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There's Someone Inside Your House

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins (287 pages)
Overview: High schoolers are getting murdered. That's the reality in Osborne, Nebraska one fall before Halloween. Each body is stabbed and mutilated. The star of the drama department falls first. The students that follow are the brightest and the ringleaders from their social clicks. The patterns appear and disappear, and the tiny police force can't make heads or tales of it, which is where recent arrival Makani and, her maybe boyfriend and brother of a police officer, Ollie come in. They're both dedicated to predicting the killer's next move before they, or anyone else, end up the next victims. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 Overall, there was a good bunch of characters. The story is an omniscient third person,  but it mostly centers on Makani. She's recently moved in with her grandmother after a mysterious incident in her native Hawaii required her to move to Nebraska to start over. Ollie is her fema…

The Cheerleaders

The Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas (372 pages)
Overview: Five years ago, five cheerleaders on the same high school squad died in three separate incidents, but how separate were they? That's what Monica wants to know. Her sister, Jen, was the last teen to die in the tragedy when she died by suicide, but Monica isn't convinced it was simply survivors guilt at play. She's also not convinced that Jack Canning was truly at fault for two girls murders or that the car accident that took the final two girls was really an accident. With an unlikely friend by her side, Monica sets out to dig up the truth about what really happened to those five girls even if it jeopardizes her own life. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I loved Monica's voice. Even though it's told in third person, her character really shined through. Despite making some poor choices and putting herself in dangerous situations, she does strive to do what she thinks will bring truth or justice. Ginny, a girl she connects…

Your Own Worst Enemy

Your Own Worst Enemy by Gordon Jack (448 pages)
Overview: Stacey is going to be class president. It doesn't matter that two more candidates just threw their hat into the ring. She's been in student government since freshman year. She's running on a recycling program, her best friend, Brian is running her campaign. Obviously, she's perfect for the job. But Julia, the new student from Canada, and Brians new crush, might pose a real threat. She's made powerful alliances as she advocates from the school's minorities, and she's running on a no homework platform. She's different. And then there's Tony who's swept the freshman vote. He doesn't even want to win. He just wants chocolate milk back in the classroom. Overall: 4 

Characters: 4 I enjoyed reading about all the characters. Like the plot, they're all a bit larger than life, but they're compelling as well. Stacy has a thirst for power because she thinks that's her destiny. Her paren…

Winner Take All

Winner Take All by Laurie Devore (336 pages)
Overview: Nell is always perfect. Because she has to be. She has to prove that she's just as good, no, better, than her rich peers at Prep. She has to prove she's just as strong and smart as the boys. Her mother expects nothing less. This gives Nell a very strong need to win everything as a way of taking control, but after her junior year, her life takes an unexpected turn when rich boy and rival Jackson Hart waltzes into her life in unexpected ways. He alters so much of her world, that she almost loses everything trying to get it back. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 I absolutely loved Nell. She's intelligent, strong willed, and hungry. She'll stop at nothing to get what she thinks she wants. And when she can't have control, she has to grapple with her anxiety and panic attacks. Nell makes a lot of mistakes; she's painfully human. But that's what makes her shine from the pages. That's what made me identify with her …

Little Monsters

Little Monsters by Kara Thomas (324 pages)
Overview: When the new girl comes to town, she makes the perfect prime suspect when her best friend goes missing. When Kacey Young moves in with her father she doesn't know, her step mom, step brother, and half sister, she doesn't know what to expect, but she knows it will be better than living with her mom. Soon enough, she's fallen into place with her new siblings, Andrew and Lauren, and her two best friends Jade and Bailey. Life is great until she stumbles upon the trail of her best friend's possible murder. Overall: 3.5

Characters: 3 What I loved about The Cheerleaders was how real the characters were. They had a weight and gravity that you see hints of in this book, but it isn't quite all the way there. Kacey is the best fleshed out of all the characters. She makes a great main character as she straddles the inside and outside of Broken Falls. While her family members don't have her sense of gravity, their plotted d…

What If It's Us

What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (448 pages)
Overview: Ben and Arthur meet at the post office during a flashmob. Well, Arthur followed Ben into the post office because he thought he was and, and, just as they started talking, in true form with Arthur's New York fantasy, a flash mob erupted. When the boys and split up, Arthur loses his chance at connecting with Ben, but when he can't stop thinking about him, he explores ways to reconnect even in a city of a million empty faces like New York. Even if they can find each other, with Arthur going back to Georgia at the end of the summer, will it even be worth it? Overall: 4/5

Characters: 4.5 I'm not sure what to say about the characters. I liked them enough, but I didn't feel any real attachment to any of them. I liked the cast of friends, but they all lacked a certain weight that would give them a stronger sense of reality. My favorite relationship in the book was the friendship between Dylan and Ben.…

One of Us Is Lying

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (360 pages)
Overview: Five kids are in detention. Only four come out alive, and they become the prime suspects of the most botched police investigation ever. They're the beauty, the jock, the brains, and the slacker. They barely know each other, but they're all tied together in one way or another to Simon, the school gossip leader with a severe peanut allergy. When all their secrets come out, the police investigation become the least of their worries. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 5 I loved McManus's cast. We get to see prospective from all three of them which is a nice touch. Each of them are a take on a classic stereotype. While they fulfill almost all of the regular archetypes, she makes them deeper, more human and relatable. I particularly loved Browneyn and Nate who are in the classic good girl/bad boy relationship, but somehow she makes it cute and irresistible not tired and cliche. I also loved the sister relationships that get explor…

A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (October 16)
Overview: Shirin has gone to twelve different schools. Jumping from city to city, state to state, and even country to country, Shirin's parents are always in search of a better life. But a new place didn't always mean better, and Shirin knows that well. Being a young woman who chooses to wear a hijab makes her both an object of crude fascination and, in 2002 post 9/11 world, an object of ridicule. No one around her understands her choices, and, worse, they don't bother to listen about how it makes her feel empowered. She's, sadly, come to expect the negativity, though at every new place she walks into. She lives her life constantly on guard against the abuse of the world which makes it hard for her to understand new boy Ocean's kindness and interest in her as a person. Can she learn to trust someone else enough to let him in? Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Wow. Shirin is an amazing character both in general and as a …

Creativity and the Ed Sheeran Concert.

Last night, I had the chance to see Ed Sheeran perform. I've been a fan of Sheeran's since my mom started playing his first album around the house before he really cracked the radio. My mom isn't on the cutting edge of music, but she had the right feeling about Ed, and we've been waiting to see a show since.
I've watched the movie on Apple Music, and I know the albums backwards and forwards, so needless to say, I had high expectations. They were all met. He took the stage with a smile and explained his loop pedal and how he is able to achieve all of the layering in his songs completely live, completely alone. His stage is tiny, yet made for the way he moves around it. It's unbelievable that one man can entertain a stadium full of people as well as a massive artist with three backup singers and a squad of dancers. His vocals and instrumentals were on point, and he exploded with life as he flew around the stage jumping up and down the layers of his stage.
While I…