center of a national controversy. When both the governor and the President are giving Danny conflicting orders, what will he choose?

Trent Reedy takes what could easily have been a book full of cliches and makes it into a gripping page-turner. The characters are realistic, not one-dimensional representations of liberals or conservatives. Anyone who has noticed the political situation in the past few years will readily recognize that the premise of this book is a definite possibility. Divided We Fall is not a far-future dystopian story; it is a chilling look at a near future we could be facing if our political system continues in its current direction.

This book will appeal to fans of stories about the military, as well as fans of dystopian literature.

Highly recommended for grades 9 and up–swearing, underage drinking, violence, and off-camera sex.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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