‘Little Do We Know’ by Tamara Ireland Stone

little do we know

“Little Do We Know” by Tamara Ireland Stone begins as a typical young adult story about two formerly best friends who are no longer speaking to each other. Emory and Hannah have lived next door to each other practically since they were in diapers, and they have been best friends all that time.

But now, in their senior year of high school, they are not speaking. And the reader doesn’t know why. The story is told in first person narrative through Hannah and Emory’s voices, and it’s riveting. While the girls have been best friends, they are very different.

Continue reading

‘The Final Six’ by Alexandra Monir Is a Too-Possibly-True to Miss Reading Dystopian Novel

finalsix.jpg

The world Alexandra Monir creates in “The Final Six” is one that is all too believable. Climate change has caused the sea levels to rise, and tsunamis have devastated coastal cities. Rome is underwater and people live on the top floors of tall buildings. Whole populations in large cities have drowned when tsunamis rushed in to engulf everything.

Continue reading

‘Lifel1k3’ (Lifelike) by Jay Kristoff is the First Book in a YA Dystopia Series

lifelike

With “Lifel1k3,” author Jay Kristoff takes readers on a wild ride in a bleak (so very bleak!) dystopian future where atomic bombs have destroyed much of the Yousay (USA, get it?) and California has become a barren island because of a huge earthquake. The ocean is filled with plastic and other garbage, and animals and trees are nonexistent.

In fact, robots and humans coexist in a depressing world with gray skies and a desperate struggle for survival. In this world lives Evie, with her grandfather, her best friend Lemon, and her robot best friend Cricket. This family group is wonderful, but Grandpa is dying from cancer, so Evie fights robots in an arena to win money to buy him medicine.

Continue reading

‘Jurassic World: The Evolution of Claire’ by Tess Sharpe: Perfect for Sci-fi and Adventure Fans

evolution of claire

“Jurassic World: The Evolution of Claire” by Tess Sharpe is a prequel to the story of the two most recent “Jurassic World” movies. In this book, seasoned author Sharpe creates the story of how Claire Dearing, who becomes the park’s operations manager, first gets involved in the Jurassic world.

Dearing is in college when she applies for an internship with the brilliant Mr. Masrani, who not only is fabulously wealthy, but whose genius is (re)creating dinosaurs and a theme park where people will be able to see dinosaurs. When she is offered the internship, it’s her dream come true.

Continue reading

‘Not If I Save You First’ by Ally Carter Perfect Light Adventure for YA Reader

notifisaveyoufirst

“Not If I Save You First” is a stand-alone novel by seasoned author Ally Carter. This novel is a quick read, due in large part to the engaging main character and the action-filled plot.

Maddie and Logan were best friends when they were ten. His father was President of the United States; her father was his Secret Service protector. They roamed the halls of the White House together, and one night, it was Logan who spotted the Russians trying to kidnap his mother. He alerted the Secret Service, Maddie’s father saved the day, and everything changed.

Now Maddie lives in a remote part of Alaska where she doesn’t attend school, watch television, or talk on the phone. She and her dad don’t have electricity or running water, but Maddie is a pro at cutting logs and heating water for bathing. She can start a fire, shoot a gun, use a knife, but she can’t talk about the latest shows or music. She’s also furious that her one friend from the past, Logan, has never answered even one of the weekly letters she has sent him for years.

So when Logan shows up at their cabin, Maddie is dumbstruck. When they are attacked,  Maddie is left for dead, but she recovers, and she sets out to rescue the captured Logan on her own. The story is filled with twists and turns, bad guys who are all evil and those who may not be. And on top of it all, Maddie and Logan need to learn to trust each other.

Carter creates a sassy, intelligent main character with lots of guts and courage. She’s funny and one step ahead of the bad guys — most of the time. It’s a fun read, and readers will keep the pages turning to find out what trouble Maddie and Logan get into next.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Scholastic Press, the publisher, for review purposes.

‘Tempests and Slaughter’ by Tamora Pierce; Fabulous First Book in a New Series, ‘The Numair Chronicles’

tempestsandslaughter_Final-440x655.jpg

Tamora Pierce’s fans are legion. But if you haven’t read one of this master of fantasy’s many books, this is the perfect time to start and the perfect book to start with: “Tempests and Slaughter.” It’s the first book in a new series, and it’s a prequel to some of the other books about the Tortall universe.

As with all of Pierce’s books, the characters feel quite authentic, and each of the three main characters is unique.  Each one demonstrates very human weaknesses and strengths. Pierce is fabulous at hinting at events to come through characters’ actions and dialogue — just subtle hints at deeper character traits.

Continue reading

‘Surface Tension’ by Mike Mullin Is that Book You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

surface tension

I’ve realized how to know when I’m reading a book I’m just not that into. When I find myself playing Words With Friends for 30 minutes instead of reading, I know that the book I’m reading has just not enthralled me. That’s how I knew that I was loving “Surface Tension” by Mike Mullin; I couldn’t put it down. I started the book in the morning and had finished it by evening. I read every spare minute because I was dying to know what was going to happen next.

Continue reading

‘The Summer of Broken Things’ by Margaret Peterson Haddix Illustrates What Makes Family in this Touching Young Adult Novel

broken things

In “The Summer of Broken Things,” Margaret Peterson Haddix departs from her beloved sci-fi stories, and she includes no hidden children, just two teenagers from very different families — and very different socio-economic backgrounds — who are going to spend the summer together in Spain. But there is something hidden from their past.

Although Avery and Kayla have known each other since birth, it hasn’t been a close relationship. Originally, Avery was told that Kayla’s mother was friends with her nanny. But even after Avery no longer needed the nanny, Kayla’s mother still brought gifts for Avery at holidays. When Avery’s dad is going to Spain for the summer, he suggests that Avery and a friend go with him. She’s stunned that the person accompanying them isn’t really a friend, it’s Kayla Butts from the middle of nowhere.

Continue reading

‘The Window’ by Amelia Brunskill Is a Beautifully Written YA Mystery

thewindow

How did Anna die? That’s the question that her twin sister, Jess, can’t get out of her head in the novel “The Window” by Amelia Brunskill. Identical twins Anna and Jess were inseparable growing up, but lately, not so much. In fact, after Anna’s death, Jess starts to investigate what really happened, and what she uncovers is that Anna was deliberately increasing the distance between them.

Continue reading

‘Your Robot Dog Will Die’ by Arin Greenwood Is a Thought-Provoking Coming-of-Age Young Adult Novel about Integrity and Loving Animals

yourrobotdog

In “Your Robot Dog Will Die,” author Arin Greenwood packs a lot of ideas for readers — especially young adult readers — to ponder. Why do most of us love our dogs so passionately that if we didn’t have real dogs, we just might grow to love robot dogs as much?  But fear not, the story doesn’t just have robot dogs. There are real dogs, too, for the reader to fall in love with, although Billy the Robot Dog does seem worthy of a good amount of love as well.

Nano is the seventeen-year-old main character, who because of her very isolated life on Dog Island seems much younger. She and the other two children on the island, Wolf and Jack, have never left the island — a place where six wild dogs exist in a world where dogs are basically extinct. In this future time, the world has changed in ways that are not appealing. There is little water because of a huge drought, so those on Dog Island drink recycled urine and are not able to bathe with real water. Worse than that, scientists trying to genetically improve the dog species ended up with dogs who attacked people because of a mutant virus that then spread to all dogs.

Continue reading

‘Hamilton and Peggy! A Revolutionary Friendship’ by L. M. Elliot

hamiltonandpeggy

L. M. Elliot’s latest brilliant piece of historical fiction for young adults, “Hamilton and Peggy! A Revolutionary Friendship,” is a fascinating study of the life and loves of Peggy Schuyler. She was the daughter of a famous Revolutionary War general and counter-intelligence agent, the sister of two equally important women of the era, and the romantic partner of two significant revolutionary and post-revolutionary men.

The Peggy Schuyler of “Hamilton and Peggy” was a woman both very much of her time and very much ahead of her time. She was brilliant, independent, witty, strong — and a victim of the limitations that shackled the women of America in 1776. Elliot provides us enlightening glimpses of Peggy’s courage and strength — a dangerous trip through a deadly storm with enemies all around her; the defense of her home during an attack by British forces; the stubborn, constant support of the cause of the Revolution despite the ubiquitous threats of treasonous and cruel betrayals — like those of Benedict Arnold.

Continue reading

‘A List of Cages’ by Robin Roe Is a Beautiful Tale of Friendship Overcoming Evil

alistofcages

“A List of Cages” by Robin Roe is a young adult book that is extremely powerful and heartrending, yet also uplifting. It’s a testament to the power of friendship, and it’s a cautionary tale to those who foster or work with children. It’s the story of two boys, Adam and Julian, and the bond that saves the life of Julian.

Julian’s life was difficult when he was bullied as a young child. His mother told him that those who are mean act that way because they are unhappy. He is dyslexic, and his inability to read well makes him self-conscious. Julian’s parents are killed when he is nine years old, and he goes to live with Adam. Julian and Adam had been partners when Adam was in 5th grade and Julian was in kindergarten, so they knew each other a bit.

Continue reading