* 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 -- definitely will be reread.
***** I read every word, and I loved it! A favorite.
This is What I Want To Tell You, by Heather Duffy Stone *** This was a little more angsty than I usually like, BUT I appreciate how it made me think. Boy-girl twins fall in love for the first time and have drastically different experiences, one much more positive and the other almost tragically negative.
The Afterlife, by Daniel Ehrenhaft **** The voice in this book is fantastic, especially during Will's POV (it's told in three POVs). It's quirky, and there isn't a clearcut resolution to the emotional arcs (which I usually prefer), but I liked Will enough -- and loved the unexpected twists -- to be okay with the lack of complete resolution. The basic plot: Will and twins Liz and Kyle deal with the aftermath of their father's death (they're half-siblings, different moms) and end up taking a road trip together after the funeral.
tmi, by Sarah Quigley ***+ Another book with strong voice. The MC is a true babbler -- she reminds me a bit of my cousin (who's almost 20), except that my cousin doesn't spill secrets like this, she just talks and talks and talks. Anyway, I liked the story, except that I thought everyone was pretty hard on the MC for something which truly was an accident -- caused by her own ignorance, but still, it seemed a little over the top. The premise: A girl makes a New Year's Resolution not to talk so much (and inadvertently share info she shouldn't), and starts a blog -- only to have said blog discovered by the 'wrong' sort of people, who spread all the secrets she has there to the entire high school.
The Dust of 100 Dogs, by A.S. King ** Not really my type of book. I tried it because of the hype, and I liked the little in-betweens about dogs (those were pretty cute), but the MC was not that sympathetic for me, and I never really connected with her. Story: Pirate girl gets cursed to live as 100 dogs before being human again; when she's finally done with the dogs, she remembers her old life and wants to find a treasure she hid.
Coffeehouse Angel, by Suzanne Selfors ***+ This is a cute story. I knew how it would end well before the beginning, but that might only be because I've read similar things. Story: MC and her mom are struggling to make ends meet with competition from a nearby coffee house; during this, Katrina helps out an angel and gets caught up in his desire to be promoted.
Girl in the Arena, by Lise Haines **** A dystopian story, of sorts, this book has a pretty unique premise. The gist is that Lyn is a gladiator's daughter (neo-gladiator) in an age when gladiators are bigger than American football. When her dad (who's not her biological father, because of gladiator rules which force her mom to marry more gladiators each time her husbands die in the arena) is killed, Lyn is forced into an engagement with the man who killed him. There were a number of surprising things in the world-building, but although I found the gladiator system foreign and implausible, for this story, everything seemed to fit together and somehow make sense. Through it all, Lyn's strength was nice to see.
Magic Under Glass, by Jaclyn Dolamore fabulous_frock ****+ I've been anticipating reading this in book form ever since I read the manuscript years ago -- Jackie has a way with bringing the setting to life so that the characters and their world dance before your eyes. It's a beautiful love story, filled with mystery and intrigue -- and anyone who loves fantasy and suspense will enjoy this, I think. I love the ending, and I'm hoping it means there will be another...Nim and Erris are delightful, and I love how all the characters have such a richness to them. The premise: Nim is a dancing girl who is hired by a wealthy sorcerer to sing with his automaton piano player; but Nim soon learns that the clock-work man is more than he appears, and she finds herself in the midst of a dangerous mystery. (YA, comes out in mere days!)