“Before I Fall” By Lauren Oliver

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Samantha Kingston is a popular senior with lots of friends and a great boyfriend. She enjoys life and is constantly partying. In fact, February 12th (“Cupid Day”) is one of her favorite times of the year. That is until she dies in a car accident on “Cupid Day.” However, she doesn’t really actually die. Instead, she wakes up the next morning and the morning after that, reliving “Cupid Day” over and over again. Samantha realizes that small decision or actions can change the whole day for her. She begins to find her voice and discover who she really wants to be. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver was one of the most suspenseful books I have ever read. Although it might’ve gotten frustrating, I was determined to finish the book to see what was going to happen to Samantha. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Young Adult books with a great sense of patience. 

Check this book out or put it on hold


-Vanessa F.

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“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.

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-Gaby C.

“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 or put it on hold

-Caylee P.

“Illuminae” by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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In the year 2575, Kady and Ezra are barely on speaking terms after breaking up. They are forced together when their planet is attacked and they must evacuate to a space fleet. The fleet is trying to outrun the enemy, but they’re losing ground, and no one in command will say what’s really going on. Kady turns to hacking to see if she can dig up the truth from the ship’s data, while Ezra is made a pilot and sent to defend the fleet. They both soon realize the situation is far more dangerous than anyone thought. A plague has broken out on a ship in the fleet and is spreading at an alarming rate, and the fleet’s artificial intelligence seems to be turning against them all. As things get worse, Kady and Ezra realize that working together may be the only way they can survive.

Illuminae is an adrenaline rush of a novel told through the fleet’s hacked documents, including reports, interviews, maps, private emails, and messages. It keeps you guessing from start to finish as pieces of the bigger picture are revealed one by one through the documents. Kady and Ezra are working to save the fleet – as well as their relationship. At first, their conversations start out awkward, as they haven’t spoken to each other in a while, but as they go on, they warm up to each other again, exchanging witty banter and stories from their past. Illuminae is an incredible sci-fi thriller that really makes you feel the fear, grief, and hope along with the characters, and ultimately leaves you needing to get your hands on the next book in the trilogy ASAP. If you liked the The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey with its mind-blowing twists and turns and characters struggling to balance love and survival, I would definitely recommend reading Illuminae.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Jillian D.

“The Bridge From Me to You” by Lisa Schroeder

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Colby Pynes, star football player for the Willow Eagles, is expected by everyone to continue playing ball in college. Why would he want to do anything else? He has the talent, college scouts are interested, and his dad is doing his hardest to make sure Colby lives and breathes the sport. But Colby has other ideas for his future, ideas that no longer involve a game he just happens to excel in.

Enter the new girl Lauren. The town is full of whispers and gossip as she moves in with her uncle and his family. Where are her parents? Why did she move her senior year of high school? When Colby and Lauren meet one night at a convenience store, there is a strong connection that neither can ignore. As they start to grow closer, Colby shows Lauren a side of himself few people, if anyone, has truly seen. Colby shares his love of bridges and his desire to major in Civil Engineering instead of playing football in college. But their relationship can’t be one-sided. Lauren is hiding something. Her unwillingness to talk about her mom and brother leave Colby searching for answers Lauren is too scared to provide.

Then, the unthinkable happens as a heartbreaking accident leaves Colby’s best friend and teammate Benny badly broken. Does Colby have the strength to survive football season without his oldest and best friend by his side? Will he be able to convince his dad that football is not what he wants to do? Will Lauren learn to trust the loving family she now finds herself becoming a part of? Should she confide in Colby the truth about her dysfunctional upbringing?

Told in alternating chapters between two very different and beautifully illustrated viewpoints, Lisa Schroeder brings Colby and Lauren, not to mention many quirky and fun secondary characters, truly to life. The struggles both characters face are painted in a very real yet uplifting manner. Schroeder portrays the importance in never giving up and not being afraid to say goodbye to things or people that hurt instead of help. I recommend this wonderful story for anyone who feels capable of taking control of their own destiny and following their heart.

Check this book out or put it on hold.

-Kelly H.

“The Madman’s Daughter” by Megan Shepherd

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When Juliet Moreau learns that her father, a scientist who has been banished from London after charges of performing unethical experiments, is alive and carrying on his work on a remote island in the South Pacific, she sets off to join him. It is not, however, the happy reunion she would have liked. Her father’s work is still shrouded in mystery and the island is populated by many unusual inhabitants. After a series of violent attacks on the residents of the island, Juliet becomes deeply suspicious of the exact nature of her father’s experiments.

Inspired by H.G. Wells’ The Island of Doctor Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter has an excellent gothic-horror atmosphere. In addition, Shepherd stays true to the feel of early works of science fiction such as Wells’ novels and even Frankenstein. Although the book takes place at the end of the 19th century and the experiments described are quite fantastical, the discussion of ethics versus scientific progress is still incredibly relevant.

It was interesting to try to piece together what is actually happening on the island, and there are several truly scary moments in the novel. The Madman’s Daughter does feature the typical YA love triangle; Juliet tries to choose between her lifelong friend Montgomery, and Edward, a castaway she encounters on the way to the island. This was not my favorite aspect of the story, but overall it did not detract too much from the true strength of the novel: Shepherd’s skill in constructing a suspenseful gothic mystery. The ending will definitely leave the reader eager to begin the sequels, Her Dark Curiosity, and Her Cold Legacy, which are just as compelling.

-Check out this book or put it on hold.

–Caitlin C.

“Alive” by Chandler Baker

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Seventeen year old Stella Cross was diagnosed with a failing heart when she was just fifteen years old. After two years of waiting, she finally receives a heart transplant from an anonymous donor. Luckily, Stella’s body accepts the new heart, but every day after the transplant she feels extreme pain. This would seem normal, except the pain only occurs at 5:08 p.m. on a daily basis. Stella returns to school after her transplant surgery and she experiences horrifying hallucinations that involve harm coming to her family, friends, and even Stella herself. Soon after Stella returns to school, a new boy named Levi Zin arrives at Stella’s Seattle prep school. When Stella is around Levi, the pain she feels in her heart instantly disappears, but Levi starts becoming obsessed with Stella. She tries to pull away from being with Levi, but the only result is that Levi’s infatuation with her becomes stronger. Stella sets off to discover why only being around Levi can calm the side effects of her transplant while also trying to figure out why Levi is unnaturally obsessed with her at the same time.

This book is recommended for teens who are interested in mystery or horror novels. Readers should expect mild descriptions of situations involving blood, drowning, and danger. Stella and her friend Henry are obsessed with the scary and the supernatural, and they figure out that her heart is acting up because it is from another person’s body. Stella’s hallucinations are also somewhat gory or violent, as they usually involve terrible things happening to her or her family and friends. This book is also very suspenseful and will keep readers guessing throughout the novel. The plot is very original and it also has little pieces of action and love thrown in, but it is done in a way that does not take away from the suspenseful and mysterious mood that is set by Baker. The fast-paced action-filled ending, although a little confusing to understand immediately, is satisfying and wraps up the novel nicely. This 2015 release by Baker is definitely a must read for teens who prefer scary and suspenseful novels over other genres.

-Check out this book or put it on hold.

-Caylee P.