Tag Archives: YA

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Book Review: Twelfth Grade Night, by Molly Horton Booth

I accepted a review copy go Twelfth Grade Night, by Molly Horton Booth, Stephanie Kate Strohm, & Jamie Green through Rockstar Book Tours. The book was also featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. So, you can hop over there for the tour schedule, an excerpt, author/artist information, and even a chance to enter a giveaway.

Vi came to Arden High for a fresh start and a chance to wear beanies and button-ups instead of uniform skirts. And though doing it without her twin feels like being split in half, Vi finds her stride when she stumbles (literally!) into broody and beautiful poet-slash-influencer, Orsino. Soon Vi gets roped into helping plan the school’s Twelfth Grade Night dance, and she can’t stop dreaming about slow dancing with Orsino under the fairy lights in the gym.

The problem? All Vi’s new friends assume she’s not even into guys. And before Vi can ask Orsino to the dance, he recruits Vi to help woo his crush, Olivia. Who has a crush of her own . . . on Vi.

my review

Well, I thought this was simply adorable. It touches briefly on loss and grief. But is mostly focused on finding ones self, found family, sibling and familial love, and the trials and travails of (magical) high school. I’ll admit that the magical element wasn’t explained in any way (other than a tie-in with the title). It just is and I struggled with that a little bit. But that wasn’t a huge deal.

There is a fun—if somewhat eclectic—cast, plenty of representation and diversity, and a satisfying happy for now ending. The art is lovely and the moral of the story endearing. All in all, I’ll call this one a win. (And now I’ll pass it on to my 15-year-old. Because I know she’ll love it.)

twelfth grade night photo


Other Reviews:

Twelfth Grade Night – Blog Tour

Twelfth Grade Night by Molly Horton booth, Stephanie Kate Strohm, and Jamie Green Book Tour post

 

 

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Book Review: Child of Etherclaw, by Matty Roberts

I accepted a review copy of Child of Etherclaw, by Matty Roberts during it’s book tour with iRead Book Tours. It’s also been featured over on Sadie’s Spotlight. You can hop on over here for an excerpt and/or here for an author interview.

The bonds of family go well beyond blood.

But can those bonds hold when the blood itself carries a devastating secret?

Fenlee’s opal necklace had always radiated a certain warmth since her mother’s death. But now, at sixteen, her world begins to unravel as the stone sparks to life, revealing itself to be an otherworldly artifact of untold power.

Between her mechatronics studies at the academy and scavenging expeditions beneath the sprawling city of New Cascadia, Fenlee and her
adopted brother, Elliot, try to decipher the mysteries of her necklace and its link to events in Fenlee’s past.

But they’re not alone in their search.

Strange undercity dwellers offer cryptic warnings, drones track their movements, and deadly corporate agents lurk in the shadows. When tragedy rips Fenlee’s family apart, she must learn to use the artifact’s power to save those who are deeply precious to her. But nothing can prepare her for the dark truths that she will uncover on that journey…

“Lee,” Elliot mumbled. “I’m not who you think I am.”

my review

child of etherclaw photoWhat I appreciated most about this book was the myriad of representations. The main character is an amputee (without and drama, it’s just her reality), there’s adoptive family, found family, gender parity in number of powerful characters, sexual and racial diversity, etc. But the writing is also very good, the cover is eye-catching, and I liked the characters a lot. I really felt the siblings’ love for one another.

I did think that the parental figure (and any apparent affection held toward them) was little more than contrivance, the side characters weren’t fleshed out well, the villain was a little cliched, there was some predictability, and just a few too many plot-convenient occurrences. But all in all, I’d be up for continuing the series.


Other Reviews:

Bluntly Bookish Book Review: Child of Etherclaw

 

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Book Review: Youngblood, by Sasha Laurens

I received an ARC copy of Youngblood, by Sasha Laurens as part of a book tour for the book. However, that tour was canceled on somewhat short notice. However, I’d already read the book. So, here’s a review.
Youngblood cover

High school sucks. Especially for the undead.

Kat Finn and her mother can barely make ends meet living among humans. Like all vampires, they must drink Hema, an expensive synthetic blood substitute, to survive, as nearly all of humanity has been infected by a virus that’s fatal to vampires. Kat isn’t looking forward to an immortal life of barely scraping by, but when she learns she’s been accepted to the Harcote School, a prestigious prep school that’s secretly vampires-only, she knows her fortune is about to change.

Taylor Sanger has grown up in the wealthy vampire world, but she’s tired of its backward, conservative values—especially when it comes to sexuality, since she’s an out-and-proud lesbian. She only has to suffer through a two more years of Harcote before she’s free. But when she discovers her new roommate is Kat Finn, she’s horrified. Because she and Kat used to be best friends, a long time ago, and it didn’t end well.

When Taylor stumbles upon the dead body of a vampire, and Kat makes a shocking discovery in the school’s archives, the two realize that there are deep secrets at Harcote—secrets that link them to the most powerful figures in Vampirdom and to the synthetic blood they all rely on.

my review

I think maybe—like Kat and Galen—I wanted to like this more than I did. The writing it quite readable. (I had an ARC, so I can’t comment on editing.) The idea is interesting, the self-discovery aspect seemed well done, and the characters had potential. But, in the end, neither was particularly likeable, the romance is put off too long to feel satisfying, and there’s just a whole subtle sense of ick to the story.

Part of the discomfort is in the blatant -isms of the vampires. And I’ll accept that people raised in eras past might carry some of the attitudes of that past with them. But a lot of it is just baked into the narrative and apparent in the way Kat is such a fair-weather ally. Sure, she notices how few BIPOC students there are, asks Taylor their pronouns, acknowledges various forms of privileged, throws the use of ‘boys and girls’ at the headmaster derisively, ‘as if non-binary people don’t exist.’ She says all the right things. But she’s perfectly happy to overlook it all for her own social advancement. In a very real sense, that’s the whole point of the plot (if looked at from a different angle than the author presents it to us).

And honestly, the author could have done SO much with that set up. What a chance to show self-reflection and growth in the main character…not to mention commentary on a lot of real-youngblood photoworld allyship. But she doesn’t take the opportunity. The end result is a book that feels like corporate allyship…you know, where they say the right things during June and purchase the right optics (or try to publish the right books), but don’t actually change their policies to protect anyone or improve lives and drop it all come July. So, ick. And bonus ick in a book with two baby-lesbians as the main characters and, one would presume, the primary audience.

All and all, this wasn’t a big winner for me. But I do love the art on the cover. That’s why I picked the book up in the first place.


Other Reviews:

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