31 May 2017

The Wingsnatchers; Sarah Jean Horwitz

The Wingsnatchers (Carmer and Grit, #1)The Wingsnatchers by Sarah Jean Horwitz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Steampunk meets Fae in an interesting way. I loved both worlds, and when they met it wasn't something I'd read before (doesn't mean this was a first, just that it's a first for me). Who or what is killing the Fae, taking their wings? Can one world cross over into the other without harming it? And then there's both Carmer and Grit, who were fun and feisty in turns. If only the world building had been just a tad stronger, with less "coming up in Book Two" going on.

ARC provided by publisher.

25 May 2017

The Last Thing You Said; Sara Biren

The Last Thing You SaidThe Last Thing You Said by Sara Biren
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A little too deliberate in tugging on the heartstrings, a little too predictable in the story line.

ARC provided by publisher.

24 May 2017

Speed of Light; Carol Weston

Speed of LifeSpeed of Life by Carol Weston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nearly perfect. The problem is the occasionally clunky note when Dear Kate responds, and the relationship between Kate and her daughter, and Sofia and The Potential Boyfriend. This is also written in a middle grade style, but is supposed to be for older teens (who may need this more, but won't respond to the style).

ARC provided by publisher.

21 May 2017

And Then There Were Four; Nancy Werlin

And Then There Were FourAnd Then There Were Four by Nancy Werlin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Yes, there's a clear allusion to Christie's And Then There Were None (one of the most popular books at my library) and it is actually deserved. As with all mysteries there's a certain suspension of disbelief needed and I think teens can easily do that. The questions of why and exactly who are answered slowly enough that they'll keep reading, but not so slowly they'll get bored (and there's no "aha! here it all is" moment at the end, as there is in so many adult mysteries).

ARC provided by publisher.

16 May 2017

Finding Mighty; Sheela Chari

Finding MightyFinding Mighty by Sheela Chari
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Is parkour still a thing? I mean, when I mention it to students (from all over, and over a period of years) no one seems to know what it is in the same way they know about skateboarding or tagging. Anyway... If the adults in this book were paying just a little bit more attention, none of the suspense would have been possible, so here's to oblivious adults! Also missing from Myla and Peter's lives? Explanation. Some of the coincidences required too much suspension of disbelief for me, but I suspect middle grade readers won't have a problem with that.

14 May 2017

This Is Just A Test; Madelyn Rosenberg

This Is Just a TestThis Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This falls into the "why on Earth is this set in the past?" genre. Ok, great, we can talk about the Cold War. Sigh. Nothing really special about this except for the two grandmothers. Two stars for that!

ARC provided by publisher.

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan; Patricia Bailey

The Tragically True Adventures of Kit DonovanThe Tragically True Adventures of Kit Donovan by Patricia Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Despite my dislike for the "gutsy in anachronistic ways girl lead" genre, this doesn't irk me as much. Possibly it's because in the Wild West gender roles were often somewhat nontraditional, with girls given more freedom than their Eastern counterparts. Having said that, there is a large dose of improbability that adult readers will have to swallow; younger readers won't have read as much and will be swept along by the plot to notice.

ARC provided by publisher.

13 May 2017

A Face Like Glass; Frances Hardinge

A Face Like GlassA Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow. Loved. This. This came soclose to being a 5 star - sometimes the plot meandered too far, or got repetitious, when more description or action was called for.

But when this is on, it's on. The "horror" of Neverfell's face, its mobility, contrasting with the frozen faces of the others in Caverna is so well depicted. I kept thinking about watching this unfold on screen, how the Facesmiths would teach people how to use an expression, or how this was (in a small way) similar to Oz' Princess Langwidere and her many heads. The cheeses, the wine, the houses: all wonderful inventions. I just wish there'd been more of some of this! Not a sequel, just less intrigue.

ARC provided by publisher.

08 May 2017

Fakespeare; M.E. Castle

Fakespeare: Something Stinks in HamletFakespeare: Something Stinks in Hamlet by M.E. Castle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One of the more popular titles in our MS is YOLO, Juliet, while in our US students are liking Romeo and/or Juliet so any fun introduction to Shakespeare is a welcome addition to our shelves. And that this is starting a series? Yes, please. This is skewed towards younger readers who may not have ever studied the plays, giving them just enough of the plot and the characters to enlighten without confusing them or making them afraid of Close Reading in the future.

ARC provided by publisher.

Noteworthy; Riley Redgate

NoteworthyNoteworthy by Riley Redgate
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Incredibly conflicted about this book. On the one hand, it says some interesting things about elite schools and their traditions, as well as their commitment to diversity (not just racial, but socioeconomic). On the other, it presents crossdressing as almost a lark, along with the questions about sexuality and gender identity. The meaty stuff around Jordan's identity in almost every area is dismissed relatively quickly, doing readers and the character a disservice. Before putting this on your shelves, ask someone involved in the non-binary/LGBTQ community for their opinion.

ARC provided by publisher.

06 May 2017

Restart; Gordon Korman

RestartRestart by Gordon Korman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three stars only because the target audience won't have read books with the same theme/plot. But for those of us who have, the idea that a concussion could lead to a complete change of personality (for the better!) and some sense of atonement and shame for possible previous actions is, well, not new. Usually Korman books have something different to them, but Chase's story really doesn't feel anything other than a retread.

ARC provided by publisher.

The Walrus Was Paul; R. Gary Patterson

The Walrus Was Paul: The Great Beatle Death Clues of 1969The Walrus Was Paul: The Great Beatle Death Clues of 1969 by R. Gary Patterson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

For conspiracy theorists only! I remember hearing about this when I was a young'un, but seeing how the "clues" were laid out (seriously? HELP had clues???) was interesting. And possibly great insight into how conspiracy theorists today might operate.

03 May 2017

Bad Romance; Heather Demetrios

Bad RomanceBad Romance by Heather Demetrios
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Of course, as fiction, this is seriously overdone but there's a lot here for teens to relate to in terms of relationships (parental and romantic) that are just... bad. How Grace's life unravels is in part due to her not being safe at home, and not understanding how Gavin operates because of that. Abusive relationships aren't always easy to notice at the beginning, and by the time you do notice it can be too late. This wasn't so sensationalized that teens will not recognize what's going on and possibly enough will remain with them so that they can recognize it in real life.

ARC provided by publisher.

01 May 2017

The Traitor's Kiss; Erin Beaty

The Traitor's Kiss (Traitor's Trilogy, #1)The Traitor's Kiss by Erin Beaty
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There's love for this book, but I just didn't feel it. Maybe it was because I am just so very, very tired of having so many books with multiple POVs, or because the plot felt like something I've read many times before, or... who knows. I do know that the so-called rebelliousness of Sage didn't feel as much like rebelliousness as it did Moving the Plot Forward. And the political intrigue? The war? Meh. Other reviews will talk about the whitewashing and other issues. I didn't even read far enough to register that.