Flash Reviews (15)

Title: Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath

Author: Stephanie Hemphill

Source: Purchased

Summary (From Goodreads): On a bleak February day in 1963 a young American poet died by her own hand, and passed into a myth that has since imprinted itself on the hearts and minds of millions. She was and is Sylvia Plath and Your Own, Sylvia is a portrait of her life, told in poems.

With photos and an extensive list of facts and sources to round out the reading experience, Your Own, Sylvia is a great curriculum companion to Plath’s The Bell Jar and Ariel, a welcoming introduction for newcomers, and an unflinching valentine for the devoted.

Flash Review: I didn’t know anything about Your Own, Sylvia until I decided to have my upcoming sophomores reading Printz novels as their summer homework.  I bought quite a few of the winners and honor books so my students could borrow them over the summer, so of course I’ve been reading them as well.  I’m so, so happy I bought Stephanie Hemphill’s novel.

I haven’t read all of The Bell Jar (I read portions in college), but after reading Your Own, Sylvia I’ll be reading it for sure.  I know the story of Sylvia Plath, but Stephanie Hemphill made me feel like I knew Sylvia Plath personally.  At times I felt like I was struggling and suffering and rejoicing right along with her.  The verse is stunning.  Many of the sections of Your Own, Sylvia are written to mimic different poems written by Plath.  Another thing I love about this novel is the footnotes which add more information about Plath and her life.  The author added an additional twist by writing this book from varying perspectives.  Some sections are supposed to be from Sylvia’s mother’s point of view, or a roommates’, or even her husband’s point of view.  The reader is given a full-circle view of who Sylvia Plath was.  It’s a beautiful portrait of her life and I couldn’t get enough of it.  It even brought me to tears.  It receives my highest recommendation.

Title: Deadly Cool

Author: Gemma Halliday

Source: Purchased

Summary (From Goodreads): Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren’t enough, now he’s depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool.

But as much as Hartley wouldn’t mind seeing him squirm, she knows he’s innocent, and she’s the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school’s resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Flash Review: Deadly Cool is written in such a way that it appeals to a wide variety of readers.  If you like murder mysteries, then Hartley’s story is right up your alley.  If you’re unsure about murder mysteries and normally look for books on the lighter side, you’ll probably enjoy Deadly Cool because Gemma Halliday managed to make murder scenes awkward and funny.  I know, that sounds impossible, right?  Hartley is sarcastic, but not overly so, and has a way of looking at situations that will make readers laugh.  Who trips over a dead body? That would be Hartley.  The humor is just right and not overdone.

Deadly Cool isn’t on my favorites list, but it’s good enough to read the next book in the series.  It’s a book I’ll feel comfortable handing to my reluctant readers, as well as my students looking for something mysterious or funny.  I love it when a book covers so many bases.


As always, thank you for the Flash Reviews idea, GreenBeanTeenQueen!


  1. […] YA Love reviews YOUR OWN , SYLVIA by Stephanie Hemphill […]

  2. […] by Stephanie Hemphill (Goodreads): I reviewed this Printz honor book a couple years ago and you can read the review here. Like I said in the review, I already knew about how her life ended, but this book still made me […]

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