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Somewhere Only We Know by Maureen Goo

Claire says Somewhere Only We Know by Maureen Goo is tops! 

Lucky, one of Korea’s most popular k-pop stars, is about to make her American debut on The Later Tonight Show. But after watching her last performance from her tour, she realizes that her heart may not be in it the way it once was. Hungry for a hamburger,—as her strict diet has not allowed her to indulge in one—Lucky runs away from her hotel to find one. Jack, a destined-to-be banker, has been forced to intern at his father’s bank during his gap year. Bored at one of the banquets, Jack makes an excuse to leave early. Soon after, he receives a text from the editor of the celebrity gossip magazine he secretly works for and heads off to the hotel where the magazine’s next scoop is staying. Both running away from their realities, Lucky and Jack cross paths in the elevator and end up meeting again later that night.

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo follows a cute romance that develops between two teens who take a break from their life for one day. From its announcement, I have been looking forward to reading this book because like many other people on the planet, I love k-pop. I was excited to read about a k-pop idol, and I especially enjoyed the way Goo developed Lucky’s character by discussing the various struggles that an idol goes through—it felt very real. In addition, the relationship between Lucky and Jack developed nicely—I loved reading their dialogue and their thoughts about each other. I also thought that the characters’ self-discovery was a nice inclusion in the story to add an extra element to the character’s relationship. Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo is a summer-y read that will inspire you to follow your dreams.

Books: 
Somewhere Only We Know Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780374310578
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - May 7th, 2019

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Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

Teen Advisory Corps member Claire has this to say about Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum

Abbi Hope, nicknamed Baby Hope, has been well-known her whole life since she was captured in a famous photo taken on 9/11. Recognized wherever she goes, she has heard many peoples’ stories and remains a symbol of hope for them. But wanting to escape from her life-long legacy for a little while, she takes a job at a local day-camp and spends the day with four-year-olds, her senior counselor, and Josh, the other junior counselor. Meeting for the first time, Josh instantly recognizes Abbi and wants her help on a mission to track down the other members of the Baby Hope picture. Not having much of a choice, Abbi agrees, and together they set out to hear from the other survivors.


Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum is a hopeful story about two teens whose lives are significantly tied to 9/11. As someone who was born after 9/11, I know the devastation of the day, but I will never be able to understand it the same way. Buxbaum’s story allowed me to learn about the true impact of this day and how it still resonates years later. Abbi and Josh’s stories work cohesively to provide different perspectives on 9/11 and are accessible to readers who may not remember 9/11 or who were not alive yet. Hope and Other Punchlines by Julie Buxbaum is certainly not an easy book to read, but definitely an important one.

 

Books: 
Hope and Other Punch Lines Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781524766771
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delacorte Press - May 7th, 2019

Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins

Teen Advisory Corps member Zoe had this to say about Stolen Time by Danielle Rollins. 

Stolen Time isn’t so much about time travel as it is about why you really do not want to be living in Seattle in the future. Seriously, Danielle Rollins’ depiction of the year 2077 showcases a city devastated by an earthquake and tsunami that permanently flooded the area. And then, of course, there’s the rumored cannibal who leads a gang to terrorize Seattle at night. This apocalyptic state awaits our heroine Dorothy, who stows away on board what turns out to be a time machine in 1913. In the future, the pilot must accept Dorothy into his gang of teenage time travelers as they search for their missing leader.

The novel’s concept is tantalizing, but don’t expect a major focus on travel to different time periods. Instead, the dystopian themes take prominence, and a major portion of the book is actually more of a heist story involving breaking into a 1980s military base. Of course, that has an appeal of its own, but the reading experience would have been more enjoyable had I not gone into it expecting a wide variety of time travel. Readers do get introduced to historical elements as the teens discuss when and where they lived before being picked for the team, though these characters do not play major roles.

Ironically, my main complaint about Stolen Time is the pacing. The story takes place in what felt like about one day, which is not nearly enough time to develop the relationships central to the story. Plus, Dorothy seemed to adjust to 2077 life just a bit too fast for someone abruptly ripped from Victorian life. However, the more scientific aspects of Rollins’ work were very interesting, and the last section of the book made for a very exciting read. Overall, the future (sequels) is ripe with possibility.

Books: 
Stolen Time (Dark Stars #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062679949
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - February 5th, 2019

The Lovely War by Julie Berry

Teen Advisory Corps member Zoe had this to say about The Lovely War by Julie Berry. 

Sometimes young adult books seem to fall prey to repetitive formats and cliches. And sometimes a book like Lovely War by Julie Berry comes along and suddenly Greek gods are sitting around a World War II-era hotel room and narrating a story that takes place during the previous world war. Despite all the fantasy, somehow, Berry also manages to construct an honest tale and weave together readers’ emotions like the Fates themselves. Through four main characters, Hazel, James, Colette, and Aubrey, we gain insight into a wide variety of perspectives of war and see the struggles facing those two sets of lovers in a way that represents those of so many more.

Lovely War is a study of the relationship between the titular ideas: love and war. And that’s the amazing part of the story, how it’s not just entertaining but meaningful as well. Through James’s perspective, we see the psychological destruction of war, and how that damage affects those like Hazel who love suffering soldiers. Colette represents the true tragedy of war as she has lost so much, and Aubrey helps bring the oft-overshadowed story of black WWI soldiers to life. Their lives intersect like music, fitting as Hazel and Aubrey play piano and Colette sings.

Love, readers learn, is the vital ingredient for surviving war. This Aphrodite explains between glimpses into the lives of humans. And here the book is optimistic, offering hope even for those thrust into the atrocities of war. Plus, Lovely War makes for a very educational historical fiction, as we’re introduced not only to real-life battles but to changing musical trends and civil rights progress as well. Thus, Berry’s writing produces a unique rhythm as it follows a complex melody, suggesting haunting beauty along the way.

Books: 
Lovely War Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780451469939
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - March 5th, 2019

Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith

When the power goes out all across New York City, Lucy and Owen meet for the first time in an elevator. Not having any other plans once they are out of the shaft, they decide to spend the rest of the day together, and end up talking about postcards. However, once the power comes back on, the blackout’s spell is broken and Lucy and Owen return to their routines. A few days later, they both find out that their families are moving in complete opposite directions, and they realize this might be the last time they see each other. But as they continue their new adventures, it becomes clear that they still think about what could have been. Through a series of postcards, emails, and meet-ups, Lucy and Owen find their way back to each other in  The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith.

 

I was drawn to this story because I thought the premise of being stuck in an elevator was creative, and I was interested to see how the story would go from there. The story was well-developed and I felt transported to where the characters were in that point in time. I also really enjoyed the connection the characters shared with getting caught in the elevator during the blackout, and their postcard connection. It was really enjoyable to watch the characters grow and discover themselves, too. For lovers of geography and unexpected meet-cutes, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith combines both in an unforgettable way.

Books: 
The Geography of You and Me Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780316254762
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Poppy - March 3rd, 2015

Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith

Hugo and his girlfriend Margaret were going to spend the last part of summer going on a train ride across the United States before starting college. At the last minute, Margaret breaks up with Hugo but encourages him to still go on the tour. The only problem being that everything was booked under the name Margaret Campbell. Hugo’s solution is to find another Margaret Campbell who is willing to be his travel companion (solely for the purpose of being the name of the reservation). He gets plenty of responses and in the end he chooses Mae—an aspiring filmmaker who’s looking for an adventure, and a new film idea. At first, their companionship is strictly business, but as the ride continues they realize it may be something more.

 

Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith is a contemporary approach to the intrigue of the strangers on a train premise. I immediately fell in love with Hugo and Mae, but as the story continued I loved them even more. Both characters are dealing with a sort of pressure that they try to work out on the train—Hugo is expected to go to college on scholarship with his siblings, and Mae was rejected to her dream film program for college. It’s this in common that really brings them together and helps encourage them. You couldn’t help but cheer on Hugo and Mae. In addition, the story was light-hearted making it even more enjoyable to read. You also get glimpses of the two families and what it’s like traveling by train. One of my new favorite romances, Field Notes on Love by Jennifer E. Smith is a wonderful story of self-discovery on one train ride.

Books: 
Field Notes on Love Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780399559419
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Delacorte Press - March 5th, 2019

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim

Pre-order Today! Due out July 2019!

Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim is an enchanting story described as Mulan meets Project Runway, that later develops into an adventure of epic proportions. Filled with trials, romance, and a pair of magic scissors. Maia will take you on her quest to become the greatest tailor in the land.Where you mill travel with her through a beautifully crafted world of war, riches, and natural power; where you will experience every possible emotion. 


If there's not a sequel I will die inside.
 

- Maggie S

Books: 
Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780525646990
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Books for Young Readers - July 9th, 2019

Together at Midnight by Jennifer Castle

Kendall and Max haven’t seen each other for a while, but they run into each other when both happen to be in New York City during the winter holidays. Kendall and Max exchange small talk. However, during this exchange, an accident occurs—and none of the bystanders tried to change the outcome. Kendall and Max are unable to forget that evening and feel guilty about not stepping in to do anything. So, when they meet at a diner to talk about it, a waitress overhears their conversation and dares them to perform seven random acts of kindness—one for each witness at the accident—before January 1. At first, they take it as a bit of a joke, but soon realize that maybe it’s a good idea.  


Together At Midnight by Jennifer Castle is a heartwarming story about two teens trying to make a difference. At first, it is about completing the dare, but by the end, it is about doing the right thing from their hearts. Max and Kendall are inspiring characters that made me think about the little moments that we overlook, and how one kind gesture can make a person’s day (or prevent certain outcomes). In addition to Max and Kendall’s perspectives, Castle also includes the perspectives of the people they help. This is a neat inclusion because it allows the reader insight into their situation and an understanding of  how the kind gesture helps them. Together At Midnight by Jennifer Castle is a hopeful book that shares the goodness of people.

Books: 
Together at Midnight Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062250513
Availability: Not Currently Available to Order
Published: HarperTeen - January 2nd, 2018

The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson

Best friends Abby and Riya have spent their junior year miles apart. Wanting to fix things between them, Riya invites Abby on a trip to Europe over the summer. Abby doesn’t really know what to expect from the trip, but heads to Europe to meet Riya. Unexpectedly, Riya’s cousin Neel is also tagging along on this adventure. While Riya is annoyed by his presence, Abby doesn’t seem to mind him too much. The girls moving from country to country with Neel in tow makes for an interesting itinerary—Neel always has a tour arranged, or something else to rush off to, while the girls prefer a laid-back approach. The dynamic of the trio changes as secrets are revealed or kept secret, making for an emotionally rocky trip.


The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson is an entertaining tour of Europe, perfect for the armchair traveler. Even though their friendship isn’t always perfect, Abby and Riya are a great duo. They both look out for each other and are actively working to become the friends they once were. They also balance each other well, which creates a nice dynamic between the two. I also appreciated that this story is really based on friendship and while there is a romance that develops, it doesn’t consume the story (after all, friendship was the basis behind the whole trip). In addition, Culbertson includes many wisdoms in the story among humor and history tidbits, that all work together to make the book especially interesting. The Wonder of Us by Kim Culbertson is the story of two friends, set in the rich culture of Europe.

Books: 
The Wonder of Us Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780545731515
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Point - April 25th, 2017

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green

It was an ordinary day for April May, until her subway card didn’t work and she had to walk home. On her way, she stumbles across a new art installation. At the time she doesn’t think much of it, as many artists come to New York to show their sculptures. But, something about this statue catches her eye, and she decides to call her friend Andy to come see it, too. He agrees that it is impressive and they decide to make a video about it. They also name it Carl. The two don’t think much about it until the next morning when they find out that other Carls have popped up around the world, and that their video has gone viral. They become instantly famous. From that point, April and Andy’s lives are changed as they navigate fame and the mysteries surrounding Carl.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green is a fun and interesting read. It is easy to relate to April because she is such a human character. When she first encounters Carl, she reacts as anyone would and makes light of the situation. As  she gets caught up in the adventure and excitement of being famous, she also discovers that there are possible dangers ahead. Green’s humor really comes through the pages and you can’t help but laugh out loud. But the story also keeps you on your toes. An Absolutely Remarkable Thing is filled with humor, intrigue, and suspense until the very last page.

Books: 
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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing: A Novel (The Carls) Cover Image
Email or call for price & availability
ISBN: 9781524743444
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Dutton - September 25th, 2018

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