The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick

9780803741423 The Boy Most Likely To – Written in the same realm as the former award-winning novel My Life Next Door

Despite being sharp and smart, Tim Mason has been expelled from high school, attends AA meetings leftover from his addiction, and his father has just put a fast deadline on his only income–that is, if Tim can’t turn his life into something his father considers productive. When Tim quit his job working for Samantha’s mother, the mayor, that was the end of any esteem his father held for him, which wasn’t much to begin with. His sister, Nan, has always been the perfect one, though she secretly was cheating off of Tim. So…things are looking rough for Tim, but that’s not unusual. It’s practically a given–if Tim’s involved, things will be completely screwed up.

Now, Tim has decided to move into a garage apartment, recently vacated by his best friend Jase Garrett’s older brother, and conveniently, his dream girl, Jase’s sister Alice, lives next door (no matter her meaty boyfriend and the two years (and a graduation) that separate them). Before he can even begin to find his footing and maybe get his GED or something, a girl shows up at his door, saying on one of his drunken escapades they hooked up, and pulls a red-haired baby boy from her car. Tim is blindsided. How could he have missed this, and just when things were looking better for him and Alice. On the other hand, Alice is filling in for her parents and taking care of her siblings, managing the finances, and still taking college classes. She has enough to worry about than her crush on her little brother’s best friend, who used to be an alcoholic and sleep around. Will Tim and Alice break the odds keeping them apart and finally have something worth keeping for themselves?

It’s true again. I love anything by Huntley Fitzpatrick. Her romances are real, contain emotional depth, and resolve with utter satisfaction. Coming back to the world with Samantha and the Garretts is like coming back home, familiar and full of love. Her characters are fun and anything but flat, especially the younger children. No other author treats younger children in teen novels quite as real as Huntley. I’d give these to every older teen who reads romance if I could!

Author read-a-likes: Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Dessen, and Rainbow Rowell.

Note: Sex, language, and mentions of alcohol and drugs.

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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in Contemporary fiction, Romance, Young Adult/Teen


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Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

gabi Gabi, A Girl in Pieces

It’s Gabi’s senior year, and a whirlwind of change is upon her. Through journal entries and poetry, Gabi Hernandez writes of the series of events that threaten to overwhelm her. First, she is a fat girl who apparently can’t wait to sleep around and act White (her mom’s opinion); her best friend Cindy is secretly pregnant; her other best friend Sebastian is gay and is kicked out of his home; her father is a meth addict; her aunt talks about God but sleeps with married men; her mother winds up pregnant again; a boy might like her; and Gabi’s supposed to deal with all this while writing college applications and doing schoolwork. As Gabi works through these conflicts, she finds strength and a voice to speak about her experiences and the effect they have had upon her identity.

What The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie did for Native Americans is what Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero has done for Mexican Americans. This is an raw, honest take on a modern Latina’s coming-of-age. Quintero has a wonderful voice making Gabi seem instantly to relate to teens and be likable while also plainly describing truths about life, sex, and other forbidden topics. Echoes of Judy Blume’s influence on Quintero shine through with the controversial topic of sex and sexuality. The poetry and prose will make this a gem for English teachers and teen enthusiasts. This book well deserved the awards it received and greatly enriched YA literature with a wonderful diverse and memorable read. This novel would be a fantastic movie, and one that would even do a great service in changing Hollywood’s idea of diversity.

Note: Violence, alcohol, drugs, language, and sex references.

–But please, give this to every teen girl at some point. Feminine identity and self-worth are strong themes that will speak to teen girls.

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Posted by on November 17, 2015 in Contemporary fiction, Young Adult/Teen


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Lion Heart (Scarlet, 3) by A.C. Gaughen

Lion HeartThe final novel in the heart-wrenchingly captivating Robin Hood/Marian Scarlet trilogy

16181625Held captive by Prince John for months now and becoming weaker, Scarlet learns of her father’s, King Richard’s, capture. Without the threat of Richard’s wrath on his brother John, Scarlet’s now worth more dead than alive. When Prince John tries to secretly kill her, one of Queen Eleanor’s loyal knights, David, helps save her life and smuggle her to freedom. Though Scarlet wishes to return to Nottingham and Rob and tell him she’s alive, her father is more important, and she rides to find Queen Eleanor, her grandmother, accompanied by David and an old friend, Allan a Dale. Because she is in danger of her life, they must skulk and hide in shadows and away from crowds in their journey. Luckily, they are able to rely on an old ally, the Duke of Winchester, and meet with the Queen. Faced with a choice to save herself and Rob from being murdered or attempt to fight John, Scarlet first tries to run away from the dangers, but when she foils a plot to steal the ransom and harm or even kill Queen Eleanor, Scarlet embraces her true nature to fight for what she believes in. To gain enough allies to thwart John, Scarlet must also embrace her heritage as a lady, and in this case, Lady Huntingdon, the title her father recently gifted her with, the one Rob had long lost. Using her newfound title and influence feels foreign, but Scarlet is a true Lion Heart, and despite John’s thirst for blood and power, she stands strong against his tyranny, even when he uses the one she loves most against her. When Scarlet and Robin stand to lose each other as well as their whole kingdom, will love, and truth, finally conquer all?

Without revealing too many spoilers, the conclusion to this series is superbly satisfying. I love Scarlet’s pluck and courage. She is an easy heroine to root for. As for Robin, I don’t see how anyone could help falling in love with him! The characters in this series are well-drawn and make you want to live in their world even after the book ends. This is one of the best historical interpretations of Robin Hood/Marian I have ever read, and one I adored so much, I bought them for myself. More readers need to find this gem of a series!

Notes: Contains sexual situations, violence, and some gruesome descriptions.

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Posted by on November 10, 2015 in Historical fiction, Young Adult/Teen


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End of Days (Angelfall, 3) by Susan Ee

End of DaysThe feverish epic conclusion to the Angelfall trilogy

A1bqZHJAcZL._SL1500_-600x906“Can one girl change the destiny of both heaven and earth?”

On the run but reunited again, Penryn and Raffe are caught between shifting lines of the men and angels. As they, along with Paige, her locusts, and a shriveled husk of Beliel, take refuge on a nearby island for a brief time, more almost insurmountable obstacles surface: Penryn and Raffe’s growing attraction, Paige’s loyalty to the enemy, and Beliel’s temptations of Penryn. After unleashing hellions when Penryn gives into that temptation, she also unknowingly discovers a hidden power. But Raffe’s wings need restoring immediately, and they go in search of the Resistance and a certain rescued doctor. Finding the Resistance again also means new surprises: Penryn’s mom is now a general in the Resistance, there is a cult devoted to feeding Paige, and the makings of an angelic plague are in the works. As their allegiances once again pull them apart, Raffe chooses a deal to save his wings and thwart Uriel but Penryn is captured and sentenced for being the angelkiller. Just when Penryn is facing death, Raffe appears and confronts Uriel, but not before the latter launches his campaign for the End of Days, where monstrous beasts roam the earth with 666 tattooed on their foreheads and head to slaughter the human remnant. With the angels at a stalemate, they agree to a trial by contest to determine the winner. Though Penryn and Raffe are still not quite equal allies, they form a dangerous plan involving a traitor, the Pit, and a fierce battle for everyone’s lives…one that might just give them a real chance to live and maybe…love.

This is such a wonderful series, and I’m sad it is over (no more 5 books to this series as I posted in the last review)! It’s filled with characters I would love to keep reading more about, especially Penryn. I love her! She is such a strong female warrior/leader and has a voice that is immediately likable and will relate to teens. Raffe really gains a voice once his sword begins showing some of his point of view (book 2), and we have a much better time rooting for them to be together, even if it is forbidden. On that note, I won’t reveal any spoilers, but the romance is simply swoonworthy. The whole series handles angelic lore in an interesting yet believable way, and you won’t be disappointed by the ending, cataclysmic though it is. I don’t think this series had as much recognition as it deserves, especially for a smaller publisher, so truly check it out!

Notes: Sexual situations, violence, and some gruesome descriptions.

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Posted by on November 3, 2015 in Science Fiction, Young Adult/Teen


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Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

16731972916_35c30b5076 Black Dove, White Raven

In the 1930’s, young Emilia Menotti, her African brother Tio, and her mother Rhoda journey to Ethiopia, the last unconquered African country, to fulfill Tio’s mother Delia’s dream, a hope cut short when Delia, the “Black Dove” and one part of a trick flying duo, died during an airplane accident and left Em’s mother, the “White Raven” battered and shaken but alive. After her physical and emotional recovery, Rhoda left her daughter and her new informally adopted son Tio to pursue the possibility of their life in Ethiopia, with the help of her Italian husband, of whom she stays pretty independent. Now, two years later, Emilia and Tio can finally join Rhoda, right as Haile Selassie I becomes Emperor. As they adjust to a new life and a new language, they fall in love with Ethiopia, it’s people, culture, and way of life. But the political situations of the time overshadow this beauty. Tensions with Italy escalate and as a possible invasion looms, Rhoda teaches Em and Tio how to fly their airplane and be their own versions of Black Dove and White Raven and no longer only stories or dreams in a child’s notebook. Tio’s a natural flier, and Em learns with dogged determination but is gifted at navigation. They are a team, but unfortunately, Tio’s blood holds him back from freedom. In an attempt to save Tio and their family, they all choose to sacrifice when Italy finally does invade and the war effort becomes personal.

In another heart-wrenching, well-written historical tale by Wein, a love and kinship between two female aviators, one black and one white, and their children is changed when one mother dies. Despite their difference in heritage, Em and Tio are truly brother and sister. The political tension over the racial difference is palpable in the United States, but in Ethiopia, no one much notices. In Ethiopia, there are still slaves and the economy is very poor. Tio and the Menotti family are suspended on all sides during this conflict, and the resolution causes nail-biting, tears, and blossoming hope. (#toomanyfeels!) Wein does a fantastic job introducing a point of view that doesn’t have much traction in Western literature and inspires a new perspective of diversity. I really enjoyed learning the history of Ethiopia (Abyssinia) and their rich heritage while also recognizing the heartbreak that came about for the country during WWII.

For more about the Second Italian-Abyssinian War and Haile Selassie I, you can start with these few links.

Italy Invades Ethiopia

2nd Italo-Ethiopian War

Haile Selassie I


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