Review: This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender

This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story by Kheryn Callender
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Publication: October 30th 2018 by Balzer + Bray
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 304 pages
Format: ARC from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★★

Amazon || Book Depository

A fresh, charming rom-com perfect for fans of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Boy Meets Boy about Nathan Bird, who has sworn off happy endings but is sorely tested when his former best friend, Ollie, moves back to town.

Nathan Bird doesn’t believe in happy endings.

Although he’s the ultimate film buff and an aspiring screenwriter, Nate’s seen the demise of too many relationships to believe that happy endings exist in real life.

Playing it safe to avoid a broken heart has been his MO ever since his father died and left his mom to unravel—but this strategy is not without fault. His best-friend-turned-girlfriend-turned-best-friend-again, Florence, is set on making sure Nate finds someone else. And in a twist that is rom-com-worthy, someone does come along: Oliver James Hernández, his childhood best friend.

After a painful mix-up when they were little, Nate finally has the chance to tell Ollie the truth about his feelings. But can Nate find the courage to pursue his own happily ever after?

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Review: Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

dry-9781481481960_hrDry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman
Genre
: YA Science Fiction, Action, Adventure, Survival, Dystopia, Family
Publication: October 2nd 2018 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 400 pages
Format: ARC (borrowed from a friend)
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon || Book Depository

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbours and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

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Review: The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

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The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke
Genre: YA Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Retelling
Publication: October 2nd 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 384 pages
Format: ARC from publisher
Rating: ★★★★☆

Amazon || Book Depository

A dark and gorgeously drawn standalone YA fantasy about a band of mercenary girls in search of female glory. Won in a major six-house auction!

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.

When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

Full of fierce girls, bloodlust, tenuous alliances, and unapologetic quests for glory, this elegantly spun tale challenges the power of storytelling—and who gets to be the storyteller. Perfect for fans of Maggie Stiefvater, V.E. Schwab, and Heidi Heilig.

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Review: For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig
Genre
: YA Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Magic
Publication: September 25th 2018 by Greenwillow Books
Series: For a Muse of Fire #1
Length: 512 pages
Format: ARC from publisher
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon || Book Depository

A young woman with a dangerous power she barely understands. A smuggler with secrets of his own. A country torn between a merciless colonial army, a terrifying tyrant, and a feared rebel leader. The first book in a new trilogy from the acclaimed Heidi Heilig blends traditional storytelling with ephemera for a lush, page-turning tale of escape and rebellion. For a Muse of Fire will captivate fans of Sabaa Tahir, Leigh Bardugo, and Renée Ahdieh.

Jetta’s family is famed as the most talented troupe of shadow players in the land. With Jetta behind the scrim, their puppets seem to move without string or stick—a trade secret, they say. In truth, Jetta can see the souls of the recently departed and bind them to the puppets with her blood. But the old ways are forbidden ever since the colonial army conquered their country, so Jetta must never show, never tell. Her skill and fame are her family’s way to earn a spot aboard the royal ship to Aquitan, where shadow plays are the latest rage, and where rumor has it the Mad King has a spring that cures his ills. Because seeing spirits is not the only thing that plagues Jetta. But as rebellion seethes and as Jetta meets a young smuggler, she will face truths and decisions that she never imagined—and safety will never seem so far away.

Heidi Heilig creates a vivid, rich world inspired by Asian cultures and French colonialism. Her characters are equally complex and nuanced, including the bipolar heroine. Told from Jetta’s first-person point-of-view, as well as chapters written as play scripts and ephemera such as telegrams and letters, For a Muse of Fire is an engrossing journey that weaves magic, simmering romance, and the deep bonds of family with the high stakes of epic adventure.

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Review: Check, Please!: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu

Check, Please!: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu
Genre: Graphic Novels, YA Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, Sports Fiction, Coming of Age
Publication: September 18th 2018 by First Second Books
Series: Check, Please #1.
Length: 288 pages
Format: eARC from First Second Books
Rating: ★★★★★

Amazon || Book Depository

Helloooo, Internet Land. Bitty here!

Y’all… I might not be ready for this. I may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur pâtissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It’s nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There’s checking. And then, there is Jack—our very attractive but moody captain.

A collection of the first half of the megapopular webcomic series of the same name, Check, Please!: #Hockey is the first book of a hilarious and stirring two-volume coming-of-age story about hockey, bros, and trying to find yourself during the best four years of your life.

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Review: And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness

And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication: September 4th 2018 by Walker Books
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 160 pages
Format: ARC from publisher
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon || Walker Books

With harpoons strapped to their backs, the proud whales of Bathsheba’s pod live for the hunt, fighting in the ongoing war against the world of men. When they attack a ship bobbing on the surface of the Abyss, they expect to find easy prey. Instead, they find the trail of a myth, a monster, perhaps the devil himself…

As their relentless Captain leads the chase, they embark on a final, vengeful hunt, one that will forever change the worlds of both whales and men.

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Review: Surviving Adam Meade by Shannon Klare

Surviving Adam Meade by Shannon Klare
Genre: YA Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Sports Contemporary
Publication: August 14th 2018 by Swoon Reads
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 256pages
Format: ARC from publisher
Rating: ★★★★

Amazon || Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Claire Collins has a plan: get into college and leave North Carolina behind. What she doesn’t have is an idea for how to get rid of the local football star and womanizer extraordinaire — Adam Meade, who she can’t even avoid (despite many efforts), because Claire’s dad is the high school football coach.

Seventeen-year-old Adam Meade never fails. He always gets what he wants… until he meets Claire, the new girl who leaves him unnerved, pissed off, and confused. But there’s something about her that he just can’t resist…

With the bite of lemon meringue pie and the sugar of sweet tea, Surviving Adam Meade is a sexy and compelling young adult novel about two strong-willed people who think they know what they want but have no idea what they need.

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Review: Fresh Ink edited by Lamar Giles

Fresh Ink edited by Lamar Giles
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, LGBTQIA+, #ownvoices, Short Stories
Publication: August 14th 2018 by Crown Books for Young Readers
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 208 pages
Format: ARC from publisher
Rating: ★★★.5

Amazon || Book Depository

In partnership with We Need Diverse Books, thirteen of the most recognizable, diverse authors come together in this remarkable YA anthology featuring ten short stories, a graphic short story, and a one-act play from Walter Dean Myers never before in-print.

Careful–you are holding fresh ink. And not hot-off-the-press, still-drying-in-your-hands ink. Instead, you are holding twelve stories with endings that are still being written–whose next chapters are up to you.

Because these stories are meant to be read. And shared.

Thirteen of the most accomplished YA authors deliver a label-defying anthology that includes ten short stories, a graphic novel, and a one-act play. This collection will inspire you to break conventions, bend the rules, and color outside the lines. All you need is fresh ink.

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Collaborative Review: Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips

Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Publication: August 7th 2018 by Viking Books for Young Readers
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 385 pages
Format: Hardcover
Rating: ★★★.5

Amazon || Book Depository

#AlexFromTarget meets queer Prince Charming in this glittering romcom following a teen music prodigy and the handsome socialite who unwittingly turns him into an internet sensation.

In a dingy Los Angeles club late one night, Cameron and Nate meet and find they have much more in common than their love of an obscure indie band. But when Nate learns that Cameron is the heir to a record label, the very one that destroyed his father’s life, he runs away as fast as he can. The only evidence of their brief but intense connection is a blurry photo Cameron snaps of Nate’s Sharpie-decorated Chuck Taylors as he flees.

Considering that Cameron is a real life Prince Charming–he’s handsome, famous, and rich–it’s only fitting that he sets out to find the owner of the Sharpied shoes. Cameron’s twin sister, a model and socialite, posts the picture of Nate’s shoes on Instagram to her legions of fans with the caption, “Anyone know the gorgeous owner of these shoes? My hottie brother is looking for him.” The internet just about breaks with the news of a modern fairy tale and the two become entwined in each other’s lives in this sparkling story about the power of music, the demons that haunt us, and the flutterings of first real love.

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Review: Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro

Anger Is A Gift by Mark Oshiro
Genre: YA Contemporary, Fiction, Mental Health, LGBTQIA+, #ownvoices
Publication: May 22nd 2018 by Tor Teen
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 384 pages
Format: eARC from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★★

Amazon || Book Depository

A story of resilience and loss, love and family, Mark Oshiro’s Anger is a Gift testifies to the vulnerability and strength of a community living within a system of oppression.

Six years ago, Moss Jefferies’ father was murdered by an Oakland police officer. Along with losing a parent, the media’s vilification of his father and lack of accountability has left Moss with near crippling panic attacks.

Now, in his sophomore year of high school, Moss and his fellow classmates find themselves increasingly treated like criminals by their own school. New rules. Random locker searches. Constant intimidation and Oakland Police Department stationed in their halls. Despite their youth, the students decide to organize and push back against the administration.

When tensions hit a fever pitch and tragedy strikes, Moss must face a difficult choice: give in to fear and hate or realize that anger can actually be a gift.

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