Recommended For: 6th Grade and Up/Fans of Twilight
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Summer of Yesterday by Gaby Triana is a mediocre book. It is a classic girl-versus-nature situation when the main character, Haley, has a seizure and ends up in 1982. She sees her parents falling in love, and meets the first boy that she ever “really likes”. All of Triana’s characters are predictable and none of them seem to succeed in making the reader want to find out what happens next. It was a book that took all of my will power to keep reading. The entire book is one big cliché. It is only deserving of two of five stars. I would recommend it for readers in sixth grade and up because there are some adult situations. I would also recommend it for people who liked the Twilight series and other books with romance and drama.
Recommended For: Advanced Readers/ Fans of The Underneath
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
The Shock of the Fall is about a man remembering his nine year old self. Throughout the course of the novel, he gradually relives the tragic death of his autistic older brother through his poetic writing. This was a shocking and original book, and reminded me of The Underneath by Kathi Appelt. It was somewhat poetic without using a standard “poem” format. I would say this book is meant for more advanced readers than myself, but it was still very powerful for me.
Balance Keepers: The Fires of Calderon, is a magical novel that will remind readers of works such as Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. Yet another world of fantasy is revealed, but rather than a summer camp or a European castle, this one is located in the center of the Earth. Albert Flynn, age 11, is stuck in the backwater town of Herman, Wyoming for the summer, and has little to do except sort old mail at the post office and eat TV dinners with his dad, who is rarely home during the day. However, one encounter in the woods brings him to the Core, where his father, among hundreds of other people, works tirelessly to keep the world in balance and prevent its destruction. Albert trains to be a balance keeper, and goes on a wild adventure unlike any he’s ever had before. This series shows promise as a fantasy adventure, and will leave readers amazed with its vivid imagery and fascinating worlds just waiting to be discovered.
Caitlin Sweet’s The Door in the Mountain is based on the greek mythological character, Ariadne, and her slave girl Chara. Ariadne is the daughter of Minos, and her brother Asterion is the Minotaur, a famous bull-boy hybrid. He steals attention from her, as he is considered to be a sign from the gods. Angered by this, Ariadne schemes with her father to trap him forever, but Chara, who is a friend of Asterion, has a plan that will not allow that to happen. This book was interesting, as I never expectd what was going to occur next. However, in my opinion there wasn’t a true climax, and some of her ideas were a little confusing at first. Overall, I would rate it about 3.5 out of 5 stars.
The Lonesome Young is a thrilling novel that romance readers will enjoy. It seems to be built off the idea of Romeo and Juliet, only with more action and a happier ending. The Rhodales and Whitefields have held a huge grudge against each other for the last century. Now, Mickey Rhodale and Victoria Whitefield, heirs of the two families, try to ignore their magnetic pull towards each other. But how long can that last? I thought this book was…interesting. Maybe it could use a better name and a less intense cover. Don’t want to scare away the readers! In the end, The Lonesome Young is great for all those intense romance lover out there!
Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke is a science-fiction/romance book. Delancey Sullivan, also known as Del, is a Walker. Walkers can “Walk” between dimensions. Every time someone makes a decision in our world, the “Key World,” a new world is formed where another version of the person (called an “Echo”) chooses a different path. Then all of those create different branches, and so on. The Walkers’ job is to find any mistakes with the Echoes or in the alternate dimensions. If one is found they “cleave” the world, destroying it. Del loves Walking, but hates cleaving. Walking calms and relaxes her, but when a world is cleaved she can’t help but feel bad for all the lost echoes, even though everyone says that they are just shadows, not real. When Del accidentally cleaves a world, however, everything goes downhill. She’s expelled from Walker school and is not allowed to go on Walks by herself. When Del starts running into her crush, Simon, every time she Walks with her sister, she thinks it’s just a coincidence. But when he starts seeing things through his Echo and appearing even more, Del realizes something is up. Working with her grandfather, sister, best friend, and Simon, she figures out that the Walker government is not as perfect as seems.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes science fiction, romance, or suspense. Dissonance is well written and impossible to put down. The characters are relatable and full of depth. All the little details weave together to make a great story. The ending leaves some questions and room for a sequel, but isn’t overly frustrating and answers most questions. Dissonance isn’t O’Rourke’s first book, and hopefully it won’t be her last.
Fan Art by Sarah Tregay was a very enjoyable book to read, with realistic teenage characters, especially those struggling with their identities and accepting themselves. Jamie, the main character, has a crush on his best friend of many years, Mason, and is unsure if his feelings will be reciprocated. He makes friends with a fellow art class student, Eden, and together they make their way their way through high school and prom. All the while trying to get another student’s comic, which features two gay characters, into “Gumshoe” which is the school’s magazine.
It is very good to see LGBT representation, especially in Young Adult novels. Fan Art was a fantastic book for this, with four main characters who respectively identify as gay and lesbian. To be honest, I was slightly disappointed that one character [spoiler alert!] was not bisexual, because they had romantic interactions with characters of different genders. Having LGBT characters in novels is fantastic, but usually they focus around gay and lesbian characters, while bisexual and transgender character are featured less.
All in all, Fan Art was a fun book, with both tension and humor in turn. I would rate it a four out of five stars.