Review of Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

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I really enjoyed this book and I was a little sad when it ended. It felt like I had just spent a summer with these characters in their fictional town of Stanwich, Connecticut. I enjoyed the main character, Emily, and how she grew as the book went on. She went from being shy and unsure of herself, to someone who had some confidence and more than one friend. I liked seeing her learn more about herself and what she wants out of life.
The book focuses a lot on different kinds of friendships (girl/girl, guy/guy, girl/guy, sibling, new, old) and relationships (platonic, romantic, with siblings, with parents) and I loved that. I like that the author showed us what each character’s life was like at home and that she didn’t have any “insta-love” or love triangles…or squares. It was refreshing, especially in the Young Adult category. There isn’t much romance in the book until the end. Even though it was obvious that they would end up together, it was still nice.
Each character was well written with his or her own personality, hopes, fears and issues. Collins was a funny character and provided some comic relief. Dawn was a new friend for Emily and she had very clear opinions of right and wrong. Frank was social and outgoing, but you could tell that he really cared about his friends and those close to him. Even Emily’s little brother was a good character. Sloane, who Emily felt abandoned by, was a mystery to us and to her until we find out more about her later in the book.
If you enjoy books about friendship with some romance thrown in, I think you’ll like this book. I am very happy that I got to read it through the Riveted site.

Review of Be Careful What You Witch For by Thomas Hoobler

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I love the cover of this book! Be Careful What You Witch For is about a fourteen year old girl named Olivia who is staying in New York with her aunt while her movie star parents are filming a movie. She feels out of place in her new school, is on the popular girl’s bad side and then she find out that her aunt is  a Wiccan.  Maybe this year won’t be so bad after all.

I like all of the main characters in the book and I could picture each one.  I was happy for Olivia when she made friends with Paul and Dulcimer. At least she wasn’t alone.  Alex was funny with the way he relates everything to X-Men. I just wish the Olivia would’ve made better choices because she made a huge mess of things. Luckily for her, he aunt had an 800 year old witch friend who could bail her out.

I like the way the author handles the topic of Wicca. You can tell he researched the subject thoroughly.  Even on a non-magickal level, I like that he shows that all actions have consequences and the we shouldn’t try to change people to suit our needs.
I got this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Review of Stowe Away by Blythe Rippon

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I requested this book from NetGalley after seeing the cover. I grew up in New England (CT and VT) and I miss seeing the foliage. It didn’t disappoint me at all. The story is great and the characters are well written. I’ve been to most of the locations that they mentioned in New Haven, CT and that made the story even better for me. The book is divided into two sections (Before and After) and each chapter is a season of a year from 2003 to 2009. I liked that format and felt like it worked well.

The book is about a girl named Sam who leaves Stowe, VT to attend Yale. She’s really smart and wants to be a scientist and research a cure for cancer. She makes friend with two girls there, Claire and Natalie, and falls for one of them. A lot of the story focuses on her love for Natalie, but it’s mostly one-sided. After Yale, Sam and Natalie move to California and attend different schools. Sam gets into Stanford and continues working towards her goal of finding cure for cancer.About halfway through the book, there is a family emergency and Sam has to leave Stanford, return to Stowe and care for her mother.

When she returns home, she feels out of place in a town she was happy to leave behind. While caring for her mother, she meets new people, makes some good friends and eventually finds happiness. I like the way her relationship developed and that she seemed happy after being miserable for so long.

I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. I rated it 4 out of 5 stars.

Review of The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci and Jim Rugg

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Cecil Castellucci is one of my favorite authors so, when I saw this at the thrift shop, I had to get it. I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It shows the positive impact that art can have on people’s lives, that art can heal and art can save.
The book is about a girl named Jane who lived in Metro City with her hair dresser parents until she is injured in a bombing. After she gets out of the hospital they move to Suburbia where they think its safer. At her new school Jane meets some other “social outcasts” and they all happen to have the same name, but spelled differently.  After becoming friends, they start doing random acts of art around town and call themselves P.L.A.I.N. (People Loving Art in Neighborhoods).
I love how the “art attacks” bring the Janes closer together and the effect it has on the town. While the adults don’t get it, the kids embrace it.
I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys graphic novels, art and young adult stories.

Review of Reckless Gravity by J.D. Myall with Becca Blake

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The prologue of this book is intense and it gets crazier from there. There is a lot of drug use and swearing in this one, so it’s not really suitable for younger teens.

The book follows the main character, Cherrie Lane, as her band, Reckless Gravity, embarks on a huge tour five years after the events in the Prologue. Things are ok at first and she’s still dating Gunner, who we meet in the prologue, only now he’s the singer in the band. She plays guitar and two of their other childhood friends are the drummer and bass player. She has a nice apartment, loves making music, and loves Gunner. Then things start to unravel.

After a tragic bus accident, Cherrie feels lost and a new band member makes her feel good about herself. Unfortunately for her, the friendship between them causes problems between her and Gunner. There’s also a serial killer on the loose.

I felt bad for Cherrie because of how much she had to endure. She’s a great main character though. She tries to be strong for herself and those around her, even when she’s in over her head. I think it was a good depiction of what it’s like to be a girl in a rock band and I like that she’s humble. She cares abut her fans and is really sweet to them.

All of the characters are well written and so is the rest of the story. Some issue the story deals with are domestic violence, rape, mental illness, drinking, drugs, peer pressure, self acceptance, love and friendship. I love the way the book left off and I’ll be reading the next one.

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.