February 20, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Teens Review YA Debuts, Thrillers, and More

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In their last post of 2015, the young adult reviewers of the Kitsap (WA) Regional Library YA Book Group take on debut novels, such as Estelle Laure’s This Raging Light and Faye Bird’s My Second Life, and more.

my second lifeBIRD, Faye. My Second Life. Farrar. Jan. 2016. Tr $ 17.99. ISBN 9780374348861.
Gr 8 Up–
Ana knows she is different from everyone else; in fact, she knows she has lived a life before as a woman named Emma. Bits and pieces of Emma’s past forever haunt Ana’s life, making her believe she is responsible for the death of a young girl.

The cover of My Second Life was very well done and it definitely reflected the contents, foreshadowing the role of drowning in this story.

Bird’s elegant repetition and use of anaphora throughout the story illustrates a vivid picture of Ana’s thoughts, and the constant mystery, and the infuriating (in a good way) plot made it a page-turner.

I believe the plot was rushed towards the end, as if Bird was struggling to meet a deadline and hastily wrapped everything up. I think a more drawn-out climax would have suited the book slightly better. My Second Life was a vivid book filled with creativity, the gravity of death, the preciousness of life, and learning to forgive yourself. —Jeanine S., 12

the killing jarBOSWORTH, Jennifer. The Killing Jar. Farrar. Jan. 2016. Tr 17.99. ISBN 9780374341374.
Gr 8 Up—Kenna Marden is trapped by a violent crime of her childhood, the guilt weighing on her shoulders for the last five years. But when her family is endangered and she is forced to use her abilities again, she is rushed to a secret community, filled with people just like her. But what is really happening at Eclipse?

I liked the cover and I think it reflects the nature of the book well. The only thing I’d say is the girl’s hand is in an awkward place.

The most compelling aspect of the book was the main character, Kenna. She had a lot of struggle and the most interesting thing was to see her change and accept herself.

The plot was really disappointing for me; after reading about a hundred dystopian love triangles, I could predict exactly what was going to happen after I read the first chapter. –Juliette S., 13


This book would be a good read for anyone who likes a story with romance, tragedy and family. If you like magic tied with real life than this would be a good story for you.

I liked the cover. I think it really reflected the story’s plotlines. The cover really got me into the story and made me want to read it more. The whole moth thing really connects to the plot. The image on the cover of the girl really gives me and image of what her family looks like.

There were no disappointment in this book, I liked how she cared for her family more than her new tribe. I liked how Jennifer described how she takes the life from people and creatures. I got so interested in the book that I had trouble putting in down.–Elise W., 12

ThisRagingLight_hresLAURE, Estelle. This Raging Light. HMH. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544534292
Gr 8 Up—
Her dad went crazy. Her mother walked out on her, a week before the first day of school. Now Lucille is responsible for cleaning, cooking, taking both her little sister Wren and herself to school, getting a job, and trying to hide the fact that they’re raising themselves from their neighbors who may tell Child Protective Services and get them sent into foster care. As you can tell, this is not the time for Lucille to start falling in love with her best friend Eden’s brother, Digby. Tragedy strikes, when Eden falls and is in a coma, and Digby already has a girlfriend and everything in Lucille’s life seems really terrible and sucky. Will she pull both herself and her little sister Wren through the hard times?

The cover was simple, with the blended elements of a painting. I really thought that was nice—however it did not capture the contents of the book. Yes, the main character Lucille painted a lot, but I don’t think that this kind of painting was one she would do.

I couldn’t stop reading until I knew what had happened to Lucille’s mom. I wanted to know if she would ever come back. I couldn’t stop myself from binge-reading until I got to the end, which didn’t exactly provide all of the answers. I don’t know if Lucille’s mom will ever come back, and I’m still a little unsure of the love triangle, with Digby, who Lucille’s best friend’s brother, in the center of it all. Did he choose Lucille? I’m not sure, but there was a love triangle for you to read and enjoy—if you like that kind of thing.

There was a little bit of religious slang, but not as much as I read in other books, so that was good, and some major factors in the contents of the books were just never made clear. What happens now to Lucille and Digby? What about Lucille’s mom? Will she ever come back? Is there going to be a sequel to this book? Very possible and likely.–Sam G., 14

last place on earth_SNOW, Carol. The Last Place on Earth. Holt. Feb. 2016. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781627790390.
Gr 8 Up—The Last Place on Earth is a story of a normal girl, Daisy, and her search for her best friend, Henry, after he goes missing for a week. It is a witty and adventurous story of paranoid parents, and their unafraid children.

The cover of the book was beautiful, and reflected the book’s plot because it illustrates the location where the majority of the book takes place. The best part of the book was the personality of the main character, Daisy. There was a lot of voice from the author, which makes the book pretty good.

I thought that the author took too long to get to the most adventurous, and interesting part of the book. It took about 200 pages before the story turned into a page-turner. I think that this book would be a great book for tweens, or younger, but maybe too young for an actual teenager. –Daisy B., 16


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