Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 318
RAC Book: Yes
Augustus “Gus” and Hazel meet at a Cancer support group. Hazel has thyroid cancer that forces her to use oxygen 24/7 and despite a new miracle drug, has always been given a short life expectancy. She has adjusted to her relatively simple life, but that changes when she meets Gus, who lost a leg to Cancer, but has been Cancer free ever since. They begin talking and exchanging favorite books. Gus makes a huge gesture for Hazel so that a dream of hers can come true. It isn’t until afterward that Hazel realizes how much he really gave to give her that experience. As these two begin to fall in love they cannot help but wonder how long they really have and what they should do to make every day count.
This story is well-written and engaging. Hazel and Gus’s story will resonate with young readers because of their sheer honesty and willingness to never give up. The issues they have to deal with seem so heavy compared with other love stories, but it comes across as uplifting and life affirming instead of depressing. Highly recommended.
# of Pages: 322
RAC Book: Yes
Gwyneth lives in a large house with her extended family who are anxiously awaiting the first time travel episode by her cousin, Charlotte. Their family has a long history of time traveling and it was predicted that Charlotte would be the next in the line so she has spent much of her childhood getting prepared. Gwyneth is therefore very surprised when she is transported into an unknown time period instead. This causes quite a bit of turmoil in the household as they scramble to help Gwyneth in her new mission and understand how the mistake came to be. With each time travel, Gwyneth comes to find more questions than answers about the true mission of her and her cousin, Gideon, who is also a time traveler. Whom should they trust? Who wants to help them and who is merely selfishly using them for their own personal gain?
This book has been on my “to read” list for awhile and I wish I would have read it sooner. It was exciting, charming, mysterious, and entertaining. Despite having quite a few characters they are all easily identified due to their detailed characterization. The mystery behind the mission is somewhat discussed, but it’s obvious there is much more for Gwyneth to learn. Fans of romantic fantasy will absolutely love this and move on to the sequel quickly.
Genre: Romance/Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 356
In this sequel to The Belles, the secret about the true relationship of Isabelle to the Monroes is out and threatening to take down Bill Monroe’s campaign for Senator. Multiple stories keep coming out about the Monroe’s and everyone is bothered by the fact that there seems to be a mole in their midst selling information to the highest bidder. Meanwhile, Isabelle and Mirabelle are preparing to become debutantes at their cotillion. This involves prep classes, dress shopping, and even a hazing ritual. Isabelle does surprisingly well, but Mirabelle is struggling due to the fact that her former best friend, Savannah, has turned everyone against her and she feels all alone. Can Mirabelle find a way to stand on her own without trying to please the most popular girls in school? Can Isabelle survive cotillion training? Will either girl let their father walk her into the cotillion after the way he lied to them?
This follow up is satisfying picking up right where the last one left off. The characters are properly growing and developing and we are learning more about the periphery characters as well. The cotillion preparation was actually fun and interesting as the girls struggle to make it to the big event. Fans of the series will be eager to see more.
Published January 18, 2013
RAC , Romance
Tags: cure, family, love, Romance, virus
# of Pages: 441
Lena lives in a place where they believe love to be a virus that encourages people to do terrible things they would not normally do. They have created a cure that everyone receives at the age of 18. Lena’s mother ended up dying due to the virus and her sister was affected by it as well, so Lena cannot wait to get the cure. That is until she meets someone and falls in love. Even though she knows she is coming down with the virus she does not care and wishes to do whatever it takes to stop herself from getting that cure.
The idea of this story is very interesting, but the actual romance seems a little slow and boring at times. It makes it hard to want to keep reading about these two when they are just uninteresting. The ending is fairly fast paced and exciting, but abruptly ends. Girls who like romances and dystopian societies will make the best audience for this series.
# of Pages: 352
RAC Book: Yes
Isabelle has lived with her mother and her grandmother her entire life and when her mother died in a car accident her grandmother became her guardian. Despite all of Isabelle’s efforts, her grandmother is placed in a nursing home by a social worker and she is whisked away to the house of long lost family she has never heard of. The Monroe’s welcome Isabelle, but their teenage daughter, Mirabelle, struggles to befriend Isabelle at school as well as keep in the good graces of the queen bee, Savannah, who does not want Isabelle included in any school events. Meanwhile, Isabelle is stunned to learn that the great guy she met surfing at the beach all summer is the boyfriend of Savannah, who seems to make it her life’s mission to torture Isabelle. Will Isabelle and Mirabelle ever get along? Will Isabelle ever feel like she fits in in this new school, home, and family? What will happen when a huge family secret is revealed?
This story is full of teenage drama, but somehow manages to suck the reader in and want to know what will happen to these people. Despite the stress of always trying to keep up appearances, the Monroes do come off as normal and well adjusted. Savannah is a good villain that everyone wants to see go down, but can unfortunately also identify with as most people know a “Savannah.” Recommended for girls who like romance and lighter stories.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 512
In the final installment of the series, Cassia is back with the Society working as a sorter when the Rising takes control and produces a cure for a mysterious plague that the Society was trying to keep quiet within city limits. Xander is working in the clinic as a physhic and was well aware of the plague and is thrilled when the Rising takes over simply because he was always on their side and now they can cure these people. Ky, meanwhile, is working as a pilot for the Rising and his job is to deliver the cure to different locations. They all end up coming together, but the virus mutates and threatens to wipe out the entire civilization. Will Cassia choose Xander or Ky? Will they all even survive the plague? How will the Rising govern better than the Society did?
This ending was satisfying, but slow and a bit underwhelming. The first book in this series was so interesting and raised so many questions about society in general and what is considered “normal.” It seems like the second two books in the series lost their way a bit and struggled to recapture that spark the first one had. It’s not bad, but just not as good as Matched. Die hard fans will enjoy seeing what happens, but many readers will find this book tedious and cumbersome. There are still some unanswered questions as well and the ending, although satisfying, is definitely realistic which hopefully readers will appreciate.
Published November 14, 2012
Adventure , RAC , Realistic Fiction , Romance
Tags: capture, espionage, family, fighting, monarchy, princess, spy, torture
Genre: Futuristic Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 295
Before the book starts there are many days of environmental disasters in a row that leaves England struggling to survive and unable to reach anyone outside of their country. Months later, Eliza is horrified as a child when she witnesses her mother, the Queen of England, being poisoned to death. Years later, there are rumors that a ruthless dictator is plotting to overthrow her father and crown himself King. Her father assures her that everything is fine, but there is an elaborate attack on Buckingham Palace that leaves Eliza’s father dead and her brother and sister captured. Eliza manages to escape, but must then decide how to proceed. Should she run for her life? Should she stand and fight? There is a handsome reward out for her capture because once the dictator catches all three of the children he plans to have a very public execution so that there will be no confusion as to whether or not there are any rightful heirs out there.
Eliza encounters many dangerous situations trying to find out information about her brother and sister and often things do not go her way. This heroine faces some serious struggles and is even tortured at times. The villain is particularly evil, but is not in the story that much. Fans of futuristic stories will like this one, but need to be prepared for violence and frustration at times. The story is open for a possibility of a sequel, but doesn’t necessarily require one.
Published October 24, 2012
Adventure , Fantasy , RAC , Romance , Science Fiction
Tags: cryogenically frozen, family, leadership, lies, politics, Romance, truth
Genre: Science Fiction
# of Pages 398
RAC Book: Yes
Amy must make the very difficult decision of whether or not to cryogenically freeze herself with her parents. They have been chosen for their elite skills to lead a new planet in 300 years. Amy can choose to wait 300 years to continue her life on a new planet with her parents or she can stay and live the rest of her life without them. She chooses to get frozen, but is unexpectedly awoken 50 years early by someone wishing to cause harm to frozen people. Amy feels it is her responsibility to protect her parents from the person trying to hurt the frozen people, but how? Meanwhile, Elder, the future leader of the ship, is trying to learn what it will take to lead one day from Eldest, the current leader of the ship. Eldest is tyrannical, oppressive, and difficult to work with. Worst of all, as Elder soon learns, he has no problem with lying to the passengers of the ship. Can Elder become the kind of leader the ship needs? Will he go along with the lies they currently believe just to make Eldest’s life easier?
Fans of Glow and Divergent will enjoy this title. The plot is interesting, even for those who have read similar titles. Although the plot can be predictable it is also clearly thought out and multi-layered. Some difficult issues are discussed or displayed such as suicide and sexual assault, so beware of younger readers. All in all, it was an interesting, enjoyable read.
Genre: Romance/Historical Fiction
# of Pages: 549
Ismae was born with terrible scars on her back because her father is Death and her mother tried to have her killed before she was born. Later, Ismae’s stepfather sells her into a terrible arranged marriage. Once her new husband sees her scars he believes Ismae to be cursed and starts to beat her. She is rescued and sent to a convent where everyone works for Death. Ismae comes to find she has talents for working as an assassin whenever Death shows her the mark that someone should die. She is sent on a mission to help a man named Gavriel to protect a young girl who has recently taken power over a big nation. Ismae knows there is a traitor amongst the duchess’s advisors, but is not as prepared for the task as she thought she would be. Can Ismae find the traitor who threatens to put an entire kingdom in jeopardy before it is overtaken by enemies? Can she trust Gavriel as her convent believes or is he in fact hiding any secrets of his own?
This book is getting a lot of attention because it is engaging right from the beginning. Any reader naturally wants to know more about Ismae’s skills as well as who is betraying the young duchess. The characters are all memorable, which is important in a book with so many characters any of which could be the traitor. The ending is satisfying and readers will want to see more of this character to find out what she is capable of. Fans of Graceling and Star Crossed will enjoy this title as well.
# of Pages: 266
RAC Book: Yes
In this sequel to the Ghost and the Goth, Alona is still a ghost trying to find out why she was sent back from the light. Meanwhile, Will is approached by a strange organization that claims to free the world of spirits or ghosts. While Will is thrilled that he is not the only one with the gift of seeing ghosts, he is not sure he completely trusts the motivations of the organization. A girl named Mina has been trying to become a member of the group with little success and it is clear she is annoyed by how much they want Will to join. Alona does not trust Mina and is irritated that Will wants to learn more about her and this organization that she thinks works against ghosts instead of with them. In order to get Will’s attention Alona attempts a risky and dramatic plan that could land both of them in serious trouble. Can these two find out the truth behind the organization? Can they save themselves from the unexpected forces that want to tear them apart?
This sequel was very well done. For a book with a light, funny premise it was unclear if there would be adequate plot developments for a sequel, but the story kept me interested throughout. Alona and Will’s characters and relationship have deepened and developed over the course of the story and teenagers will respond to them. While some of the plot points seemed a bit predictable it was not boring or repetitive in any way. Readers who follow the series will be curious to see what happens to these characters next.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 294
Hannah has been a dancer at an elite Ballet company for many years and was completely fine dedicating so much of her life to it. After meeting a musician in a restaurant, however, she began to realize how much she has given up for her dancing and she is not even a solo dancer. Can she accept the fact that she has dedicated herself so strongly to something she may never reach the top at? Can she bring herself to walk away after so many years of hard work to pursue something else she may not even like?
This story allows readers to see what it is like to be a dancer in a ballet company. There are numerous rehearsals, fittings, physical therapy sessions, nutrition experts, etc. that are constantly ruling how the dancers should live. They are simply expected to give up any kind of outside life in order to succeed in this difficult field. Hannah is unusual in that she begins to think about life outside of the studio and is not sure she is up for the challenge of doing what it takes to get promoted. On the other hand, whenever she sees other girls get promoted over her she feels jealous and hurt. Is she meant to be a solo ballerina or merely a background dancer? Readers interested in dancing, the arts, or romance will enjoy this book wholeheartedly.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 356
Emma and Josh are high school kids in 1996 when the story begins. Emma gets her first computer and hooks it up to AOL only to receive the bonus Facebook. She finds her username and password for AOL work on Facebook and is shocked to find that she is looking at her own profile in 15 years. When she tells Josh, her estranged best friend, he finds a profile of himself as well. To say their futures are not what they expected is an understatement. Emma is especially disappointed in her future and vows to make decisions that will permanently change it. Josh is not necessarily disappointed in his future, but a bit confused as to how he gets there. As they begin noticing that little changes affect their future profiles they both need to think hard about what they want in their futures. Can they come to terms with their possible futures or do they want to make big changes that might help them get closer to where they hoped to be?
The relationship between Josh and Emma is complex at best due to the romantic rejection Josh felt when he tried to tell her he wanted to be more than friends. Despite the slight distance that has grown between them they still share a connection, which is why they get so jealous when they see the other person in a romantic relationship. The idea of getting a glimpse of the future is intriguing, especially to teens who are making those big decisions such as where to go to college. The references to 1996 are humorous, even if many are lost on current teenagers. The overall story moves quickly and will engage many young readers. Fans of romance and realistic fiction will enjoy this title.
# of Pages: 391
Nora is paired with Patch in science class and always feels a bit uncomfortable around him, especially since he seems to turn up wherever she is. The more time she spends with him, however, the more drawn she feels to him. Her best friend and the school counselor warn her he is dangerous and shouldn’t be trusted, but she cannot help but feel like she is in fact safe with him. Meanwhile, another new boy has come to her school, Elliot, and he is determined to befriend her. While Nora’s best friend thinks Elliot is wonderful Nora cannot help feel like something is a bit sinister with him. After a series of bizarre events in which Nora either hallucinated or someone is purposefully messing with her, she must decide which boy would be taunting her with dangerous situations. Is her life actually in danger and why?
This story is yet another fallen angel romance, but somehow still finds a way to be unique and interesting. Patch and Elliot both have reasons to hurt Nora, yet they both seem genuine at times when they want to befriend her. While Nora’s mother is absent for an enormous part of the book and her best friend seems to make the worst choices ever, Nora seems to take things in stride despite the fact that she finds herself in severe danger over and over. The ending provides some answers, but there is still a lot readers will want to know as this fantasy romance unfolds. Fans of Unearthly, Fallen, and Halo will enjoy this title as well.
Genre: Futuristic Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 487
RAC Book: Yes
Beatrice lives in Chicago in the future where the entire population lives in one of five factions. Each faction focuses on a different virtue: truth, bravery, selflessness, peacefulness, and intelligence. She was born and raised in the Abnegation faction, which focuses on selflessness. At the age of 16 each person is tested to see which faction they are best suited for, but each person is given the free choice to choose where he or she would like to spend adulthood. If Beatrice should choose to leave her faction, however, she will rarely if ever see her family again. When she is tested she finds that she does not fit easily into any faction and therefore has mixed results. She can truly choose any faction she wants. The choice she makes surprises everyone and she worries she has made a mistake. Can she survive initiation in order to feel she is a true member of her faction? Can she trust the society she lives in to create a city she feels is righteous and fair?
There are many futuristic society stories out right now, but this one is a bit different and will appeal to readers who like this style of writing. Beatrice makes some difficult decisions that will affect her future, a topic many young adults can relate to. Meanwhile, there are some unexpected realizations about growing up and seeing the flaws in adults, especially those with power. As Beatrice struggles through initiation she makes new friends and enemies as she lives in a competitive environment. In the end, the story is about society and how people treat each other, which is something young adults must ponder as they reach adulthood. The story has excitement and action and will leave readers wanting more.
Genre: Romance/Realistic Fiction/Mystery
# of Pages: 288
RAC Book: Yes
London suffered a traumatic incident when she was a child and as a result lost her long term memory. She must keep notes of everything because when she goes to sleep her memory is erased and she forgets everything when she wakes up. She does have “flashforwards” that allow her to retrieve memories from the future. She meets a new boy at school and immediately feels a connection, but she has no memory of him in her future. London begins having one recurring vision that terrifies her, especially when she realizes it is actually a memory from her past and not her future. In order to understand her future she must face the past that was so painful her parents decided not to remind her once she had lost her memory. Meanwhile, she must decide if she can trust this new boy or if he is just going to hurt her when he learns the truth about her memory issues.
Stories with characters blocking out painful memories is not new, but this story definitely puts a new twist on it. The reader gets to put the pieces together right along with London to find out what happened to her that caused her memory to rewire itself and also as the clues slowly come out regarding London’s mysterious vision. The story has many twists and turns and more overall character development than it first appears. Recommended for mystery or reluctant readers.