“Sadie” by Courtney Summers

IMG_0235It’s no secret to those who know me — I love a good mystery. I enjoy true crime books, shows, and podcasts (My Favorite Murder 😍), not to mention mystery books and detective stories, be they true or fiction.

So at BookExpo in May, when I heard about a YA mystery called Sadie, I was all in.

The story follows two threads:

The first thread is Sadie’s story, in which she vows to avenge her younger sister Mattie’s unsolved murder. Growing up in a trailer park with an addict mother, Sadie was neglected early in life. When Mattie was born, Sadie took over the role of mother, promising herself that Mattie would have a loving childhood to look back on.

The second thread follows a podcast called The Girls that reminded me of Serial andΒ Up and Vanished. The host, West McCray, does his best to track down Sadie, doing research and interviewing those who knew her before, as well as those who meet Sadie on her quest for justice. Another cool thing to note: the podcast is actually real — it’s called The Girls: Find Sadie (find it anywhere you listen to podcasts). It follows the first several “podcast chapters” in Sadie, and man, is it chilling and well-done.

Sadie is equal parts thrilling, tragic, fascinating, and horrifying. There’s a murder, all kinds of abuse, road trips, new friends, new enemies, and ultimately, a mystery that you won’t be able to put down.

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Buy the book here.
Listen to the podcast on Apple here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“Not Her Daughter” by Rea Frey

9781250166425New release Tuesday!

Not Her Daughter is an interesting mystery/thriller that explores the interesting moral question of When is kidnapping okay? Is it okay if the daughter doesn’t get enough fun and mental stimulation? Is it okay if the younger brother gets more love and attention? Is it okay if the mother is abusive?

Sarah is the CEO of a new educational tool called TACK, and spends much of her time in schools, presenting the product and researching new innovations. When a massive coincidence puts Sarah near little Emma twice, both times when she seems to have a horrible family, she decides she must take action. She must take Emma away from her sad, painful life, and give her a happy, fulfilled, and fun life.

Amy, Emma’s mother, is just so tired. Tired of the fights, of her lack of self-confidence, of her lack of caring anymore. One evening, Emma just won’t listen. She just wants Emma to behave and not make messes or do anything to disturb the family. When Amy snaps and slaps Emma’s face, Emma runs into the woods in the backyard that she frequents as a hiding spot. Mentally exhausted and angry, Amy locks the back door to punish Emma, then accidentally falls asleep in the bedroom from pure tiredness.

Sarah, who was in the woods during Amy and Emma’s fight, decides that her chance is now or never. She takes Emma, gets her new clothes and toys, and begins the most dangerous adventure of her life: Keeping Emma safe, and keeping herself out of jail when the family finally realizes their daughter is missing.

Told from the Amy and Sarah’s perspectives, plus mixed between “Before,” “Now,” and “After,” this book has many threads and twists that will keep you glued to the page. It’ll have you asking the same questions Sarah has — When is kidnapping okay? Would I do the same thing in her situation? Would I turn her in? — and you’ll keep wondering long after turning the last page.

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Order Not Her Daughter here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“Grace and Fury” by Tracy Banghart

IMG_0231New Release Tuesday!

Grace and Fury is a wonderful mix of The Hunger Games and The SelectionΒ β€” In a world ruled by men, women are forbidden to read or even own books. Nomi Tessaro has rebelled and learned how to read from her brother, but she must keep it a secret. Serina chose not to break the law, knowing that her ultimate goal was to serve as a Grace to the Prince β€”Β a sort of wife/concubine role in the castle.

When Serina is chosen to compete to be one of the Prince’s Graces, her sister, Nomi, goes with her to serve as her handmaiden. But in a twist, the Prince chooses Nomi as one of his three Graces. Serina reluctantly agrees to stay to be Nomi’s handmaiden. On their first day in their new roles, Serina is caught holding a book and reciting the story from memory. Seemingly being caught reading, she is sentenced to life on a prison island where the guards force the all-female prisoners to fight to the death for rations.

Both girls are forced into situations they were not trained for, have no experience with, and are ultimately afraid of. But the bond of sisterhood keeps them going β€”Β each has the hope that they can survive and find and save their sister.Β  I cannot recommend Grace and Fury enough. It also should be known it is set to be a duology, with the second book coming out next year.

If you loved The Hunger Games and The Selection, and also fangirl over love triangles, strong women fighting oppression (and each other), and beautiful world-building, chances are this book is for you.

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Buy the book here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“The Book of Essie” by Meghan Maclean Weir

91nZ-OBPoRLTold in three perspectives, The Book of Essie is the story of what happens when a Christian reality TV family finds out one of the daughters is pregnant. They will go to any length to protect their reputation, celebrity, show, and ultimately — power and wealth.

Essie, 17, is pregnant. Her parents have decided that the best way to deal with the situation is to marry her off quickly and pretend the baby belongs to the husband. Essie doesn’t like her life in the spotlight and disagrees with what her parents are doing. She knows how fake everyone is in her world and is generally disillusioned with the world, ready to escape her small town.

Rourke, a year older at Essie’s high school, is “chosen” to be Essie’s husband. He is appalled at what his parents are willing to do to save their business and be set for life. But at the same time…he really wants to go to Columbia. And he wants his parents to be financially stable. But he really also doesn’t want to be a celebrity, and he really doesn’t want to marry Essie and be a part of the strict, religious family he’s grown up watching on television and in real life.

Liberty Bell, now a journalist, earned her spotlight for being an escaped member of a cult. The cult leader is not only in jail now, and has Liberty’s mom petitioning for his release, but Liberty hates him with everything she is because he is responsible for her sister’s death so many years ago. Essie knows about Liberty’s story, and she asks to be put through interviews on Liberty’s show to give an “inside look” to the viewers before her whirlwind marriage.

Full of twists, shocking moments, and horrifying revelations, The Book of Essie is one of the most bingeable books I’ve picked up this year. I initially got it as my June Book of the Month, but ended up listening to the audiobook. The audiobook has amazing narrators and I could not turn it off!

If you like celebrity drama, teenage angst mixed with real problems, journalistic investigations, and a real, down-to-earth American story, this one is for you.

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Buy the book here.

Sign up for Book of the Month here. I love it so much!

[It should also be mentioned that there are a few content warnings: rape, homophobia, murder, general bad treatment of children. However, these things are not condoned in the book.]

Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“From Twinkle with Love” by Sandhya Menon

81wu+v1CDsL.jpgNew release Tuesday!

Twinkle Mehra has big plans for her life. She’s going to get popular, get her best friend back, and fall madly in love with the mega-popular Neil Roy, and then she’s going to get into the film school of her dreams and become a famous filmmaker.

But lofty plans rarely are accomplished the way we want.

When Sahil Roy, Neil’s twin, approaches Twinkle with the idea for a gender-swapped Dracula film for an upcoming film festival, she is excited. She gets to make a film, and Sahil can probably get her close to her crush, Neil!

Twinkle is a Desi character, so reading this book, much like in When Dimple Met Rishi by Menon, I was excited to see a diverse family and to learn more about their culture. For instance, when Sahil comes to Twinkle’s house, instead of where I might call my friend’s parent β€œMr. Jones” or by their first name, in this culture they call them β€œUncle or Aunt (first name).”

(And yes, I know these diverse titles by WOC are not meant to educate white people, but instead so that all people can find themselves represented in books. However, I do take the opportunity to learn about different cultures and diverse reads like Twinkle help me educate myself.)

Beyond the awesome diversity in this book, the story is just adorable and squee-worthy. It’s a young adult contemporary, so you know it has a happy ending.

I liked From Twinkle with Love significantly more than When Dimple Met Rishi (which I did quite enjoy), so if you liked Dimple, you’ll like Twinkle! I can’t wait for the next installment, When Ashish Met Sweetie due out in 2019.

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Buy From Twinkle with Love here.
Buy When Dimple Met Rishi here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“Undead Girl Gang” by Lily Anderson

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LOOK AT IT IT’S SO PRETTY

New release Tuesday! And cover swoons!

Picture Veronica Mars meets Pushing Daisies. YES. GO READ UNDEAD GIRL GANG. (Oh, you want more of a review? Fine.)

Mila’s best friend was found dead the day after two of the most popular girls in school are found hanging in a nearby park. It was said to be a pact between the two. But Mila knows Riley wouldn’t kill herself.

Fortunately, Riley and Mila used to spend their free time dabbling in witchcraft, mostly blessings for good luck on tests, or activating crystals, like the one Riley wears every day. The police refuse to investigate Riley’s “suicide” — so Mila takes things into her own hands.

When Mila raises Riley from the grave to help solve her own murder, Mila inadvertently raises the other two girls from her school, but they all have lost their memories of before they died. They form a team and work to find out why they all ended up dead, and if it was murder, who did it.

This book is equal parts fun and slightly eerie, and if you like teen detectives with lots of sass, you’ve got to pick up Undead Girl Gang.

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Buy the book here!

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.

“Only Human” by Sylvain Neuvel

New Release Tuesday!

Only Human is the stellar conclusion to the Themis Files Trilogy. (Book one was Sleeping Giants, book two was Waking Gods.) And WHOOO BOY. What a roller coaster of emotions!

If you haven’t started the trilogy, read my review of Sleeping Giants here. Basically, without spoiling too much, a young girl stumbles upon a giant metal hand, and this sparks a world of scientists to figure out what it is. The book is told in letters, transcripts, interviews, diary entries, etc., much like the Illuminae series I so adore.

Spoilers for the first two books lurk below!

NEUV_OnlyHuman_quote-E

Only Human by Sylvain NeuvelOnly Human is told in past and present pieces. Rose, Vincent, and Eva were whisked to another planet inside the alien robot they had just successfully disabled. The humans have to navigate a world full of aliens, class systems, and rebellion for many years, until one day they finally find a way to escape back to Earth. Upon landing on Earth, they are immediately taken captive by the Russian Government, who take ownership of the robot and interrogate the travelers for details of the foreign planet. These two separate timelines are interwoven, showing the humans on both Earth and their temporary home.

This is an incredibly complex, out-of-this-world story, from the very beginning of the trilogy. I finished the book on the train home, and I’m pretty sure my seatmate thought I was a lunatic with the range of emotions I experienced as I finished the series. So bittersweet, to finally finish a series you’ve been reading for 3 years. I can’t wait to see what Sylvain Neuvel comes up with next.

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Buy Sleeping Giants here.
Buy Waking Gods here.
Buy Only Human here.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Links in post are affiliate links whose proceeds go toward the maintenance of this blog.