Her Gift arrives at age 15!
For cookery or fixing any hair, like her aunts?
Oh no! Not talking to ghosts?!
Maybe Evie will be the one Messenger in her family line who doesn’t have a psychic gift…nope! The Florida teen can see and hear and communicate with dead people!
How can that girl Tommie get into their house without Evie’s momma and stepdad hearing her?
Should Evie really kiss cute Buddy from across the street?
Wild thunderstorms, seeing dead people, and going to a new high school – what a birthday week!
Yes or no for seeing dead people yourself?
Book info: Messenger / Carol Lynch Williams. Paula Wiseman Books (Simon Schuster), 2016 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback). [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Imagine knowing (about) someone for your entire childhood and never meeting, ever! “Shared custody” of a beloved vacation home means that Ray (Mom’s kid) and Sasha (Dad’s kid) often see their half-sisters (kids of Mom & Dad), but have never laid eyes on one another till this summer, this fateful summer…
Ask for The Whole Thing Together at your local library or independent bookstore – hardcover or audiobook – and see how Sasha and Ray learn to interact with each other during dire family troubles.
Stepfamily and shared sibling stories?
Book info: The Whole Thing Together / Ann Brashares. Delacorte Press, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: As later-born children of divorced and remarried parents with joint ownership of a Long Island beach house, Sasha and Ray have never met one another, despite years of alternately sharing a bedroom there, until the summer before their senior year when a crisis with their half-sisters brings their family together.
Why does Ray dream at the beach house and have nightmares back in the city?
Can he and Sasha really hold the same job on alternating weeks of summer (half-sister Mattie’s idea)?
What secret has Emma unearthed about her ever-feuding parents, Ray’s mom and Sasha’s dad?
This band of siblings must work out how love can keep going when family stories collide with facts, parental bonds are stretched again, and their futures are no longer boringly predictable.
Book info: Cure for the Common Universe / Christian McKay Heidicker. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author site] [publisher site] [author video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Banished to a rehab center for videogame addicts, 16 year old Jaxon is desperate to escape in time for his first-ever date with a girl in the real world, but earning his way out could involve actually talking about being abandoned by Mom – no other way to level up?!
Not his fault that his parents divorced when he was just 8 or that his mom’s addictions always make her forget he’s coming to visit or that he is escaping from his stepmother’s perfectionism by living in the videogames that he so loved playing with Mom…
Hustled away to the desert rehab center, Jaxon meets teens who truly are videogame addicts (he isn’t, just likes playing them 60 hours a week in summer) and tries to figure out how he can get back to Salt Lake City in just four days so he can meet Serena (no cellphone, no FaceBook) for their date (first date, first girl who laughed with him instead of at him).
Doing chores earns points, doing dumb stuff loses points for you and your guild (yep, using different names and being in guilds is not like gaming at all – ha!).
Earn enough points, and you can go home from v-hab (again, not at all like gaming – ha!)
But no one in the whole two-month history of Horizons has earned their way out in just 4 days – and that’s what Jaxon has to do, if he wants to see Serena… (was any gaming reward worth this much??)
Soup, Aurora, Meeki, Zxzord, and Fezzik want to help their guildmate get to that golden date with Serena, but he’ll have to see beyond his own limitations first.
Not her fault!
Not the worst thing after all?
Tatum’s unwarranted ‘house arrest’ after (former?) BFF Ashlyn’s big mistake plus petsitting to pay the fine and all those community service hours sweltering outdoors… the only good things about this summer are her growing design business (and flirting with one particular client), getting to know Abby (so much ivy to eradicate!), and having grandma Blanche (how could uptight stepmother be this free spirit’s daughter?) at home.
Happy book birthday this week to It Started With Goodbye!
How to draw the line between supporting a friend and enabling them?
Book info: It Started With Goodbye / Christina June. Blink YA Books, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Attacking overgrown vines wasn’t Tatum’s plan for summer, but starting her design business online (and flirtatious emails with SK) might make ‘house arrest’ and community service a bit more bearable.
After her BFF’s bad judgment puts the Virginia teen completely under her rigid stepmother’s supervision while Dad is overseas, only pet-sitting or doing community service can get Tate out of the house shared with perfect stepsister Tilly, the ballet prodigy. Luckily, they don’t know how happy Tate is that Tilly’s grandmother Blanche is here for the summer.
Interesting to become friends with Abby and Hunter – will they ever act on their growing attraction?
Exciting that her TLC Design is getting clients online – who is SK and will she ever meet him?
Still sad that Ashlyn won’t acknowledge her part in that fiasco – will she ever answer Tate’s emails?
A bit magical having abuela Blanche on her side – almost like a Cinderella story!
Disconnect from the network.
Head for the hills!
The robots are coming?
Will what’s hidden in Mammoth Cave help or harm them? Only one way for a blended family forced off the grid in future USA to find out – tell their four teens not to go there under any circumstances…
Happy April 11th book birthday to In Over Their Heads!
For maximum enjoyment, read book 1, Under Their Skin first (my no-spoiler recommendation here).
I was really excited to read this one, but writing about a sequel without spoilers for the first book is hard, y’all…
What makes a family, anyway?
Book info: In Over Their Heads (Under Their Skin, book 2) / Margaret Peterson Haddix. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Hidden in Mammoth Cave is a key to their past or maybe hope for their future, but if teen twins Nick and Eryn can’t get their stepsiblings Jackson and Ava to help follow local girl Lida Mae into the cave, their blended family may be doomed in this future America of robotics, peace, and mysterious gaps in their history books.
Why does he show up now?!
Just as she’s leaving everything she loves, forever.
Hmpfff! Hmm… Oh!
Reading this took me back to my September visit to Tokyo – konbini convenience stores, punctual and safe metro, meeting near Hachiko statue at Shibuya. And just like Sophia, I had to move back to the States just before my senior year (not recommended by either of us).
The complication of parted-in-anger Jamie returning just before she leaves? That is Sophia’s alone, and three years of deliberately not emailing each other really hasn’t erased their feelings…
Happy book birthday to Seven Days of You !
Which book cover do you prefer? (that woodblock print on the UK cover is so Japanese to me!)
Book info: Seven Days of You / Cecilia Vinesse. Poppy, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Not fair! Having to go back to the States just before senior year, not visiting Dad’s new family in Paris, knowing that Jamie will be back before she leaves Tokyo, remembering their horrible argument 3 years ago…
With a week to pack up everything, say goodbye to best friends Mika and David, and re-experience her favorite things in Japan, 17-year-old Sophia gets more stressed with every second that clicks by on her countdown watch.
And suddenly Jamie is here – still funny, still cute, still complicated. He’ll get to finish high school at Tokyo Academy with their friends from around the world, while she’ll be back in New Jersey with just Mom.
Can time slow down for just this week?
Can they heal their fractured relationship in just seven days?
Can she leave him behind if they succeed?
Her departure date hasn’t changed, but Sophia’s reasons for wanting to stay have multiplied in this contemporary story weaving together bitter and sweet.
Unarmed, he’s shot by police.
Horrified, she’s the only witness.
Telling the truth will endanger her family – can she do it?
At 16, Starr should be concerned with grades, love, and her future – not drive-by shootings and police brutality in her poor neighborhood, not white kids at her suburban private school “protesting” Kahlil’s death as a way to skip class, not worrying if her testimony will bring down the wrath of gang members and police.
Happy book birthday to The Hate U Give – wish it could be purely fiction, instead of ‘straight from the headlines’ lived experience…
How can we stop this cycle of threat, miscommunication, and death?
Book info:The Hate U Give / Angie Thomas. Balzer + Bray, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Kahlil’s murder during a routine traffic stop upends 16 year old Starr’s world as she mourns her friend’s death with her inner city neighbors, struggles to explain it to her white prep school classmates, and must decide whether to testify against that police officer, endangering everything.
Starr is two versions of herself – automatically cool black girl at the suburban prep school her parents sacrifice to pay for and then “Big Mav’s daughter who work in the store” in their poor neighborhood.
Truth or safety? Gangs and their turf wars are woven into Garden Heights.
Will her testimony send the white cop to trial? Not likely.
Can she keep being two different people, at home and at school? Tension, pressure…
If white boyfriend Chris finds out that Starr is the only witness to Kahlil’s death, surely he’ll treat her differently, and that she just couldn’t bear.
Too true, too real, The Hate U Give moves from one fatal mistake to a torrent of prejudgment and violence.
Locked bedrooms, stepsiblings they can’t ever meet,
of course they must investigate!
Moving to a new house when Mom remarries, Nick and Eryn don’t understand why their new stepsister and stepbrother only come over when they aren’t there… very strange that Jackson and Ava don’t go to their school either. In a city this small, it shouldn’t be too hard to find out why Mom and Michael are hiding them…
Book info: Under Their Skin (Under Their Skin, book 1) / Margaret Peterson Haddix. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: After Mom’s remarriage, Nick and Eryn discover strange things about the new stepsiblings they’ll never meet, even though they live in the same town. But as the 12 year old twins start trying to find Ava and Jackson (who should go to their school, but don’t), they discover unsettling truths about what they’ve learned in school (like history being not true) and their parents (not exactly flesh and blood relatives) and the whole world (they exist because of what??!?).
Why are Mom and Michael keeping Jackson and Ava away from Nick and Eryn?
What is so secret that Mom can only tell them inside a snow fort during a blizzard?
Is every adult in the world keeping secrets from the younger generation?
So if robots or androids or cyborgs could cry and love and imagine, wouldn’t they be human, theoretically speaking of course… First in a duology about humanity’s hope for survival. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
Sloane’s best friend is pregnant!
By Sloane’s boyfriend!
Oh, leaving town is definitely an excellent idea!!
Even with a broken hand from punching Tyler in the nose, she can enjoy the beach with her twin brother at Mom’s house in Hawai’i, pretend she doesn’t care about her former friends (girl- and boy-) in Seattle (if they would please quit texting and calling and emailing with excuses for why it happened!), and start over as just Sloane, instead of eternally being half of a duo.
She didn’t plan on an attraction to Finn that maybe might be more than a summer fling… on the beach, you’ve got to watch out for the biggest waves.
Have you ever re-invented yourself when moving to a new place?
Book info: Summer of Sloane / Erin L. Schneider. Disney Hyperion, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: When Sloane’s best friend Mick gets pregnant by Sloane’s boyfriend, the Seattle teen is more than ready to head to Mom’s Hawai’i home and try to find her true self with no summer romance! Swim lessons for scared-of-water young Luce are doable, even with her wrist cast, but staying away from her big brother Finn is nearly impossible.
Punching Tyler in the nose? Satisfying, if hand-breaking.
Ignoring texts from him and Mick? Difficult, but necessary.
Falling for Finn? Uh-oh…
As her Hawai’i pal Mia declares it “the summer of Sloane” to reinvent herself as single and happy, she tries to shut out the past, even as Finn is reminded of it always by his aloof father. And the days of summer count down, one by one…
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