Rated 5 stars ***** Alfred A. Knopf. 2018. 394 p.
A’s love story continues in this sequel to Every Day. When last we saw him in “Every Day,” A had decided to leave town because, though he didn’t want to leave Rhiannon, Poole was after him. He set Rhiannon up to be with Alexander, the boy whose body he’d been inhabiting that day, and left town.
Now far away in Denver, A continued to live his many lives. Every day he wondered how Rhiannon was doing, missing her, but feeling he’d made a good decision. For her part Rhiannon missed him too. She felt as if she and Alexander were good together, but he wasn’t A.
Poole returned, now calling himself X, and went after Nathan demanding A’s return. Nathan sought help from Rhiannon, who had already been in contact with A. It is up to A to figure out a way to safely return without getting caught up in X’s diabolical plans, while also wondering if there’s a way for him and Rhiannon to be together again.
Told from multiple points of views, readers get to see what’s inside X’s head as well as the thoughts of others who also change bodies every day. Levithan makes readers wonder if there really are people in the world that can inhabit our bodies for one day and we’d never know. Are there? Have they? I hear the strains of Twilight Zone music playing…
Recommended for teens ages 15 and older.
Rated 5 stars ***** ebook. Lake Union Publishing. 2019.
A hit-and-run driver killed Chance, Jess’s 8-year-old son eight years ago leaving her devastated and feeling as if life isn’t worth living. When Jess leaves town to start fresh elsewhere, her car breaks down in a small mountainside town. There she’s invited to be a caretaker to an older woman named Lucy who has a way of knowing things that are going to happen. She believes Jess and a ghostly little boy are “loose ends,” something she has to fix.
Fifteen-year-old Star has been living on the streets for months, after running away from a foster home. When a strange older woman calls her a “loose end” and arranges for her to get a bus ticket to a small, out-of-the way town, Star is dumbfounded. When she arrives Lucy convinces her to stay for a little while. Though Star has tough street bravado, she feels herself melting into the kindnesses offered by Lucy.
In alternate voices Jess and Star tell their stories of loss and fear, with a dose of hope. Readers will become invested in their lives, hoping for their “loose ends” to be tied up so they could have hope filled new lives.
Recommended for Adults.
Rated 3 stars *** ebook. 2019. Lake Union Publishing.
Veronica had fallen out of love with her husband. When he cheated, she forgave him but felt betrayed, which made it easier to have an affair with his best friend. With Micah she felt desired. She wanted to divorce Johnny, but didn’t because Sydney loved her father and would be hurt.
Suddenly Johnny was all over the news because he’d found a missing three-year-old child while on a hike. He was a hero, but Veronica hated the attention because she was afraid someone would find out about Micah. When it was revealed the child had been kidnapped, she found Johnny with a burner phone and became suspicious. Was he having another affair? As clues began to mount, Veronica soon found that things weren’t always what they seemed, and that some secrets were better left hidden.
I was very annoyed with Veronica for almost the entire book. She was too spineless and needy. “I need a man to feel happy.” “My lover might be cheating on me.” She was so co-dependent I wanted to give her a good shake. I didn’t buy her excuses about all the men in her life. However, though her head was in the sand for most of the book as it reached its predictable conclusion, it did have its moments of interest.
Therefore, I’ll leave it up to you Adult readers to decide if you want to read it or not.
Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. ebook. To be published January 8, 2014. Flux.
Oona Antunes hated her mom demanding life be perfect, and missed the father who was always away on business. Fascinated with water, as it reflected her own disappearing and despairing life, she kept a journal detailing water facts.
In the middle of a winter dance Oona split herself into two different people. The new “spirit self” became the narrator and, through her eyes, readers saw Oona leave the dance to freeze to death on a mountain trail.
When Oona awoke in the hospital, it was to the realization she had died for almost 20 minutes and had lost several fingers and toes, as well as part of her nose and cheek, to frostbite. While healing she realized the pain her attempted suicide had cost others, and attempted to set things right with them and with herself by Living with a capital “L.”
Part of her healing came about when she accompanied the school’s guidance counselor to a Native American School where she realized everyone’s sense of family and identity was something she wanted. Oona was sure her distant and unemotional father held the key to her family’s happiness, feeling she could help him to Live, but would soon find she had undertaken a task far greater than she had expected.
Through “The view from who I was” Seppenfield takes a look at suicide and its effects on those left behind. Oona’s raw and honest journey of self-discovery will resound with her readers.
Recommended for ages 14 and older.
Rated 4 stars **** 2013. Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic.) 320 pp.
Rafe came out of the closet when he was in 8th grade. It was surprisingly easy, as Boulder Colorado accepted everyone for everything. His hippie parents had no problem with it and neither did his best friend Claire Olivia, his neighbors, friends, schoolmates or teachers.
By his junior year of high school Rafe began to feel like no one saw the real him because they only saw him as being “the gay guy.” Wanting to live a label free life, Rafe decided to attend an all boys’ school in Natick, Massachusetts and act straight so he could live without a label.
In Natick Rafe guarded his secret, became a jock, and hid his true self. Within a few months, his carefully built house of cards began to crumble when he fell in love with Ben, a jock. Rafe was now faced with a dilemma. If he told Ben his secret, he’d lose him. However, if he didn’t tell would he still lose?
In this humorous look at a serious subject, Konigsberg brings readers into Rafe’s mindset helping them to understand why he would undertake a new life in Natick, the importance of not assigning labels to others, and how to understand if you are running away from yourself to find yourself.
Recommended for readers aged 14 and older.
Listed on the ALA (American Library Association’s) Best Fiction for Young Adults list (compiled by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
HarperTeen. 2009. 330 pp.
Cody’s life in the sleepy town of Little Bend Colorado revolved around two things: football and his beautiful girlfriend Clea. Clea is rich, and he’s not, but they love each other. When her father catches them together he flips out, sending Clea off to boarding school in Vermont. A torn ACL, and an inability to focus on his schoolwork, makes him decide to drop out of school and move on with his life. However, when Clea mysteriously disappears from her school a short time later, Cody knows he has to help find her.
Despite the fact that she’s been missing for days without any signs, Cody is sure she’s still alive. After driving cross country to find her, he is determined to question anyone who may have seen her and known anything about her whereabouts. Cody soon uncovers clues, getting closer to the truth of what really happened the day Clea disappeared. Unfortunately, it appears someone doesn’t want him to find out the truth and will do anything to stop him.
Peter Abrahams’ suspenseful story about Cody’s search for the girl he loves is full of twists, turns, dark secrets and surprises. Teen readers 14 years old and older, especially boys, will be glued to its pages.