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Girl Made of Stars

Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake (295 pages)
Overview: Mara's twin brother is accused of rape by her friend. Mara's attempt to go back to being best friends with her ex-girlfriend isn't working. Mara is so lost. Sisters, best friends, parents, and everyone at school have an opinion about what happened between Owen and Hannah in the woods. Mara's mom, who's always been a devout feminist, is suddenly vehemently denying that Owen is at fault. Mara isn't so sure. Even though she loves her twin and can't imagine him as a rapist, she knows her best friend would never lie. Overall: 5+++++

Characters: 5 Mara is a wonderful character. She's so honestly confused and torn up about what happened, but she quickly aligns with Hannah. Supporting her best friend becomes something for herself, as well, though, because Mara is a survivor too. She takes Hannah's pain like her own as everyone at school and home takes Owen's side. Mara has to come to terms w…
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When The Truth Unravels

When The Truth Unravels by Ruthanne Snow (297 pages)
Overview: Elin missed two weeks mid semester, not because she had Mono. She was in the hospital, then at home, recovering from her suicide attempt. But no one knows, besides her best friends. Now that it's prom times, her friends want to give her the most perfect night to share a happy memory for senior year. The lengths her friends will go to is extreme, and perfection might not be attainable. Overall: 3.5

Characters: 3 I really wanted to like these girls... Rosie was probably my favorite. She's introverted, which often comes off as cold or mean, but she'll do anything for her friends. Her parents use her as a pawn in the divorce, but her step-dad, Will, would move the world for her. He's a great character as well. Fischer, the supposed "Ice Princess" also turns out to be a good addition as well.
The other girls, though, had some missteps. Jenna was too stereotypically the "perfect girl." It made h…

Into YA with Lianne Oelke

Nice Try Jane Sinner recently turned a year old which means that Lianne Oelke has been a published author for a little while now. Today, she's here to share some of the things she's learned going from a querying writer to debut. She had some awesome things to say, so dive in and check out our conversation below, and thank you to Lianne for chatting with me!

1. I absolutely love that your book is set on a college campus. Even though Jane is still in high school, It's awesome that this is adding to college YA books (which we desperately need more of!) What led you to put Jane's story at the community college instead of at a different high school. 
Jane's story actually first took place in university. I was in university myself when I started writing NTJS. I wanted to find books that showed people like me trying to figure out how to navigate that awkward period after high school when you don't suddenly stop feeling like a teenager, but you're expected to move o…

Down and Across

Down and Across by Arvin Ahmadi (320 pages)
Overview: Scott, or, technically Saaket, is sick of studying rat poop. And the job has barely started. His Iranian parents are thrilled, though, because the internship will look great on his resume as he works to become a doctor, or some other respectable thing. Instead, when his parents leave for a month to care for his grandfather who lives in Iran, Scott jumps a Greyhound bus to DC in search of one thing- Grit. To find it, though, he'll have to track down the Georgetown professor that made him want the character trait and whose quiz proved he doesn't have it. What he doesn't realize, though, is the girl sitting next to him while he irons out his scheme is a bigger ticket to the summer he is looking for. Overall: 5+++++

Characters: 5 I'm so in love with all of them because they all felt so REAL. Even impulsive, whimsical, borderline manic pixie dream girl Fiora is grounded in the same place we all are. Ahmadi makes us underst…

Two Can Keep a Secret

Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus (327 pages)
Overview: Ellery and Ezra have moved to Echo Ridge right when the beloved science teacher is killed in a hit and run. They come across the body on their drive into town which sets the tone for their time in Echo Ridge. It seems that the killer of the homecoming queen from five years ago has returned with a slew of threats against the new court. And then, Brooke, one of the princesses, goes missing. Echo Ridge goes from a rich, suburban New England town to the sight of a possible serial killer, and true crime fanatic, Ellery, is going to solve it the mystery. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Ellery and Ezra aren't super memorable. They're fine. Likable enough, but nothing stands out to make them special. Ezra is reduced to a minor, minor character, even though he's originally painted as important and Ellery is your classic new girl in town, true crime fanatic. I just can't find anything that stands out about her as much as I w…

Our Year of Maybe

Our Year of Maybe by Rachel Lynn Solomon (January 15)
Overview: Sometimes growing up isn't about falling in love with your best friend; sometimes it's about falling out of love and into yourself. Peter has always been ill. His chronic kidney disease has kept him home from school, and his neighbor, Sophie, has always been his only friend and one of his few rays of sunshine. But then Sophie gives him the greatest gift- a chance at a regular life in the form of a kidney. Once the transplant is complete, Sophie is left in pain, but Peter is finally able to live his life. When Peter finds a band and a boyfriend, exploring his bisexuality for the first time, Sophie feels abandoned and, almost, bate and switched, as he thought contributing the kidney would bring them closer. They push and pull, getting closer to the relationship Sophie wants and then farther from even having a friendship. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I loved Sophie and Peter. Sophie has always given into what Peter wants…

How my 2018 Reading Stacks Up To 2017

Now that I've been keeping detailed stats and blogging for almost two years now, I decided I'd compare my stats from this year and last year to see how I'm growing and changing as a reader as well as a reviewer.
Instead of making resolutions or setting a goal for a number of books to read for 2019, I'm just going to aim to keep improving and finding books that I honestly love. It's hard to hold yourself to a certain number when it's hard to predict how the future will go.

2017 Stats I like to pull many different data points from the books I read. From genre to how many days each book took to who wrote and published it, it's interesting to reflect back. Here's some of the facts I see as most relevant to reflecting how I'm changing as a reader. In 2017, I read 120 total books which seems to be at the top end of what I can manage to read in a year on top of school work and other things. Of these books, 65 of them came from my local library, either in h…

A Quiet Kind of Thunder

A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard (390 pages)
Overview: Steffi has struggled with selective mutism for almost as long as she can remember. It stems from her extreme social anxiety which she's recently started medication to combat. She has to prove to her parents this year that she can handle herself well enough to go to University and send in applications the following year. Then she meets Rhys on her first day at school without her best friend, Tem. Rhys is deaf and since Steffi knows BSL (British Sign Language), they make the perfect match. As they get to know each other better, Steffi starts to test the boundaries that she and her world have made. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 Steffi and Rhys are awesome. They have their conflicts and miscommunications, but they really are united by a language that not many around them share, and they use that to grow. Their honesty in the way they care for one another is refreshing. Though they both have complications with their respective ch…

The Field Guide To The North American Teenager

The Field Guide To The North American Teenager by Ben Philippe (January 8)
Overview: Quebec to Austin is a major move when you want to be making it; it's life ending when you're being drug along. Or, at least, that's how Norris feels. He's black and French Canadian, so he feels even more out of place. From what he can tell, no one likes hockey, and they don't love his particular brand of defensive sarcasm with a sting. As he takes on American High School, he experiences all the cliches he's familiar with from movies, and he uses the journal, given to him by his guidance councilor, to make notes on how the stereotypes stack up in real life. Even if he can get past his jaded outlook and find a community in Austin, the heat might still kill him. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 The character building is super strong. Norris is the most sarcastic person to grace the Earth, which is more times than not interpreted as rude. It's a good mask for his insecurity, even if it…

The Summer of Jordi Perez

The Summer of Jordi Perez by Amy Spalding (275 pages)
Overview: Abbey's summer has a lot of missions. She wants to rock her internship at a local boutique that features plus sized clothes and hopefully turn it into a part time job in the fall, she wants to have an epic summer with her best friend, and she wants to find the best burger in LA with her friend Jax. She never thought that the summer would also include falling for her coworker Jordi who she barely ever noticed at school, but, suddenly, Jordi Perez becomes her summer. Overall: 4.5 

Characters: 4 Abbey is awesome. She's confident, bold, cute, and also honest. She runs a plus sized fashion blog and knows her stuff. She also talks a lot about loving her body, but having heard her mom talk about "if only she were skinnier" for so long, she has lingering doubts about if others could see her as beautiful as she is. Abbey's other problem is that she's obsessed with the idea that she's just the sidekick i…