Wonderful YA Wednesday: NOTHING BUT SKY by Amy Trueblood

nothingbutsky

Title: NOTHING BUT SKY

Author: Amy Trueblood

Publisher: Flux

Publication Date: March 27th, 2018

Publisher’s Description:

A 2018 Junior Library Guild selection.

“Trueblood’s action-packed first novel explores the post-World War I époque with visceral period detail, and Grace’s ambition carries the story about fighting for one’s dreams, seeking stability in some form, and a team becoming a family.” —Publishers Weekly

Grace Lafferty only feels alive when she’s dangling 500 feet above ground. As a post-World War I wing walker, Grace is determined to get to the World Aviation Expo, proving her team’s worth against flashier competitors and earning a coveted Hollywood contract.

No one’s ever questioned Grace’s ambition until Henry Patton, a mechanic with plenty of scars from the battlefield, joins her barnstorming team. With each new death-defying trick, Henry pushes Grace to consider her reasons for being a daredevil. Annoyed with Henry’s constant interference, and her growing attraction to him, Grace continues to test the powers of the sky.

After one of her risky maneuvers saves a pilot’s life, a Hollywood studio offers Grace a chance to perform at the Expo. She jumps at the opportunity to secure her future. But when a stunt goes wrong, Grace must decide whether Henry, and her life, are worth risking for one final trick.

I’ve been saving this post for today because I’ve been following Amy Trueblood on social media and her BLOG for years. She is a light in the publishing community and gives so much to those around her. I’ve been waiting for this book to come out for what feels like forever.

She had an event near me last weekend and I was planning to go and talk about how wonderful it (and she) was in this post along with my review. And then something came up last minute and I wasn’t able to go and I was so let down.

I hope to be able to get to another event of hers in the future, but I still want to review and highly recommend this book.

I am a big fan of YA historical fiction and an even bigger fan of YA historical fiction that feels different from others. NOTHING BUT SKY is full of history, action, character depth, inspiration, and Trueblood’s talented way with words.

I don’t know much about this era, so I loved the immersion into the time-period and was swept away. Everything from the clothing to the way of speech was so fun to read. All of the character’s lives were formed by what was going on at that time and it felt so genuine. And I know some people see the word history and think boring, but oh my goodness, this story was so the opposite.

It was riveting through each page but also had those tender lines that made you feel and grow as a person.

I loved Grace. I could never do what she did, I am not a dare-devil. But she did it so well and it really played in to her character arc to spread her wings and be daring in other areas that maybe aren’t so easy for her.

And the way Henry fits into her storyline only makes her stronger and brings a smile to my face.

This story inspires readers to be brave and follow dreams and to get through life when plans aren’t what you thought they were.

Such a gem of a story and I couldn’t be happier to recommend.

Wonderful YA Wednesday: SUMMER OF BROKEN THINGS by Margaret Peterson Haddix

summerofbrokenthings

Title: Summer of Broken Things

Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix

Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: April 11, 2018

Publisher’s Description:

Fourteen-year-old Avery Armisted is athletic, rich, and pretty. Sixteen-year-old Kayla Butts is known as “butt-girl” at school. The two girls were friends as little kids, but that’s ancient history now. So it’s a huge surprise when Avery’s father offers to bring Kayla along on a summer trip to Spain. Avery is horrified that her father thinks he can choose her friends—and make her miss soccer camp. Kayla struggles just to imagine leaving the confines of her small town.

But in Spain, the two uncover a secret their families had hidden from both of them their entire lives. Maybe the girls can put aside their differences and work through it together. Or maybe the lies and betrayal will only push them—and their families—farther apart.

There were a few things that intrigued me about this book. The title was gorgeous. The premise was a mix of the well-known plot of enemies forced together and twists that made it original and so much better than that YA trope.

As with the premise, I thought the characters would be stereotypical as well. The whiny rich girl, the sullen not-so-rich girl wanting to escape her life. And while they started out that way, Haddix only uses these stereotypes to show her character’s growth and to surprise the reader later. Especially with Kayla, who is the more likeable and shows the most progression.

The setting was also a nice change. So many things are used to keep these girls out of their comfort zone and keep the story fresh. Adding a foreign country into the mix added a richness to the story and a few plot twists.

The prose was well-written and the message of being grateful for what you have and overcoming obstacles was integrated well. I especially liked that it had no violence, swearing, or sexual content so if you have a young reader that reads up to YA, this would be a clean choice.

 

Wonderful YA Wednesday: THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT by Chelsea Sedoti

lizzielovett

Title: THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT

Author: Chelsea Sedoti

Publication Date: January 3, 2017

Publisher: Sourcebooks

Publisher’s Description:

A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn’t mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life. That includes taking her job… and her boyfriend. It’s a huge risk — but it’s just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world.

From the very first page, this voice in this story knocked me off my feet and had me laughing out loud. Literally. If I wasn’t laughing, I could feel my face reacting to the words without being able to control it. Smiling. Smirking. Surprised. It was amazing.

The story flows so quickly and easily, a lot of that in part to the authentic dialogue. All of it is so spot on it seems effortless. And Hawthorn is such a genuine character. I love her because she is super snarky and hating on high school, but admits that she does want to belong and enjoy it and can’t figure out why she doesn’t.

That is so fresh because a lot of YA books have the MC hating high school and all the social circles, and too cool to care if they belong or not. I think a lot of us are more in the Hawthorn frame of mind – we know we don’t fit in but part of wishes we did. This is the catalyst to helping Hawthorn, and ourselves, find out who we are and how to belong as the best version of ourselves.

Sure, Hawthorn did that sort of becoming someone else, but in the end, it works for her. And all of the supportive characters surrounding Hawthorn have purpose and add to the likability of this story. It’s fun to see all the theories come in and I could just picture real people throwing in their wild two cents about where Lizzie would go. Even though the mystery wasn’t mind-blowing, it was page-turning and enough to keep Hawthorn going, which is the whole point.

I can’t recommend this book enough. It has all the good signs of an amazing story and I can’t wait to see what comes next from Chelsea Sedoti.