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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Fiction Books Set In Paris: A Book Review Of One Paris Summer

I love reading books set in places that I am about to visit.  That is why before heading to France, I had to peruse One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank.  One of the many great YA fiction books set in Paris, Swank pulled me into teen drama and heartbreak while giving me a personal tour of Paris. A Book Review Of One Paris Summer by Denise Grover Swank Sophie and her brother, Eric, are forced to spend the summer in Paris with their father and his soon-to-be new bride. Off to a rough start filled with lies, deceits, and hurt feelings, why not add in an evil stepsister with a revenge seeking agenda? Camille is hell-bent on torturing Sophie; she and her friends are straight out of Mean Girls. Even worse, Eric’s friend and Sophie’s crush is coming to stay for the summer, and Camille goes straight for him. Wanting only to play…

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Review: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

During the ALA Conference in Orlando, our library branches won grants to bring around 15 teens to present their opinions on YALSA’s BFYA nominees. The teens loved raiding the schwag from the Exhibits Hall, and even though we tried, we couldn’t get them to stop hoarding. Not that we would purposely discourage anyone from getting free books, but these guys had 10 overflowing bags each with handles snapping.  This load had to be carried back to the car and smooshed in the trunk. I swear my car’s rear end sunk, dragging us along, weighed down by signed books, sunglasses, posters, and comics. In one last raid, a few teens caught up with Meredith Russo, who they instantly fell in love with. She signed their books, chatted them up, and a year later, she even Skyped in for their book club. One of my girls brought me back a signed copy…

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Review: North of Happy by Adi Alsaid

Late one night, Carlos and his older brother, Felix, decide to taste test their way through the food stands of Mexico City in search of the perfect taco. In a tragic accident, stray bullets kill the free-spirited, nomadic Felix, leaving Carlos with his brother’s ghost and the desire to recover his own happiness. During Carlos’ high school graduation party—faced with a well intentioned but uninspiring predetermined future with the family business—Carlos runs away from his privileged life to a small island off of Washington state. With no plans except to visit Provecho, a bucket list restaurant in his brother’s diary, Carlos must find a place to sleep and a way to earn a living. In a matter of luck or fate, Carlos begins working as a dishwasher at Provecho and is taken under the wing of the master chef with the threatening promise of termination if he does not stop…

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Book Review: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Amina is a Pakistani-American who has just started middle school with her best friend, a Korean-American, Soojin. Soojin is applying for American citizenship and has decided to change her name to sound more American. Soojin’s sudden refutation of identity causes a rift between the friends, which is further widened as Emily, a student who used to make fun of their cultural differences, tries to befriend the girls. As if Amina does not face enough stress and new feelings of jealously already, her strong-willed uncle from Pakistan decides to visit, her teacher pressures her to sing in the school concert—Amina never sings in public—and her Sunday school teacher and parents force her to enter a Quran competition for the local Islamic Center. Just as things cannot get any worse, Amina accidentally shares Emily’s secret crush, causing a trivial fight with her friends, and the local Islamic Center and mosque is vandalized.…

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