Save the Date by Morgan Matson

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Save the Date is about the weekend of seventeen year old Charlotte “Charlie” Grant’s sister Linnie’s wedding. All she wanted was a perfect weekend with the whole family together. Everything that can go wrong, does. Instead, she has to run around town with the Bill (the wedding planner’s nephew, which might not be so bad), try to keep relatives and neighbors from fighting, attempts to put off her decision about college, has a fight with her best friend and then there’s that thing with her brother’s best friend, Jesse.
In the end, the wedding is mostly saved and Charlie and learned a lot about herself and her siblings. Then her other brother reveals something that shocks everyone, which leads to more drama and hijinks in typical Grant fashion. The book ends on a hopeful note.
I seriously felt like I’d known these characters forever. The book takes places in the fictional town of Stanwich, Connecticut like Matson’s other books and I enjoyed visiting there again. I like that surrounding towns such as Putnam and Mystic were mentioned as well. This is the second book I’ve read by Morgan Matson and I just picked up The Unexpected Everything.

I gave this one 4/5 stars and I recommend it to fans of Morgan Matson, people who like contemporaries and anyone who likes a good YA book about family and figuring out your life.

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The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

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I read an excerpt of this book on Riveted (rivitedlit.com) and was hooked immediately. After waiting a month or so my local Books A million finally got it and I happily bought it. I love the cover. It’s so pretty!

The Wicked Deep is about a town that celebrates the Swan Season each June. During this time, three sisters who were drowned 200 years ago come back from the dead, each one chooses a local girl to possess and they each choose a local boy to drown.

The characters and setting are unique and the story moves along at a good pace. The main character, Penny, is relatable and easy to identify with. I really felt for her with her family situation. The romance in the book does happen kind of quickly, but I didn’t mind and I thought it worked well. There’s a great quote about love in the book that goes “Love is an enchantress–devious and wild. It sneaks up behind you, soft and gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat.” (pg. 177) that I feel is an accurate description of how love can be.

I like the different elements of magic in this story: the curse of the Swan sisters, fortune telling, tea reading, etc. The town of Sparrow, Oregon is a very interesting place and the author made me feel like I could see each shop and dock with her descriptions.

I really enjoyed Ernshaw’s writing style and there are a few plot twists to keep things interesting. The first one caught me so off guard that I actually said “Woah.” out loud and then wished I had someone to discuss the book with. The other twists were good too.

I rated this one 5/5 and I recommend this book to everyone.

Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee

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Star-Crossed is about an eighth grader named Mattie whose class is doing Romeo and Juliet as their class play. She begins falling for the girl, Gemma, who’s playing Juliet and comes to terms with it over the course of the year since she’d previously had a crush on Elijah.

I like that the main character is smart and has good relationships with her friends and family. There is some drama in the book between the main character and her friends and a mean girl and her friends, but it’s nothing too horrible. Mattie’s friends are really great, funny and supportive and so is her big sister.  The way the crush is handled is well done and I think it’s a great book for middle school readers. I enjoyed all of the Shakespeare in the book since I like his work, especially Romeo and Juliet.

I won this one in a First Reads giveaway from Goodreads, and I’m happy that I did. This is a light, fun read and I recommend it to middle schoolers (and anyone older) who likes lgbt books and retellings of Shakespeare’s work. I gave it 4 of 5 stars.

 

The President’s Daughter by Kristine Robinson

This book has a ton of typos and the author can’t keep their facts straight. The character Billy is introduced as having “fire engine red” hair and in the next paragraph it says “Billy was beautiful, with her short black hair.”  The main character, Chelsea, has never been with a woman before, yet now she’s in a three-way relationship with two of them (Shane and Billy). Right.
There’s an attempt at being “controversial” by mentioning transgender studies in Chelsea’s Sociology class, but it’s all messed up. “He talks about how the child makes it to puberty, after a lifetime of being raised as a boy, and realizes that instead of being a girl, the child turned teen now identifies as a boy.” Umm, What? And this is supposedly a dig at Chelsea’s situation since her and her two gfs got caught fooling around at a sauna.
Then there’s her dad. He’s a politician who got caught with his secretary and it broke up the family and now he argues with Chelsea all the time. They sort of repair their relationship towards the end with this lovely line from her father “You know that you mean the world to me. And if you want to be in a non hetero-normative relationship with two other women, well then you know what? It looks like I’ll have a whole new demographic to court for votes.” Well, isn’t that sweet? I kept hoping it would get better but it didn’t. I don’t really consider the ending an “HEA,” but I guess it could be one for some people.

Review of Rebels Like Us by Liz Reinhardt

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Rebels Like Us is about a girl named Agnes who moves from New York to Georgia for her senior year of high school and gets a huge dose a culture shock. I empathized with her character because moving from CT to MD was like that for me. I laughed out loud when Agnes’ teachers thought she was messing with her by not calling her “Ma’am.”
Honestly, not much happens in the first third of the book besides Agnes meeting and hanging out Doyle, going to school, arguing with her mom, dealing with Ansley (the head mean girl) and avoiding talking to her father, but the book moves along at a good pace and I still wanted to keep reading and I wanted to see what happened to the characters. I generally dislike “instalove”, but it worked for Agnes and Doyle. They’re a cute couple.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of racism at the new school, including segregated proms. I was annoyed at that. I don’t see how that would be allowed in 2017. Agnes, Doyle and their friends make an alternative prom, but it doesn’t sit well with people who want to keep their “traditions” alive, and someone puts a burning cross on Agnes’ lawn. I felt like after that there was a huge lead up to the alterna-prom with all the news coverage and everything, and then the prom itself was barely covered in the book. That was kind of a let down. It’s like Ok, then the prom that we all worked so hard for happened. Cool. There was so much money left over that there will be another one next year. Nice. I’m gonna graduate now.
I still enjoyed the book and was very happy to win it through the First Reads program, but I only gave it four stars because of that.

Review of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

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I saw the movie version of this book and enjoyed it and I like both of the authors so I picked it up when I saw it on one of my trips to the thrift shop. I’m so happy that I did. The book is easily ten times better than the movie (in my opinion). While the movie focuses on (view spoiler)[ everyone driving around NYC looking for a drunk Caroline (hide spoiler)] the book actually focuses on Nick & Norah’s relationship, music and the adventure they have during one crazy night.
I loved learning more about the two main characters and why they were how they were. They were much more interesting and well developed in the book than in the movie. Norah definitely has trust issues and I really don’t blame her and Nick is coming off of a bad break up, but I feel like they’re a great couple anyway.
I love the descriptions of the music and the concerts in the book . I got so excited reading the scenes where they’re in the crowd watching the band and moshing and found myself smiling and reading faster. It made me miss going to shows. I like that some familiar songs (Green Day ones) are used as well as ones that are made up for the book.
If you like fun adventure stories full of punk music, New York City, love, and youth…read this book.

Review of Polarity in Motion by Brenda Vicars

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I won an autographed copy of this book in The Gal in the Blue Mask’s Author Bling giveaway. I loved this book! It was so good that I just couldn’t put it down and I tried twice. I really like the characters and the issues they are dealing with are important.

Polarity is quiet and shy, but she’s a very strong girl. I can’t imagine having to go through something so embarrassing. I liked the progress she made in the book and I love that she stayed true to herself despite everything that was going on. Her relationship with her parents is very well written and her mother’s condition is handled well. I felt really bad for Polarity and I’m very happy that she had her grandma, her grandma’s boyfriend and Ethan on her side. Her relationship with her grandmother was one of my favorite parts of the book. It reminded me of the way things were with my gramma and I got a little choked up reading about it. That doesn’t happen very often.

Polarity’s relationship with Ethan, who should pursue a career as a detective, develops over time instead of the “insta-love” that’s so common in young adult books. It was refreshing. He’s a really good guy and he stands up for the underdog, who ends up being Polarity. I think they made a cute couple.

Besides the main issue of the naked photo, the book tackles issues such as race, bullying, privilege, mental disorders, and adults’ perception of teens. I recommend this one to teens everywhere.