teenadvisorycorps's blog

If I'm Being Honest by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemun-Broka

Claire L reviewed If I'm Being Honest by Emily Wibberly and Austin Siegemund-Broka. Pre-order your copy today! Out  4/23/19

Popular girl Cameron Bright has a reputation for not being the nicest person in school. Cameron has never worried too much about her reputation—that is until her crush Andrew agrees with everyone else about Cameron’s personality. In an effort to get back in Andrew’s good graces, Cameron decides to make an ‘Amends’ list of all the people she needs to make amends with. It starts with Paige—the girl who ruined her chances with Andrew. At first her efforts are purely for Andrew, but Paige sees right through that. So, Cameron finds herself hanging out with Paige and her friends, and Paige’s brother Brendan. As time goes on, Cameron realizes that maybe she isn’t just completing the list for Andrew anymore.

First of all, I love that both of Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka’s books relate back to Shakespeare and his works because I'm always a fan of book references within books. And, the reference to The Taming of the Shrew allowed for a neat parallel in the story. Going along with that connection, I really liked Cameron's character development because I think it shares a good message about being yourself and the importance of doing just that. In the beginning Cameron was a strong character by always being honest and saying what she thought, but in the end she was stronger in a different, real way. All together If I’m Being Honest has a lot of positive elements that I really appreciated seeing represented in a story.

 

-Claire L

Books: 
If I'm Being Honest Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780451481092
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers - April 23rd, 2019

Blog Tags: 

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

In a world dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated home. But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place. As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty―and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection...because one wrong move could lead to her death.

 

Basically, this book is everything I've ever wanted in a sci-fi book and more. I don't know about you but I'm a fan of fantasy and sci-fi books that adapt cultures that aren't my own into the world that they've created and that's exactly what Somaiya Daud does in this magnificent book. 

It did take me a bit of time to get into the story, but once I did I couldn't stop. The beginning two or three chapters were a little dull, not necessarily in a bad way, but they weren't riveting, instead, they were filled with exposition. That exposition-filling (or whatever that's called) made it hard for me to keep track of things since I got a bit of an information overload. By the fourth chapter, though, I got into the rhythm of the book and the story really flowed. 

Other than the few roadblocks in the beginning, the rest of the book was paced incredibly well and the storyline matched with character arks with a precision I'm not used to in stories, especially not from debut novelists. 

Perhaps the biggest triumph of the book is the fact that the story manages to be both plot and character driven- the characters drive the plot and the plot drives the characters in a way that leaves you feeling like you're very much in the middle of the action. 

I wish I'd gotten a bit of a better explanation of different cultural aspects because by the time I'd gotten a hold of them, the scenes involving them had more or less resolved themselves. That being said the world building is fantastic and, as someone who just adores well built worlds, I fell head over heels for this world. Like I would actually marry it. 

 

All in all, I give this book 5/5 stars.

 

-Alexina L

Books: 
Mirage: A Novel (Mirage Series #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250126429
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - August 28th, 2018

Blog Tags: 

First Kiss by Kasie West

Maggie S Review Fame, Fate and the First Kiss by Kasie West! Pre-order your copy today! Due out February 2019

Kasie West has done it again with her new novel Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss. She has created an intriguing and heartwarming world staring Lacey Barnes, an aspiring actress who has finally landed her first real job alongside the famous Grant James in Dancing Graves. And although this is her lifelong dream it is muddled by the addition of a tutor who fit's the exact definition of a choir boy. But as time goes on Donavon Lake, the detested "choir boy," slowly starts to grow on Lacey as he comforts her through the hardships of an overprotective father, someone trying to sabotage her, and her chemistry funk with her co-stars. And while this may seem like your everyday love story, you will soon learn that that is far from the truth when you take into account the zombie makeup and script additions throughout this artful story.

-Maggie S

Books: 
Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062675798
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - February 5th, 2019

Blog Tags: 

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Claire L has reviewed A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Shirin—a high schooler who practices Islam and wears a hijab—has moved schools once again. Her parents both had difficult lives growing up in Iran, so they have worked hard in America to give Shirin and her brother Navid a better childhood than they had. Shirin never had problems with other people until 9/11. But, Shirin learned to ignore everyone in order to protect herself. And, she plans on doing the same at this new school. To keep her school life interesting and more positive, Navid decides to start a breakdancing crew—a dream Shirin has shared with her brother forever.


I absolutely loved A Very Large Expanse of Sea. I am so impressed with Tahereh Mafi's writing because I would go from laughing out loud to crying in the matter of a few sentences. There was great dialogue; both charming, thoughtful, and difficult to read. But, the book felt balanced. Just when you would be getting really emotional over a hateful action that occurred, it would switch to something lighter (like a breakdancing moment). This book is powerful. It deals with prejudice and stereotypes towards religion and some of the impacts they can have on people. I have read books that made me sad, but this book really made me think and feel something. I felt empowered reading this book because Shirin is such a strong character (even though she had her worries). Because I enjoy Tahereh Mafi’s writing style, I suspected I would love this book. While A Very Large Expanse of Sea is a different genre from her Shatter Me series, it still features a strong female lead and Tahereh’s signature writing voice. I can definitely say that A Very Large Expanse of Sea is one of my new favorite books.

 

- Claire L

Books: 
A Very Large Expanse of Sea Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062866561
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperCollins - October 16th, 2018

Blog Tags: 

Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Zoe J review Firstlife by Gena Showalter.

Most YA heroes and heroines in adventure stories need only focus on keeping their one and only life. But in Tenley Lockwood’s world, everyone is guaranteed two chances. Before their first death, inhabitants of Earth, or “The Land of the Harvest,” must choose between two realms to spend their everlives. As a person can’t even decide on a future college or career, I can appreciate the amount of pressure such a decision would entail. This stress follows Ten throughout her story. And, if she dies without choosing a realm, she will end up in the terrifying “Many Ends.”

For Firstlife, Gena Showalter created a great concept that could have had better execution. At the beginning, we find Ten stuck in an asylum where families can send their children as punishment. While the goal of escape is clear here, the story’s purpose becomes more muddled as the novel progresses. Showalter also misses the opportunity to really develop her world; readers barely get any history of the realms. Furthermore, important plot points seem to be brought up and never elaborated on, and some events seem unrealistic even for a fantasy novel.

As a character, I found Tenley to have a definite personality. She did, however, have a somewhat-annoying obsession with numbers; for example, she uses the word “zero” instead of swearing. For a love interest, we get the cliche “dark and brooding” Killian. His enemy Archer, who might also be in love with Ten, seems kinder and a bit more realistic. And throughout the story, these characters often suffer from awkward dialogue. Still, the plot remains the biggest issue with the novel.

Firstlife does have potential, and maybe some of its problems are resolved in the rest of the series. But personally, I would recommend searching for something else.

 

-Zoe J

Books: 
Firstlife (Everlife Novel #1) Cover Image
$10.99
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9780373212217
Published: Harlequin Teen - January 3rd, 2017

Blog Tags: 

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maureen Goo

Maurene Goo incorporates humor, love, and sadness into her books and does it in a way that makes you fall in love with her characters and story. She does this again with Clara in The Way You Make Me Feel. I was even more excited when I found out the book revolved around a food truck, because that seemed like such a cool concept. And, it was.

Clara, who has never been interested in working on her father's food truck (the KoBra), is subject to working on it for the whole summer when she gets into some trouble at school. To make matters worse, she has to work with someone she can't stand, and her original summer plans are changed. But, as the summer goes on Clara's feelings towards the truck and her co-worker begin to change, and she even develops a crush towards a boy she met at one of the KoBra's stops.

Just like Maurene's last book, I found myself having so much fun reading it (I laughed out loud countless times). But, I like that the book is realistic and has some tougher moments, too. I also like how Clara changes and starts to realize things about herself and her family that she didn't really know before. This is definitely a great summer read.

 

- Claire L

Books: 
The Way You Make Me Feel Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780374304089
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) - May 8th, 2018

Blog Tags: 

The Truth Lies Here by Lindsey Klingele

When Penny returns to her small Michigan hometown, she expects to spend the summer focusing on her journalistic aspirations. Instead, she finds herself trying to rescue her missing father from what might just be aliens. With The Truth Lies Here author Lindsey Klingele creates a sci-fi story that is at times humorous and surprisingly touching. Throughout the story, Penny is forced to re-evaluate her black-and-white defination of the truth as she finds the simplest explanation to not always be the correct one. Similarly, she quickly begins to examine her complicated relationship with her father when she learns that there's more to him than the conspiracy-theorist she’d always known. Fans of The X-Files will enjoy Penny’s interactions with an old friend, where she plays Scully to his Mulder. And even while inexplicable events occur, Klingele is able to depict an accurate and relatable image of teenage life, from Penny’s tense relationship with an ex-best friend to her growing feelings toward the town's star quarterback. Klingele’s work demonstrates the dangers of summarizing events and people with a simple viewpoint without examining their complexities. She also provides comforts to those who may feel as if they don’t belong, as Penny has similar doubts while reacquainting herself with her hometown. But the story doesn’t get too caught up in these ideas; the plot remains fast-paced and the characters are interesting and realistic. Overall, The Truth Lies Here makes a great read for anyone looking for a little extraterrestrial action in their summer.

 

- Zoe J

Books: 
The Truth Lies Here Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062380395
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperTeen - August 21st, 2018

Blog Tags: 

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour

Emi is an aspiring production designer, who was just gifted her brother's apartment for the summer. His only condition? She do something amazing with it. She’s not sure what that will be at first, but she has the whole summer to figure that out. Meanwhile, her internship at a production agency, sends her to an estate sale of a famous actor. A letter tucked into one of the findings at the sale leads Emi and her friend on a mystery.

Nina LaCour’s beautiful writing has a poetic feel to it. In addition, her details in describing Emi’s rooms allowed me to easily visualize them. What especially stood out to me with this story is the three plots: Emi’s growth as a production designer, the mystery behind the letter, and a romance. I liked the balance of the three elements, and how they worked together to keep developing the story. There were so many moments in this book that had me falling in love with the characters.

 

-Claire L

Books: 
Everything Leads to You Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780142422946
Availability: Backordered
Published: Speak - May 5th, 2015

Blog Tags: 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - teenadvisorycorps's blog