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

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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.

 

YA Wednesday: Brenda Drake Books

With all of the endless work the amazing Brenda Drake puts into Pitch Wars every year, I wanted to put it out there that one of the best ways to show our gratitude is to read her books … which really isn’t fair because they’re so good, we really get the best deal on both ends.

I wanted to share with you what I love about her books and encourage you to go buy them asap … you won’t be sorry!

THE LIBRARY JUMPERS SERIES:

LibraryJumpers1

Publisher’s Description:

Gia Kearns would rather fight with boys than kiss them. That is, until Arik, a leather clad hottie in the Boston Athenaeum, suddenly disappears. While examining the book of world libraries he abandoned, Gia unwittingly speaks the key that sucks her and her friends into a photograph and transports them into a Paris library, where Arik and his Sentinels—magical knights charged with protecting humans from the creatures traveling across the gateway books—rescue them from a demonic hound.

Jumping into some of the world’s most beautiful libraries would be a dream come true for Gia, if she weren’t busy resisting her heart or dodging an exiled wizard seeking revenge on both the Mystik and human worlds. Add a French flirt obsessed with Arik and a fling with a young wizard, and Gia must choose between her heart and her head, between Arik’s world and her own, before both are destroyed. 

LibraryJumpers2

Publisher’s Description:

Saving him could end her world.

Being a Sentinel isn’t all fairytales and secret gardens.

Sure, jumping through books into the world’s most beautiful libraries to protect humans from mystical creatures is awesome. No one knows that better than Gia Kearns, but she could do without the part where people are always trying to kill her. Oh, and the fact that Pop and her had to move away from her friends and life as she knew it.

And if that isn’t enough, her boyfriend, Arik, is acting strangely. Like, maybe she should be calling him “ex,” since he’s so into another girl. But she doesn’t have time to be mad or even jealous, because someone has to save the world from the upcoming apocalypse, and it looks like that’s going to be Gia.

Maybe. If she survives.

This series is really a dream come true for a book lover like me. Jumping through a book to visit libraries all over the world? So amazing! Brenda does an awesome job of putting so much into one story without overwhelming the reader. The settings are gorgeous, the libraries are to die for, the boys are so cute!, Gia is someone I want to be, and the magical creatures and twists and turns will keep you reading into the night. So excited for the third one to come out next year!

Touching Fate 1

Publisher’s Description:

Aster Layne believes in physics, not psychics. A tarot card reading on the Ocean City Boardwalk should have been a ridiculous, just-for-fun thing. It wasn’t. Aster discovers she has a very unscientific gift—with a simple touch of the cards, she can change a person’s fate.

Reese Van Buren is cursed. Like the kind of old-school, centuries-old curse that runs in royal families. Every firstborn son is doomed to die on his eighteenth birthday—and Reese’s is coming up fast. Bummer. He tries to distract himself from his inevitable death…only to find the one person who can save him.

Aster doesn’t know that the hot Dutch guy she’s just met needs her help–or that he’s about to die.

But worst of all…she doesn’t know that her new gift comes with dark, dark consequences that can harm everyone she loves. 

CursingFate

Publisher’s Description:

There’s something strange about the Layne sisters, and Wade Diaz wants nothing to do with them. Especially the one who ripped his heart out and set it on fire before tossing it in the garbage several months ago. Iris. He can’t even think her name without unconsciously rubbing the spot in his chest where she left a gaping hole. But now her sisters are claiming some evil spirit is after his soul, and Iris is the only one who can save him. Well, at least his heart would stop hurting, right? Didn’t sound so bad.

Iris Layne has always been the sweet sister. She’s kind to everyone, including her best friend Wade… Until she makes a horrible mistake and breaks his heart. All she wants is to go back to before ‘the dumping’. Of course, Wade would rather see her in hell first. But then Iris touches her sister’s tarot cards and unleashes an evil curse intent on playing a deadly game where no one Iris loves is safe, especially Wade.

How do you convince someone they need your help when you’re the one who hurt them most?

This series shows Brenda’s diversity as a writer and ability to write so many types of stories. I love the idea of a character having the power to change someone’s fate and the way Brenda develops the idea and the conflict Aster, and later her sister, Iris, go through is intense! Again, these are two books I couldn’t put down. The tension and pacing are perfection and there wasn’t a lull in the story or any part I didn’t enjoy. I loved how the series progressively got darker as well. The magic is eerie, the characters are fun to be around, and the writing is stellar. Must Read!

 

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

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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.

Wonderful YA Wednesday: DEAD GIRLS SOCIETY by Michelle Krys

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Title: DEAD GIRLS SOCIETY

Author: Michelle Krys

Publication Date: November 8, 2016

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Publisher’s Description:

You are cordially invited to participate in a game of thrills and dares. Tell no one, and come alone. If you dare.

Hope is sick of everyone treating her like she’s breakable. Sure, she has cystic fibrosis (basically really bad lungs), but she’s tired of being babied by her mom and her overprotective best friend, Ethan, not to mention worrying about paying for her expensive medication and how she’s going to afford college. And she’s bored with life in her run-down New Orleans suburb.

When an invitation arrives from a mysterious group that calls itself the Society, Hope jumps at the chance for some excitement. This could be her ticket out. All she has to do is complete a few dares and she might win some real money.

But the Society isn’t all it seems . . . and soon Hope finds that playing the game isn’t a choice—it’s a requirement.

Oh my goodness. It isn’t often that a book seriously has me turning the pages wondering what is going to happen next and who the heck is behind all of this mischief! But this one did.

Krys writes a very likeable MC in Hope. I was right behind her, wanting her to go to that warehouse on the first dare, because she doesn’t ever get to do anything normal. Sure, maybe something normal would’ve been a better idea than something deadly, but then we wouldn’t have a book and who cares, the stakes were there for sure. She wanted to be more than her Cystic Fibrosis and she wanted money for her very poor family.

Another thing I really liked was the mystery was very well-done and the tension was super high, but Krys still kept the graphic horror level low. She hints and minimally describes bad things happening, but it wasn’t gratuitous.

Truthfully, I really liked Ethan better than the developed love interest, but that’s not a critique of the writing at all, just my reader opinion.

Another thing Krys really shines at is writing teenage girls. Their personalities really jumped off the page. At first, I was a little lost when the four girls were introduced and I couldn’t tell who was speaking, and thought Hope actually disappeared in the dialogue for a long while, but it was only a small blip and I was sucked into these girls lives and not wanting any of them (mostly haha) to lose the “competition”.

The dares were extraordinary for teens to complete, but hey, where’s your suspension of disbelief? We read to experience things we would never do in real life. I loved this book because I felt like I was living a daring life and I seriously couldn’t put the book down or stop thinking of it when I was forced to take a break.

The mystery was well done, the tension and thrills were high, the ending was twisty ( even if it was also extremely cliffhangerly) and I recommend this to fans of a quick-paced read and especially fans of Pretty Little Liars.