March 15

Love in English by Maria E. Andreu

Ana and her mother have just arrived in America from Argentina to meet her Father. Starting her first day at a new school, knowing very little english. 

All Ana wants to do is go home—until she meets Harrison, the very American boy in her math class. And then there’s Neo, the Greek boy she’s partnered up with in ESL class, who she bonds with over the 80s movies they are assigned to watch for class.

But is it possible that she’s becoming too American—as her father accuses—and what does it mean when her feelings for Harrison and Neo start to change? Ana will spend her year learning that the rules of English may be confusing, but there are no rules when it comes to love.

This Book was good but not great. It was an easy read and something different from anything I have read before but it was not show stopping. Andreu structured the story in very short chapters, which I loved as it made the read go by really fast and was easy to find a stopping place when I needed to. The chapter titles switched between Spanish and english names which I also enjoyed, it brought a different aspect. The story however just felt lacking. I did not feel that there was any character development. The relationships felt rushed and forced. I did not feel any sort of attachment to the characters and their emotions. I feel like the book was very surface level and it had a lot of great aspects it could have delved into. Overall a simple read, maybe something to read by the pool or at the beach, but not something I would recommend all of the time.

Rating: 3/5


February 14

Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon

Evie Thomas believed in love once. That was before she began having visions of couples’ relationships, from sweet beginnings to heart breaking ends. Trying to understand what is happening to her, Evie stumbles upon La Brea Dance Studio, a ballroom dancing studio. There she meets X. X is the complete opposite of Evie and yet between time spent in the studio preparing for the competition X pulled her into, and the time they spend together alone, Evie can’t help but start to fall. She knows all too well that nobody escapes love unscathed, yet she finds herself wondering if Love is worth the risk in the end.

This book was, if anything, interesting. I have read and loved Nicola Yoon’s other two works so when this book was coming out I knew I had to read it. It was a little bit underwhelming, but overall a solid book. There was an element of magical realism that Yoon played with in Instructions for Dancing that she had not touched in her past works. I have never read anything with magical realism so it was a bit weird adjusting to this new kind of storytelling, but I think that Yoon pulled it off well. While I do prefer her other works, I still thoroughly enjoyed what I think Yoon does best, which is her love stories in unlikely places. I fell in love with Evie and X and their stories. While I did not love the plot of the novel, the characters pulled it through and I would still recommend you pick it up. If you know that you like magical realism you will definitely love this and if this is the first exposure you have to Yoon and you do not love it I highly recommend you give her other works a try before you completely knock her.

Rating: 3/5
by Camryn

February 14

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

The novel opens describing how Quan, an African American young boy, ended up in prison after an encounter with a, now dead, white police officer. Quan will admit that he was present for the shooting and with several members of a gang that was involved, but he knows for certain that he did not fire a gun. The book follows Quan’s letters to Justyce, the main character in the author’s previous book. After a series of interactions, Justyce, a pre-law student at Yale, agrees to help defend Quan in his upcoming court case. 

Dear Justyce was an incredibly powerful, and fascinating book. It was almost like a mystery at times, trying to figure out what actually happened with the murder of the police officer and why Quan was blamed. Stone develops the character very well, and I found it almost impossible not to like them. I think that this book is such a powerful insight into systematic racism and the daily struggles that people of color face – and the fact that these are just two young boys contributes heavily to the reader’s frustration at this real world scenario. I think that this book is a great option for any skill-level of reader, as it focuses more on the overall meaning of the story, rather than complicated word choices and sentence structure. I would highly recommend this book as a sequel to Dear Martin or even as a stand-alone read.

by Anna

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).  


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!!


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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!!


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.


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.


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.


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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!