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The following Review is by Teen Advisory Board President, Ava.
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
"In Mackenzie Lee’s novel The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Henry “Monty” Montague, the protagonist, sets out on a final adventure around Europe with his friend and his sister. But when a gang of bandits attack them, the Grand Tour soon becomes a mission to end the evils that threaten their lives. At the same time, Monty must deal with his developing feelings for his best friend, who he may never see again.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue is for fans of My Lady Jane. With larger than life characters, Lee knows how to make them realistic, illustrating both strengths and flaws that make them human. The character arcs flow smoothly and satisfy even the most reluctant of readers.
Lee perfectly fits together words into action-packed sentences. The vivid descriptions of the character traits and setting paint clear pictures when read and never cease to stop until the very last page. I especially love the dialogue! Wit is sprinkled throughout the pages in the characters’ speech, and no extraneous words clog up the sentences.
Overall, if you want a book with great characters often underrepresented in YA, look no further! Lee is a great writer, and I will read any book she throws my way!"
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Viture is in stores now!
The following books were reviewed by Teen Advisory Board Member Emily.
All We Can Do Is Wait by Richard Lawson
"In the aftermath of the collapse of a bridge, a group of teens meet in the waiting room of Massachusetts General Hospital. Jason and Alexa are siblings, whose relationship is rocky at best. Scott’s relationship with his girlfriend, Aimee, is… complicated, but he knows if he can just talk to her then everything will be okay. Skyler’s sister, Kate, has been her support system ever since her mom abandoned the two of them. As for Morgan, well, her dad hasn’t been okay for awhile. As these teens come to grips with the tragedy that has been forced upon them, tension is high, and age-old secrets and guilt will resurface.
All We Can Do Is Wait is heart-wrenching as you watch each character begin to grieve, regardless of how the victim they were waiting for turns out in the end. Every character is complex, engaging, and likeable. The story is told like a thriller, with each character’s backstory being revealed as the story progresses. As the reader gets closer and closer to the big reveal, secrets and guilt surface, causing each character to react in different ways. Alexis, Jason, Skyler, Scott, and Morgan each have their own developed backstory, and, since the story is told through flashbacks while simultaneously moving through the present, each person’s reaction is justified by their history. All We Can Do Is Wait covers important topics, like love, loss, and growing up, and readers will be quickly drawn to the main characters."
When My Heart Joins the Thousand by A.J. Steiger
"Alvie Foster is a seventeen-year-old girl with Asperger’s who forms better relationships with the animals at the zoo she works at than other people. For now, Alvie struggles to survive until her eighteenth birthday without any severe accidents happening. If she makes it, she’ll be free to live on her own as an adult, but, should she fail, she’ll be sent back to the group home and become a ward of the state. When she meets Stanley, a boy who might be even stranger than her, Alvie finds herself getting close to him- too close. As her relationship with Stanley becomes more complicated, Alvie is forced to confront the demons in her past and maybe, just maybe, find hope for the future.
Told in first person POV, When My Heart Joins the Thousand is an honest and haunting book that provides readers with an immersive introduction to a person with autism. Alvie is a funny and lovable main character, who readers can’t help but root for. Stanley is patient and understanding, in a world where Alvie has yet to have met anyone like that. Alvie and Stanley are the ultimate underdogs, and the reader can’t help but fall in love with them. Despite this, Alvie and Stanley both have flaws and insecurities, and each is equally afraid of hurting the other. As their relationship develops, they begin to reveal more about themselves to one another, which will force them both out of their comfort zone. Over the course of the book, Alvie has flashbacks to her childhood that eventually lead up to the traumatic event that led Alvie to pursue her goal of emancipation in the first place. As the reader learns more about Alvie’s past, Stanley learns of it at the same time. When My Heart Joins the Thousand takes the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions, with some truly dark scenes featured in the climax of the book. Nonetheless, the character development Alvie and Stanley go through within the story leads to an extremely satisfying ending that dismantles the stigma surrounding autism."
Both All We Can Do is Wait and When My Heart Joins the Thousand will be available February 6th
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour
Nina LaCour ripped my heart out and put it back together again in less than 250 pages. We Are Okay is a beautiful story of healing, friendship, and family. Just have a few tissues nearby.- Reviewed by Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator
*This Is Not the End by Chandler Baker
From the first page, it’s pretty obvious that This is Not the End is going to send you on a painful, roller-coaster ride of emotions. Chandler Baker has created a not-too-distant future that many of us could easily slide into. Lake’s world is not that different from our own, except humans now have the power to resurrect the dead, but only once and on your 18th birthday, as if going to college and choosing your path in life isn’t hard enough.
And that’s what Lake Devereux should have been doing. She should have been enjoying the last summer before college with her two best friends, Will and Penny. But a terrible car accident leaves Lake the sole survivor with a heart-wrenching choice: who does she bring back? It’s a plot, with lots of twists and turns, that begs the reader to continue. But I’ve learned that a book needs more than a good plot to keep readers engaged, it needs characters to pull you in. This is Not the End is full of characters to connect with. From Lake, who holds the weight of the world on her shoulders, and Matt, her angry, paraplegic brother; to Ringo, the boy with his own heart-breaking past, and Will and Penny, with their deepest secrets bared after death, Chandler beautifully captures the difficult emotions that come with grief, acceptance, and unimaginable choices and lays out a moral dilemma for her readers to ponder: Is it right to bring people back from the dead? What would you do?
Though I hesitate to compare anything to Tuck Everlasting which has challenged readers for decades to question the human need to live forever, Chandler Baker and This is Not the End has done something very similar. She has taken a human desire: to bring loved ones back from the dead- to have just a little bit longer, and brought it to life, forcing her readers to examine this dream, to want it, and to doubt it.- Reviewed by Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator *First Looks Book Club Favorite
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
Before you pick this book up, I'm going to advise you to do one thing: Forget everything you know about Wonder Woman. Leigh Bardugo wipes the slate clean and creates a new, modern history for Diana Prince and the Wonder Woman she is to become.
It's a tough feat to write a new story for such a beloved character, but Bardugo was up to the task, her signature wit and humor blend with the exciting action and twists and turns in a way that will be familiar to Bardugo fans and ring true to all Wonder Woman lovers.
By far, one of my most anticipated books of 2017 and it did not disappoint.- Reviewed by Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator
A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck
Oh man. This book. I was up late last night bawling my eyes out and every time I thought I was done, it hit me again. A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck is perfect for fans of John Green, you know, the author of all those books that destroyed you and you thanked him for it? Yeah that one. Reminiscent of Looking for Alaska, Short History dives into the world of high school freshmen Matt and Tabby who have been best friends their whole lives, living across the street from each other. Matt has been in love with Tabby for years, but it isn't until she starts dating the senior basketball star that he truly realizes how much. As Matt struggles with his own feelings, fighting to be supportive without breaking into LOVE ME tantrums, and his self-sabotaging tendencies of imagining movie-scene moments that real life never seems to match, he starts to spiral into a self-destructive hole that's only compounded by a sudden tragedy. Full of rich, four dimensional characters and laugh out loud moments, A Short History of the Girl Next Door will make you cry, laugh, cry again, and spew water out of your noes. And you'll thank Jared Reck for the pain afterwards.
Also, I didn't count myself, but I was told there are about 300 curse words sprinkled through out the 265 pages. Epic.
HIGHLY Recommended.- Reviewed by Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
I haven’t cried over a book in a long time, but this one almost got me. It’s a love letter to books, words, and bookstores. But it’s also about grief. “ll tell her that I think he had been transmigrating all his life: leavinghimself in the things he loved, in the people he loved. He brimmed over the edges of his own life, and escaped.” This cover is beautiful and speaks to me in many ways. All around, just a wonderful book. – Reviewed by Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator
Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson
Three distinct stories weaved into one. Each POV giving you another young woman to root for an da mystery to unravel. But the biggest mystery of all? How all three of these women, one living in Post-WWI England, one on a small Oaklahoma farm being ravaged by the Dust Bowl, and the other, waiting to be sent on a one-way trip to Mars, are connected. A truly unquie mix of Sci-Fi and Historical Fiction. – Reviewed by Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator
Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (pronounced Rankin)
A fun, debut Sci-fi about a group of teens being trained to be the first humans allowed to mine a precious element, Nyxia, on an alien planet. As usual, there’s a catch. Only 8 of the 10 teens will make it. A fast paced contest, pitting desperate teens against each other. What is our protagonist, Emmett, willing to risk to make sure his family is cared for back on earth. What more does Babel Corporation have up their sleeve? How many secrets are they keeping? I listened to the award winning audio version of Nyxia, thanks to Libro.fm. and absolutely loved it. It’s creative and full of diverse characters. –Reviewed by Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
What’s not to love about Moxie?! Enter a small Texas town where Football is Life and the male students can get away with anything while the female students are subject to sexist rules. But Vivian has had enough. She anonymously creates, publishes, and distributes a feminist zine within her high school hallways, leading to a micro-feminist movement. Both funny and inspiring, Moxie is the perfect book for anyone looking to be inspired. Get it in the hands of all future feminists! –Reviewed by Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator
Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
(National Book Award Winner!)
An achingly beautiful story of three siblings finding each other and rediscovering the meaning of family. Far From the Tree covers important topics like teen pregnancy, adoption, and the foster care system in such an honest and loving way. I read this book in almost one sitting. The voice of the characters and their stories pulled me in instantly. I hightly recommend it. Also, grab those tissues, the happy-tears might flow. - Reviewed by Hannah, NYMBC Coordinator