BRIGHT BURNS THE NIGHT by Sara B. Larson
(Scholastic Press ~ May 29, 2018)
Photo by Paige ~ @popthebutterfly on Instagram
Review by Caitlin ~ @missbsbooks on Instagram
Bright Burns the Night is the sequel to Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson, taking place the years after the first. Evelayn, Queen of Éadrolan begins in a broken place. There are HUGE surprises dropped early on in the book that will shock lovers of the first book. After spending most of the book broken and confused, she totally shines through with intelligence in the end, correcting many mistakes of former monarchs.
The Pros: The world building was spectacular and creative. Larson takes the reader directly into her imagination. The novel takes place over the course of just a couple of days, so the pacing is slow, but the action at the end brings it all together.
The Cons: The main relationship seemed completely unnatural and awkward. I didn’t understand their attraction. I also didn’t care much for the undertone of the females being weaker and inferior, allowing the males to take lead most of the time.
GIVE ME SOME TRUTH by Eric Gansworth
(Arthur A. Levine Books ~ May 29, 2018)
Photo by Laura Gardner ~ @librarianmsg on Instagram
Review by Mary Anne Matys ~ @maryannerent on Instagram
What is identity? How does it change as we grow? Do we grow up and away?
It is easy to grow attached to Eric Gansworth’s characters. They are relatable. He does a great job alternating points of view; a chapter about Carson followed by one about Maggi helps you understand their motives and behaviors. The musical references were well placed – there’s even a “playlist” at the back of the book!
The two words that stuck with me are “your kind.” It stung a bit. These kids are doing their best to navigate the world on their reservation and all that is outside it. Their kind is like us, or what we were like in high school – friendships, relationships, trust, memories and wanting more than our parents offer. They keep their culture, to a certain extent, by selling Native American trinkets near their upstate New York reservation.
The Beatles references, particularly John Lennon and his death on 12/20/80, are intertwined in the stories of the characters in New York City.
Today as I was driving home, I saw a sign for a Pow Wow in the neighboring town of Spencer, MA. I don’t think I ever heard of this annual event before. These characters’ families would approve – they are doing Native American dances and displaying arts & crafts. It IS possible to keep part of your culture alive for future generations. I was reminded of a Native American doll in the book wearing a super hero’s cape – a perfect blend of both worlds.
This book’s appeal is so much wider than the targeted young adult audience. I highly recommend it AND I’m not a Beatles fan!
I FELT A FUNERAL, IN MY BRAIN by Will Walton
(Push ~ May 29, 2018)
Review and photo by Christina ~ @mycornerforbooksand on Instagram
Wonderful and emotional writing. I read this book in one sitting. Avery is grieving over the loss of his grandfather and his only way is writing. He is also developing feelings for his best friend and dealing with his mother’s addiction. So he turns to poetry to cope with it all. It tugged at my heart, this is so different to anything else I’ve read and it has so much emotion I felt for Avery.
LISTEN TO YOUR HEART by Kasie West
(Point ~ May 29, 2018)
Review and photo by Kimberly O’Rosky ~ @whatkreads on Instagram
This brand new contemporary is sure to be another hit for fan favorite author Kasie West. It’s a heartwarming, light, romance that is full of many sweet moments, lots of flirtation and a touch of mystery!
First off, the settings are fantastic. Part of the scenes, take place around a charming lake and the main character’s unique living arrangements. Then we follow the students around school and more importantly a fun, elective class. I also adored the interactions that occurred at the tutoring center. They will make you look at those magazines in a waiting room in a totally new way!!
The cast was made up of a wide range of personalities. Kate was a wonderful lead and it was great to watch her slowly open up and concur a few fears while becoming more open minded. I loved the friendship between her and Alana. It felt very real and was definitely refreshing to see two young ladies work out their issues in a positive manner! Diego. He was incredibly charming, mysterious and just down right cute. Frank played the whole family rivalry role very well. The author captured the whole high school emotions surrounding relationships perfectly. As a reader, you go back and forth trying to decipher the crushes!!! The podcast was a great concept. It was an easy way to include many side characters as well as touch on some important issues or teenage concerns.
Overall, this was an entertaining, young adult book. The romance leaves you grinning like a fool, the various relationships are all positive and it truly is a quick, feel good read. All hail the contemporary queen for once again sharing an incredibly sweet story.
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