Posts Categorized: 3.5 star books

The Year of Shadows: review

The Year of Shadows: review

Title: The Year of Shadows Author: Claire Legrand Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars Release Date:August 27, 2013 Age Group:Middle Grade Source:Simon & Schuster Middle grade books always get to me. Why? Because childhood and innocence are sacred to me and when injustices are done to either of these two precious things, it’s difficult to accept. Claire Legrand’s The Year of Shadows is not a walk in the park. It is not an action adventure that you can read on and off for a few giggles. This is a story of loss. Many losses. Olivia and her Nonnie and her maestro father have moved into the music hall because money is tight and they’ve had to sell their belongings. This is, of course, after Olivia’s mother left them about a year ago, having just given up on their life changing for the better. Olivia’s life is hard — practically homeless,… Read more »

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The Beginning of Everything: review

The Beginning of Everything: review

“Sometimes I think that everyone has a tragedy waiting for them… That everyone’s life, no matter how unremarkable, has a moment when it will become extraordinary–a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen.” This is the first paragraph of Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything, and basically the entirety of the story. Ezra Faulkner was the golden boy of his high school. He was the star of their tennis team. The Junior Class President, and dating the most popular girl in school. And he got there, somehow, because of “a bad case of tragedy” Toby, his former best friend, came down with in seventh grade. When Ezra experiences his own tragedy–a car accident that shatters not only his knee, but his place in the world–he begins to realize that though he had everything, it was nothing he actually wanted. Without the role of popularity that had been… Read more »

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Just One Day: review

Just One Day: review

Title: Just One DayAuthor: Gayle FormanRating: 3.5 out of 5 starsRelease Date: January 8, 2013Age Group: YASource: PurchasedYou know how, after reading a disappointing YA novel, we list a bunch of things we wish the author had done…well, Gayle Forman actually does them. Just One Day is a coming-of-age story. It’s about a girl who meets a boy on a train. She abandons her plans and they spend a day together in Paris. In one day, the girl lets slip all of her inhibitions and takes chances; confesses thoughts that have never until now fully made themselves known; and begins to hope for a future she never realized she wanted. And then it is taken away from her. At the brink of a new beginning, it is ended. The girl leaves a lot of herself in Paris, in that one night, with that boy. The struggle now is to learn to live… Read more »

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Wild Awake: review

Wild Awake: review

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith does what should be impossible: be at once completely batshit crazy and unbelievable, while also painting a pretty accurate portrait of the modern teenager. Kiri Byrd’s parents left her by herself for six weeks while they went on a cruise around the world, but she has a plan: she will water the plants, and check the mail. She will practice piano religiously and be perfect at her Showcase performance. She and her best friend Lucas will practice every day and win Battle of the Bands and then he will realize he’s in love with her. Of course, things don’t exactly go to plan, since that would be a pretty boring book. Kiri gets a call from a random stranger, saying he has her sister’s things and if she doesn’t come pick them up, he’ll throw them away. Her sister. The only one who ever… Read more »

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Thousand Words: review

Thousand Words: review

Title: Thousand WordsAuthor: Jennifer BrownRating:3.5 out of 5 starsRelease Date:May 21, 2013Publisher: Little BrownAge Group: YASource: ARC provided by the publisher Living in the digital age is fantastic–we use smartphones and computers to get information and stay in touch, and to share in a way that wasn’t possible not too long ago. But the speed and efficiency at which news travels can be a huge drawback when you’ve made a mistake–or when someone decides to use your information against you. Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown is somewhat of a modern cautionary tale. Ashleigh is caught up in a sexting scandal when, in a moment of weakness, she sends a naked photo of herself to her boyfriend Kaleb. When the two of them go through an ugly break-up, her ex decides to circulate the photo to his friends. She’s mortified, especially since her father is the school superintendent and she feels… Read more »

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Mini Reviews: The Boyfriend App + The Nightmare Affair

Mini Reviews: The Boyfriend App + The Nightmare Affair

We’re trying out a new format today with mini reviews! It’s a good way for us to share some quick thoughts about our recent reads, and to cover more books on the blog than we’d typically be able to. ———————————————– Title: The Boyfriend AppAuthor: Katie SiseRating: 3 out of 5 starsRelease Date: April 30, 2013Publisher: Balzer & BrayAge Group: YASource: ARC provided by the publisher Smart, geeky Audrey McCarthy needs money for college, so she decides to enter a competition to design a phone app that lets users find their perfect romantic match. I loved the idea of a girl who’s a tech nerd, so I was very entertained by the first half of this book. Audrey’s a fun character, and the explanations of technical terms and use of social media is well-integrated into the story; I also enjoyed the breezy writing and quick pace. But halfway through, the plot… Read more »

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School Spirits: review

School Spirits: review

Title:  School SpiritsAuthor: Rachel HawkinsRating:3.5 out of 5 starsRelease Date: May 14, 2013Publisher:Disney HyperionAge Group: YASource: gifted ARC Confession time: as someone who is still suffering from Archer withdrawals a big fan of the first two Hex Hall books, I was a little nervous about the prospect of a spinoff series. I’m happy to report that School Spirits finds the author back in fine form, this time with a character that was introduced in Spellbound. Remember the girl who talked to the Torin, the guy stuck in the mirror? Izzy Brannick is now fifteen, and her family has a long history as hunters of supernatural creatures. After she and her mom move to a new town in Mississippi, she starts to investigate mysterious hauntings at her high school under the guise of membership in the PMS (hah!) or Paranormal Management Society. The problem is, this case is more complicated than… Read more »

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