March 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Teens Review Twisty Plots and Summer Romances

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From a murderous plot to a modern twist on You’ve Got Mail, the latest books covered by the Kitsap YA group are titles perfect for reading by the poolside or on much-needed beach days.

7 27 16 killer in meHARRISON, Margot. The Killer in Me. Disney. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781484727997
Gr 9 Up–
I liked the way that the cover looked and I think it adds suspense because you’re like ”why does she have a shovel? Did she kill someone?” It was very detailed and I enjoyed the characters and the character development. Some of the plot didn’t make sense and it felt like a few characters and scenes didn’t belong in the story.

If teens like psychopaths and mystery then this is for them. None of that sappy Twilight romance crap.—Trudy R., 16

HIRSCH, Jeff. Black River Falls. Clarion. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780544390997.               
Gr 7 Up–I liked how intriguing the cover is. The title makes me wonder if it means that Black River falls, as in, gets destroyed, or if it refers to a waterfall.

I like the plot, because it shows who people could have been under different circumstances. Like Greer used to be a bully, but then turns into a really kind counselor. Mr. Tommasulo used to be a kind-hearted crossing guard, but then turned into a mean guy who tried to trick people into thinking he was their husband.

7 27 16 black river fallsThe ending was confusing with how he goes to the scientist and gets tested and stuff, but then doesn’t give him the letter telling him how to change the virus. Once I understood the ending, though, I liked it.—Kaitlyn H., 13


Cardinal is trying to forget. He’s surrounded by people who don’t know who they are or where they came from. If given the opportunity, will he chose to forget?

The plot twist near the end of the book surprised me. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. There definitely needs to be a second book. I was disappointed that the book ended.—Alexandra M., 17

STAMPLER, Laura. Little Black Dresses, Little White Lies. Simon Pulse. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781481459891
Gr 7 Up–
Harper got her dream internship at Shift, one of the biggest teen magazines. But she didn’t get the position she asked for but instead became the dating blogger. Harper, unknown to her boss, has no dating experience whatsoever. The story she used to get the job was about her best friend’s hook up. Not that her bestie knows that either. In New York she is living the “fake it until you make it,” to heart. With the help of her best friend and a dog walker can she survive the big city?

I think the cover is amazing. The notebook made it work for me. Without the notebook I feel like the cover wouldn’t explain the main character in the right way, a girl who isn’t super flirtatious. I love the fact that the skyline is also included.

I love how all of the characters interacted. There are a bunch of girls who don’t know each other and the only thing that really connects them all together is that they all have an internship at the company as journalists for different sections. At first, they don’t all get along and tight bonds grow between some girls but it doesn’t feel unnatural. Sometimes when authors write about a bunch of girls like this it seems like everyone is against one person and they all get along perfectly. In this book they show that not all of girls get along together perfectly and it isn’t completely all against one.

At the very end were everything goes wrong it can be hard to continue reading the book. At the end I had to take the book by each page because I was just cringing for the main character. I almost think that too many things went wrong. If one of the things that went wrong was just a little less important, it might have been easier to read.—Samantha A., 15

7 27 16 little black dressesANOTHER TAKE

I liked the cover. I think it fit the plot of the story and I think it was artsy chic to have it drawn rather than a photo like most YA books have.

I really loved the inside look at what goes on in a publishing office. That magazine publishers have to have all kinds of workers. Employees work online, in print, social media, and blogging. The storyline was very realistic in what it’s like to really become a different person in a different culture.

Getting to learn about a girls experience in the publishing world is really interesting. There are so many different areas to work in that world. The drama isn’t overly dramatic and it seems like it could really happen and I think a lot of people will be able to easily relate to the characters.—Jane E., 13

WEST, Kasie. P.S. I Like You. Scholastic/Point. Jul. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545850971.
Gr 7 Up–I’m what you might call socially awkward. I get nervous when I talk to people and Cade Jennings, the school jerk, doesn’t help my problems. I haaaattttteeeee him, and vice versa. Brinnnnnngggg. That’s the bell, time for the most boring class ever, chemistry. But don’t worry, I have a secret. I’m secretly writing to an anonymous pen pal, but who is it?

I fell in love with this cover because it is so cute! I love how West pulled the name right out of a conversation the main characters were having, as well as the lines on the back.

The most compelling part of this book is the characters because I feel like Lily Abbot is really relatable. The only part that I was disappointed with was that the identity of the anonymous pen pal was pretty predictable but I loved everything else.—Madelyn H., 14

7 27 16 ps i like youANOTHER TAKE

I really liked the unique storyline that was different from other YA romance novels. The story began with notes being exchanged under the desk, and as the main character Lily tried to find a romance of her own, none of them worked out because she realized she was falling for the letter writer. The letter writer made things more complicated because it was a guy she knew and had a strong history with.

The cover was ok. It was a cute, eye catching cover and I liked that part, but I don’t think it really explained the book. I liked how they were covering themselves up with a different expression (a metaphor for hiding who they are), but since the whole story really revolved around a growing relationship based on letter exchange, I wish there would have been some sort of bigger connection to the letters with the cover.

The characters really come to life in this book, and you really see that everyone isn’t one-sided. Everyone has a history or past, and they play different roles sometimes depending on the situation.

Often you find that YA realistic fiction novels have a very generic storyline that you just see variations of in different books. This book is definitely unique. It shows how people hide behind masks, disguising who they really are, but when you anonymously begin to open yourself up to someone, then who find out who you really are, and who they are and your opinion of them might change.

I have read all of West’s books, and I have really enjoyed every single one of them. They all are so different and have unexpected plots that keep you interested and invested in the characters.—Jane E., 13

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Empowering Teens: Fostering the Next Generation of Advocates
Teens want to make a difference and become advocates for the things they care about. Librarians working with young people are in a unique position to help them make an impact on their communities and schools. Ignite your thinking and fuel these efforts at your library through this Library Journal online course—April 24 & May 8.