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: ★★★★★

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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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Author Interview: Juleah Del Rosario, Author of 500 Words or Less

500 Words or Less by Juleah Del Rosario
Genre
: YA Contemporary, Poetry, Realistic Fiction
Publication: September 25th 2018 by Simon Pulse
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 384 pages
Format: e-ARC from blog tour host

Amazon || Book Depository

Nic Chen refuses to spend her senior year branded as the girl who cheated on her charismatic and lovable boyfriend. To redefine her reputation among her Ivy League–obsessed classmates, Nic begins writing their college admissions essays.

But the more essays Nic writes for other people, the less sure she becomes of herself, the kind of person she is, and whether her moral compass even points north anymore.

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Review: Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Pride by Ibi Zoboi
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, Retelling
Publication: September 18th 2018 by Balzer + Bray
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 304 pages
Format: ARC from Publisher
Rating: ★★★★.5

Amazon || Book Depository

Zuri Benitez has pride. Brooklyn pride, family pride, and pride in her Afro-Latino roots. But pride might not be enough to save her rapidly gentrifying neighborhood from becoming unrecognizable.

When the wealthy Darcy family moves in across the street, Zuri wants nothing to do with their two teenage sons, even as her older sister, Janae, starts to fall for the charming Ainsley. She especially can’t stand the judgmental and arrogant Darius. Yet as Zuri and Darius are forced to find common ground, their initial dislike shifts into an unexpected understanding.

But with four wild sisters pulling her in different directions, cute boy Warren vying for her attention, and college applications hovering on the horizon, Zuri fights to find her place in Bushwick’s changing landscape, or lose it all.

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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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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 + Playlist: Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West

Listen to Your Heart by Kasie West
Genre: YA Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Publication: May 29th 2018 by Point
Series: None. Standalone.
Length: 336 pages
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★.5

Amazon || Book Depository

Talking to other people isn’t Kate Bailey’s favorite activity. She’d much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school’s podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she’ll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate’s surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend … until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West’s adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

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Review: Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, LGBTQIA+
Publication: April 24th 2018 by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray
Series: Creekwood #2.
Length: 338 pages
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★.5

Amazon || Book Depository
National Bookstore

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

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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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