Archive for May, 2023

Wait For Me by Sara Shepard

Genre: Mystery

Casey has always been gifted academically and therefore is now a sophomore in college even though she’s only 17. Her father is very sick and her stepmother doesn’t really want her around and has suggested she live in the dorms this year. Casey really likes her roommate, her part time job, and her new boyfriend, Marcus. It feels like things are going really well for her, but when she meets Marcus’s dad for the first time she hears a mysterious voice tell her she’s “been a bad girl” and she starts to spiral a bit. She finds herself in a small town she knows she’s never been to before, but yet people recognize her and she definitely knows her way around. Is it possible she was here in another life? She starts to think she might be having flashbacks to the life of someone named Becky who died mysteriously the year Casey was born. Is it possible Becky is trying to tell her something about the way she died? Will she ever find out any answers or will people always suspect she’s got a mental illness?

This suspenseful mystery is unique in that the main character keeps getting visions from what she thinks is a previous life, but she doesn’t know what is real and what isn’t. She also lost her mom in a tragic fashion so it’s possible she is struggling to deal with that by making stuff up in her head. There are many people around her who all claim to want what is best for her, but it’s difficult to tell who is telling the truth and who should not be trusted. Fans of Shepard’s previous works will enjoy this fast paced title and it’s exciting conclusion. Recommended for those looking for a light read.

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Genre: Action/Mystery

Nora O’Malley was raised by her con artist mother until her sister rescued her and tried to give her a more stable life. Her friends know very little about her dubious past, but when they are held up at gun point in a bank robbery, Nora’s mind immediately begins to think like a grifter to find a way out for them. The book then flashes back to difference identities Nora had when she was running cons with her mother, including name and appearance changes for each one. Nora was groomed by her mother to act differently in every situation so that they could ensnare their mark, who was always wealthy but sketchy enough that the odds they would report thefts to the police were slim. It’s obvious things fell apart at some point because Nora’s mom is now in jail, but what part did she play in getting her mom convicted? Is she safe from her past crimes or are there still people looking for her? Can she explain to her friends why her behavior is so calculated as she tries to free them from this bank heist?

This entertaining story grabs the reader’s attention right from the beginning, but keeps it by dangling mysterious facts about Nora’s past. It’s easy to care about her current predicament in the bank robbery, but also to want to know more about the things she did under her mother’s orders as a child. Also, what happened to bring it all crashing down? The story is well described so that it’s easy to follow despite the timelines jumps and develops characters in each situation that are fully realized and memorable. Readers looking for fast paced action will enjoy this title, but be advised there is some mature language and content.

Indivisible by Daniel Aleman

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Mateo is a typical NYC teen who goes to school, works at his father’s bodega, and dreams of being on Broadway one day. His parents fully support his dreams and want him to have opportunities they never had. Everything is turned upside down, however, when both of his parents are arrested for being in the U.S. illegally and suddenly Mateo feels like his Broadway dreams feel so insignificant now that he’s facing how to finish high school, take care of his little sister, and keep his father’s business going until he can hopefully return. The bills start piling up quickly, and as much as he doesn’t want to lose the only home he’s ever known, Mateo isn’t sure he can keep paying the rent on their apartment. Mateo is too embarrassed to tell his two closest friends what is going on and tries to handle everything himself. Eventually, it all starts to weigh on him and he must consider the possibility that his parents are never coming back. How will he ever finish school if they get deported? How will they survive in a country they have not lived in for 20 years? How will his little sister cope with their new circumstances?

This story tells a very accurate portrayal of how disruptive immigration policies can be to families. In Mateo’s case his family is just trying to make a decent living so that they can give the next generation opportunities that simply aren’t available in Mexico where they are from. Each character reacts to the situation differently and it’s easy to see where each person is coming from. Mateo’s embarrassment over his family’s situation is also very relatable to teens who get embarrassed by their families for anything they feel makes them stand out. It’s nice that Mateo’s family finds some support during this difficult time, but ultimately they know their lives will never be the same again. Recommended for those looking for a true depiction of this difficult issue.

Today Tonight Tomorrow

Genre: Romance

Rowan and Neil have battled throughout high school in everything from grades to class elections. Now it is the last day of senior year and they are both eager to hear who will come out on top for valedictorian. This is also the day where seniors can compete in a very challenging scavenger hunt for bragging rights and a nice cash reward. Despite their differences, they quickly realize that if they pair up for the race they have a better chance of winning. Their group of friends has grown a bit tired of their exhausting feud, but wants to support them as best they can. As the day goes on they begin to learn things about each other that they never knew and it changes how they see each other. Is it possible they wasted their high school years hating someone they should’ve been friends with? Now that they’re both going to different colleges is there still a chance they could form a relationship?

This book takes place in one day and yes a lot of plot happens as two high school seniors begin to learn about people they thought they knew pretty well. The setting is fun with the scavenger hunt and the characters are well developed so that it’s easy to care about what happens with these two. The mixed feelings they have about leaving high school are something many students can identify with. Recommended for those looking for a romance.