Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Thoughts On: The Secret Sky

The Secret Sky by Atia Abawi is a tale of forbidden love in Afghanistan. Women aren't allowed to speak with men who aren't part of their family. It will bring dishonor to their family and clan. But Fatima and Sami were friends as children. And when he comes back to the village after years away, it seemed only natural they would still want to be friends.

Their perfectly innocent friendship upsets many people though. Not just because they aren't related, but because they are from different clans and tribes. Both their families are angered and Fatima and Sami are faced with nothing but harsh options.

The Secret Sky is told in three voices: Fatima, Sami and Sami's cousin Rashid--a devout boy who thinks he is doing the right thing by reporting their meetings to family and "religious" leaders.

Abawi intricately weaves in differing Afgani voices--the traditional, the young and the old who had hoped for change. Also the discrepancies between Islam and the Taliban and men who pretend to be either are brought to the foreground. She presents a scary world, where it is hard to know who to trust and where innocents must suffer for the actions and beliefs of others.

This is a powerful book. Four stars.

***ARC received from publisher through NetGalley.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Thoughts on: The Here and Now

In Brashares, The Here and Now, Prenna is living in the present on a mission from the future to save society from a deadly virus that will destroy life as we know it. Unfortunately, the group she is with is more concerned with secrecy and control than actually making changes.

Then a mysterious visitor takes Prenna aside and charges her with a society saving task. In order to complete this task she must set out on the run, along with the one "time-native" boy who knows the truth.

Much more of a romance than other survival, pre-apocalyptic(?) novels, this book is perfect for getting readers to explore new genres.

***ARC provided by publisher through netgalley.

Thoughts On: Can't Look Away

Donna Cooner's newest novel: Can't Look Away tells the story of Torrey, the famous you tube fashionista. However, now she is known for something else too--her sister's tragic death.

This is an engaging read with a new look on popularity. I would have liked more about her online life--I think Cooner could have delved a little deeper. But teens will related and certainly pick up this book after the success of her first novel, Skinny. I also really liked the layout.

***ARC provided by publisher through Netgally.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thoughts on: Like No Other

Una LaMarche has written a beautifully crafted, realistic and diverse romance. Teens and adults alike are sure to be drawn to the lives of Devorah and Jaxon.

After meeting in a hospital elevator during a hurricane the two are inexplicably drawn to one another. Devorah, who has only known her strict Hasidic upbringing isn't supposed to even talk to a boy like Jaxon, or be alone with him, or think about him. But after their encounter she keeps sneaking away and making plans with him. She starts looking for alternatives to marrying and having children at 18, like her older sister Charlotte. But her family doesn't understand her actions and they won't let her destroy her life easily.

Told in the alternating voices of Devorah and Jaxon this is a story of love, identity and family.

4 Stars


Incredibly sad, I appreciated the authors ability to provide a realistic ending and I enjoyed watching the characters learn to trust themselves and be who they wanted to be.

***ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Thoughts on Jackaby

A paranormal Sherlock Holmes? How could this book not be a hit?

R.F. Jackaby is intelligent and eccentric. Abigail Rook, who is on the run from polite society and newly arrived in New England, is up for any adventure. Plus she needs a job. Assisting Jackaby provides many surprises.

The characters were engaging and the plot was interesting. Ritter needs to polish his writing just a tad but then his books will be unstoppable.

Which leaves me with two questions:
1--This is the start to a series right?
2--What else is William Ritter going to write?

Thoughts on Atlantia

I was so glad this book wasn't about mermaids. I was really afraid it would be with a title like Atlantia. But there was little to correlate this tale to the common ones of Atlantis. And for that I was really grateful.

Rio and her twin sister are part of a society that lives below--below the sea in a man built "bubble" where the air is clean and they are fated to live long lives. But this society is completely dependent upon those that remain above, on the earth. Because of that, each year a new group of teens from Atlantia gets to choose life above or life below.

Rio has always dreamed of going above and her sister Bay was always meant for below. But only one can go above and Bay surprises everyone by making the choice.

Rio must come to terms with Bay's decision, attempt to learn more about her mother's mysterious death and find away to join her sister above.

Atlantia is first portrayed as a beautiful paradise, but as Rio discovers more and more of the truth, the decay of Atlantia becomes evident.

Thoughts on: Tear You Apart

I absolutely adored the world created by Sarah Cross in Kill Me Softly. I immediately bought that book for my library and continue to put it in the hands of teen readers. So of course I was extremely excited when I found another book written in that same world.

Tear You Apart is Viv's story. A Snow White curse with a delightful dalliance in the 12 Dancing Princesses and even a bit of the Persephone myth. This is another definite must buy. An interesting look at families, fate, friendship, and destiny.

***ARC provided by publisher through Netgalley.