Searching For Sky

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

x emily.


Every Last Word

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

x emily.

The Here and Now

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

x emily.

I Kill the Mockingbird

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!

x emily.

The Fourteenth Goldfish

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! ❤

x emily.

Stay Where You Are and Then Leave

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!! 🙂

x emily.

The Moon Sisters

Author: Therese Walsh

Pub Date: March 4 2014

Genre: Fiction

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

x emily.