Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Diagnosed with the rare SKID disease at a young age, Maddy, allergic to the world, must stay inside her sterile, air-locked house or risk a deadly reaction. Maddy is happy in her little, if isolated, world, but dreams of what life is like on the Outside. When a mysterious, tortured boy, Ollie, moves in next door, Maddy’s life changes forever. She is no longer content to spend her life breathing pristine air and playing it safe — she wants to be part of something bigger. Hopefully Ollie can help her get there.

Wow! Usually I don’t like books that have received a lot of hype — they tend to be overrated. But Yoon’s novel is excellent. Though there’s little action, the plot moves at a fast pace, and the illustrations breaking up the text are great. Maddy has a strong voice, is independent even though she spends her life in a “bubble”, and her relationship with Ollie is exactly what you’d want — super cute. My favorite part of the book is the twist at the end that I never saw coming — so good!! If you liked John Green or Rainbow Rowell, this one is for you! The movie just came out, so read the book first!

*Rating: 5/5

 

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All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

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Finch and Violet have a common goal when the meet on the edge of the bell tower at their school. Though everyone believes Violet saves Finch from a suicide attempt, she’s not so sure that’s the truth. At first an incongruous pair, the two are slung together for a class project in which they must explore their home state. During the course of their adventures, Violet and Finch draw closer together, but their relationship may not be enough to save them from the dark pull of tragedy.

A brilliant new addition to the realm of realistic fiction. Niven gives readers a little bit of romance, hilarious adventure antics and, of course, Kleenex-worthy sadness. This is also a poignant, unflinching look at mental illness in teens — a subject that is often danced carefully around. I think it’s important to read novels like this, where truths are discussed without shame. I can’t say too much without giving away spoilers, but pick this one up if you’re looking for your next heavy read.

Rating: 4/5

The Last Ever After by Soman Chainani

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Evil has finally won. Now, instead of separate schools for girls and boys, two schools for evil exist. One for new evil, and one for old. Now that evil finally has its chance, old villains are coming back to rewrite the past. Though their tales are long over, wicked witches, giants, and murderous pirates are set on executing the heroes who bested them. At the center of the this new regime, Sophie and her new prince, the young schoolmaster, plot to tip the scales in evil’s favor forever. In yet another story filled with adventures, romance, and plot twists, Agatha and Tedros must find a way to save the fate of good before the last ever after occurs.

If you liked the first two books in this series, you will probably like this one. It was a bit repetitive for me, though. I really enjoyed the twist of seeing the old villains come back to seek their revenge, but the Tedros-Agatha-Sophie love triangle was so. old. I will say, though, that the ending is great. Getting to the ending, however, can, at times, prove difficult.

Rating: 3/5 

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.

 

The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead

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Fleeing an arranged marriage, the young Countess of Rothford assumes her maid, Adelaide’s, identity and joins the Glittering Court. Founded as a matchmaking service, the Glittering Court takes girls from the servant class and trains them to act as ladies. After their training, the girls are taken to the new world, Adoria, where they are contracted into marriage to wealthy businessmen. Though Adelaide knows Adoria will be a far stretch from her illustrious home in Osfrid, she is in no way prepared for the struggles she faces in the wilderness. Between constantly trying to hide her true identity, finding a match, and helping her new friends, Adelaide embarks on the biggest adventure in her life — and she may not survive the experience.

I can’t decide how I feel about this book. Sometimes I think I loved it; sometimes I think it was just ok. My main issues with the piece are the frequent plot holes and the random turns the book takes. For example,  Adelaide is fleeing an arranged marriage. Completely understandable and I’m totally on board. So, her solution is to….join a matchmaking service that will contract her into an arranged marriage. Ok…fuzzy logic. There are some other examples like this, but I don’t want to give away spoilers. However, plot holes aside, this was an entertaining read. Not the BEST book I’ve read, but a decent one. There’s plenty of action, betrayal, intrigue, etc., and it looks like the next book will have a huge secret reveal. 

Rating: 3/5

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

The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian

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After constant rains and severe storms, Keeley’s small town of Aberdeen is condemned. Due to the extensive flooding and water damage, the government deems it best for the town to be permanently evacuated and turned into a lake. Now, Aberdeen’s residents (most of whom have lived in the town for generations) have to find a new life somewhere else. With everyone’s life in Aberdeen coming to a halt, Keeley decides to take a huge leap. She’s loved a boy since sixth grade, and if she doesn’t go after him now, she never will. So, with her town sinking around her, and citizens scrambling for hope, Keeley makes one last effort to kiss her high school crush.

As I was unimpressed with Vivian’s The List, I didn’t have high hopes for this book. BUT, it was great! I live near areas that have experienced devastating flooding, so the plot was completely believable and topical to me. Also, I liked how the typical high school drama book was mixed with bigger issues like climate change and homeowner’s rights. I will warn you, the main character, Keeley, is the worst. She is selfish, awful, and cares more about a boy and a school dance than her friends. So she may be tough to read. But if you can stand her, the plot is pretty good and I really liked the ending. If you love realistic/romance reads, don’t miss this one!

Rating: 4/5

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