Saturday, July 27th 2019

Dry

DryDry by Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 2nd 2018
Pages: 390
Goodreads
four-stars

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival,

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

I enjoyed this book for the most part even though I thought parts of it were pretty unrealistic. I am pretty sure I rolled my eyes a few times. However, this was the best dystopian I have read in a while.

What really works for this dystopian is a plot that seems completely realistic and could happen any day now. Two things happened to me while reading this book; I became very thirsty and I wanted to start doomsday preparing. No joke. This book was very effective at unsettling me.

four-stars

Friday, July 26th 2019

Heroine

HeroineHeroine by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on March 12th 2019
Pages: 432
Goodreads
five-stars

When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there.

The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.

With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue.

But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.

I had just finished reading Beautiful Boy when I picked this one up. So I went from a non-fiction/memoir written by a father of an addict to reading a fiction book about an addict. I was in a mood apparently. TW for addiction and drug use.

This book didn’t really surprise me with where the storyline went but it did surprise me with how much I ended up caring for the main character. I was yelling at some of her choices and trying to will her to do the right thing rather than continue the trend on a downward spiral.

What I really appreciated was that in the end, her relationships were messy or ruined. There is a friendship that is highlighted throughout the novel that starts to unravel as she becomes more and more addicted and some friendships cannot survive the stress and alienation. It felt real.

five-stars

Monday, July 22nd 2019

The Wicker King

The Wicker KingThe Wicker King by K. Ancrum
Published by Imprint on October 31st 2017
Pages: 305
Goodreads
four-stars

When August learns that his best friend, Jack, shows signs of degenerative hallucinatory disorder, he is determined to help Jack cope. Jack’s vivid and long-term visions take the form of an elaborate fantasy world layered over our own—a world ruled by the Wicker King. As Jack leads them on a quest to fulfill a dark prophecy in this alternate world, even August begins to question what is real or not.

August and Jack struggle to keep afloat as they teeter between fantasy and their own emotions. In the end, each must choose his own truth.

This book was not what I was expecting. I understood the basic premise but I was surprised by the friendship in this book. This book not only delves into the power of friendship but also the effects of neglect, abandonment, and dependency.

I felt that the themes in the book were very powerful. And even though at first I was a little disappointed in the ending, the more I sit with it, the more I understand why it ended the way it did. I also really appreciated the authors note in the back which gave a little more insight into the themes.

One thing I will say that I do not agree with reading reviews and seeing reviews on BookTube is the idea that the author was queerbaiting with these characters. Not every relationship is cut and dry and not every relationship starts as a meet-cute. Relationships evolve and they can be messy.

four-stars

Sunday, July 21st 2019

The Poet X

The Poet XThe Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
Published by HarperTeen on March 6th 2018
Pages: 368
Goodreads
five-stars

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

I listened to this book and I cannot wait to get a hard copy for myself, but if you can get this as an audiobook, I highly recommend it as it is written in verse and the author narrates herself. It’s very powerful.

This story was beautiful. I am always in awe of poetry and even more so when a whole story is written in poems. This story broke my heart, mended it, broke it again and mended it one more time.

Even though my story is very different from the main characters, some of these poems brought me right back to being a teenager. This book was intense and very honest. I will read or listen to (if she narrates), everything Elizabeth Acevedo writes.

five-stars

Saturday, July 20th 2019

Sadie

SadieSadie by Courtney Summers
Published by Wednesday Books on September 4th 2018
Pages: 308
Goodreads
five-stars

A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she's left behind. And an ending you won't be able to stop talking about.

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.

This book was everything it was hyped up to be. I loved everything about this book. It covers so many hard-hitting topics very thoughtfully (TW for pedophilia, sexual abuse, murder, and drugs). I was drawn to this book for that reason and also for the podcast element as I listen to and love many podcasts, especially those covering true crime. This book is difficult and raw and what I would consider a required read. However, there are some topics in this book that I understand not everyone can handle. If you can, I highly recommend this book. The story is framed beautifully, I felt for the characters and the ending was perfect.

five-stars

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