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Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour Book Review blog header

Published: February 14th, 2017 by Dutton Books for Young Readers | Series: N/A | Length: 234 pages | Genre: YA contemporary | Source: Borrowed from library | Possible Triggers: death, depression

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Summary from Goodreads:

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

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Review: No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace

No One Needs to Know by Amanda Grace Book Review blog header

Published: September 8th, 2014 by Flux | Series: N/A | Length: 229 pages | Genre: YA contemporary romance | Source: Library | Possible Triggers: bullying

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Summary from Goodreads:

Sometimes, the cost of love is too steep

Olivia’s twin brother, Liam, has been her best friend her whole life. But when he starts dating, Olivia is left feeling alone, so she tries to drive away Liam’s girlfriends in an effort to get her best friend back.

But she meets her match in Zoey, Liam’s latest fling. A call-it-like-she-sees-it kind of girl, Zoey sees right through Olivia’s tricks. What starts as verbal sparring between the two changes into something different, however, as they share their deepest insecurities and learn they have a lot in common. Olivia falls for Zoey, believing her brother could never get serious with her. But when Liam confesses that he’s in love with Zoey, Olivia has to decide who deserves happiness more: her brother or herself?

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ARC Review: Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn

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Published: June 27th, 2017 by Kensington | Series: N/A | Length: 256 pages | Genre: YA contemporary thriller | Source: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. | Possible Triggers: sexual harassment, racism, violence, bullying, child abuse, suicide, murder

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Summary from Goodreads:

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

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ARC Review: Who She Was by Stormy Smith

Who She Was by Stormy Smith Book Review blog header

Published: May 4th, 2017 by Perfect Storm Publishing (self-published) | Series: N/A | Length: 320 pages | Genre: New adult, romance, contemporary | Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. | Possible Triggers: neglectful/abusive parents, domestic abuse, alcoholism, suicide (none of this happens on the page, but is mentioned)

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Summary from Goodreads:

Trevor Adler loathes the music he used to love, but it’s the key to his full-ride scholarship and the ticket away from his dysfunctional parents. To kick off their freshman year, Trevor’s roommate drags him to a frat party, where he ends up face-to-face with his childhood best friend and finds himself entrenched in memories he’d rather forget.

Unable to let Charlie go again without understanding the truth of why she disappeared from his life and chose to become the type of person they always hated, Trevor is relentless in his pursuit of the girl he once knew.

Charlotte (Charlie) Logan is broken. Under her perfectly-crafted exterior are the shards of a shattered heart. A handful of angry words changed her life completely and Charlie’s never been able to forgive herself for the truth she’s hidden from everyone.

While Trevor pushes Charlie to remember the music that lit her soul and the laughter they shared, they find themselves reverting to a banter-filled rhythm that feels all too familiar, yet different now. When Trevor’s own secrets come to light, it becomes clear he and Charlie both must face their tragic pasts if they have any hope at a future together.

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ARC Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord book Review blog header

Published: May 16th, 2017 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens | Series: N/A | Length: 400 pages | Genre: YA contemporary | Source: I was provided a copy by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. | Possible Triggers: abuse*, teen pregnancy, suicide*, transphobia, cancer, parental death*

*these don’t happen during the course of the book, but are mentioned

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Summary from Goodreads:

Lucy Hansson was ready for a perfect summer with her boyfriend, working at her childhood Bible camp on the lake. But when her mom’s cancer reappears, Lucy falters—in faith, in love, and in her ability to cope. When her boyfriend “pauses” their relationship and her summer job switches to a different camp—one for troubled kids—Lucy isn’t sure how much more she can handle. Attempting to accept a new normal, Lucy slowly regains footing among her vibrant, diverse coworkers, Sundays with her mom, and a crush on a fellow counselor. But when long-hidden family secrets emerge, can Lucy set aside her problems and discover what grace really means?

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Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Book Review blog header

Published: February 28th, 2017 by Balzer + Bray | Series: N/A | Length: 464 pages | Genre: YA contemporary | Source: Bought | Possible Triggers: Racism, violence, police brutality, child abuse (no on-page scenes)

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Summary from Goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

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