Tag Archive | YA

Maddie & Sayara

Maddie And Sayara is about two young teens from different countries who meet while on vacation. The girls bond over their stuck up older sisters who just care about appearance and luxury. Maddie learns that Sayara’s female cousin has been jailed because she was caught driving which is forbidden in their kingdom. Maddie can’t understand why a young woman wouldn’t be allowed to drive. Sayara tries to explain why to Maddie, but Maddie can’t grasp that not all countries in the world treat women or girls as equals to men and boys. Maddie decides she wants to go help Sayara rescue her cousin. This novel follows Maddie on her journey into an unknown country to rescue Sayara’s cousin. Will Maddie be successful?

This book was given to me free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. While this book is considered YA I felt the tone of Maddie came across more of a middle grade age group than high school in her maturity level. This story was a nice overview of what other countries might be like where a women’s freedoms aren’t as free as in other countries. Topics of freedom in how a woman or girl dresses and what they are allowed to do is explored throughout this novel. I might recommend this book to a junior high or older elementary age girl as insightful and educational.

Words In Deep Blue

The cover called my name. Blue is one of my favorite colors. The cover is downright book gorgeous. I just had to buy it.

Words In Deep Blue is about used to be best friends Rachel and Henry. Rachel comes back to her home town to distract herself though she doesn’t want to deal with Henry after he didn’t respond to her goodbye letter she left him after she moved away with her family three years prior. Henry is a nerd who lives at his family’s used bookstore that has living quarters above the store. Henry has always loved Amy. Rachel used to love Henry, but Amy always kept coming back in the picture distracting Henry. She learned to get over him after she moved, but having moved back to stay with her aunt, Rachel realizes Henry still has his charm minus the problem of shallow Amy. Rachel gets a job at Henry’s family bookstore for the summer. Will Henry and Rachel get along working together? Can they mend their friendship?

Henry’s dad asks Rachel to catelouge the letter library. This section of the store is where people can leave their favorite books. These books other patrons can highlight favorite passages or leave letters for others inside their favorite books. This is a tedious process. Reading the letters left behind Rachel realizes different romances have blossomed and some people don’t realize who their admirers are.

This novel is sweet. It makes me miss working at a used bookstore. Bookworms are a unique bunch to work with and have as customers. We are quirky and march to the beat of our own drum. Used bookstores aren’t necessarily cash cows as a means to get rich, but the quality of connection between patrons and workers is priceless. Being around the mildewy smell of old books is a perfume all on its own. There’s a peacefulness like walking into a church when a bookworm walks into a bookstore.  If you love books, bookstores, reading and friendship with a potential for romance then I highly recommend this savory read.

All Things New

All Things New  is a stunning novel about the power of faith when you don’t realize you have it, family that has been there waiting in the wings to be there for you and friends that aren’t superficial. This story is about Jessa whose life seems perfect in Los Angles where she has a great boyfriend who she thinks loves her. When the truth is revealed at a party Jessa is crushed. On her way home from the party she is hit by a red light runner. As Jessa is struggling to stay conscious she encounters a man who stays by her side to calm her down while she’s trapped in her mom’s car waiting for an ambulance. After the accident Jessa has facial scars from the windshield breaking. Her anxiety before the accident is intensified. Her dad comes to see her and tells her she’s moving to live with him in Colorado. She’s on board with it, but feels weird being back in her dad’s world after he left her and her mom a few years prior. Jessa has a fresh start in a new place. Will Jessa reach out and make new friends? Will she choose to repair her relationship with her dad? Will Jessa’s childhood faith be restored after all she’s been through?

If you loved The Fault In Our Stars, then, All Things New,  might become a new favorite. This novel has so much depth when it comes to talking about tough topics like self acceptance and learning to trust again when your heart has been broken. The cast of characters in this book are memorable, funny, sweet and raw. I received the ARC of All Things New by Lauren Miller care of NetGalley for free in exchange for my review. This lovely book comes out this Tuesday, August 1st. Don’t forget to drop by your local bookstore Tuesday and buy a copy.

Letters To The Lost

The cover of this book caught my attention. Reading the inside blurb intrigued me even further. Letters Of The Lost is a story about family and what happens when life happens, when you aren’t quiet sure if there is any normalcy left. This novel is also, about friendship. It’s about new friends, old friends and friends you didn’t realize you had. This book had the perfect blend of humor, suspense, twists and turns. Juliet and Declan are two characters that won’t be forgotten any time soon. I hope this will be made into a movie. I got this from the library, but I definitely want to add it to my keeper collection. Thank you for writing such a lovely book Brigid. 

Max

Looking for a new book this cover stood out. My first reaction was, “What the?” The image of a baby with a Swastika armband on seemed like a twisted joke for a sadistic novel. Since WWII is one of my fave subjects to read about I just had to purchase this book.

Max’s story sucks you in from page one. He gives his unabashed viewpoint from prebirth to his delivery into the world. He is a special baby because Max was born as part of the Lebensborn program in Germany. His mother and father were hand picked, the finest German examples of a man and woman to produce a perfect German child. The blonder the hair and bluer the eyes the better. Max is a control freak from his birth onward. He is gifted and has been gleaming his education through his mother’s tummy. His anxiety at being born is eased when he arrives perfectly on the Fuhrer’s Birthday.

Max is brought up in this program at a special home of sorts for other perfectly bread German babies. The ones that don’t pan out as perfect are whisked away. Max is taken to a special, secret school where he will be trained further to be ready for the Hitler Youth. Max is rarely shown affection except for when his mother and other women at the home breast fed him. Hugs are foreign to Max.

At the school Max meets Lukas whose older, but appears as though he could pass for his older brother. Lukas is another perfect example of a German male. Max is transfixed by Lukas and his looks. Lukas is rebellious and Max chooses to help him when Lukas is being punished. Due to Max being Christianed by Hitler himself he is untouchable at the school and the staff know this.

This novel is about their friendship and what it was like for Max to grow up in the program. This is a work of fiction, but after a few Google searches a lot of people and events in this book are based off real people and events. This book is not an easy read. Max is a very blunt character who tells it like it is. Even as a baby he doesn’t mince his words. I had no idea about the Lebensborn program before I read this book. I learned new things about the war, things that were tough to read. War is ugly and this book shines the light on further shocking things from a German perspective. If you like reading about WWII this novel might be your next favorite read.

Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe 

Aristotle is a loner whose content to keep to himself until one day Dante arrives on the scene. Aristotle who prefers to go by Ari is at his local neighborhood swimming pool. He doesn’t know how to swim, but at least he can stick his feet in the water. Dante notices him and offers to teach him to swim. This starts a new friendship for both teens. Dante is well liked, but doesn’t have any friends. Ari is the quiet, brooding type. Both teens learn to let their guards down and trust each other. Both of them are struggling with who they are in the world.

I can relate with Ari. His relationship with his dad is one of occasional conversation, but nothing too, deep. Ari’s dad is a veteran who won’t talk about the war, is very reserved and quiet. My dad isn’t a vet, but he can be quiet and reserved around me. I think the relationship between these two characters is a great picture of how through life’s challenges the wall between a parent and child can be torn down.

Mr. Saenz provides yet again a beautifully written book about friendship, love, figuring out who you are wether you like girls, boys, or possibly both. Ari’s story grabs you from chapter one. The cast of characters from Ari, Dante, their parents, Ari’s brother whose not mentioned at home and his extended family have all unique personalities. Ari and Dante’s friendship shows what true friends will go through for a best friend they truly care about. If you are looking for a story with funny, contemplative moments this is the book for you.

The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life

Some books wreck you for life in a good way. This book by Mr. Saenz does just that. I don’t even remember if I read the inside flap of the book jacket. All I know is I was hooked from page one. This book is, too beautiful not urge everyone to read it. This story talks about family, friendship, love, and how to survive life when it just plain sucks.

Sal is raised by his adoptive gay father Vicente. They live a simple, quiet life with their golden retriever named Maggie. Sal’s life is fairly standard with going to school and hanging out with his best friend Sam. Sal is a calm mannered teen until a classmate utters an anti gay slur at him. Sal ends up in the principal’s office after hitting him.  He’s not sure why all of a sudden he’s angry. Sal doesn’t remember his mom who died when he was three and has no clue who his birth father is, but wonders if his reflex to punch comes from his birth dad’s side of the family. Thankfully Sal has Sam in his life. She’s got a potty month like a trucker, but she sticks by Sal. The other best friend Sal has in his life is his grandmother he calls Mima. He gets to visit her on holidays and occasionally since she lives in a different state. She loves to make homemade tortillas which he loves to eat the first fresh one with butter. Sal’s life turns upside down when Sam needs his help. This book talks about the depth of family ties, friends new and old, and dealing with the topic of death. 

The characterization is excellent. Each character is distinguished and unique with their own quirky personalities. They come alive off the page and feel like flesh and blood. I laughed, I cried, and now I feel emotionally like I got grazed by a car it was that an intense of a read. There is so much life and poetry in this one book. Please go buy a copy. Buy two because you will want to give one to a friend.