Nina O'Daniels

Shannon Grieshaber

Created in 2017

September 17, 2019

That Night reads like a realistic account of what life must be like for the survivors of mass shootings. While Jess was at the concession stand getting candy for her best friend, Marissa, the gunman entered the theater and shot down 18 people, including Jess' brother (Marissa watched him die).  Jess basically lost her mother and Marissa that day, too. Her mother's grief is so all-encompassing that she no longer works, pays bills, cares for her daughter, or gets out of bed. Marissa's trauma was so complete that she is sent to a private school out of state. Jess is left with her own guilt and gr...

June 24, 2019

Sorry for Your Loss is Pup’s coming of age story.  Every bildungsroman features a character that faces challenges, but Pup suffers more challenges than most.  This poor guy is trying to discover himself while being the oops baby in the very large, working middle class, suburban Chicago Flanagan family.  As the youngest of eight siblings (seven years separate him from his next youngest sibling), Pup has always felt loved but under the radar. The entire, huge family (the sibs, the sibs-in-law, the nephews and nieces) have Sunday dinner every single week.  EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. Pup says family vac...

April 25, 2018

A coming-of-age novel that is funny, sad, and so realistic. Debut novelist, Jared Reck, is going to be one to watch. His voice holds the humor of Andrew Smith, the sentimentality of John Green, and the realism all his own. Matt is a freshman and like many freshman boys (and girls, for that matter), his brain is a mess. He can’t shut it off. The main things his brain obsesses over are basketball and his neighbor, Tabby. Tabby, who he’s known forever. His best friend. His true love. His UNREQUITED true love. When Tabby falls for a Senior, the most popular guy in school, the star of the basketbal...

March 20, 2018

Ellie Frias haunts this story as she is forced to watch the unthinkable happen over and over again. She knows exactly how these girls feel; the emotions that swell on their tear-stained faces, the embarrassment, the fear, the regret and finally, the shame. And she can’t do anything but watch. Her helplessness isn’t her fault, seeing as how she’s dead. 

Ellie didn’t plan for this to happen to her. Her existence wasn’t remarkable when she was alive, despite her trying to change that. It wasn’t that she wanted to be at the top of the food chain, merely make it so people noticed she was even ON t...

March 13, 2018

One of the fun things about reading so many books is that you will always find a connection between the book you are finishing and the book you are starting.  Usually, it’s just a little thing. But sometimes, it’s a big thing. On the first morning of Spring Break, I awoke to beautiful, fat snowflakes falling outside my window.  The book I had already chosen to read for that day was Kiss Me in New York - a book that takes place in the NYC airport on Christmas Eve during a snowstorm. Fun! Because that book was totes adorbs and I couldn’t put it down, I needed another book to read that day.  I pi...

September 19, 2017

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...

September 8, 2017

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 pa...

September 4, 2017

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 hi...

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