Top Ten Tuesday//10 Feminist YA Books


hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

The Top Ten Tuesday theme was “Ten book recommendations for….” and you can choose any theme/topic/reader/genre!

So you’ve read The Hate U Give, Dumplin’, and The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks? Now what? Here’s 10 more feminist YA book recommendations that will have you ready to stand up for yourself, fight for what you believe in, and

1. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (Dimple is SO COOL and knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to throw ice coffee in someone’s face to get it. Dimple is one of my favorite characters of the year. Borrow my booktalk here.)

6ed092fe24e09dfd8a8af4af3b21e1e8-w204@1x“Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.” -Goodreads synospis

2. Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (You guys, this is my FAVORITE book of 2017 so far. Vivian confronts the patriarchy head on. MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK. This is out on 9/17. Pre-order it now!)

101“Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with a school administration at her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot!” -Goodreads synopsis

3. Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed (I rooted for Naila so much and my heart broke for her, but she remains so strong and determined to do what she can to protect herself. You won’t forget this book. )

102“This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?

Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.” -Goodreads synopsis

4. Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson (This is another one of my favorite books of the year. Watson’s writing is exceptional. She makes Jade’s collage art come alive and tells Jade’s story so beautifully. Watson explores feminism, race, and privilege in this fast YA read.)

c12“Jade believes she must get out of her neighborhood if she’s ever going to succeed. Her mother says she has to take every opportunity. She has. She accepted a scholarship to a mostly-white private school and even Saturday morning test prep opportunities. But some opportunities feel more demeaning than helpful. Like an invitation to join Women to Women, a mentorship program for “at-risk” girls. Except really, it’s for black girls. From “bad” neighborhoods.

But Jade doesn’t need support. And just because her mentor is black doesn’t mean she understands Jade. And maybe there are some things Jade could show these successful women about the real world and finding ways to make a real difference.

Friendships, race, privilege, identity—this compelling and thoughtful story explores the issues young women face.” -Goodreads synopsis

5. Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali (Okay, I know I’ve already said this a few times in this post but this is also one of my favorite reads of the year. Janna is one of the most relatable characters I’ve ever read. Janna finds her voice to speak up for herself and you’ll feel so proud of her by the end. I gush more about it here.)

june1“How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?

Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.

And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.

While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?” -Goodreads synopsis

6. Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard (Pen knows who she is and she’s not sorry about it. I loved seeing representation of exploring gender and sexuality.)

1014“All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? They think the way she looks and acts means she’s trying to be a boy—that she should quit trying to be something she’s not. If she dresses like a girl, and does what her folks want, it will show respect. If she takes orders and does what her friend Colby wants, it will show her loyalty. But respect and loyalty, Pen discovers, are empty words. Old-world parents, disintegrating friendships, and strong feelings for other girls drive Pen to see the truth–that in order to be who she truly wants to be, she’ll have to man up.”- Goodreads synopsis


7. Cherry by Lindsey Rosin (This one is still on my TBR because it’s always checked out! This sex-positive book has so many good reviews and I can’t wait to read it! I already want to be best friends with this group.)

27206527“In this honest, frank, and funny debut novel, four best friends make a pact during their senior year of high school to lose their virginities—and end up finding friendship, love, and self-discovery along the way.

To be honest, the sex pact wasn’t always part of the plan.

Layla started it. She announced it super casually to the rest of the girls between bites of frozen yogurt, as if it was just simply another addition to her massive, ever-evolving To Do List. She is determined to have sex for the first time before the end of high school. Initially, the rest of the crew is scandalized, but, once they all admit to wanting to lose their v-cards too, they embark on a quest to do the deed together… separately.

Layla’s got it in the bag. Her serious boyfriend, Logan, has been asking for months.

Alex has already done it. Or so she says.

Emma doesn’t know what the fuss is all about, but sure, she’ll give it a shot.

And Zoe, well, Zoe can’t even say the o word without bursting into giggles.

Will everything go according to plan? Probably not. But at least the girls have each other every hilarious, heart-warming, cringe-inducing step of the way.” -Goodreads synopsis

8. The Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston (I booktalk this one all the time and I always see faces light up when I mention that Kayla is a feminist who has to confront fashion, dance teams, and best friends. So many readers are trying to figure out how to reconcile all the things we’ve been taught with feminism and Kayla helps them make sense of it all.)

1374013“Kayla Dean, junior feminist and future journalist, is about the break the story of a lifetime. She is auditioning for the Lady Lions dance team to prove they discriminate against the not-so-well endowed. But when she makes the team, her best friend and fellow feminist, Rosalie, is not happy.

Now a Lady Lion, Kayla is transformed from bushy-haired fashion victim to glammed-up dance diva. But does looking good and having fun mean turning her back on the cause? Can you be a strong woman and still wear really cute shoes? Soon Kayla is forced to challenge her views, coming to terms with who she is and what girl power really means.

Narrated with sharp language and just the right amount of attitude, The Kayla Chronicles is the story of a girl’s struggle for self-identity despite pressure from family, friends and her own conscience. Kayla’s story is snappy, fun and inspiring, sure to appeal to anyone who’s every questioned who they really are.”  -Goodreads synopsis

9. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes (I still feel haunted by Minnow and this book. She has to confront everything her father has ever told her. Minnow finds so much courage within herself.)

17185496“The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

10. The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera (Margot is such a classic teen character. She’s angsty and wants to do things her way. But things change during her summer at home when she learns to love herself, her family, and her home. My full review is here.)


Mami, for destroying my social life
Papi, for allowing Junior to become a Neanderthal
Junior, for becoming a Neanderthal
This supermarket
Everyone else

After “borrowing” her father’s credit card to finance a more stylish wardrobe, Margot
Sánchez suddenly finds herself grounded. And by grounded, she means working as an indentured servant in her family’s struggling grocery store to pay off her debts.

With each order of deli meat she slices, Margot can feel her carefully cultivated prep school reputation slipping through her fingers, and she’s willing to do anything to get out of this punishment. Lie, cheat, and maybe even steal…

Margot’s invitation to the ultimate beach party is within reach and she has no intention of letting her family’s drama or Moisés—the admittedly good looking but outspoken boy from the neighborhood—keep her from her goal.” -Goodreads synopsis


What’s your favorite feminist YA book?



Book Review//A Map for Wrecked Girls by Jessica Taylor


teacher appreciationweek (1)I kept seeing the gorgeous cover for this book everywhere. I was really excited to get an ARC and immediately started reading it. A Map for Wrecked Girls hooked me instantly. This contemporary survival thriller kept me reading late into the night. I was so nervous about Emma, Henri, and Alex’s survival after they get shipwrecked on a deserted island. Need more reasons to read it besides the pretty cover? Here’s 5 more:

  1. This book focuses on a complex sister relationship. Henri and Emma are stranded and struggling to survive, but still holding onto the past. The two have been best friends, closest confidantes, and are barely speaking now. They try to avoid each other even as they search for water, food, and shelter. Taylor writes beautifully about the way that no one can break your heart quite like your sister can.
  2. Somehow in the midst of a shipwreck, sister tension, and dehydration, Taylor manages to sneak in a heart racing love story. Henri isolates herself so Emma and Alex spend more time together. Through their shared struggle to locate a water source, finally catch a fish, and keep a fire lighted, the two form an intimate bond. Taylor writes about the feeling of being seen and wanted by someone else. Emma b36b6e90dc5efb17d35f7142ae2b8e5e--palm-silhouette-palm-tree-clip-artand Alex find purpose in surviving through being together. The scenes with Emma and Alex are a nice break from the harsh reality of being shipwrecked.
  3.  Flashback scenes slowly illuminate the reason behind the sisters’ wrecked relationship. The book is told from Emma’s perspective with a mix of flashbacks and present scenes. I love flashback scenes and slowly seeing the story unfold. The scenes in San Francisco, taking place before the sisters are shipwrecked in Puerto Rico, serve to explain their relationship and how it became so broken. I loved seeing how the past secrets and lies heavily influenced the present.
  4.  Jessica Taylor wrote the deserted island like a fourth character in the book. The harsh, blinding sun and dry, hot conditions felt so real. The desperation of dehydration and the feeling of the water on sunburned skin was so perfectly described. Taylor made me rejoice when it finally started raining or when the clipart-tropical-flowers-hibiscus2-hicharacters found food. The island felt really alive with all its creatures, weather, and mysteries.
  5.  The suspense of whether the trio will get rescued or not will keep you reading. I was desperate to know if Alex, Emma, and Henri would survive. It was so hard not to turn to the last few pages and read the ending. I actually let myself quickly glance ahead when the suspense got too intense. The survival thriller element of A Map For Wrecked Girls will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Read this one when you’re ready for a book you can’t put down! Add it to your Goodreads shelf and follow Jessica Taylor on Twitter.


Book Drop// Books on My Desk

One of the best things about working in the library is that there’s always books around. A LOT of books. And a lot of those books find their way to my desk. Here’s all the books I have on my desk right now:

Gathered up all the non-professional development related books and realized I still have more room on my desk for books. I had 2 current reads on my desk. All’s Faire in Middle School is an upcoming middle grade graphic novel. I loved Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl and this one is perfectly captures how awkward 6th grade can be. I also just started reading Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney. The Royal We is one of my favorite girl meets Prince books (go read it now if you haven’t already!) and this one sounds like a good readalike.

Here’s some of my recent book mail. I got Chelsea Sedoti’s book in the mail yesterday and it has such a pretty cover. As You Wish is about a small town in the Mojave Desert where everyone gets a single wish granted when they turn 18. It’s a 2018 release and I’ve added it to my list. Snapstreak and The Girl Who Drew Butterflies were also from recent book mail from HMK Kids. These are both February 2018 middle grade releases.

I checked out We Are the Ants a few days ago after a rave review from my co-librarian. I tend to read a lot of ARCs for reviewing and buying purposes and don’t read as many library books. But I’m going to make time for this one soon. I don’t even remember where this hardcover copy of Outrun the Moon came from but I’ve had it on my TBR for a long time. I’m thinking about using it for one of my teen book clubs so hopefully I’ll get around to reading it this year. I’m going to read The First Rule of Punk next so I have to keep it on my desk in case I finish my other book. It looks like such a cool book! Do you guys always have a back up book?

I also recently got a package from Kara Thomas after winning a giveaway for her street team for Little Monsters. I really loved Little Monsters (you can read my full review here) so I was excited to win a signed copy! I also got a paperback copy of The Darkest Corners. I’m looking forward to reading that one after Little Monsters blew me away.

What are some books you’ve had sitting on your desk for a long time?

Book Display// Take Me To Your Reader

TAKE ME TO YOUR READERThe Summer Reading Program is over and I’m starting to think about Fall. I’ve been looking through catalogs and reading about upcoming YA releases and there are so many space books coming soon! I’m always down for a good space opera or alien encounter.

Looking through all those space-y upcoming releases made me want to highlight some out-of-this-world books that we already have on the library shelves.

I’m pairing my space books with information about the solar eclipse (and putting out free eclipse glasses). But this display could work any time of the year.

Download the display sign here or download the non-eclipse version here

Here’s some YA titles that work for this display:

  • Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana
  • Empress of A Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
  • We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
  • Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
  • Across the Universe by Beth Revis
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • Starglass by Phoebe North
  • Trish Trash: Rollergirl on Mars by Jessica Abel
  • Avalon by Mindee Arnett
  • Black Hole Sun by David Macinnis Gill
  • Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • Inherit the Stars by Tessa Elwood
  • Salvage by Alexandra Duncan
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
  • What Goes Up by Katie Kennedy
  • Waste of Space by Gina Damico
  • I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
  • Zodiac by Romina Russell
  • These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
  • Nyxia by Scott Reintgen (September 12, 2017)
  • Landscape with Invisible Hand by M.T. Anderson (September 12, 2017)
  • 27 Hours by Tristina Wright (October 3, 2017)
  • Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston (October 10, 2017)
  • Eight Days on Planet Earth by Cat Jordan (November 7, 2017)


Been There, Read That// July 2017


Been There, Read That is a monthly reading wrap up featuring everything I read last month.

What I read:

8 YA books

8 graphic novels/comic books

July was mostly a month of reading ARCs that I picked up at ALA. I’m trying to work on my massive TBR list and read as many books before they come out as possible. I focus on ARC reading a lot so I can stay current in YA and know what to buy for my library’s collection. I am also always on the hunt for books for my teen book clubs to read.

Of the 8 Young Adult ARCs I read, 4 have been published since I read them. Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds (out today) was one of my favorite reads of the month. It’s funny and relatable regardless of whether you’ve read a Miles Morales comic before. Little Monsters was my other favorite read of the month. It was a perfect mix of creepy and contemporary YA. Read my full review here. Readers who like complex family dramas and lyrical writing will enjoy Solo and The Inevitable Collision of Birdie and Bash.

4 of the ARCs I read will be coming out in the next few months. Dear Martin (out 10/17) by Nic Stone was unforgettable. The main character, Justyce, was so authentic and I hope to use it as a teen book club pick in the future. I read A Map for Wrecked Girls (out 8/15) and Little & Lion (out 8/8) super fast because I was so hooked on the characters and story. Both are about sibling relationships and the ways that struggles and secrets can change everything. I Hate Everyone But You is written by 2 IRL best friends and it will be the first book from the new Wednesday Books imprint

I had a lot of comics and graphic novels checked out this month but only got around to reading a few of them. I’m still making my way through Runaways so I can read Rainbow Rowell’s new installments. I also loved Champions and Spell on Wheels this month. Spell on Wheels has witch bffs, a vicious ex-boyfriend, and a road trip to reclaim magical items.

I also caught up on some middle grade graphic novels this month. I reread Sunny Side Up since I got Swing It, Sunny at ALA. These are great readalikes for readers of Raina Telgemeier or Roller Girl.

July was a long month of summer reading programs, hot weather, and time to read! What was your favorite book of the month?

Book Review//Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

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Summer really bums me out. I don’t like hot weather or buildings without AC, and there’s just too much sunshine. So the cold, dark winter of Little Monsters was exactly what I needed for escaping the summer heat. The eerie, snowy town of Broken Falls was a perfect setting for this creepy story.

This book explores one of my favorite topics in YA–toxic friendships. Teenage girls are strong, complex, and capable of anything. Little Monsters examines the way that teenage girls can use their power to manipulate and destroy each other. Kacey is the new girl in town and she’s immediately accepted into a friend group but the friendship begins to sour. I loved slowly uncovering the truth about the friendship. It can be dangerous to be the new girl in town when you don’t know the buried history of your friends.

I would’ve been invested in the book if it solely focused on the disappearance of Kacey’s best friend, but there was also some family dynamics and secrets thrown in the mix that kept me reading. Kacey has recently left a rough living situation with her mother to move in with her father and his family. She has to adjust to having an instant family with a past of their own and figure out where she can fit in.

Kacey is the new girl in her family, school, and town. She questions herself and questions what she knows to be true in the novel. I particularly loved this element of the book because I wasn’t sure if she was going to be a reliable narrator or not. As a reader, I was never sure who to trust and that kept me turning the pages late at night.

This thriller has a gloriously chilling setting, a multitude of secrets, and an ending that I did not see coming. It had a supernatural element and a few scares that will keep you on edge. Read this one now. Don’t let anyone spoil the ending for you.

Feeling brave? Check out this short story prequel on Underlined to Little Monsters to get really creeped out before you read

Add Little Monsters to your Goodreads shelf and follow Kara Thomas on Twitter. Little Monsters is out today!


I received an ARC of this title through the First In Line Readers program that my library is part of.


Book Review//Be True to Me by Adele Griffin

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1976, summer, love triangles, and beach houses. I was hooked as soon as I read the description for this book. I used to always read teen ’70s and ’80s paperbacks at the pool when I was a teenager and the plot of this book takes me back to all those summer reads. Summer Sisters by Judy Blume is one of my all time favorite books and I always reread it in the summer. Be True to Me instantly reminded me of Summer Sisters and I’ll read just about any book that is remotely similar to that one. Be True to Me checked all my boxes.

Sunken Haven is a summer destination for wealthy families where nothing outside of the island matters. Jean’s family has been part of Sunken Haven since the first houses went up and her big sister is island royalty. Fritz, usually seen as an outsider, has been spending the last few summers with her best friend Julia and Julia’s family in Sunken Haven. Jean and Fritz went head to head last summer for the Junior Tennis Cup and now they’re competing for the affections of a new guy on Sunken Haven.

I loved the juxtaposition of the two girls’ perspectives throughout the story with one POV picking up where the other left off. This is such a classic, teen summer romance with sweeping, unending summer days and late nights. Jean and Fritz had their own distinct voices, as well as their own experiences with Gil, the long lost family member of one of Sunken Haven’s most well known families, turned hot hunk of the island. Griffin perfectly captured Jean’s determination and desperation to be Gil’s girl and Fritz’ swoony, falling in love state of mind. Griffin’s writing made me root for both girls to find what they needed.

This book takes a darker turn that I didn’t see coming but the story feels fully fleshed out and the turn feels genuine. I was completely invested in the plot and couldn’t put it down. Overall this is a fantastic summer read about friendship, first loves, and regret. Griffin created such a believable ’70s summer getaway neighborhood where teens had the room to roam free. Read this one on your end of summer vacations and enjoy the love triangle in all its glory.

I had the privilege of meeting Adele at the American Library Association Annual Conference in June. She was giving out the coolest swag ever (the awesome Be True to Me patch, which I have on my desk until I put it on my jean jacket) 20170720_092947.jpgand I was so happy to have the chance to tell her how much I loved Be True to Me. And to tell her that it reminded me of so many of my favorite songs from the 70s!

Like Judy Blume’s Summer Sisters, Be True to Me made me want to listen to 70s music. Carly Simon is one of my personal favorite musicians and her songs are always a perfect backdrop for summer romances. Go ahead and read this hot, summer book and enjoy the music that pairs so well with it.

Add Be True to Me to your Goodreads shelf and follow Adele Griffin on Twitter.



Book Display//Summer Adventures

SRP promo (1) Need one more display before summer ends? One of my favorite displays for the school break features books that are set during the summer.

There are a wide range of books set in the summer from all genres. I also love that the summer is often a time of transition, hope, and self-discovery in so many YA novels. A summer break is the perfect setting for making new friends, redefining your dreams, bonding with your family, starting over, reaching your goals, and finally talking to your crush. YA books have, hands down, some of the best summer books.

Here’s a few summer YA titles for the display and you can download my display sign here:

  • The Summer I Turned Pretty series by Jenny Han
  • And We’re Off by Dana Schwartz
  • Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian
  • Love and Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
  • I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
  • The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
  • Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman
  • Emiko Superstar by Mariko Tamaki
  • Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
  • Geekerella by Ashley Poston
  • When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
  • Lumberjanes, Vol 1 by Noelle Stevenson
  • The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini
  • The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
  • Fever, 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • The Education of Margot Sanchez by Lilliam Rivera
  • Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older
  • Look Both Ways by Alison Cherry
  • This One Summer by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
  • Burn Baby Burn by Meg Medina

What are your favorite books set in the summer?


Book Review//What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

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As a huge fan of Tell Me Three Things (I even wore a homemade book cover in a 4th of July Parade to promote the library’s Teen Services department), I was so excited to get to an Advance Reader’s Copy of What to Say Next back in November. I saved the ARC to be my first read of 2017. And now it’s finally July and release day for this book that I loved!

Just like in Tell Me Three Things, Buxbaum perfectly captures a realistic teenagers’ voices and feelings. Kit, a 16 year old half-Indian girl, who used to only worry about getting the Editor in Chief position at the school newspaper, is dealing with the sudden death of her father in a car accident while David is just trying to get through bullying and being misunderstood by his peers. David has Asperger’s and his classmates don’t take the time to get to know him. Kit finds herself in need of a change to distract her from the pain of her father’s passing. Kit sits with David in the lunch room and the two begin to understand each other in a way that no one else has before.

I loved that this story didn’t solely focus on a budding romance between the two characters. Kit has two best friends that love her and stick up for her.  She also has a strong relationship with her mom. David has a supportive family and a really cool big sister who looks out for him. Though romantic feelings develop later on, this is the story about another magical thing that happens in high school–insta-friendship when you need it the most.

Reading this summer book on January 1, 2017!

Throughout the book, I kept thinking about something that the author wrote in a letter to the reader at the beginning. Julie wrote “labels can be liberating, but they can also be limiting.” Throughout this book, Kit and David struggle with the labels that they’ve put on themselves and ones others have given to them. Kit tries to forget that she’s the girl who’s father has died, while David wants to push away the limitations that people assume his Asperger’s diagnosis have placed on him. They begin to use their own labels for themselves and feel the liberation that comes with loving yourself. As with all of my favorite teen books, What To Say Next gives Kit and David the space to push their boundaries and find their own identities.

I know I’ll reread this book in the future and I can’t wait to share it with the teens at my library.

Fans of Julie’s other YA novel, Tell Me Three Things, will find a similar story here. Readers of Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen will enjoy this book.

Add it to your Goodreads shelf and treat yo’ self to the book today!

I received an ARC of this title through the First In Line Readers program that my library is part of.


Book Review//Waste of Space by Gina Damico

synopsis from Goodreads

I’m not ashamed to admit that I love watching reality TV. I get totally sucked in and can’t look away from the drama and fabricated storylines. Waste of Space has all the best elements of reality tv–24 hour camera feeds, clashing personalities, potential romance, drama, and diversions from the truth about the show.

The reality show, that supposedly blasts teens into space with no adult supervision or training, is created by an outlandish, over-the-top network called DV8. The show “Waste of Space” is created in a world where many other outrageous reality tv shows are popular. The public instantly falls in love with the cast and never questions how teens with no space experience could be sent up there alone. The “spacetronauts” (because astronaut isn’t coined by DV8) become the must watch tv of the year. This is a world where ridiculous reality tv shows are popular and that’s a world I can believe in.

The cast is deliberately chosen by the network to represent diverse stereotypes. The contestants are aware of the molds they’re supposed to fit. Jamarkus knows he’s been cast as a “double diverse” agent–being African American and gay. He sidesteps the assumptions about him and keeps his eyes focused on the end goal–getting a scholarship to MIT. Karou, a teen who was just visiting from Japan and doesn’t even speak English is kidnapped and put into the show. She is the first to figure out that they’re not really in space. Unfortunately none of her co-spacetronauts can understand Japanese. DV8 uses diversity as a marketing ploy without actually understanding it though the teens quickly figure out how to play the system to get what they want.

The entire book is told through video transcripts, emails, recordings of phone calls, and cast video confessions. The formatting made it so easy to read and get every character’s perspective on this strange situation they’ve been put in. The format also lets readers see the entire conception, planning, and execution of the show from the developer’s POV.

Readers of Margaret Stohl’s Royce Rolls and fans of Big Brother will love this quirky 24/7 look at teens stuck together. Reluctant readers will enjoy this book because of the unique, attention grabbing plot and fun format. The array of characters on board, personalities behind the scenes, and plot twists make this a fast, unforgettable read!

Waste of Space comes out on July 11! Pre-order it and add it to your Goodreads shelf.