5.24.2017

THE ROANOKE GIRLS — Amy Engel



I had high expectations for THE ROANOKE GIRLS, perhaps because my friends all loved it. I unfortunately didn't get the hype! I didn't connect with the main character and had a hard time suspending disbelief in terms of the plot. The book, unfortunately, left a sour taste in my mouth.

4.30.2017

DARK MATTER by Blake Crouch


DARK MATTER

Blake Crouch




Dark Matter didn't leave me much room to breathe. From the moment I began, I was absorbed by its lightning pace, its sense of adventure. Bending the mind, changing the way you perceive your own life and its events, Dark Matter successfully tells a love story, takes its readers on a thrilling ride, and changes outlooks. Blake Crouch has a wicked mind. My only issue is that some of the finer details—great senses of character, for example—were sacrificed in favor of plot. Still a great read for people looking for books that have you tearing through their pages.



4.13.2017

HUMAN ACTS by Han Kang


HUMAN ACTS
han kang

Han Kang's HUMAN ACTS is brilliant and beautiful. It read quickly, pages turning as if the font were twice its size, but not easily—there is much to parse here. Kang's style breaks from tradition, but is vivid and evocative. The story, vicious and unrelenting, broke my heart. I can't wait to read THE VEGETARIAN and Kang's future offerings.


1.09.2017

HOLDING UP THE UNIVERSE by jennifer niven


HOLDING UP THE UNIVERSE

jennifer niven


Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.



this was a cute, quick read. for how cramped the pages were with text, i was surprised at how quickly it read. (lots of page breaks!)

it's the story of an inevitable romance between libby, formerly America's Fattest Teen, who had to quite literally be excavated from her house, and jack, a witty, charming, biracial kid who also happens to be face-blind. the romance develops in a great way--over time, something very few romantic books these days gets right. libby does not look at jack and immediately feel a flutter in her heart and a shifting in her loins. this shit takes time. niven gives us time to get to know these people, first, before she throws their mouths at each other.

even the subplots and minor characters evoke sympathy and compassion; the bullying of jack's fourth-grade brother is as heartbreaking as libby's backstory.

overall a great read with a big, beating heart.

11.03.2015

TRAFFICK by Ellen Hopkins


TRAFFICK

by Ellen Hopkins

released November 3, 2015 by Simon & Schuster

_____


Five teens victimized by sex trafficking try to find their way to a new life in this riveting companion to the New York Times bestselling Tricks from Ellen Hopkins, author of Crank.

In her bestselling novel, Tricks, Ellen Hopkins introduced us to five memorable characters tackling these enormous questions: Eden, the preacher’s daughter who turns tricks in Vegas and is helped into a child prostitution rescue; Seth, the gay farm boy disowned by his father who finds himself without money or resources other than his own body; Whitney, the privileged kid coaxed into the life by a pimp and whose dreams are ruined in a heroin haze; Ginger, who runs away from home with her girlfriend and is arrested for soliciting an undercover cop; and Cody, whose gambling habit forces him into the life, but who is shot and left for dead.

And now, in Traffick, these five are faced with the toughest question of all: Is there a way out? How these five teenagers face the aftermath of their decisions and experiences is the soul of this story that exposes the dark, ferocious underbelly of the child trafficking trade. Heartwrenching and hopeful, Traffick takes us on five separate but intertwined journeys through the painful challenges of recovery, rehabilitation, and renewal to forgiveness and love. All the way home.

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7.28.2015

THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD by Karen Katchur


THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD

by Karen Katchur

published August 4, 2015 by Thomas Dunne Books (St. Martin's Press)

_____

A haunting story about the destructive power of secrets, this accomplished and gripping suspenseful women's fiction debut is perfect for fans of Lisa Scottoline and Heather Gudenkauf

Jo has been hiding the truth about her role in her high school boyfriend’s drowning for sixteen years. Every summer, she drops her children off with her mother at the lakeside community where she spent summers growing up, but cannot bear to stay herself; everything about the lake reminds her of the guilt she feels. For her daughter Caroline, however, the lake is a precious world apart; its familiarity and sameness comforts her every year despite the changes in her life outside its bounds. At twelve years old and caught between childhood and adolescence, she longs to win her mother’s love and doesn’t understand why Jo keeps running away.

Then seven-year-old Sara Starr goes missing from the community beach. Rescue workers fail to uncover any sign of her—but instead dredge up the bones Jo hoped would never be discovered, shattering the quiet lakeside community’s tranquility. Caroline was one of the last people to see Sara alive on the beach, and feels responsible for her disappearance. She takes it upon herself to figure out what happened to the little girl. As Caroline searches for Sara, she uncovers the secrets her mother has been hiding, unraveling the very foundation of everything she knows about herself and her family. The Secrets of Lake Road by Karen Katchur is a riveting novel that is impossible to put down and hard to forget.
_____

7.23.2015

LOVE LIES BENEATH by Ellen Hopkins


LOVE LIES BENEATH

by Ellen Hopkins

published July 21, 2015 by Atria (Simon & Schuster)

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From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Collateral comes a gripping novel about a woman caught in a love affair that could be her salvation...or her undoing.

Tara is gorgeous, affluent, and forty. She lives in an impeccably restored Russian Hill mansion in San Francisco. Once a widow, twice divorced, she’s a woman with a past she prefers keeping to herself.

Enter Cavin Lattimore. He’s handsome, kind, charming, and the surgeon assigned to Tara following a ski accident in Lake Tahoe. In the weeks it takes her to recover, Cavin sweeps her off her feet and their relationship blossoms into something Tara had never imagined possible. But then she begins to notice some strange things: a van parked outside her home at odd times, a break-in, threatening text messages and emails. She also starts to notice cracks in Cavin’s seemingly perfect personality, like the suppressed rage his conniving teenage son brings out in him, and the discovery that Cavin hired a detective to investigate her immediately after they met.

Now on crutches and housebound, Tara finds herself dependent on the new man in her life—perhaps too much so. She’s handling rocky relationships with her sister and best friend, who are envious of her glamour and freedom; her prickly brother-in-law, who is intimidated by her wealth and power; and her estranged mother. However perfect Tara’s life appears, things are beginning to get messy.

Writing in beautiful prose, Ellen Hopkins unveils a new style while evoking her signature poetic form that readers fell in love with in Collateral and Triangles.


_____

7.08.2015

THE 5th WAVE by Rick Yancey


THE 5th WAVE
(THE 5th WAVE, #1)

by Rick Yancey

published by Putnam


_____

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
_____

7.07.2015

ALL THE RAGE by Courtney Summers


ALL THE RAGE

by Courtney Summers

published in April 2014 by St. Martin's Press

_____

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out,All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?

_____

7.06.2015

THE DEATH CURE by James Dashner

THE DEATH CURE
(THE MAZE RUNNER, #3)

by James Dashner

published by Ember


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