The Tyrant’s Daughter

By J.C. Carleson

9/10 Stars

12+

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When Laila’s father is killed by her uncle, her family flees to the foreign, peaceful USA. Confused by the freedom of the people around her and grief stricken over her father, she eventually adapts to her new world. But while Laila learns to love her new home, her mother is stuck on their past & their palace. Conspiring with rebels & the CIA, Laila’s mother believes she can regain their throne. Can Laila decide where her loyalties lie, and if she’ll step in to stop another international crisis?

I was immediately drawn in by the first pages of the book & the plot of the book. Laila is somehow relatable, while giving me a new perspective of foreign issues. The book is well written & deals with important questions in a personal way. I read & watch the news in a whole different light. I also appreciated the author’s attention to minor characters and their own problems. I highly recommend this book; I think it should be required reading!

9.29.14. Realistic Fiction,Young Adult,

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The Future of Us

By Jay Asher & Carolyn Mackler

9/10 Stars

It’s 1996, and Emma just got her first computer. Her friend and next-door neighbor, Josh, brought over an America Online CD-ROM for her. They log on and find themselves on Facebook, which doesn’t exist yet. They discover their future selves, living fifteen years in the future. They quickly discover that any changes made now disrupt the future in an unpredictable way. Emma is determined to create a better future for herself, and Josh hopes he can get to his faster.  Forced to confront their mistakes, the two struggle with the pains of realizing they aren’t happy, and never will be, unless they somehow change their future.

I picked up this book and didn’t set it down. It’s immediately interesting, and the characters draw you in. I really related to Emma and her frantic search to make a better future for herself. Josh was a character that really grew on me. He developed throughout the book, discovering himself and becoming wiser. I was also impressed by the author’s attention to the secondary characters. They were different and interesting, which can be rare for supporting characters. I highly recommend this book.

9.23.14. Realistic Fiction,Young Adult,

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ttyl

Book 1 of the Internet Girls series

By Lauren Myracle

7/10 Stars

Ages 12+

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Told in IM format, this book tells the stories of three best friends, Angela, Maddie, and Zoe and their tenth grade experience. Determined to stay best friends forever, the three weather popular girl drama & boy troubles head on. But when Angela is faced with a fresh heartache, Zoe gets in over her head with a flirty teacher, and Maddie goes to the wrong party with the wrong friends, the three are forced to wonder if their friendship is really meant to be.

This book is entertaining & extremely amusing, but I don’t recommend it to those under 12 or over 18. The characters are interesting and realistic, and their friendship well developed. I recommend it to girls in high school looking for an entertaining read.

8.31.14. Realistic Fiction,Humor,Girls Books,

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Heiress, P.i.

By Amanda Mahan

8/10 Stars

12+

Lucy Hansen is the shyest rich girl in Hollywood. She avoids the paparazzi, and is more concerned about the environment than the latest trends. But when her best friend forever, Holden, asks for a favor, she can’t turn it down. A made over, clueless, not really private investigator, Lucy is a disaster waiting to happen. And it happens.

This book completely surprised me. It was endlessly entertaining, humorous, and had an interesting plot line. When I picked this book up, I expected it to be funny, but predictable, and the latter was completely untrue. The characters are intricate & amusing, and the drama completely believable (though hilarious). I highly recommend it.

8.25.14. Realistic Fiction,Girls Books,Mystery,Mystery Books,Romance Books,

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Relatively Famous

By Jessica Park

6/10 Stars

Dani just found out her dad is a movie star. Mark Ocean just found out that he has a teenage daughter, and it would be good for his career to become a family man. Before they know it, Dani’s spending the summer with Mark. Dani encounters hot trainers, thousand dollar dresses, huge parties, and teen socialites quickly. Can Dani stay herself among LA beauty queens? And can Mark find a way to appreciate his daughter?

This is a poorly written book, but very fun to read. Dani is a likable character, and I found myself rooting for her despite it all. The book was pretty predictable & cliche, but it had some twists in the plot that were both creative & unpredictable. I recommend it to preteens and young teens looking for an entertaining, easy read.

8.14.14. Realistic Fiction,

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13: A Novel

By Jason Robert Brown & Dan Elish

6.5/10 Stars

Based on the musical 13

 

Evan’s dad met a stewardess on a flight, and before he knows it, he’s moving to Appleton, Indiana, away from his friends and sort-of girlfriend, Nina. His bar mitzvah is happening in two months and he has no friends and no desire for the party. Before he knows it, his friends in New York are drifting away and one stole Nina. Evan quickly learns that if he wants to make it in Appleton, he has to become friends with the coolest guy in town, Brett Connelly. But his new friends and his becoming a man mentality for the bar mitzvah start to clash and Evan has to decide what becoming a man really means, and what it means to be a friend. 

I enjoyed this book. Predictable, but sweetly so, with a great message behind the story. Evan’s character jumps off the page, and the new friends he makes are all full of personality and humor. I especially enjoyed reading more about the characters from the musical 13 (I am currently in it) and hearing more about Evan’s journey. The book wasn’t written particularly well, but it was entertaining and had an excellent message. I recommend it to preteens figuring out what growing up is.

PS: Go see the musical 13, it’s way better than the book (:

7.16.14. Realistic Fiction,Boys Books,Humor,

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A Midsummer’s Nightmare

By Kody Keplinger

8/10 Stars

12+

Whitley’s dream summer has turned into a nightmare. Her divorced dad is getting married to a perfect family, and will do whatever it takes to make it work, including shutting Whitley out of his life. To make it worse, her graduation one-night-stand happens to be her new stepbrother. If Whitley ever wants to be happy again, it’s going to take a lot of help from her adorable new sister, hot stepbrother, and new best friend to do it.

This book was a lot better than I expected. Whitley is a character that readers can relate to- confused, moody, and hurt about her family, life, and future. Her story was very real, and I was sucked into the book from the second page. The author did an excellent job on Whitley’s voice, and it definitely made the book much better. I highly recommend this book.

7.16.14. Realistic Fiction,Romance Books,

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Amber Rules

Book One of the Hollywood Rules

By Mel/Melinda Curtis

8/10 Stars

13+

requested by author to read, not sponsored

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Amber Rules just inherited her father’s life coaching business and if she ever wants to gain privacy, she has to earn one million dollars in income for the company. She has no clue how to be a life coach and how to hold onto her few remaining clients, plus one egotistical (but handsome) basketball star is determined to teach Amber his own set of Rules. 

I loved this book, and read it in less than a week. I enjoyed Amber’s character and spunk, and the entire book was hilarious and sassy. Evan & Amber’s chemistry is impeccable, and I couldn’t help but root for them. The family drama was great, adding more substance to the book than romance, and it is always refreshing to read a book with realistic aspects. I highly recommend this well written book. 

7.12.14. Romance Books,Realistic Fiction,

4

Superlatives: Biggest Flirts

By Jennifer Echols

8/10 Stars

Ages 12+

Tia has worked hard to be known as the life of the party, and is careful to avoid responsibility & relationships. She’s ready for an easy senior year hanging out with friends, and hooking up with cute boys..starting with new kid, Will. As sparks fly, Will wants to get serious and Tia can’t push him away fast enough. Side by side all year, the two stay friends and can’t resist teasing each other constantly. But when they are awarded Biggest Flirts of the senior class, Will’s in trouble with his girlfriend and Tia finds herself struggling with her own logical reasoning about love. It started out as a carefree fling and it’s about to get a whole lot more complicated.

Tia is a great character. Seemingly shallow on the surface, she has layers of family issues and moments that taint every possible minute of her life. I really enjoyed reading her story, but I admit, got frustrated with her. Will is great, though seems a little too “dream guy.” Cute, chases after what he wants, etc. He also has a well-written character. The book is written well, and funny to read. I finished it quickly. I highly recommend if you want a fun, light read.

5.25.14. Realistic Fiction,Romance Books,

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Smoky Mountain Tracks

Book 1 of the Raine Stockton Dog Mystery series

By Donna Ball

9.8/10 Stars

Raine Stockton is the daughter of the judge and ex-wife of the sheriff. She also works as a search-and-rescue worker sometimes with her inexperienced, but lovable dog, Cisco. She is reluctantly thrust into a search for a six year old girl & her mother, kidnapped and somewhere in the wilderness. Suspecting there is more to the case than what meets the eye, she does some investigating of her own, while she slowly learns to trust Cisco and herself.

Oh my goodness, this series is completely amazing. Full to bursting with adorable dog details, scary police scenes, rocky self-discovery, and a necessary bit of romance, it is entertaining from beginning to end. I loved every bit of it, and I confess that I’ve already read the entire series. I highly recommend it!

4.07.14. Realistic Fiction,Mystery Books,Popular Books,

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Delirium

Book 1 of the Delirium series

By Lauren Oliver

9/10 Stars

It’s hard to imagine that people thought love was a good thing. Now that scientists have found the cure, there isn’t pain or hatred in the world, and everyone’s happy. And Lena is anxious for her procedure, coming up at the end of the summer. Then she’ll go to college, be matched, live happily ever after..and not turning out like her mother. But, she falls in love, and finds out that the disease is a beautiful thing. 

I adored this book! Amazingly written with a thought-provoking concept, it has excitement, mystery, and romance. I highly recommend it.

4.06.14. Popular Books,Popular Teen Books,Romance Books,Realistic Fiction,

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Full Ride

By Margaret Peterson Haddix

9/10 Stars

Becca was once popular, rich, and happy. But after her father was sent to jail for embezzlement, and danger seeks her at every turn, her mother and her move away and start a new life, poor and broken. Now, Becca is in her senior year. She has good grades, good friends, and a desperate desire for a good future. When she starts applying for scholarships, she finds out that she may never be able to go to the college of her dreams, since she is trapped by her past. How far is Becca willing to go for a future?

This book was well written, thought provoking, and exciting. I flew through it, as I usually do with a Haddix book, and loved every second. Becca is such a genuine character with a past she is ashamed of, trying to scrape up a life of her own from the broken shards. The book has great morals and surprising humor. I highly recommend it!

3.20.14. Realistic Fiction,Popular Teen Books,

2

The Latte Rebellion

By Sarah Jamila Stevenson

9/10 Stars

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After Asha, high school senior, gets called a racial insult at a pool party, it sparks an idea to make money for a post-graduation trip. They’ll design & sell T-Shirts that promote the idea of the Latte Rebellion. Eventually the business becomes more than just a way to earn money. A club begins that raises awareness of the “lattes” of the world, the idea that everyone is mixed. A little bit of this, a little bit of that. And this idea takes off, taking over Asha’s life much more than she planned. Will this idea ruin her dreams, or improve the world as we know it? How much risk is Asha willing to take?

Oh my goodness I love this book. I picked it up, not expecting much, and read the first few pages..and was hooked! This book is eye-catching, humorous, and written very well, with underlying themes of finding yourself and the mixed-races in our world. Perfectly balanced between Asha’s struggle with her parents, friends, and family, and her wild campaign ideas, you will love this book!! And it’s perfect to read with a mocha, capucchino, or better yet..a latte.

3.05.14. Realistic Fiction,Humor,Popular Teen Books,

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Gossip Girl

#1 of Gossip Girl series

By Cecily Von Ziegasar

8/10 Stars

Age 13+

Serena is back from boarding school. Her best friend, Blaine, isn’t happy to see her, because when Serena was gone, Blaine was the It Girl. With the man of Blaine’s dreams. The man of Blaine’s dreams, Nate, is struggling with his own feelings toward Serena, and trying desperately to keep his own secrets hidden. Serena doesn’t understand why everything can’t just go back to the way things are. The rich girls and boys are about to get tattled on, because lovely Gossip Girl is about to spill all their secrets. 

This is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while, and you definitely have to been in the right, girly mood for it. It’s written very well, with clean character switches, well-developed plots, and interesting, deep characters. I highly recommend to girls who enjoy this sort of thing (you know who you are!) 

1.13.14. Girls Books,Popular Teen Books,Realistic Fiction,Movie,

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Matilda Bone

By Karen Cushman

7/10 Stars

Matilda, raised by a priest to be pious, hard, and learned, is sent away from her childhood home into Blood & Bone Alley, to be the assistant of Peg the Bonesetter. To Matilda’s dismay, she is to light fires, run errands, and heal people, much below her earlier practices of Latin, writing, and reading. Her narrow views of the world bring other’s pity onto her, to her confusion, when she believes they are the ones to pity. Gradually, however, Matilda Bone learns that her world and God are not as they seem, and maybe it isn’t so sinful to speak up, make her own choices, and laugh.

This is a wonderful book for children, and young teens. In a unique perspective, Matilda’s story is much like all of our struggles to find ourselves and our place in this world. Well written with greatly developed characters and dry humor, I highly recommend this book!

1.11.14. Popular Kid Books,Historical Fiction,Realistic Fiction,Girls Books,Humor,

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