Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier

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Your Voice is All I Hear by Leah Scheier

It’s her second year in high school and she’s pretty much alone. It wasn’t that April was an outcast, or super unpopular, or anything. She’s mostly a quiet girl who’s best friend left, and now she eats alone at lunch time and stays home practicing piano on the weekends. It’s a pretty obscure life until Jonah arrives. He’s cute, artistic, witty, and, best of all, he’s into April.

April and Jonah become friends, bestfriends, and a couple. It has it’s bumps but they are both happy they found each other. That is until the voices find Jonah and won’t let him go. They twist and turn him, competing for reality, and he’s spiraling into a world where no one can reach him. Not his mother, not his sister, not even April.

This book is about how it feels to be in love with someone who is losing control of their mind. April has to grapple with what it means to be supportive versus enabling, and how to navigate her world as well as Jonah’s. It’s a complicated love story, and the answers are never easy.

Review by Sarah Rosenkrantz

Light of Day by Allison Van Diepen

LightOfDayLight of Day by Allison Van Diepen

From the author of Takedown and Street Pharm, comes Light of Day – a love story that’s ensnarled in the underground world of date-rape drugs and teenage prostitution. Gabby Perez is an intelligent and attractive high school student who hosts a call-in program on a local radio station. She has fallen from grace due to a recent break-up with Mr. Popular, but still walks the hallways with pride. One night while out partying she and a friend almost become victims to a pimp who drugs girls before kidnapping them. The evening is saved by a mysterious (handsome) stranger, who warns Gaby before it is too late.

Gaby is a strong female character who stands up for herself with her family, friends, and romances. She is loyal and headstrong, and wants to do right by the world. Gaby finds that not everyone wants to be helped and some people are never as real as you want them to be, while others might surprise you by stepping up just when you need them the most.

Author Allison Van Diepen writes a lot of exciting and popular titles. Check out her website for more info about her.

Titles by the same author: Takedown, Street Pharm, The Oracle of Dating, Raven, Snitch

Review by Sarah Rosenkrantz

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

everything

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Seventeen-year-old Maddie is allergic to absolutely everything, and in forced to stay in her home 24/7, seeing only her mother and her nurse Carla.  This has always been her life, and she’s used to the solitude, but when the hottie Oliver moves in next door, she can’t get him off her mind.  Dressed all in black, tee-shirt, jeans and knit hat, he makes her stomach flutter and she can’t help but want to give him her email when he asks, despite all the rules and regulations that keep her safe.  An illicit relationship begins when Carla lets him start secretly visiting in the afternoons when her mom is at work.

This book refuses to fall neatly into one genre.  It’s part mystery, romance, comedy and a novel about growing up.  Fans of John Green and Gayle Foreman will be hooked by its realistic portrayal of  young adults’ need to become independent and create their own identities.  I highly recommend it to all teens.

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Nicola (left) with a fan on Twitter.

Here’s in interview with her from MTV: http://www.mtv.com/news/2261250/nicola-yoon-interview/

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

love letters

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira

High school freshman Laurel begins the story of her life since her older sister died as an English assignment.  Write  letter to a dead person.  “She probably meant for us to write to someone like a former president or something, but I need someone I can talk to.  I couldn’t talk to a president.  I can talk to you.”  She writes her first letter to Kurt Cobain because he May had always loved him. He and the rest of the people Laurel writes letters to died young, just like her sister.  She writes about starting high school, not the high school May went to, but the one near her Aunt Amy’s house where she lives part time.  When May died, their mom moved to a ranch in California because she was just too sad.  But,  Laurel wonders, what about me?  Why can’t she stay and take care of me?  Readers learn about Laurel’s life through the letters she writes in her journal–from her new friendships, to the mystery Hottie named Sky, to the truth about what happened to her sister.  Although Laurel introduces her sister to readers as the most beautiful and perfect person, as the book progresses we learn along with Laurel that all human beings are flawed, even those we love the most.

I really liked this book, although want to warn readers that it is really sad.  I found myself spending more time reading just to finish it, so I could move on to something a little less depressing.   Debut author Ava Dellaira does a great job bringing the lives of emotional fragile teens to life, and I’m looking forward to her other books.  I would recommend this to students who like true life stories, Ellen Hopkins’ books and stories about troubled families.

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Burned by Ellen Hopkins

burned

Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Hopkins is known for taking on controversial topics: drug addiction, teen prostitutes teen mental illness and more.  This time she’s taking a close look at an abusive family, which happens to be Mormon and lives in Nevada.  Our protagonist is Pattyn Von Stratten, yes, she and all her sisters are named after military generals.  Clearly her father keeps hoping for a son.  He has an abusive  relationship with alcohol, that Pattyn calls his Johnnie WB (after Johnnie Walker Black, a type of whiskey.  The dad usually starts drinking on Friday afternoon after work, and continues throughout the weekend unless he loses his temper and beats on his wife.  Pattyn spends most of her time taking care of her six younger sisters and the house, since her mom has retired to the couch and daytime television.  Although Pattyn’s not allowed to date, she sneaks how with hot Justin from school.  Sadly, she eventually get’s caught and is sent to live for the summer with her Aunt Jeanette in a small town in rural Nevada.  Surprisingly, Aunt J turns out to be pretty nice, and there are no Mormon rules to follow and no babies to look after.  For Pattyn, it’s almost like a vacation.  Although she’s been sent there to “straighten up and fly right,” she learns how to be independent, how to be responsible and maybe she even learns how to be with a respectful boy who is definitely NOT Mormon.

I listened to this novel in verse on an audio CD, and felt it lost a little in the translation.  Ellen Hopkins’ free verse poetry creates various meanings depending on how you read it.  When its read, its more  like prose which does tell the story, but is not the same.  Nonetheless I would recommend this title to Ellen Hopkins fans and readers who like strong, emotional stories.  If you’ve liked her other books, this one will not disappoint.

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Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters

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Lies My Girlfriend Told Me by Julie Anne Peters

This unusual book begins with the death of Alix’s girlfriend Swanee from a sudden cardiac arrest.  While Alix is devastated, she quickly discovers that she is not the only girlfriend Swanee left behind.  There’s a text on Swanee’s phone from a mysterious L.T., saying  “Please tell me what I did. Please, Swan. Te amo. I love you.”  As Alix slowly starts unraveling Swan’s double life, she meet the other girlfriend, Liana, and they begin a tentative friendship while bonding over Swanee’s death.

I liked this book, especially because it didn’t make the fact that the girls were gay the major theme.  It’s great when authors can explore LGBT characters without making it a typical “coming out” story.  Peters’ writing is honest and realistic; readers will feel like these are girls that could be in their own classes at school.  Readers will appreciate how the three sets of parents react to their daughters, which is anything but stereotypical.   I think fans of Julie Anne Peters and anyone looking for a complex romance story will enjoy this title.

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The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

geography of you and me

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

This sweet love story might be the perfect antidote for a reader tired of their usual, favorite genre reading.  Teenagers Lucy and Owen meet when they’re locked in an elevator in the New York City building where they both live during a power outage.  They’re rescued rather quickly, but spend the evening together talking on the roof of the building (a tar beach) and star gazing.  Almost immediately after that romantic evening under the stars, their families move in opposite directions– taking Lucy to Edinburgh, Scotland and Owen “out west” on on extended road trip.  The teens try to overcome their “Geography” using postcards and emails, but begin to wonder if one night can really create a relationship. In addition the the romance, writer Smith brings up issues of parental responsibility and the value of the family, in different ways for both Owen and Lucy.

I enjoyed this title and finished it quickly.  It’s refreshing to read something light after all the angsty YA books and depressing dystopias.I would recommend this to readers who enjoy contemporary romance and readers who like Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han’s books.

 

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