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...

October 24, 2019

This was not what I expected. Boys and basketball, yes, but not the story of friendship between Nasir and Bunny. YA has plenty of female friendship stories but tends to be lighter on the male version, Ribay has solved that problem. Nasir and Bunny grew up together; they live across the street, play ball, and live life. But when Bunny returns from the summer playing AAU ball and announces he’ll be attending the private school in the burbs, Nasir can’t help feeling betrayed. He’s ditching Nasir to live the good life and all so that he can win a state championship. Bunny’s decision to switch scho...

September 23, 2019

I didn't have many five star books this summer but this was a no brainer.  An under the radar book for me, Deb Caletti has written a story that forced me to reflect on just about everything I’ve ever done as a teenager and well into my twenties, specifically as it pertains to the opposite sex. This reflection isn’t forced or shameful, it’s necessary. And so very riveting. How can a book about a girl who just runs be riveting, you ask? Trust me, it is.

Annabelle has been through some stuff, to put it mildly, and quite frankly it's not going well. She’s tried to keep up her smiles, her per...

May 16, 2018

Social anxiety is real. Is debilitating, crippling, panic-inducing, and isolating and everytime the main character Vicky suffered through a bought of it, I felt her pain along side her. I’ve been that girl before, heck, even as an adult, I’ve been that girl. Unfortunately, Vicky doesn’t have a diagnosis but suffers through it and gets by with the help of her best friend, Jenna. Until Jenna and her family move to Wisconsin and she is left, literally, alone. Her mom brushes this off as being shy and like any well-wishing parent who doesn’t understand her daughter is sixteen, not six, encourages...

May 1, 2018


This book, very quietly, blew me away. It’s understated like the main character, but packs a huge punch and delivers authentic dialogue within its short chapters. It’s not told in verse but at times held that quality, showcasing the writing of Watson while getting to know Jade. Jade knows she has to work harder than her counterparts at her private school for white, rich kids, about an hour’s bus ride away from her hood in North Portland. She’s not afraid of a little hard work but she’d like some recognition for it once and awhile. She’s tired of being labeled “at risk” and given opportunities...

April 10, 2018

The more I look at this cover, the more I like it. It's simple, but manages to encaspulate everything you need to know about these two teens and New York City. Kendall and Max have a bit of history before they meet again, the week after Christmas. They shared a brief make-out session last year but haven’t spoken since. Kendall is in the city to get away from her old life, even though she hasn’t been really living it since the fall. She’s spent the fall in Europe, at a school better suited for her learning needs, which is ADHD, and she’s not quite ready to slip back into the reality of her old...

March 20, 2018

Why is YA making it a contest to see who the absolute worst parent ever is and why do I keep picking up those books?? Fine, Mr. McCauley, you win for the most despicable dad thus far read. Short of sexual abuse, which quite frankly, wouldn’t have surprised me, he’s got emotional and physical abuse down pat. So why does his 'cocktail at ten in the morning' wife stay with him- he’s loaded, and she likes it that way. Hadley doesn’t like it, but it’s what she’s used to and to make her life and the life of her ten-year-old sister happy, she goes with it. She acquiesces to his 4:30 am runs so she do...

January 5, 2018

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 S...

November 8, 2017

4.5
I’ll be honest with you; I can’t identify that one thing that made me love this book, especially since it was a mere 210 pages long (or less than a five-hour audio). Usually, this leaves a lot to be desired in the way of character development and story, but Nic Stone just might be a genius. She managed to pack one hell of a story in those few pages without sacrificing quality. This story can easily be compared to Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give, in fact, there is mention of the “thug life” in Stone’s book and a shout out from her on the cover, but this can easily stand on its own two feet,...

September 12, 2017

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 P...

September 6, 2017

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 reaso...

August 28, 2017

What do you do when your sister needs help with dating? She’s older than you, but you have more experience in this department. She also doesn’t like to go outside, brush her hair, flaps her arms when she gets anxious or mad, and her social skills are a bit to be desired, but that’s what one would expect of a person with autism. But, like the amazing sister Chloe is, she’s determined to help Ivy in any way possible. Even if that means she has to double “date” with classmate, David. Too bad he’s irascible on a good day, anti-social, and seems to find fault with everything she does. But, David’s...

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