By Nicole Williams
This is a quintessential young adult girl meets boy novel. Lucy’s life hasn’t been perfect. Both of her parents are incredibly distant, and now, she is forced to go to a new school for her senior year. She finds escape in dancing and rescuing dogs at the animal shelter, but then she meets Jude. He is incredibly attractive and incredibly charming, but he also has a reputation as in a rap sheet a mile long. On her first day of school, everyone assumes that she is trouble because she is hanging out with Jude Ryder. Jude is bad for her, but she can’t seem to stay away from him no matter how hard she tries. This is a page turning book that brings a lot of heat, but it is still appropriate for teens.
I have never read anything by Nicole Williams, but I really enjoyed this book. Both characters deal with some pretty deep issues, but the writing is lighthearted and easy to read. There weren’t any slow parts, and I really liked the infusion of dancing into the story. There were definitely some heart wrenching moments with Lucy and her parents. However, it was endearing to see them try to repair their relationship after so much heartache. Death, abandonment, and peer pressure were themes found in this book. This is part of a trilogy. The second book is called Clash, and the third book is called Crush.
Something Like Normal
By Trish Doller
I have been wanting to read this book for quite some time now, and I am very happy that I finally did! It was amazing and so much different than most of the contemporary YA books that I have read in the past. Travis, a Marine, is home from a tour in Afghanistan. Things have changed since he last was home. His brother has stolen his girlfriend, his car, and his mother and father’s relationship is very rocky. Travis is also having nightmares and panic attacks about his experiences in Afghanistan. He is also seeing his dead friend Charlie, who died in an attack in Afghanistan. Travis blames himself for his death. Things change when he reconnects with Harper, a girl who blames him for her less than perfect reputation around town. Travis must learn to cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder by opening up to his family and the girl he so desperately wants to like him.
Everything that happened in this book was very realistic. I felt as if the characters in this book were real people with real lives. The conversations between characters flowed and the book had a nice pace. There are not that many young adult books written about post-traumatic stress disorder. This book helped shine a light on a subject that is hard to talk about and write about. I think the author did a great job of describing the experiences Travis and his comrades had in Afghanistan and the struggles they dealt with after returning. Despite the heavy subject of war, this book is very funny, witty, and endearing. The relationship Travis and Harper have is not perfect, but they really complement each other.
This is Trish Doller’s first book, but her new book, Where the Stars Still Shine, will be out in fall of 2013. If you like Something Like Normal, you should try The Things a Brother Knows by Dana Reinhardt. This book is about the effects that post-traumatic stress disorder have on a young marine and his family.
We’ll Always Have Summer
By Jenny Han
Although it is not summer right now, this is a great summer read or a great read if you need a break from the winter cold. The characters in this book are also in college. So, this is a great book to try if you are looking for something a little more “adult”.This book is about the complexities of a love triangle, but this triangle includes two brothers. Isabel (Belly) has dated both Fisher brothers, Jeremiah and Conrad. Her fling with Conrad ended a while ago, and she has been happy with Jeremiah for quite some time. However, Jeremiah and Belly decide to get married and everything seems to change. Relationshps with their families are tested, and secrets are revealed that could ruin everything.
This was such a great book and a fast read. Fortunately, this book is also part of a series. The Summer I Turned Pretty and It’s Not Summer Without You are the first two installments in this series. Although, I must say I read this book completely out of order and it didn’t matter one bit! This book is very well written with wonderful characters who you can truly relate to. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Susan Colasanti will love Jenny Han and this fabulous YA series!
By Adele Griffin
With Halloween right around the corner, I saw it fit to review a creepy thriller. Some people are scared by monsters and bloody gore, but I like a good old-fashioned ghost story. Tighter by Adele Griffin is loosely based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. The main character in the story is 17-year-old Jamie, who takes a summer job as an au pair on the New England island of Little Bly. Her mom convinced her to take the job to escape the problems back home including an addiction to prescription pills. Jamie soon finds that the little island is full of mysteries including the tragic death of two teenagers. She also begins to see ghosts. Is this real or just a cause of the pills?
This book has the ingredients for a great ghost story. Creepy island. Check. Tragic deaths. Check. Old mansion. Check. Unexplained sights and sounds. Check. The line between the living and dead is completely blurred in Jamie’s world. The best part is that the reader is unsure if the ghosts are real or just figments of her imagination due to the pills. If you are familiar with The Turn of the Screw you will notice the similarities in this book. However, Griffin plots some original twists and presents an ending that is stunning! Adele Griffin is also the author of Picture the Dead and My Almost Epic Summer as well as many other books.
If you enjoy Tighter, read Turning by Francine Prose. This book is also based on The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. This book was just released in September, and I can not wait to read it! I am sure it will be equally chilling and creepy!
By L.J. Smith
Some of you may say that the vampire trend has died. After all, we now have books about supernatural creatures such as zombies, angels, and fairies. I say the vampire trend is still around, at least for a little while longer. The Vampire Diaries series by L.J. Smith is incredibly popular. It is so popular that a hit television show was created based on the book and now a new series of books has been created based on the tv show.
The new series is called Stefan’s Diaries. The first in the series is called Origins. The setting is Mystic Falls, West Virginia during the Civil War. Damon and Stefan Salvatore are brothers from an elite family in Mystic Falls. Mystic Falls is rumored to be the home of supernatural creatures including vampires. Katherine Pierce, a teenage girl, comes to live with the Salvatores after her family was killed in a disastrous fire in Atlanta. Both brothers fall madly in love with Katherine instantly. She is mysterious and harboring a secret that will change the Salvatore brothers’ lives forever.
This series chronicles the Salvatore brothes lives after they turn into vampires. There are currently six books in this series including Bloodlust, The Craving, The Ripper, The Asylum, and The Compelled. Fans of the tv show will adore this series because it tells the story of the Salvatore brothers before they come back to modern day Mystic Falls. It is co-written by the writers of the show, Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson.
Check out this new series and be sure to watch the Season 4 premiere of The Vampire Diaries on the CW on October 11!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
By Stephen Chbosky
WARNING: This book has been included on the American Library Association’s annual “10 Most Frequently Challenged Books” list. It contains instances of drugs, suicide, and other potentially disturbing material. However, it was so good that I read it all in one day!
How many terrible things can one boy witness? For Charlie, the answer is a lot. He is a wallflower, someone who stands on the sidelines, never joining in. It’s his freshman year of high school, and he is struggling to break out of his shell. This book is like Charlie’s diary, written as a series of intimate letters from him to an anonymous person.
Charlie writes about kissing, getting high and dancing to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I really liked the way he holds nothing back as he describes these sometimes scary, sometimes thrilling experiences. Read this coming-of-age tale to see what high school is like through a wallflower’s eyes.
This book has been made into a major motion picture starring Emma Watson (from Harry Potter), Logan Lerman (from Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief), and Ezra Miller. The movie is due to be released in September 2012!
All Unquiet Things
By Anna Jarzab
If you like mystery, murder and secrets then read All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab. The main character is a teenage boy named Neily who can’t seem to forgive himself for not answering the phone call from his ex-girlfriend, Carly, the night she was murdered. Neily teams up with Audrey, Carly’s cousin, to try and solve the mystery of Carly’s murder. Much of this story is told in flashbacks, which can be confusing in some books, but this story was easy to read. The flashbacks actually helped to explain the relationship between Neily and Carly before she was murdered. Neily and Audrey discover secrets that are shocking, but mostly, they find out the truth about Carly and how she murdered.
This book is written quite well; although, be prepared for some strong language as this book is written for older teens. This is Anna Jarzab’s first novel. I have been waiting quite a while for her to write a second book, and now she has! Her second book, The Opposite of Hallelujah, will be released in October 2012. This book is also a mystery, but not in the same way as All Unquiet Things. This book is about family secrets, unanswered questions, and the relationship between sisters. Check it out!