Review: Turtles All The Way Down

Sixteen-year-old Aza has suffered the sudden loss of her father and is 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. When the town billionaire disappears days before being arrested for corruption, Aza and Daisy decide to investigate. The case is important to Aza as 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. Gaining momentum on the details of Mr. Pickett’s disappearance, Aza begins to see fault lines within her mental health. Overly concerned with her micro-biome, even kissing becomes a death-defying hazard, causing Aza to dig her nail deeper into her never-ending fingerprint callous. From a car accident and a breakdown…

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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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