Review: Every Shiny Thing by Cordelia Jensen and Laurie Morrison

Sierra’s mom is once again struggling with her addiction to drugs, alcohol, and poorly chosen men while her father is serving jail time for similar vices. Placed in the foster care system, Sierra moves in with a kind, mysteriously heartbroken interracial couple next door to Lauren, a tween fraught with compassion and her rapidly changing family dynamics. Lauren’s autistic brother has just moved to NC in hopes that a specialized school will better meet his needs. No longer a shadow or crutch, Lauren must determine who she is as well as how to function in an unfair world full of homelessness and privilege. As these two characters navigate their friendship through typical school drama, Lauren begins to lose control and fall into emotional instability, seeking solace in shoplifting and stealing her wealthier friends’ and families’ extravagances. Even with somewhat innately good intentions—hoping to sell these items to donate money for…

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Teen Books About Mental Illness: Turtles All The Way Down

Teen Books About Mental Illness: A Book Review of Turtles All The Way Down by John Green Sixteen-year-old Aza has suffered the sudden loss of her father.  She is also battling inner demons of mental illness—unkind thoughts and words that threaten to consume and possibly kill her. Trapped in the darkness of her own mind, Aza must navigate the unforgiving halls of high school with her fan fiction writing best friend, Daisy. One of many poignant teen books about mental illness, Green delivers another heart wrenching and devour-able read. Meet Our Girl Detectives  When the town billionaire disappears days before being arrested for corruption, Aza and Daisy decide to investigate. The case is important to Aza.  She has a crush on and connection with the fugitive’s son, Davis Pickett.  A link of souls dating back from a summer camp fling, Aza cannot separate her emotions. Gaining momentum on the details…

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Review: The Layover by Amy Andelson & Emily Meyer

Flynn, Amos, and Poppy represent the spectrum of adolescence as well as a dysfunctional, nontraditional, and white family. Their parents have been through multiple marriages with added instabilities of affairs, aloof-ism, and alcoholism. The by-products of different marriage combinations, the siblings find themselves once again caught in the selfish throes of their parents’ latest whims. In an effort to buy off the family’s understanding, the parents—who are already in Bora Bora—decide to fly Amos, Flynn, and Poppy out for an extravagant boat ride to break the news of their upcoming separation. When ten-year-old Poppy relays her suspicions to Amos and Flynn, they decide to runaway during their layover at LAX. The Hangover-style, the youth meet up with Flynn’s latest crush and find themselves touring LA, attending parties, and going to Disneyland, mostly all with the wrong crowd. During this newly found freedom, Amos and Flynn must reconcile their romantic feelings…

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Review: Saints and Misfits- A Novel by S.K. Ali

During a heated political time, Ali has created a story for all cultures meant to explain the values and customs of what it means for one Muslim community and Muslim woman in America. Growing up with a more traditional Muslim family, Janna has to reconcile crushing on a non-Muslim boy, high school bullies, unsupportive friends, and conflicting emotions about being sexually assaulted by a monster—a covert monster who receives high praise in the Muslim community. Those who seem pious are anything but, and while Janna battles contradictions in her faith, she must also struggle with everyday life of being a teenage girl, including a nosy mother and annoying older brother. An honorable multicultural high school read, I have to admit that this story lost its momentum. I found myself skimming through dialogue. This slow pace fails with the quickened and perfect ending—unrealistic in its perfection. Blink and all of the…

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