Dad’s Girlfriend and Other Anxieties by Kellye Crocker
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary
Publishing Date: To Be Announced
Since Ava’s mom died, Ava has relied on her consistent routines, predictable schedules, and exhaustive risk assessment to keep herself safe from uncertainty. For the most part, her life in small-town Iowa has been stable. That is, until now.
As soon as sixth grade ends, Dad is whisking Ava away to meet his girlfriend and her daughter in terrifying Colorado, where even the ground squirrels can be deadly. Managing her anxiety, avoiding altitude sickness, and surviving the mountains might take all Ava’s strength.
Can she stay in control when everything around her is changing so quickly?
Kellye Crocker is a journalist who has written for Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, and Glamour. She holds an MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a bachelor’s degree in news-editorial from the Missouri School of Journalism. She lives in Denver, Colorado.
From Ryan La Sala, the wildly popular author of Reverie, comes a twisted and tantalizing horror novel set amidst the bucolic splendor of a secluded summer retreat.
Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline’s radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who’d grown tragically distant.
Mars’s gender fluidity means he’s often excluded from the traditions — and expectations — of his politically connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.
What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister’s old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying — and Mars is certain they’re connected to Caroline’s death. But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can’t find it soon, it will eat him alive.
Thoughts and Themes: When I first heard about this book I really wanted to read it because I love YA horror. I rarely read it because I am always worried that I won’t understand the book or get a different ending than others do. I was so glad that I gave this book a try because it was so hard for me to put down once I got into the story.
There was so much that I really enjoyed throughout this book and the main portion that I liked about this book was how often I had to put it aside because I was scared. I really liked the camp setting for this book because I felt it lent itself well to the horror genre. I loved the portion where scary stories are being told and trying to figure out if these stories would play into the plot at some times. I also had to hide the book at this point because of how scared I was and how it made me think about the dark.
Characters: In this book, you are introduced to several characters through their interactions with our main character, Mars. Throughout the book, you get to meet Wyatt, the Honeys, some other campers, and other staff members at camp.
I really liked the relationship that we see developed between Mars and Wyatt. I loved how they have a friendship that isn’t typical but also how we see that they have feelings for each other that aren’t said upfront. I like how while this story has a romance piece involved this isn’t what the center of the book is about.
I also really liked reading about the relationship that Mars develops with each of the honeys. This portion of the book isn’t seen too much and the relationships feel very superficial but they are important to Mars’ development. I really liked seeing how they added to the mystery of who Caroline was and how she got to be in the state she was when she died. I also like how hanging out with the Honeys changes the way that Mars feels about themselves and how we get to see a shift in how Wyatt views them when they are around the Honeys.
Writing Style: This story is told in first person through the perspective of our main character, Mars. I really liked that this story was told through their perspective because we only know as much as he knows. We don’t know much more than the things that Mars is figuring out throughout the story therefore we are just as surprised as they are while reading.
Ryan La Sala writes about surreal things happening to queer people.
Ryan resides in New York City, but only physically. Escapist to the core, he spends most of his time in the astral planes and only takes up corporeal form for special occasions, like brunch and to watch anime (which is banned on the astral planes).
Ryan is the author behind the riotously imaginative Reverie, and the brilliantly constructed Be Dazzled. He has been featured in Entertainment Weekly, NPR, Tor.com, and one time Shangela from RuPaul’s Drag Race called him cute. Right in the middle of the road downtown! So. Pretty big deal all around, yes?
They’re usually little lies. Tiny lies. Baby lies. Not so much lies as lie adjacent.
But they’re still lies.
Twenty one-year-old Max Monroe has it all: beauty, friends, and a glittering life filled with adventure. With tons of followers on Instagram, her picture-perfect existence seems eminently enviable.
Except it’s all fake.
Max is actually 16-year-old Kat Sanchez, a quiet and sarcastic teenager living in drab Bakersfield, California. Nothing glamorous in her existence–just sprawl, bad house parties, a crap school year, and the awkwardness of dealing with her best friend Hari’s unrequited love. But while Kat’s life is far from perfect, she thrives as Max: doling out advice, sharing beautiful photos, networking with famous influencers, even making a real friend in a follower named Elena. The closer Elena and “Max” get–texting, Snapping, and even calling–the more Kat feels she has to keep up the facade.
But when one of Max’s posts goes ultra-viral and gets back to the very person she’s been stealing photos from, her entire world – real and fake — comes crashing down around her. She has to figure out a way to get herself out of the huge web of lies she’s created without hurting the people she loves.
Thoughts and Themes: When I saw that the author had another book coming out soon I knew that I had to read it since I enjoyed Fat Chance Charlie Vega so much. I loved this book just as much and think that Charlie and Kat would be such good friends.
I thought that this book does a great job of addressing the complications of social media especially for teenagers and what messages are being passed through social media. Kat first creates Max’s account out of spite and anger with Becca, he co-worker who didn’t want to attend a high school party. Kat only wants to get her art out there to more people but her own account isn’t working too well so she thinks that by using Becca’s face, she’ll have more luck. It doesn’t stop there though as Max/Kat starts speaking to Elena and Elena has a crush on Max who doesn’t really exist.
This book touches on not just social media and how so many things are fake on there but it also brings up being a person of color and being fat within the social media space. I thought it was great that we see Kat bring up how she’s pretending to be a white girl in order to gain popularity online. I also enjoyed seeing the interactions between Elena and Kat during their first photoshoot and how Elena points out photo editing certain parts of herself away.
This book takes a bit to get into what we know is going to happen which is Kat posing as Max but it does a good job of building this up. There are things that have to take place for this idea to pop into her head and there are also actions that need to happen for her to reach this point. I liked the build up that leads to this point and then I liked getting to read as this whole thing plays out. I felt bad for Kat as this whole thing plays out but I also felt bad for the people who were involved in this Max situation without their consent, such as Becca and Elena.
Characters: In this book you get introduced to several characters through their interactions with Kat. You get to meet the members of her family, mom, dad, brother, and grandparents, her friends, Hari, Luis, and Marcus, her co-worker, Becca, and Elena her online friend.
I really liked all of the characters that you get introduced to in this book and enjoyed Kat’s dynamics with each of them. I thought it was great to see her be a different person depending on who she was interacting with and what each person brought out in her. I liked that Kat has people she can be herself with rather than the person she thinks everyone expects her to be.
Something that this book does a great job with and that I really enjoyed in particular was the friendship between Kat and Hari. There were so many times that it could’ve gone wrong and how it could’ve ended the way I expected it to, with a guy who has feelings for a girl throwing that girl away when she wants no more than friendship. I was so glad that they were able to have a conversation about their feelings and navigate these circumstances in a way that didn’t harm their friendship. I thought this was so important because Hari is Kat’s person and she was having such a hard time not having anyone to go to with her secret regarding Becca.
Something else that I liked about this book was the way that it portrayed Kat’s relationship with different members of her family. Kat has to lie about who she lives with and her relationship with her mom, dad, and brother in order to keep her mom happy so it only makes sense that she would want a little control over her life. I liked getting to see the role that Kat’s grandparents play in her life and how she was raised by them. I liked that this book portrayed family in a different way and made it something that Kat didn’t need to be ashamed of.
Writing Style: This story is told in first person through Kat’s perspective. I really liked getting to hear the story through Kat’s perspective because you don’t know how others are feeling. You get to only see what Kat is thinking and get to be in her head about the actions that she is taking.
I love that the only times you get to see how someone else is feeling or their thoughts is when they are interacting with Kat. I love that we get brief glimpses of Elena and her feelings but we never get everything because we only get what she reveals to Kat.
Crystal Maldonado is a young adult author with a lot of feelings. Her debut novel, Fat Chance, Charlie Vega, is a 2021 New England Book Award winner, a Cosmopolitan Best New Book, and a POPSUGAR Best New YA Novel. Her next novel, No Filter and Other Lies, explores teenage life in the social media age—and the lies we tell to ourselves and others.
By day, Crystal works in higher ed marketing, and by night, a writer who loves Beyoncé, shopping, spending too much time on her phone, and being extra. Her work has also been published in Latina, BuzzFeed, and the Hartford Courant.
She lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, daughter, and dog.
I am so excited to get a chance to be a part of this book tour hosted by TBRandBeyondTours . Make sure you check out the rest of the posts that are a part of this tour by looking at the schedule for the tour found here.
G.F. Miller can write 80,000-word novels, but ask her to sit down and write 250 true and meaningful words about herself and she is likely to have an existential crisis. Who am I, really? She ponders. What do I want to be known for? Does anyone even read the back flap or visit author websites?
But eventually she will pull herself together and tell you that…She married her college sweetheart and is mom to three littles who routinely make her heart burst and her head explode (it’s a messy business, love). There are puppies big and small residing at her house (you’ll be seeing a lot of them if you follow her on Instagram). She’s been to a dozen countries, but not nearly as many as she would like. She loves learning all the things. She cries at all the wrong times. She makes faces at herself in the mirror. She believes in the Oxford comma. And she’s always here for a dance party.
While the stories she has brewing in her soul vary wildly from one another, there are three things they will always have in common: love, snappy dialogue, and happy endings.
Perfect for fans of Geekerella and Jenn Bennett, this charming, sparkly rom-com follows a wish-granting teen forced to question if she’s really doing good—and if she has the power to make her own dreams come true.
Charity is a fairy godmother. She doesn’t wear a poofy dress or go around waving a wand, but she does make sure the deepest desires of the student population at Jack London High School come true. And she knows what they want even better than they do because she can glimpse their perfect futures.
But when Charity fulfills a glimpse that gets Vibha crowned homecoming queen, it ends in disaster. Suddenly, every wish Charity has ever granted is called into question. Has she really been helping people? Where do these glimpses come from, anyway? What if she’s not getting the whole picture?
Making this existential crisis way worse is Noah—the adorkable and (in Charity’s opinion) diabolical ex of one of her past clients—who blames her for sabotaging his prom plans and claims her interventions are doing more harm than good. He demands that she stop granting wishes and help him get his girl back. At first, Charity has no choice but to play along. But soon, Noah becomes an unexpected ally in getting to the bottom of the glimpses. Before long, Charity dares to call him her friend…and even starts to wish he were something more. But can the fairy godmother ever get the happily ever after?
Finished copy of Glimpsed. The giveaway ends on January 12th. Click Here to Enter.
Thoughts and Themes: It took me a while to get into this story because I wasn’t really connecting to the characters right from the start. It took me a while to really begin to like the characters and want to know what happens to them. I wanted to know more about Charity’s family and their dynamic right from when you meet everyone in her family so for a while I kept reading because of that. I wanted to know if there was a reason that Charity’s mom and sister were keeping their distance, and why she was going to her grandmother for everything.
I really enjoyed this Cinderella retelling and the twist on the original Cinderella story. I liked that this story focuses more on the fairy Godmother rather than the Cindys that Charity was working on. I liked that you get a bit of the story of each of the Cindys that Charity has worked on and any that she was working on throughout this book.
I cried at the ending of this story because of how cute it all was. I don’t want to ruin the second half of the book so I can’t give too much away through my review. I really did love the way the story wrapped up though but I want more of the characters that I met through this book and their story.
Characters: While there are several characters you get introduced through their interactions with the main character, there are two main characters in this story. Charity and Noah are the two main characters that this story centers around. You get introduced to Charity’s grandmother, mother, Cindies, and friends throughout the story as she speaks with each of them or tries to get help from them.
I liked the relationships that Charity develops with others throughout this story and love the focus on friendship and family. I liked how the mystery of Charity being a Godmother unravels and how she finds out more about herself and her family.
Writing Style: This story is written through first person told through the perspective of Charity who is our main character. I thought this was great because you can see the hints of things other characters were giving off but if Charity wasn’t picking up on those things then you moved past it. Charity not picking up on a lot made it so that I wanted to keep reading to see if she would ever pick up on the things others were showing her.