Review: 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. With a summer starting off with lies, deceit, and hurt feelings, why not add in an evil stepsister with a revenge seeking agenda? Camille is hell-bent on torturing Sophie, making her friends seem like they 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 the piano and survive the summer, Sophie sobs her way through the sights of Paris. Her French is nonexistent and her street skills lacking. Sophie’s life finally turns around as she starts falling for a Parisian, and at the end of the summer, she has tough decisions to make: audition for a scholarship, forgive her father, leave the love of her teenage life, return home…

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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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