January 16

The Summer of Broken Rules By K.L. Walther

The book starts out following an 18 year old girl named Meredith to her cousin’s wedding shortly after losing her sister and then later breaking up with her boyfriend.  The wedding is held at their family place in Martha’s Vineyard, her sister’s favorite place and she is processing her loss.  She promises herself and her friends that she is just going to spend the time finding herself before college and having fun before she meets Wit, one of the young groomsmen.  She finds herself spending more and more time with her new friend… and possibly more.  YOU can find out by reading the book and experiencing all the heart-gutting emotions along with each word. 

I absolutely loved this book.  I received this book in my stocking at Christmas and it was just some random Target feel-good romance novel at the time, but after finishing it, I realized it was so much more.  It was witty and made you long for a relationship, something a book has never done before to me, a happily single pringle.  It was like the book The Summer I Turned Pretty and would be the perfect beach read.  The one flaw about this book is its name The Summer of Broken Rules BECAUSE NO RULES WERE BROKEN and it is so much more than a taboo romance story.  But I looked it up and the author apparently has a lot of trouble naming her books (she just renamed another one, so I hope she does the same with this one).  

-Gabi

January 16

The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

The Bane Chronicles is a book of 12 short stories following warlock Magnus Bane as he navigates the world throughout several different centuries. Magnus, being immortal, has faced much grief for his flamboyant style and has often found himself in the midst of chaos, but still approaches the world with a positive view, looking for friends and love.

I definitely recommend reading this book if you have read any other Shadowhunter books. I found that learning what has made Magnus so unique was really interesting. The contrast between watching his younger self struggle with his own personality to really embracing it was incredible. I actually kind of enjoyed seeing that experience backwards since I had read the other novels with the more confident version of himself first. The set of short stories is great for anyone who struggles with finishing whole books, as the individual stories keep your attention and never feel like they’re dragging on. This book is a great read!!

-Anna

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January 13

She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

If you want an in depth, character building story with romance and war, and decide to read She Who Became The Sun, be prepared to have to think.  This book is truly amazing as it builds the world of China during the rise of the Ming Dynasty, but it definitely takes time to read.  Parker-Chan is an amazing writer, but it definitely takes time to work through the book.  While I found the premises of the book extremely interesting, the actual attention grabbing abilities of the book left me wanting.  Now I am normally a YA reader and this was much more out of my comfort zone, but I still want to feel like I can’t put the book down.  I didn’t feel that with this book.

It is an amazing historical fiction, fantasy book and I would recommend it to everyone and anyone.  But truth be told, it wasn’t my favorite.  If you want a more challenging and complicated book to read then this is definitely what you are looking for, otherwise I might just listen to this on audiobook (so I don’t have to think about each word lol).  I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction and fantasy!!

-Luka

January 13

The Bridge By Bill Konigsberg

The Bridge is about two teenagers, each with their own problems, preparing to jump off the Washington Bridge. There’s Aaron, a gay musician who just wants people to listen to his music, and be noticed. And then there’s Tillie, who feels her father hates her for some reason as he will not speak to her, and is jealous of her little sister, who is great at everything, she was also ghosted by her boyfriend, Arnim. The story goes through the scenarios of what would have happened if Aaron jumped and Tillie didn’t, if Tille jumped and Aaron didn’t, if they both jumped, or if neither of them jumped. It shows each of their lives and how they changed after this moment, and formed an unlikely friendship between the two of them.

-Sophie

January 13

10 Blind Dates by Ashley Elston

Sophie wants nothing more than to spend Christmas break away from her overprotective parents and with her boyfriend Griffin. Griffin had other plans. 

After overhearing Griffin talk about wanting a break from their relationship, Sophie breaks up with him and decides to spend Christmas with her huge extended family. 

They devise a plan to set Sophie up on 10 Blind Dates to take her mind off of recent events. Reuniting with her cousins and navigating crazy dates, family dinners, and her feelings for the boy next door she has known since childhood, Sophie discovers just how much she needed this break. 

I loved this book. It was filled with fun, family drama, chaos, and just the right amount of romance. Sophie has a huge family, but Elston does a great job of writing the characters and the family dynamic so that it does not feel confusing. Instead it feels like a warm hug. You truly want to be transported into the world and into the Messina family. This book does not tackle huge worldly problems or morals, but it is just a feel good book. Elston created the perfect balance of humor, conflict, and wholesomeness. If you are looking for a book to lift your spirits or get you back into the reading game, I highly recommend 10 Blind Dates.

-Camryn

December 2

Where She Fell by Kaitlin Ward

Where She Fell is a story about a girl who is traveling in the swamps with her friends, when she
falls into a pothole and becomes stuck in a cave system underground, all alone. She travels the
caves, finding skeletons and giant insects, when she comes across a civilization of people who
are also trapped in the caves. They welcomed her in, and she began to get used to the routine
of going out to hunt bugs, keeping the fire going, and meeting the others. She meets Mary, a
geologist who is an outcast among the others. She warns the girl that this place makes you
want to stay there forever, and that she should leave while she still can. With the help of some
new friends, she tries to convince the others to leave with her, but most refuse. She and her
friends went exploring in the caves, finding another civilization of bioluminescent people, who
helped them find a way out. They come across lava, ravines, giant insects, and the other
civilization who try to stop them from finding a way out.

-Sophie

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November 21

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

“The Cousins” follows recently reunited cousins, Aubrey, Milly, and Jonah Story, on their grandmother’s resort after randomly being invited to visit. They have never even met her before, but give into their curiosity and travel there for the summer. After multiple strange interactions with this new grandmother, the cousins decide to work together to fully understand what happened in their family’s past and discover some surprising things about themselves along the way.

I actually really enjoyed this book! Going into it, I thought it would be the typical “learning to love your family” plot line, but I was constantly surprised with new discoveries along the way. Aubrey, Milly, and Jonah are relatable to the average teenager, which I think was really important throughout the book. I also very much liked the flashbacks to how their parents interacted with each other growing up. I think the book develops at a good pace, and keeps you on your toes. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for an easier but exciting book to get back into reading!

-Anna

November 11

Powwow Summer by Nahanni Shingoose

River is a young half Ojibwe teenage girl living in Ontario, Canada, with her white mom and stepdad. Having just finished high school and feeling lost in herself she decides to spend the summer with her indigenous father and grandmother. Throughout the story readers see River go through a journey of self-discovery and acceptance. 

 I was looking to read more books by BIPOC authors and came across this one on a whim in the library one day. As someone who is very uneducated about indigenous life and culture in North America, I found the topics in this book to be very thought provoking. All of the main points of indigenous culture were  introduced in the way that made you go and look further into the topics and educate yourself on some of the both more beautiful and less joyful experiences of indigenous people. I felt that some of the storylines were either rushed or left unfinished, but the characters were easy to follow and kept me engrossed in what was coming next. I hope to continue reading works by indigenous peoples and continue educating myself on some of the issues I am not as aware of as I should be, and overall this was in my opinion a good read. 

Rating: 3/5

-Camryn

October 25

Tramp in Flames by Paul Farley

Tramp in Flames by Paul Farley is a series of short stories. Each new story comes with its own plot and introduces new characters. Even though most of the stories are only a page or two in length, Farley is able to masterfully develop each storyline and character. The reader definitely feels like they know each individual character intimately and are able to understand the strifes that they go through. Farley likes to use more cryptic language in his works- really making his readers think about what is happening and connect the dots for themselves.

I would recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time to read. The book itself is relatively short, but if they don’t want to commit to the whole book, they can just read one or two stories. All of the short stories can stand alone and their short length makes them optimal for short reading sessions.

-Davina

October 25

The Last Graduate by Naomi Novik

The Last Graduate continues minutes after the conclusion of A Deadly Education, and follows El et al. in their senior year. The impending spectre of Graduation hangs over them, in which they must fight through the Graduation Horde of maleficaria which have snuck into the graduation hall over the past year and wait to consume the rush of seniors desperately trying to escape the school and return to their homes. El’s secrets begin to come to light, despite her best efforts, and she must deal with the increased distrust even as she comes to realize that she is half of the best chance that every student in the school has of surviving the school.

The book was, in the vein of the first book, rich in world-building, but, freed of the need to explain the world from the ground up, had more room to explore characters and expand the cast, which Novik does admirably. Unfortunately, despite being a well-written story, the book just barely falls into the sequel trend, in which the second book in a trilogy serves more to set up the finale than to stand alone. Potential trigger warnings for death in various forms, monsters human and otherwise, and actions ranging from morally dubious to manslaughter. Ages 13 and up.

-Sasha

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