Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Finding Someplace, by Denise Lewis Patrick

A book you should read is a beautiful novel by Denise Lewis Patrick. It's called Finding Someplace. Reesie is turning 13 years old, August 29th, 2005. This spunky girl who is living in New Orleans believes her birthday is going to be the start of something great. However, in the middle of coconut cake and presents, one of the most deadliest hurricanes, hurricane Katrina decides to strike. Everyone else is paranoid about the staying through the storm so evacuations are made immediately. Reesie is stuck with her elderly neighbor Miss Martine. As they barely escape on a boat, the storm was not the only thing that shook Reesie. Finding Someplace talks about the importance of family and truly finding someplace to fit in. It taught me that storms can destroy anything, but it can get you closer with the people you love. - Teen Summer Reader

PS You can submit a review too and earn a square/ticket on your Summer Reading Bingo Sheet!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Invisible Emmie, by Terri Libenson

Emmie is a talented artist, but painfully awkward and shy. Especially when it comes to boys (and one boy in particular). 

Katie is everything Emmie is not: Pretty, popular, and has no trouble talking to anyone (cute boys included).

The drama begins when a secret love letter Emmie writes about her crush is stolen by the most obnoxious boy in class and circulated through the entire middle school. Emmie is horrified! To make matters worse, Emmie has a fight with her best friend over the loss of the note. So she's never felt more alone.

What's more, the crush in question just happens to be Katie's new boyfriend! 

Katie, who has pretty much the same class schedule as Emmie, witnesses her classmate's humiliation in full...including the fact that her BF seems to return Emmie's feelings. 

What will happen next?

Will Katie confront Emmie about the note (and about her boyfriend's reaction)?

Will Katie instead help her less-popular classmate deal?

Will Emmie continue to take the teasing?

Will she finally learn to stick up for herself?

At this point, anything can happen.

But no spoilers!

Like with Terri Libenson's other book, Positively Izzy, Invisible Emmie boasts a cast of likable characters, a well-developed plot, and a surprise twist. While I didn't like Emmie quite as much as I did Izzy, there was plenty of dramatic action to keep me reading. And I still very much enjoyed the story. 

I would definitely recommend it!

--AJB



Monday, June 4, 2018

Positively Izzy, by Terri Libenson

Izzy and Brianna are both students at Lakefront Middle School, but that's where their similarities end. Although the girls know (sort of) each other, they're not what you would all "friends." 

Izzy is outgoing and artistic with a knack for acting. Unfortunately, she often has her head in the clouds, which usually means she's in trouble for not doing so well in school. 

Brianna is shy and super smart, often pulling straight A's without even trying. She wishes she could get her classmates to see past her "brain" label, but doesn't know how to break out of her shell. 

Izzy has been practicing her act for the annual school talent show for weeks, and she couldn't be more excited. But when she fails a test the day before her big performance and ends up grounded (meaning no talent show), of course she sneaks out. After all, the show must go on, right? Hopefully she won't get caught...

Brianna, on the other hand, has never been comfortable in the spotlight. But when one of the main actors cancels at pretty mugh the last minute, the new drama teacher (who just happens to be Bri's mother) convinces her to fill in. Reluctantly, Bri agrees, but worries that this could only lead to disaster...

On this night, the two girls' paths cross in unforeseen ways. And the consequences of this night of drama will change them both forever. 

Terri Libenson's novel about (literal) Middle School drama, Positively Izzy, was a fun story about two very different teens. Told in alternating chapters, the reader really gets to know each character. This is something I really enjoyed about this story. But the best part was the ending. No spoilers, though.

I'd recommend Positively Izzy to fans of Raina Telgemeier. And be sure to check out Libenson's other book, Invisible Emmie, which focuses on Bri's best friend.

Meet Me in the Strange by Leander Watts


Watts crafts a world that is much different from our own without feeling completely otherworldly.  The city where most of the action takes place is some kind of holy city and there is talk of the New World without there ever being any real explanation of what the New World is.  The whole book has a surreal, otherworldly 1970's feel to it.  Django Conn, the rock star that everyone loves, definitely feels like Bowie and the fashions that he's ushered in fit the glam rock scene too and there is a lot of talk about the moon landing and what it might mean.

Davi has always lived in the Angelus Hotel.  His family has owned it for generations and there he has access to almost anything he could want.  He spends his time listening to music in his room and coming and going as he please, him and his sister having chased off any tutors long ago.  When Davi goes to the Django Conn concert, he spots a girl who is completely lost in the music and he can't help but feel like they are the only two people who really get it.  When the girl, Anna Z, shows up with Davi's sister's boyfriend, Davi follows her, desperate to find out who she is.  Anna Z is unlike anyone Davi has ever met before.  She talk-talk-talks about strange things until they seem to be the absolute truth.  But Anna Z is trying to escape and she needs Davi to be more than he ever has in order to free her.

This was an iffy book for me.  It was short and had short chapters, which I loved, and it reminded me a lot of Francesca Lia Block, which is honestly what kept me reading.  There was a lot here and I would like to see it with more ratings and reviews because I definitely think it's worth the read.  However, I was a little put off by the portrayal of Anna Z.  She's almost the definition of a "manic pixie dream girl" but I still liked her as a character.  I liked this book enough that I would like to seek out some more of Watts in the future but it is definitely an acquired taste.  Read it if you love music enough to think it's everything and don't mind a few strange ideas being twisted page after page. -RYQ

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Starry Eyes, by Jenn Bennett

Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett is about a spectacular adventure with some cuteness, fun, romance and heartbreak.

Best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon are stranded together after a camping trip that goes wrong. With no one but each other, they are forced to face their issues. With witty jabs and insults as they try to make it back to safety. Fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature, what could possibly go wrong?

Both Zorie and Lennon are dealing with some major things happening in their lives and the one person that they would typically confide in, (each other) has been MIA. The solitude of the trail and camping allows them to open up to each other and share the things that have come between them. And they are some pretty major things. Now I'm not much of a hiker or camper, you might be able to convince me on this glamping thing, but I absolutely loved what Bennett created here.

This was such a unique setting to use for these characters and I adored Lennon's love for the trail and how it allowed him the time to come to terms with the things happening in his life. As always Bennett manages to weigh some heavy and overwhelming issues with lighthearted moments, and the story is so lovely and emotional and as always, the romance is sweet and delightful and I just want more and more.

This was a quick read but a a feel good adorable YA contemporary that I may re-read just because this  book did not let me put it down at all! I highly recommend this to YA contemporary romance fans and invite you to fall in love!

This was my first time reading Jenn Bennett's work and I can't wait to jump into more of it. *JK*