Perfectionists

Perfectionists by Sara Shepard is the beginning of an exciting and suspenseful new series. In Beacon Heights, the only thing acceptable is perfection. You need to be the best athlete or the best musician or the most popular girl and of course get into the best college. However, this doesn’t mean you have to be good. So when five girls realize that they all hate the same person it is easy to plan his murder-or at least his hypothetical murder. But what happens when someone follows through with the murder? How can you prove your innocence when the deck is stacked against you? Thus begins the Perfectionists series.

If you have enjoyed Pretty Little Liars, then you are sure to love this series too. Shepard is so good at getting you all tangled up trying to figure out who the killer is. Each time you think you have a clue you end up right back where you started. The characters are fun to follow and have just enough personal drama to make you want more. This is a great beach read.

 

We Were Liars

E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars takes you on an unexpected journey as we try to piece together the summer of Cadence’s 16th year.  Full of twists and turns, this is a story that will have you as confused as the narrator and completely engrossed.

I loved this book!  It was wonderful trying to determine what happened that summer right along with Cady and then to be left just as flabbergasted as she is.  Lockhart’s writing is so beautiful, elegant and at times very poetic.  I have to confess that once I finished this book I was unable to read for a day – this is unheard of from me – but I had to let the story linger and percolate before I found closure to move on.  Although, I do already have plans to read it a second time, knowing what I know now.  This book will speak to not only young adult fans but also adults and book club readers.

Signed copies available at the store.  Please call or stop in the store.

We All Looked Up

We all Looked Up by Tommy Wallach is a page-turning tale about living your life as if today is your last day.  For four seniors this philosophy is very literal since there is a large asteroid heading towards earth with a 66.6% chance of striking the planet.  Suddenly things like college and high school seem very trivial, but do you allow yourself to to go crazy or do you carry on like normal?  What would you do if you had short time to live?

This story is told from the perspective of 4 different high school teens. Each one shows honesty and strength in a world that has been turned upside down. If you are looking for believable and real characters, this would be an excellent choice.

 

Cryer’s Cross

Lisa McMann’s Cryer’s Cross is a riveting mystery with a fun love triangle twist.  Kendall loves living in her small town in Montana but she is aspiring to go to college in New York.  The only thing that concerns her is leaving her amazing boyfriend behind. Then a tragedy strikes the town and children go missing.  Now everything has changed and Kendall knows she has to put her dreams on hold until she can find her friend.  This means spending time with the one boy she shouldn’t.

The narrative is great, the characters are memorable and the story was scary enough to keep me reading through the night.  In fact it was  so haunting and so addictive that I read it in one sitting.  Aside from a gripping story,  I also found it interesting that the main character struggles with OCD.  McMann did an incredible job of putting you right into her mind and making you see the ups and downs that go along with this syndrome.  This is a young adult book  but it is so well written that everyone will enjoy it.

Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend

Katie Finn’s novel Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend is a great contemporary YA read.  Gemma’s summer isn’t starting out like she had planned.  Instead of saving the world, she is picking up the pieces of her broken heart and heading to the Hamptons to spend the summer with her dad.  Realizing that she is mourning the end of her romantic relationship with Teddy for a strict one year period (since that is what the magazines have determined to be the proper amount of time) she plans to stay close to the house and keep her head down.  That is until she meets Josh who is sweet, funny, and somehow makes her think less about Teddy.  Of course the kicker is, she already knows Josh and his sister Hallie from when she was younger and things did not end pleasantly between her and Hallie.  Determine to fix things from the past, Gemma finds her summer turning into a Shakespeare play with all of the mistaken identities.

Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend is the perfect summer read.   Finn creates a fun atmosphere with beach parties, babysitting and new love.  It was great to just get lost in this world.  It was fun to see how hard Gemma worked to try and hide her true identity from Hallie and Josh.  She has such good intentions, but you just have this feeling that everything is going to crash down around her.   Although that didn’t stop you from hoping that it would all work out.  Another thing that I liked about this book was that all of the characters are charming and likable.  They just end up in crazy situations.  Without giving anything away, the end twists are awesome!  I really didn’t see some of it coming and was left shocked and so excited to read book two (Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold currently planned for May 2015).

Road Rash

Road Rash by Mark Huntley Parsons is a fantastic contemporary young adult novel.  Anyone looking for witty characters with engaging dialogue and a fun story should read this book.  Zach is ready to rock his way through summer with his band, and best of all they have a steady local venue where they will get paid to play.  It seems great until his band  kicks him out, leaving him without his best friend and a summer filled with manual labor.  Thankfully Kimber, his ex-best friend’s younger sister, has been surprisingly supportive and nice.  She keeps telling him that he is a great drummer and things will turn around, and she could be right.  The towns best local band wants him to be their new drummer and tour the northern Rockies playing shows all summer.  This could be the best summer yet!

I loved this book!   Zach was an entertaining character who you instantly become attached to.  The interactions between characters are fantastic.  He and Kimber are adorable and a fresh new love story to read about.  I also love how mature Zach is.  He is wise beyond his years, which is great because everyone else needed someone who is stable to make things work.  I am not a fan of rock star books, but Parsons made even a reluctant music fan fall in love with his story.  He uses enough drummer jargon to make you believe Zach, but not too much to overwhelm the reader.  This is my staff pick for the month of April and it is sure to win over anyone who reads it.

Sweet Evil

Wendy Higgins’ debut novel Sweet Evil is an exciting new look at angels and demons.  Anna has always known that she is different from other kids.  Her senses are supercharged and she has the unique ability to see and feel people’s emotions.  She always assumed that she was alone with this ability, that is until she meets Kaidan.  Now she is discovering that her heritage is not the typical teen story.  Her father is a fallen angel, or demon, and her mother is an angel.  The fact that she was born from theses two conflicting types of angels is completely unheard of.  Not only is she learning about her parents, but she is also learning that due to her father’s betrayal she is expected to do the work of Lucifer.  Now she has to learn to deal with her ever changing emotions towards Kaidan while she tries to avoid working as a demon.

I was a little skeptical when I started reading this book.  I was afraid that the seven deadly sins theme would be too trite and cheesy, but Higgins did an incredible job with it.  The offspring of the demons are all very interesting characters and even though they each represent a specific sin or vice their characters are developed enough that you want to learn more about them.  There was never a time when I thought they were one dimensional or limited due to their “sin label”.  Higgins did a great job showing Anna as a very naive teen who has to quickly grow-up and learn the harsh realities of life.  I am really excited to see how the story progresses.  I finished the book and immediately had to get book two, Sweet Peril, which luckily was just released.  If you enjoy reading about fallen angels, this would be a great series to read next.

This Lullaby

Sarah Dessen writes amazing young adult novels that often have bigger issues resting right under the surface of the plot.  Her characters are  fabulous and easy to get attached too.  This Lullaby is the story of Remy and her reluctance to fall in love.  She has watched for years as her mother moves from one husband to another and learned that the best way to be in  a relationship is to move on before things become too serious.  And this is exactly how she lives her life.  She goes to parties, hangs out with her girlfriends, and dates boys.  That is until she meets Dexter.  Now all of her dating discipline is being tested and she may not have the ability to avoid love any longer.

Dessen creates characters that are rich with emotion.  They are smart, funny and show how life can make you very vulnerable.  I really liked Remy in this story.  She had to grow up fast and learn how to become the adult in her family, which made her  much stronger and tougher.  She quickly learned how to keep her emotions in check but somehow managed to keep some of the wildness in her life.  I really liked how Dessen paralleled the grown-up relationships with young adult relationships.  It was interesting to see the dilemmas of trying to be a grown up when you aren’t quite ready.  This was a great book that examines the dynamics of friends and families and all of the emotional landmines that comes with growing up.

Just One Day

Just One Day is Gayle Forman’s newest novel and I  loved this book.  It was such a delightful, although emotional, story.  Allyson’s parents decide to give her a trip to Europe for her graduation present, which sounds incredible until you actual join the tour group.  Now uninspired by her very tight sight-seeing schedule, Allyson is looking forward to going home.  That is until she meets the Dutch Shakespearean actor Willem and impulsively decides to spend her last day in Europe with him in Paris.  Now her path has been altered and she will risk everything to find out what that one day meant for the two of them.

I loved this story.  It was such an enchanting love story that drew me in right from page one and held me to the last word.   We have all been sidetracked in life for love, and Allyson was no exception.  One of the best parts of this story is the couple’s day in Paris.  Forman’s descriptions of the city of love were great.  I felt like I was traveling with the happy couple and meeting all of the interesting people myself.  This book had some of the best side characters that I have encountered in awhile.  From the people in France to Allyson’s friends I found them all engaging and life- like.  It was easy to get swept up in the drama when the characters are believable and able to accurately portray a wide range of emotions for the reader to go through.  We have loved all of Forman’s past novels, but Just One Day is even more amazing than the others.  This is a must read for a YA reader looking for a magical love story.

Gayle Forman will also be attending the Tucson Festival of Books this March.  Check back as we get closer to March 9th and 10th to find out what time she will be signing at Mostly Books’ booth.  (Booth numbers 127-130).

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan is an incredibly gripping tale of life among the Unconsecrated, or zombies.  Mary has grown up surround by the undead for her entire life with only a fence separating her and her village from certain death.  Life is all about listening to the  Sisterhood and Guardians, who are the keepers of their knowledge and protectors.  After her mother and father returned as the undead, Mary is forced to join the Sisterhood and now she is learning that perhaps there is life outside of the fence, maybe a life without the Unconsecrated.  Things quickly go from bad to worse for Mary when her village is infiltrated by the undead.  Now her dreams of escaping the fence has become  a reality and only option for survival.  With her brother and friends, Mary runs down the forbidden fenced-in path in hopes of finding the ocean and a world without zombies.

What a great horror story filled with tales of first love and growing up.  Ryan did such a great job capturing the fear of living with flesh-eating zombies while simultaneously showing the characters as being desensitized from the constant presents of the Unconsecrated.  I also like all of the big issues that Mary was forced to work through while fighting her way to freedom.  She tried to come to a better understanding of friendship, love, death, and hope.   Ryan created a precocious female character who has incredible courage and determination.  It was easy to cheer her on in her quest.