Posted in Book review

Mini Review Round Up: Young Adult Titles

While I have been slacking on my Young Adult reading this year, I still have been getting a few titles in. Unfortunately, I’m late on reviews, so here is a round up of some I read from over the summer. 

Books reviewed below: 

  • Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali
  • The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee
  • Grimoire Noir by Vera Greentea and Yana Bogatch
  • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Love From A to ZLove From A to Z

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.

Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.

Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister.Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.

Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals.Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting.

Wow, will you all judge me for admitting I only just realized Love From A to Z can also be taken as Love From Adam to Zayneb??? It isn’t even subtle and yet it still flew over my head!! 

Okay, anyhow, let me start telling you how great this book is. This book is full of diverse characters facing diverse problems. Zayneb is angry, so angry about the racism she faces daily, but feels like she needs to change, be more ‘nice’ in order to be a better person and not get her friends in trouble. Zayneb was my favorite character and I felt for her as she tried to figure out how to be a good person and what it means if you think you aren’t a good person. So much love for her. 
Then we have Adam who is keeping a secret from his family that he has multiple sclerosis, the same disease his mother died from, a death his father is still grieving. Adam is alone in his fight, preparing himself to die, and doesn’t want anyone else to hurt over him like his father hurts over his mother. There is such, such pain here. 

I also liked the notebook idea where they list Marvels and Oddities about their day– this book is told through notebook entries, by the way! Although it doesn’t read like journal entries all the time, so I would forget. 

This is a book I did end up slightly crying over. These teens are so precious and they deserve all the best in the world. If you want lovely read with a sweet romance interlaced with real world drama with real consequences, this is a book you should try out. I’ve already been recommending it left and right at work. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings, #2)The Lady’s Guide to
Petticoats and Piracy

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

But then a window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid.

In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.

I listened to The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue and knew I had to listen to this one as well. I finally buckled down and listened to it and adored it. I wasn’t a huge fan of Felicity in the first book, probably because Percy and Monty are so adorably cute, but in this book Felicity showed me how much I was missing out on. 

This book does amazing things. It truly goes into the trope of the strong woman character and what that means. See, Felicity judges everyone…harshly. She thinks she does things the only right way, yet Johanna is also quite feminist and wants to travel, she just wants to do it in style with cute things. Then there is Sim, glorious Sim who might have been my favorite character, who wants to…um… be a leader, we shall say, but her style is more aggressive than the other two. Felicity has to learn to stop putting other women down for liking feminine things and UGH I love it. I should also say I totally shipped her and Sim and then was shipping her with Johanna, and truly could have immensely happy with all three of them in a relationship together. 

The story was fabulous. I loved the adventure, I loved journeying with Felicity and watching her grow and change and realize our dreams are allowed to change. 

This book made me laugh, cry, and sigh dreamily. Definitely worth the read. 

OH! And for anyone who didn’t know book 3 The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks has a publication date! August 18th!

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Grimoire NoirGrimoire Noir

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
Bucky Orson is a bit gloomy, but who isn’t at fifteen?

His best friend left him to hang out with way cooler friends, his dad is the town sheriff, and wait for it―he lives in Blackwell, a town where all the girls are witches. But when his little sister is kidnapped because of her extraordinary power, Bucky has to get out of his own head and go on a strange journey to investigate the small town that gives him so much grief. And in the process he uncovers the town’s painful history and a conspiracy that will change it forever.

I wanted to love this one. I truly did. See, from page one I fell in love with the art. I’d read the the pages, then usually spend a good minute or so just staring at the artwork. It is wonderfully done. There were pages I wish I could just stick on my wall so I could look at them again and again.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think the story held up. It is a decent plot with his sister missing, witches stuck in town or they will die, and Bucky trying to find his sister and save her from witches who might be trying to use her for ill-gain. I was in, I was devoted to his cause, but Bucky is so quick to judge people and doesn’t learn any better. He loses a friend off of his actions. The other characters weren’t really fleshed out which was a bummer. 

The ending though is what ruined the book for me, or I should say the way the mystery works out. There is this huge potential backstory thing which wasn’t worked out or talked about in the end and what happened to his sister felt so… anticlimatic? Also, super based on luck. There is so, so much potential here and again the artwork is gorgeous, which makes this lower rating so heartbreaking. But, I’ll totally be reading more by this author and illustrator in the future. 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

The CrossoverThe Crossover

Alright, this one is more Middle Grade than Young Adult, but I’m still throwing it in this round up because it could appeal to younger teens. 

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
Josh Bell and his twin brother Jordan are awesome on the court. But Josh has more than basketball in his blood, he’s got mad beats, too, that tell his family’s story in verse, in this fast and furious middle grade novel of family and brotherhood.

Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family.

I picked this one up because all the youths I interact with are reading this one. I wanted to figure out what it was about so we could talk about it and so I can help recommend other books. 

Man, what a book. I did listen to this one and the narrator did a fantastic job. 

Josh is written so, so well and so believable. He’s in between being a kid and being a teen who is dealing with some pretty heavy stuff. His twin is dating the girl he likes, his father is having health issues, and he has to cut his dreads off which were a huge part of his positive identity. This book touches on family matters, anger, loneliness, and change.

This book is heavy at times and, yeah, I might have cried a bit for Josh, but I will say I’m not a huge fan of how the heavy stuff is handled. At times it felt like Josh was using basketball as a way to ignore the other things going on in his life. I had hoped we’d see him tackle those issues in a healthy way. I see the appeal though. I see how it is realistic and shows that life, no matter what, is going to keep moving on. 

So, I’d give it 4 stars, but adding an extra .5 because of how much my youths like it (I swear I haven’t seen this book back on my shelf in at least 2 months now). 

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 

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