Top 20 Books of 2017

2017 has been…a year. It’s been a year where I’ve been more thankful than ever to be a reader who can find escape and comfort in books. So far this year I’ve read 160 books and I know I’ll finish a few more in December. It’s been a really great year for books with a lot of representation that YA really needed. I’m really lucky that part of my job as a Teen Services Librarian is reading and recommending books to teen readers. I’ve read so many amazing books this year and it was really hard to narrow it down to even 20 titles. I didn’t set out to make this a YA only (and one middle grade) list but those books were, above and beyond, the best that I read this year. YA is a magical book haven right now.

Here are some of my favorite reads of the year that I know I’ll be recommending even after 2017 is over:

1.How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring BlakeFav3 (1)

I loved this heart-wrenching contemporary romance about love, struggles with family, and finding your own way. This book also has queer main characters, Grace is a bisexual teen who falls for Eva, a lesbian teen. While the story does follow Grace and Eva’s relationship it also focuses on their complex family struggles. Grace’s mom has never really been there for her the way a mother should and Eva has just lost her mother. This book absolutely pulled my heart out and then mended it.

2. A Map For Wrecked Girls by Jessica TaylorFav 4

A Map For Wrecked Girls is one of my favorite books of the year because it not only managed to be a fast-paced thriller but it was also about a complex sister relationship full of twists and turns. I couldn’t put it down and I know I’ll read it again. I also met Jessica Taylor at a book signing event and I loved hearing her talk about her process of writing this book. Here’s my review from earlier this year with 5 more reasons you need to read this book.

3. Piecing Me Together by Renée WatsonFav 1

This is a beautifully written story with short vignettes about Jade’s life. Jade is a collage artist, a daughter, a friend, a scholarship student, and a teenager trying to figure out where she fits in. This book is about growing up as a black girl and how people try to place you into boxes. Jade uses her art to define herself, even though everyone tries to define her identity for her. Jade has a powerful voice  and Watson creates a realistic portrait about loving yourself. Readers of The Hate U Give will love this book.

4. Geekerella by Ashley Poston Orange Pumpkin with Heart Cheesy Thanksgiving Card

Geekerella was an absolutely delightful Cinderella retelling about nerdy teens, fandom, a an adorable dog! I loved seeing Elle grow and find her voice through her favorite fandom. She finds friends and belonging through being nerdy and it rang so true. There was also a swoony romance with a teen heartthrob who is in the reboot of Elle’s favorite TV show. It was such a happy book to read in the trash fire of 2017.

5. I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene GooPink Flowers Bridal Shower Email Header.jpg

Desi was such a fun character to read about. She’s a “late” bloomer, an over-achiever, an athlete, and she hopes to go to Stanford. She has it all–except she’s never had a boyfriend. She sets out to use the rules of K-drama romances to help her land her first relationship. This is a funny romantic comedy with an endearing lead AND a gorgeous cover! This book is perfect for anyone who loves nerdy girl characters and happy endings. My full review is here.

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Been There, Read That//November 2017

monthly-wrap-up

Been There, Read That is a monthly reading wrap up featuring everything I read last month.

What I read:

9 YA books

3 Graphic Novels/Comics

1 Non-fiction book

November was a nice month full of shopping and eating for me. And reading, of course! I had a little more time to read already published books this month because I was pretty caught up with my ARC reading. I found it a little harder to get reading done though because of the time change. When I get home and it’s already dark inside I just want to watch cozy shows on Netflix with the lights off. I’m going to try to read more ebooks next month so I can read in the dark.

I read four ARCs in November and loved all of them. My favorite read of the month was Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed. I loved reading about Maya’s senior year of high school, her film-making dreams, and her determination to make her own path. Three Sides of a Heart was a short story collection all about love triangles. There were several stories that I really wish were full length novels. Before I Let Go will be a great read this winter because it’s about a cold, snowy, and dark Alaskan town. You can read my thoughts about I Never here (spoiler alert: I loved it).

I read 5 already published YA books in November. I found Bronx Masquerade in a little free library nearby. I’ve been meaning to read it for a long time so I figured it was a sign that I should just read it that day on my day off. I somehow got both of my teen book clubs to read We Are the Ants in November so I only read one book for book club this month (and it was a fabulous read!) I really enjoyed the other three books that I read and reviewed for a teen librarian review newsletter as well.

I didn’t read as many comics and graphic novels that I intended to this month. I still have several that I checked out from the library sitting on my shelf. But I did finally read X-Men Blue and I loved it because I’m a big Magneto and Jean Grey fan. I also read an ARC of Melba Patillo Beals memoir about growing up in Arkansas and her life before becoming one of the Little Rock Nine. It was a very honest and striking account of realizing the depth of racism as a very young child.

What was your favorite read of November?

Top 10 Tuesday//Winter TBR

toptentuesday

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Winter is undoubtedly my favorite time of the year. It’s the best time to stay inside and read (even though I already do that all year round.) Go ahead and add these books to your TBR so you’ll be all set for some cozy indoor reading!

Here are the top ten books releasing during the winter season on my TBR:

1. You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon (I know I’ve written about this one before too but I am just SO here for it and can’t wait to read it. I know I’ll be recommending this one all throughout 2018.) Out on January 2, 2018!

You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone“Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive. These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?” -Goodreads synopsis

2. Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke (I preordered this book as soon as I heard about it. It sounds so unique and I love contemporary YA that involves religion and reality tv.) Out on January 9, 2018!

33413915.jpg“The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out.

Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight.

As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win.” -Goodreads synopsis

3. Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (I’ve featured this on several lists this year so here’s one more reminder to add it to your TBR! I just started reading this one so I’m not technically waiting until winter starts but it still counts! I have heard so much buzz about this book and I’m 20 pages in and can tell it absolutely lives up to the hype. ) Out on January 16, 2018

Love, Hate“Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City–and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?”-Goodreads synopsis

4. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (I am a huge fan of Tiny Pretty Things and I will read anything that Dhonielle or Sona writes. And I mean, just look at this cover? That’s really all you need to know to read the book) Out on February 6, 2018

top1.jpg“Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.” -Goodreads synopsis

5. People Like Us by Dana Mele (Ever since I read The Clique in 6th grade I’ve loved books set in private schools and girls with images to uphold no matter what.) Out on February 27, 2018

35356380.jpg“Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.” -Goodreads synopsis

6. A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena (I love YA books that center around some kind of mystery that is slowly put together by the reader and this one about a teen in Saudi Arabia sounds incredible.) Out on February 27, 2018!

29451548.jpg“A timeless exploration of high-stakes romance, self-discovery, and the lengths we go to love and be loved.

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school.  You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.” -Goodreads synopsis

7. Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough (My art history teacher’s favorite artist was Artemisia Gentileschi and I was shocked that I had never heard of her until college. I did several projects focusing on her works throughout college. I audibly squealed when this book was announced. It’s also coming out 2 days before my birthday so I know what I’ll be getting myself.) Out on March 6, 2018!

35540804.jpg“Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

He will not consume
my every thought.
I am a painter.
I will paint.

Joy McCullough’s bold novel in verse is a portrait of an artist as a young woman, filled with the soaring highs of creative inspiration and the devastating setbacks of a system built to break her. McCullough weaves Artemisia’s heartbreaking story with the stories of the ancient heroines, Susanna and Judith, who become not only the subjects of two of Artemisia’s most famous paintings but sources of strength as she battles to paint a woman’s timeless truth in the face of unspeakable and all-too-familiar violence.

I will show you
what a woman can do.”  -Goodreads synopsis

8. The Place Between Breaths by An Na (A new An Na book? SIGN ME UP!) Out on March 6, 2018!

18337136.jpg“Sixteen-year-old Grace is in a race against time—and in a race for her life—even if she doesn’t realize it yet…

She is smart, responsible, and contending with more than what most teens ever have to. Her mother struggled with schizophrenia for years until, one day, she simply disappeared—fleeing in fear that she was going to hurt herself or those she cared about. Ever since, Grace’s father has worked as a recruiter at one of the leading labs dedicated to studying the disease, trying to lure the world’s top scientists to the faculty to find a cure, hoping against hope it can happen in time to help his wife if she is ever found. But this makes him distant. Consumed.

Grace, in turn, does her part, interning at the lab in the gene sequencing department in hopes that one day they might make a breakthrough…and one day they do. Grace stumbles upon a string of code that could be the key. But something inside of Grace has started to unravel. Could her discovery just be a cruel side effect of the schizophrenia finally taking hold? Can she even tell the difference between what is real and what isn’t?” -Goodreads synopsis

9. Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner (I freaking loved Whitney Gardner’s You’re Welcome, Universe and I’m so excited to read more from her. You might as well go ahead and add her graphic novel Fake Blood to your TBR too!) Out on

29960656.jpg“Cameron’s cosplay–dressing like a fictional character–is finally starting to earn her attention–attention she hopes to use to get into the CalTech costume department for college. But when she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans.

When Cameron’s family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse. Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town–her main destination for character reference–is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother’s suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she’s shocked at how easily she’s accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her bro Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her “secret identity” gets more and more entrenched, Cameron’s portfolio falls by the wayside–and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious.” -Goodreads synopsis

10. Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles (This one is going to be a powerful book that will be on constant display at my library every time it’s checked in.) Out on March 20, 2018!

35604682.jpg“When Marvin Johnson’s twin, Tyler, goes to a party, Marvin decides to tag along to keep an eye on his brother. But what starts as harmless fun turns into a shooting, followed by a police raid.

The next day, Tyler has gone missing, and it’s up to Marvin to find him. But when Tyler is found dead, a video leaked online tells an even more chilling story: Tyler has been shot and killed by a police officer. Terrified as his mother unravels and mourning a brother who is now a hashtag, Marvin must learn what justice and freedom really mean. “- Goodreads synopsis

Which winter 2018 release are you most excited for?

Book Review//Not Now, Not Ever

teacher appreciationweek (3)

                  Elliot Gabaroche has always been told what to do. Her mom thinks she should be working towards the ultimate goal of enlisting in the United States Air Force. Her dad and stepmom think she should do anything but that, as long as it’s a practical career path with a set retirement plan. Elliott has always felt torn between her families and their expectations for her life. But she’s ready to make her own path, even if it means bending the truth a little.

                 She goes to an intense, academic summer camp as Ever Lawrence for a chance to win a coveted full scholarship to her dream school. Elliott spins plenty of different lies and alibis for her various family members and sets out to Rayevich College to compete against other rising seniors, including a totally cute, typewriter owning nerd. She can be anyone she wants in a place where no one knows Elliott, only Ever–until her cousin shows up. This book is full of wacky hyjinks, nerdy trivia, and an adorable summer romance.

                This contemporary novel is mostly lighthearted but it’s also a story about identity. Ever/Elliot feels that she needs to get away from home to be who she truly is. She feels torn between her divorced parents and doesn’t know how to choose a future without disappointing someone. Anderson writes beautifully about Elliot’s struggle with duality and running away from home to find herself but discovering that her family is what makes her unique. Elliot’s true passion is Science Fiction and she wants to be a Sci-Fi author. Rayevich has a Sci-Fi writing major and it also houses a large Octavia Butler collection. Elliot has never been able to reconcile her Sci-Fi dreams with her parents’ goals but she discovers that it’s okay to contain multitudes.

              Not Now, Not Ever excels at creating a geeky summer camp atmosphere. I absolutely loved reading about Rayevich’s unique college campus with treehouses and art installations all over the place. The way that Anderson described the library, study nooks, and sharp-edged binders will make you actually want to grab a highlighter and–gasp–study! The nerdy summer campers all have their own specialities and you’ll learn lots of random tidbits of information through Ever’s friends. Though there were quite a few characters, each one felt developed with a unique personality and they added something to Ever’s experience at camp. Ever’s romantic interest is absolutely charming and you’ll root for the pair. The romantic aspect of the plot adds to the overall story without overshadowing the rest of the subplots. I loved the funny dynamic between Ever and her cousin, who has also run away and joined the competition for the scholarship. This book will make you actually laugh out loud.

                    This book is inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest and features characters from Anderson’s The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You but you don’t have to have any prior knowledge of these works to read Not Now, Not Ever (though this book will make you want to read those!). Though this book is coming out in November, it will be such a fun read in the summer. This story with diverse characters, Ever and her cousin are black, and a plot about enlisting in the military, which isn’t often included in YA, is a refreshing romantic comedy. Full of nerdy quips, this book will leave you laughing and wanting to see more of Ever!

Not Now, Not Ever is out today! Add it to your Goodreads shelf and follow Lily Anderson on Twitter.

 

Book Display//Books like Taylor Swift’s Reputation

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Taylor Swift mania is about to sweep your library’s hold list with the release of her latest album. Each of her albums has a whole plethora of readalikes and her latest one is no exception. If you haven’t listened to Reputation yet, it’s a perfect album for all those YA characters with big reputations preceding them.

From bad girls to unreliable narrators to fantasy heroines with legions of admirers, Reputation has readalikes in a lot of genres featuring complex characters that are often misunderstood. Sometimes about romance, sometimes about revenge–in these stories, perception is everything.

Make your own display by downloading the display sign and adding these books to your display. Here are some Young Adult readalikes that are similar to songs on Reputation:

  • Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
  • Tiny Pretty Things by Dhonielle Clayton and Sona Charaipotra
  • Because You Love to Hate Me Edited by Ameriie
  • Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  • Such a Good Girl by Amanda K. Morgan
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  • Antisocial by Jillian Blake
  • Legend by Marie Lu
  • Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr
  • Run by Kody Keplinger
  • Going Geek by Charlotte Huang
  • Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
  • How to Love by Katie Cotugno
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
  • Be True to Me by Adele Griffin
  • After the Fall by Kate Hart
  • Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey
  • The Takedown by Corrie Wang
  • Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

What’s your favorite Reputation readalike?

 

 

 

Book Review//I Never by Laura Hopper

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Judy Blume’s Forever has always been an important book to me. It was my first Blume book and a really old tattered copy was handed down to me by an older cousin with all of the juicy parts marked with post-it notes when I was in middle school. I was instantly intrigued by I Never when I saw it being compared to Forever.

Unlike Blume’s main character, Janey is dealing with a lot more than just her first love. Janey is blindsided by her parents separating and breaking up her easy life. She has to quickly adjust to a new life of two homes and two sets of rules. The beginning of the book focuses on Janey trying to adjust to the idea that her parents haven’t been happily in love like she thought. Hopper perfectly captures the moments of turmoil  that come from being a teenage child of divorce and realizing your parents are people too with their own hopes and desires. Janey has to reimagine her family’s future and the things she’s always believed to be true about love and living happily ever after. I Never follows a year of Janey’s life that has many ups and downs.

Enter Luke Hallstrom, the most popular guy in school who Janey happens to see on a plane home from vacation. Luke notices Janey at the perfect time in her life when she needs a distraction from her home life. Luke, a senior, has never paid any attention to Janey before but they have a believable meet-cute on the airplane that jumpstarts their relationship. The two are quickly inseparable and the relationship provides the perfect vehicle for Janey to try to find her own definition of love in the wake of her family breaking up. Janey also has three best friends in various stages of their own sexual development. Danielle is in a committed relationship and the first friend of the group to have sex. Sloan has earned a nickname of “E.B.” because she’s known to do everything but have sex. Brett, Janey’s male best friend, serves as Janey’s biggest foil because of his outspoken views on how girls should look, think, and act. Each friend provides an alternative to Janey and serves to show multiple point of views about sex.

Like Blume’s Forever, Hopper explores the first time and includes detailed descriptions of sex. Luke, who turns out to be a caring and considerate first boyfriend, lets Janey take her time to feel ready before they have sex. I Never is ultimately a sex-positive book where Janey feels comfortable exploring what she wants. Her mother and Janey’s best friend, Brett, (a not-all men type) both criticize Janey at first for her “fast” relationship. By the end of the book she develops a mature outlook on sex and is able to have an open dialogue with her mom. She realizes that just because she doesn’t want to have a hook-up or a one night stand, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with girls who do.

I Never is a contemporary version of Forever but it certainly stands on its own for readers who have never read or heard of Blume’s classic 1975 novel.  I Never will appeal to teen readers of romance and contemporary. Pair I Never with a book like Moxie or Cherry to give readers a well-rounded feminist and sex-positive repertoire.

Looking for more sex positive YA books? Try Bloom, Cherry, When Dimple Met Rishi, Queens of Geek, Everything Everything, Moxie, Little & Lion, Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, Our Own Private Universe

Add I Never to your Goodreads shelf and follow Laura Hopper and HMH Teen on Twitter. Thank you HMH Teen for the ARC. I read and review most of the ARCs that I receive and donate all ARCs to teen readers and teen book clubs at my library.

Been There, Read That//October 2017

monthly-wrap-up

Been There, Read That is a monthly reading wrap up featuring everything I read last month.

What I read:

8 YA Books

4 Graphic Novels/Comics

1 Middle Grade Book

3 Adult Fiction Books

October was an incredibly busy month with lots of Halloween events and an escape room at the library. But I still managed to get some reading done, here’s what I read this month:

I finished 3 finished YA books that I was reading between ARCs. Katie Cotugno is one of my favorite YA authors now after reading Fireworks and Top Ten earlier this year. I’m trying to read all of her backlist titles. Love and Other Alien Experiences ended up being one of my favorite reads of the month. It was a romantic comedy with nerds, sci-fi references, and focused on dealing with anxiety.

I loved every ARC I read this month! Each of them featured amazingly developed and dynamic teen girl characters. Not Now, Not Ever is a fun summer camp story with an adorkable romance. Bad Girls with Perfect Faces is a not-too-scary thriller about doing anything to get what you want. Calling My Name follows Taja throughout her entire adolescence and has beautifully written vignettes about growing up. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter is a classic girl rebelling and finding herself story. Like Water was my other favorite read of the month, and you find out why here. Make sure to add all 5 to your TBR pile!

I do collection development for teen and adult graphic novels and try to read as many as I can during the month. This was a lighter month but I was so excited to finally get to read the trade of Slam! It’s one of my favorite comics.

I only read one Baby-Sitters Club book this month, but I found several BSC books that I was missing at the recent library book sale. I’ll be reading more throughout the end of the year! I also enjoyed Young Jane Young and Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe as they were nice light reads in between other books. Girl, Interrupted was the teen-selected book for one of my teen book clubs this month. I read it for the first time as a 17 year old and it was interesting to reread and discuss with the teens.

What was your favorite read of the month?

Top 10 Tuesday// 10 Baby-Sitters Club Costumes

toptentuesday

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Need a last minute costume? Look no further than your favorite group of friends. The Baby-Sitters Club has been providing us with outfit inspiration since 1986. Here are some of my favorite looks for Halloween:

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1.Kristy and the Copycat– Maybe the most iconic BSC look? Who didn’t want to play on Kristy’s team? I’ve been wanting to do this costume for years and will definitely make my own Krusher’s shirt one day.

You’ll need: a white t-shirt, red iron on letters, sweat pants, tennis shoes, red hat with a white “K” on it

 

 

 

 

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2. Jessi and the Dance School Phantom– Jessi always had the best dance clothes and got the coolest parts in the ballet productions. This is a super comfy look while you run to the BSC meeting that you’re always late for.

You’ll Need: a pink scrunchie, a black leotard, a white dance skirt, bubblegum pink tights, ballet slippers, a dance bag

 

 

 

 

bsc33. Mallory Hates Boys (and Gym)– I really feel for Mallory when her gym class goes co-ed. Gym class is already awful and boys are the worst. You too can have Mallory’s infamous boy-hating look by dressing up like your favorite middle school feminist.

 

You’ll need: a white t-shirt, blue gym shorts, white socks, 80s athletic shoes, a side-eye

 

 

 

bsc44. Dawn Saves the Planet- You can always count on Dawn to provide a depressing fact about the Earth or reasons you should be a vegetarian. This Halloween you can dress up while also educating people about the rapid decline of the polar ice cap.

You’ll need: A pink button up collared shirt, oversize blue jeans, white tennis shoes, a flip chart with environmental information, and a pointer to really go over the top with teaching your friends.

 

 

bsc85. Mary Anne and Camp BSC– Mary Anne always takes on so many projects and looks comfortable while doing it. She’s into no-nonsense fashion so she can separate arguing campers in a flash. Show off your BSC affiliation and be comfy all day with this Halloween costume

You’ll need: a purple t-shirt that says “CAMP BSC,” jean shorts, white socks, white tennis shoes, a spooky story to scare all the campers

 

 

bsc56. Stacey McGill, Super Sitter– Stacey is ready to do it all for the Cheplin family including chores, medical care, and cooking. I know what you’re thinking, “isn’t this the same plot of Dawn and the Impossible Three?” No, because Stacey is wearing an apron on the cover! Be a super sitter this Halloween while taking your charges trick or treating!

You’ll need: a pink sweatshirt, blue jeans, brown loafers, a yellow apron, blue dish gloves, a can-do attitude fit for a middle school baby-sitter

 

 

bsc67. Kristy for President- Isn’t it time we get some real leadership around here? Kristy is finally going to do something about the dog food lunches at Stoneybrook Middle School. This costume is a candidate you can really stand behind.

You’ll need: a blue turtleneck, jeans, a high ponytail, balloons, a “Kristy for President” sign, and some campaigners to follow you around while you get power-hungry

 

 

 

bsc78. Dawn and the Halloween Mystery– These baby-sitters witness so many crimes and mysteries. Dawn has moved back to California but she still can’t escape being the first person on a crime scene. This costume is perfect for taking your siblings trick or treating. Keep reminding them that while you’re only a middle schooler, you’ve got this robbery in process totally handled.

You’ll need: oversized blue jeans, brown shoes, an oversized jean shirt, determination

 

 

bsc99. Claudia and Crazy Peaches– Peaches is always a fun character and this book provides one of Claudia’s best looks. She should wear a bow tie every day! Bonus points if your friend dresses up like Peaches.

You’ll need: a white collared shirt, a black bow-tie, a black vest, black pants, a drawn on mustache, a plate of appetizers, an impeccable fashion sense (because Claudia looks perfect no matter what)

 

 

 

bsc1010. Mary Anne’s Makeover– This one goes out to all your BSC-ers who finally took your hair out of braids and got that super short haircut you’ve been wanting. You look fabulous and you should rock that new look just like Mary Anne did!

You’ll need: an adorable short haircut, a lilac button down shirt, a fab pair of patterned leggings, some school books, an adoring significant other who sees how bomb you are

 

 

 

Wow the BSC members sure did wear a lot of white athletic shoes. Like all the time. No matter what the outfit was. I hope you find your inner Claudia this Halloween and look dibbly fresh.

Book Review//Bad Girls With Perfect Faces

teacher appreciationweek (2)

“Bad Girls know there is no right and wrong. There is just what you’re willing to do. What you need to do.”

Xavier is in a relationship he just can’t quit. Ivy lied to him, cheated on him, and constantly disappeared with no reason but he still falls for her regret-filled facade and takes her back. Sasha, Xavier’s best friend and confidant while his heart was broken, can’t believe he would allow Ivy back into his life. She decides she has to do whatever it takes to sabotage the relationship–for good.

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces is about how far you’ll go to get what you want. Xavier, Ivy, and Sasha, three teens, are zeroed in on exactly what they want and each of them decide to do whatever it takes to get it. Adults are very absent from this YA book and the teens are clear to make their own decisions, no matter the consequences. Their desires and actions intertwine to create an intricate story about toxic teen relationships.

The book is told from multiple perspectives, including one narrator who isn’t revealed until close to the end of the book. Even with a lot of characters introduced in the story, Weingarten perfectly captured each one’s personal motives for their decisions. As the story gets darker, the characters’ bad decisions don’t seem unreasonable because we’re so wrapped up in their thoughts.

Bad Girls With Perfect Faces delivers a gripping novel with multiple plot twists. Each time you think you know what’s going to happen, Weingarten sneaks up and throws in a twist. This contemporary thriller uses social media and catfishing as a dark catalyst for the plot. The convenience of sites, like Instagram, to change and curate your identity comes to the forefront of this novel. Sasha creates a fake guy to lure Ivy into cheating on Xavier, but she gets more than she bargains for. The plot twists, the dark side of social media, and the ever-growing suspense of the book work together to keep readers interested.

Bad Girls With Perfect Faces is a suspenseful YA thriller for readers who can’t handle books about the monsters under their bed. Instead it’s about the monsters you know–the ones who destroy you with ease because they know you so well. The book isn’t full of jump-scares or phone calls from inside the house, but it will leave you with a spooky feeling. How well do you really know someone? How can you ever know what someone else is capable of? Or even harder, what you’re capable of?

Bad Girls With Perfect Faces releases on October 31, 2017 from Simon Pulse. Add it to your Goodreads shelf and follow Lynn Weingarten on Twitter.

 

 

Top Ten Tuesday//10 Unique 2018 Book Titles

toptentuesday

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

The Top Ten Tuesday prompt this week is unique titles! I definitely judge books based on their covers and titles. There are already so many fun, memorable, and distinct titles for 2018 books. Here are some of my favorites:

1.You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon (Is it January yet? I feel like I’ve been waiting for this book forever! Go ahead and add it to your TBR now because this book promises to be amazing.) Out January 2, 2018! You'll Miss Me When I'm Gone.jpg

“Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon.

But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules.

When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive. These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?” -Goodreads synopsis

2. Love, Hate, and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed (I had the pleasure of meeting Samira at ALA and she’s absolutely lovely! Her book has already received so much buzz and the title perfectly captures the story.) Out on January 16, 2018

Love, Hate.jpg“Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City–and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar. There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name. What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?”-Goodreads synopsis

3. American Panda by Gloria Chao (I love a plot that centers around parents having a perfect life picked out and the main character blows that all out of the water. American Panda has a delightfully wintery cover and a fun title!) Out on February 6, 2018!

American Panda.jpg“At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?” -Goodreads synopsis

 

4. The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in Los Angeles) by Amy Spalding (Amy’s books ALWAYS have amazing titles and Jordi Perez might be my favorite one so far! I’m hungry just looking at it.) Out April 3, 2018!

jordi.jpg“Seventeen, fashion-obsessed, and gay, Abby Ives has always been content playing the sidekick in other people’s lives. While her friends and sister have plunged headfirst into the world of dating and romances, Abby has stayed focused on her plus-size style blog and her dreams of taking the fashion industry by storm. When she lands a prized internship at her favorite local boutique, she’s thrilled to take her first step into her dream career. She doesn’t expect to fall for her fellow intern, Jordi Perez. Abby knows it’s a big no-no to fall for a colleague. She also knows that Jordi documents her whole life in photographs, while Abby would prefer to stay behind the scenes.

Then again, nothing is going as expected this summer. She’s competing against the girl she’s kissing to win a paid job at the boutique. She’s somehow managed to befriend Jax, a lacrosse-playing bro type who needs help in a project that involves eating burgers across L.A.’s eastside. Suddenly, she doesn’t feel like a sidekick. Is it possible Abby’s finally in her own story?

But when Jordi’s photography puts Abby in the spotlight, it feels like a betrayal, rather than a starring role. Can Abby find a way to reconcile her positive yet private sense of self with the image that other people have of her?” -Goodreads synopsis

5. The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo (Just like Maurene’s first book, I Believe In a Thing Called Love, this title will make a certain song get stuck in your head all day. You’re welcome.) Out on May 8, 2018!

the way you make me feel.jpg“Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? With her signature warmth and humor, Maurene Goo delivers a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.” -Goodreads synopsis

6. Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over by Shani Petroff (I guess I like lists of things in titles? I’m a fan of this unique list!) Out on May 15, 2018!

airports.jpg“A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart… what could go wrong?

After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can’t get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari’s. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev!

When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!” -Goodreads synopsis

7. Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson (I absolutely loved Tiffany’s Allegedly, and Monday’s Not Coming somehow sounds even better than her first book? The title and cover are both so eye-catching!) Out on June 5, 2018!

monday's not coming.jpg“In Monday’s Not Coming, we meet a girl named Claudia whose best friend is missing and no one seems to notice until she shows up…one year later. We follow Claudia’s painstaking mission to convince everyone around her that something is wrong. Through the relationships with her beloved Southeast D.C. family and classmates, you’ll see the toll gentrification and mental health takes on her community as she battles against time. But the very core of the story focuses on the fierce love between two best friends, willing to do anything to save one another.” -Goodreads synopsis

8. Final Draft by Riley Redgate (Something is fun about a book title being about writing. I’m looking forward to this story about a teen creative writer.) Out on June 12, 2018!

final draft.jpg“The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he’s suddenly replaced—by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is pushing herself far from her comfort zone, discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.”- Goodreads synopsis

9.Not the Girls You’re Looking For Aminah Mae Safi (While there are lots of books with “girl” in the title, this one is pretty unique and I love how it rolls off your tongue!) Out on June 19, 2018!

not the girls.jpgLulu Saad doesn’t need your advice, thank you very much. She’s got her three best friends and nothing can stop her from conquering the known world. Sure, for half a minute she thought she’d nearly drowned a cute guy at a party, but he was totally faking it. And fine, yes, she caused a scene during Ramadan. It’s all under control. Ish.

Except maybe this time she’s done a little more damage than she realizes. And if Lulu can’t find her way out of this mess soon, she’ll have to do more than repair friendships, family alliances, and wet clothing. She’ll have to go looking for herself.”- Goodreads synopsis

10. Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry (I love this short, memorable title that captures the plot so perfectly!) Out on August 7, 2018

heretics anonymous.jpg“Michael is an atheist. So as he walks through the doors at St. Clare’s—a strict Catholic school—sporting a plaid tie, things can’t get much worse. His dad has just made the family move again, and Michael needs a friend. When a girl challenges their teacher in class, Michael thinks he might have found one, and a fellow nonbeliever at that. Only this girl, Lucy, is not just Catholic . . . she wants to be a priest.

But Lucy introduces Michael to other St. Clare’s outcasts, and he officially joins Heretics Anonymous, where he can be an atheist, Lucy can be an outspoken feminist, Avi can be Jewish and gay, Max can wear whatever he wants, and Eden can practice paganism. After an incident in theology class, Michael encourages the Heretics to go from secret society to rebels intent on exposing the school’s hypocrisies. When Michael takes one mission too far—putting the other Heretics at risk—he must decide whether to fight for his own freedom, or rely on faith, whatever that means, in God, his friends, or himself.”-Goodreads synopsis

What’s your favorite unique title of 2018 so far?