YA Reviews

Here is a page of my own reviews of Young Adult Books that I have read. The library does not own any of these titles, but if you are interested, we could order them via interlibrary loan. That’s how I got them! 

– Rebecca Fitzgerald, Acquistions Librarian

Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Greg Gaines is determined not to make any friends – that just makes things way too complicated. Earl, who people would assume is his best friend, is more like a co-worker. They make films together; it’s a partnership more than a friendship. This not being any one’s friend has worked out pretty well that is until leukemia girl, aka Rachel comes along. A little history about Rachel – went to Hebrew school with Greg and really really liked him. Greg, not so much – he dug this other girl, Madison Hartner. So, to make Madison jealous, Greg only pretended to like Rachel, and when Rachel called to hang out, Greg would make lame excuses along the lines of “Yeah, sorry, my foot’s stuck in a toaster.” After a little while, Rachel got the hint. Now, Rachel has cancer, and Greg’s mom is forcing him to call and hang out with her. How do you ask a girl, who you blatantly dissed and who knows you don’t like her, to hang out? Life is about to get seriously complicated.

Quirky read that will cause a lot of laughter as well as WTF? moments. It’s vulgar, it’s insensitve, and it’s real. It’s not your typical cancer story, and that’s a good thing.

Want to Go Private? by Sarah Darer Littman

Rating: 4 out of 5

Abby Johnston is entering high school, and unlike her best friend, Faith, she is not excited. In Faith’s words, Abby becomes a “downer”. She doesn’t like school, her dad is never home, her younger sister is a brat, and her mom just seems overbearing at times. Then, she meets Luke online and suddenly her world doesn’t seem so awful. Luke is a 24 year old -OK he may seem a little old, but he’s a lot more mature than most guys she knows. She spends every waking moment thinking and talking to Luke on a private cell that he gave her and via webcam. BUT prince charming is making her grades slip, and mom and dad are FURIOUS! They take away her computer! Now, Abby feels helpless until Luke comes up with a brilliant plan – let’s run away together!

Caution: this book is extremely graphic and not for younger girls. Through this novel, the author tackles one of the most important issues of internet safety. So many girls are quick to say – “oh that won’t be me.” and “That girl was stupid.” BUT teenage girls are easily fooled by the charm that these men display while typing. They listen to these girls who they know are at a very vulnerable stage in their lives. The character Abby is so infatuated by “Luke” that she runs off with him. Many girls, when they do this, never return home. This book contains a very important message that should be relayed to teenagers across the country.

Boyfriends, Burritos, and an Ocean of Trouble by Nancy Rue

Rating: 4 out of 5

Bryn Christopher is scared. Her father has just found out that her boyfriend has been abusing her for months, and is determined to press charges. Bryn just doesn’t know where to turn, especially when the threatening text messages and blog entries start appearing. How can she possibly testify when no one but her family believes her? Luckily, a surf-loving grandma, a really nice guy, and a very special book remind her that she’s a lot stronger than she thinks.

I must admit, I had my doubts about this story. For one thing, it was a free Nook book which was the first red flag. For another, the Christian fiction genre doesn’t have the greatest reputation when it comes to quality. So, I was a little skeptical. Fortunately, the novel greatly exceeded my expectations. The narrator’s struggle with herself and those around her was so authentic. The conversation she has with Jesus through the RL book is one that is familiar for many of us, especially when we feel helpless and alone. Rue cleverly uses the concept behind Eugene H. Peterson’s The Message – converting scripture into a contemporary language that is most accessible to everyone of all ages.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Anna Oliphant is sent to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. She’s forced to leave her best friend and potential lover back in Atlanta. She’s heartbroken, until she finds new friends including the ever beautiful and perfect (her words), Etienne St. Clair. Only problem is, he’s taken. Ugh. Will she ever find true, attainable love or is she just destined to be a singleton forever?

It’s a sweet, romantic story full of love, both unrequited and true. The story is a little drawn out, but the relationship between Etienne and Anna is one that’s worth experiencing. Perkins captures the beauty of Paris, while accurately portraying the feelings of a girl torn between her head and her heart.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray

Rating: 10 out of 5

This quirky, off-beat story is about a kid with mad cow disease. It is one crazy, unpredictable ride with a punk angel, a death-obsessed dwarf, and a gnome who is really the Norse God Balder trapped inside ceramic.
LOVED LOVED LOVED!!! Words cannot describe how much I adore this novel. It’s so different. I laughed, I cried (balled actually), and enjoyed every moment. Kudos to Libba Bray for writing such a fantastic piece of literature. I know I’ve given so many books the five stars, but this goes beyond. I had to give it a ten!
Bang! by Sharon Draper

Rating: 4 out of 5

Innocent children are being shot dead in the street, including Mann’s seven year old brother, Jason. His mother doesn’t know how to cope; she spends most of her days crying and preparing for her dead child’s birthday. His father is so desperate to keep Mann from getting killed that he drops him and his best friend off in the middle of nowhere, hoping to make men out of “soft” boys. All they have is a cell phone and gun to survive.
An extremely powerful, thought provoking story; this is one unforgettable tale. I read it one sitting; I just could not put it down until the very last page.

Hush by Eishes Chayil

Rating: 5 out of 5

Gittel, a Chassidish woman in New York City, witnessed the molestation and suicide of her best friend years before. Her family and friends expect her to forget all that happened, but when the friend haunts her every night, it’s easier said than done. A fascinating look into the close-knit world of the Chassidm, this book is extremely powerful and is a very important read for all.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Rating: 5 out of 5

Lia made a pact with her former best friend, Cassie, to become the skinniest girls possible. Now, Cassie’s in a coffin, and her ghost is haunting Lia, trying to convince her to give up the struggle and cross over. Through the support of her family and a newly discovered will to live, Lia finds the strength to seek help.

Beautifully written with poetic descriptions and moving dialogue, this novel is one that every teenage girl should be required to read.

I’d Tell You I Love You, but Then, I’d Have to Kill You (Gallagher Series #1) by Ally Carter

Rating: 3  1/2 out of 5

Cammie is so not your typical teenager. It may seem like she’s going to a snotty rich girl school, but she’s actually learning how to become the world’s greatest spy. So, what happens when a girl who has been so focused on making herself invisible for the past four years is noticed by an average, and might I had, HOT, male civilian? Result: this fun book earns a sing-songy ADORABLE!!!

TTYL (Internet Girls Series #1) by Lauren Myracle

Rating: 4 out of 5

Three teenagers discuss bullying, an upcoming road trip, and a sticky situation involving a male teacher all through online conversations.

Funny, intense, and super real, this book will have you intrigued from page 1. Another YA must read!

Hex Hall (Hex Hall Series #1) by Rachel Hawkins

Rating: 5 out of 5

A teenage witch is sent to a reform school after a simple love spell goes horribly wrong. Her only friend at the school turns out to be the major suspect in a string of mysterious attacks, she is harrassed by a coven of mean girls, and to top it all off, there’s this boy… A great sense of humor, a few unexpected twists, and a lot of magic make this a YA must read!

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Leviathan.

Rating: 5 out of 5

From the creators of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist comes a quirky romance of two teenagers who find themselves alone during Christmas. With the help of a notebook carefully placed next to a copy of Salinger’s Franny and Zooey in the greatest bookstore in the world, the two characters, Lily and Dash, find companionship within each others traveling words. Smartly written and delightful in originality, this is sure to be a beloved work by all Nick and Norah fans.

The Sledding Hill by Chris Crutcher

Rating: 4 out of 5

Eddie Proffit is not your typical 14 year old boy. Within a month, he’s lost his father, best friend, and ability to speak. His mother has turned into a fundamentalist Christian and spends most of her time with a harsh English teacher and reverend, Mr. Tartar who is determined to “save” Eddie. The only solace Eddie finds is in his dreams, on the sledding hill where he talks to his dead best friend and through a school book in danger of being banned by the community. Reverend Tartar is leading a crusade against the book, and on the day Eddie is to be “saved,” he finds his voice and defends the right of free speech.

Chris Crutcher, a frequently banned author in public schools, creates a novel basically to rant about the unfairness of censorship. He even places himself in the book to help defend a fictional story. Many have expressed their disappointment in this work. This being my first Chris Crutcher book, I would have to say I’m amazed. The writing is absolutely superb, and the characters endearing. If this is his worst, I am anxious to read his better pieces.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Teenager, Clay Jenson, finds a mysterious package waiting for him on his doorstep. There is no return address and inside, there are several casette tapes. What he hears on those tapes will change his life forever. It is the voice of his friend that committed suicide recently. Through the tapes, he learns the 13 reasons why she killed herself and the reason he is one of them.

Thirteen Reasons Why is well executed in the form of a suspense novel. It is a book that, I believe, should be read in high school classrooms nationwide. It asks the reader to be more observant of their peers and become aware of those desperately seeking help. It conveys the message that sometimes, there is a way to save someone before it’s too late.

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