Jane Anonymous by Laurie Faria Stolarz Book Review

Book Description

Jane” was just your typical 17-year-old getting ready to start her senior year. She had a part-time job she enjoyed, an awesome best friend, overbearing but loving parents, and a crush on a boy who was taking her to see her favorite band. She never would’ve imagined that in her town where nothing ever happens, a series of small coincidences would lead to a devastating turn of events that would forever change her life.

Now, it’s been three months since “Jane” escaped captivity and returned home. Three months of being that girl who was kidnapped, the girl who was held by a “monster.” But, what if everything you thought you knew―everything you thought you experienced―turned out to be a lie?

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I loved this author when I was a teenager and her books were what got me into writing so when I saw she was coming out with a new book I knew I had to read it. I had my physical copy in my room but hadn’t gotten a chance to read it so I grabbed the audiobook from the library and am so glad that I did.

There’s things that you know from the start but you so much like Jane want to believe the things that she does. This kind of makes it hard to follow along with the story because you are unsure of what is actually happening and what is just Jane’s recollection of things. I do think that this adds so many layers to the story and makes it really good.

Characters: In this book you get to meet a few characters through what Jane remembers of them. You get to meet Mason who is someone trapped in the house with Jane, Jack who is a friend of hers from before and after she was abducted, her parents, a few therapists, and more.

I really liked all the characters that you get to meet throughout this story and how we are meeting them through Jane’s memory of them. I think getting to meet them through Jane adds a layer to the story because you are seeing people as she sees them. You can make your own opinions of them through these descriptions but even that is difficult because all we know is what she remembers.

Writing Style: This story goes back and forth between telling the story of current times in which Jane is back at home after escaping, and then when Jane was trapped in the place her abductor held her. I actually really enjoyed that this story goes back and forth between both of these times because we get to see how much Jane has changed in the course of this time. I also think that the change in time allows us to question the way that Jane remembers things up until the very end of the story.

Author Information

Laurie Faria Stolarz grew up in Salem, MA, attended Merrimack College, and received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Laurie Faria Stolarz is an American author of young adult fiction novels, best known for her Blue is for Nightmares series. Her works, which feature teenage protagonists, blend elements found in mystery and romance novels.

Stolarz found sales success with her first novel, Blue is for Nightmares, and followed it up with three more titles in the series, White is for Magic, Silver is for Secrets, and Red is for Remembrance, as well as a companion graphic novel, Black is for Beginnings. Stolarz is also the author of the Touch series (Deadly Little Secret, Deadly Little Lies, Deadly Little Games, Deadly Little Voices, and Deadly Little Lessons), as well as Bleed and Project 17. With more than two million books sold worldwide, Stolarz’s titles have been named on various awards list.

The Sunbearer Trials by Aiden Thomas Book Review

Book Description

As each new decade begins, the Sun’s power must be replenished so that Sol can keep traveling along the sky and keep the evil Obsidian gods at bay. Ten semidioses between the ages of thirteen and eighteen are selected by Sol himself as the most worthy to compete in The Sunbearer Trials. The winner carries light and life to all the temples of Reino del Sol, but the loser has the greatest honor of all―they will be sacrificed to Sol, their body used to fuel the Sun Stones that will protect the people of Reino del Sol for the next ten years.

Teo, a 17-year-old Jade semidiós and the trans son of Quetzal, goddess of birds, has never worried about the Trials…or rather, he’s only worried for others. His best friend Niya―daughter of Tierra, the god of earth―is one of the strongest heroes of their generation and is much too likely to be chosen this year. He also can’t help but worry (reluctantly, and under protest) for Aurelio, a powerful Gold semidiós and Teo’s friend-turned-rival who is a shoo-in for the Trials. Teo wouldn’t mind taking Aurelio down a notch or two, but a one-in-ten chance of death is a bit too close for Teo’s taste.

But then, for the first time in over a century, Sol chooses a semidiós who isn’t a Gold. In fact, he chooses two: Xio, the 13-year-old child of Mala Suerte, god of bad luck, and…Teo. Now they must compete in five mysterious trials, against opponents who are both more powerful and better trained, for fame, glory, and their own survival.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This is a book that I knew I wanted to read before it even was on the shelves. Aiden Thomas is one of my must-buy authors since I read Cemetery Boys and each of his books have been amazing. I don’t typically listen to fantasy on audio because I can’t always follow along but I decided to listen to this one and follow along on e-book and that was a great experience.

There were so many aspects about this book that I enjoyed, from the world building, to the characters, and the plot. This book grabs your attention from page one and then it never lets you go even after you finish the book and close it. I can’t wait to know what happens next for all of our characters, and this world that I have grown to love.

I liked that this book takes some time in the beginning to build up the world for us and explain how things came to be and what they are now. I also like the brief conversations that occur about gender identity and being Trans between Teo and Xio and think that this not only makes sense throughout the book but makes certain parts hit harder as you read.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters and don’t worry they all have distinct qualities so that you can tell them apart. You are introduced to our main character, Teo as well as the people that he is competing against in the Sun Bearer Trials, which are Xio, Aurelio, Auristela, Niya, Dezi, Xochi, Marino, and Ocelo.

Throughout the book you get to know some characters a lot more than others but each of them play an important role in moving the story along. I really enjoyed getting to learn about each of the characters but especially love how the website has the character cards so I can keep them separated in my head. It was minor details that I would forget about each character so I did love that each of them had distinct voices and you could tell who was who just by their actions and words.

I love the tension that we get between the characters because of who they are and the rankings that exist in the world. I also like the tension that we see just based on who their parents are and the impressions that they have made because of this. I really enjoy the role that the parents play in this book and how tensions seem to arise more when they are around.

Writing Style: This story is told in third person with a narrator that follows each of the characters with a particular focus on Teo. I liked that the narrator wasn’t first person because there were points that I wanted to know what others were thinking and/or doing and we were allowed those moments. I also did like the focus on Teo as our main character because of the relationships that each character has with him.

Author Information

Aiden Thomas is a New York Times Bestselling author with an MFA in Creative Writing. Originally from Oakland, California, they now make their home in Portland, Oregon. As a queer, trans, Latinx, Aiden advocates strongly for diverse representation in all media. Aiden’s special talents include: quoting The Office, finishing sentences with “is my FAVORITE”, and killing spiders. Aiden is notorious for not being able to guess the endings of books and movies, and organizes their bookshelves by color.

Their debut novel, CEMETERY BOYS, was published on September 1st, 2020.

As You Walk on By by Julian Winters Book Review

Book Description

Seventeen-year-old Theo Wright has it all figured out. His plan (well, more like his dad’s plan) is a foolproof strategy that involves exceling at his magnet school, getting scouted by college recruiters, and going to Duke on athletic scholarship. But for now, all Theo wants is a perfect prom night. After his best friend Jay dares Theo to prompose to his crush at Chloe Campbell’s party, Theo’s ready to throw caution to the wind and take his chances.

But when the promposal goes epically wrong, Theo seeks refuge in an empty bedroom while the party rages on downstairs. Having an existential crisis about who he really is with and without his so-called best friend wasn’t on tonight’s agenda. Though, as the night goes on, Theo finds he’s not as alone as he thinks when, one by one, new classmates join him to avoid who they’re supposed be outside the bedroom door. Among them, a familiar acquaintance, a quiet outsider, an old friend, and a new flame . . .

Review

Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoyed reading Right Where I Left You and because of how much I enjoyed that one I really wanted to read this one. I ended up getting through this one really quickly and could’ve sworn I wrote the review but I guess I didn’t I must have written it in my head or something.

There was a lot that I really did enjoy about this book and one of those things is how quickly everything occurs. This book definitely feels like much more than one night where the majority of the story takes place with everything that is unpacked in that one night. I really do like how everything does occur in such a short time span because it just shows how time changes things.

I love the messages this book sends especially about friendship and what that means. I like how Theo needs to learn to share himself with others and how to move forward from the friendships that were causing him harm. I like that we have to first see him struggle with the loss and things aren’t perfect at the end but you see him be surrounded by loved ones because of who he is now.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Theo, as well as their interactions with each other. We get to meet his friend group, Jay and Darren, Theo’s dad, and a few people Theo meets while seeking refuge in a random room at a party, River, Makayla, Luca, and Aleah, his ex-best friend.

I really loved all of the relationships that are shown throughout this book and how complex they all are. I like how we see friends happen out of convenience and then friends happening because you let them into your life. I really liked watching the group from the room bond with each other throughout the night and watch how that all unfolds. I like how that bond strengthens throughout the book and how they know each other’s truth.

Writing Style: This book is told through first person through the perspective of Theo which is something that I really enjoyed. I liked this aspect of the story because when bad things happen we only know how Theo feels and not anyone else. We rarely get to know other people’s feelings unless they outwardly express them and I think this adds a layer to the story.

Author Information

Julian Winters is the author of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Gold Award-winning Running With Lions; the Junior Library Guild Selections How to Be Remy Cameron and The Summer of Everything; and the forthcoming Right Where I Left You. A self-proclaimed comic book geek, Julian currently lives outside of Atlanta, where he can be found reading or watching the only two sports he can follow—volleyball and soccer..

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Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales Book Review

Book Description

It’s been two years since Maya’s ex-boyfriend cheated on her, and she still can’t escape him: his sister married the crown prince of a minor European country and he captured hearts as her charming younger brother. If the world only knew the real Jordy, the manipulative liar who broke Maya’s heart.

Skye Kaplan was always cautious with her heart until Jordy said all the right things and earned her trust. Now his face is all over the media and Skye is still wondering why he stopped calling.

When Maya and Skye are invited to star on the reality dating show Second-Chance Romance, they’re whisked away to a beautiful mansion—along with four more of Jordy’s exes— to compete for his affections while the whole world watches. Skye wonders if she and Jordy can recapture the spark she knows they had, but Maya has other plans: exposing Jordy and getting revenge. As they navigate the competition, Skye and Maya discover that their real happily ever after is nothing they could have scripted.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: So I was prolonging reading this one because here I was thinking it was some straight romance. Don’t let that part fool you and just keep reading through the book, trust me this isn’t straight at all. I kept thinking oh no this is going to be a second chance romance and I just am not a big fan of those especially when the guy didn’t even redeem himself. I was quite surprised how wrong I was in thinking this and loved the way things ended up for all of our characters.

Something that I really enjoyed about this book was how their is almost no character growth for Jordy and for a while you are led to believe it will be the same case for Maya. You hope that she gets her act together and just lets this feud with Jordy go because as Skye points out, he really is living rent-free in her mind so technically he is winning. I love the character growth that we get to see with Maya from the start of the book to the end so don’t worry if you don’t like her too much immediately.

Characters: In this book you get introduced to the the two main characters, Maya and Skye along with several others that they interact with. You get to meet Jordy who is the star of the reality TV show that all the girls are starring in, you get to meet some of Maya and Skye’s friends from back home, and their family members.

I love so many of the relationships in this book even the ones that Jordy is involved with but that isn’t because of him but because of the girls. I really liked the relationship that develops between all of the girls who are staying together for the sake of the filming of the reality TV show. I like how their dynamics shift throughout the book and how we see competition changing their attitudes towards each other but then how they join together when truth is revealed.

The other great thing about this book is watching as the relationship between Maya and Skye develops. I really love an enemies to friends to lovers trope when its done well. I also liked that the miscommunication piece in this was all due to lies that were pushed by Jordy and the messaging that it sent across when this was revealed.

Writing Style: This book is told through dual point of views going back and forth between Maya and Skye’s perspectives. I really liked that we get to be inside both of their heads as this story unravels and this becomes a huge part of the story as time goes on. Something that I did keep forgetting while reading this book was the age of the characters but I do not think this matters much beyond knowing that they are young adults.

Author Information

Sophie Gonzales writes young adult queer contemporary fiction with memorable characters, biting wit and endless heart.

She is the author of THE LAW OF INERTIA, ONLY MOSTLY DEVASTATED and PERFECT ON PAPER. IF THIS GETS (co-written with Cale Dietrich) is forthcoming in Fall 2021 from Wednesday Books / Macmillan.

When she isn’t writing, Sophie can be found ice skating, performing in musical theatre, and practicing the piano. She currently lives in Melbourne, Australia where she works as a psychologist.

She is represented by Molly Ker Hawn of The Bent Agency.

99 Boyfriends of Micah Summers by Adam Sass Book Review

Book Description

Will Boy 100 be the One?

Micah is rich, dreamy, and charming. As the “Prince of Chicago,”—the son of local celebrity sports radio host known as the King of Chicago—he has everything going for him. Unfortunately, he’s also the prince of imaginary meet-cutes, since he’s too nervous to actually ask boys out.

Instead, Micah draws each crush to share on Instagram with a post about their imaginary dates. Ninety-nine “boyfriends” later, his account is hugely popular, and everyone is eagerly awaiting Boy 100. So is Micah. He’s determined that Boy 100 will be different. This time, Micah will sweep the boy off his feet, for real!

So when Micah flirts with a hot boy on the L who’s wearing a vegan leather jacket and lugging a ton of library books, he is sure this is Boy 100. But right before he can make his move and ask for the boy’s number, the guy rushes off the train, leaving behind his pumpkin-embroidered jacket. The jacket holds clues to the boy’s identity, so Micah and his friends set off on a quest to return it. Along the way, Micah will discover that the best relationships aren’t fairy tales. In fact, the perfect fit—and true love—might be closer than he thinks.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: This is another one that I am so glad to have waited to listen to the audiobook but also be able to follow along using the e-book/physical book. The images really add to the story so if you listen to the audiobook make sure you have a way to access the images included.

There are so many moments throughout this book that I highlighted because I resonated with the things being said by the characters. The whole time as I was listening to this book I found myself yelling at Micah because as the reader you know something that he isn’t picking up on.

There are so many moments that broke my heart but I can’t tell you about them all without running the story. Just have some tissues near you and be careful to not throw whatever device you are reading on across the room.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Michah Summers. You get to meet his friends, Elliot and Hannah, his parents, his sister, his boyfriend, Grant, and a few side characters.

I really enjoyed all of the relationships that you get to see throughout this book because each of them adds something different to Micah’s life. When I first started reading this one I really didn’t understand the point of Grant being introduced and was quite frustrated with him. It really isn’t until the ending that you understand why he needed to be included into this story. I really enjoyed the relationship that Micah and Grant have especially closer to the end of this book. I think he needed to be included in the story for there to have been any character growth for Micah.

I really enjoyed the relationship between Micah and Elliot, this was actually my favorite throughout the whole book. The friendship between these two is wholesome and this is what I really enjoy about their relationship. I really like how the two of them bring out the best in each other and how they just know what the other needs.

Something else that I really enjoyed about this book was the relationship that each of the characters have with their family members. I love how supportive their families are of them and how we get to see how those dynamics play out. I especially like how involved Micah’s parents are in his life and even how his sister gets involved.

Writing Style: This book is told in first person through the perspective of Micah. I really enjoyed having the story be told in his perspective because it doesn’t let us know how others are feeling. I liked that people had to directly tell Micah anything for him to understand what was going on.

Author Information

ADAM SASS

writes pop-as-hell stories with queer characters in the driver’s seat. In his books, he strives to capture the three “H’s” of the queer experience:

HUMOR.

HEART.

HORROR.

He is the award-winning author of the conversion camp escape thriller SURRENDER YOUR SONS and THE 99 BOYFRIENDS OF MICAH SUMMERS, a romantic comedy about imaginary boyfriends and missed connections. His forthcoming novel, YOUR LONELY NIGHTS ARE OVER, is about two popular gay best friends who must stop the slasher who’s been stalking their school’s LGBTQ Club. It will release in Fall 2023 from Viking.

The Edge of Being by James Brandon Book Review

Book Description

Isaac Griffin has always felt something was missing from his life. And for good reason: he’s never met his dad. He’d started to believe he’d never belong in this world, that the scattered missing pieces of his life would never come together, when he discovers a box hidden deep in the attic with his father’s name on it.

When the first clue points him to San Francisco, he sets off with his boyfriend to find the answers, and the person he’s been waiting his whole life for. But when his vintage station wagon breaks down (and possibly his relationship too) they are forced to rely on an unusual girl who goes by Max—and has her own familial pain—to take them the rest of the way.

As his family history is revealed, Isaac finds himself drawing closer to Max. Using notes his dad had written decades ago, the two of them retrace his father’s steps during the weeks leading up to the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot in San Francisco, a precursor to the Stonewall Riots a few years later. Only to discover, as he learns about the past that perhaps the missing pieces of his life weren’t ever missing at all.

Review

TW: Self Harm, Suicide Attempt, alcohol, abuse, drugs, hospitalization

Thoughts and Themes: I really enjoyed Ziggy, Stardust, and Me so when I saw the author had come out with another book I knew I had to read it. When I found out the audiobook is read by the author I decided I wanted to listen to the book rather than read the e-book version.

Something that I really enjoy about this book is the way that it integrates Queer history throughout the story. There were a lot of pieces that I knew about briefly but not extensively and these pieces sparked interest in learning more. I really like this aspect because this is meant for Queer youth to read so it’s nice knowing they would learn history along with reading this story.

Something else that I really enjoyed about this book was that while it is a coming of age story, it isn’t a coming out story. I like how all three of the main characters are trying to figure out their lives and the missing pieces in each of them. I also like how each of them are trying to use other people to fill that void, and how this doesn’t turn out how they planned.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to our main character, Fig, his boyfriend, Christopher, a friend of his, Charlie, and a girl that they met along their journey, Max. You are also introduced to several characters that Fig comes into contact with on his journey to find his dad.

I really liked all of the characters that you are introduced to throughout this book. I liked the relationship between Fig and Christopher and how this changes throughout the book. I liked how real their relationship is and how messy they are with each other. I like how you see them both trying to hold onto something that isn’t there, and while you hope for the best for them you also hope they find themselves without the other one.

I also really enjoyed the relationship that develops between Max and Fig and how this shifts throughout the story. I liked seeing how each of them understands the other and how they just clicked right from meeting each other. I just like how easy it was for Fig to trust Max, and how she just takes it all in and vice versa.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person through the perspective of Fig. I really enjoyed this being told through his perspective because you don’t get a chance to see how other people feel. I like that we are inside of Fig’s head as he is figuring out things for himself especially when he locks others out.

Author Information

James Brandon produced and played the central role of Joshua in the international tour of Terrence McNally’s Corpus Christi for a decade, and is Co-Director of the documentary film based on their journey: Corpus Christi: Playing with Redemption. He’s Co-Founder of the I AM Love Campaign, an arts-based initiative bridging the faith-based and LGBTQ2+ communities, and serves on the Board, as well as the Powwow Steering Committee, for Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits (BAAITS) in San Francisco. He’s also a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, spent a summer at Deer Park Monastery studying Zen Buddhism, and deepened his yogic practice in Rishikesh, India. Brandon is a contributing writer for Huffington PostBelieve Out Loud, and Spirituality and Health MagazineZiggy, Stardust, and Me is his first novel.

Jackal by Erin E Adams Book Review

Book Description

A young Black girl goes missing in the woods outside her white Rust Belt town. But she’s not the first—and she may not be the last. . . .

It’s watching.

Liz Rocher is coming home . . . reluctantly. As a Black woman, Liz doesn’t exactly have fond memories of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, a predominantly white town. But her best friend is getting married, so she braces herself for a weekend of awkward and passive-aggressive reunions. Liz has grown, though; she can handle whatever awaits her. But on the day of the wedding, somewhere between dancing and dessert, the bride’s daughter, Caroline, goes missing—and the only thing left behind is a piece of white fabric covered in blood.

It’s taking.

As a frantic search begins, with the police combing the trees for Caroline, Liz is the only one who notices a pattern: a summer night. A missing girl. A party in the woods. She’s seen this before. Keisha Woodson, the only other Black girl in school, walked into the woods with a mysterious man and was later found with her chest cavity ripped open and her heart missing. Liz shudders at the thought that it could have been her, and now, with Caroline missing, it can’t be a coincidence. As Liz starts to dig through the town’s history, she uncovers a horrifying secret about the place she once called home. Children have been going missing in these woods for years. All of them Black. All of them girls.

It’s your turn.

With the evil in the forest creeping closer, Liz knows what she must do: find Caroline, or be entirely consumed by the darkness.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I heard about this book, the description alone intrigued me so I was happy to get a chance to read this one. I am glad that I decided to wait until I could get my hands on the audio book version though since I believe this added to the suspense in the book. I did make a mistake and read other people’s reviews half way through this book but was quite pleased that the reviews didn’t match my feelings about this book.

The reviews that I read didn’t really seem to like the explanation of what was going on throughout the book and how that mystery unfolds. Unlike those reviews, I actually really liked the supernatural element that was added into this book and how that tied into what was going on. I think this book did a great job explaining what jealousy can do to people and how much harm can be done to a community through not only jealousy but in this case racism.

I did feel that a lot of the reviews that I was reading missed the mark about what this story was about and the commentary that it was making. I think this is one of those books that goes beyond a horror or a thriller story so if you are expecting real monsters then this isn’t it. This book takes people’s fears, insecurities, goodness, etc. and turns it into something that monsters are after and explores what happens when the monsters are your neighbors.

I ended up highlighting so much points in this book as I followed along in the e-book as there were passages I wanted to re-visit. These passages were things I wanted to think about more and think about how they played into the conclusion of the story. I can’t spoil things for you so I can’t say much but I do hope you go out and read this book. Its one of those books that would be great for a book club or to discuss amongst your friends because of how much is brought up.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Liz . You get to meet her best friend, Mel, Mel’s daughter, Caroline, some people in town, Nick, Doug, Chris, Lauren, her mother, and the monsters. You also get to know about some of the girls that have gone missing through our monster’s perspective.

Writing Style: This book is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Liz. There are pieces that are told through the perspective of the person who has been taking the girls, and there are some snipping of news papers or other documents that were released when the girls went missing.

Author Information

Erin E. Adams is a first-generation Haitian American writer and theatre artist. She received her BA with honors in literary arts from Brown University, her MFA in acting from The Old Globe and University of San Diego Shiley Graduate Theatre Program, and her MFA in dramatic writing from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. An award-winning playwright and actor, Adams has called New York City home for the last decade. Jackal is her first novel.

Youngblood by Sasha Laurens Book Review

Book Description

Kat Finn and her mother can barely make ends meet living among humans. Like all vampires, they must drink Hema, an expensive synthetic blood substitute, to survive, as nearly all of humanity has been infected by a virus that’s fatal to vampires. Kat isn’t looking forward to an immortal life of barely scraping by, but when she learns she’s been accepted to the Harcote School, a prestigious prep school that’s secretly vampires-only, she knows her fortune is about to change.

Taylor Sanger has grown up in the wealthy vampire world, but she’s tired of its backward, conservative values—especially when it comes to sexuality, since she’s an out-and-proud lesbian. She only has to suffer through a two more years of Harcote before she’s free. But when she discovers her new roommate is Kat Finn, she’s horrified. Because she and Kat used to be best friends, a long time ago, and it didn’t end well.

When Taylor stumbles upon the dead body of a vampire, and Kat makes a shocking discovery in the school’s archives, the two realize that there are deep secrets at Harcote—secrets that link them to the most powerful figures in Vampirdom and to the synthetic blood they all rely on.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I heard about a sapphic vampire book I knew I had to read it because most of the vampire books that I have read are all straight, cis, and white. I am glad that I decided to wait and listen to this one on audio because it really adds to the story. I loved the narrator of the book as there is a clear distinction between which character is speaking.

I really like how so much of what happens in this book is based on miscommunication or just the lack of communication between people. I thought this was very realistic for teenagers and loved seeing that even supernatural creatures come across these problems. Then there are so many things you discover closer to the end of the book that just make the book so much better. Please stick around to you get to this point because it really does get good, it pretty much speeds up half way through as everything unravels itself.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to our two main characters, Kat and Taylor, along with several of the people who are in their lives. You get to meet Lucy and Evangeline who are friends of Kat, along with Galen who all the girls are interested in. You also get to meet a few of the professors that are at the school in which Kat and Taylor are attending.

I really like the relationships that develop throughout this whole book and how attached this book makes you get with each character that you meet. I like the conversations that occur between Kat and Taylor and how they explain themselves to each other. I love how these two go from best friends to enemies to lovers.

Writing Style: This book is told from a dual point of view going back and forth from Kat and Taylor’s perspectives in first person. I do like that we get both points of view because the girls are very different from each other. I liked getting to know about them separately from each other especially since they start off being ex-best friends. I also liked how this plays out when the two aren’t in the same place because you get to see the way both stories unfold.

Author Information

Sasha Laurens is the author of A Wicked Magic and Youngblood. She is originally from Northern California and has lived in Michigan, New York, and St. Petersburg, Russia. She has a PhD in political science and lives in Brooklyn.

Single Riders: A YA Novella by Selys Rivera Book Review

Book Description

After Seong Duri gets in a fight with her sister, Duri skips church to go to an amusement park. But when she runs into the pastor’s son, she asks the next person in line to switch places. She has no idea this decision will change more lives than one.

Alex Danieli is heartbroken after their boyfriend dumped them. Missing him, Alex decides to go on their ex’s favorite ride. But when Alex agrees to switch with another single rider, they immediately regret their decision. Alex soon learns, though, that maybe that decision wasn’t so bad after all.

Jaya Foster is an aspiring writer with a secret. She’s still trying to figure out how to tell her mom when she accidentally gets pulled into drama involving two other single riders. Little does Jaya know this is exactly what she needs to solve her problem.

Single Riders is a fun and touching reminder that you’re not alone. You never know when a future friend is around the corner. Or maybe next in line.

Review

Thoughts and Themes: When I heard about this book I knew that this was something that I really wanted to read. I tend to visit theme parks on my own a lot and have always thought how cool it would be to make friends in line. I loved that this whole book takes place in a matter of a few hours because it definitely feels like more time has passed than that.

I also like how each of these characters has something that is stressing them out regarding the future, and how they understand this for each other. I really liked the way that they introduce their problems to one another but also how we get the back story for these problems. I also like the idea of everything being resolved at the end of the day because your new friends gave you the courage to stand up for yourself.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to our three main characters, Alex, Duri, and Jaya, along with a few of the important people in their life closer to the end of the story. I really liked how the story focuses on the three main characters without really introducing us to the people who impact their lives until the very end.

I liked how naturally this friendship develops between the three of our main characters and how quick they are to support one another. I like how easily they became friends and what things brought them together.

Writing Style: This novella alternates between three different perspectives, Alex, Duri, and Jaya, told in first person. I really enjoyed getting to read this story through each of their perspectives as we get to know their back story in each of their sections. I also really like that we get to see how each of them feels in each moment as things play out for them.

Author Information

Originally from Puerto Rico, Selys Rivera considers herself a queer, God-loving, and social justice-obsessed chica.

Selys has published articles, poems, and stories in magazines, anthologies, and literary journals, as well as books. Her favorite genres to write in are YA/NA Fiction, Memoir, and Poetry.

In her free time, you can find her reading too many books, spending time with loved ones, or playing with her red Dachshund named Ketchup.

Follow her on TikTok @SelysRiveraWrites to stay connected.

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg Book Review

Book Description

Max: Chill. Sports. Video games. Gay and not a big deal, not to him, not to his mom, not to his buddies. And a secret: An encounter with an older kid that makes it hard to breathe, one that he doesn’t want to think about, ever.

Jordan: The opposite of chill. Poetry. His “wives” and the Chandler Mall. Never been kissed and searching for Mr. Right, who probably won’t like him anyway. And a secret: A spiraling out of control mother, and the knowledge that he’s the only one who can keep the family from falling apart.

Throw in a rickety, 1980s-era food truck called Coq Au Vinny. Add in prickly pears, cloud eggs, and a murky idea of what’s considered locally sourced and organic. Place it all in Mesa, Arizona, in June, where the temp regularly hits 114. And top it off with a touch of undeniable chemistry between utter opposites.

Over the course of one summer, two boys will have to face their biggest fears and decide what they’re willing to risk — to get the thing they want the most.

Review

TW: Sexual Assault, Rape, addiction, suicidal ideation, death of parent, homophobia, racism

This is not an exhaustive list of all the trigger warnings in this book, please check others reviews to see any that I may have missed.

Thoughts and Themes: This book has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while so I finally decided to pick up the audiobook to listen to it. I hadn’t heard much about this book so I was a bit hesitant to pick it up but I am glad that I decided to read it.

There was a lot in this book and I was worried at first that there would be too much going on at once. I was a bit worried that the ending would feel rushed because of how things played out but I was surprised that it didn’t. Something that I like about this book was that everything didn’t wrap itself up neatly and things didn’t finish perfectly for any of our characters.

I really liked the way that both Max and Jordan were able to have emotions and be messy and real with each other and those around them. I liked how this book first started as a book about two boys journeys on a food truck and it became alot more than a summer of selling food.

Characters: In this book you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with the two main characters, Max and Jordan. I really enjoyed each of the characters that you get to meet and their development throughout the story.

One of the characters that really stood out to me whom I loved was Max’s mom. I loved the relationship that she has with Max and how she supports everything that he does. I love that she just seems to know what to say or what her son needs from her.

I really enjoyed the relationship that develops between Max and Jordan throughout this book. I like that they are unlikely to have met in the first place and they met by happen chance. I also really like how this book starts with them developing a friendship and how this turns into romance slowly throughout this book.

Writing Style: This book is written in first person and goes back and forth from Max and Jordan’s perspectives. I liked having this story be told in both of their perspectives because you get to see the thoughts that are running in both of their minds. I like that the story is told through both of their perspectives rather than an outside narrator because this lets our characters be messy.

Author Description

Bill Konigsberg was born in 1970 in New York City. Expectations were high from birth – at least in terms of athletics. His parents figured he’d be a great soccer player, based on his spirited kicking from inside the womb. As it turned out, the highlight of his soccer career was at Camp Greylock in 1978, when he was chosen for the Camp’s “D” team. There were only four levels. Bill played alongside the likes of the kid who always showered alone, the chronic nosebleeder and the guy with recurrent poison ivy.

Early in his life, Bill decided he wanted to be a disc jockey, a professional baseball player, or the Construction Worker from The Village People. None of these career paths worked out for him. Yet. He still holds out hope for a Village People revival and has set up a Google Alert in case it happens.

A B- student throughout high school, Bill was voted Most Likely to Avoid Doing Any Real Work In His Life by a panel of his dismissive peers. He proved them wrong with a series of strange-but-true jobs in his 20s – driver recruiter for a truck driving school, sales consultant for a phone company, and temp at Otis Elevators.

He moved to Denver in 1996 and was voted Least Stylish Gay Guy in the Metro Denver Area (including Loveland!) for each of the years from 1996-98. His fashion-free wardrobe robbed him of prospective dates countless times, as did his penchant for wearing a mustache that didn’t suit him.

He worked at ESPN and ESPN.com from 1999-2002, where he developed a penchant for sharing too much information about himself. That character flaw earned him a GLAAD Media Award in 2002, for his column “Sports World Still a Struggle for Gays.” That coming out essay made him a household name to tens of people across the country.

He continued oversharing in graduate school at Arizona State, where he added People Pleasing to his growing list of character defects and parlayed that into the title of Most Chill Teacher of freshman composition.

As a sports writer and editor for The Associated Press in New York from 2005-08, Bill once called his husband, who was at the time working a desk job, from the New York Mets dugout before a game. “I’m so bored,” Bill whined. He slept on the couch for a week after making that call.

He wrote a novel called Audibles at Arizona State, and sold that novel to Dutton Books for Children in 2007. His editor asked him to change the title so that it would appeal to people other than “football players who read.” The resulting novel, Out of the Pocket, received strong reviews from his mother, father, significant other and one girl who had a crush on him in high school. It won the Lambda Literary Award in 2009.

His second novel, Openly Straight, hit the bookshelves in late May of 2013. He describes the novel as “Twilight-like, only without vampires and wolves and angsty teenage girls. Also, set in an all-boys boarding school in Massachusetts. Otherwise, it’s like an exact replica.”

His third novel, The Porcupine of Truth, was released in May of 2015. He chose to put a porcupine in the title because this is America, and no one here knows what a platypus is. The novel won the Stonewall Book Award and PEN Center USA Literary Award.

Next came Honestly Ben, a companion book to Openly Straight. He wrote it so people would stop yelling at him about Openly Straight’s ending. Honestly Ben received three starred reviews and made lots of people swoon over Ben some more, which irks Bill to no end as Ben is loosely based on his husband, Chuck. No one seems to swoon over Rafe, who is loosely based on Bill. Harrumph, says Bill.

The Music of What Happens arrives in February of 2019, and it’s a romance between two boys, and it includes a food truck that makes cloud eggs. Bill has an egg phobia.

Bill currently lives in Chandler, Arizona, which is the thinking man’s Gilbert, Arizona. He has a husband who is clearly too good for him, and two cute dogs, Mabel and Buford, who complete him.