Student Book Review: Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber

I assigned the second set of book reviews in my Y.A. Lit class, which means it’s time to feature a new student book review.  My student, Zach, was telling me about books he’s read and enjoyed when we were discussing his trimester project and thinking about potential books to read.  Once he mentioned enjoying The Picture of Dorian Gray, I immediately handed him Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber.  I wasn’t sure if it would be for him, but based on his book review and his book talk, I know he enjoyed it.

Title: Darker Still

Author: Leanna Renee Hieber

Student Reviewer: Zach H.

Summary (From Goodreads):

I was obsessed.

It was as if he called to me, demanding I reach out and touch the brushstrokes of color swirled onto the canvas. It was the most exquisite portrait I’d ever seen–everything about Lord Denbury was unbelievable…utterly breathtaking and eerily lifelike.

There was a reason for that. Because despite what everyone said, Denbury never had committed suicide. He was alive. Trapped within his golden frame.

I’ve crossed over into his world within the painting, and I’ve seen what dreams haunt him. They haunt me too. He and I are inextricably linked–bound together to watch the darkness seeping through the gas-lit cobblestone streets of Manhattan. Unless I can free him soon, things will only get Darker Still.

Student Review:

Everyone has believed in the concept of spirituality at least once in their lives. Well, even if one is not a believer currently, they will become one after reading Darker Still. I was drawn to this book originally because I had heard that it was inspired by Oscar Wilde’s groundbreaking novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Having enjoyed Wilde’s novel not even a month before, I was eager for a new twist on the story. By the time I finished this book, I determined that it wasn’t only a unique twist on Wilde’s story, but surpassed it in terms of an engaging story as well.

Darker Still follows Natalie Stewart, an eighteen-year old girl who has been mute ever since her mother died years earlier. Over time, she feels extremely drawn to a painting of the handsome Lord Denbury, who supposedly committed suicide. However, Natalie comes to find out that Denbury is still alive and trapped in the painting, having fallen backwards into a plot that is so much bigger than simple magickry. At the core of this captivating tale is a very engaging plot which I would love to elaborate upon, but sadly can’t.

Besides the plot, the characters were what really sold the story in Darker Still, especially Natalie, Denbury, and Mrs. Northe. For instance, seeing the whole events of the story from Natalie’s point of view was quite fascinating, mainly due to the fact that, being mute, she sees the world and handles interactions differently from the average Jane. Denbury, on the other hand, provides a tender and loving air that exudes strength even when things seem most dark. Additionally, Mrs. Northe serves as an excellent supporting protagonist as her knowledge of most things supernatural makes her the perfect helper to both Natalie and Denbury despite the increasingly dark situation.

Despite how good the plot and characters are, like all great novels, Darker Still does have its occasional drawbacks. For example, some of the characters, such as Maggie, are so wooden and unimportant that I feel the novel could have gotten along perfectly well without them. I was also disappointed that Natalie’s father wasn’t fleshed out too much considering the fact that her mother is dead. If the novel could have focused just a little bit more on Natalie’s relationship with her father, I would’ve felt just a bit more emotionally attached. Additionally, I didn’t like how the whole novel is basically a diary kept by Natalie recounting the events because it sometimes it showed a feeling of emotional detachment from Natalie. Not always, but just enough.

Despite these significant shortcomings, Darker Still is a very good book. The often disturbingly detailed imagery and prose leaps off of almost every single page. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone who likes a good, mystery, or even supernatural fiction. Darker Still is a novel for everyone.

Student Book Review: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Since reading I Hunt Killers and telling my students about it and showing them the trailer, it’s become quite popular among my students.  Today’s student reviewer, Bobby, bought his own copy to read and is now focusing his Y.A. Lit project on Barry Lyga and his books.  I’ve already reviewed I Hunt Killers, but I love getting the opportunity to feature what my students think about books I’ve read as well since so many of my reviews focus on what I think my students will want to read.  I hope you enjoy Bobby’s 5 star review!

Title: I Hunt Killers

Author: Barry Lyga

Student Reviewer: Bobby

Summary (From Goodreads):

What if the world’s worst serial killer…was your dad?

Jasper (Jazz) Dent is a likable teenager. A charmer, one might say.

But he’s also the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer, and for Dear Old Dad, Take Your Son to Work Day was year-round. Jazz has witnessed crime scenes the way cops wish they could–from the criminal’s point of view.

And now bodies are piling up in Lobo’s Nod.

In an effort to clear his name, Jazz joins the police in a hunt for a new serial killer. But Jazz has a secret–could he be more like his father than anyone knows?

Student Review:

Jasper Dent is son of one of the most infamous serial killers of all time and was taught as a kid how to be a killer. So when a serial killer comes to his small town he tries to help the cops find out who it is by looking through the killers’ perspective.

I Hunt Killers is a great book. It is very interesting to read and I could not put it down until I had finished it, and unlike most other books I could not figure out who the killer was until I had finished. It is fast paced and doesn’t have a boring part in it. It is full of suspense and mystery; also it had a little bit of a romance in it.

One of my favorite things about it is how Jasper somewhat explains what the killer is thinking and explains why the killer does what he does. And that he explains what his dad did and how he did it, along with what happened to him as a child growing up with his dad.

In this book the characters were very developed, each with their own very distinct personality. It really felt like I knew them. It wasn’t just the major characters that were developed either, unlike many other books, even many of the minor characters were developed well.  This really allowed me to connect with them and have feelings for each one.

Student Book Review: Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

I always love my Young Adult Lit students and my current group fits right in.  They’re excited about reading, discussing, and participating in general.  I also have a talented group of review writers!  I’ve been sitting here going through their Goodreads reviews trying to decide which student review to feature today because I’m so impressed by them.  I’ve decided to create a list so I can feature as many of my students as possible.

Today I’m featuring Brittany’s review of Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay.  It’s the first book she read for this class and it’s what she based her project choice on (love and long-distant relationships in YA).  Brittany also wrote an excellent review of Anna and the French Kiss, but since I’ve already posted a student review of that one, I decided on this review by Brittany.  Enjoy! 🙂

**I only altered her text to make some words bold**

Title: Love & Leftovers

Author: Sarah Tregay

Student Reviewer: Brittany

Summary (From HarperTeen):

My wish is to fall cranium over Converse in dizzy daydream-worthy love.

(If only it were that easy.)

Marcie has been dragged away from home for the summer—from Idaho to a family summerhouse in New Hampshire. She’s left behind her friends, a group of freaks and geeks called the Leftovers, including her emo-rocker boyfriend, and her father.

By the time Labor Day rolls around, Marcie suspects this “summer vacation” has become permanent. She has to start at a new school, and there she leaves behind her Leftover status when a cute boy brings her breakfast and a new romance heats up. But understanding love, especially when you’ve watched your parents’ affections end, is elusive. What does it feel like, really? Can you even know it until you’ve lost it?

Love & Leftovers is a beautifully written story of one girl’s journey navigating family, friends, and love, and a compelling and sexy read that teens will gobble up whole.

Student Review:

Love and Leftovers is a very cute book. It is about a girl named Marcie who is sixteen years old. She is swept away from her house in Idaho when her parents split up. Her mom takes her away from her group of friends called the Leftovers and her boyfriend that is also in that group, to a summer home in New Hampshire. Her mom is suffering from depression and this summer home becomes their real home. This book is about Marcie starting school in New Hampshire without any friends and how she handles the attention she is getting from a guy at the school. She is weighing the choices between this new guy or her old boyfriend back in Idaho.

I absolutely loved this book! I didn’t know anything about this book when I first wanted to read it. I saw the cover and thought it looked cute so I figured I would give it a try. I had never read a book that was written in verse and at first I didn’t think that I would much care for it, but I ended up loving it. It makes the book so easy to read and I never wanted to put it down. I have always felt that I am a slow reader, but not with this book. I ended up finishing it in two days. I am a sucker for cute love stories and that is exactly what this book is. Tregay did a very good job at developing characters. They all seem very realistic and are easy to relate to.

This is a book that many people would love, especially teenage girls. Anyone who likes a love story would be interested in this book. It doesn’t even have to be girls; some guys are suckers for cute books. Also, this would be a good book for people who like to read in verse.

Student Book Review: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Personally, I had a hard time getting into The Amulet of Samarkand and never finished it, but plenty of my students enjoy this trilogy.  Today’s student reviewer, Alec, took my Y.A. Lit class because his girlfriend took it and recommended it and because he wanted to enjoy reading more.  When he was deciding on his project, he told me that he really liked reading The Hobbit, so he knew he wanted to read something like that.  Since he felt confident reading fantasy, he asked if he could create his own project and try a variety of genres to see what else he enjoys.  His favorite of the three books is The Amulet of Samarkand, with Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers and Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill in second and third.

Title: The Amulet of Samarkand

Author: Jonathan Stroud

Student Reviewer: Alec

Summary (From Goodreads): Nathaniel is a boy magician-in-training, sold to the government by his birth parents at the age of five and sent to live as an apprentice to a master. Powerful magicians rule Britain, and its empire, and Nathaniel is told his is the “ultimate sacrifice” for a “noble destiny.”

If leaving his parents and erasing his past life isn’t tough enough, Nathaniel’s master, Arthur Underwood, is a cold, condescending, and cruel middle-ranking magician in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The boy’s only saving grace is the master’s wife, Martha Underwood, who shows him genuine affection that he rewards with fierce devotion. Nathaniel gets along tolerably well over the years in the Underwood household until the summer before his eleventh birthday. Everything changes when he is publicly humiliated by the ruthless magician Simon Lovelace and betrayed by his cowardly master who does not defend him.

Nathaniel vows revenge. In a Faustian fever, he devours magical texts and hones his magic skills, all the while trying to appear subservient to his master. When he musters the strength to summon the 5,000-year-old djinni Bartimaeus to avenge Lovelace by stealing the powerful Amulet of Samarkand, the boy magician plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything he could ever imagine.

Student Review:

This book is about a young boy named Nathaniel, who is sold to the government to become a magician’s apprentice. It takes place in London where the government is run by magicians. His master is Arthur Underwood who is very up-tight, cold, and (in Nathaniel’s eyes) very cruel in the ways that he raises him. He steals an amulet from a high ranked magician to get back at him for public humiliation in front of one of his professors. He is also betrayed by his master, Underwood, who doesn’t defend him when Simon Lovelace Comes to get back his Amulet.

I really liked this book. It is the first in the Bartimaeus Trilogy and I plan on reading the other two. It is filled with action and there is always something going on. It is told through Nathaniel’s eyes for the most part. I liked the fact that the magicians don’t actually have any powers. They have to summon some sort of a being. They can summon anything from messenger imps to afrits. Nathaniel summons Bartimaeus and the way it works is that the summoned must listen to and do whatever the magician wants them to do. I love the way that Bartimaeus is constantly nagging with Nathaniel and his sarcastic remarks had me laughing out loud. It is told from the point of view of Nathaniel and Bartimaeus. I liked reading it more when it is being told through Bartimaeus’s eyes. He is constantly shape-shifting and his view on everything is hilarious.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy books even a little bit. It takes some time to get used to the world that the book is set in, but if you can get past that it is a very good book. I very much liked this book and plan on reading the entire trilogy.

Student Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

I’m a HUGE fan of Jay Asher’s debut, Thirteen Reasons Why.  It’s a book that I couldn’t put down.  It’s so popular in my classroom, I have four copies that are almost always checked out.  The majority of my students love it, but every now and then a student isn’t as thrilled about it as I am.  My student, Danielle, tried reading it for her Y.A. Lit project, but ended up putting it back because it wasn’t working for her.  Since I love it, and since I see mostly positive reviews for it, I decided to use Danielle’s review to balance things out.

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why

Author: Jay Asher

Student Reviewer: Danielle

Summary (From Goodreads): Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers thirteen cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush who committed suicide two weeks earlier.

On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list.

Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

Student Review:

Thirteen Reasons Why I like this book:

1.It has an interesting idea behind it. Try telling me that a book about a girl who committed suicide and left behind tapes explaining why she did it doesn’t sound interesting. Exactly.
2.The tapes of a dead girl are an interesting thing to listen to (read, in this case).
3.…Well, maybe I can’t give you thirteen reasons why I like this book.

Overall, I’d have to say this book is disappointing. I thought I kind of liked it, but after a few days, I couldn’t remember what happened in the book. I know I love a book when I can still remember it, (example, Hush, Hush). I was really excited to read this book but the more I got into it, the more I realized I only like one part-Hannah’s tapes.

The book goes back and forth between the present with Clay, and the tapes with Hannah. I don’t like books that go back and forth between time periods or people. If you’re into that type of book, maybe you’d like this book more than I did. Also, if you like books that have a lot of mystery, I think you’d like this book. There are a lot of unanswered questions throughout the book. Mystery isn’t a problem for me, but when there are so many names and so many things to keep track of, that’s when I have a problem. I got confused with some parts and I wasn’t interested enough to go back and look up the previous tapes for a recap.

Another problem I had with the book was Clay. He was so boring and bland. Think a sandwich minus all the possible things you could put in the middle. That leaves you with bread. Sure, it’s enough to get you by, but it’s just too plain. Clay had a little bit of emotion and personality to keep the book moving, at a slow speed for my taste, but it wasn’t enough for me.

Hannah, on the other hand, was the best part of this book. A dead girl had way more personality than a boy who is still alive. To me, Hannah is the type of girl you either would be best friends with in real life or the girl that you would absolutely hate. To me, she was bold with what she would say. She had her own opinion and would stick with it. She knew how to play the same games everyone else plays. She’s an honest person and she isn’t afraid to tell the world everything she knows.

Thirteen Reasons Why sounds like an interesting book, but I could have done without it. I’d only recommend it to people who like books that switch between time periods and/or people.

Student Book Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Stephanie Perkins is one of my new favorite authors, so whenever the opportunity arises, I recommend her books to my students.  One of my students, Chelsea, loves any kind of love story, so when she said that was the focus of her project for my Y.A. Lit class, I knew she’d love Anna and the French Kiss.  Chelsea recently posted her review on Goodreads, so I decided to post it here on my blog as well 🙂

Title: Anna and the French Kiss

Author: Stephanie Perkins

Student Reviewer: Chelsea

Summary (From Goodreads): Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near – misses end with the French kiss Anna – and readers – have long awaited?

Student Review:

When I was first introduced to the book Anna and the French Kiss I wasn’t sure if I was even going to make it through the whole book. Just from looking at the book, I thought it was too long for me personally. Soon after I read the first few pages, I was already in the hundreds. From reading the cover I knew it was my type of book though. I really enjoyed this book and I’m glad my teacher Mrs. Andersen offered it to me.

Anna and the French Kiss is mainly about a girl who is sent to a boarding school in Paris. Most kids would love to go to Paris, just because it’s a really cool place. Except for Anna, who doesn’t want to leave behind her friends, and the guy she could have a relationship with. Throughout the story, she falls in love and meets many new friends. She is just like any other ordinary girl, fighting over boys, and falling in love with a guy she just met even though he already has a girlfriend.

I really loved all the characters, especially Anna and Etienne. The book really showed how much those two cared for each other. I could feel all their emotions as I was reading. I got a really good picture of both of them in my head all through out the story, and how they would look in real life.

This story is full of romance and friendship which are two things I’m really interested in reading. I suggest that anyone who likes romance, and cute little love stories should definitely try Anna and the French Kiss out. I’m pretty positive that the main reason why I enjoyed this book, is because I’m a girl and any girl can relate to the book. Therefore, the story is even more fun and enjoyable to read.

Student Book Review: Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson

In my Young Adult Literature class I require my students to write a book review for two of the books they read for their trimester project.  I’ve recently started using Goodreads in my classroom and have my students post their reviews there.  We looked at a variety of blogger reviews so they could get a feel for how a review can be written.  After receiving permission from my students, I’m posting one of them today.

Title: Hattie Big Sky

Author: Kirby Larson

Student Reviewer: Jessica T.

Summary (From Goodreads): Alone in the world, teen-aged Hattie is driven to prove up on her uncle’s homesteading claim.
For years, sixteen-year-old Hattie’s been shuttled between relatives. Tired of being Hattie Here-and-There, she courageously leaves Iowa to prove up on her late uncle’s homestead claim near Vida, Montana. With a stubborn stick-to-itiveness, Hattie faces frost, drought and blizzards. Despite many hardships, Hattie forges ahead, sharing her adventures with her friends–especially Charlie, fighting in France–through letters and articles for her hometown paper.

Her backbreaking quest for a home is lightened by her neighbors, the Muellers. But she feels threatened by pressure to be a “Loyal” American, forbidding friendships with folks of German descent. Despite everything, Hattie’s determined to stay until a tragedy causes her to discover the true meaning of home.

Student Review:  I enjoyed reading Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson and I am glad that I did. The conflict that Hattie faces to prove up her homestead is believable. The troubles she encounters and the obstacles she has to find a way to overcome find their way to make the novel out to be very convincing. The setting enabled the book to be all the more intriguing, but was not overdone with all the unnecessary usual boring details. The sky is described often, and at first the title troubled me until I learned that Montana is known as “Big Sky Country.” Now that I know this knowledge, I feel the novel name fits perfectly.

I favored the pace, the humor, and the fact that it is historical fiction. I also commend the author on how she included letters consistently through from Hattie’s uncle and her “school chum” Charlie. I found the ones Hattie received back to be of interest. It was always exciting to see those italicized words that the letters held. I never found any part of the book confusing.

I felt as if I knew Hattie well and thoroughly. I admired the way she always stood up for herself and the deep care she possessed for others. She’s determined, persistent, and at times hard-headed. The other characters were described efficiently as well. Her love-hate relationship with Traft Martin made the book seem even more realistic. Even though Hattie’s aunt was not a main character, the author still found a way for the reader to understand her aunt’s ways and opinions completely.

The only factor I would say turned out to be disappointing is the way the author finished off the novel. I felt like the resolution was rushed, and did not turn out the way that it needed to or should have. The ending chapters gave me the impression that the author became sick of writing, and therefore the last chapters are dissatisfying. If the conclusion would have been better, this novel would have been a five-star rating by my judgment.

Far as recommendations go, the people who would like reading this are the ones who prefer or have at least a bit of interest in the genre of historical fiction. Anybody with an open mind might find themselves pleasantly surprised by how much they would enjoy this novel also.

Student Book Reviews (2)

Here are a few of the book reviews my students in Young Adult Lit have written this trimester   **I was given permission by the students to post these on my blog**

Luna by Julia Anne Peters (Written by Gabby)

Luna is a novel that is the perfect bridge for anyone looking into reading L.G.B.T literature. Liam is the focus of the story and he struggles to transition to a woman. The story however is told by Regan the completely normal sister of Liam. With no acceptance at home Liam is forced to adopt his other self only at night. He names his female self Luna because she can only be seen at night. Unlikely as it may seem she joins in helping him discover his true self. Because of this they are trapped together in the secret that confines them both.

Teens will enjoy this book because of the close relationship between Liam and Regan and seeing an L.G.B.T novel told through a perspective they can relate to. Personally I thought the prespective she took using the “normal” sister was an interesting twist and helped the auidence understand not only how it affect the L.G.B.T person but their family as well. I also like that it showed that there was some progression to Liam transitioning. I found that to be a positive considering that isn’t something that someone picks up overnight. People always say it is a choice and it isn’t it is simply who you are. If you have ever been curious about an L.G.B.T fiction novel I highly recommend Luna.

1984 by George Orwell (Written by Zach T.)

We all have an innate desire to be an individual, but what happens when being an individual is no longer accepted?  What happens when speaking your mind is no longer an option?  What happens when thinking is no longer a privilege?  Welcome to Oceana, welcome to industrialized communist paradise, welcome to Big Brother’s creation. 

Winston finds himself here, but he faintly recalls a past where freedom was an option.  Although he can’t remember precisely, he knows that at one point in time man used to be free to do, say, and think whatever he desired and not find himself in the Ministry of Love for doing so.  So he writes to himself to release these forbidden thoughts, but writing soon evolves into an affair, and an affair into prosperity and hope, and hope transition into suffering.

We all have an innate resistance to conformity, but what happens when conformity is the only option?  1984 can tell you what, and for anyone who has ever questioned those in power, anyone who doesn’t stand for mistreatment, anyone who has had a free thought, read this book.  Read this book and you will hesitate before you practice your free will.  By the way, 2+2 is in fact 5.

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott (Written by Lori)

Danielle has known no other life other than the one she was born in to, a life of theft.  She and her mother never stay in a place long enough to make real relationships with other people and Danielle is staring to question this life of constant lies and stealing silver. She accidentally makes a friend and that’s something she’s never had. When the time comes to steal again, Danielle has never felt worse about it, she begins to question her loyalty to her mother and the only life she’s known. She’s lied to her mother repeatedly since they’ve arrived in Heaven, befriended a cop, and told him her real name. None of which her mother would approve of, in fact, quite the opposite. Danielle is eighteen now and it’s time to decide if she wants a normal life, or one full of stealing and deception.

Stealing Heaven was a humorous yet serious book. The personalities of the characters are huge. Greg (my favorite character) is not only a great man, he’s funny and corny, and it totally works for him! Several of the conversations between him and Danielle made me laugh out loud. Though, Danielle’s mother I absolutely could not stand. I can’t imagine why a mother would want a life like this for her daughter. I didn’t really know what to expect with this book. It wasn’t really a twist ending, but the book didn’t go the way I expected it to. I think that Stealing Heaven would be appropriate for all teens and even upper middle school students. There are a few mature parts, but nothing that was too graphic or inappropriate. Overall, it was an easy and simply delightful read.

  

Student Book Reviews (1)

Here are a few of the book reviews my students in Young Adult Lit have written this trimester 🙂  **I was given permission by the students to post these on my blog**

What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones (Written by Maegan)

This simple story is easy for teens to relate to. Sophie, a fifteen year old girl, tells the story of her life. She talks about her friends Rachel and Grace and her first love Dylan. She thinks Dylan is the boy of her dreams until things begin to get boring and he doesn’t tell his parents she is Jewish. When she realizes Dylan is no longer the boy of her dreams she begins talking to a boy online. The boy online turns out to be a dork that goes to her school, Murphy. She finds it harder to fall in love with Murphy than Dylan especially with her friends always making fun of him.

This book was really easy and fast to read. It seemed relatable to teens. It didn’t have too much detail that was unnecessary like a lot of books do. I enjoyed reading this book and liked the way it was written in verse. It was easier to read and made it seem like I was reading it faster.

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins (Written by Tristan)

Three kids.

One cuts.

One overdosed.

One pulled the trigger.

All are still living, and now find themselves at a place called Aspen Springs. Aspen Springs is a psychiatric hospital for teenagers where Vanessa, Conner and Tony are staying after trying to commit suicide.

Vanessa cuts to fight off the demons of her past. While at Aspen Springs she meets new people, learns there is such thing as love, and that there are people that care about her.

Tony is a homosexual, scarred by the men coming in and out of his house as a child. After being around his new friends Tony discovers things about himself he never thought he would.

Conner is living the life every guy dreams of. He’s a star athlete, rich and can get any girl he wants. So why is he still not happy? After an attempt and fail to finally get rid of all his sadness, will he find the happiness he seeks in Aspen Springs?

Like all her other books, Hopkins amazes us again with a tragic story, beautifully written in verse. Switching through the perspectives of all three kids, you get to feel exactly what they’re going through. This book takes you through the everyday lives of these three teenagers while they attempt to heal themselves. They’re looking for love and happiness at Aspen Springs with each other and their broken families. Recommended and relatable for every high school student, Impulse is sure to satisfy.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (Written by Hannah)

Love, hate, sad, happy, crying, laughing.  Anna lives next door to her best friend Frankie and her brother Matt.  After a lifetime of secretly being in love with her best friend’s brother, Matt kisses Anna on her fifteenth birthday. They hide their relationship from their families for a month and then the night before Frankie and Matt’s annual family trip to Zanzibar, California, Matt dies.  Anna and Frankie don’t know how to talk to each other, Frankie’s mom is falling apart, Anna doesn’t know how to or if she should tell Frankie about her secret relationship with Matt.  The next summer Anna goes to Zanzibar with Frankie’s family.  They make a pact to have a “twenty boy summer,” see how many guys they can get.  Anna agrees only because she knows it would make Frankie happy. 

The emotions that I felt from this book made me feel as if I was a part of it all.  For me it was a big tear jerker, it made me cry many times, but also made me smile.  Ockler did an amazing job at painting a visual for me.  Many of the things that these friends faced together were very relatable, and unpredictable, like every good Y.A. book should have.  It was definitely hard to put down, it kept me on my toes and interested from the very beginning. 

  

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