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Book Reports (69-76)...

For those of you who happened to Google your title and ended up here, please know that one star is not a bad thing in Robin's world -- just the fact that I picked up your book and started it means that somewhere it's getting good buzz (or that your blurb was really cool).

* I didn't make it beyond the first 20 pages.
** I made it to the end, but I either skimmed or skipped large sections.
*** I might have skipped/skimmed, but I liked it and might read it again.
**** I read at least 95% of the book and it was good -- probably will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite and definite reread.

This year, I'm only going to list the stars and a brief recommendation for the type of readers I think will enjoy the book [(R) means it's a re-read; [] means it's an ARC].



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***+
Shade Me, by Jennifer Brown -- recommended for those who like YA thrillers/mysteries, those who are interested in synesthesia, and those who like complicated families -- Katherine Tegan Books, 1/16

(The premise is interesting here, and I liked the plot. But I think what held me back from loving it was the weird way that the MC interacted with the male characters in the story. She seemed to 'fall in love' on a whim, and I could quite see what attracted her to any of the guys -- except one, and that's the one she kept pushing away. I will look for the next one, however, because I really did enjoy the mystery and want to learn more.)

****+
Noteworthy, by Riley Redgate -- highly recommended for those who love choir (especially acapella groups), those who enjoy feisty heroines, and those who like boarding school tales -- Amulet Books, 5/17

(I enjoyed this (and found the overall premise -- a girl disguising herself as a guy to get into a singing group -- intriguing and plausible), even though there was some hard-to-believe moments. The rivalry between the two boys' groups seemed a little over the top, but I could see how some of the characters felt the pressures they did. Some of the MC's inner thoughts seemed...contrived? For instance, when the other guys thought she was gay, and she started wondering if she was minimizing the real gay experience (or something along those lines) -- it didn't feel organic, I guess, but rather like someone was forcing her to think in a PC manner. Other than that, I enjoyed the story and all the characters quite a bit.)

***
And Then There Were Four, by Nancy Werlin -- recommended for those who like YA suspense, those who like romance (both straight and GLBT), and those who like triumphant heroes -- Dial Books, 6/17

(I thought this would be a little more suspenseful than it was. I actually didn't read the flap-jacket copy all that clearly, but I still figured out exactly what was going on from the very beginning -- and I personally found the narrative style of one of the MCs very annoying and hard to read. So it was okay but not great, and that's why I skimmed most of it.)

*****
whatever., by S.J. Goslee -- highly recommended for those who like humorous teen 'coming of age' stories, those who like strong supporting characters, and those who like quirky narrative styles -- Roaring Brook Press, 8/16

(Even though it took me a while to adjust to the narrative style, once I did, I really enjoyed this. Mike is so humorous and blunt -- and his struggles with accepting his sexuality, along with his perceptions of those around him, make this a realistic and very entertaining read. Plus, it has a very sweet love story. :D)

****+
[Coming Up for Air, by Miranda Kenneally -- highly recommended for Kenneally fans, for those who like athletic girls, those who like teen romance and angst, and those who like happy endings -- Sourcebooks Fire, 7/17]

(I definitely enjoyed this, and even though I thought the MC was a little over-the-top in her reactions from time to time, that's pretty realistic for some teens. And, as always with Kenneally tales, I really liked the athleticism and determination her characters hold.)

***+
[Genius: the Con, by Leopoldo Gout -- recommended for those who read the first one, those who like international tech thrillers, and those who like crazy smart teens -- Feiwel & Friends, 8/17]

(I enjoyed this, although about halfway through I realized that we'd been told what would happen, so all that was left was to see *how* it happened...and that kind of weakened the tension for me (and I started skimming). That said, it's still a very interesting premise, and I will definitely look for the third one to see how the final takedown occurs.)

**
[The Revenge, by Hannah Jayne -- recommended for those who like somewhat predictable 'thrillers,' those who like dual-POVs, and those who like mean/selfish teens -- Sourcebooks Fire, 7/17]

(I didn't really enjoy this much. I think it was supposed to be surprisingly twisty, but I figured out what was going on almost immediately (within the first chapter). So for me, the tension just wasn't there. Plus, I didn't feel like the ending was very satisfactory -- there wasn't a ton of (any?) character growth. It's quite possible, however, that the target audience (actual teens) would find it much more enjoyable.)

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