The Inside of Out by Jenn Marie Thorne

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When her best friend, Hannah, comes out as gay, Daisy decides to make her a new “cause”. Daisy joins her school’s alliance group and begins brainstorming ways to make Hannah’s coming out as supportive as possible. First item on the list is changing a school rule that students cannot bring same sex dates to school dances. Met with resistance by the school board, Daisy and the alliance group begin planning counterattacks. But, to Daisy’s surprise, Hannah doesn’t seem to be that interested in Daisy’s efforts. What’s more, Hannah is dating Daisy’s arch-nemesis, a girl who has made Daisy’s life miserable since grade school. Somehow, Daisy must come to terms with the tumultuous changes in her life, save the school dance, and win her best friend back.

This is, hands down, the best book I’ve read in a while. Other reviews will tell you that Daisy is hard to read because she’s awful. While that opinion is not untrue (Daisy is selfish and flawed), I’m impressed with the character growth that happens with her by the end of the book. And, even if you hate Daisy, the other characters more than make up for her flaws. With the strong cast and super relevant issues, this book gives you a lot to think about. The plot, though predictable, is entertaining and engaging. I was constantly reading to find out what happened! While this may not be the most “academically weighty” book you will read, it’s certainly a great one, and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

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Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs

 

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The conclusion of the adventures of the peculiar children finds Miss Peregrine and the other ymbrynes held captive by Caul, Peregrine’s evil brother. The children discover that Caul is looking for a way to access the forgotten Library of Souls and make himself the most powerful peculiar in the history of Peculiardom. With help from unlikely sources, and adventures in unimaginable loops, Emma and Jacob must find a way to stop Caul before he succeeds in his mission. If they fail, it could mean the end of peculiars.

Though this wasn’t the best book I’ve read in a while, it is a solid end to a great series. I thought Jacob’s new power was a fantastic idea, and I loved seeing him gain control of it. I did think the book was a bit long  (we see the same kinds of conflict over and over), but my love for the characters made up for the parts that could be cut. I know this is supposed to be the last book, but I could totally see a spin-off series popping up — we’ll see! Also, don’t forget that the movie just came out!

Rating: 3.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan

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Upon surviving the attack on the cruise liner she is travelling on, Frances is rescued after days at sea. Her best friend, Libby, though she, too, survived, doesn’t make it. In an attempt to protect Frances from the ship’s attackers, Libby’s father asks her to assume his late daughter’s identity. He also asks her to forget the tragedy aboard the Persephone. But, now with wealth and power at her fingertips, Frances can’t leave the mystery of the attack alone. The only other survivors claim the “attack” was a rogue wave that sunk the ship. Frances knows they’re lying and must find out why before she exacts her revenge.

If you like revenge stories, you’ll like this book. In fact, there’s something to be said about how closely this book resembles the ABC TV show, Revenge. But…that’s for other people to decide. The plot is fast-paced, the mystery intense, and the ending pretty good. The plot is a bit predictable, but that doesn’t mean the book isn’t enjoyable. Definitely give this book a try if you like thrillers, mysteries (duh), or revenge.

Rating: 3.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here. 

Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch

 

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When Lina’s mother dies of cancer, her last wish is for Lina to live in Italy with her biological father — a man Lina has never met. Now, after sixteen years of no contact, Lina must completely uproot her life, leaving her remaining family, friends, and school behind to live with a man who runs a cemetery. In Italy, Lina is determined that her visit will only last the summer. But, after receiving a journal from her mother written during her stay in Italy, Lina decides the mystery surrounding her mom’s early life must be solved. Why did her mother leave this journal for her? What message is she trying to send? As Lina tries to unravel her mother’s Italian past, adventures ensue — complete with new friends, enemies, loves, and, of course, gelato.

Super, super cute!! I will admit, the plot is predictable, but the story itself is really fun to read. The characters are great, and I especially liked that we got to read what Lina’s was experiencing, as well as what her mother experienced through her journal. The book has just the right mix of happy/sad feels, and that’s hard to do. Also, there’s Italy. If I didn’t want to go to Italy before reading this book (and I totally did), I definitely want to go now. If you’re in the mood for an light-but-kind-of-sad, romantic-y read, give this one a try. It’s worth it!

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.