‘Now You See Her’ by Lisa Leighton and Laura Stropki Is a YA Thriller

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“Now You See Her” by Lisa Leighton and Laura Stropki is a young adult novel based on an improbable occurrence. Two high school girls, one driving through a rainstorm and the other running into the street to avoid a kidnapper, switch bodies.

Amelia wakes up in a body that is entirely unfamiliar to her. White skin and short, Sophie’s body is not at all like hers. When she goes home with Sophie’s parents, her life there seems unreal. Sophie’s life has appeared to be perfect — her tennis ability, her beautiful home, her expensive car, her perfect wardrobe, her handsome boyfriend. But when Amelia literally steps into Sophie’s shoes, she finds that the perfection is only skin deep in many areas.

Sophie’s parents argue a lot, her handsome popular boyfriend seems to be boyfriend in name only, and Sophie is involved with the school bad boy at night. Amelia is also determined to find out who was trying to kidnap her and why. It’s difficult when Sophie’s father just wants things to be as they were. And he warns Sophie to keep out of Amelia’s business.

But when her sister and mother are in danger, Amelia-in-Sophie’s-body is not going to stop. In the process, she breaks up with Sophie’s boyfriend and falls for Sophie’s neighbor. She finds out that Sophie’s friend is a real friend, and together, the three try to solve the mystery.

The authors do a fabulous job switching voices in the first person narrative from both Sophie and Amelia’s points of view. The mystery of who is trying to kidnap Amelia and her sister and the mystery of what the strange connection is between Amelia and Sophie will keep the reader turning page after page.

Definitely a good choice for mystery and paranormal readers.

Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Katherine Tegen Books, the publisher, for review purposes.

‘Sawkill Girls’ by Claire Legrand: A YA Horror Story with Female Heroes

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With “Sawkill Girls,” author Claire Legrand creates a positively Stephen King-ish horror story that takes place on an exclusive island for the extremely wealthy where girls have mysteriously disappeared for decades. In addition to the three female main characters, the island, with its woods and cliffs and mysterious hidden areas, becomes almost another character.

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‘Little Do We Know’ by Tamara Ireland Stone

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“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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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“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.

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

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“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’

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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