Genre: Historical fiction
# of Pages: 405
This title has been on my list to read for awhile and it was worth the wait. Hannah and her mother have never been close, but when her mother dies of Cancer she finds herself lashing out at those around her as if she’s struggling more than she expected. After going through her mother’s things she realizes that not only was her mother German, not Austrian like she’d always been told, but she still had a living grandfather in Germany. She decides to go see him and try to learn why her mother was the way she was. Meanwhile, the story keeps flashing back to Hannah’s mother, Lieselotte as a girl growing up with the ever growing Nazi presence. Lieselotte’s father and brother become completely engaged in the Nazi party, but she finds herself horrified by the injustices she’s seeing around her. She works with a family who was very kind to her mother as she lay dying of Cancer, to aid those being chased from their homes. Hannah slowly uncovers what happened to her mother and why she never told her about her past or her grandfather.
This is a fresh take on WWII fiction in that it really depicts what it was like growing up in Germany during this time no matter where your loyalties laid. At the same time it depicts the lingering affects of WWII and the Nazi mentality. Since Hannah was born and raised in the U.S. she has a hard time understanding why there are still so many hard feelings until it is explained to her just how bad things got for Jews during this time. The story unfolds nicely and it’s easy to see why Lieselotte ended up feeling bitter and betrayed. Highly recommended.
# of Pages: 473
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Mystery
Iowa High School Award Winner 2016
Rory is thrilled when she gets accepted into the prestigious Theden Academy, an all expense paid prep school with an excellent reputation. Shortly before she leaves, she learns that her mother, who died in childbirth, also attended Theden and left her a symbolic necklace. This story is set in the future where everyone is dependent on their smart phones and uses an app called Lux that makes literally every decision for them from what to major in to what to eat for breakfast. As Rory settles in she meets a young barista at a nearby coffee shop and he helps her see what a disadvantage it is to always have an app make decisions for you. She begins using Lux less and less and in the process notices more around her, including the shady practices of her new school. Is someone out to get her? What really happened to her mother and did she actually die during childbirth?
This is a fun, fast paced story that fans of futuristic fiction will enjoy. The story is detailed and has many revelations that unfold in a timely way. The characters are all well developed and it’s easy for the reader to see each of their motivations. Despite there being quite a market for futuristic dystopian-esque books this one is unique enough to stand out and will keep readers engaged.
# of pages: 277
Jillian does not believe in paranormal activity, but yet she works running her father’s paranormal investigation firm ever since he left her to fend for herself and her dying mother. She tells clients what they want to hear in order to earn money to pay the electric bill, but that does not stop her from judging those who do believe in the paranormal. When a high school classmate offers to pay big money for her to find her missing boyfriend, Jillian jumps at the chance until the mysterious new student, Sky, inserts himself into the investigation claiming that there is supernatural activity at work here. As Jillian and Sky work the case she faces the possibility that supernatural occurrences might actually exist.
Fans of mysteries and fantasy will enjoy this light, fun story about a teenage girl trying to do it all. There is a lot about Jillian’s backstory that has not been uncovered yet, including a mysterious obituary she finds of herself dated six months in the future listing a sister among her family whom she’s never heard of. There’s plenty more stories Jillian can and probably will tell in future volumes.