Review: The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

For centuries, the three Swan sisters have haunted the town of Sparrow in feminist yet sadistic revenge for their unlawful drowning as allegedly seductive witches. Each year as summer washes in, the vengeful sisters return, possessing teenage girls’ bodies and luring boys out to sea—permanently. Partly viewed as a coincidental myth, Swan Season has malformed into a spectator sport for both locals and tourists alike. This summer is no different, and power and danger lie within humanity’s innate fear.   Every day is a modern witch-hunt and no one can be trusted, including our narrator and her group of friends. Add into the plot, Bo, a handsome and mysterious stranger arriving at the start of Swan season. Bo becomes captivated by Penny Talbot, a 17-year-old whose life has not been easy; her father has been missing and presumed dead for years and her brokenhearted mother steeps in depression just like the…

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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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Book Review: Star-Crossed By Barbara Dee

Eighth-grader Mattie is struggling through the school year. Unlike her friends, Tessa and Lucy, she is not invited to Willow’s party. In an act of rebellion, Mattie disguises herself as Darth Vader and decides to attend anyway. Even though the night ends in disaster, Mattie begins to realize that she enjoyed her time with a girl, Gemma, more so than if she was with a boy. Mattie begins to spend more time with Gemma as they are cast together in the school’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Although Mattie initially tries out for the part of Paris, she eventually finds herself as Romeo with Gemma as Juliet. The play as well as the upcoming Valentine’s Day dance forces Mattie to reconcile the unease she feels about her sexuality and decide whether or not to come out to her friends and Gemma. With heartfelt, realistic characters, Star-Crossed is a well-written and…

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