Pub Date: May 9, 2017
Description: “Anna’s always idolized her older sister, Storm. So when Storm dies in a tragic car accident on the night of her high school graduation, Anna is completely lost and her family is torn apart. That is, until she finds Storm’s summer bucket list and decides to honor her sister by having the best summer ever—which includes taking an epic road trip to the coast from her sleepy Iowa town. Setting out to do everything on Storm’s list along with her sisters best friend Cameron—the boy next door—who knew that Storm’s dream summer would eventually lead to Anna’s own self-discovery?”
Review: I’m not sure that “epic” is the word I would use to describe this road trip, maybe played out? I really liked the idea of Anna taking over her deceased sister’s bucket list. The road trip was light and entertaining but unoriginal. I felt like this book didn’t have an aspect that makes it stand out from other YA coming of age/road trip books. Anna and Cameron fall in love (obviously) but I never felt connected to their characters and quite frankly I didn’t really like Cameron. The characters weren’t really fleshed out. For example, we keep hearing how Piper is Anna’s best friends but all of their conversations and interactions are superficial. I wish there was more character development to help me become vested in the story. I honestly think my favorite character was Storm, who you never actually meet in the book but only hear about. Storm seemed to be the most dynamic character of the bunch. While I enjoyed the beginning half of the book I quickly grew uninterested. Overall, this book is a standard coming of age story that many teenage girls will enjoy.
*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly
Description: “An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, “Lost in a Book” follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.
But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.”
Review: There might be some burning pitchforks after me after this review but here it goes! There was a lot of hype surrounding this book and I became very excited when I heard about it (I even went to 2 stores to purchase it only to find out that it was sold it!). I was a huge Beauty and the Beast fan growing up and cannot wait for the movie! I must say that I had high expectations for this book, a lot of friends told me it was amazing, and maybe that is why I was so let down.
I found the story to be overplayed (love vs death, enchanted book, etc); to me it came off like a typical girl getting sucked into a fantasy world, blinded by beauty and is too dumb to realize what is happening. Belle is supposed to be a book smart character but does not see or listen to the warnings she is given in Nevermore. I became frustrated that she would fall for Death’s trickery so easily, I felt that she should have seen what was coming. Even until the middle of the book I was still holding out hope that Belle’s wits would persevere (not so much).
The story unfolds quickly, almost too quickly in my opinion. Due to the fast pace it was hard to feel a connection with the characters. I wish the book slowed down and built up more anticipation. Also, the character of Beast was lacking, he is not present for the majority of the story and I felt like he could have had a lot more depth than what was shown. It was hard to figure out why Belle was so drawn to Nevermore when she constantly spoke about her love for the servants and even her blossoming friendship with the Beast. Overall I felt like this story was rushed and not fully developed. I wanted to like it but just couldn’t get into it. This book is a quick read, I was able to binge read it in 2 days.
Even though I was not the biggest fan of “Lost in a Book” I do have several friends that adore it! They enjoyed it because it was not a retelling per se but still keeps the original characters present. Jennifer Donnelly is a great author and I did like how it wasn’t your typically retelling. There will be many Jennifer Donnelly and Beauty in the Beast fans that will find a treasure in this book!
Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten
Description: “The Haves. The Have Nots. Kate O’Brien appears to be a Have Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of — some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. And she’s also a masterful liar.
As the scholarship student at the elite Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ranks and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her ‘people’ among the senior class ‘it’ girls — specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.
When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration as head of fundraising, he immediately charms his way into the faculty and students’ lives — especially Olivia’s although she doesn’t share what’s going on. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal and can’t afford to ignore. Mark has his own plan for a bright future and never doubts that he can pull it off. How close can Kate and Olivia get with Mark without having to share their dark pasts?”
Review: This book was a quick, fast-paced psychological read. I am usually good at figuring out the psychological twists and turns but this book threw me. I was on the edge of my seat while reading it, Teresa Toten did a great job of building suspense. While the author did a great job of developing the main character, Kate, I felt like the other characters could have been more fleshed out. I’m the type of person that wants to know what motivates someone, I was intrigued by so many of the characters and wanted to know more. I hope she writes another book about one of the other characters. There are so many layers to this book and the author reveals them in a way that is griping. This book left me guessing and wanting more. Don’t read this if you hate open ended books! I would recommend this to friends who are looking for a quick read and enjoyed Gone Girl.
*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley
Happy (belated) Valentine’s Day!!
Throughout the month of February we have had a “Blind Date with a Book” display. Teens were invited to find love at first page! We covered a variety of Young Adult books with brown or white paper bags, each bag was decorated with hearts and a sign was placed on it to indicate the genre. We wrote the barcode number for each book on the outside of the bag, this way teens could not see what book they picked out until they took it home. This display was available through February, and in total we had 16 books checked out. This is our first year doing “Blind Date with a Book” and I think it was a success, many teens enjoyed it so much that they came back for more!