April 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Teens Review Survival YA, Margaret Stohl’s Latest, and More

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From a compelling tale set during Hurricane Katrina to contemporary novels about overcoming grief and reality TV, these new works inspire high praise from the Kitsap teen reviewers.

Biren_Last ThingBIREN, Sara. The Last Thing You Said. Abrams/Amulet. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781419723049.

Gr 8 Up—Lucy’s best friend Trixie died over the summer when her heart stopped working while she was swimming. Trixie happened to also be Lucy’s boyfriend’s little sister. The two of them blame the death on themselves and are swallowed with grief. Lucy longs for Ben, but there is always an awkwardness between them. It only gets worse when painters move in next to Lucy, and Lucy falls in love with their son, Simon. Lucy tries to find who she cares about more, Ben or Simon.

I like the color and font of the cover, the image reflects on the plot of the book really well.

I liked how the chapters alternate character’s perspectives. I felt like I really got to know the characters. The book was very exciting and left me wanting more.—Emily H., 12

Keyser_Pointe, ClawKEYSER, Amber. Pointe, Claw. Carolrhoda. Apr. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN9781467775915.       

Gr 9 Up—I refuse to recommend the casual observance of my soul, however, please do not pass this by. It might just change your life.

To have your soul written is an uncanny feeling, but I recommend it to any and everyone who has the opportunity.

I can’t choose the best part of this book. This was the best book I have ever read. Truly. It felt like Keyser just reached in and wrote my soul. She grabbed my heart and forced it into the pages, still beating, hot and heavy, burning any misconception to the ground. The words are written in my own lifeblood. The characters have run away with my heart, stamped on it, forgotten it, and broken it into pieces. Each one of them has touched me, and I will never forget it. The clarity, grace, and elegance of this story make it the truth. The alpha and omega of my soul. A part of me. My mind.

I have read this book more times than I can count and I’m in Pre-Calc. I didn’t sleep for two days when I got it because I couldn’t stop reading it. I almost refused to let my friend borrow it. This book consumed and destroyed me. This book was both the light and darkness of a truth so overpowering that it got me in its clutches and will never let go. I have drowned in the wave of clarity, opened my eyes to the confusion, have peered into the depths of the deep and the vault of the sky inside my own mind and I O Sullivan_Between Two Skiescan tell you, you do not find the truth easily, but when you do, it never leaves you. I am murdered, reanimated, made anew. I am the story. Pointe, Claw, and all.—Olivia V., 13      

O’SULLIVAN, Joanne. Between Two Skies. Candlewick. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763690342.

Gr 7 Up— Evangeline Riley is one of many Evangeline’s in her family, as the name has been passed down to span a rich history of generations. However, that history and its location in Bayou Perdu, New Orleans is at risk of being washed away when Hurricane Katrina is predicted to strike.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the cover; I didn’t find it very visually appealing.

The most compelling aspect of the book was the setting. It was well described and really helped me get into the story.—Isabel T., 15

Stohl_RoyceSTOHL, Margaret. Royce Rolls. Freeform. Apr. 2017. Tr 18.99. ISBN 9781484732335.

Gr 8 Up—Bentley Royce shares a reality show with her family, and they struggle to find a way to continue their show with the prospect that season six might be canceled.

The cover featured the main character and that was about it. It didn’t really reflect the contents and it wasn’t the best cover.

Many parts of the book were confusing and the plot sometimes felt chunky.

The plot was full of surprises. This story definitely hooks readers, and the ending will leave you shocked.—Veronica C., 13

Thebo_Dreaming the BearTHEBO, Mimi. Dreaming the Bear. Random. Apr. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780399557507.     

Gr 7 Up— Making the transition from urban England to the rugged Yellowstone National Park is about as easy as it sounds. Meaning not very. Especially, if like our main character Darcy, illness, loneliness, and a total lack of Wi-Fi are involved. That is, until she finds an injured mother bear who lost her cubs to poachers. Darcy can’t help but care for the bear; she makes Darcy feel truly alive.

I really liked the cover. It was artistic and visually interesting, as opposed to clean-cut and boring. I thought the silhouette of the main character inside of the bear was creative. It definitely reflects the contents.

My favorite part of this book was its brevity. Don’t get me wrong, I love long novels, but sometimes you’re just looking for something to whip through on a weekend afternoon. Especially if you’re bogged down with work.

The story was truly compelling, well-composed and -written. It was, to quote the author, “spare, yet poetic.” I wish there were more books like this out there. I loved it!—Isabel T., 15


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