Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 227
Harper is running away from a difficult home life after her father’s divorce and decides to join a volunteer group working to rebuild a home in Tennessee destroyed by a tornado. The story switches between Harper meeting new people and helping to rebuild the house in the present and then flashing back to what happened with her dad and why she feels so isolated after her stepmom and two stepsisters moved out. In addition to this, Harper is trying to avoid her former best friend whom she thought was starting to show romantic interest in her when she caught him with another girl at a party. While she is in Tennessee she begins to grow closer to the teenage boy of the family they are building the house for, Teddy. As hard as the work is, the distraction is great to ease her mind on all of her problems at home and she comes to have very strong feelings for Teddy. Can she face her life after the house is built and the summer is over?
This is a title that has been on my reading list for awhile because of its unique focus on service. The flashbacks to what happened to Harper are interesting and well paced, but in general the book has less substance than I was expecting. Teens who have suffered through a parents’ divorce will resonate with Harper’s internal struggle of who she should remain faithful to and wanting the truth. Harper’s summer activities are not explained in as much detail as her past and the teens she is volunteering with are not developed enough for the reader to easily keep them straight. Fans of teen romances will like this title.
# of Pages: 354
Sarah has lived in one exotic location after another her entire life since her parents are both scientists and often move to where they can conduct research. After the recent passing of Sarah’s mother, they are still grieving but decide to carry on with a previously scheduled educational safari so that they can earn some extra money. Shortly after the five teenagers arrive, Sarah’s dad is called away to stop some poachers and she is left to entertain them in the middle of a semi-desert. Hours go by and Sarah’s dad does not return and finally she receives a very panicked call over the radio from a frantic man who sounds like her father claiming it was a setup and he was being chased. The call cuts out with the sound of gunshots. Sarah and the other five teenagers are alone, with little food, and no transportation. They decide to go looking for help and must rely on Sarah’s survival skills in order to survive. They eventually find a silver lion who tries to attack them and Sarah knows something unnatural is going on and more than likely whomever created that monstrosity would do anything to keep it quiet. Can Sarah get the others to safety? Will she ever find out what happened to her dad? Where did the silver lion come from and is there some illegal experimenting going on?
Fans of survival books will enjoy this title. There are multiple scenes in which one or more of the teens is in serious danger due to some natural wildlife threat, like snakes. However, once they uncover the silver lion they face many dangers from humans as well as the people behind the altered animal want desperately to contain the situation at all costs. The characters are sympathetic and relatable as they truly just try to just survive this very unexpected situation and in the process must face the many reasons they all wanted to escape to the Kalahari in the first place.
# of Pages: 310
Grace knows she saw a man with a scar on his face standing over her mother’s dead body three years ago. Yet, everyone tells her that her mom died of an accidental fire in her antique shop. For three years, Grace has seen countless doctors and retold her story to many well meaning people who think she’s simply going crazy from the trauma of losing her mother. Grace’s father has been stationed overseas and so she is forced to go live with her grandfather where he works as the U.S. ambassador to the tiny country, Adria. Returning to her mother’s childhood home brings back many feelings and fears for Grace, none of which are helped when she sees the man with the scar she saw that fateful night. Will anyone believe her story now? Can she prove her mother’s death wasn’t an accident and prove her sanity?
Fans of Ally Carter books will like this new series as well. It’s fun, unique, and has some clever plot twists. The characters are interesting, but will get more engaging with each installment. Grace’s post traumatic stress is described vividly and helps the reader understand why everyone around her feels she’s an unreliable witness. Recommended to readers looking for a quick read.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
# of Pages: 225
Cady, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat called themselves the liars every summer they spent together on the elite Sinclair island. The Sinclair family was wealthy, beautiful, and envied everywhere they went. Cady, the narrator, explains how her grandparents built a house for all three of their daughters on this island so that they could all spend every summer together. Cady, Mirren, and Johnny were cousins, while Gat was the nephew of their aunt’s boyfriend. Two years ago something terrible happened that no one will tell Cady about. All she knows is that she was found in her underwear on the beach with no memory of how she came to be there or what happened. Her family has decided to shield her from whatever harsh truth she has chosen to block out and even refused to let her come to the island the following summer. When she finally returns the summer of her 18th year she finally gets to see all of her fellow liars again and they seem exactly the same, but even they won’t tell her what happened that fateful night when everything went black for Cady. How can she learn the truth if no one will help her? What could have happened that would cause all of this chaos?
Cady is a very unique character who is desperately trying to find out what happened to her two full years ago that her mind simply can’t handle. The ending of this one is amazing in that not only does it completely fit with the rest of the story, but no one will see it coming. The characters are well developed and all help Cady remember that traumatic day, but ultimately it’s Cady who needs to put the pieces together. Recommended for everyone, but especially reluctant readers.
# of Pages: 323
Rachel is a recently divorced alcoholic, who travels to the city everyday on the train pretending to her roommate that she still has a job. Every day she passes the house she used to live in with her husband, who still lives there with his new wife and baby. A few doors down from that house she starts noticing another young couple that she comes to identify with. She makes up names and stories for them to help her feel like she really knows them. What she doesn’t know is that their lives are not nearly as perfect as she thinks they are. One day as the train drives by she sees something unusual that confuses her. The next day she sees on the news that the woman she has been watching everyday from the train has gone missing. Should she go to the police? Will anyone believe her with her history of erratic behavior and alcoholism?
Fans of thrilling mysteries will love this title. The mystery is well crafted and keeps you in suspense for most of the book. Several important characters are discussed who all seem like they could possibly be the culprit at one time or another. The ending is exciting, thrilling, and a bit surprising. Readers looking for a psychological mystery won’t be disappointed.
Published December 1, 2014
Adventure , RAC , Realistic Fiction
Tags: betrayal, family, fight, friendship, kidnap, loyalty, murder, trust
# of Pages: 459
Saba lives with her twin brother, father, and little sister in the middle of a desserted, dry place. Lugh, her twin, begins to worry about their survival with the lake drying up and their overall lack of food. Her father has never been the same since Saba’s mother died giving birth to her sister, Emmi. Unexpectedly one day, four men in long robes riding horses kidnap Lugh and kill her father who tries to stop them. Saba and Emmi then begin a long journey to try and find Lugh, but before they get far they are captured and Saba is forced to cage fight daily for her life in a brutal coliseum type entertainment venue where people come to watch young girls die. While incarcerated, Saba begins to make a few friends and learns a few things about Lugh’s whereabouts, but the more she hears the worse it sounds. How will she get free so that she no longer has to fight for her life for other’s entertainment? Will she ever be able to find and rescue her brother and sister? Can she trust anyone she meets?
This futuristic survival tale will be riveting for anyone who loved The Hunger Games, Divergent, or The Maze Runner. It’s very raw and gritty and leaves the reader truly pulling for Saba who has an unbelievable amount of obstacles in front of her. Everything that happens to Saba and her friends is brutal, but very realistic and believable unlike some of the other futuristic series out there. Saba is a flawed and interesting character that makes you wonder what will ultimately happen to her, but the characters around her are also flawed and somehow they all work together to bring forth the best version of themselves. Recommended
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of page: 322
Becca Jones and her mother just want anonymity after Becca’s father is sentenced to ten years in prison for multiple counts of conning people out of their life savings so that his family could live a very privileged life. Becca is about to start high school and completely humiliated by her father’s actions. Becca and her mother flee Georgia and run to a small town in Ohio where they live very humble, simple lives trying to avoid anyone knowing who they really are. Three years later Becca is an A student and ready to apply to colleges. She has tried tirelessly to prove how hard she is willing to work for her future and that she’s not a cheater like her father. Yet, when she asks her mother for help on financial aide forms her mother gets paranoid and says it won’t be safe for her to do anything online where someone could find them. Eventually, Becca learns that her mother is harboring a terrible secret about the real reason they fled Georgia in the first place.
This book is written in a way that any young adult girl reading can truly identify with Becca and how she must feel learning about her father’s transgressions and being forced to deal with that humiliation. Becca and her mother are written very well and have multiple dimensions and motivations for all of their actions. Becca’s friends start a little flat, but eventually they start to have some real personalities and genuinely seem to care for Becca. The plot definitely has some twists and turns that readers might not be expecting, but the ending is handled very quickly and neatly. Overall, an exciting read that reluctant readers will enjoy.