Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Moxie girls fight back! Inspired by her mother (a Riot Grrrl from the 90s), quiet, “good girl”, Viv, decides to take matters into her own hands when she can no longer stand the way the football guys are worshipped and allowed to grope girls and wear shirts that say things like, “Shut up and make me a sandwich” while girls are shamed at her Texas high school. This book is full of grrrrl power - girl friendships (girls choose friends over boys!), girl partnerships (even with those not in their social circles!), and feminism. Feminism is often such a misunderstood, loaded word - for both guys and girls. Moxie is a great book to read if you are a person struggling with the concept of femini

A List of Cages

So far, Adam Blake is winning the contest of My Favorite Male YA character of 2017. He is adorable, friendly to all, smiley, funny, popular with all, loves his momma, bumbling, clumsy, sweet, and has the cutest case of ADHD I have ever read. Dude cannot sit still, constantly fidgets, gets bored quickly, is impulsive, and knows and owns all of this about himself. He has found a way to turn all of these qualities (which are most often viewed negatively) into downright charming features. Adam is a fluffy, playful Golden Retriever that you want to cuddle and play with. It is not possible for Julian to be any more different from Adam. Julian lost his parents when he was very young. Until t

City of Angels by Kristi Belcamino

Set in the summer of 1992, just a few short months before the Rodney King verdict and LA Riots, in the seedy underbelly of LA’s streets, City of Angels paints a not so pretty picture of the town where dreams are made. Nikki, a runaway from Chicago at age seventeen, is quickly learning that picking up a guy at the bus station probably wasn’t the best idea she’s had. But, she followed Chad to LA and finds herself in the middle of some serious trouble. The kind that can get you killed- or worse. She’s in the home of a big shot Hollywood director who wants her to be the star in a film. Against her will. Without any clothes. She escapes the director and her boyfriend but finds an even younger run

The Wendy Project by Melissa Jane Osborne *art by Veronica Fish

When a book is as beautiful as this one, you’ve got to read it twice. I read it on Wednesday in a series of short bursts, being interrupted constantly (that’s what I get for reading in my library!). Even still, I was moved to tears. The next 24 hours had me thinking of the book and doing a little digging into J.M. Barrie, critical essays on Peter Pan, and quotes from the classic. I had to read The Wendy Project again. This time, in a quiet setting for an uninterrupted hour. As part of her therapy to work through the loss of her brother, Michael, after a horrible car accident (a car that Wendy was driving), Wendy begins keeping a journal. That journal is the graphic novel, The Wendy Pro

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas

Can I tell you a secret? I was thinking that Maas was crazy for dedicating an entire book to a character we didn’t even hear a peep from in the last one. And Chaol? Let’s be honest; he’s not the most exciting of her characters. BUT, wholly Swoony McSwoonersen, Batman. If there is anything I love in a book (fantasy or otherwise), it’s a slow burn of a romance and an Alpha male. Was that my expectation going into this? Absolutely not, but that’s exactly what it was. Truth be told, not a lot happens in this book. The plot moves along at a pretty good clip, but it took awhile for some action to happen. New characters and setting breathe some much needed life and excitement into the series. Chao

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

First of all, how cute is this cover?! I have two words for this book: TOTES ADORBS. From the beginning when we meet Dimple and her traditional Indian family and witness her mom’s obsession with Dimple finding an I.I.H. (Ideal Indian Husband) to her meet-cute with Rishi to the too-good-to-be-true-ness of the nerdy but gorgeous Rishi and his worshipfulness of Dimple to the perfect happily ever after, I loved everything about this precious book. It’s simple, sweet, DIVERSE, and swoony. Reading this book made me smile and think. It also inspired me! Kelly Oliva, a librarian friend of mine, writes this awesome blog called The Plot Driven Life. In it, she writes about the adventures she tackl

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Sigh. THIS BOOK. This beautiful, beautiful, little book. I absolutely adored it. My only complaint is that I wish I would have saved it for a snow day where I would have read it in front of a roaring fire. Marin is alone. Her grandfather, her only family, is dead. He died two weeks before she was scheduled to leave for college. Immediately after his death, Marin left town. No word to her best friend, Mabel, or Mabel’s mom and dad (who have always been like surrogate parents to her). Since Marin’s disappearance, Mabel has sent hundreds of texts and emails. She’s called hundreds of time. Marin won’t answer. She can’t. She’s not the person she was before her grandpa died. She started her lif

Given to the Sea by Mindy McGinnis

I am a Mindy McGinnis fan. I’ve read two of her five books, A Madness So Discreet (a current Gateway nominee) and Female of the Species (in my top ten reads of 2016), and both are absolutely fantastic and are both so different from each other. When I saw she was writing a fantasy series, I was immediately intrigued. Another book very different in style from her previous releases. I’ve read a lot of fantasy books but this one is unique. Actually, it reads more like a dark fairy tale than straight fantasy. As much as I liked this book, the reviews on Goodreads are mostly bad and the ratings low. I think I know why. This book might not be for everyone but keep reading to see if it’s for you.

The Duke of Bannerman Prep by Katie A. Nelson

Goals and dreams get you places. Determination, grit, perseverance, intelligence, and sometimes a few bribes, shady deals with shady characters, and a debate partner involved in computer hacking, gambling, and other petty crimes help move along those goals. Tanner McKay didn’t plan for any of this to happen; he just wants to win Nationals, so the coaches at Stanford notice him and pave the way for a scholarship. It’s just him, his mom, and his younger special needs brother, Sam and there is no way his mom can afford to send him to college, so he has to earn it. He caught the eye of Bannerman Prep’s debate coach when he beat their top policy debate team and ended up starting his junior year i

Vicarious by Paula Stokes

Look! There’s an arch on the cover! It’s not very often that our own STL gets to be the setting of a YA novel so it was a no brainer for me to choose this book to read. Although the title seems a bit bland and nondescript (so many YA books sport one-word titles), it’s actually perfect. In this near future world, the tech exists for someone to be able to put on VR type goggles and live vicariously (get it? vicariously? Vicarious?) through someone else’s actual life experience. Would you love to skydive but you’re too chicken? You can pay some big bucks for a ViSE (Visual Sensory Experience). Would you kill to go clubbing with the hottest celebrities but you don’t know the right people

Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

This book was emotional and raw and unfortunately, doesn’t offer a new premise to YA readers. BUT you should still read this, preferably when you are in a melancholy sort of mood because there isn’t a lot of happy in this book and the payoff is at the very end. Get sad, invest some time, grab a blanket and start reading. Why, if this isn’t anything new, should you read this anyway? Because it is exceptional in its portrayal of grief. The writing and emotional growth these two characters experienced were almost cathartic for me to read, and I have zero experience or connection to the type of pain they are experiencing. That’s impressive. Juliet’s mother had a worldly and exotic job as a ph

Bull by David Elliott

Impressive verse retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Author, David Elliott, writes the POVs of each of the seven characters involved in his version of the story and gives each one his own form of poetry to help distinguish the characters. This differentiation gives the book a super cool vibe. Dare I make a Hamilton connection? Elliott's use of modern, poetic words to convey an old story made me think of how Lin Manuel Miranda did the same. Poseidon's voice even had a bit of a rap beat (probs because of his unrestricted poetic form). Cool, funny, moving, quick.

And Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin

The title of this book instantly appealed to me as it is obviously reminiscent of Agatha Christie’s classic, And Then There Were None. As this book is popular year after year in the library (a classic will do that), I’m always looking for books with similar themes and situations. I was hoping this would be one. It is somewhat similar in that characters are killed off one by one. The twist is that the victims aren’t who you expect to be killed. And Then There Were Four is a wild ride and the action begins immediately. Five students are summoned to the old (like, really old) carriage house on the property of their boarding school. Super jock and the friendliest dude on campus, Antoine; r

Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately is the perfect antidote to a heavy read. Summer-loving, resort beach town, adorable boys. Perfection. Bailey is making a major change in her life, leaving her mother in Washington DC to move across the country to live with her father in California. Her parents haven’t been divorced for that long but her relationship with her mother is becoming strained and she is hoping the move will help with some of her own anxiety. See, Bailey is one of those non-confrontational types. She wants to remain below the radar, blending into the crowd not standing out and she has a good reason. Another benefit to moving is she just might actually meet her online friend, @alex. They met on

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Ramona Blue, you guys. Wow. This book blew me away. Julie Murphy navigates her fully developed characters through many, many issues and completely fleshes them out (the characters and the issues). You know. Kind of like life. Amazing. In addition to the incredible, perfectly packed storyline and winsome characters, Murphy’s turn of phrase had me highlighting my eBook right and left. Here are a few of my faves: “You were like my own Peter Pan,” says Freddie. “I thought you would never grow up and that you’d always be this constant fixture on the beach, challenging other kids to races in the sand and swimming-noodle duels.” / His words suck the breath right out of my lungs. No one has ever s

North of Happy by Adi Alsaid

Are you a foodie? Is Food Network your go-to TV station? Have you seen every episode of Chopped? If you answered yes to these questions, this book is a MUST READ. If your answer is no, do you like to eat food? Do you have an appreciation for teenage boys who lost their older brothers to drive-by shootings while in search of the perfect taco? Can you empathize with a boy who just graduated from HS but doesn't feel like going away to college is the right path for him? If your answer to those last two questions is yes, then this book is for you, too. Even though his parents (especially his father) are adamantly opposed, Carlos leaves Mexico City (in the middle of his graduation party) a

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

Emery Lord, you are reaching Sarah Dessen status. I can give you no higher praise. The Names They Gave Us, is my favorite of her four books. Lucy’s life is going just swell, thank you very much. She is secure in her Christianity, her chaste relationship with her BF of two years, her summer job as counselor at the church camp run by her parents, and her role as perfect daughter to her awesome, loving, mom and dad. Her life gets shaken up big time when three things happen: 1) she gets “paused” by her BF (paused, what a jerk); 2) her mom’s cancer returns; and 3) Mom strongly suggests (in other words, forces) Lucy spend the summer at what everyone knows as the “hippie camp” across the lake, co

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Created in 2017