High School


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The Revealed

Lily Atwater is an eighteen year old in The Revealed by Jessica Hickham, which means that in this post-apocalyptic world, she’s a target for a mysterious group called The Revealed who have been targeting eighteen year olds for no apparent reason, kidnapping them with no ransom or communication afterwards. Nearly 400 have vanished without a trace so far, and Lily knows she’s on the target list.

She, of course, is lucky. Not only is she the only child of a presidential candidate, but because her family is one of the few that is rich, she doesn’t have to go to work in factories – putting her further at risk of being taken – but she chafes at the ritual of the rich where she is essentially under house arrest in an effort to keep her safe from The Revealed.

Everyone fears The Revealed, partly because no one knows anything about this mysterious society and partly because the have the ability to control things that normal humans can’t. They can start fires, cause things to ice over, control plants to tie people down and more.

The story is slightly more disturbing for me than it would be were it not for the girls who have been kidnapped in Nigeria, as there are definite parallels there. Fortunately, Hickham has succeeded in creating a world with a girl itching for independence who I can very easily relate to, although when I first started reading it and recognized that the book was going to be told from an 18 year old’s perspective, I wasn’t sure how into the book or character I would get.

I appreciated the multiple plot angles from the relationship that the Atwater family had with the other presidential candidate’s family before the war to Lily’s relationship with both of her parents – which has different tensions to it between her and her mother and her and her father – as well the happenings amongst Lily and the security contingent and her one friend, etc. They definitely keep the book moving, and they are smoothly plotted to intersect but not in a completely formulaic manner.

The only part that confused me was Lily’s fixation on the fact that she thinks she’s ugly and wants to wear her hair down. I kept waiting for a reveal that she has a scar from an injury that happened during the war or some other deformity or mark, but I waited in vain for a description of what she felt she had to hide.

This is just the first book in the series, and I read it in a day. The second book – I assume – will pick up where the first one has left off, as there is so much more to learn and discover and solve in this post-war world. I appreciate that the plot points that needed to be closed off in the first book were but that there is plenty remaining ambiguous to pick up in the next one in the series, which I will definitely be picking up.

The book is a light thriller – words that I don’t often use together. It is a fun book, even as there is a definite element of panic as Lily continues to receive threatening notes from The Revealed (the only 18 year old who has) and as she attempts to both gain her independence and remain safe within her family. I appreciate that Hickham didn’t use this first book to set the stage with lots of background and information for future books that didn’t truly relate to character development or the plot of this book. It kept the book flowing much better than I’ve seen with some other authors.

Written by Michelle who is grateful that she is not the daughter of a presidential candidate. She has her own interests she’s grateful she’s been able to pursue. See what they are on her blog Honest & Truly! and follow along with her on Twitter where she is also @HonestAndTruly.


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Me and You

Lorenzo is a 14-year-old boy. He’s a bit of a misfit, and though his parents support him, they wish he would make more friends. He’s been under the care of a therapist trying to help him reach out (I think he’s somewhere mildly on the spectrum). He himself vacillates between being happy on his own and wanting to fit in with the others at school. This desire to fit in causes him to fantasize about tagging along on the ski trip he hears the popular kids talking about. He voices the fantasy to his mom, which results in a spiraling lie that ends up with him spending the ski week hiding out alone in the basement of his building. He’s an only child, sort of.
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Happy to Be Alive, Because

Avery has a summer to remember. It doesn’t start off that way, far from it. During her senior year in high school, her mom got cancer. When she passed away, Avery was lost. Her mother is all she has, and all the plans she made in her last year of high school — like staying at the local community college after she graduates — were all made so she could help care for her mother. After receiving yet another casserole from a well-meaning friends, she feels like she has to get away. When she finds some tickets and a travel itinerary for a trip her mother hoped to take with her to her hometown on the beach. Avery decides to take the trip alone in
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Love and Other Foreign Words, a 5-Star Read

Josie is a precocious 16-year-old girl. She loves languages, and she’s become an expert at all of the languages she hears each day: her best friend Stu speak (even Stu Chewing), those of her volleyball teammates at school, the college kids she sees each day in her Early College Program, sisters, fiancees, parents and more. The word most on her mind is love. Her older sister Kate says she’s in love, but Josie knows Geoffrey Stephen Brill is not right for her. She can’t be in love with him. Kate, he’s the single most uninteresting person in the world. You’re not really going to marry him, are you? Is this a delayed rebellion? Is this the boyfriend you should have had when you were sixteen
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5 YA Books to Read to Get Ready for the Movies, 2014 {Friday’s Five}

The Fault in Our Stars – June 6 There’s been a lot of talk in the #kidlit world about the fact that John Green’s book isn’t the only popular, well-written, well-reviewed YA book out there, but to listen to mainstream press, you might think it is. No, it’s not. It’s good, and he’s good, and I think the movie will be good, so it definitely belongs on this list. The movie comes out first, so I’m including it at the top of the list. I think that people will want to pick up the book after they see it, but I’m urging you to go ahead and take a couple of days and read it before you see it. Or not. I don’t really care
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Why Adults,Teens, and John Green are excited about The Fault in Stars movie #TFIOS

I’m excited about The Fault in Our Stars movie, are you? I am glad that I reviewed the book way back in 2012 before it was all the rage, though John Green was a popular YA author before this blockbuster of a book. My 15 1/2 year old daughter Amanda got to be a part of a phone interview with John Green. Hearing his excitement about the movie is contagious. He was honest and humorous: I would tell you if it sucked. Well, actually probably they probably wouldn’t let me do this call if it sucked. But, no, it really was, it was so special. I was just ridiculously lucky. This was one of the pictures that was released that got Amanda really excited, and
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Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival

Though Anne Frank’s personal story is likely the best known tale of hiding from the Nazis during World War II, hers was one of many. Too many to even imagine. Marcel Prins and Peter Henk Steenhuis have worked to gather and share more accounts from Jewish people who survived this terrible time hiding in the Netherlands, which was occupied by the Germans during the war. Hidden Like Anne Frank: 14 True Stories of Survival is a challenging read, filled with emotion and horror, but with reminders of human kindness and bravery. In the foreword, it is stated that about 28,000 Jews went into hiding in the Netherlands, with about 16,000 ultimately surviving, while the other roughly 12,000 were caught or betrayed. The stories included in this collection tell of
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We Were Liars

The note from the publisher at the beginning of the egalley of e. lockhart’s We Were Liars warns readers to enjoy the book but not to find out anything about this book. I honestly try to approach most books that way. I avoid reviews and I don’t even re-read the jacket copy when I finally get around to reading a book that has been sitting on my shelf. I promise this review won’t contain any nods to plot elements you don’t need to know, and I’d suggest you avoid spoilers so that you can enjoy this book as it’s intended as well. I wanted to love this book. It seemed intriguing. It was well-written and clever. I might be teetering on YA overload, which happens
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Itch Rocks: The Further Adventures Of An Element Hunter

Itchingham Lofte does not fit in at his new Cornish school. He had promised himself he was going to make more of an effort this school year, but in Itch Rocks by Simon Mayo, he is now the most protected kid in the world, and his bodyguards scare away everyone, not giving him much of a chance. Add to the fact that he’s still an element hunter, and he remains as much of an outcast as he did in Itch, aside from his (female) cousin Jack and sister Chloe. Itch Rocks picks up after Itch has been released from the hospital after suffering severe radiation poisoning in the first book trying to protect the new radioactive element he accidentally found and keep it from the bad guys
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If you happen to be in my general age bracket, you may find yourself comparing moments in your life with memorable scenes from television shows like “Friends.” I know, odd way to start a review, but stick with me for a minute. Remember when Joey read Little Women? Well, I couldn’t help but reference that (17 year old!!) scene because as I read Chris Wooding’s young adult novel Silver, I had to stop myself from putting the book in the freezer multiple times. Seriously, this book had my heart racing, and I stopped many, many times during my reading, sometimes not even making it to the end of a chapter! While this is intended for a young adult (12 and up) audience, my reaction is
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To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I’m the mother of a teenager, but I also love reading YA just for me. I love remembering what it was like to be a teen. In Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, we meet Lara Jean. She’s going to be a junior, and she knows this year is going to be different. Her sister has just left for college — in Scotland! — breaking up with her boyfriend, literally the boy next door, before she leaves. Lara Jean, Kitty, and her father have accepted Josh as a part of the family, so this changes thing for their family. The absence of Margot is even more felt in this family because she’s sort of stood in as their mother since her death
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These Broken Stars

I accepted a copy of this book for review because I had already been hearing how fantastic it was, and upon reading it myself, I was not disappointed. I’m almost 100% sure that my 15-year-old daughter will like it too. These Broken Stars is a young adult novel set in the future with dystopian undertones (class wars, controlling elements) and has some supernatural overtones as well (mysterious things that aren’t quite explained fully). The Icarus is an air ship colony of 50,000 people which is suddenly pulled out of suspension, causing the ship to crash. There’s a mob scene as people take to the escape pods. Young decorated war soldier Tarver Merensen and Lilac LaRoux, daughter of the richest, most powerful man in the universe,
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