Flash Reviews (10)

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder

Source: Purchased

Summary (From Goodreads):

At Penford High School, Brittany Taylor is the queen bee. She dates whomever she likes, rules over her inner circle of friends like Genghis Khan, and can ruin anyone’s life with a snap of perfectly manicured fingers. Just ask the unfortunate few who have crossed her.

For April Bowers, Brittany is the answer to her prayers. April is so unpopular, kids don’t know she exists. One lunch spent at Brittany’s table, and April is basking in the glow of popularity.

But Brittany’s friendship comes with a high price tag, and April decides it’s not worth the cost. Inspiring and empowering, this is the story of one girl who decides to push back.

Flash Review: Bullying is far too common in our schools, so I’m often looking for books that deal with the issue.  The Lipstick Laws is a nice addition to topic of novels because it’s on the lighter side of things.  The bullying is bad, but the humor included lightens the mood while still providing an anti-bullying message.  Brittany Taylor is a horrible bully, but she’s also envied by many of the girls in her school for her beauty and popularity.  April is insecure and wishes to be like Brittany.  The two become “friends,” but this friendship comes with a price.  April quickly loses herself until she finally goes too far in Brittany’s mind by breaking some of the Lipstick Laws.  From there, April is alone and unsure of what to do now that Brittany is bullying her even more.  Eventually April decides to create a group called The Lipstick Lawbreakers and they work together to ruin Brittany.  The story takes a twist here because after April’s been bullied, she in turn becomes a bully.  I appreciated this part of the story because I’m sure readers will cheer her on considering how awful Brittany is.  The problem I had with The Lipstick Laws is that I grew tired of the constant back and forth between April and Brittany.  I needed the resolution and realization on April’s part to come sooner.  I did, however, enjoy the story and the humor and I’m sure my students will as well.

My Brother’s Shadow by Monika Schröder

Source: Finished copy received from the author

Summary (From Goodreads): As World War I draws to a close in 1918, German citizens are starving and suffering under a repressive regime. Sixteen-year-old Moritz is torn. His father died in the war and his older brother still risks his life in the trenches, but his mother does not support the patriotic cause and attends subversive socialist meetings. While his mother participates in the revolution to sweep away the monarchy, Moritz falls in love with a Jewish girl who also is a socialist. When Moritz’s brother returns home a bitter, maimed war veteran, ready to blame Germany’s defeat on everything but the old order, Moritz must choose between his allegiance to his dangerously radicalized brother and those who usher in the new democracy.

Flash Review: Historical fiction is a genre that I make a conscious effort to read.  I enjoy history and am a history minor, but I often pick other genres before historical fiction.  I was excited when Monika asked if I’d like to read her novel, especially because I have a few boys in class that really enjoy war novels.  My Brother’s Shadow was a bit slow for me to start.  The story takes its time introducing us to Moritz and the confused life he’s living.  His mother is anti-war, his brother is serving, Moritz is falling for a Jewish girl, and he’s conflicted on his own feelings about the war.  So many of these stories set during this time period and during the WWII time period are told from our side or the side of Holocaust survivors.  It’s refreshing to read something from this point of view.  Even though I wanted more action at the beginning of the story, I respect what the author did because it’s important for the reader to understand Moritz’s life, especially once his brother returns home.  I think the book would be stronger if more time was focused on Moritz’s brother’s return, especially considering this novel is only 240 pages long.

Need by Carrie Jones

Source: Received through Donor’s Choose project

Summary (From Goodreads): Zara White suspects there’s a freaky guy semi-stalking her. She’s also obsessed with phobias. And it’s true, she hasn’t exactly been herself since her stepfather died. But exiling her to shivery Maine to live with her grandmother? That seems a bit extreme. The move is supposed to help her stay sane…but Zara’s pretty sure her mom just can’t deal with her right now.

She couldn’t be more wrong. Turns out the semi-stalker is not a figment of Zara’s overactive imagination. In fact, he’s still following her, leaving behind an eerie trail of gold dust. There’s something not right – not human – in this sleepy Maine town, and all signs point to Zara.

In this creepy, compelling breakout novel, Carrie Jones delivers romance, suspense, and a creature you never thought you’d have to fear.

Flash Review: One of my freshmen borrowed my copy of Need by Carrie Jones and returned it with rave reviews, telling me it is one of the best books she’s ever read.  When I hear something like this, I make sure to read the novel if I haven’t already.  She’s in my book club and talks to me often about books, so I made sure to read this sooner rather than later.  I was instantly intrigued by Zara’s odd obsession with phobias and enjoyed reading the definitions when they were provided at the beginning of new chapters.  I also really like Zara as a character because she’s quirky and flawed.  I’ll admit that I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep reading this because I wasn’t sure where the story was going.  My student assured me that I should keep reading, so I did.  I’m happy I did because after about 70 or so pages in I was hooked.  I’m sometimes wary of faerie stories for whatever reason, but even though Need focuses on pixies, I enjoyed the story and the lore.  The cast of characters are both enjoyable and mysterious, especially Nick.  Parts of the story were predictable, but I was okay with that and wanted to keep reading.  My main problem with the story is that during especially stressful areas of the book, there were random make out sessions.  Maybe it’s because I’m not a teen anymore, but I just can’t imagine deciding to make out with someone in the middle of fearing for my life.  Need is the first in a trilogy and I may wait to finish the trilogy until this summer, but I will finish the trilogy.


Thank you for the Flash Reviews idea, GreenBeanTeenQueen


  1. Arora Geisenhaver says:

    I got this book for Christmas it looks really good.

  2. “My brother’s shadow” looks like a great book. Would love to read it. Do you have it in the class room?

  3. Hannah M. says:

    “The Lipstick Laws” looks very interesting and I like the fact that the buly becomes the one being bullied.

  4. Danielle Gootee says:

    When I got a goodreads account, I looked through the books you’ve read and clicked on interesting covers and titles. This is one of the books I clicked on. When I read what it was about, it reminded me of Mean Girls. I think I’d like this book because it is about highschool. I see some “popular” people in ourschool that are so rude, yet they have a lot of “friends” and so many people want the popular kids to like them. I say friends because I’ve seen the popular kids backstab eachother, not to say us “unpopular” kids don’t do the same thing. Also, I believe everyone bullies. It’s a part of life, and I’m not saying it’s acceptable, but everyone does it. It’s easy for a used-to-be good kid to turn into a bully. In highschool, a lot of people turn into someone they’re not.
    I just feel like this book would be relatable and interesting since I love reading about stupid drama.

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