# of books read: 8
1. Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal by G.Willow Wilson
Publisher: Marvel– Released October 30, 2014
Summary: Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey!
Overall Thoughts: I flew through this volume. It was fast-paced and fun to read. What made this comic even more great was how diverse it was. Pakistani Muslim-American Heroine?? Yes!!! With our MC Kamala, she just wants to fit in, but her parents being true to their Pakistani and Muslim heritage, don’t want her to lose touch with her roots. Her transformation from herself into Ms.Marvel, in my opinion, was a metaphor for her getting a chance to “fit in.” By the end, a villain by the name “The Inventor” gets introduced and I can’t wait to see how he ties into the plot of this amazing graphic novel series!
2. Last Year’s Mistake by Gina Ciocca
Publisher: Simon Pulse–Released June 9, 2015
Summary: Is there anything that electric chemistry can’t overcome? The past may be gone, but love has a way of holding on in this romantic debut novel told in alternating Before and After chapters.
The summer before freshman year, Kelsey and David became inseparable best friends—until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke and everything around her crumbled, including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey’s parents decide to move away, she can’t wait to start over and leave the past behind. But David’s not quite ready to be left.
Now it’s senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David’s family moves to town. Old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey’s second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never let him go. And maybe she never wants to…
Overall Thoughts: This was such a great contemporary. Going into this book, I did not know it was going to be told in alternating POV’s (Past & Present), but with that addition, it helped me to better understand Kelsey and David and why their relationship/friendship had issues. Though I did love this book, what I didn’t like was how Kelsey & David didn’t have much communication in regards to their problems. It would have been easily fixed if they had just talked to each other. I also did not like Violet’s character. Her attitude in the book is what ruined the story for me. However, by the end, Kelsey&David fix their relationship and that happy ending saved the book for me!
3. Skyscraping by Cordelia Jensen
Publisher: Philomel Books–Released June 2, 2015
Summary: A heartrending, bold novel in verse about family, identity, and forgiveness
Mira is just beginning her senior year of high school when she discovers her father with his male lover. Her world–and everything she thought she knew about her family–is shattered instantly. Unable to comprehend the lies, betrayal, and secrets that–unbeknownst to Mira–have come to define and keep intact her family’s existence, Mira distances herself from her sister and closest friends as a means of coping. But her father’s sexual orientation isn’t all he’s kept hidden. A shocking health scare brings to light his battle with HIV. As Mira struggles to make sense of the many fractures in her family’s fabric and redefine her wavering sense of self, she must find a way to reconnect with her dad–while there is still time.
My Thoughts: This book was an absolute gem. Going into this book, I did not know it was going to be written in verse. With that, it added so much to the story and worked extremely well for the plot. I must also mention the writing style. It was so beautiful, each chapter had a unique style to it, and I had honestly never read a book like that before. With this topic, of course there would be sad moments, but there are many happy moments as well. It is fast-paced but is filled with so much emotion and tackles many topics in a raw and realistic way, such as family dynamics, GLBT, and HIV. I could not find much reviews on this book from other blogs etc., and I feel it is extremely underrated, so if you have not read this book please do. You will not regret it!
4. My Life with the Walter Boys by Ali Novak
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire–Released March 1, 2014
Summary: Jackie does not like surprises. Chaos is the enemy! The best way to get her successful, busy parents to notice her is to be perfect. The perfect look, the perfect grades-the perfect daughter. And then…
Surprise #1: Jackie’s family dies in a freak car accident.
Surprise #2: Jackie has to move cross-country to live with the Walters-her new guardians.
Surprise #3: The Walters have twelve sons. (Well, eleven, but Parker acts like a boy anyway)
Now Jackie must trade in her Type A personality and New York City apartment for a Colorado ranch and all the wild Walter boys who come with it. Jackie is surrounded by the enemy-loud, dirty, annoying boys who have no concept of personal space. Okay, several of the oldest guys are flat-out gorgeous. But still annoying. She’s not stuck-up or boring-no matter what they say. But proving it is another matter. How can she fit in and move on when she needs to keep her parents’ memory alive by living up to the promise of perfect?
Overall Thoughts: Reading about Jackie and how she would adjust to her new life, was overall very enjoyable to read. The “Walter Boys” were all unique and it was great to learn more about them as the story progressed. The reason this book has 4 stars, is due to the fact that around 1/2 way through the book, I felt Jackie’s character wasn’t acting as she normally would. She began taking risks, by ditching class and going out to parties. Though it made sense because she lost her parents/sister and felt all that sadness within herself, but to me it just felt inconsistent with who her character was. Overall it was an enjoyable book and one I am glad I took a chance to read.
5. Ms. Marvel Vol. 2: Generation Why by G.Willow Wilson
Publisher: Marvel–Released April 7, 2015
Summary: Who is the Inventor, and what does he want with the all-new Ms. Marvel and all her friends? Maybe Wolverine can help! Kamala may be fan-girling out when her favorite (okay maybe Top Five) super hero shows up, but that won’t stop her from protecting her hometown. Then, Kamala crosses paths with Inhumanity for the first time–by meeting the royal dog, Lockjaw! Every girl wants a puppy, but this one may be too much of a handful, even for a super hero with embiggening powers. But why is Lockjaw really with Kamala? As Ms. Marvel discovers more about her past, the Inventor continues to threaten her future
Overall Thoughts: Kamala had even more character development in this issue. She began questioning whether she can be a superhero without hurting others. It was also great to see she got a companion. A Giant Teleporting Dog! It doesn’t get much better than that! It is revealed that “The Inventor” was using kids to power up destructive robots!! A few pages later, another robot attacks Kamala at school! As the story progresses, she figures out she is “inhuman.” When she tries to fight Doyle again, she realizes other runaways don’t want to be rescued and are there by choice. She convinces them to fight with her after another encounter with “The Inventor.” After reaching his lair, Kamala see’s where all the other kids are being held. After the action-packed ending I can’t wait to read Vol. 3!
6. Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers–Released May 26, 2015
Summary: I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.
In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.
My Thoughts: Overall I really enjoyed this book. I am a big fan of YA mystery/thrillers, but the reason this book gets 4 stars, is because of the pacing. With some chapters, I was reading through them quickly because it was fast paced, but a majority of the time, the other chapters felt really slow and seemed to drag on. The overall plot was fantastic and was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. The characters too, were written very well and were all very unique. So, though this story was great as a whole, the pacing made it rather difficult to get through.
7. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury– Released March 31, 2015
Summary: Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics, The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.
It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?
My Thoughts: Overall this was a beautiful contemporary! I was really able to relate to Paige because, she mentioned she was an introvert and at times, I can be introverted too! She also mentioned her love of reading which, of course, I can relate to as well. It was great to read about her growth and learning to accept Aaron’s death. And it was also great to see her finally admit her feelings to Max by the end! The pacing was great and the overall messages of this story were great too! Highly recommend this YA contemporary.
8. The Game of Love & Death by Martha Brockenbrough
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books– Released April 28, 2015
Summary: Antony and Cleopatra. Helen of Troy and Paris. Romeo and Juliet. And now… Henry and Flora.
For centuries Love and Death have chosen their players. They have set the rules, rolled the dice, and kept close, ready to influence, angling for supremacy. And Death has always won. Always.
Could there ever be one time, one place, one pair whose love would truly tip the balance?
Meet Flora Saudade, an African-American girl who dreams of becoming the next Amelia Earhart by day and sings in the smoky jazz clubs of Seattle by night. Meet Henry Bishop, born a few blocks and a million worlds away, a white boy with his future assured—a wealthy adoptive family in the midst of the Great Depression, a college scholarship, and all the opportunities in the world seemingly available to him.
The players have been chosen. The dice have been rolled. But when human beings make moves of their own, what happens next is anyone’s guess.
My Thoughts: This was a very unique story. I loved Henry and Flora as main characters. The author’s writing style is captivating and adds an element of mystery. The alternating chapters between Henry, Flora, and Love&Death let me understand each characters fully and understand the world through their eyes. It gets 4 stars because, I felt at times it went a little slow for me but other than that, I really loved this book and highly recommend it if you have read The Diviners by Libba Bray (both stories immerse you in an atmosphere of the early 1900’s) or just love YA Historical Fiction.
What books did you read this month? 🙂