Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

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Autoboyography is a young adult novel written by Christina Lauren (Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings). I picked up this book during an Audible sale; based on the description, it seemed like something I would like.

Tanner Scott is a bit of an outsider at his high school in Provo; not only did he not grow up in Utah, but his family is not LDS (Mormon). He’s also bisexual, although he has not been “out” since moving from California to Utah a couple of years ago. Tanner’s friend Autumn persuades him to participate in a unique class called “The Seminar”, wherein kids write a full-length book in one semester. It’s kind of a big deal around town because last year, a boy named Sebastian Brother managed to get a publishing deal for his fantasy novel. Read more

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Zombie Abbey by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

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Zombie Abbey is a young adult novel by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. I read this book a few months ago, but I am just getting around to reviewing it now. I found it on the new release shelf in the young adult section of my town library. It looked interesting, so I added it to my book pile.

As the title suggests, this book is a mashup of Downton Abbey and zombies. Basically, you have an aristocratic family in 1920s England with three teenage daughters facing a zombie outbreak. Unfortunately, this is a brand new scourge, so no one knows what to make of the mysterious happenings. The town doctor, in fact, insists that nothing is amiss, and any reports to the contrary are due to hysteria. The family and their guests- because of course they’re having a small house party- must join forces with the folk belowstairs before they are overwhelmed by the fast-moving outbreak. Read more

Honestly Ben by Bill Konigsberg

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Honestly Ben is a YA novel by Bill Konigsberg. It’s the companion/sequel to Openly Straight. Now, I haven’t read Openly Straight, but as soon as I saw Honestly Ben on the new arrivals shelf at my town library, I just had to add it to my borrowing pile.

Ben is a student at the Natick School, a prestigious boys’ boarding school in suburban Massachusetts. As an aside, this is vaguely my neck of the woods, so I was quite enchanted by the setting. Anyway, Ben has decided to focus on academics and baseball. He feels that his involvement with Rafe Goldberg the previous semester (chronicled in Openly Straight) was a phase, and as school resumes, there is a notable froideur between the pair. Everything is going well for Ben- he’s even dating a girl from the local girls’ school- but something doesn’t feel quite right. Ben needs to figure out what he needs to make himself happy, and not what will make everyone else happy. Read more

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

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