March 24, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Teens Review April Henry’s Latest, Debut British Fantasy, and More

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Anyone attending BookExpo America, can happily assure teens (and YA collection development types) everywhere that there there are dozens and dozens of excellent young adult titles coming out in the fall and in 2015. For those looking to put their hands on something good right now, this column includes coming-of-age, romantic comedy, thriller, and fantasy fiction titles—a little something for everyone.

Alsaid, Adi. Let’s Get Lost. Harlequin Teen. Jul. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780373211241.

Let's Get LostGr 8 Up—Leila is on a mission—to go see the Northern Lights, and to get as lost along the way as possible. On her journey she meets many people, always seeming to come into their lives when they need her the most, and this is Leila’s story told through the story of each person she meets along the way. Reading this book made me want to go on an epic road trip across the country, but it also made me want to look at the world the way Hudson does and find the hidden treasures in everyday life. I also wanted to “seize the Tuesday” like Bree, and lastly it made me never want to put it down because this book was truly amazing. I absolutely loved the way the story was told from different perspectives and how each person also had a story of their own that tied into Leila’s story. I loved how each person had a different emotion radiating from their story, from love to loss. And I loved how it was relatable to things that I struggle with, as I’m sure many teens do in their every day lives, trying to find themselves.

What really made the book stand out from other similar books I’ve read was the fact that it was the story of this girl, yet it was told from so many different points of views and through other people’s stories. You learned a lot about Leila just seeing her from different perspectives and that part really fascinated me.

While reading I couldn’t help compare aspects of the book to others I have read and loved; in the end, I decided it reminded me of a mash-up of a John Green novel, Just One Day and its sequel Just One Year (both Dutton, 2013) by Gayle Forman, and I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (Knopf, 2005). Readers who enjoyed any of these books would most likely love Let’s Get Lost.—Grace B., age 15

Fiore, Kelly. Just Like The Movies. Bloomsbury. Jul. 2014. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781619633544.

Gr 7-12—Marijke wishes her boyfriend would just say “I love you” so she knows he truly loves her. Lily wishes her crush would actually notice her, considering it has been two years already. These two teenage girls meet by chance but quickly became friends and partners on a plan to make their love lives “just like the movies.”

Just Like the MoviesIt was fast-paced and easy to follow. I have had this idea before, not necessarily about my love life, but overall of what would lives be like if they are just like the movies. I like how I was on the edge of my seat, guessing what might happen because it is so spontaneous, very much like a teenager’s life. The only issue I have is how “perfect” Marijke is portrayed, with the exception of her relationship insecurities.

The most compelling part of the story is the reality of the situation. I like how the author wrote about failures  in Marijke’s plan, and how she portrayed the reality of marriages. I like how the author *SPOILER ALERT* had Joe turn down Lily because that is how life is sometimes. I did not like how Marijke got over her problems so quickly and won the state track meet. I felt like there should have been more struggles. Also, why the complicated name Marijke? I would recommend this book to the romantic daydreamers and also the believers.—Minh Thi N., age 17

Henry, April. The Body in the Woods. Holt. Jun. 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780805098525.

The Body in the WoodsGr 8-12—When Alexis, Nick and Ruby are called in by the Search and Rescue Department, they think it will be a normal search. It is not. The person missing is a man with autism named Bobby. What they find instead is the dead body of a girl, murdered. When more killings are reported, they know that they will have to do something before one of there own ends up among the dead.

This is a good book, though it has more violence than I would put into it. I would stick with two murders instead of the successful three and attempted two. But it kept me wanting to finish the book. It is just long enough; if it were any longer, it would have gotten boring.

I liked that even after Alexis and Ruby identified the man in the forest, the killings were still happening. Either the killings were before the man was put in jail, or they had the wrong man. It made me want to keep reading to find out which.

The book is a little violent—I think the concept of a serial killer is a little hard to grip onto if you are any younger than 12, so I’d recommend this for older readers.— Adelaide M., age 13

Wilkinson, Kerry. Reckoning. (Silver Blackthorn Trilogy: Bk. 1). St. Martin’s/Griffin. May 2014. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781250053534.

Gr 9 Up—In Reckoning, Wilkinson uses a enrapturing blend of futuristic technology, a dystopian plot, and a brave heroine to make the book a beautiful work of fiction. I read the book in one very long sitting, simply because I had to know how the heroine would find her way out of every new and dangerous situation and save the ones she loved, as will all others who read this book.

This book is a perfect example of the currently popular science fiction novels that have been so enthralling to our generation—and for good reason! Wilkinson utilizes compelling and fantastical diction to really sink you into the plot and to love all of the characters only to dramatically shift the plot and make you fear for your life. Though Wilkinson states that “perception is more important than reality,” this may be because all that seemed to be Reckoningconcrete reality ended up being simply a facade as surprising events occurred many times throughout the novel.

Though the book may resemble many other popular books a little too closely, it takes its own unique spin by never really letting us in on what the heroine is planning. She is simply amazing in every way, like Katniss Everdeen; however, she is also surrounded by amazing characters that surprise you as well. Ones that you hate turn into ones you love, emphasizing themes of reality versus perceptions, as well as forgiveness, bravery and love. Overall, I would highly recommend this book.

I enjoyed the cliff-hangers and surprising plot twists that Wilkinson employed repeatedly. This worked especially well because of how well the characters were developed, allowing me to truly fear for what would happen to them. Overall, I would highly recommend this book. Those who enjoyed novels like The Hunger Games would like this book.—Alyssa, age 17


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