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Posts tagged “young adult

Express Book Review! Undead with Benefits by Jeff Hart

Undead with benefits

Zombies that you want to be friends with (if they’re not hungry)!

So this is the sequel to EAT BRAINS LOVE, which I briefly mentioned a little while ago. Book 1 ended in a precarious place, our protagonists on the run. Book 2 continued at the same speed and took us into new states, different kinds of societies, and a few new kills (duh. it’s a book about zombies). Book 2 got better at giving the female protagonist some dimension (her story was kinda flat in book 1), which was a good thing. I would complain that that there wasn’t enough closure, but I have the sneaking suspicion that another book might be on the way.

Check it out!


Express Book Reiviews– YA Back From The Dead edition



Ridiculous plot: Teen boy tragically dies of a terminal illness– but is brought back to life 5 years later with his head attached to another person’s body. Everyone and everything –but him– has aged and changed. Despite the ridiculousness of the  situation and a multitude of comedic lighthearted moments and teenage antics, surprisingly deep instances often make it through. Totally recommended YA read. Check it out.

EXPRESS BOOK REVIEW: Eat Brains Love by Jeff Hart

Eat, brains, love

One protagonist has just “gone zombie,” and is now on the lam with the class hottie (who’s also gone zombie) after eating half the kids in the school cafeteria. Our other protagonist is a teen psychic who works for the government’s top-secret zombie hunting operation. Lots of fun, adventure, and cannibalism! (It’s quite endearing). Check it out!

Express Book Review: Rebels by Accident by Patricia Dunn

Rebels by accident

Epic YA fiction! American Teenage Mariam is sent against her will to live for a while with her grandmother in Egypt. She is initially pretty bummed to leave the only life she knows (her peers at school have given her lots of crap about being Egyptian-American, so she carries a heavy dose of self- and cultural distaste). It turns out her grandmother isn’t bad and there’s lots of stuff to do (as well as some time for self-discovery, first love, first adultish independence, etc). But shit kind of hits of the fan due to the revolution going on (as well as some other stuff), and lots of growing has to be done. Amidst a great story, the book also subtly does lots of good work to dispel stereotypes about the Middle East and Arabs and Islam.

I haven’t seen one quite like this before; you should Check it out!

Book Review: Just Girls by Rachel Gold

Just girls

I found this whole cache of small-press LGBT teen books at the library that totally weren’t getting checked out. So I checked a bunch out to save them (In libraryland, the general rule we follow with teen books is that if something sits on the shelf without getting checked out for a year (and it doesn’t have specific local interest and it’s not bound to become a “Classic”) it gets weeded or sent to community redistribution).

Who: Tucker and Ella. Tucker’s a kinda butch lesbian and Ella’s a femme trans girl

What: Both entering their freshman year of college, they become suitemates and friends due to some terrible transphobic stuff that is happening on campus. All kinds of stuff happens, ranging from live action RPGs to protests to sex to lots of political conversations.

When: Modern era

Where: Some university in a far away non-urban place

Hot damn, this is one full book. If I don’t hang myself up on the idea that maybe too much was trying to be accomplished in a single book, I can say that this book is actually quite good. Lots of stuff happens, yet there’s a clean and tidy ending. It’s one of the few books I’ve read with a trans girl narrator, and I think it covers so much ground (see the tags) because there aren’t a lot of books with the same agenda/circumstance.

As a person who majored in women&gender studies in college and who resides in both academic and queer communities, I can say that the author and I are definitely on the same wavelength, and she makes a lot of really good points about how problematic institutions can be. If some of the right teens actually come into the library and pull this one off the shelf, it’s gonna rock their worlds. In a good way.

Get a copy at the library— or hey, support the author.


Book Review: Far From Xanadu by Julie Anne Peters

Far from Xanadu

Who: Closeted teenage lesbian weightlifter/plumber/softballer Mike

What: While dealing with her dad’s death, her messed up family, and her “blossoming” sexuality, a new “big city” badgirl named Xanadu moves to town and rocks Mike’s world.

When: present day in an old-fashioned place

Where: A small town far, far away from the West Coast

A totally legit, multi-layered book. Sometimes I only believed in the characters 90%, but that might be because I’m at least 10 years older than the intended audience. But. There’s dimension and it’s well-written and things don’t all come together perfectly–  and you really do get a lot in the 282 pages that you’re given.


(mini)Book Review: So Yesterday by Scott Westerfield

So yesterday : a novel

I’m going to be honest: I totally read the Uglies series a few years ago and loved it.

I found So Yesterday while trolling the teen shelves, remembered the author’s name, and got excited. The premise is sort of neat: there are people amongst us in our cities whose paid jobs it is to set different fashion trends. Our teen protagonist is one of them. Everything is smooth sailing until one day he meets a girl, they go on a crazy fashion-fueled sort of dystopian bizarro adventure, and some nutty, worth-reading-about stuff happens.

The book’s from 2005, so some of the technology and the cultural references are a little dated, but as an adult, that was fine for me. It might be a little baffling for modern teens.

Book Review: Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

Between here and forever

You see the cover? That’s kind of the mood of this book.

Mellow, introspective, and no big climax– but interesting enough to get me through the 250 pages.

It’s a YA novel about teenage Abby, who’s big sister (the radiant, charming, and beautiful) Tess is in a coma following an accident. Average Abby’s always felt overshadowed by Tess, and does a lot of internal processing while Tess is comatose. There’s a cute boy with issues, a surprising-to-Abby (but not to the reader) revelation about Tess, and an obnoxiously bad self-esteem that improves.

This is, indeed, a YA book. It wasn’t as lovable as Stealing Heaven, but that’s ok.


Check out a copy here


Book Review: How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How my summer went up in flames

Things have been a little wild in my real life lately, and this book was just the comfort that I needed. Our teenage protagonist Rosie got cheated on by her boyfriend, and while burning a box of their memories in his driveway, she might have accidentally set his car on fire. Oops. And she might have also accidentally followed him and maybe called his phone a few too many times… So Rosie ends up with a temporary restraining order. Her court date is in a few weeks.

This is the over-the-top premise that lands Rosie on a parentally-forced cross-country road trip with her goody-goody neighbor and a couple of his friends. Her parents figure the time away from home (and her ex) will be a good thing to ensure that she obeys the restraining order. I found this a little unbelievable, but whatever.

Ultimately this is a teen road trip novel. It’s pretty good, and made me want to travel to see some of the things that were mentioned. Though not particularly lyrical or floridly written, the plot takes a few non-traditional curves that will keep you entertained. Rosie is stubborn, smart, and likable, and the boys who she’s on the trip with have a bit of dimension too. The story is engrossing and comfortable– but not entirely predictable.


Find a copy here


Book Review: JANE by April Lindner


I didn’t actually read Jane Eyre until sometime near the end of college, and would you believe that they’re trying to get 12 year olds to read it these days? I would have been bored to tears.

But in college it was one of the books that turned out totally awesome in some women’s lit class (and was followed up by Wide Sargasso Sea), and so clearly I had to read Jane (a modern YA retelling of the classic) as soon as I found it. In this version 19 year-old  college student Jane Moore’s parents have died a sudden and tragic death, her siblings take their inheritances and run (and leave Jane with nothing), and so Jane drops out of college (her parents had been footing the bill) to take a job with a nanny agency.

Our Jane is sensible and unphased by fame so she gets placed taking care of the daughter of Nico Rathburn, a formerly raging “bad boy” rock star who is on the verge of making a comeback. Oh, there are so many parallels! Bertha! Sensibility! running away!

I really enjoyed this book. It was modern, had lots of dimensions, and did an awful lot with plot in its 400 pages.

get it here!

Book Review: Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott

Stealing Heaven

Great YA book; I think that even the anti-YA people would be into it. You’ll read it in about 2 seconds and then you’ll want more.

So 18 year old Dani’s spent her entire life as a traveling burglar with her mom. They move from town to town, and clad with fake identities, blend in with the locals and stealthily steal silver and other valuables– and then leave for the next town. But recently they’ve arrived in a town where Dani makes friends– and there’s a guy. Who’s a cop… And she starts to second-guess her line of work…

The dialogue is really smart and I’m surprised that the book hasn’t been turned into a movie yet. I thought the end was a little rushed and maybe some of the chapters (re: Dani and Greg) were a little clunky– but the amusement factor outweighed any of that.

Find a copy here