All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages by Saundra Mitchell (editor)

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All Out: The No-Longer-Secret Stories of Queer Teens Throughout the Ages is an anthology of short stories written by young adult authors geared toward a YA audience. This book was not on my radar, but as soon as I saw it on the new release shelf at my town library, I knew that I had to borrow it.

The stories in this anthology feature historical fiction from all different eras from culturally diverse LGBTQ teens. There are 17 stories, and I enjoyed reading all of them and experiencing the perspective of a new narrative. It’s hard to choose favorites, but if I had to, here are some of my favorites. This is entirely subjective, and I’m sure that a dozen other readers would likely have completely different lists if asked about their favorites. Read more

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People Like Us by Dana Mele

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People Like Us is a young adult novel written by Dana Mele. I read this book a while ago, but I am woefully behind with my review writing. I had heard about this book, and so I requested it via my library network.

It is an absolute nightmare when the body of a student turns up in the lake on the campus of the exclusive Bates Academy, but for Kay Donovan, it’s just the beginning. She receives a message from the dead girl, instructing her to confront her friends, and if Kay fails to comply, there will be consequences. It seems as though everyone is keeping secrets, but the biggest secret of all is how the girl ended up in the lake in the first place. Could Kay be implicated for the crime? Read more

A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

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A Girl Like That was written by Tanaz Bhathena. I read this book a while ago, but I have fallen behind with my review writing. I found this book on the new release shelf of the young adult section of my library. The premise interested me, so I added it to my pile.

The book opens with the deaths of the protagonist Zarin and her boyfriend Porus. Armed with this knowledge, the reader must delve into the backstory, which details the events that led up to this untimely demise.

Zarin is a teenage girl living in Saudi Arabia. She’s Indian, and she lives in an expatriate community with her aunt and uncle. She has already acquired a reputation by the time she meets Porus, but she is so much more than “the girl like that”. Her life is heartbreakingly complicated, and her story deserves to be told. Read more

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert

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Little & Lion was written by Brandy Colbert. I read this book a while ago, but I’m woefully behind with my book reviewing. I found this book on the new release shelf of the young adult section of my town library. I’d seen this book on a few lists of Hot YA books, so I happily added it to my pile.

Suzette returns home to Los Angeles from boarding school, and tries to settle into life with her blended family. Her stepbrother Lionel has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she wants to be there for him. Rejoining her family serves as a pleasant distraction from having to think about what happened at school. Read more

The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza by Shaun David Hutchinson

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The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza was written by Shaun David Hutchinson. I read this book a while ago, but I have fallen woefully behind with my book reviewing. Anyway, I found it on the new release shelf of the young adult section of my town library. The premise interested me, so I added it to the pile of books that I was borrowing.

Elena Mendoza is already somewhat of an oddity because she’s the product of a virgin birth via parthenogenesis. But then she saves the life of her crush by putting her hands on the girl and completely healing a gunshot wound. Elena doesn’t know what to make of this startling development, and neither do her classmates. Some of them think that it’s some sort of trickery and that Elena is looking for attention, and others think that Elena can perform miracles. Some of these kids in the latter group approach Elena and ask her if they can heal people in their lives. Elena complies, but her healing powers do not come without a steep cost. As strange things begin to happen all around her, Elena needs to figure out what role her powers are playing in these events, and what the future holds for her. Read more

The Unbinding of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara

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The Unbinding of Mary Reade is a young adult novel written by Miriam McNamara. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I love historical fiction; I don’t read as much Georgian fiction as Regency, but its still an era that I enjoy. In addition to one of my favorite settings, the premise sounded fascinating.

Circumstance has forced Mary Reade to live as a boy named Mark for almost her entire life. As the story begins, Mary’s ship has been attacked by pirates. She chooses to align herself with the pirates, mostly because she sees a girl pirate and imagines being able to go through life as who she is, not who she has to present herself as. Read more

My Name Is Victoria by Lucy Worsley

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My Name is Victoria is a YA novel written by Lucy Worsley. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because 19th century England is my favorite era in history. I also enjoyed the Victoria television series, as well as Daisy Goodwin’s companion novel and Julia Baird’s biography of Queen Victoria.

The story is told from the perspective of “Miss V”, the daughter of John Conrad, who oversaw the future Queen Victoria’s upbringing. The young Victoria was kept in isolation, and V is one of Victoria’s first friends. Victoria has been told that she needs to be kept apart from society because of her scheming uncles and cousins who might wish to harm her because of her proximity to the throne. Whether there is any merit to this claim, or whether this is intended to instill a sense of paranoia remains to be seen. Read more

Ship It by Britta Lundin

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Ship It is a YA novel by debut author Britta Lundin. I was excited about the opportunity to read this book because I enjoy YA books, and the premise intrigued me.

Claire is a teenage girl living in rural Idaho. She doesn’t have a lot of friends at school, but she is a very active member in the Demon Heart fan community online. She writes slash fanfiction (gay romance) about the two male protagonists, and is absolutely convinced of the chemistry between them. When a comic convention comes to Boise, Claire is eager to attend the Demon Heart panel. She asks the actors whether or not he’ll be making SmokeHeart (the romantic pairing) canon (a real part of the show). Forest, who is one of the actors, answers rather rudely, and Claire is devastated and embarrassed. However, she ends up winning a huge prize- the chance to travel with the cast to two more conventions.

Claire knows that she needs to mend things with Forest, but at the same time, she wants to convince him of SmokeHeart’s importance. She also wants to convince Jamie, the showrunner, to make SmokeHeart canon. She’s rather persistent in her efforts. Read more

White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig

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White Rabbit is a YA novel written by Caleb Roehrig. I haven’t read any of his other books, but I was excited about the opportunity to read this one because the plot intrigued me.

Rufus is at a Fourth of July party when he receives a frantic phone call from his half sister. They don’t have much of a relationship, so Rufus knows that things must really be bad if April is reaching out to him. Rufus is less than thrilled that his ex-boyfriend Bash wants to come along, but since Bash is the one with a car, there isn’t much of a choice in the matter.

Rufus and Bash walk into a crime scene, and then they spend the rest of that one long night trying to figure out what happened at the lake house where they found April. They crisscross the town, interviewing and reinterviewing the other people who were at the lake house. Everyone has their reasons for being evasive, and truthfulness seems to come at a premium. Read more

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

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Suitors and Sabotage is Cindy Anstey’s third novel. I was very excited about the opportunity to read this book because I’ve enjoyed her other books. The novels are unconnected, but they all take place in Regency England, which is one of my favorite historical eras.

Imogene Chively has just finished her first Season in London, and is looking forward to spending the summer with her family and friends as they take turns hosting each other at a series of house parties. One of her suitors has received permission to visit her; Imogene is not particularly interested in pursuing a courtship with the young man, but she doesn’t really have much of a choice in the matter. When the earnest young man- named Ernest, of course- arrives, he brings his brother Ben along as well.

Imogene discovers that she has a lot more in common with Ben. They develop a rapport quickly, and Imogene agrees to give Ben art lessons to bolster his skills as a budding architect. Read more