Flash Reviews (4)

I can’t believe the school year is starting again already!  I need to have these books in my classroom when the kids start, so I’m writing a few quick reviews so I don’t have the books piling up at home waiting for a review.  Post idea from GreenBeanTeenQueen 🙂

Moonglass by Jessi Kirby
Source: Purchased

Summary (From Goodreads): From Jessi Kirby, a debut novel about confronting the past in order to move ahead.

I read once that water is a symbol for emotions. And for a while now, I’ve thought maybe my mother drowned in both.

Anna’s life is upended when her father accepts a job transfer the summer before her junior year. It’s bad enough that she has to leave her friends and her life behind, but her dad is moving them to the beach where her parents first met and fell in love- a place awash in memories that Anna would just as soon leave under the surface.

While life on the beach is pretty great, with ocean views and one adorable lifeguard in particular, there are also family secrets that were buried along the shore years ago. And the ebb and flow of the ocean’s tide means that nothing- not the sea glass that she collects on the sand and not the truths behind Anna’s mother’s death- stays buried forever.

Flash Review: I read some mixed reviews for this one, but I wanted to read it anyway, especially after my mom read it and told me how much she liked it.  The blurb from Sarah Dessen helped too.  I ended up really enjoying Moonglass.  It’s a wonderful summer read, full of beaches, lifeguards, etc.  Don’t let the beach atmosphere fool you.  Yes there’s a budding romance, but Anna is really struggling with the memory of her mother’s death.  This challenges her relationship with her father and her ability to grow as a person.  It’s an emotional read that I didn’t want to put down. I gave this 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
Source: Received through Donors Choose fundraiser

Summary (From Goodreads):

Don’t get me started on the Bruiser. He was voted “Most Likely to Get the Death Penalty” by the entire school. He’s the kid no one knows, no one talks to, and everyone hears disturbing rumors about. So why is my sister, Brontë, dating him? One of these days she’s going to take in the wrong stray dog, and it’s not going to end well.

My brother has no right to talk about Brewster that way—no right to threaten him. There’s a reason why Brewster can’t have friends—why he can’t care about too many people. Because when he cares about you, things start to happen. Impossible things that can’t be explained. I know, because they’re happening to me.

Award-winning author Neal Shusterman has crafted a chilling and unforgettable novel about the power of unconditional friendship, the complex gear workings of a family, and the sacrifices we endure for the people we love.

Flash Review: Neal Shusterman is an incredible author.  I loved Unwind and couldn’t wait to get my hands on Bruiser.  I wasn’t sure what to expect at first because I thought this would be written from Brew’s point of view, but it’s told from multiple perspectives.  I really liked that because it’s always interesting to see how the characters feel and what they’re seeing.  It also moved the story along faster.  I enjoyed Brontë, but Tennyson and Brew were my favorite perspectives to read.  Tennyson is a layered, dynamic character.  Brew is complex and empathetic.  His point of view is told in verse which really fits his character.  I can’t wait to introduce this novel to my students because I know both guys and girls will enjoy it.  I gave this 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz
Source: Purchased

Summary (From Goodreads):

Annaleah and Brian shared something special – Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn’t need anyone else. It didn’t matter that their relationship was secret. All that mattered was what they had with each other.

And then, out of nowhere, Brian dies. And while everyone else has their role in the grieving process, Annaleah finds herself living outside of it, unacknowledged and lonely. How can you recover from a loss that no one will let you have?

Flash Review: I was immediately taken in by Annaleah’s story and her feelings for Brian and his death.  This story is a little different because Annaleah is grieving for Brian, but she’s grieving alone since no one knew about their relationship.  I can’t imagine being in her situation.  Not only is she trying to understand his death, but she has all kinds of questions about their relationship, if she can even call it that.  We follow Annaleah into a pretty deep depression, and even though this makes me feel cold to say this, it really irritated me.  She isolated herself while she was with Brian, but she’s not really alone; she has friends and family reaching out to her.  This is something that Annaleah grapples with herself, but that point in the book really dragged for me.  I thought about putting it down, but I didn’t and ended up being happy that I stuck with her.  The verse isn’t as impressive as Lisa Schroeder’s or Kimberly Marcus’s, but it’s still enjoyable and easy to read.  I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

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