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These Ruthless Deeds by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed reading These Vicious Masks last year, and found the combination of teenagers with extraordinary powers (like the X-Men) placed in Victorian England to be highly original.

These Ruthless Deeds is a young adult novel written by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas. It begins not too long after the events in These Vicious Masks, and protagonist Evelyn is still processing what happened at the end of the first book in the series. However, she is preoccupied by her family’s move to London for the “Little Season” and everything that entails. She learns more about a shadowy organization that oversees “Aberrants”: what is her place is supposed to be within the group and what are the group’s true intentions? The love triangle from the first book returns in a sequel; what good is a YA novel if there are not at least two gentlemen vying for the attention of the plucky protagonist? Continue reading

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The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Bone Witch is a YA fantasy novel written by Rin Chupeco. It is the first entry in a planned series.

Tea (whose name is not pronounced like the beverage) is a young girl living in a world surrounded by magic. Witches are valued for their power, but when Tea accidentally brings her brother back from the dead, she learns that there is a limit to society’s tolerance for witchcraft.

Bone witches are scorned, but they are also an integral component in keeping the world a safe place. Bone witches are a scarce commodity, so Tea is fortunate to find a mentor who can help her. Most of the book is devoted to Tea undergoing training to understand how to utilize her power. Continue reading

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The Amateurs by Sara Shepard

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I’ve enjoyed several of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars books, so I was excited when I found her latest book The Amateurs at the library.

Speaking of Pretty Little LiarsThe Amateurs begins in a similar fashion. The details are different, of course, but the bottom line is that Helena Kelly, a pretty girl in an affluent suburb disappears and is found dead.

Five years later, Seneca Frazier is a college student who is obsessed with the Helena Kelly case. She connects with Maddy, an online friend from a true crime/amateur sleuth website. Maddy, who is from Dexby, the town where the crime occurred, invites Seneca to come visit for Spring Break. What better way to cross-reference the details of the case? Perhaps they can uncover some clues that the police missed! Continue reading

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Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I have not had the time to read very many YA novels lately, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist. I am not familiar with Sundquist’s work on YouTube, but YA is one of my favorite genres, and the description piqued my interest.

Will Porter is a visually impaired teenager who is fulfilling his desire to attend a regular high school instead of the school for the blind that he has attended up until now. After some awkward encounters, Will makes some new friends, including a girl named Cecily who is in several of his classes. Continue reading

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Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

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My oldest daughter is nine years old, and she loves reading. She has started reading novels, but her favorite genre has always been graphic novels. Raina Telgemeier has always been my daughter’s favorite author; she has all of Telgemeier’s books, and even met her a few years ago. Needless to say, my daughter has been looking forward to Ghosts for months.

Ghosts is Telgemeier’s newest graphic novel.   Teenage protagonist Cat is not very happy about having to move to the small town of Bahia de la Luna, but her little sister Maya has cystic fibrosis and the climate will help her breathe better. Cat learns that the whole town is really into Dia de los Muertos; she thinks this is silly, but Maya really wants to meet a real ghost.

There is a boy in the story, Cat’s friends tease her about Carlos liking her, but the focus is not on a romantic relationship. Instead, there is an emphasis on friendship; Carlos shows Cat and Maya around the town, and he is the first one to tell them about the ghosts who live near the mission. Continue reading

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Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I love school stories, so I was very excited about the opportunity to read Lucy and Linh. This is a YA novel written by Alice Pung. It was originally published in Australia as Laurinda in 2014.

Lucy Lam is a teenage girl who wins an academic scholarship to attend Laurinda, a prestigious private school. This is a very big opportunity for her, and it is a testament to how much she has achieved since arriving in Australia as an immigrant when she was seven years old.

The story unfolds in an almost epistolary format, as Lucy recounts her experiences at Laurinda to Linh, who used to go to school with her. The girls are very different than what Lucy is used to, and this is not simply because they come from more affluent backgrounds than her old schoolmates. Lucy quickly realizes that a trio of girls called The Cabinet are the ones really running the show, and she is even more surprised when they take an interest in her. Continue reading

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Poppy by Mary Hooper

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I received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, so I was very excited about the opportunity read Poppy by Mary Hooper.

Poppy Pearson is a young woman living in England during World War I. She is working as a maid in a grand house, but she has bigger dreams. Poppy did well in school, but she needed to take the position in the de Vere household to help supplement her family’s income.

Poppy receives the opportunity to train as a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse. The bulk of the novel deals with her experiences working in a hospital in England that receives injured soldiers as they return from the battlefields in France. Hard work and taking orders are not as much of an adjustment for her as they are for some of the girls who come from more affluent backgrounds. Continue reading