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13 March, 2018

[Review] Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Series: N/A
Release Date: 1 September, 2015
Publisher: Random House Kids\Delacorte
Genre: Young Adult Fiction / Romance / Social Issues
ISBN: 9781101916407
Edition: audiobook
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Written: 24 February, 2018
Summary: Risk everything . . . for love.

What if you couldn’t touch anything in the outside world? Never breathe in the fresh air, feel the sun warm your face . . . or kiss the boy next door? In Everything, Everything, Maddy is a girl who’s literally allergic to the outside world, and Olly is the boy who moves in next door . . . and becomes the greatest risk she’s ever taken.

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Everything, Everything will make you laugh, cry, and feel everything in between. It’s an innovative,  inspiring, and heartbreakingly romantic debut novel that unfolds via vignettes, diary entries, illustrations, and more.

See more by Nicola Yoon at her Website.

06 March, 2018

[Review] Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Series: N/A
Release Date: 14 March, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins, Greenwillow Books (imprint)
Genre: Juvenile Fiction / Friendship / Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance / Special Needs
ISBN: 9780062414151
Edition: audiobook
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Review Written: 24 February, 2018
Warnings: Contains Spoilers
Summary: Winner of the Newbery Medal

“A charming, intriguingly plotted novel.”—Washington Post

Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello, Universe is a funny and poignant neighborhood story about unexpected friendships.

Told from four intertwining points of view—two boys and two girls—the novel celebrates bravery, being different, and finding your inner bayani (hero). “Readers will be instantly engrossed in this relatable neighborhood adventure and its eclectic cast of misfits.”—Booklist

In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball.

They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms.

The acclaimed and award-winning author of Blackbird Fly and The Land of Forgotten Girls writes with an authentic, humorous, and irresistible tween voice that will appeal to fans of Thanhha Lai and Rita Williams-Garcia.

“Readers across the board will flock to this book that has something for nearly everyone—humor, bullying, self-acceptance, cross-generational relationships, and a smartly fateful ending.”—School Library Journal

See more about this book and Ms. Entrada at the HarperCollins’s Website.

27 February, 2018

[Review] The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore

*2018 Winner of the American Library Association's Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award*

Series: N/A
Release Date: 19 September, 2017
Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
Genre: Middle Grade/Fiction
ISBN: 9781524701260
Edition: Ebook
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Written: 30 December, 2017
Summary: It's Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren't celebrating. They're still reeling from his older brother's death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly's mother's girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly's always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.

His path isn't clear—and the pressure to join a "crew," as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape—and an unexpected bridge back to the world.

David Barclay Moore paints a powerful portrait of a boy teetering on the edge—of adolescence, of grief, of violence—and shows how Lolly's inventive spirit helps him build a life with firm foundations and open doors.

See more at David Barclay Moore's Website.

20 February, 2018

[Review] Serafina and the Splintered Heart by Robert Beatty


Series: Serafina #3
Release Date: 04 July, 2017
Publisher: DisneyHyperion
Genre: Middle Grade/Historical Fiction (1800s)/Mystery
ISBN: 9781524779511
Edition: Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Written: 28 October, 2017
Summary: The storms are coming… Something has happened to Serafina. She has awoken into a darkness she does not understand, scarred from a terrible battle, only to find that life at Biltmore Estate has changed in unimaginable ways. Old friends do unthinkable things and enemies seem all around.

A mysterious threat moves towards Biltmore, a force without a name, bringing with it violent storms and flooding that stands to uproot everything in its path. Serafina must uncover the truth about what has happened to her and find a way to harness her strange new powers before it’s too late.

With only days to achieve the impossible, Serafina fights to reclaim herself as the Guardian of Biltmore, friend of Braeden, daughter of her Pa, and heroine of the Blue Ridge Mountains and all the folk and creatures that call it home.

See more at Robert Beatty's Website.

02 January, 2018

[Review] Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty


Series: Serafina #2
Release Date: 12 July, 2016
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Genre: Middle Grade/Historical Fiction (1800s)/Mystery
ISBN:  9780451485632
Edition: Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Written: 29 December, 2017
Summary: Serafina’s defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has set new dangers in motion for both Braeden and Serafina. But at the same time, it’s made it impossible for Serafina to keep hiding in the basement of Biltmore Estate. Once the secret Chief Rat Catcher extraordinaire who explored in the shadows, now she’s thrust into the light-filled world of the upstairs, with its beautifully dressed ladies and gentlemen and their strange customs. Lacking the social graces to fit in with the Vanderbilts and uncertain about what the discovery of her catamount mother means, Serafina finds herself caught between worlds. Where does she belong, the forest or the house?

But when a sinister arrival threatens both the animal and human residents of the estate, Serafina is the only one who can fight back. A dark, gray-bearded man in search of “the Black One” uses a pack of bloodthirsty wolfhounds to attack Serafina. Is he searching for the Black Cloak she destroyed? She only escapes with the help of a strange feral boy who seems to live in the forest.

When other animals at the estate begin lashing out, Serafina learns that a terrible power is taking hold of Biltmore and the surrounding forest. As she delves into the mystery of her past and searches for where she truly belongs, Serafina must find a way to defeat this new evil before it engulfs her beloved home.

See more at Robert Beatty's Website.

19 December, 2017

[Review] Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty


Series: Serafina #1
Release Date: 14 July, 2015
Publisher: DisneyHyperion
Genre: Middle Grade/Historical Fiction (1800s)/Mystery
ISBN:  9781101917091
Edition: Audiobook
Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Written: 28 October, 2017
Summary: “Never go into the forest, for there are many dangers there, and they will ensnare your soul.” Serafina has never had a reason to disobey her pa and venture beyond the grounds of Biltmore Estate. There’s plenty to explore in Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt’s vast and opulent home, but she must take care to never be seen. None of the rich folk upstairs know that Serafina exists; she and her pa, the estate’s maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion’s hidden doors and secret passageways. But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A terrifying man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore’s corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore’s owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak’s true identity before all of the children vanish one by one. Serafina’s hunt leads her into the very forest that she has been taught to fear, where she discovers a forgotten legacy of magic. In order to save the children of Biltmore, Serafina must not only face her darkest enemy, but delve into the strange mystery of her own identity.

See more at Robert Beatty's Website.

12 December, 2017

[Review] The Tiger's Daughter by K. Arsenault Rivera


Series: Their Bright Ascendency #1
Release Date: 3 October, 2017
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Fantasy/LGBT/Asian Fantasy?
ISBN: 9780765392534
Edition: Advanced Reader Copy
Rating: ★★☆
Review Written: 28 October, 2017
Summary: Even gods can be slain…. The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests. Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons. This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

See more at Ms. Rivera's Website.
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