“The Season of You and Me” by Robin Constantine

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Cassidy Emmerich discovers that her boyfriend, Gavin, was cheating on her with another girl and the last thing she wants to do is be reminded of him all summer.  Her father and stepmother own a bed and breakfast in Crest Haven, New Jersey, so Cassidy decides to spend the summer with her father’s family to escape Gavin and have a relaxing summer. In Crest Haven, she befriends a group of teenagers while working with them as a camp counselor at the local community center. She especially has a connection with Bryan Lakewood, a boy who lost the use of his legs after a tragic accident and is now confined to a wheelchair. Bryan and Cassidy team up to work on a camp scavenger hunt together and along the way they start to develop deeper feelings for each other. When Gavin shows up in Crest Haven to try to get Cassidy back, she is torn between going back to being Gavin’s girlfriend and taking a risk with Bryan and their new relationship.

Constantine uses the alternating voices of Cassidy and Bryan to share both of their perspectives which gives the reader more insight into the story than if it was told by only one of the characters. Cassidy has a hard time fitting in with all of the Crest Haven teenagers since she isn’t from the area, and teens who have moved to a different place can relate to her in that way. Bryan remains positive most of the time throughout the novel despite his condition, but he struggles with the fact that people treat him differently because he is disabled. He could be viewed as a very inspirational character to those who have overcome a challenge in their lives. This novel highlights the fact that disabled people are still human and that they should be treated the same as everyone else. Both characters have strong groups of friends and family who care about them and the theme of love and support is very prevalent in the novel. Cassidy’s family and friends do not question her judgment when she reveals that she has feelings for Bryan, and Bryan’s friends are excited that he found someone who brightens his life. Anyone who is looking for a unique and satisfying teenage love story should check out The Season of You & Me.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Caylee P.

“Defending Taylor”by Miranda Kenneally

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Taylor Lukens is a star soccer player, a member of the debate team, and a candidate for valedictorian at her private high school in St. Andrews, in Tennessee. Her academic success, in addition to her father’s fame as senator, makes her a great candidate to be accepted into Yale, the school her family members have attended. When Taylor is caught with her boyfriend’s Adderall pills, she takes the fall for him and hopes that her family name will save her from punishment, but she gets expelled from St. Andrews instead. Taylor now has to attend the public high school, Hundred Oaks High, for her senior years because her parents and school administrators are convinced that she has a drug addiction problem. With her chances of getting into Yale slim, Taylor starts to realize that her lifelong dream of taking over her family’s finance company is not looking as appealing as she thought. When her brother’s old friend Ezra comes back to town, Taylor starts to realize that her expulsion opened her eyes to more possibilities than just Yale.

Fans of Kenneally’s work will be familiar with the setting and characters that have been featured in her other six novels, so Defending Taylor easily fits into the small, Tennessean community that Kenneally had previously established. This novel, however, does not require any prior knowledge about the characters or the setting. Those who have read Racing Savannah, also by Kenneally, will recognize Jack and Savannah when they make a guest appearance in Defending Taylor. This story heavily stresses the importance of hard work and how dropping a name is not always the way to success. Even when Taylor is expelled and it appears like she has no chance of getting into Yale, she is still determined to correct her mistakes so the admissions officers give her a chance. A love interest is a typical feature in Kenneally’s novels, and she does not disappoint her fans in Defending Taylor. Any teenage girl who has had a crush on one of her brother’s friends will be able to relate to the way Taylor feels about her brother’s friend Ezra. While Taylor has feelings for Ezra, she is also a strong, independent young woman who can hold her own without relying on a guy. She takes a stand against the mean girl on her soccer team, and she confronts her parents about her feelings about college. Any reader who has enjoyed Kenneally’s other novels should check out Defending Taylor as their next good read.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Caylee P.

 

“Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories” by Stephanie Perkins

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Written by twelve of the best-selling young adult writers today, Summer Days and Summer Nights, consists of a brand new love story in each chapter written by a different author. This anthology was edited by Stephanie Perkins, an international best-selling author, who also contributed to the book by writing a chapter herself titled, “In Ninety Minutes, Turn North.” The remaining eleven authors who took part in writing this teen novel include Veronica Roth, Cassandra Clare, Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.

Each short story of, Summer Days and Summer Nights, is set in its own unique world that at times can seem similar to reality and other times incorporates the work of fantasy to tell the love story. All characters in this novel are either in their high school years or transitioning to college, which can cause a connection with readers of the same age. This modern anthology tells real stories of love and relationships that involves LGBT couples, mental illnesses in relationships, scenarios without a happy ending, and more. There are ups and downs just like in real life, but humorous, romantic, and happy moments are just as or even more frequent throughout the whole book.

Readers who take this book off the shelf will find times in the novel that are easy to relate to, no matter if they’ve ever fallen in love or not. Whether the story begins with a crush, an already existing couple, close friends, or two people who insist on steering clear from relationships, heartwarming love will inevitably bloom in these summer tales. Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories is the perfect book to read for a relaxing summer day at the beach or a hot summer night. Who knows, maybe this heartfelt compilation of passionate affairs will encourage the readers, to find love for themselves and ignite unexpected, memorable relationships even if just for one summer.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Gaby C.

 

 

 

“Black Widow: Forever Red” by Margaret Stohl

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Eight years ago, Natasha Romanoff is sent to Ukraine to kill Ivan Somodorov, the man who trained her to become a Black Widow. S.H.I.E.L.D. has discovered that Ivan was trying to create more Black Widows, and cannot let that happen. Natasha rescues a young girl, Ava Orlova, from Ivan’s hideout before the base explodes. Natasha promises young Ava that she will always watch over her because they are both “Ivan’s girls”. Fast forward to the present and Ava Orlova is now a teenager who lives on the streets after escaping from a S.H.I.E.L.D. safe house. She has dreams of a boy named Alex Manor, and she goes to a fencing competition in Philadelphia to attempt to meet him. When she meets him, he doesn’t recognize Ava at all, and she wonders why she is having dreams of him. When she tries registering for the competition, the lady running the registration table turns out to be Natasha, and she tells Ava that Ivan has sent men to kidnap her because he wants to continue testing on Ava. They go to the roof to escape from the men when Alex Manor appears because he was concerned about Ava. The three of them get to safety, and Alex joins Ava and Natasha to finish Ivan off once and for all.

Teens that are fans of Marvel comics or the Marvel cinematic universe will enjoy this story about the Black Widow. Marvel fans will pick up on the subtle references to the Avengers that other teens may not; those who have never seen a Marvel movie or have never read a Marvel comic may want to do a little research if they are interested in picking up this novel. Stohl’s version of Natasha Romanoff is up to par with the Natasha Romanoff portrayed in the Marvel cinematic universe and the comics, and the bits of Russian spoken by the characters make them seem even more realistic. Each chapter starts off with an excerpt of an interrogation of Natasha Romanoff by S.H.I.E.L.D., and they are meant to tell Natasha’s reflection on the events that have occurred in the novel. The ending will contain unexpected events, and it will be heart wrenching for some readers. Teens who want more Marvel stories should check this book out.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Caylee P.

“Museum of Heartbreak” by Meg Leder

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Penelope Marx wants what most teenage girls want: a dream boyfriend. At seventeen, she’s never been kissed, and Penelope and her best friend Audrey fantasize about what they want in their perfect boyfriend. On the first day of school, Penelope meets Keats, an attractive boy who at first glance seems to embody all of the characteristics of Penelope’s dream boyfriend. She develops a crush on Keats and starts dating him after getting close to him at a party he hosted. Meanwhile, Audrey and Eph, Penelope’s two best friends, start hanging out with other people. As a result, Penelope goes to a fair by herself and meets Grace and Miles, two members of Nevermore, the school’s literary magazine. Penelope joins the Nevermore staff and reads the pieces that students have submitted for consideration. She recognizes one of the anonymous submissions as Keats’s, and she is torn whether to include it since she does not like the story. Keats has also started treating Penelope with disrespect, and hanging out with Cherisse, Penelope’s archenemy. Penelope is then faced with a tough decision: stay with Keats and be disrespected or be without a boyfriend. In addition, her friend Eph is becoming more attracted to her, and she is afraid that if they date their friendship won’t be the same.

Penelope is very socially awkward, quiet, and quirky, which readers can pick up on through her dialogue and her actions. Many teenage girls will be able to relate to the social awkwardness Penelope has when she first meets Keats. Penelope also lives in New York City, and Leder uses her personal knowledge of the city to create a descriptive setting that includes eclectic coffee shops, thrift stores, and flea markets. To go along with the title, Museum of Heartbreak, each chapter has an illustration of an object adjacent to a museum-style description in place of a chapter title, and the chapter that follows reveals why the object is included in Penelope’s museum. That was a unique touch to the novel that connected to the overall museum theme. Teens who like novels that feature friends, love, and heartbreak should check out Museum of Heartbreak.

Check this book out of put it on hold

-Caylee P.

“Famous Last Words” by Katie Alender

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Willa and her mother have moved from Connecticut to California to live with her new stepfather, Jonathan, who is a movie director based in Los Angeles. While not excited to live in Los Angeles, Willa accepts the fact that it is the only way to move on from the death of her father. She regularly tries to contact his spirit using a method she found in an old book, but she does not receive any response. After she tries to contact her father’s spirit in her stepfather’s house, she starts seeing things that no one else can see. Her stepfather’s mansion was owned by Diana Del Mar, an actress who died in the house, and Willa assumes that the ghost of Diana is causing all of the strange occurrences that she is witnessing. At the same time, Los Angeles is being struck by the Hollywood Killer, a serial killer who kidnaps young girls and poses them in reenactments of famous movie scenes before murdering them. Willa meets a boy named Wyatt who is obsessed with the Hollywood Killer, and she believes that he is somehow connected to the case. When Willa’s friend Marnie goes missing and the paranormal activity in the house increases, Willa and Wyatt set out to get to the bottom of both mysteries.

Famous Last Words is a mixture of mystery and ghost story, Alender combines the characteristics of paranormal activity with a good old-fashioned murder mystery. Willa is a character who wants to connect with her father’s spirit and initially is afraid of the paranormal activity she appears to have unleashed upon herself, but by the end of the novel she accepts it and is less afraid of it. She is driven to solve the mystery of the Hollywood Killer, and the strange clues that she finds do not deter her from her search. Like a true mystery novel, the plot contains details that came together by the end of the novel to reveal the true identity of the murderer, while also containing elements that would only be found in Los Angeles such as private schools filled with children of rich parents and movie premiers. Teens should check out Famous Last Words if they like solving mysteries before reaching the end of the novel or if they just want to follow along on a new mystery.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Caylee P.

“The Cemetery Boys” by Heather Brewer

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Stephen and his father move to Denver, Colorado, after his dad loses his job. They are forced to move in with his grandmother back in his dad’s tiny hometown of Spencer, Michigan. Stephen instantly feels out-of-place in this small Michigan town where everybody knows everybody until he meets twins Cara and Devon. He is instantly attracted to Cara and so Stephen joins Devon’s group of boys who hang out in the cemetery, known locally as the “Playground”, during the night. They tell Stephen local stories of the Winged Ones: large, black flying birds that supposedly cause Spencer to go through bad times if they are not appeased with a human sacrifice. Stephen does not take this myth seriously, but as the summer goes on he finds that Devon and the group seem to think the Winged Ones actually exist. Stephen begins to question the group’s actions and starts to wonder if it is his new friends that are causing all of the mysterious accidents that are happening in Spencer.

The Cemetery Boys is geared towards teens that prefer reading mystery novels. The prologue at the beginning of the book hooks the reader in, with the main character Stephen in peril, which makes the reader want to continue reading to find out more. Brewer also created a voice for Stephen that is generally sarcastic and curious while being skeptical of the existence of the Winged Ones. The small town history and description of Spencer makes it an interesting town and setting. However, Brewer could have possibly elaborated on the town’s back-story a little more, even though the current back-story provided would satisfy most readers. The mystery element of the novel kept building from the beginning to the end, and very few readers will see the plot twist that comes towards the end of the novel. The ending of the novel was more abstract and unique than other young adult books, which allows readers to interpret the ending in their own way. The Cemetery Boys is a book that should be checked out by teenage readers who like getting to the bottom of mysteries.

Check this book out or put it on hold

-Caylee P.