Helen Hoang writes the BEST characters. In her book The Kiss Quotient, hardworking and independent Stella decides that she needs some help in the romance department. Thus, she hires Michael, an escort to teach her how to be in a relationship. Normally sold as a gender-bent Pretty Woman Hoang presents a sweet (and steamy!) tale of family, duty, guilt, love and freedom. This book, while indeed a romance is also so much more. Filled with hardships, challenges, and great side characters, The Kiss Quotient will break your heart and make you fall in love all over again.
In Helen Hoang’s sophomore novel, The Bride Test, we get a more in-depth look at Michael’s (from The Kiss Quotient) younger cousin, Khai. Khai doesn’t understand what’s wrong with him. Things that make other people feel deeply don’t seem to affect him. Thus, he has given up on the idea of love. However, his mother has a different idea. On a trip to Vietnam, she meets Esme, who seems like the perfect candidate to marry her son. Esme, wanting to make a better life for her family, agrees to come to America for the summer. What she doesn’t expect, is to immediately fall for Khai. Now, she must figure out a way to get Khai to reciprocate that love before the summer comes to an end. Just like The Kiss Quotient, Helen writes amazing characters that chip away at your heart until you can’t get enough of them. This book makes you root for Khai and Esme, as they go through their own interior battles, somehow making you cry and jump for joy in the process. It is going to be hard to wait for more of Helen’s stories, but for now, I can’t recommend the first two enough.
Annie Cassidy is obsessed with rom-coms, specifically 90s rom-coms. Her Idol is Nora Ephron and she can recite the lines from Nora's movies. Her dating life has been subpar, as her standards are Tom Hanks. Not Tom Hanks the actor necessarily, but Sleepless in Seattle/You've Got Mail Tom Hanks. When Annie lands a job as a famous movie director's assistant and accidentally spills coffee on the lead actor, she feels that this might just be her meet-cute moment. Maybe she found her Tom Hanks! Readers who grew up watching 90s rom-coms like Annie, will instantly be entranced by her tale. I especially loved the Easter eggs and references provided and will not be the only one.
Maya Motayne’s Nocturna is the fantasy that you have been waiting for. With the sneaky cleverness of Stephanie Gaber’s Caraval and the moral grayness of Marissa Meyer’s Renegades, Nocturna offers up a tale of a brother in search of a way to save his kingdom, and a girl doing all she can to survive. This Latin-inspired tale provides just the right amount of magic (both legal and illegal) and adventure, as heir to the throne Alfie and shape shifter Finn, race to stop the terrible darkness they’ve released.
I write this review after just finishing the audio for this book. And man, it hits you right in the feels. When both Mateo and Rufus, get notice that they will be dying at some point in the next 24 hours, they set out on a quest to LIVE. To really live, and become the people they want to be. This book has some sci-fi realism in it that I loved. Regardless of the title, you are still not prepared for the ending. Fans of John Green’s Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Corey Whaley’s Noggin, or Neal Shusterman’s Scythe, will eat this story up.
This was a really painful read. That being said, I think that it is really important, needed and can do a lot of good. It is my hope that when people read it, they will become LGBTQ+ allies and speak up for those who are having trouble. But, I digress. The Dangerous Art of Blending In is about a teen boy trying to overcome and get out of parental abuse stemming from his sexual orientation. It is also about learning to let people in and accept help-which is hard to do, when all you want to do, is blend in.
Frankly in Love is not a title that you are going to want to miss. Though the title depicts a classic YA love story, it is anything but. Frank Li is a product of immigrant Korean parents. He is constantly struggling with who he is, being both Korean and American. After his sister is disowned for marrying outside their background, Frank thinks he must hide his feelings for Caucasian girl, Brit Means. Luckily his friend Joy has a similar problem and together, they come up with a plan to deceive their parents. David Yoon writes a tragically beautiful story about what it means to grow up in two cultures, what it means to be a son, and the complications that come with both. This is very much a story of family and identity that will hit home with all readers trying to forge their own paths.
This story is a celebration of life. When our main characters, Stella and Will end up at the same hospital with CF, they are instantly curious about each other. However, while Stella does the best she can to stay on top of her treatments and regimes, Will is the complete opposite. Stella does not understand how Will could be so lax about things that could prolong his life. Will does not believe Stella is living her best life. Both have pasts they’d rather not speak about and both need each other, more than they realize. Where’s the irony, you ask? If they touch each other, they could die. With this in mind, “5 feet apart” becomes their lifeline and a normalcy, they cling to. This is a thrilling, heartbreaking and informative read, which will make you rethink the everyday.
International bestselling author of The Book Thief brings us a new story of five brothers, a zoo of pets, a mistake maker and a murderer. Leaving readers in chills, Bridge of Clay tells the tale of a fractured family; a series of loss and distance, and ultimately, the bridge that brought them back together.
Featuring three different points of view, Odd One Out, explores sexuality, love, friendship and ones place in the world. Nic Stone offers three fresh voices (two best friends and one new girl), who create their own family and support one another, right when they need it the most. I fell in love with each character and know that you will too.
"Well, this is the story all about how, Elizabeth's life got twisted, upside down..." All jokes aside, this is the creepiest book I've read this year. It is the tale of how Elizabeth became a Frankenstein, how her upbringing made her crave companionship and stability, and how in that quest, she accidentally encouraged Victor Frankenstein to become the monster we all know. Kiersten White provides readers with an amazing retelling, while also insterting recognizable tidbits, that fans of the classic will devour.
Imagine a world, where when you want a break from life, all you would need to do is put on some glasses. That is Warcross; a virtual reality game that everyone is watching. The players in the game are celebrities, and those who watch-their fans. However, when Emika Chen accidently hacks her way into the game, she becomes an instant player & undercover agent for Hideo Tanaka-the creator of Warcross. Something that once seemed like a harmless game is no longer that & Emika must figure out who is trying to destroy Warcross, before she’s the one who’s destroyed.
Children of Blood & Bone, is a story told in a world where magic no longer exists. Years ago, this was not the case. Once, magic and the Gods were celebrated. Now, Diviners (those with Maji blood, but no magic) are treated poorly, and all the Maji have been killed. One of those including our main protagonist, Zélie’s, mother. Determined to find a way to bring back magic, Zélie, along with her brother Tzain, and Orïsha’s only princess, Amari (gone rogue), set out on a quest against all odds. Told from Zélie, Amari and Amari’s brother and crown prince, Inan’s viewpoints, Tomi Adeyemi weaves together a tale so beautifully and tragically relevant, it will leave you craving for answers and more.
Nevermoor is The Unwanteds meets The Apprentice Witch, with a splash of Alice in Wonderland and The Mysterious Benedict Society. Seems like the perfect book right? This book weaves together a magical tale of cursed child, Morrigan Crow, who manages to escape her fate while traveling to alternate world. But how long can one really escape their fate? Morrigan must successfully complete every task to join the Wundrous Society, or risk being sent back home. I loved this adventure, and am sure that you will too!
The Apprentice Witch is a story for those seeking a smart and heartwarming fantasy. The underdog of the story, Arianwyn, has been sent to a town called Lull after not quite passing, yet not quite failing her witch exam. Best defined by its namesake, Lull has been without a witch for quite some time. Because of this, Arianwyn becomes overwhelmed with tasks. These matters are not helped, when the woods nearby start to unveil a dark and mysterious power between its trees. Plagued by an equally unsettling symbol in the back of her mind, Arianwyn must figure out how to save her town whilst striving to be the witch, she hopes she can become.
When Zinnia's older brother and best friend, Adam, disappears without a proper goodbye, Zinnia is left feeling very alone. This changes slightly (although not in a good way) when a colony of bees decide that her hair makes for a good temporary home. Told in alternating perspectives, this is a story about finding your home and balancing the feelings of change.
This books makes me tear up everytime I flip through the pages. This is a story of broken barriers. This is a story of love, and a story of connection. Where words fail, art does not. Minh and Dan artistically (both in language and in illustrations), weave together a masterpiece, that will make you hold those close to you, even closer.
How to Code a Sandcastle is the perfect beginning code book for young but HUGE minds. I loved how Josh and Sara took coding – sometimes that seems so complicated – and divided it into smaller ideas, making it easily understandable. I am going to be gifting this book for awhile!
I love that this book features ALL TYPES of jobs. When you are little, I feel like you only get exposed to the jobs your parents do or the stereotypical firefighters, doctors, police, and teachers. This book features so many more, including: working for the Mountain Rescue Service, being an Operational Planner or even….a Bookseller!!
This book makes me smile every time I read it. It perfectly explains the concept of needing time to recharge, while also visualizing the differences between introverts and extroverts. Bear wants to spend a quiet day alone. Duck wants to go on adventures with Bear. Can these friends come to a compromise on how to spend their day? You can read it as a sequel to, Goodnight Already, or as a standalone. Either way, it is sure to warm your heart.
This is one of the most beautiful books I have read. For children or adults, the author writes a beautiful narrative about wishing the absolute best for someone you love. “I Wish You More” can be used for graduations, when one is feeling low, or just to show someone how much you care.