Legrand, Claire. 2018. Sawkill Girls. HarperCollins (Katherine Teegan Books). 464pp. $9.99. ISBN 978-0-0626-96661-8.
Often, when children are scared or want to be read a story, their parents read tales or a fun childhood story to them. Certain tales are thought to be true because of how relevant they are. This includes the story of the Sandman, a mythical creature thought to bring sleepiness to children by dusting their eyes with sand. In this story, the creature is more than just a childhood tale: it’s living, breathing, and killing. No one believes the story to be true, as there is always a tale or a story being passed along the shores of Sawkill Rock. However, throughout the book, teenagers and adults come face to face with the mythical creature which is wreaking havoc throughout the island. Students who enjoy reading conspiracy theories, or just a good mystery will definitely enjoy winding their way through this fantastic book (KMA).
Gardner, Faith. 2018. The Second Life of Ava Rivers. Penguin Random House LLC (Razorbill). 361 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-45-147830-6.
Ava Rivers has been missing for 12 years now. Everyone still blames him or herself for Ava’s disappearance on a cold Halloween night many years ago, especially Vera: Ava’s twin. It was Ava’s idea to play hide and seek instead of trick or treating. They were tired of eating so much candy. Ava hid first and, unfortunately, was never seen again. Days grew to weeks, weeks grew to months, and months grew to years. Twelve years have passed and the case is at a dead end. Still no Ava, until one day her family received a call from the police saying they believed they found Ava; and she was alive! They thought the situation was too good to be true until they saw her, and her family knew it was Ava– she looked just like Vera. After 12 years of devastation and loss, the family’s anguish was all over. They finally had the missing part, and they could all truly be a complete family again. But, when details don’t start adding up, the family once again questions whether Ava is really Ava Rivers? This book will appeal to many people as there is never a dull moment throughout the entire plot. (ALB)
Kemmerer, Brigid. 2018. More Than We Can Tell. Bloomsbury Publishing Inc (Bloomsbury YA). 408pp. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1-68119-014-3.
When the lives of two outcasts collide, the repercussions are more interesting than you may imagine. Rev has been trying to get over his abusive father for the past 10 years. Emma uses video games to avoid her parents’ constant arguments, but constantly gets harassed solely for being a girl. One night Rev receives a letter from his father, which is the first contact he has had with him in over a decade. Emma receives an email from a guy who has been harassing her online for sometime. The two meet at a church in the middle of the night, both just trying to get away from their own lives for a minute. Over time they continue to talk more and more and become very close. They each became the person for the other in which they can confide all of their secrets. Rev and Emma’s viewpoints are different, but yet they are equally as captivating. This book is recommended to any high school student or young adult as they could relate to the plot the most. (KEB)
Evelyn Skye. 2019. Circle of Shadows. HarperCollins (Balzer + Bray). 451pp. 17.99. ISBN 978-0-0626-4372-8.
The Island of Kichona, known for its tiger pearls, has been peaceful ever since the BloodRift. The Taigas defended their land viciously and were blessed by Luna the goddess of the moon, until now. Spirit and Wolf, also known as Sora and Daemon, are two such Taigas. Their emotions linked together to help them fight off potential invaders. Both Sora and Daemon live and breath on the pages drawing the reader into their adventures as they learn about Sora and Daemon’s pasts and what they hope for in the future. With their motto work hard and mischief harder, who knows what trouble they’ll get into. From the first sentence, Evelyn Skye hooks readers and draws them into the beautiful world she created. She takes the characters from being just names to flesh and blood human beings. The book is paced very well and keeps the reader hooked throughout the entire story. From the action to the romance, this book will keep readers on their toes until the end as they, the readers and the characters, solve one mystery after another. Will Sora and Deamon be able to protect Kichona, or will their home burn to the ground? There is only one way to find out: read the book! (KSB)
West, Kasie. 2018. Listen to Your Heart. Point. 329pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-1-338-21005-7.
This plot travels through the challenges of teenage life from the perspective of Kate Bailey. Kate is forced to face her fear of talking to other people by hosting an advice podcast at her school. Her experience leads to new friends and a truce with her long-time enemy. Kate’s true personality comes through as she steps out of her shell when faced with choices ranging from her future life opportunities and relationship endeavors. The story shows a wide variety of characters who are relatable to high school students. While the plot can be predictable at times, secondary characters truly help the reader uncover themes. This book speaks well to high school girls and those who love a happy ending. (GAG)
West, Kasie. 2019. Fame, Fate and the First Kiss. HarperCollins Publisher. 375 pp. $17.99. ISBN:978-0-06-26757-8
Lacey Barnes is living everyone's dream - she is acting in a movie, and her co-star is the hottest actor in all of Hollywood. Although it seems she is living on cloud nine, she experiences the stress of having to finish up her senior year of high school while she is living almost full-time on set. Her father worries about her absence from school, so he hires a tutor named Donovan. At first Lacey feels like she is living in a nightmare; but over time, she figures out how to adjust to and juggle her hectic life. She learns what is really important to her and how to grow from relationships. On top of this, her heart doesn’t know what to think. As time passes, Lacey comes to realize her true love may be right in front of her; and even though it is off-screen, it's pretty magical. The story is entertaining and relatable, making it a good book for high schoolers. (AH)
Godbersen, Anna. 2018. When We Caught Fire. HarperCollins (HarperTeen). 384 pp. $18.99. ISBN 978-0-06-267982-6
The book allows the reader to imagine, absorb, and understand life in a different era. The plot follows Emmeline, Fiona, and Anders - three late teenagers living in old Chicago. There are aspects of friendship, romance, luxury, poverty, danger, which keep readers interested. The conflicts and twists within the plot are sure to grab your attention. The book is written in a way that allows events to tie together beautifully. The retro and vintage fashion within the book allows for a glance into life in the mid 20th century for both the rich and poor. The imagery is magnificent and creates a wondrous, vivid picture in their mind. Any reader’s imagination will sure catch fire reading this amazing book! (LMH)
Sones, Sonya. 2018. The Opposite of Innocent. HarperCollins (Harper Teen). 260pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-06-237031-0
Throughout the years, sexual abuse and harassment have been difficult subjects to talk about. Thankfully, talking about such topics is getting easier with the help of people like Sonya Sones. Sones’s latest book, The Opposite of Innocent, deals with sexual abuse and pedophilia. When Lily was younger, she had a huge crush on her parents’ friend, Luke. That was years ago before Luke left. Now, two years later he is back, and Lily is fourteen and much more mature. The beginning of their new relationship brings a different perspective to Lily and shows her what is most important to her. Written in verse, Sones brilliantly captures the complexity of unhealthy relationships. The Opposite of Innocent is a perfect book for those willing to challenge their perspective on a tough subject. (LLM)
Holt, K.A. 2018. Knock Out. Chronicle Books LLC. 339 pp. $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4521-6358-1
Written in verse, this story is an enticing adventure of a young boy trying to find himself and make sense of the big world that surrounds him. Knock Out features the believable and lovable character, Levi, who’s mom and brother think even though he’s in 7th grade, he cannot do anything by himself. His dad knows better, and he wants Levi to realize that he’s so much more than the baby his mom and brother pretend he is. His dad knows he can handle a sport, so he signs him up for boxing. Anyone who loves a book about an underdog will love Knock Out, but this is more than just an underdog story. It teaches readers to cherish who you have and what you have and to never lose sight of what matters most. Knock Out has readers longing to read more after K.A Holt’s amazing use of words, and longing to hear more about Levi and his family. Knock Out is truly a fantastic book for a wide range and variety of audiences. (NCR)