July 15, 2020

Like most of you, I have been disgusted by our country’s racial disparities brought to light by George Floyd’s murder.  In an effort to do something, I decided to READ. I spent hours building a list of anti-racist literature to read, ordered books from Eyeseeme (a local African American bookstore), and then didn’t read anything.

I just wasn’t in the mood for non-fiction (yes, I know, my white privilege is showing and I’m ashamed of it). Eventually, I decided to seek out fiction written by Black, female authors.  That was a good call as it got me over my reading recession. In the last month, I’...

May 21, 2020

 Summer is here! Let's get our minds off of the uncertain times and onto the most wonderful time of the year for reading. Throughout the season, O'Daniels and I will be posting reviews of what we're reading. For now, enjoy these sources; they'll help you start building your TBR!

If you're not familiar with Modern Mrs. Darcy, it's time to change that. Every year, she releases a guide to summer reading and it is magical. Not only does she give you a healthy TBR, she also gives you inspiration (like "5 Ways to Get More Out of Your Reading Life") and opportunities (book club, podcast...

May 12, 2020

Jo Kuan is the gorgeous girl on the cover and she’s got a lot going on. She was just fired from her job at the milliner’s making hats (her passion) so she is forced to work as a lady’s maid to a truly awful girl her own age. She secretly lives (and has always lived) with an elderly Chinese man (her adoptive father) in an abandoned cellar beneath the home of the local newspaper man and his family (which includes his clever teenage son). And she’ll go to any lengths to discover the true identity of her parents whom she has never known.

When she overhears the newspaper man and his son discussing t...

May 6, 2020

This week’s spring weather forecast of overcast, slightly chilly, and decidedly not sunny is the perfect time to read The Sun Down Motel. It reeks of this type of weather, even in it’s happier parts. And, since this is a murder mystery complete with ghosts roaming a run-down motel, you kind of get the feeling there aren’t that many happy moments, and you’d be right. In 1982, on a rainy night, Viv Delaney walked into her midnight shift at the Sun Down Motel and was never seen again. Years later, her niece Carly is in Fells, New York, after abruptly leaving college. The plan is to go back, but s...

May 4, 2020

I finished this ARC in March, I re-read it today, and I’ll be listening to it as soon as possible because if there is one thing you should do with an Acevedo book, it’s listen. Her writing is meant to be heard and spoken aloud so the reader can fully immerse themselves in her medium. If you can’t tell already, I have a bit of a library crush/author crush/ girl crush on Acevedo that started with the Poet X. I found it fascinating that with so few words, I could feel so much strength and importance in what someone wrote. Clap When You Land is no exception, and its power lies within the strength...

April 30, 2020

Well, I don’t think I could have picked a better book to read during this time than Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe. It’s not my first Preston Norton novel (Where I End and You Begin is equally wonderful), and both stories have that “something.” I can’t quite put my finger on it, but despite the challenges his characters face, I’m always reading about it with a smile. Actually, I’ve listened to both and LOVED them. In this particular case, Cliff, or Neanderthal as his non-friends call him because of his 6 foot 6 frame, is having a rough go at life right now. He’s picked on at his sc...

April 29, 2020

Turning pain into art and an unintentional mission. SHOUT is the story of a girl who lost her voice so she wrote herself a new one. I am in awe of anyone who can write a memoir. To be able to look at the events of your life and select the ones that shaped you? I honestly cannot imagine. My life has been pretty much idyllic yet the thought of examining it so closely makes me shudder. I am not brave; I’m a Hufflepuff (no shade to you brave Puffs!). Just let me remember the good stuff and blindly appreciate the life I live. Someone who can write a memoir poetically? Well, that just blows my mind....

April 28, 2020

Did you finish Netflix while on quarantine? Need something to wake you up? Camp Valor will do just that and it's on the Gateway list for the next school year (hint: get a head start on the list!). The premise is simple: pluck smart but slightly shady kids out of the juvenile system and send them to Camp Valor. They spend the summer learning the skills of bomb-building and defusing, shooting, surviving an attack, computer hacking, and jumping out of a helicopter all to help the United States Government take out the bad guys. The goal is to have these teens infiltrate and possibly assassinate ta...

April 27, 2020

I read The Cruel Prince way back in 2018 when it was first released. Spoiler alert (not really), it ends on a cliffhanger. I then had to wait ONE YEAR for book two, The Wicked King.  Spoiler alert (not really), it also ends on a cliffhanger.  I then had to wait ANOTHER year for book three, The Queen of Nothing. And the wait was worth it!!! I am so envious of those of you picking up The Cruel Prince for the first time because you can read all three books, one after the other. Lucky you!  The Cruel Prince was recently named a nominee for the 2020-2021 Missouri Gateway Readers Award so it's the p...

April 22, 2020

May survived the day she hid in the closet of her band room at school. Seven other people didn’t, including her twin brother, Jordan. Her brother, the one with almost perfect SAT scores, the genius of the family, the one her father pinned all his hopes on, gone in seconds, and she hid like a coward. It’s a day May relives over and over again, and the guilt she has for being a survivor, one of the Lucky Ones, is too much to handle. Her guilt has morphed into pure anger- she’s been kicked out of school and homeschooled for a bit. Now she’s starting a new one where she’ll see old classmates from...

April 21, 2020

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve read a book and kept asking myself what is happening the whole time. The Loop reminds me that there are authors out there not afraid to write those books. The future in this bleak dystopian is quite frankly frightening.
Luka Kane, along with all the other prisoners in the Loop, has been sentenced to death for his crimes. Waiting out your execution date is like a nightmare version of the movie Groundhog’s Day. Each day starts with a morning greeting from the automated system, Happy, followed by breakfast. After an hour of outside time, there is free time. Then...

April 20, 2020

Ever is the daughter of first generation American Taiwanese parents.  Their love and expectations for her are high and their respect for her dreams is low.  According to them, Ever WILL attend Northwestern and become a doctor. They have given up everything specifically so that could happen.  Ever has been dancing since she was four (after all, you need more on your med school apps than academics). She is a gifted dancer and choreographer and is passionate about both.  She secretly applied to the dance school at NYU and got in. She can’t afford it and her parents wouldn’t allow her to go anyway...

April 17, 2020

Khayyam's summer is off to a bad start. Her boyfriend Zaid is back in Chicago, posing up a storm with beautiful girls in precarious positions on Insta, and her academic career is over even before it even started. Fresh off the humiliation of trying to prove an art theory correct for an essay at her dream college (spoiler alert- she doesn't), she and her family are in Paris for the month. It's a tradition. Her parents are academics who have the month of August off, and her father is French, which makes her more than just a Muslim American girl with brown skin. Discouraged by her lackluster intr...

April 15, 2020

Just Breathe is gonna be the easiest book to sell. Did you like Five Feet Apart? Then here ya go. Yes, it’s more “sick lit”. Yep, like FFA, it’s Cystic Fibrosis. But that’s where the differences end. David has CF but his parents have always assured him that he has a “mild case” so he has always assured his friends (and himself) that it’s no big deal. He’s President of the Senior Class. He has a longtime girlfriend. He’s well-liked and charismatic. He’s got no time for CF. But he can’t pretend any longer. Turns out, there’s no such thing as a “mild case” of Cystic Fibrosis. When David finds it...

April 14, 2020

When Dani’s father invites her to the jungles of South America with the world’s hottest teen actor, it’s a no-brainer. She hasn’t seen her dad in years, and this will be her chance to impress him. Dani’s parent’s divorced years ago, and she can’t help but feel like it was somewhat her fault. After an accident that left her with one real eye and one fake one, it was her mom who stayed with her in the hospital, who nursed her when she was sick, and woke up with her nightmares. Her dad was off fulfilling his life long dream of adventure and becoming a star. His show is a hit with celebrities will...

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