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Tag Archives: YA

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu (The Young Elites, 3)

This week I’m blogging at Tynga’s Reviews about the finale to The Young Elites series! Click on the picture to follow or click here!

You can check out my other reviews for The Young Elites and The Rose Society too!

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Posted by on February 16, 2017 in Fantasy, Young Adult/Teen

 

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The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

thehiredgirlThe Hired Girl

In 1911 Pennsylvania, farm girl Joan Skraggs wants a life like those in her beloved books, one with romance and beauty and adventure. But Joan’s father hates her books and the ideas they and her mother put into her head. When her father refuses to give her some recognition for her hard work at the farm taking care of him and her three brothers and then he burns her beloved books when she asks for money to improve their situation, Joan decides to run away and become a hired girl in Philadelphia. She reinvents herself as Janet Lovelace working for a charitable Jewish merchant family, the Rosenbachs, with a persnickety old cook, Malka, who needs help. The Rosenbachs become a sort of family to Joan, with the father who highly values education, the kind eldest son who wants to study the Talmud, the younger son who wants to be an artist, and their young daughter who hates learning. Joan catalogs her journey in her diary, resolving to be as refined and elegant as the novels she loves, and in her experiences, Joan can truly transform into a bright heroine like the ones she’s daydreamed about.

I really liked this book. It definitely has that turn of phrase and tone that evokes similar thought-provoking award winners and the appeal is probably less broad as a result of both the more literary writing and the subject matter. However, this could be for younger audiences who are voracious or more serious readers as they will appreciate Joan’s ability to dream and her same love of literature. Joan herself is inspiring for having the courage and perseverance necessary to achieve a new future, one in which she might have a chance at happiness and independence. I love that theme of feminism! I also really liked the other characters and their development, particularly how their interactions with Joan teach her different ideas and how Joan learns to think for herself rather than simply listen to what she’s told. Joan is funny in her naivety, strength of will, and her straightforwardly honest demeanor that occasionally causes a few mishaps with her new employers. This book is perfect if you’re looking for something thought-provoking and yet quietly inspiring, especially for its love of learning and education.

Note: This title will be more appealing to older readers as it follows the slower maturation of classic literature than your typical fast-paced YA. It would be a very interesting research essay to compare and contrast this book and heroine with one of Joan’s favorites like Jane Eyre and how both evolve…

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2016 in Historical fiction, Young Adult/Teen

 

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Picture Perfect (Geek Girl, 3) by Holly Smale

pictureperfectPicture Perfect

Since Harriet Manners quit modeling at the end of the last book, her life has been pretty perfect. She has a new baby sister, a wonderful model boyfriend, and she’s made tons of plans for her new year, especially with Nat who will be at a new college. There’s not much to ruin it, except…her dad still doesn’t have a job, her parents are so tired they forgot her exam results day, and her nemesis Alexa has stolen her diary. Wait, let’s rewrite that. There’s not much A LOT to ruin it! Faced with the horror of every day of Alexa’s teasing and her friends leaving her alone, Harriet decides to be excited when her dad announces his new job. The Manners family is going to New York New Jersey! Harriet thinks she’s in for the Big Apple with all of its excitement and rich culture and her grandiose plans. Instead, due to their poor finances, their new house in the suburbs of New Jersey is over an hour away from NY by train, and that’s not all Harriet is upset about. Her professional tutor keeps piling work on and she’s floundering, any friends Harriet might make think she’s Tabitha’s mom and hate her, and her date with Nick is ruined when he gets on the wrong train. To make matters worse, Annabel and her dad don’t notice because of work and parenting and they even forget Harriet’s birthday! Suddenly Harriet has had enough. To get back at her parents, she sneaks out to model again and finds herself believing that just a little bit of rebelliousness won’t hurt…

This series is happy, hilarious, and yet relateable! Every teen who thinks of him/herself as the “good, obedient kid” who wants to have a little bit more unsanctioned fun will identify with Harriet’s longing for adventure and the mess that results. Even better is Harriet’s plucky attitude and penchant for random facts at inopportune moments making her lovably amusing to the reader despite any anxiety at how Harriet’s life falls disastrously apart. Try this series when you need laughter or a pick-me-up instead of drama!

Note: Good for middle grade (or younger) readers, though there is a bit of romance.

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2016 in Contemporary fiction, Young Adult/Teen

 

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Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack

Sanctuary by Jennifer McKissack

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Today, I’m posting over on Tynga’s Reviews. Click on the image above to follow the link.

To help you get ready for some haunted mansions like the one in Sanctuary, here’s a few I thought were particularly lovely to keep in mind.

P.S. Just for fun, I have actually visited a haunted mansion. Pictured below is the Sorrel-Weed house in Savannah, GA where my husband and I unintentionally caught an EVP on our honeymoon.
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Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

EverythingEverythingCoverEverything, Everything

Part of this year’s Teens’ Top Ten voting (currently ongoing!), and such a sweet book full of first (maybe forever) love, new experiences, and making choices for your own life. I highly suspect this book will stay with me, and I’ll be trying to put it into everyone’s hands. (Thanks to Rachel from my TTT group who so highly recommended it!)

When a new family with an interesting teenage son moves in next door, eighteen-year-old Madeline cannot stop watching them from her window, firstly because Olly is captivating with his street gymnastics and secondly because she has SCID – Severe Combined Immunodeficiency – and cannot (read: never) leave her house. Basically, she is allergic to almost everything: chemicals, spices, perfumes, etc. Her only interaction with the outside world is through her mother and nurse, Carla, and occasionally (rarely) a teacher, like her architecture professor. Schooling, friends, other social interactions–all done online. However, when Olly notices her peering out her window at them, he can’t leave it alone. He and his sister Kara try to bring Madeline a bundt cake, which fails spectacularly (good thing too, because the bundt was as inedible as Hagrid’s rock cakes). Since Maddy’s mother refuses to allow contact with Olly, they begin to write messages to each other, first on their windows and then by email and IM. Carla finds out, but instead of telling her mother, she helps Maddy and allows him to come in. Their friendship blooms into love despite Maddy’s illness and prompts her life to change in unexpected ways. When Olly’s alcoholic father has a particularly bad episode of domestic abuse that causes a face-off between him and Olly, Maddy cannot stay in her bubble. She runs out the door to help him, shocking herself, him, Olly’s family, and most of all, her mother. Luckily, Maddy doesn’t get sick, but she does get grounded. Severely grounded. She cannot see Olly, IM, or email. Suddenly, there was life before Olly and now life after Olly. She can no more go back to her old life and her isolation than stop breathing. As her distance from Olly grows and she watches him bring home another girl and even cry on his front porch, she realizes she has two choices: the choice to be protected and safe forever with her mother but without Olly and the new Maddy that created, or the choice to live. Ultimately, her life is up to her.

(Maybe Spoilery talk below)

This book is so perfect for fans of Eleanor and Park, Hazel and Gus, and fans of Stephanie Perkins or Huntley Fitzpatrick. It is uplifting and light yet carries a deeper, inspiring message. Maddy is everything that is innocent and yet joyful, like a child. She just delights in her experiences. Olly is practically perfect in book form (definitely book boyfriend material), but is still a complex character. I loved how Maddy kept discovering things about him, and yet didn’t learn of a few of his secrets until after he was gone. One of the best things about Everything, Everything is the artwork. It is gorgeous. From the cover which is like a microcosm of beauty, life, and possibilities. It shows perfectly the symbolism of Maddy’s life before vs. after Olly. Don’t mistake me however. This is not a book all about the boy. It has feminism and Maddy merely learns what it is like to live – from the time of her isolation to her world expanding. Below are a few other gems of the unique nature of this story, which actually reminds me of the varied media of Illuminae. I am terribly excited to read my ARC of The Sun Is Also a Star now (coming Nov 1st).

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