Awaken by Katie Kacvinsky
Publication Date: May 30, 2011
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: technology, digital age, dystopian
Format read: Borrowed from the library.
Summary: The year is 2060 and the world and everyone’s life is basically run by a computer. Maddie lives her life on a computer screen, getting to formulate just how people perceive her. It’s not until she meets Justin that she begins to get curious about the outside world and decides to meet him at a study group. Instantly, she wants more than just communicating with him through a computer screen.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am constantly checking my phone for Twitter updates and emails, and turning on my laptop in the evening after staring at a desktop for eight hours straight during work. But what if that was all we had? What if no one went out for walks on the beach? Or hung out in a coffee shop? Or went shopping at the mall and just laid on their front lawn reading a book?
Life like that seems pretty dark and dismal, doesn’t it?
Kacvinsky has built a startling world, one that is only 48 years from now. That’s not that far away. In fact, if this book was real life, my generation would be Maddie’s mother, a woman who has her favorite novels from the past tucked away, a woman who gifts her daughter a blank journal and hands off these books like golden treasures when the time is right. Maddie’s mother doesn’t forget the simplicity of the past and hopes to pass that on to Maddie, even if her husband and Maddie’s father has had a huge hand in this push toward the digital life as leader of the digital schools.
While Kacvinsky doesn’t build a world quite as concrete as Megan McCafferty’s Bumped series and goes a tad overboard with the ‘evils of technology’ theme (We get it, we get it, I kept muttering to myself), she does a deft job of creating this character who is a victim of her time and the world’s dependency on digital. But sometimes these feelings pop up and she wonders why she can’t just go outside for a date instead of pretend she’s outside on a date and she’s stuck in this conundrum. Does she even know who she is because she’s so busy creating this image for herself? Has making things so easy actually made life incredibly hard?
Meeting Justin in person changes all of that. He’s part of a group that wants to revive the old way of living. Taking time to enjoy and not rushing through life just because. Connecting with people. Talking to people face-to-face. Spending time near people, looking straight in their eyes and not at a pixelated screen. But there is that problem of who her dad is and how she’s on probation and watched even more than the normal kid. They are both off-limits to each other in ways and it makes their chemistry that much more tangible and fiery.
I’m not normally one for dystopians but Kacvinsky’s premise hit close to home. While I love to learn the latest gadgets and have made some of my closest friends through social media, I still know how much I treasure watching someone’s face when they talk, hearing their laugh, and watching their hands move in excitement or frustration. While I know personally just how well you can get to know someone with all the advancements we have today, I want nothing more to be able to show up in my car and go bowling and out for a glass of wine with them.
Sometimes I fear all of this is just a distraction, one that will cause me to miss the real moments in life and make me lazy when it comes to the important things. Kacvinsky’s novel is also about control and how we have to work hard to believe in our own abilities to connect and not rely on machines to do everything for us. Or we’ll just become robots, or worse, rolling around on a cruise ship in the sky like the humans in Pixar’s Wall-E.
Everyone has something to fight for in Awaken, even if they don’t know it yet. Though at times long-winded, Kacvinsky has introduced a thought-provoking premise with brave characters standing up to powerful forces while managing to smoothly interject a budding romance. I, for one, can’t wait to see how it all ends in part 2 (which comes out November 20).
Goodreads | Amazon (It’s 3.99 for the Kindle!)
Every Day by David Levithan
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: sexuality, gender, love, relationships
Format read: ARC from NetGalley (Thanks!)
Summary: Every day, A wakes up in someone else’s body, but never before desired the permanence of being in the same body until meeting Rhiannon.
Is loving someone related to a person’s external appearance,
or is it about their innermost being?
David Levithan explores the complexities of love in his new book, Every Day, in which “A” changes bodies like clockwork each night, waking up in someone else’s life and navigating through their day. One day A wakes up in the body of a boy named Justin. Never before had A wanted to take up residence in someone else’s body indefinitely. Justin and Rhiannon’s relationship is complicated and messy; he doesn’t treat her nearly as well as she deserves to be loved. Usually A ensures that the routines of the person’s life remained in tact and he tries to be as unobtrusive as possible, but upon meeting Rhiannon, A wants to give her a day she will never forget, a day Justin never would have. A wishes for a way to stay with her.
A has never told anyone about how he/she changes bodies. A realizes that no one would ever have memories of him. He decides to be honest with Rhiannon, and uses someone else’s body to navigate his way back to her day after day. Understandably, it’s difficult for her to comprehend – Is he the only person like this? Is he just a creeper?
A takes over the bodies of both boys and girls and has no sexual orientation, whether that be male or female. (As you can see above, I referred to A as a “he.” While I don’t feel like I specifically identified A with a gender while reading, I have found it difficult to explain the story without using pronouns.) Rhiannon finds it difficult to see beyond the bodies A inhabited each day to see the person inside. When A is a female, there is a definite struggle for Rhiannon; she knows the body was just a facade and that the soul inside is a remarkable person she connected with perfectly, but there are barriers she has to overcome.
Rhiannon questions how they would ever make it work as a couple. For someone so young, she finds it difficult to grasp what she and A’s long-term future would be like. This is where I feel Levithan shined the most in his writing; he poetically and beautifully describedswhat it is to fall in love with someone. There are complications that Rhiannon and A would face that we all take for granted:
How will they ever grow old together?
Will they ever be able to wake up in the morning together?
What if A wakes up in the body of someone thousands of miles away – how will they find their way back together?
Levithan takes our every day lives and spins them on their sides. As I read, I became more and more thankful for the simplicity of knowing my husband would be by my side every morning. While I mostly identified with A and the strong desire to be in a relationship, I certainly embraced the drawbacks Rhiannon combated. Levithan left no stone unturned in exploring A’s life and circumstances.
We’re taken through a gamut of different characters as A inhabits different bodies: an obese boy, a bitchy girl, a severely depressed girl, a gay boy. This was one of my most favorite experiences of reading Every Day. Levithan touches on so many different types of people, exploring the contrasting ups and downs of life. The beauty and magnificence of A’s character is in his/her ability to find the uniqueness and goodness of each person (with a few exceptions).
My heart absolutely broke over the impermanence of A’s life — how fleeting it was. A’s life is isolated and lonely. Until Rhiannon, there is no one to move through life with. In a very original way, Levithan had me thanking my lucky stars for the friends I can count on every day — the ones that know the boring, mundane rituals of my life — and my parents whom I often take for granted because they’re my rocks, always here.
I’m not quite sure why I waited to pick up Every Day, but I definitely suggest you move it to the top of your reading pile soon. I need a hard copy on my bookshelves so I can glance through some of my favorite passages when the fancy strikes. In fact, I know some of you love reading quotes from books; I am never a huge highlighter while I read, but I felt compelled to highlight so much of this book. I created an Every Day favorite quotes page where you can scope out some of my favorite lines.
Goodreads | Amazon
Eek. I’m sorry this is so late. It’s been a crazy weekend in our household. We are moving in (hopefully) two weeks and I barely had a chance to sit down in the past two days. (I should mention we are downsizing so this whole project seems very intimidating.) So… sadly, no v-log. I’m hoping I do get to film one more in my house before I leave. I’ll be sure to plan better with that one.
My husband and I posing in front of the house we shall be waving goodbye to soon.
I was going to share a picture of the mess inside the house… but I went with this one instead.
Anyway… Not much book news this week. I’ve been working diligently to get through my last pile from the library and I’m down to four books… which is exciting and sad at the same time.
Here’s what I borrowed in the last two weeks:
Kissing Snowflakes by Abby Sher | My husband totally made fun of this title, but whatever. I love holiday stories and I wanted to get a jump start! (Summary: Winter break on a ski trip with the family and a very hot skier.) (Goodreads)
Tighter by Adele Griffin | I’m on an Adele Griffin kick since reading All You Never Wanted (an October release) and April from Good Books and Good Wine suggested this title! (Summary: Jamie arrives in New England to be an au pair, and finds herself connected to a young couple who have horrifically died there.) (Goodreads)
Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma | A book about a sister and a brother who fall in love, a brother and sister who act as the parents in the lives of their brothers and sisters. I just finished this one today, and wow was it intense and heartbreakingly realistic. Worth checking out. (Goodreads)
Also some eBook shopping:
Girl Unmoored by Jennifer Gooch Hummer | My coworker just gave this a high recommendation so I bought it on the spot. Also Mandee over at YA Vegan Nerds gave it a great review as well a few months ago. (Goodreads)
Crazy for Love by Victoria Dahl | I just finished Victoria’s most recent book (Close Enough to Touch) and oh my, was it hot! And descriptive, very descriptive. So I bought this novel the day I finished. (Goodreads)
On the blog:
October is a pricey month for books! So many new releases!
A review of Starring Me by Krista McGee.
Magan adored Sweethearts by Sara Zarr.
Our long distance “Pitch Perfect” date: a movie review + giveaway!
A review of Endangered by Eliot Schrefer.
I don’t know about you but every time I write “October”… I can’t believe it! Hope this is a great month for all of you! Thanks for stopping in!
Oh, yep — that’s right! It’s almost Halloween. I typically average about 20-ish books in the YA book releases posts, but jeez! There are THIRTY-THREE books listed below. Prepare your wallets now, friends — October is going to be quite the spendy month. Just in case you’re hosting an awesome Halloween party, here’s an delicious treat to make for your guests: Candy Corn Cheesecake Mousse. See that picture to the left? That’s what the tasty treats look like. Y.U.M. Enjoy your month full of shiny new books & tasty treats! Happy Halloween (a wee bit early)!
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Amazon | Magan’s Review
Description: Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High. After a scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won’t turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys–a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far…especially when he starts flirting back.
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer
Amazon | Estelle’s Review
Description: The compelling tale of a girl who must save a group of bonobos–and herself–from a violent coup.
The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good.
When one girl has to follow her mother to her sancuary for bonobos, she’s not thrilled to be there. It’s her mother’s passion, and she’d rather have nothing to do with it. But when revolution breaks out and their sanctuary is attacked, she must rescue the bonobos and hide in the jungle. Together, they will fight to keep safe, to eat, and to survive.
Eliot Schrefer asks readers what safety means, how one sacrifices to help others, and what it means to be human in this new compelling adventure.
Eve & Adam by Michael Grant and Katherine Applegate
Description: Sixteen-year-old Evening Spiker lives an affluent life in San Francisco with her mother, EmmaRose, a successful geneticist and owner of Spiker Biotech. Sure, Evening misses her father who died mysteriously, but she’s never really questioned it. Much like how she’s never stopped to think how off it is that she’s never been sick. That is, until she’s struck by a car and is exposed to extensive injuries. Injuries that seem to be healing faster than physically possible. While recuperating in Spiker Biotech’s lush facilities, she meets Solo Plissken, a very attractive, if off-putting boy her age who spent his life at Spiker Biotech. Like Evening, he’s never questioned anything… until now. Solo drops hints to Evening that something isn’t right, and Emma-Rose may be behind it. Evening puts this out of her mind and begins her summer internship project: To simulate the creation of the perfect boy. With the help of Solo, Evening uncovers secrets so big they could change the world completely.
Who I Kissed by Janet Gurtler
Description: She never thought a kiss could kill… Samantha didn’t mean to hurt anyone. She was just trying to fit in…and she wanted to make Zee a little jealous after he completely ditched her for a prettier girl. So she kissed Alex. And then he died—right in her arms. Was she really the only person in the entire school who didn’t know about his peanut allergy? Or that eating a peanut butter sandwich and then kissing him would be deadly? Overnight Sam turns into the school pariah and a media sensation explodes. Consumed with guilt, abandoned by her friends, and in jeopardy of losing her swimming scholarship, she’ll have to find a way to forgive herself before anyone else will.
Skinny by Donna Cooner
Description: Find your voice. Hopeless. Freak. Elephant. Pitiful. These are the words of Skinny, the vicious voice that lives inside fifteen-year-old Ever Davies’s head. Skinny tells Ever all the dark thoughts her classmates have about her. Ever knows she weighs over three hundred pounds, knows she’ll probably never be loved, and Skinny makes sure she never forgets it. But there is another voice: Ever’s singing voice, which is beautiful but has been silenced by Skinny. Partly in the hopes of trying out for the school musical—and partly to try and save her own life—Ever decides to undergo a risky surgery that may help her lose weight and start over. With the support of her best friend, Ever begins the uphill battle toward change. But demons, she finds, are not so easy to shake, not even as she sheds pounds. Because Skinny is still around. And Ever will have to confront that voice before she can truly find her own.
Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch
Description: On one side of the Rift is a technological paradise without famine or want. On the other side is a mystery. Sixteen-year-old Glenn Morgan has lived next to the Rift her entire life and has no idea of what might be on the other side of it. Glenn’s only friend, Kevin, insists the fence holds back a world of monsters and witchcraft, but magic isn’t for Glenn. She has enough problems with reality: Glenn’s mother disappeared when she was six, and soon after, she lost her scientist father to his all-consuming work on the mysterious Project. Glenn buries herself in her studies and dreams about the day she can escape. But when her father’s work leads to his arrest, he gives Glenn a simple metal bracelet that will send Glenn and Kevin on the run—with only one place to go. With MAGISTERIUM, Jeff Hirsch brings us the story of a complex, captivating world that will leave readers breathless until the very last page.
Kiss and Make Up by Katie D. Anderson
Description: Emerson Taylor, a 16-year-old lip gloss addict with a secret gift: she can read the mind of anyone who kisses her. Though puckering up with brainy boys to get test answers helps her grades, a scholarship competition and a new crush compel Emerson to stifle her gift and study the honest – if old-fashioned – way. With support from her family, including her aunt/guardian who is in the cosmetics business, Emerson discovers that true beauty always wins out.
Forget Me Not by Carolee Dean
Description: From the author of Take Me There, a fast-paced novel in verse about a girl caught between life and death—and the boy who will do anything to save her.Ally is devastated when a scandalous photo of her is texted around school. With her reputation in shambles and her life essentially over, she hides out in a back hallway, trying to figure out where everything went wrong. Elijah has spent time in that hallway too. He landed there after taking a whole bottle of sleeping pills. Now he can see ghosts, and he knows what Ally has yet to suspect—that she’s already half dead, and one choice away from never coming back. Elijah has loved Ally for years and would do anything to save her from the in-between place. But if she’s going to live, Ally must face her inner demons and find the will to save herself. Told in interwoven verse narratives, this crushingly honest and poetic exploration of pain and redemption will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins.
Live Through This by Mindi Scott
Description: From the outside, Coley Sterling’s life seems pretty normal . . . whatever that means. It’s not perfect—her best friend is seriously mad at her and her dance team captains keep giving her a hard time—but Coley’s adorable, sweet crush Reece helps distract her. Plus, she has a great family to fall back on—with a mom and stepdad who would stop at nothing to keep her siblings and her happy. But Coley has a lot of secrets. She won’t admit—not even to herself—that her almost-perfect life is her own carefully-crafted façade. That for years she’s been burying the shame and guilt over a relationship that crossed the line. Now that Coley has the chance at her first real boyfriend, a decade’s worth of lies are on the verge of unraveling. In this unforgettable powerhouse of a novel, Mindi Scott offers an absorbing, layered glimpse into the life of an everygirl living a nightmare that no one would suspect.
Through to You by Emily Hainsworth
Description: Camden Pike has been grief-stricken since his girlfriend, Viv, died. Viv was the last good thing in his life: helping him rebuild his identity after a career-ending football injury, picking up the pieces when his home life shattered, and healing his pain long after the meds wore off. And now, he’d give anything for one more glimpse of her. But when Cam makes a visit to the site of Viv’s deadly car accident, he sees some kind of apparition. And it isn’t Viv. The apparition’s name is Nina, and she’s not a ghost. She’s a girl from a parallel world, and in this world, Viv is still alive. Cam can’t believe his wildest dreams have come true. All he can focus on is getting his girlfriend back, no matter the cost. But things are different in this other world: Viv and Cam have both made very different choices, things between them have changed in unexpected ways, and Viv isn’t the same girl he remembers. Nina is keeping some dangerous secrets, too, and the window between the worlds is shrinking every day. As Cam comes to terms with who this Viv has become and the part Nina played in his parallel story, he’s forced to choose—stay with Viv or let her go—before the window closes between them once and for all.
Feedback (Variant #2) by Robinson Wells
Description: Benson Fisher escaped from Maxfield Academy’s deadly rules and brutal gangs.
Or so he thought.
But now Benson is trapped in a different kind of prison: a town filled with hauntingly familiar faces. People from Maxfield he saw die. Friends he was afraid he had killed. They are all pawns in the school’s twisted experiment, held captive and controlled by an unseen force. As he searches for answers, Benson discovers that Maxfield Academy’s plans are more sinister than anything he imagined—and they may be impossible to stop. Variant blew readers away with its breakneck pacing, flawless plotting, and impossibly high stakes.
It earned starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and VOYA, which described it as “an exciting, edge-of-your-seat read that combines psychological themes from works like Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games, and Ender’s Game in a truly unique way.” In Feedback, Robison Wells delivers all the answers you’ve been craving—with enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing until the very last page.
Lucid by Adrienne Stoltz and Ron Bass
Description: What if you could dream your way into a different life? What if you could choose to live that life forever? Sloane and Maggie have never met. Sloane is a straight-A student with a big and loving family. Maggie lives a glamorously independent life as an up-and-coming actress in New York. The two girls couldn’t be more different–except for one thing. They share a secret that they can’t tell a soul. At night, they dream that they’re each other. The deeper they’re pulled into the promise of their own lives, the more their worlds begin to blur dangerously together. Before long, Sloane and Maggie can no longer tell which life is real and which is just a dream. They realize that eventually they will have to choose one life to wake up to, or risk spiraling into insanity. But that means giving up one world, one love, and one self, forever. This is a dazzling debut that will steal readers’ hearts.
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
Description: Inhale. Exhale.
Breathe . . .
The world is dead.
The survivors live under the protection of Breathe, the corporation that found a way to manufacture oxygen-rich air.
has been stealing for a long time. She’s a little jittery, but not terrified. All she knows is that she’s never been caught before. If she’s careful, it’ll be easy. If she’s careful.
should be worried about Alina and a bit afraid for himself, too, but even though this is dangerous, it’s also the most interesting thing to happen to him in ages. It isn’t every day that the girl of your dreams asks you to rescue her.
wants to tell him that none of this is fair; they’d planned a trip together, the two of them, and she’d hoped he’d discover her out here, not another girl.
And as they walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered. Will they be able to make it back? Will they want to?
Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt
Description: Mia is always looking for signs. A sign that she should get serious with her soccer-captain boyfriend. A sign that she’ll get the grades to make it into an Ivy-league school. One sign she didn’t expect to look for was: “Will I survive cancer?” It’s a question her friends would never understand, prompting Mia to keep her illness a secret. The only one who knows is her lifelong best friend, Gyver, who is poised to be so much more. Mia is determined to survive, but when you have so much going your way, there is so much more to lose. From debut author Tiffany Schmidt comes a heart-wrenching and ultimately uplifting story of one girl’s search for signs of life in the face of death.
Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones
Description: Darynda Jones, author of The New York Times bestselling series that began with First Grave on the Right, brings us Death and the Girl Next Door, a thrilling Young Adult novel garnering high praise and early buzz from major authors Ten years ago, Lorelei’s parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on. High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school’s designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can’t have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones’s first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.
Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills
Amazon | Estelle’s Review
Description: The lives and loves of a teenage transboy music geek Gabe has always identified as a boy, but he was born with a girl’s body. With his new public access radio show gaining in popularity, Gabe struggles with romance, friendships, and parents–all while trying to come out as transgendered. An audition for a station in Minneapolis looks like his ticket to a better life in the big city. But his entire future is threatened when several violent guys find out Gabe the popular DJ is also Elizabeth from school.
Winter White by Jen Calonita
Description: Isabelle Scott and Mirabelle Monroe are still reeling from the revelation that they share more than just the roof over their heads. The media has pounced on their story and the girls are caught up in a flurry of talk-show appearances and newspaper interviews. They’ve put on a happy public face, but someone is leaking their true feelings to the press, and while it seems like the world is watching their every move, at least they have each other. But with cotillion season right around the corner, Izzie and Mira have barely had time to process their newfound sisterhood. Mira has dreamed of making her debut in a gorgeous white gown forever-now, if only she could find an escort. Izzie, meanwhile, is still struggling to find her place in Emerald Cove and it’s seeming ever more impossible with EC mean-girls, young and old, doing their best to keep her down. As cotillion preparations heat up, though, there are dance steps to learn, manners to perfect… and secret initiations to complete? As if sophomore year wasn’t hard enough! It’s time for the gowns to go on and the gloves to come off.
What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton
Description: How can you talk about something you can’t remember? Before the ski trip, sixteen-year-old Cassidy “Sid” Murphy was a cheerleader (at the bottom of the pyramid, but still…), a straight-A student, and a member of a solid trio of best friends. When she ends up on a ski lift next to handsome local college boy, Dax Windsor, she’s thrilled; but Dax takes everything from Sid—including a lock of her perfect red curls—and she can’t remember any of it. Back home and unable to relate to her old friends, Sid drops her college prep classes and takes up residence in the A/V room with only Corey “The Living Stoner” Livingston for company. But as she gets to know Corey (slacker, baker, total dreamboat), Sid finds someone who truly makes her happy. Now, if she can just shake the nightmares and those few extra pounds, everything will be perfect… or so she thinks. witty and poignant, Colleen Clayton’s stunning debut is a story about moving on after the unthinkable happens.
The Opposite of Hallelujah by Anna Jarzad
Description: Caro Mitchell considers herself an only child—and she likes it that way. After all, her much older sister, Hannah, left home eight years ago, and Caro barely remembers her. So when Caro’s parents drop the bombshell news that Hannah is returning to live with them, Caro feels as if an interloper is crashing her family. To her, Hannah’s a total stranger, someone who haunts their home with her meek and withdrawn presence, and who refuses to talk about her life and why she went away. Caro can’t understand why her parents cut her sister so much slack, and why they’re not pushing for answers. Unable to understand Hannah, Caro resorts to telling lies about her mysterious reappearance. But when those lies alienate Caro’s new boyfriend and put her on the outs with her friends and her parents, she seeks solace from an unexpected source. And when she unearths a clue about Hannah’s past—one that could save Hannah from the dark secret that possesses her—Caro begins to see her sister in a whole new light.
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
Description: Anna and Bennett were never supposed to meet: she lives in 1995 Chicago and he lives in 2012 San Francisco. But Bennett has the unique ability to travel through time and space, which brings him into Anna’s life, and with him a new world of adventure and possibility.
As their relationship deepens, the two face the reality that time may knock Bennett back to where he belongs, even as a devastating crisis throws everything they believe into question. Against a ticking clock, Anna and Bennett are forced to ask themselves how far they can push the bounds of fate, what consequences they can bear in order to stay together, and whether their love can stand the test of time.
Fresh, exciting, and deeply romantic, Time Between Us is a stunning, spellbinding debut from an extraordinary new voice in YA fiction.
All You Never Wanted by Adele Griffin
Description: With my eyes closed and Alex’s core friends all around me, it was like I’d become my big sister, or something just as good. And so who cared if they were calling it Alex’s party? One thing I knew: it would be remembered as mine.
Alex has it all—brains, beauty, popularity, and a dangerously hot boyfriend. Her little sister Thea wants it all, and she’s stepped up her game to get it. Even if it means spinning the truth to win the attention she deserves. Even if it means uncovering a shocking secret her older sister never wanted to share. Even if it means crying wolf.
Told in the alternating voices of Alex and Thea, Adele Griffin’s mesmerizing new novel is the story of a sibling rivalry on speed.
Out of Reach by Carrie Arcos
Description: How do you find someone who doesn’t want to be found? A girl searches for her missing addict brother while confronting her own secrets in this darkly lyrical novel.Rachel has always idolized her older brother Micah. He struggles with addiction, but she tells herself that he’s in control. And she almost believes it. Until the night that Micah doesn’t come home. Rachel’s terrified—and she can’t help but feel responsible. She should have listened when Micah tried to confide in her. And she only feels more guilt when she receives an anonymous note telling her that Micah is nearby and in danger. With nothing more to go on than hope and a slim lead, Rachel and Micah’s best friend, Tyler, begin the search. Along the way, Rachel will be forced to confront her own dark secrets, her growing attraction to Tyler…and the possibility that Micah may never come home.
The Space Between Us by Jessica Martinez
Description: From the author of Virtuosity, a novel about two sisters and the secrets they tell, the secrets they keep—and the secret that could tear them apart.Amelia is used to being upstaged by her charismatic younger sister, Charly. She doesn’t mind, mostly, that it always falls to her to cover for Charly’s crazy, impulsive antics. But one night, Charly’s thoughtlessness goes way too far, and she lands both sisters in serious trouble. Amelia’s not sure she can forgive Charly this time, and not sure she wants to . . . but forgiveness is beside the point. Because Charly is also hiding a terrible secret, and the truth just might tear them apart forever.
The Innocents by Lili Peloquin
Description: Nothing ever came between sisters Alice and Charlie. Friends didn’t. Boys couldn’t. Their family falling apart never would. Until they got to Serenity Point. “The Innocents” is the first in a new series of young adult novels that weave a saga of nail-biting drama, breathless romance, and gothic mystery.
Break My Heart 1,000 Times by Daniel Waters
Description: Living in the aftermath of the Event means that seeing the dead is now a part of life, but Veronica wishes that the ghosts would just move on. Instead, the ghosts aren’t disappearing–they’re gaining power. When Veronica and her friend, Kirk, decide to investigate why, they stumble upon a more sinister plot than they ever could have imagined. One of Veronica’s high school teachers is crippled by the fact that his dead daughter has never returned as a ghost, and he’s haunted by the possibility that she’s waiting to reappear within a fresh body. Veronica seems like the perfect host. And even if he’s wrong, what’s the harm in creating one more ghost? From critically acclaimed Generation Dead author Daniel Waters, comes a delectably creepy and suspenseful thriller. Break My Heart 1,000 Times will leave readers with the chills. Or is that a ghost reading over the page?
Crewel by Gennifer Albin
Description: Incapable. Awkward. Artless. That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail. Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested. Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape. Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.
The Elementals by Francesca Lia Block
Description: From a star YA author Francesca Lia Block—an adult novel about a student, haunted by the disappearance of a friend, who must face the truth. The Elementals is on one level an intriguing coming-of-age novel about a young woman, Ariel Silverman, facing the challenges of her first years away at college in Berkeley, California, while her mother battles cancer at home in Los Angeles. But the book takes on deeper, stranger meanings when we realize that Ariel is haunted by the disappearance of her best friend, Jeni, who vanished without a trace a few years before, closing Ariel’s heart and changing her forever. Ariel wonders if she will ever be fully alive, until she meets three mysterious, beautiful and seductive young people living in a strange old house in the Berkeley hills. Through them Ariel will unravel the mystery of her best friend’s disappearance and face a chilling choice.
Ask the Passengers by A. S. King
Description: Astrid Jones copes with her small town’s gossip and narrow-mindedness by staring at the sky and imagining that she’s sending love to the passengers in the airplanes flying high over her backyard. Maybe they’ll know what to do with it. Maybe it’ll make them happy. Maybe they’ll need it. Her mother doesn’t want it, her father’s always stoned, her perfect sister’s too busy trying to fit in, and the people in her small town would never allow her to love the person she really wants to: another girl named Dee. There’s no one Astrid feels she can talk to about this deep secret or the profound questions that she’s trying to answer. But little does she know just how much sending her love–and asking the right questions–will affect the passengers’ lives, and her own, for the better. In this unmistakably original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society’s boxes and definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything–and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking and sharing real love.
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Description: Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past. She can’t. She used to think her problems were all in her head. They aren’t. She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets. She’s wrong. In this gripping sequel to The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, the truth evolves and choices prove deadly. What will become of Mara Dyer next?
Burning Blue by Paul Griffin
Description: How far would you go for love, beauty, and jealousy? When Nicole Castro, the most beautiful girl in her wealthy New Jersey high school, is splashed with acid on the left side of her perfect face, the whole world takes notice. But quiet loner Jay Nazarro does more than that–he decides to find out who did it. Jay understands how it feels to be treated like a freak, and he also has a secret: He’s a brilliant hacker. But the deeper he digs, the more danger he’s in–and the more he falls for Nicole. Too bad everyone is turning into a suspect, including Nicole herself. Award-winning author Paul Griffin has written a high-stakes, soulful mystery about the meaning–and dangers–of love and beauty.
This is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell
Description: When high school seniors—and former couple—Emery and Jake find themselves held hostage in a first grade classroom, they must do all they can to protect the kids. Brian Stutts, a U.S. soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving in Iraq, pulls out his gun to convince the teacher to hand over the son he’s not allowed to check out because of a custody battle. The situation turns deadly when a security guard appears at the door and Stutts impulsively opens fire. When the teacher is carried from the room, the children’s fate is in the hands of Emery and Jake. While Jake searches for a way to communicate with the policemen surrounding the building, Emery, fighting her shyness, fear, and POTS symptoms, tries to reach out to the soldier. She gains a new understanding of what he faced in Iraq, and discovers remarkable strength in his small son.
Dear Teen Me: Authors Write Letters to Their Teen Selves
Description: Dear Teen Me includes advice from over 70 YA authors (including Lauren Oliver, Ellen Hopkins, and Nancy Holder, to name a few) to their teenage selves. The letters cover a wide range of topics, including physical abuse, body issues, bullying, friendship, love, and enough insecurities to fill an auditorium. So pick a page, and find out which of your favorite authors had a really bad first kiss? Who found true love at 18? Who wishes he’d had more fun in high school instead of studying so hard? Some authors write diary entries, some write letters, and a few graphic novelists turn their stories into visual art. And whether you hang out with the theater kids, the band geeks, the bad boys, the loners, the class presidents, the delinquents, the jocks, or the nerds, you’ll find friends–and a lot of familiar faces–in the course of Dear Teen Me.
Gravity by Melissa West
Description: In the future, only one rule will matter: Don’t. Ever. Peek. Seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander just broke that rule and saw the last person she expected hovering above her bed — arrogant Jackson Locke, the most popular boy in her school. She expects instant execution or some kind of freak alien punishment, but instead, Jackson issues a challenge: help him, or everyone on Earth will die. Ari knows she should report him, but everything about Jackson makes her question what she’s been taught about his kind. And against her instincts, she’s falling for him. But Ari isn’t just any girl, and Jackson wants more than her attention. She’s a military legacy who’s been trained by her father and exposed to war strategies and societal information no one can know — especially an alien spy, like Jackson. Giving Jackson the information he needs will betray her father and her country, but keeping silent will start a war.
Venom by Fiona Paul
Description: Cassandra Caravello is one of Renaissance Venice’s lucky elite: with elegant gowns, sparkling jewels, her own lady’s maid, and a wealthy fiancé, she has everything a girl could desire. Yet ever since her parents’ death, Cassandra has felt trapped, alone in a city of water, where the dark and labyrinthine canals whisper of escape. When Cass stumbles upon a murdered woman—practically in her own backyard—she’s drawn into a dangerous world of courtesans, killers, and secret societies. Soon, she finds herself falling for Falco, a mysterious artist with a mischievous grin… and a spectacular skill for trouble. Can Cassandra find the murderer, before he finds her? And will she stay true to her fiancé, or succumb to her uncontrollable feelings for Falco? Beauty, love, romance, and mystery weave together in a stunning novel that’s as seductive and surprising as the city of Venice itself.
Okay, friends, that wraps up the October 2012 Young Adult Book Releases. I hope you’ve found a book or thirty-three to add to your TBR list. As always, if there’s something we’ve not taken notice of before, TELL US so we can share in the book excitement, too!
Starring Me by Krista McGee
Publication Date: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: acting, religion, reality shows, God
Format read: ARC from NetGalley (Thanks!)
Summary: Kara dreams of being an actress, and heads to Orlando for the opportunity of a lifetime, while Chad wants to be known for more than his pop star persona. The two meet and connect in this story about religion, family, and accomplishing your goals.
While I’m open-minded when it comes to the religious beliefs of others, I don’t like to be overwhelmed by them — especially when I’m reading a book. There has to be some kind of balance in the story so the reader doesn’t feel alienated and I’m sorry to say at times I felt uncomfortable reading Starring Me for this very reason.
Kara is a sweet, focused, and enthusiastic girl who hails from Long Island (loved reading a book set so close to home!) and is determined to become a famous actress. Her uber supportive family (another aspect of the novel that I liked a lot) is totally okay with her pursuing this career and even heading to Florida for a variety show opportunity. At the same time, Chad is a pop star (who got famous by winning a reality show) and is ready to take a step back from the spotlight and host that variety show. He wants to act and write and while his parents are impressively focused on making sure their son always appreciates his good fortune. They are very firm about him having a Christian co-star and get the network to agree to pre-show auditions where this particular girl can be found.
Does this sound like discrimination to you? I understand the parents want Chad to spend his time with a girl who shares his beliefs but it doesn’t mean he couldn’t spend the same amount of time with a person who may adhere to another religion but be just as hardworking, sweet, and family-oriented, right?
So Kara doesn’t know she is actually auditioning for Chad’s new show… and the two meet through mutual friends and instantly click. But Chad is worried because Kara is not a Christian and Kara doesn’t have religion in her life so she’s not sure if they would ever work either.
The two supporting characters, Jonathan (who is the President of the U.S.’s son) and Addy (Kara’s co-star on another reality show and her best friend), are both full-fledged Christians too. Kara is never judgmental about their beliefs and instead is always asking questions and sort of searching for her own beliefs as well. There’s a lot of Bible talk and most of the characters are absolutely sure Kara will soon join their team and be a follower of God.
Beneath the religious aspects, McGee has a cute story here. I loved Kara’s excitement, her blended family, Flora (the house mom with a love of literature and Jane Austen), the included skits, and the few mentions of Orlando theme parks. Just because the story deals with circumstances I can’t relate to personally doesn’t mean that someone won’t be affected by this book or connect to it. I’m just not sure if this reality show scenario is entirely believable. I guess if none of the actresses found out that the search was for a Christian girl… all would be well? I don’t know.
Mostly, McGee succeeds in the creation of an independent and motivated female character who takes her time making decisions. I have a grasp on who Kara is and I only wish the other characters had that kind of depth. Starring Me has a lighthearted premise but is heavy hitting when it comes to religion and as a reader you have to decide if that’s the kind of book you want on your bookshelf.
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