Posts Tagged 'Romance'



Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  298

RAC Book:  Yes

Kat is back in this sequel to Heist Society.  Kat has now gotten over her aversion to planning and executing heists and has been doing so on her own for months, much to the dismay of Hale and her other friends.  When she is approached with a huge job she cannot resist taking it on, despite the fact that her Uncle Eddie has forbidden anyone in the family from going after this particular gem.  Initially, Kat believes the heist went perfectly, but soon discovers a major hitch that she must rectify before it is too late.

Fans of Ally Carter will love this book as much as her others.  It is fun, clever, and the characters are all well-developed.  There are some unresolved issues between both Kat and Nick and Kat and Hale, which is an unfortunate effect of a series that plans to go on for awhile.  The story of the emerald is interesting and will engage readers.  A fun and entertaining read.

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  276

RAC:  Yes

Belly spends every summer with her family at her mother’s best friend’s (Susannah) beach house.  This includes Susannah’s two sons, Jeremiah and Conrad.  Belly has had a crush on Conrad for a long time, but he has always been unavailable in some way and she believes she has gotten over him.  When she returns to the summer house this year things get complicated when suddenly both boys notice Belly and the young beauty she has become.  Belly is unsure how to handle all of this attention and decides to date a nearby local boy in order to sort out what she wants from a relationship.  Meanwhile, the brothers are struggling with family issues in their own ways.  Can they let Belly in on their secrets or will they treat her as an outsider like they have her entire life?  Can Belly make peace with the kind of relationship she hopes to find one day?

This book is simple and realistic in its pacing and storyline.  Many high school girls will be able to connect with Belly and the issues she is facing such as physical changes, family dynamic changes, feelings of insecurity, and even dating issues.  The problems addressed in the story include some serious issues like divorce, death, and growing up.  Fans of Dessen and Colasanti will definitely like the writing style and characterization of Belly.

Distant Waves by Suzanne Weyn

Genre:  Historical Fiction

# of Pages:  330

RAC:  Yes

The five Taylor sisters live with their mother in Spirit Vale where she works as a medium who speaks to dead people.  The older sisters, Mimi and Jane, have long doubted their mother’s clairvoyance abilities, but their younger sisters all seem to believe.  The twins even seem to have a special gift of their own.  When their fates all collide together on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, Jane becomes worried when her twin sisters show fear that something bad will befall the ship.  Can all of the sisters survive one of the world’s most famous disasters?

This story weaves true and false facts about the Titanic’s famous fall.  The introduction of the Taylor sisters adds a bit of intrigue as they explore the very popular trend of clairvoyance for the time.  Famous faces make appearances throughout the story and are fun for reader’s to identify.  The motivations of the five sisters are all clear and justified as they each try to find their own way in this world, but the ending is unexpected and not everyone makes it to New York.  Recommended to fans of historical fiction and the Titanic.

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  440

RAC Book:  Yes

John came here when his planet was destroyed.  Eight others came with him and were separated to keep them safe.  There was a spell placed on them so that they must die in a particular order, but John knows that the three before him have been found and killed.  Therefore, he must move with his guardian to a new place, with a new identity, and extra precautions.  He is the next one to be targeted by those who wish to destroy his people.  At his new school he meets Sarah who seems different than other girls he has ever met.  Can he risk getting too close to her when his life is in jeopardy and his future on this planet is uncertain?  Can he act like a normal teenager when so much is at stake?

This fast paced novel keeps the reader interested from the first page.  There are some lighter parts as well as more action packed sections that balance the story and make it seem plausible in some way.  The characters are engaging and their actions are believable.  Fans of fantasy will enjoy the threat from other worlds, but realistic readers will enjoy the action and suspense.  Overall, a fun read.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  323

RAC Book:  Yes

Melody has been groomed her entire life by her overzealous adoptive parents to be a desirable candidate for college, jobs, and everything in life.  They even predicted the potential of selling her fertility as soon as a deadly virus made it impossible for anyone over the age of 20 to procreate.  Melody received a very lucrative offer that included a signing bonus and college tuition, but her clients have taken almost two years to find her a mate to “bump” with.  Meanwhile, her twin sister, Harmony, has learned that her and Melody were separated at birth and wants to find her sister.  Harmony was taken in by those who follow the religious life and do not believe in “selling” babies.  She hopes to save Melody from her choices before it is too late.

This book is unique and memorable, which can be difficult in this genre.  The characters are interesting, but it’s the story that will grab readers’ attention.  This society is so well crafted and the conclusion that there are professional babymakers may sound crazy, but the media and propaganda in the book are so similar to ours that it makes it seem possible.  The ideas of religion and how it plays into such a society are handled nicely with no quick fixes or preaching, but merely questions for the reader and characters to think about.  The sanctity of life is also another overarching theme that many young readers do not take time to think about, but should.  The relationship between the twin sisters has some unbelievable moments, such as when Melody forgives Harmony for something a bit too easily.  However, the book sets up nicely for a sequel and readers will be dying to learn what happens to these characters.

Beastly by Alex Flinn

Genre:  Fantasy/Fairy Tale

# of Pages 304

RAC Book:  Yes

2011 Iowa Teen Award Winner

Kyle Kingsbury is attractive, popular, and rich.  He is also a major jerk who loves to hurt other people.  When he decides to play a cruel trick on an outcast at school he is punished by getting transformed into a beast.  He has two years to find true love in order to be changed back into his handsome self and Kyle believes that is an impossible task.  His father does not even want to be around him because he is too horrified by his appearance and Kyle is sent to live by himself with a maid and a blind tutor.  Despite the hopelessness of the situation, Kyle begins to thrive and change.  So much so that when he finally comes in contact with a girl again he feels he might be able to love her…if only she could love him back.

This retelling of Beauty and the Beast is modern and old fashioned at the same time.  The story of Kyle and Lindy is heartwarming and hopeful so that the reader naturally wants them to get together and break the spell.  Readers will notice some symbolism with the roses and some of the character traits.  The characters are well developed and interesting to read about and many readers will enjoy the story, but especially those that enjoy books like Once Upon a Marigold.

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

# of Pages:  313

RAC Book:  Yes

The Sullivan family enjoys a nice lifestyle living in a big house with a very prestigious reputation.  Their grandmother is nicknamed Almighty because she has so much influence in society.  On Christmas Day Almighty announces that one member of the Sullivan family has offended her and the entire family will be cut off financially if that person does not confess.  The three teenage girls immediately write confessions and deliver them to Almighty on New Year’s Eve.  They all three believe they were the ones to offend Almighty and put their family’s future in jeopardy.  What would you be willing to admit if your financial security depended on it?

This story is very interesting as the three confessions weave together and the reader tries to figure out who was the person who actually offended Almighty.  The characters are well written and easy to identify with, which makes it easier to care about what happens to this family.  The Sullivan parents are vapid and uninvolved, but the kids are all unique and have a healthy dynamic with each other.  The ending is satisfying, but it’s the confessions that will interest readers the most as these girls admit what they have done without thinking about how these actions could influence the family.   Recommended.

oh.my.gods by Tera Lynn Childs

Genre:  Mythology/Romance

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  264 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Phoebe Castro is a dedicated runner who plans to attend USC after her senior year on a full ride track scholarship.  She has planned to go there with her two best friends for many years.  Understandably, she is upset when her mother announces she is marrying a man she met in Greece.  They will both be moving to a small island in the Aegean sea where her new stepfather is the principal of a private school.  Not only does she have to leave her best friends for their senior year, but she also has to go to a new school.  The big surprise for Pheobe is that once her and her mother arrive in Greece she is informed that the school she will be attending is actually a secret school for the children of Greek gods.  Due to the fact that Phoebe is not a child of a god she is treated as an outcast by many of the people who attend the school, including her own stepsister.  Phoebe tries to make the best of it by trying out for the track team and making an effort to meet people, but many make it clear that she does not belong.  This is especially hurtful coming from the cute boy on the track team, Griffin Blake.  Does Phoebe have what it takes to make it in a school full of “gods?”

This story is a lot of fun and does not require a reader to know a lot about mythology to enjoy it, although it might inspire a reader to want to learn more after reading it.  The ending was a big predictable, but still entertaining nonetheless.  The characters are interesting and multi-dimensional as Phoebe struggles to make it in this new environment.  Despite all the changes thrown at her, Phoebe never loses her determination and resolve to make the best of the situation.  There are fantasy elements in it, but readers who like authors like Meg Cabot and Ann Brashares will also enjoy it.

Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Poetry

Age Level:  14 and up

# of Pages:  530 p.

RAC Book:  Yes

Awards: Iowa High School Award Winner 2009-2010

This story is told in poetry form and follows a young girl named Pattyn whose strict family belongs to the Church of Latter Day Saints.  She is the oldest of six girls and her father does not hide the fact that he would prefer boys.  He often drinks and then hits Pattyn’s mother and the other members of the congregation look away.  As Pattyn begins to think about boys, love, and women’s roles in life she begins to question everything her family stands for.  After some mishaps at school she is sent to live with her aunt who opens her eyes to a different way of life.  Will she ever be able to break free of her family?  Will she ever be able to protect herself from her father’s wrath?

This story depicts a very dysfunctional family through the eyes of the oldest teenager daughter.  She struggles with finding right and wrong and wonders if she is wrong to want a better life than what her mother has.  The time she spends with her Aunt is refreshing as Pattyn begins to learn and grow in a bigger world than the one her family has shown her.  Her summer romance with Ethan shows her what a good relationship is like with open communication and mutual respect.  The story ends ambiguously and many readers will wonder what actually happens to Pattyn.  The ending reminds readers that sometimes there is no happy ending for the characters you have come to care about.  This is a serious book that discusses serious issues.  Fans of A Child Called It or The Rules of Survival will find this interesting.  Those looking for a lighthearted romance need to keep looking.

Revelations by Melissa De La Cruz

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 264 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Revelations is the third in this Blue Bloods series. This book follows closely where Masquerade ended, with Schuyler now living with the Force family and hating every minute. She tries to contact her grandfather, Lawrence, whenever possible, but this becomes more and more difficult as he must travel away to Rio de Janeiro in order to deal with a possible threat from the Blue Bloods’ biggest enemy: the Silver Bloods. Meanwhile, Schuyler and Jack force become involved, which causes problems because he is meant to be with Mimi for all eternity and she is not about to let him break their bond. Bliss is dealing with her hurt feelings from when Dylan abandoned her and she must decide how to help him when he returns in a serious mental state.

Although much too short, this book is just as thrilling as the previous two. The characters seem to grow and develop more with each book, which helps the reader to understand all points of view as this story unfolds. This story has action, betrayal, lover’s trysts, murder, friendship, and even shocking plot twists. For fans of the first two novels or any type of fantasy or vampire fiction they will devour this book and finish it wanting more.

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 281 p.

RAC Book: Yes

In one of Sarah Dessen’s early books, Halley struggles through her junior year of high school. Things do not turn out as planned when her best friend, Scarlet, finds out she is pregnant with her boyfriend’s baby. The boyfriend died unexpectedly in a motorcycle accident over the previous summer. At the same time, Halley begins dating a boy her mother disapproves of and they begin fighting constantly. Finally, her grandmother whom she is named after is dying.

Dessen’s work has come a long way in the last ten years. While there is nothing bad about this book, the characters fail to compel readers to continue turning pages like some of her more recent books like The Truth About Forever. Teen readers will still enjoy this one, but the lack of resolution at the end will bother some of them.

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 422 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Ruby was abandoned by her mother just mere months before her eighteenth birthday. Despite her efforts to live alone, she is found out by her landlord and taken to social services. Soon she is living with her estranged older sister, Cora, in her huge house with her wealthy business minded husband. Ruby and Cora were close as children and so when Cora went off to college and never came back Ruby took it very hard. Soon she comes to find out that nothing was as simple as she thought it was. As she struggles to remain a loner in her new caring environment, she also struggles against becoming friends with the ambitious eager to please neighbor boy, Nate, who often gives her rides to school. She finds out that life isn’t just tough for the people who live in low rent housing, however, as she begins to get closer to Nate and catches a glimpse at his real life.

For fans of Sarah Dessen this book will not disappoint. Dessen has once again managed to create characters that are complex and interesting that readers want to know more about. In Cora’s opulent lifestyle it’s hard to imagine that anyone could be unhappy or unsatisfied in any way, but as Ruby begins to get to know the people who live in this world she sees that no one’s life is perfect. This book covers some serious issues such as abandonment, child abuse, infertility, alcoholism, and workaholics. A great read.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 14 and up

# of pages: 288 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Clay Jensen is shocked to find a box of 13 audio tapes in a package addressed to him on his doorstep one afternoon. The note says that the tapes are to go to 13 people and if someone fails to send them on to the next person on the list then another copy of the tapes will be released publicly. As Clay begins to listen to them he learns that they are spoken by Hannah Baker, a fellow high school student who recently committed suicide. Each tape discusses one of the reasons that led to her suicide and which people were involved. As Clay anxiously awaits to find out how he played a part in her suicide he can’t help but notice how terrible high school can be and how a bunch of little, seemingly insignificant, incidents can add up to a terrible high school existence for someone else.

This story is powerful and not for someone looking for a fast read. It reminds us all that sometimes when something is said or done to hurt another intentionally it can have lasting effects and can even lead to other major events in that person’s life. The theme of the story is that we are all responsible for our own actions.  Hannah never denies it was her choice to end her life.  However, there were many times where someone could have acted differently that may have changed that decision. Even though it is a fictional story, many students will identify with at least parts of Hannah’s high school career and may even know someone showing warning signs for suicide. A very good read with an important message that students will hopefully think about long after they are finished.

The Fake Boyfriend by Kate Brian

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Age Level: 12 and up

# of pages: 262 p.

RAC book: Yes

Lane and Vivi feel that their other best friend, Isabelle, allows her loser boyfriend to walk all over her. When he cheats on her in a very public place they decide to act before she decides to take him back again. They start chatting with her online as a fake boyfriend. They set up the profile online and encourage Lane’s brother to chat with her so that it sounds like a boy. As you can imagine, craziness breaks out when Isabelle decides she wants to ask her mystery man to prom. Lane and Vivi have to scramble to find someone who can play their made up man.  Who they end up finding only causes more problems.

While this story has many predictable factors, there is also something sweet about the lengths these two girls will go to in order to protect their friend from someone they think intentionally hurts and uses her. The ending is a bit more complicated than expected based on the simplicity of the story thus far and packs a few unexpected twists. Girls who enjoy reading Meg Cabot books will be a fan of this one as well. The characters are well-developed and the ending is impossibly happy. Readers who like a little edge in their stories should avoid this one.

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Genre: Fantasy

Age Level: 14 and up

# of Pages: 328 p.

RAC Book: Yes

Aislinn has a secret that only her grandmother knows and that is that she is able to see faeries. All of the women in her family have always been able to do this and so Aislinn was trained at a young age to pretend like she cannot see them, because if the faeires know they are seen they will torment the human who has that gift. Unfortunately, one day Aislinn notices that two faeries keep following her and becomes alarmed enough to tell her best friend, Seth. Seth tries to help her figure out what the faeries want and how to get them to leave, but of course the problem is much more complicated than they anticipate.

Keenan is the Summer King, but his power has been bound for many, many years. Unless he can fulfill his mission and find the girl destined to rule alongside him he will never get his power back and catastrophic things will happen to everyone in the world, faeries and mortals alike. Standing in his way,is his mother, Beira, who is the Winter Queen. She is a cunning and deceitful villain who will stop at nothing to win.

Fans of any fantasy series such as Twilight will enjoy this book. The plot is unique and original and contains a lot of mystery, action, and adventure. There are many rules in place that the characters have to abide by in order to win, which makes the plot complicated and unpredictable. So far it has already caught the attention of many students and I think will continue to pull in readers as word spreads. A must read for fantasy lovers.


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