Publisher: Scholastic Press


Review: In Case You Missed It by Sarah Darer Littman

March 9, 2017 Diversity 1, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Review: In Case You Missed It by Sarah Darer LittmanIn Case You Missed It by Sarah Darer Littman
Published by Scholastic Press on October 11, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 320
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central
Everyone has secrets—until they go viral.

Sammy Wallach has epic plans for the end of junior year: Sneak out to the city to see her favorite band. Get crush-worthy Jamie Moss to ask her to prom. Rock all exams (APs and driver’s).

With a few white lies, some killer flirting, and tons of practice, Sammy’s got things covered. That is, until the international bank her dad works for is attacked by hacktivists who manage to steal everything in the Wallach family’s private cloud, including Sammy’s entire digital life. Literally the whole world has access to her emails, texts, photos, and, worst of all, journal.

Life. Is. Over.

Now Sammy’s best friends are furious about things she wrote, Jamie thinks she’s desperate, and she can barely show her face at school. Plus, her parents know all the rules she broke. But Sammy’s not the only one with secrets—her family has a few of its own that could change everything. And while the truth might set you free, no one said it was going to be painless. Or in Sammy’s case, private.

Diversity: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 2 (Sam’s family is Jewish; her friend Rosa is Hispanic with no specified background; two characters with the surnames Karim and Chen go undescribed and also have no specified background)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 1 (Racism is a major issue handled in the novel, but I don’t feel it did it well)

You know Jennifer Brown? The YA author who wrote Hate List and a bunch of other books that play out contemporary issues like sexting and a natural disaster destroying your home? If you ever needed a comp author for her because you or your teen already devoured Brown’s entire backlist, Sarah Darer Littman is that author. In Case You Missed It is yet another brilliant novel from her, but I’d appreciate it if her books would stop making me cry. Read more »


Review: One Silver Summer by Rachel Hickman

January 9, 2017 Diversity 0, Reviews 1 ★★★

Review: One Silver Summer by Rachel HickmanOne Silver Summer by Rachel Hickman
Published by Scholastic Press on April 26, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 263
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central
The thinking girl's summer romance: a gorgeously written story of love and loss with a thrilling royal twist!

After a car accident claims her mother's life, Sass is sent to Cornwall to live with the uncle she's never met. All she wants is to be alone, to come to terms with the new Sass -- the girl who can't forget the screech of tires, the crunch of metal.

With its rocky beaches and secluded fields, Cornwall is the perfect place to hide. It gets even better when Sass glimpses a silver horse and starts sneaking off to spend time with the one creature who makes her grief feel manageable.

During one of her visits, Sass runs into Alex, the horse's owner. At first, he shows nothing but disdain for the trespassing American. But despite his brusque manner, he feels an affinity for the curious girl with the sad eyes, and offers to teach her to ride.

Sass never expected to feel anything again, yet soon she finds herself falling for Alex. But Alex has a secret -- a bombshell that could shatter Sass's fragile trust. . . and force him to abandon the only girl who made him believe in true love.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

Warning: animal death in this book. Specifically, a horse dies.

Let’s be real, we’re all here for a romance between a royal and a commoner at some point in our lives. Maybe it’s when we’re kids and we refuse to turn off Cinderella or we’re adults and the once-a-generation royal wedding is happening in the UK, but it’s an attractive trope for more than a few reasons. Even more attractive for book nerds: a royal romance that dives into the nitty-gritty. Does One Silver Summer manage to do that? Well, it tries. Read more »


Review: Run by Kody Keplinger

July 25, 2016 Diversity 2, Reviews 0 ★★★★½

Review: Run by Kody KeplingerRun by Kody Keplinger
Published by Scholastic Press on June 28, 2016
Genres: YA, YA Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: Hardcover
Source: YA Books Central
Bo Dickinson is a girl with a wild reputation, a deadbeat dad, and a mama who's not exactly sober most of the time. Everyone in town knows the Dickinsons are a bad lot, but Bo doesn't care what anyone thinks.

Agnes Atwood has never gone on a date, never even stayed out past ten, and never broken any of her parents' overbearing rules. Rules that are meant to protect their legally blind daughter -- protect her from what, Agnes isn't quite sure.

Despite everything, Bo and Agnes become best friends. And it's the sort of friendship that runs truer and deeper than anything else.

So when Bo shows up in the middle of the night, with police sirens wailing in the distance, desperate to get out of town, Agnes doesn't hesitate to take off with her. But running away and not getting caught will require stealing a car, tracking down Bo's dad, staying ahead of the authorities, and -- worst of all -- confronting some ugly secrets.

Diversity Rating: 2 – It’s a Start!

Racial-Ethnic: 0
QUILTBAG: 4 (Bo is bisexual)
Disability: 5 (in #ownvoices representation from Keplinger, Agnes is legally blind)
Intersectionality: 3 (Bo’s family is very poor and her mother is a meth addict)

A blind girl and a bisexual girl get into a car, steal it in the middle of the night, and drive straight into my heart. That’s this book in the form of a bar joke, but if I can be real a second (for just a millisecond), it’s better than a stale bar joke. If you have any assumptions about a book with a “two friends go on a road trip” premise, Run will defy them and leave you tearing up as you turn the last pages.

Read more »


Review: Revenge of the Angels by Jennifer Ziegler

September 17, 2015 Diversity 1, Reviews 1 ★★★½

Review: Revenge of the Angels by Jennifer ZieglerRevenge of the Angels by Jennifer Ziegler
Series: Revenge #2
Published by Scholastic Press on August 25, 2015
Genres: Comedy, MG Contemporary
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: YA Books Central
he Brewster triplets from Revenge of the Flower Girls meet The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, in a new, sweetly hilarious holiday story from Jennifer Ziegler!

When we last saw them, Dawn, Darby, and Delaney Brewster stopped their big sister from marrying the wrong guy, proving that they can accomplish a lot when they work together. Now, they are turning their smarts and high-energy hijinks to something completely different: their local Christmas pageant! They've been practicing looking wise and stroking long, fake beards in preparation for their roles.

But what if they're not cast as the wise men? What if instead they have to play angels in the pageant? Distasteful. Deplorable. Dreadful. And it's not like anything else is going their way this holiday season, either. Can the triplets figure out what to get for their mom, solve a mystery about a stolen Santa, and recover their holiday spirit in time for the pageant? Of course they can! And they'll do it with humor and charm, or they're not the Brewster triplets.

Diversity Rating: 1 – Tokenism

Racial-Ethnic: 1 (The Brewsters’ neighbor Mr. Neighbor is black)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

Sometimes, the Internet fails to tell you important things such as the fact Revenge of the Angels is a sequel and not a standalone like I thought it was. That was probably just my research fail, but it ended up making little difference to me. I don’t dabble in MG often, but Revenge of the Angels reminds me why I do! Read more »


Review: George by Alex Gino

August 24, 2015 Diversity 3, Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: George by Alex GinoGeorge by Alex Gino
Published by Scholastic Press on August 25, 2015
Genres: MG Contemporary
Pages: 240
Format: ARC
Source: BEA 2015

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl.

George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Diversity Rating: 3 – Closer to Reality

Racial-Ethnic: 2 (best friend Kelly is biracial)
QUILTBAG: 5 (George/Melissa is trans)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 0

About two years ago when he was sixteen, my best friend’s little brother Eden came out as trans and his family realized they’d been considering him a girl named Belle when that wasn’t right. I haven’t gotten to see Eden since he came out, but I’m so, so happy for him. His transition has been almost problem-free and his family accepted him right away. Even without knowing Eden, seeing trans stories make their way into MG and YA fiction would be important because so many children questioning their designated gender identities need books like this. Gino’s debut novel is a touching, important read for everyone–including cis people who want to understand. Read more »


Review: A Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron

April 3, 2014 Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review: A Spark Unseen by Sharon CameronA Spark Unseen by Sharon Cameron
Series: The Dark Unwinding #2
Published by Scholastic Press on September 24, 2013
Genres: YA Historical
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: ARC won in a giveaway
The thrilling sequel to Sharon Cameron's blockbuster gothic steampunk romance, THE DARK UNWINDING, will captivate readers anew with mystery and intrigue aplenty.

When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.

But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust--if anyone--to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.

Filled with deadly twists, whispering romance, and heart-stopping suspense, this sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING whisks readers off on another thrilling adventure.

It took me over six months to get to A Spark Unseen and about two days to actually read it. The ARC I won all the way back around October has been languishing on my TBR for a while and looked like it might never get read, but when my schedule offered a small hole in which I could read it, I took it. Thank goodness I did! Though The Dark Unwinding didn’t wow me, its sequel certainly did. Read more »


Review: Defy by Sara B. Larson

December 16, 2013 Reviews 4 ½

Review: Defy by Sara B. LarsonDefy by Sara B. Larson Published by Scholastic Press on January 7, 2014
Genres: YA Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via NetGalley
A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king's army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince's guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can't prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she's sworn to protect?

Defy should be fun. It should be, but it is far from it. I tried to list elements of it that should be fun my first time trying to write this review, but they are so un-fun that even them being hypothetically fun is too impossible to type. Though it can be the tiniest bit entertaining at times once the plot decides to kick in and then stays in motion until the end of the book, Defy is generally awful and the very paragon of everything I hate about YA fantasy novels, especially when it comes to the sexism. Read more »