by Lauren Gibaldi
“I look at him, and he leans forward, touching my arm. "I think it's up to you, to be who you want.”
Maude is a senior in high school and because of a photography assignment is spending her spring break with her best friend's college trying to find information about her dead birth mother. There were a lot of things that I liked about this book. There was a kind of effortless diversity that needs to happen more often. I like that the evolving nature of friendship was explored. I didn't need the love interest, but he didn't bother me. I needed more about the adoption angle. There are all kinds of feelings and issues to be subtly explored. Maybe they were, and because I am not adopted and have not adopted, I am not sensitized to them. It ended up being okay, and I had higher expectations than that.
by Mary Amato
“Maybe it explains the reason why one person likes another. It's because their souls both thrum at the same frequency.”
Two high school students with nothing in common start to communicate through notes left in a share music rehearsal room at school. Although this book is about 11th graders, it feels like a Middle-grade novel rather than a YA. The writing, themes, language, and content all are appropriate for younger readers. In fact, if you switched up Tripp and Lyla's ages to 12 or 13 there would have to be no other changes to make it a Middle Grade. The music part of the book was very well done. My favorite part of this book was the fact that both characters manage to become genuine friends without there being a romance. This should happen more often.
Wesley James Ruined My Life
by Jennifer Honeybourn
"King Henry VIII won’t shut up. Not the real King Henry VIII, obviously. That would be crazy, given the dude’s been dead for five hundred years. This King Henry is really Alan Rickles, retired weatherman/local dinner theater actor."
This book irritated me. Something happened years ago, and Quinn Hardwick’s life changed for the worse. She blames a boy who was, like ten at the time. He comes back into her life, and she proceeds to be a heinous bitch. And then they fall in Love. Maybe I just don't hold grudges correctly? The writing was decent, so I am going to try out her next book. It might just be this trope that does not work for me rather than there being something wrong with the book.
The Opposite of Ordinary
by Jessica Sorensen
"I confessed my confusion to Queeny because, bitch or not, she was my best friend."
The plot what a both too simple and cartoonish and too complicated and over the top. I think if you like things like Pretty Little Liars or Gossip Girl this might be more up to your ally. A mean girl gets dumped by her mean girlfriends because of a rumor, and they start to try to ruin her life. I would like to say that she changes and learns something but she really doesn't seem to. She just switches groups. There is also so much cyber bullying (and just general bullying) in this book, and no one freakin' tells an adult. I really can't stand when books give this message to readers especially when the target audience is young readers. Displeased. A much better former mean girl story would be Before I Fall.
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight
by Jennifer E. Smith
“It's not the changes that will break your heart; it's that tug of familiarity.”
This the story of a girl who is reluctantly flying from the US to the UK to reluctantly attend her father's wedding. Along the way, she meets a guy, and things seem to change. It is one of the very few books that pulls off instalove. There I said it. And while t was able to pull it off, the concept of the story happening in a 24 hour period rushed everything else. I felt as if this should have been Part One of a book. I wanted more development from it. Maybe an epilogue? Despite my nit-picking, this is actually my favorite Jennifer E. Smith book.
by Kay Honeyman
“You're so busy trying to prove what you do know, you ignore everything you don't.”
I have been absolute trash for this trope for the last year. I am both horribly repelled by politics and completely fascinated. In this book, Kate Hamilton is the daughter of a Senator whose family has retreated to Texas in the wake of a scandal. It was readable enough, but Kate is manipulative as all hell, there is more drama than a teen soap opera, and all your sense of reality needs to be suspended. I read it vaguely enjoyed it and had trouble remembering a thing that happened. If you want a book where the main character is related to a powerful politician check out The Right Side of Wrong.