Happy release week to these young adult books! Thanks to the publishers for the free review copies. All opinions belong to our reviewers.
THE CHAOS OF NOW – by Erin Jade Lange
(Bloomsbury YA ~ October 2, 2018)
Review and photo by Laura ~ @petriespicks on Instagram
“But it turns out, guilt doesn’t slide off so easy. It sticks to you like a film you can’t rinse away.”
In his daily life, Eli does the bare minimum to skate by. The only thing he is really passionate about is coding. So when he is summoned by two students he barely knows that are also coding nerds, his interest is peaked. Seth and Mouse ask him to be their third teammate in an elite coding competition. To Eli, this is the perfect opportunity to get noticed by companies for internships so he can bypass college and start doing what he really loves. Eli agrees to the offer, and they begin their work. But he begins to realize that this coding project is actually a mission to seek revenge and humiliate everyone who wronged Jordan Bishop, a boy who committed suicide earlier in the year due to bullying. With the creation of the website “Friends of Bishop,” Eli feels satisfied and powerful. But as secrets start to unfold and the effects of their project bring about extreme consequences, he starts to feel conflicted and extremely guilty. By the end of this novel, Eli learns that his actions can have a far greater impact than he ever imagined.
Eli is the epitome of a teenage boy narrator. At times, he is self-centered, self-conscious, and down right rude. In contrast, he has his moments of sheer loyalty, honesty, and kindness toward his friends and family. I appreciate that the author created a character that was so authentic. I also loved that this novel explored the fine line that exists between justice and revenge. The book did an excellent job exploring multiple perspectives, forcing the reader to walk in other people’s shoes. Readers of this novel will learn that it is not our job to control the universe and that technology can have intense consequences that can never be erased.
I would recommend this book for high school readers and libraries due to the mature issues that Eli and his friends deal with.
(DON’T) CALL ME CRAZY – by Kelly Jensen
(Algonquin Young Readers ~ October 2, 2018)
Review and photo by Laura ~ on @librarianmsg on Instagram
“I only wish someone had told me not that I was ‘crazy’ but that I was sick, and there was a way to get better.” – Sarah Hannah Gomez (@shgmclicious)
This highly personal read took me some time because there’s so. much. here. And it is INTENSE. There are essays I relate to personally. There are essays I relate to as a mom, a friend, a family member. (I won’t discuss details about anyone other than myself out of respect for privacy). I have personally struggled with anxiety and depression for the last 25 years. For some of that time I have been medicated, but for much of it I have attempted to self medicate with exercise, food and especially obsession over achievements. Oh how I wish a book like this had been around when I was an adolescent! At the time I worried that I was weird and hopeless; no one else I knew visited a therapist weekly in middle school (or at least they weren’t talking about it). The self knowledge (and self love!) I have now helps me to navigate my daily anxiety much better, but it is still a challenge. The alphabet soup of diagnoses that belong to people I love doesn’t make it easier, but I accept these people as MINE and I will love them fiercely. Truth is, neurodiversity is a big part of my life in many ways and I think it’s both challenging and beautiful, complicated and illuminating. I choose to take each day as it comes and focus on being kind and remembering that everyone is facing something.
From author @libbabray ‘s hilarious and heartbreaking account of a short plane ride with her anxiety and OCD to actor Reid Ewing (@reidoing)’s explanation of his body dysmorphia, there is something here for everyone to either reflect on their own experience or to learn about the experience of others. We must #endthestigma attached to mental illness; making this book available for students is a first step in doing that.
THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY – by Mackenzi Lee
(Katherine Tegen Books ~ October 2, 2018)
Review and photo by Danielle ~ @read.disrupt.repeat on Instagram
Happy Book Birthday to The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy! (Sequel to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue!) I’m currently reading this gem, but so far I can tell you a) it is SO FEMINIST b) makes me want to be a doctor even though I’m horrible with blood c) makes me want to be friends with all the rules-of-the-era-defying women in this book.
It’s been a year since Felicity Montague, her brother Monty, and friend Percy completed their tour across the Continent. Rather than retuning home, both Montagues have found work – gasp, work! – elsewhere. Felicity attempts to get an invitation to study under a doctor in Scotland until the baker she’s working for proposes marriage and belittles her dreams to be a physician. Horrified, Felicity shows up at Monty’s London shack for refuge until she can come up with her next great plan to enter the world of medicine. Following a lead, Felicity takes off to Germany with a female from the former pirate Scipio’s crew to chase her dreams… and of course, find more trouble.
If you enjoyed Felicity’s undying badassery in the first book, you will adore this sequel. As much as I loved Monty’s story, I feel like Felicity is a more likeable character whose exploits echo womens’ issues we still face today. I suspect Lee will pull in even more readers with this one.
THE LAST WISH OF SASHA CADE – by Cheyanne Young
(Kids Can Press ~ October 2, 2018)
Review and photo by Allison ~ @travelingallison on Instagram
The Last Wish of Sasha Cade by Cheyanne Young literally tore my heart out and kept me hooked! I most have looked like a crazy lady on my airplane to #alaac18 (American Library Association) Annual Conference in New Orleans because I was crying for the first twenty pages of this story and smiling so hard for the last twenty. I read this book within 5 hours, but anyway, onto my review!
After the death of Sasha, Raquel is left struggling to find normalcy after her friend’s nearly year long battle with cancer. Sasha left one parting gift for her friend, a scavenger hunt that leads to a budding friendship and relationship with Sasha’s brother she never met. Raquel struggles though with keeping this secret from Sasha’s parents, as that was Sasha’s last wish. This scavenger hunt is all the best and worst moments of Sasha’s brief life and helps both Raquel and her long lost brother.
I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, so instead, please read this book when it comes out 10.2.18! Its such a fast read and the love between Raquel and Sasha is evident. This book centers around the love between friends and dealing with loss. This a great add for a library and is great for ages 13 and up. I give this book all the stars!
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