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Giddy Over YA

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis

When I Was the Greatest

When I Was the Greatest -  Michael Frost (Photographer), Jason Reynolds

Very impressive debut! This book was about three teenage boys growing up in Brooklyn and the challenges that entails. Although he came from a broken home and was raised by a single mother who had to work two jobs just to make ends meet, Ali was a really good kid. He was a loving and protective big brother, a loyal friend, and showed strong character when faced with adversity. In most realistic YA fiction, it seems the good kid is always being brought down by the troubled kid. In this book, it was a refreshing change to see the good kid, Ali, have a positive impact on his best friend Noodles. As painful as it must have been to watch his best friend reap what he sowed, Ali knew that his friend needed to suffer those consequences in order to bring about a change in his life. It made my heart smile to see the transformation of Noodles from selfish, angry, cocky kid to humble, apologetic, sincere brother and friend. It was a feel good story that I finished in two sittings. Highly recommended for all ages!

Let the Sky Fall

Let the Sky Fall - Shannon Messenger

When I bought this audiobook on Audible, I had no clue what it was about or who the author was. My purchase was based solely on a search of books narrated by Nick Podehl and then narrowed by most fabulous covers (Yes, I judge books by their covers). This was a total WIN for me--I loved it! I am now a Shannon Messenger fan and will be reading everything she's written. I'm from Alabama so I'm used to people making fun of my southern drawl, but when she jokes on the Canadian accent, I laughed so hard driving down the road I thought I was going to have to pull over. I was really impressed with the authenticity of the characters and the originality of the story. I thought her writing style was fresh and age appropriate--it's nice to read something that I can wholeheartedly recommend to my teenage nieces who are constantly looking for something new and exciting to read. I can't wait to read the next installment!!

Almost Dead (Dead, #1)

Almost Dead (Dead, #1) - Rebecca A. Rogers I was so excited to receive a copy of this book for review. This book has an amazing cover, an interesting title, and the idea for the story was great! I really wanted to love it but it was just okay for me. Most of the story was a bit confusing trying to keep straight who was talking. The two teenage girls in the story--Laney and Flora--are supposed to have totally opposite personalities but the writing was so similar from both points of view that I had to repeatedly go back to the start of the chapter to see who was talking. There was even one instance in chapter 12 where the text says Flora is talking but I think the author meant Sara since Flora wasn't even in the same realm when the conversation took place. I also have a pet peeve about the use of the nonsensical expression "could care less" instead of "couldn't care less" which occurred in chapter 14. On the brighter side, the story did seem to pick up for me in the second half and I liked the surprise ending. Would I recommend this to a friend? No...but I think the author has a lot of potential and definitely some great ideas.

All American Addict

All American Addict - Jason  Cunningham I am a little surprised at how good this book is and yet it took a book giveaway for me to hear about it. I was intrigued from the first line although the story was a bit unbelievable at first. Then there is a pivotal moment when the story came alive for me and I was hooked. William's character was so real at times that I was amazed at how well the author captured the complexity of the emotional struggles he faced. I found a great deal of wisdom in the author's words and probably smiled over half the time I was reading. There were also moments so tender and moving that I cried. Overall, it was probably more of a 4.5 star read and really deserves more exposure. Honestly, the writing is just that good.
Half Bad (Half Life Trilogy) - Sally Green

Wow! This is one of the best YA fantasies I have read in a while. The story was unique and I was captivated from the beginning. At times the imagery was so horrifically real it was difficult to read on, but the writing was so good I had to keep reading. The ending was definitely too soon for me but hinted at more good things to come. Impressive debut by Ms. Green. I would recommend to anyone who likes a great story with a little magic and I look forward to reading the sequel.