Author: Jillian Cantor
Pub Date: May 13, 2014
Genre: YA Fiction
Themes: Survival, Friendship, Family
Fave Character: River
What I Think: I finished this book months ago and forgot to review it. #SRY. What was called a “reverse dystopia” was not exactly how I would have described it. It was strange and unique but I didn’t have a great feeling after finishing it. I feel like I needed more closure. I truly don’t know how to explain how I felt about this book. It was totally NOT what I expected. Like it was interesting enough to finish but honestly not one of my favorites. ALSO I still don’t understand why it’s called Searching for Sky when the entire time it’s in her perspective looking for River…
Long Story Short: 6/10
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Pub Date: June 16, 2015
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Themes: friends, school, mental illness, poetry
Fave Character: Caroline
What I Think: I literally started and finished this book within 24 hours. It was addicting and sappy and real in all the best ways. I really wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, I had pegged it as a cookie cutter YA but I have never been so happy to be wrong! The characters and their issues were genuine and well developed with tact, the climax was unexpected and the resolution was everything I had hoped it would be.
+ The Poet’s Corner
— Her bitchy friends.
Long Story Short: 9/10
Author: Ann Brashares
Pub Date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Contemporary and Science Fiction crossover
Themes: love, time travel, community
Fave Character: Prenna
What I Think: This contemporary science fiction crossover was as fascinating as it was intriguing! I was captivated from the beginning and was constantly being pulled along in the adventure! I loved the combination of rebellion, love, and time travel that seemed to be a step above the latest dystopian novels. The characters were realistic in that they made mistakes and stood up for themselves while also considering the heavy role that love and fear plays in making decisions for the good of themselves versus the future of humankind.
+ The dystopian feel among our modern times
— Even though it ended on a good note, there was still so much left unsaid and I need Closure!!
Long Story Short: 8.5/10
Author: Paul Acampora
Pub Date: May 20, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Middle School level
Themes: family, friendship, books
Fave Character: Lucy
What I Think: I Kill the Mockingbird captured the magic of readers discovering classics, like To Kill a Mockingbird, and appreciating them for their timeless quality. The characters were likable and the plot moved along at a good pace. The end result will encourage young readers to give old books another chance.
+ Sweet and innocent with just the right amount of mischief.
— Some of the dialogue was a little unrealistic given the age of the children.
Long Story Short: 8/10! ❤
Author: Jennifer Holm
Pub Date: August 26, 2014
Genre: Contemporary (science) Fiction, Middle School level
Themes: family, friendship, science
Fave Character: Ellie’s Mom
What I Think: The overall feel of the story was quirky and fun. Once Ellie’s grandfather discovers the possibility of immortality in his lab, chaos and adventure ensues. I liked how this didn’t use the tired old formula for middle school books. Although Ellie’s life may be changing, the typical friendship and school drama is downplayed in favor of family and personal discoveries. Ellie observes as her Grandpa Melvin faces the challenges that come with his new-found youth and finds her own passion for science in the process. All while facing the ethical question: Should this secret of eternal youth even be revealed?
+ A happy ending with endless possibilities
— The ongoing tension between Grandpa Melvin and Ellie’s mother
Long Story Short: 9/10! ❤
Author: John Boyne
Pub Date: March 25, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction, Middle School level
Themes: World War One, family, mental illness
Fave Character: Mr. Summerfield
What I Think: I fell in love with this novel and its characters after only a few pages. Written for a younger audience than me but by the same author of the The Boy in the Striped Pajama’s, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I was pleasantly surprised by the balance between historical accuracy and the boundless optimism of a child. Faced with a dark period in England only decades into the 20th century, Alfie’s father goes off to war and lands himself in a mental hospital for shell shocked soldiers. Alfie takes it upon himself to provide for and reunite his broken family in this uplifting, and sometimes heartbreaking, coming of age adventure.
+ Alfie’s persistence and growth throughout the novel
— Kalena and her father being forced to leave England at the start of WW1
Long Story Short: 10/10!! 🙂
Author: Therese Walsh
Pub Date: March 4 2014
Themes: relationships, family, acceptance, closure, death
Fave Character: The Girl’s Grandmother
What I Think: A novel that encapsulates the tumultuous journey that is sisterhood while taking you through the stages of grief with sisters Olivia and Jazz after the death of their mother. The most emotional and vulnerable moments of the sisters and the people they meet along the way as well as the wonder of unanswered questions put this novel a cut above the rest. At times, the story was slow and uneventful but Walsh’s rich writing and clever plot twist made up for it in the end.
+ Olivia and Hobbs interactions
— Jazz’s relentless cynicism and their grandfather Orin 😦
Long Story Short: 7/10