Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

Girls Made of Snow and Glass is an absolute must-read for anyone who enjoys fairytale retellings or reimaginings. Along with Heartless by Marissa Meyer, this is the best one I’ve ever read. What author, Melissa Bashardoust, does in this book that is really cool and different from other reimaginings is that she gives the story some major feminist twists and makes the two main characters (the Snow White and Evil Queen characters) so dynamic that they are barely recognizable by the end of the story. Lynet is sick and tired of being told how much she looks like the dead Queen, her mother. She is even more tired of her father, the King, making her stop climbing trees and playing too rough beca

The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

Daaaaaang. In The Hollow Girl, Bethan executes the most brutal rape revenge I’ve seen since Lisbeth Salander in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Bethan lives with her Gran in their vardo within a traveling community of other Romani (Gypsies). Gran is the much-respected drabarni (wisewoman, witch) in the community. Bethan is her apprentice. One of Bethan’s jobs is to sell their herbs and medicinal remedies in the market. While working at the market, Bethan meets Martyn, a yellow-haired diddicoy (non-Romani) who sells produce from his family’s farm at the spot right next to hers. Their meeting changes everything. The disgustingly evil, entitled, son of the chieftain, Silas, has his sigh

Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

Although I didn’t plan it this way, my timing for picking up this book was perfect. My reading of Nowhere Girls coincided with the Women’s March and the Times Up / #metoo movement. This could be the official YA novel of the movement. When Grace’s mother is shamed from her position as “guest speaker” in their extremely conservation Southern Baptist Church in Kentucky, her family moves to Eugene, Oregon, where Mom is given the pastorship of a more free-thinking, non-denominational church. In her new bedroom, she finds disturbing words etched in the wood around the window and inside the closet - “Kill me now,” “I’m already dead,” and more. She learns that the previous resident of her bedroom

Waste of Space by Gina Damico

Sarcasm! Satire! Memes! Catchphrase Forever! I need as many funny people as possible to read this book so the phrase, “Catchphrase Forever!” can become a thing. When reality TV mogul, Chazz Young (think Andy Cohen but smarmy and stupid instead of charming and witty) gets an idea for a reality show where teens are made to believe they are living in space, Big Brother style, hilarity ensues. Chazz is well-known for his many other reality shows like, Pantsing With the Stars, Forever 21 Fitting Room Surveillance Camera Idol, Top Deaf, America’s Got Plastic Surgeons, and So You Think You Can Pole Dance? Chazz will stick in my memory for his hilarious use of quotation marks and calling a spaceshi

A Taxonomy of Love by Rachael Allen

Normally, I am a sucker for a 24-hour romance/plot/whathaveyou, but I soon realized, I am equally a sucker for this set-up too. Spencer and Hope’s story begins when she moves next door. Spencer’s thirteen-year-old heart and brain can’t stop staring at this beautiful girl who likes to hang out with him they- ride bikes, hike, she genuinely seems interested when he drops knowledge about insects, and, best of all, she doesn’t mind his Tourettes. She’s equally enamored of him but his older brother, Dean, isn’t too bad either. From the line of girls that she sees climbing in through his window in the middle of the night, he knows it too. Hope’s other hobby is emailing/writing her sister who trave

Remembering Katherine Kellgren

I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of prolific audiobook narrator, Katherine Kellgren’s, recent death. No one has had as great of an impact on my reading life as Katherine Kellgren. I had been an audiobook listener for several years before I listened to my first book narrated by Ms. Kellgren in 2010, but that’s all I was - a listener. When I listened to Bloody Jack, the first book in the Jacky Faber (or Bloody Jack) series, I was blown away by the narration. She brought the book to life, giving all of the many characters their own distinct voices, making the performance seem like a full-cast recording. If a character was singing a song, she sang a song. If a character was really ang

Neighborhood Girls by Jessie Ann Foley

The Carnival at Bray was one of my top ten favorite reads of 2015 so when I heard that Jessie Ann Foley was finally releasing her second novel, I was excited to read it. Neighborhood Girls did not disappoint. Foley packs a lot of plot in this 360 page book and it’s all riveting from start to finish. Wendy Boychuck (named for the Wendy in Springsteen’s Born to Run - oh, how I love Bruce Springsteen!) had a very normal Midwest upbringing - house in the suburbs, hardworking mom and dad, Catholic school, older brother, best friend. She was comfortable, knew what to expect from life from day to day. She took her life for granted. No one was more shocked than she when a group of police offic

Batman: Nightwalkers (DC Icons #2) by Marie Lu

Being a Batman fan is not a prerequisite to enjoy this story, in fact, very few bats are mentioned at all. Lu does a good job of weaving in the basics of Bruce’s story, making him a sympathetic and likable billionaire. Those details are the same - his guardian is the ever faithful Alfred, his parents died during a robbery when he was young, and Wayne Industries is on the cutting edge of technological inventions. From there, she takes Bruce on a ride he soon won’t forget. The Nightwalker gang is stalking wealthy philanthropists in Gotham City and using advanced technology, taking their money right out from under them. And, lately, they’ve added murder to the repertoire. They justify this robb

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

What do you do when your parents are brutally murder right in front of you? Go live with the guy who did it, obviously. Jude, her twin sister Taryn, and older sister Vivienne do just that, but they don’t have much choice. Madoc, the man who murdered Jude’s parents, happens to be Vivienne’s real father, and Vivi’s pointed ears she's had her whole life are starting to make a lot more sense. He came to reclaim his daughter and wife, but ended up with two human children instead and vows to raise them on his own. And, he’s a man of his word. A high -ranking warrior fae, who feels more comfortable with blood on his hands and a battle at hand, Madoc takes the three to live with him. Ten years have

Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Yes, another ARC! Don't need to wait long for this to be in our library either- its release date is January 16th! Come see me if you can't wait that long. Identity is and always will be a HUGE topic of interest for teen readers, heck even some of us much older than that can still relate. It's written in a million different ways, but my favorite YA trend right now is diversity. For the record, it pains me to say that diversity is a trend, but in all honesty, the YA world was sorely lacking good writing and stories in this area. Thanks to writers like Mitali Perkins, Erika L. Sanchez, and Sandhya Menon to name a few, this is changing. This quote from Ahmed’s blog post pretty much sums it up, “

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Shusterman

*Release date is January 9th! Mrs. Grieshaber and I were fortunate enough to attend the ALAN Workshop held in STL this year, in November, wherein we received over 60 books from publishers! Yes, I said 60. Within our huge pile of books were a handful of ARCs. These precious beauties are unpublished books, a few months away from being released. When I found Thunderhead in my pile, I knew I wouldn't be waiting too long to read it. If you haven't already read one of the most interesting, different, thought-provoking novels of last year, stop reading this and read the first book, Scythe. Seriously, stop reading this and go! If you have read it and want a quick, spoiler free review of Thunderhead-

Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

I am loving what I am hoping is not a trend and is just a long-overdue change in the publishing of Young Adult Fiction, in this case, YA Science Fiction - diversity. The protagonist and hero of the book Nyxia is Emmett, a hardworking, intelligent, African-American young man living in poverty with both of his loving parents. His mother has long been suffering from a kidney disease that will eventually kill her. When the Babel Corporation approaches him with an opportunity to travel in a lightship to a new and the secret planet, Eden, to mine a priceless resource called Nyxia, he feels like he’s won the lottery. Not only will he experience the opportunity of a lifetime, he will also be mon

The Go-Between by Veronica Chambers

Cammi lives in Mexico City with her ultra-famous, gorgeous, Telenovela-actress mom and her voice-actor dad (he was Buzz Lightyear in the Spanish version of Toy Story). On one hand, life is amazing for Cammi. She is insanely rich, her parents are loving and fun, and her every want and need are attended to by a large staff. On the other hand, it’s often difficult to tell which of her friends are true and which are only interested in her famous mother. When Cammi’s mom gets an opportunity to co-star in an American drama that could eventually lead to her own spin-off show, she jumps at the opportunity. When Cammi and her parents move to LA, Cammi also jumps at opportunity. When the kids at

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie is a no-nonsense type of writer- she's sparse, void of flowery language and overly descriptive sentences; she just tells it like it is. Like Hercules Poirot, her Belgian detective, she just sticks to the facts. Murder on the Orient Express elicits the exact sort of scene I think of during that period. Sophisticated, worldly travelers spending time together in a somewhat opulent train car, the women sipping on tea and the men bourbon all while lush landscape passes by in a blur. The conversation would be civilized, lest anyone is offended, and intelligent. As it happens, some of this transpired, but the tranquility is interrupted by the grisly murder of an American, stabbed tw

Being Fishkill

Wanna feel like you’ve just been punched in the stomach? Ever wonder what would have happened to Bob and Mayella Ewell from To Kill a Mockingbird if Bob would have lived? If the answer to either of these questions is yes, Being Fishkill is a must-read. Carmel Fishkill was born in the backseat of a moving car not far from the Carmel/Fishkill exit in New York. That’s got to be the saddest naming story I’ve ever heard and the worst name I have ever heard and it’s so fitting for the early life of this poor, neglected girl. At the age of thirteen, Carmel’s (who renames herself Fishkill) life changes when she makes her first real friend - a girl named Duck-Duck. Duck-Duck is crazy smart, conf

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