Review of “A Hard Day’s Night” by Mia Kerick

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A Hard Day’s Night is about a Beatles obsessed high school senior named Lennon who spends a “gay day” with his best friend Fin. They do all the stereotypical stuff that gay guys like based on a google search and hilarity ensues.  It’s a really quick read and the characters learn about who they really are in the process of doing these ridiculous (and expensive) things. I know it’s supposed to be a fun story, but I just kept thinking about how much money Lennon must have spent on everything and how ridiculous that was. It could’ve gone towards his college education. Some parts are sad and others are angsty. I don’t want to give much away. I liked the ending. I’ve read other books from this author and enjoyed them as well.

I got this for free from Reading Deals in exchange for an honest review and they hounded me relentlessly even before the review was due and even after I explained that I’d had a seizure and had to go through a month of tests and appointments.

Review of Love Spell by Mia Kerick

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Love Spell was a fun, quick read about a high school student named Chance who lives in a small, New Hampshire town. Chance doesn’t have many friends and his parents are pretty absent in his life. That part was sad because  being lonely isn’t fun. He manages to have a good outlook on life and is usually confident in himself.
The book focuses on his senior year of high school, which consists of school, work, trying to decide which college to apply to, looking for love, and trying to ignore the fact that he’s not entirely sure which gender box he fits into. I love his relationship with his best friend! Parts of it remind me of  my best friend and I, especially the making up our own words part.
I thought the ending was sweet and it made me smile. I would recommend this to high school kids, especially those who identify as lgbtqia+.
I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

Review of The Misfits by James Howe

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This book is one that I found at the thrift shop and I chose it based off of the description and author. I’ve read Howe’s Bunnicula books, but I didn’t know that he wrote young adult books as well. This one might technically be considered “middle grade fiction” since the characters are 12 and in middle school.
The book is written from the perspective of Bobby Goodspeed and it’s about him reflecting on the time in seventh grade when him and his friends (Addie, Joe and Skeezie) ran for student council as the No Name Party. I honestly feel that their platform (name calling hurts) and slogan (“Sticks and stones may break out bones, but names will break our spirit.”) is really good. The book talks about each character and what their home life is like. Our narrator, is an overweight kid working in a tie store to try to help his dad out after his mom passed away from cancer, Addie is an over achiever, Skeezie is sloppy kid with divorced parents and Joe is gay and artsy.
I think the character were well rounded and the story was well written. I like the bit at the end that tells the reader what each character became when they grew up. I would recommend this to middle and high school students.

Review This Above All A Novel by Lindsey Roth Culli

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I requested this book from NetGalley because the title is from my favorite Shakespeare quote (“This above all: to thine ownself be true.”). The quote is actually from Hamlet, but this story focuses on a high school drama class’ performance of Romeo and Juliet.

The main character, Piper, comes from a very conservative religious family and she’s the daughter of an evangelical pastor. Despite knowing it’s not allowed, she tries out for the play anyway and gets the lead role…as Romeo. She quarrels with herself over it because she’s been taught that being gay is wrong, and wouldn’t it make her gay to play Romeo since Juliet is a girl too?

Piper has a lot of growth over the course of the book and really becomes her own person. She stands up for what she believes in and defends her new friends, even though that means defying her father nd everything that she’s been taught. She even finds love. The friendships in the book were well done and felt like they’d be accurate for high school kids (disagreements, rumors, getting to know new people, etc.).

Religion is mentioned a lot in the book since her father’s a pastor, but it’s not anti-religion. Piper remains faithful throughout the book, but she questions her father’s tactics (which are very similar to those of the Westboro Baptist Church). I know that can be a touchy subject, but I feel like the author handled it well without insulting anything.

I would recommend this to fans of Shakespeare, young adult books (especially lgbt ya) and to people who like reading good books.

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.