# of Pages: 360
When Lily Bennett moves with her mother to a new town before her junior year of high school she tries to remain optimistic, but in reality her mother is fleeing her cheating husband and his pregnant girlfriend and Lily is fleeing her cheating father and the boyfriend who cheated on her with her best friend. They are both looking for fresh starts and unfortunately, that involves living on her wealthy grandmother’s property. Ever since she was a child Lily has had a bizarre recurring dream where she’s running on a big field that has caught fire and she approaches a teenage boy’s body in the middle of it. It has scared her since she was little, but normally she only has this dream a few times a year. Since she moved she has had this dream every single night and it’s beginning to take a toll.
Amber was a teen living in the same town Lily just moved to in the 1980s. Her boyfriend, Spence, was murdered on the football field of their school and the police investigator believed that Amber committed the murder. Four days later Amber was stabbed to death and it was ruled a suicide. Could Amber be trying to send Lily a message all of these years later about what really happened to her and Spence? What is Lily’s connection to Amber’s death?
Fans of Victoria Laurie’s mystery When will enjoy this title as well. It has many great plot twists, sinister characters, and red herrings. The idea that Lily could be the reincarnation of Amber is a unique twist you do not often see in YA mystery novels. The book itself moves quickly and will keep even reluctant readers engaged.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 423
Abby Barnes wakes up one day to find that everything she thought was true about the last year of her life had been changed dramatically. Instead of taking a drama class and eventually earning a role in a movie, she ended up taking an astronomy class and ended up attending Yale. Her relationships with her best friend and two possible boyfriends were also affected with this switch. Her best friend, who’s also a science genius, traces the change to the day that a major worldwide earthquake occurred and believes her life has been blurred with that of a parallel life. Abby struggles to learn what that in fact means and if this disturbance can keep affecting her life. Every morning she wakes up to assess if her parallel has done anything to change her current present. Meanwhile, she tries to keep her “double life” a secret so that no one knows just how crazy she believes she is. Will this ever get fixed or will she be doomed to live this challenging life forever?
The idea of parallel lives is complicated and challenging, but Lauren Miller writes the story in a way that is absolutely understandable and even intriguing without being confusing. There are many characters and while some feature more heavily than others they all impact Abby’s overall story. The story gains momentum near the end and readers will want to see what ultimately happens to Abby and if she ever gains control of her life back.
# of Pages: 274
The second in the Montlake Romance series, Lemon is unexpectedly placed on a reality dating show similar to the bachelor after two other contestants are forced to resign and filming is about to start. The “bachelor” is her PR client and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to make the show successful, even if it means pretending to be a contestant despite being recently engaged herself. Throughout the filming of the series, Dante tries his hardest to woo Lemon into giving them a chance. While Lemon is not entirely sure about her fiancee, Sterling, she also believes Dante is a womanizer who only wants her because he can’t have her. As the competition goes on, however, things begin to intensify and Lemon isn’t sure what to do. Does she give true love a chance with Dante even if he could break her heart? Or, does she play it safe and return home to her fiancee who doesn’t seem to care very much that she’s been gone for weeks filming?
This is a fun romance series that romance readers will enjoy. In particular, fans of The Selection would like it although there is not any rebellion action. The stories feel modern and fresh while also incorporating all the romantic qualities that readers enjoy. It would be best to read this in order, but each one is enjoyable on its own.
Genre: Romance/Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 343
Emmy and Oliver were best friends as young children because they lived next door to each other. Then, one day Oliver’s dad kidnapped him after school and life was never the same for either of them. Oliver moved around quite a bit with his father and was led to believe his mother did not want him anymore. Emmy’s parents responded by becoming very overprotective and barely letting her out of their sight. At the beginning of Emmy’s senior year she hears the news she has both wanted and dreaded: Oliver has been found. What will he be like? Will he remember her? Will they still be friends? How will this change everything yet again?
This book was very enjoyable and properly explores the difficulties for both Emmy and Oliver surviving an ordeal like this. Oliver’s emotional health is probably not discussed in as much length as would be realistic, but it is also told through Emmy’s perspective so she wouldn’t necessarily know everything he’s going through. The events of the story eventually build to a head and are resolved very acceptably. The story has an interesting concept, but does not rely on that and instead relies on the fulfilling development of the characters to truly carry the story. Fans of Sarah Dessen will enjoy this title.
# of Pages: 546
A group of teens who all have unexplained talents have found each other one by one and formed a group they call the Zeroes. They all have different ideas for how to handle their bizarre powers, however. Bellweather can take the energy of a group and focus it on one goal and he believes they should stick together and try to do important things with their powers. Flicker is blind, but can see using other people’s eyes. Scam has a mysterious voice that will say whatever it takes to get him what he wants and often has disastrous results. Crash has the ability to crash electrical devices and because of that has struggled to find a place where her powers are anything but destructive. Anonymous can disappear and be forgotten in any situation, which has led to a lonely life. Finally, Mob can change the energy of a crowd to feel whatever she wants it to. Scam had previously distanced himself from the rest of the zeroes when they had a disagreement, but it forced to call on them for help when a video of him using his voice goes viral and he is hauled in by cops for answers about a local bank robbery. Can the zeroes come together to help one of their own or will the situation just get worse as they try to con their way out of it? Will the situation bring them together or drive them further apart?
This has been on my reading list for awhile and it took a little bit to get into the characters, but eventually the story really takes off and readers enjoy a lot of adventure and action. The talents of the characters take a lot of explaining as some are more complicated and require examples to fully understand. All in all, fans of fantasy adventures such as the Michael Vey series or Blackout will enjoy the first in this series.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 462 p.
This novel focuses on five students (Mia, Jake, Whitney, Gregor, and Zoe) who are all placed together in a freshmen orientation group. They all have to have a bonding experience so they end up deciding to write letters to their future selves, hide them in the school, and then promise to meet in four years to open them. The rest of the book shows how each of their high school experiences go and how even though they are not best friends their lives all touch at times throughout high school. Zoe is living with her aunt since her movie star mother is in rehab. Jake is dealing with the fallout from admitting he’s gay. Whitney is struggling to understand why her popular friends act like they do while also navigating her parents’ divorce. Mia is struggling to find her identity vs. what everyone wants her to be. Gregor is a band nerd who desperately wants to find the courage to talk to Whitney. Eventually, their lives all intersect again at graduation.
For readers looking for truthful, engaging writing that does not hold back from issues that many teens do deal with in high school this would be a great pick. It does not go into detail on many life changing events for its characters, but the purpose of the story is not to spend too much time on any one character but instead to show how people from all groups and cliques in a high school still connect in different ways throughout their four years.