Rummanah Aasi
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 Although I'm still wrapping up a few left over reads for this year and will be participating in a few reading challenges for next year, I wanted to list my top 15 books of 2015. The following books left a lasting impression and may not have necessarily received a 4.5 or 5 stars from me. I have listed the books in alphabetical order by the title of the book. I still have to write a few reviews for a few of them, which I hope to do so in the next few days.



Blood of My Blood by Barry Lyga (Jasper Dent #3)- Disturbing, chilling, and incredibly smart, the Jazz Dent series is definitely worth checking out if you are a thriller fan but just be aware it is not for readers with a light stomach.


Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - While I may not have cared for Simon Snow when I started Fangirl, I did get swept away in the whimsical tale that is full of heart and wit.



Confessions by Kanae Minato- An intelligent thriller that I could not put down. I had a book hanger over after finishing this book.



El Deafo by Cece Bell- El Deafo is a humorous and touching graphic memoir about growing up deaf, finding friendship, and self acceptance.


Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng- Everything I Never Told You is a subtle, nuanced book. Its full impact and complexity is only evident after you have put all the pieces together and see the full picture. The book begins with the death of a teenage girl and then uses the mysterious circumstances of her drowning as way to examine the tensions and conflicts hidden beneath the calm surface of her Chinese-American family.

Gabi: A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero- Gabi, a Girl in Pieces is a breath of fresh air and a book that you won't easily forget due to the fantastic voice of Gabi Hernandez.



The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco- I am not a horror fan, but this book was really well written and gave my goosebumps. I'm really looking forward to picking up the companion  novel for Halloween next year.



Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen (Scarlet #2)- It is very rare that a middle book surpasses the first and last book in a series, but Lady Thief delivered plenty of surprises and avoided the dreaded middle book syndrome.



Nimona by Noelle Stevenson- Nimona is a fun mash-up of a medieval setting with magic, science, and technology. Although it provides lots of humor and great action sequences, Nimona is much more complex and at times heartbreaking in its exploration of assumed identities and what makes a person good or evil.

Olympians graphic novel series by George O'Connor- Yes, I know this is cheating but I couldn't really pick just one graphic novel from this series. I love the superhero treatment of the Greek gods and learning new myths and seeing the Greek gods from a fresh perspective. An added bonus, you don't have to read this series in order!

Graphic novels from the Olympians that I have reviewed so far: Zeus, Athena, Hera,  Hades

Princeless by Jeremy Whitley- Princeless is a great, fun graphic novel that will appeal to both boys and girls as well as young readers and adults alike. The graphic novel stands out for many reasons: an African American family are the main characters, the plot subverts typical fairy tale and comic cliches as well as gender roles and expectations.

Rose Society by Marie Lu- While I liked Young Elites, I had zero expectations for Rose Society at all. I loved the political intrigue along with the journey of an anti-heroine. I have absolutely no idea how this series will end but I'm looking forward to reading it next year.


Rosie, Revere Engineer
by Andrea Beatty- My favorite picture book of 2015 in which a girl who aspires to be an engineer uses her creativity and passion of science and math to create a brilliant invention.


Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Beck Albertalli - Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a nearly perfect novel and my favorite debut novel of the year. Funny, moving, romantic, and emotionally wise, this book will make you sigh in content and have a huge smile on your face when you are finished reading the last page.


To All the Boys I Loved Before by Jenny Han-  To All the Boys I've Loved Before highlights all the reasons why I'm a big fan of Jenny Han's books: wonderful characters, an interesting plot, and the right balance between romance and an coming of age novel. If you always wanted to try reading Jenny Han's books and don't know which book to pick up, I highly recommend this one.
Rummanah Aasi

 Although I didn't reach my goal of 250 books in 2015, I did manage 225 books which is 90%! I'm hoping to read 250 books for 2016. Many thanks to Brittany Strickland @ The Crafty Engineer's Bookshelf for hosting this challenge. You find out the rules to and sign up for this challenge here.

Books Read in 2016
italics = Reviewed
  1. Call the Shots by Don Calame (YA) 
  2. Love and Other Foreign Words by Eric McCahan (YA) 
  3. Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Croakley (YA) 
  4. The House at the End of Hope Street by Menna Van Praag (Adult)
  5. The Year in the Life of a Total and Complete Genius by Stacey Maston (Childrens) 
  6. Illuminae (Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kauffman and Jay Kristoff (YA)
  7. Dada by Jimmy Fallon (Childrens) 
  8. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord (YA)
  9. Fruits Basket Vol. 11 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  10. Fruits Basket Vol 12 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  11. Fruits Basket Vol 13 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  12. Fruits Basket Vol 14 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  13. Dream On, Amber by Emma Shevah (Childrens)
  14. In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib (Adult)
  15. Fruits Basket Vol 15 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  16. Fruits Basket Vol 16 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  17. The Common Cure for Break Ups by Beth Kendrick (Adult)
  18. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari (Adult)
  19. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez (YA)
  20. Manners and Mutiny by Gail Carriger (Finishing School #4) *Review coming soon
  21. See How They Run by Ally Carter (Embassy Row #2) (YA)
  22. Blood Passage by Heather Demetrios (Dark Caravan Cycle #2) (YA)
  23. Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs (Adult)
  24. Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman (YA)
  25. Fruits Basket Vol 17 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  26. Fruits Basket Vol 18 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  27. Marked by Sarah Fine (Servants of Fate #1) (Adult)
  28. Brighter than the Sun by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson) (Adult)
  29. House Immortal by Devon Monk *Review coming soon
  30. The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas *Review coming soon
  31. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #1) *Review coming soon
  32. Dirt in the Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #9) (Adult)
  33. The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters (YA)
  34. Fruits Basket Vol 19 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  35. Fruits Basket Vol 20 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  36. Fruits Basket Vol 21 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  37. Fruits Basket Vol 22 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  38. Fruits Basket Vol 23 by Natsuki Takaya (Manga)
  39. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (YA)
  40. The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork (YA)
  41. The Visitor by Amanda Stevens (The Graveyard Queen #4) (Adult)
  42. The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle (YA)
  43. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin (YA)
  44. Winter by Marissa Meyer *Review coming soon
  45. The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (YA)
  46. Unplugged by Donna Freitas (YA)*Reviewed for VOYA Magazine
  47. Ms. Marvel Vol 3: Crushed by G. Willow Wilson (Graphic Novel)
  48. No. 6: Vol 1 by Atsuko Asano (Manga)
  49. Lumberjanes Vol 2 by Noelle Stevenson (Graphic Novel)
  50. Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (Childrens)
  51. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro (YA)
  52. Infinity Bell by Devon Monk (House Immortal #2) *Review coming soon
  53. Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan (YA)
  54. Princeless Vol 3 by Jeremy Whitley (Graphic Novel)
  55. Princeless Short Stories by Jeremy Whitley *Review coming soon
  56. Crucible Zero by Devon Monk (House Immortal #3) *Review coming soon
  57. We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson (YA)
  58. Sunny Side Up by Jennifer and Matthew Holm (Graphic Novel)
  59. Anything But Ordinary Addie by Mara Rockliff (Childrens)
  60. Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxanne Orgill (YA)
  61. Grumpy Pants by Claire Messner (Childrens)
  62. Lumberjanes Vol 3 by Noelle Stevenson (Graphic Novel)
  63. No. 6: Vol 2 by Atsuko Asano (Manga)
  64. Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Weatherford (Childrens)
  65. The Forbidden Orchid by Sharon Biggs Waller (YA)
  66. Booked by Kwame Alexander (Childrens)
  67. My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier *Review coming soon
  68. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly (Waterfire Saga #1) *Review coming soon
  69. Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly (Waterfire Saga #2) *Review coming soon
  70. Dark Tide by Jennifer Donnelly (Waterfire Saga #3) *Review coming soon
  71. Sea Spells by Jennifer Donnelly (Waterfire Saga #4) *Reviewed for VOYA Magazine
  72. Ideas Are All Around by Philip Stead *Review coming soon
  73. I Hear a Pickle (and smell, see, touch and taste it too) by Rachel Isadora (Childrens)
  74. The Forgetting Time by Sharon Guskin (Adult)
  75. Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston (YA)
  76. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo (YA)
  77. The Passion of Dolssa by Julia Berry (YA)
  78. The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North (Adult)
  79. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh (YA)
  80. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (YA)
  81. No. 6: Vol 3 by Atsuko Asano (Manga)
  82. No. 6: Vol 4 by Atsuko Asano (Manga)
  83. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (YA)
  84. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (Trials of Apollo #1) (Childrens)
  85. No. 6: Vol 5 by Atsuko Asano (Manga)
  86. No. 6: Vol 6 by Atsuko Asano (Manga)
  87. No. 6: Vol 7 by Atsuko Asano (Manga)
  88. No. 6: Vol 8 by Atsuko Asano (Manga)
  89. No. 6: Vol 9 by Atsuko Asano (Manga)
  90. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan *Review coming soon
  91. Snappsy the Alligator by Julie Falatko *Review coming soon
  92. Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (The Great Library #1) *Review coming soon
  93. Paper and Fire by Rachel Caine (The Great Library #2) *Reviewed for VOYA Magazine
  94. Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart (Childrens)
  95. The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks (Namesless #1) (Graphic Novel)
  96. Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufmann and Megan Spooner (Starbound #3) (YA)
  97. Ms. Marvel Vol. 4: Last Days by G. Willow Wilson (Graphic Novel)
  98. Saga Vol 6 by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples *Review coming soon
  99. The Star-touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi (YA)
  100. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo (Grisha #3) *Review coming soon
  101. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (YA)
  102. Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash (Graphic Novel)
  103. The Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) (YA/Adult)
  104. As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds (Childrens)
  105. We All Fall Down by Eric Walters *Reviewed for VOYA Magazine
  106. The Curse of the Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson #10) *Review coming soon
  107. You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan (YA)
  108. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown *Review coming soon
  109. P.S. I Like You by Kasie West (YA)
  110. Exile for Dreamers by Kathleen Baldwin (Stranje House #2) *Review coming soon
  111. Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt (Childrens)
  112. Smoke by Dan Vyleta (Adult)
  113. Ms. Marvel Vol. 5: Super Famous by G. Willow Wilson (Graphic Novel)
  114. Lumberjanes Vol. 4 by Noelle Stevenson (Graphic Novel)
  115. The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye (Crown's Game #1) (YA)
  116. Gotham Academy Vol. 2: Calamity by Becky Cloonan (Graphic Novel)
  117. Snow White by Matt Phelan (Graphic Novel)
  118. The Key to Extraordinary by Natalie Llyod (Childrens)
  119. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (Monsters of Verity #1) *Review coming soon
  120. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin (YA)
  121. Magic Binds by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #9) *Review coming soon
  122. Children of Exile by Margaret Peterson Haddix *Reviewed for VOYA Magazine
  123. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley *Review coming soon
  124. Nasreen's Secret School by Jeanette Winter *Review coming soon
  125. This Day in June by Gayle Pitman *Review coming soon
  126. I am Jazz by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel *Review coming soon
  127. The Only Worse Thing Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson *Review coming soon
  128. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Leutinant by Tony Cliff (Delilah Dirk #1) *Review coming soon
  129. Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Every #1) *Review coming soon
  130. Monstress Vol. 1: The Awakening by Majorie Lu (Graphic Novel)
  131. And I Darken by Kiersten White (YA)
  132. A Silent Voice Vol. 1 by Yoshitoki Oima (Manga)
  133. A Silent Voice Vol. 2 by Yoshitoki Oima (Manga)
  134. A Silent Voice Vol. 3 by Yoshitoki Oima (Manga)
  135. The Sinner by Amanda Stevens (The Graveyard Queen #5) (Adult)
  136. A Silent Voice Vol. 4 by Yoshitoki Oima (Manga)
  137. A Silent Voice Vol. 5 by Yoshitoki Oima (Manga)
  138. A Silent Voice Vol. 6 by Yoshitoki Oima (Manga)
  139. How They Croaked by Georgia Braggs *Review coming soon
  140. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich *Review coming soon
  141. Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins *Review coming soon
  142. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan (Adult)
  143. A Silent Voice Vol. 7 by Yoshitoki Oima (Manga)
  144. The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict (Adult)
  145. The Midnight Star by Marie Lu (Young Elites #3) (YA)
  146. Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier (Graphic Novel)
  147. Giant Days Vol 1 by John Allison (Graphic Novel)
  148. Giant Days Vol 2 by John Allison (Graphic Novel)
  149. Georgia Peaches and Other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown (YA)
  150. Save Me A Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan (Childrens)
  151. Stars Above by Marissa Meyer *Review coming soon
  152. The Unmapped Sea by Maryrose Wood (Incorrigle Children of Ashton Place #5) *Review coming soon
  153. Faith Vol. 1: Hollywood and Vine by Jody Houser *Review coming soon
  154. Wonder Woman: True Amazon by Jill Thompson (Graphic Novel)
  155. Wires and Nerve Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer *Reviewed for VOYA Magazine
  156. The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (YA)
  157. March: Book 1 by John Lewis (Graphic Novel)
  158. Ghost by Jason Reynolds (Childrens)
  159. March: Book 2 by John Lewis (Graphic Novel)
  160. Assassin Study by Maria V. Snyder *Review coming soon
  161. Power Study by Maria V. Snyder *Review coming soon
  162. Ice Study by Maria V. Snyder *Review coming soon
  163. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket (Series of Unfortunate Events #1) *Review coming soon
  164. A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas (Lady Sherlock #1) (Adult)
  165. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket (Series of Unfortunate Events #2) *Review coming soon
  166. The Map by William Ritter (Jackaby #1.5) *Review coming soon
  167. March: Book 3 by John Lewis (Graphic Novel)
  168. The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein *Review coming soon
  169. We are All Made of Molecules by Susan Niven *Review coming soon
  170. Beastly Bones by William Ritter (Jackaby #2) *Review coming soon
  171. The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket (Series of Unfortunate Events #3) *Review coming soon
  172. Strobe Edge Vol. 1 by Io Sakisaka (Manga)
  173. Strobe Edge Vol. 2 by Io Sakisaka (Manga)
  174. Strobe Edge Vol. 3 by Io Sakisaka (Manga)
  175. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (YA)
  176. October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Leslea Newman *Review coming soon
  177. Juana and Lucas by Juana Medina *Review coming soon
  178. A Boy Named Beckoning: The True Story of Dr. Carlos Montezuma, Native American Hero by Gina Capaldi (Childrens)
  179. School's First Day of School by Adam Rex *Review coming soon
  180.  Rudas: Niño's Horrendous Hermanitas by Yuyi Morales *Review coming soon
  181. This is not a picture book! by Sergio Ruzzier *Review coming soon
  182. Quest by Aaron Becker *Review coming soon
  183. Pax by Sarah Pennypacker *Review coming soon
  184. What Light by Jay Asher *Review coming soon
  185. Strobe Edge Vol. 4 by Io Sakisaka (Manga)
  186. Strobe Edge Vol. 5 by Io Sakisaka (Manga)
  187. Strobe Edge Vol. 6 by Io Sakisaka (Manga)
  188. Artemis by George O'Connor (Olympians #9) (Graphic Novel)
  189. MWD: Hell is Coming Home by Brian David Johnson 
  190. Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev *Review coming soon
  191. They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel (Childrens)
  192. Strobe Edge Vol. 7 by Io Sakisaka (Manga)
  193. Strobe Edge Vol. 8 by Io Sakisaka (Manga)
  194. Strobe Edge Vol. 9 by Io Sakisaka (Manga)
  195. Strobe Edge Vol. 10 by Io Sakisaka (Manga)
  196. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (Childrens)
  197. The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily by David Levithan and Rachel Cohen *Review coming soon
  198. The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket (Series of Unfortunate Events #3) *Review coming soon
  199. The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart *Review coming soon
  200. The Austere Academy by Lemony Snicket (Series of Unfortunate Events #4) *Review coming soon
  201. The Ersatz Elevator by Lemony Snicket (Series of Unfortunate Events #5) *Review coming soon
  202. We Should Hangout Sometime by Josh Sundquist *Review coming soon
  203. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to School by Davide Cali
  204. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls by Lauren Graham (Adult)
  205. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin *Review coming soon
  206. Echo Echo by Marilyn Singer *Review coming soon
  207. The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket (Series of Unfortunate Events #6) *Review coming soon
  208. The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman *Review coming soon
  209. Walk on the Wild Side by Nicolas Oldland *Review coming soon
  210. Little Tree by Loren Long *Review coming soon
  211. The Art of Secrets by James Klise *Review coming soon
  212. Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann (YA)
  213. The Best Man by Richard Peck (Childrens)
  214. Child of the Civil Rights Movement by Paula Young Shelton (Childrens)
  215. Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann *Review coming soon
  216. I Kill Giants by Joe Kelly *Review coming soon
  217. Drum Dream Girl by Margarita Engle *Review coming soon
  218. This Bridge Will Not Be Gray by Dave Eggers *Review coming soon
  219. Human Body Theater by Maris Wicks *Review coming soon
  220. The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket (Series of Unfortunate Events #7) *Review coming soon
  221. The Tell Tale Heart (The Misadventures of Edgar and Allen Poe #1) by Gordon McAlpine *Review coming soon
  222. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick *Review coming soon
  223. Hooray for Today by Brian Won *Review coming soon
  224. Robo-Sauce by Adam Rubin *Review coming soon
  225. After Tupac and Foster D by Jacqueline Woodson *Review coming soon
  226. Ada's Violin by Susan Hood *Review coming soon
  227. SheHeWe by Lee Nordling *Review coming soon
  228. Leo: A Ghost Story by Marc Barnett *Review coming soon
  229. Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar *Review coming soon
  230. Adrift by Paul Griffin *Review coming soon
  231. Up from the Sea by Leza Lowitz *Review coming soon
  232. Akiko on the Planet Smoo by Mark Crilley *Review coming soon
  233. Akiko in the Scrubly Island by Mark Crilley *Review coming soon
  234. Leave Me Alone! by Vera Brosgol (Childrens)
  235. Lucky Day by Barry Lyga
  236. Shattering Glass by Gail Giles
  237. Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann *Review coming soon
  238. Scrawl by Mark Shulman *Review coming soon
  239. Night by David Harsent
  240. Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon  Scieszka 
  241. The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drewalt 
  242. Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan 
  243. Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beatty 
  244. Dogman by Dave Pilkey
  245. Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
  246. Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
  247. Phantom Bully by Jeffrey Brown
  248. Return of the Padawan by Jeffrey Brown
  249. A Fish Named Glub by Dan Bar-el
  250. Steve Jobs: The Man Who Thought Different by Karen Blumenthal
Rummanah Aasi
 The 2015 Dive into Diversity Reading Challenge was my favorite challenge from 2015. I would like to take up this challenge once again in 2016. Many thanks to Mishma of Chasing Faerytales and Shelly of Read.Sleep.Repeat.org for hosting! You can find the challenge rules and sign up information here.

My goal for this challenge is to read 50 books.


2016 Diverse Reads
  1. Dream On, Amber by Emma Shevah
  2. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
  3. Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
  4. Blood Passage by Heather Demetrios
  5. The Great American Whatever by Tim Federle
  6. The Steep and Thorny Way by Cat Winters
  7. Fire Touched by Patrica Briggs
  8. The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)
  9. In the Language of Miracles by Rajia Hassib
  10. The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork
  11. Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin
  12. Unplugged by Donna Freitas
  13. Ms. Marvel Vol 3 by G. Willow Wilson
  14. Lumberjanes Vol 2 by Noelle Stevenson
  15. Princeless Vol 3 by Jeremy Whitley
  16. Princeless Short Stories by Jeremy Whitley
  17. We are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson
  18. Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxanne Orgill
  19. Lumberjanes Vol 3 by Noelle Stevenson
  20. Freedom in Congo Square by Carole Weatherford
  21. Deep Blue by Jennifer Donnelly (Waterfire Saga #1)
  22. Rogue Wave by Jennifer Donnelly (Waterfire Saga #2)
  23. Dark Tide by Jennifer Donnelly (Waterfire Saga #3)
  24. Sea Spells by Jennifer Donnelly (Waterfire Saga #4)
  25. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  26. The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh
  27. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh
  28. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  29. Ms. Marvel Vol 4 by G. Willow Wilson
  30. Ms. Marvel Vol 5 by G. Willow Wilson
  31. As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds
  32. You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour and David Levithan
  33. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  34. Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash
  35. Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart
  36. No. 6 manga series by Atsuko Asano
  37. Booked by Kwame Alexander
  38. Lumberjanes Vol 4 by Noelle Stevenson
  39. And I Darken by Kiersten White
  40. Beyond Magenta: Transgendered Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
  41. Calamity: Gotham Academy Vol. 2 by Becky Cloonan
  42. Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley
  43. Nasreen's Secret School by Jeanette Winter 
  44. This Day in June by Gayle Pitman 
  45. I am Jazz by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel
  46. Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Leutinant by Tony Cliff (Delilah Dirk #1) 
  47. Every Breath by Ellie Marney (Every #1) 
  48. Monstress Vol. 1: The Awakening by Majorie Lu
  49. The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
  50. Summer Days and Summer Nights edited by Stephanie Perkins

Rummanah Aasi
  George is a book about a transgender fourth-grader who increasingly learns to be herself and to tell others about her secret. Young readers will rejoice in the message of being true to themselves and to be tolerant of others. I think this book is a great contender for the upcoming Newbery Award.

Description: When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy.
With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

Review: George is a warm, funny, and inspiring read. George is a fourth grader has a secret. Despite appearing as a boy, George has always identified herself as a girl. While she has kept her identity a secret, she endures bullies who mock her and parents/friends who mean well when they say she will turn out to be a good boy. She can no longer keep her secret to herself when she learns that her school will be performing a dramatized version of Charlotte's Web and George desperately wants to play Charlotte, a role given only to girls. For George, playing Charlotte isn't just about being an actor, but an opportunity for her mom to finally she George as she really is: a girl.
 Since George is written for middle grade readers, her struggles are presented with a light, age-appropriate, and hopeful touch. The responses she gets when she begins to confide in those closest to her are at times unexpected but perfectly true-to-character. For example, her best friend Kelly finds a great friend to talk about fashion and George's crude older brother observes--"No offense, but you don't make a very good boy." The adults are also given a wide range of reactions from uncertainty to acceptance as well. I do hope there are more books like George written for middle grade students as we talk more about gender non-conformity.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There are some crude jokes made by George's brother. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Gracefully Grayson by Ami Polonsky, Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Ferdle,
Rummanah Aasi
 After reading so many rave reviews for Becky Albertalli's debut novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, I decided to pick it up. I absolutely loved this book and it is on my favorite list for this year. If you haven't read this book yet, I highly recommend picking it up!

Description: Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
  With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Review: Change-averse Simon Spier is forced out of his comfort zone and comes out to friends, family and classmates after his secret correspondence with a boy named Blue is discovered. Simon is blackmailed by his classmate Martin who uses Simon's sexual orientation as leverage in order for Simon to become his wing man and help Martin woo Simon's friend Abby. While Simon doesn't see his own sexual identity as a big deal nor think his supportive parents and friends will do so either, he is not so sure about his school's reaction and more importantly outing his crush Blue.
  Simon is a character that I instantly loved. His voice is of an authentic teen, snarky yet sweet, funny, and very observant. Though his point of view is written in prose, I always felt as if he was sitting right next to me on the sofa telling me his story. Simon is impulsive and wears his heart on his sleeve, which is why his email exchange with an anonymous classmate who calls himself Blue is definitely the highlight and my favorite parts of the book. Due to their anonymity, the emails between Simon and Blue are honest, flirtatious, and emotionally intimate as they open up to one another. The romance with Blue is sweet and subtle and it doesn't overshadow their important talks. I liked how Blue's identity remained a mystery until the end of the book and I was very pleased to find out who he turned out to be. It is because of Blue's strength and brave steps in coming out to his own parents does Simon really consider doing the same.  Simon's blackmail situation is just more of a push in that direction.
  Though the book can be seen as yet another "coming out" book, the author never makes this big event heavy handed. It takes a while for Simon to realize that his issue isn't about coming out and being honest with himself, but rather how his big moment is overshadowed by blackmail and his turn to celebrate who he is and coming out on his terms are stripped away from him. When his secret is revealed, Simon does suffer from bullying at his high school, but he is also loved and supported by his friends and school administrators.  The suspense surrounding Blue's identity becomes even more intense as Simon is outed.
 In addition to Simon, the secondary characters are also well developed and fleshed out though they do have less page time. Through light and often humorous detail, readers see clearly not only each individual character, but also the complex set of group dynamics at play in Simon's loving family and circle of friends. These characters also go on their own journeys and find themselves just like Simon though I wished they were present a bit more.
 Overall Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a nearly perfect novel and my favorite debut novel of the year. Funny, moving, romantic, and emotionally wise, this book will make you sigh in content and have a huge smile on your face when you are finished reading the last page.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language in the book, scene of underage drinking, allusion to masturbation, homophobic slurs, and crude humor. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Will Grayson Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan, Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan, Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg, Aristole and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamine Saenz
Rummanah Aasi
  I have not been in a manga reading mood for quite some time this year, but I did manage to finish Zombie Loan which is now a complete series at 13 volumes. Zombie Loan has a good mixture of action, humor, and dark elements of paranormal/supernatural background.

Description: Michiru Kita's a weak-spirited girl who has a hard time saying what's on her mind. One day, she notices mysterious, ring-like markings around the necks of two of her classmates, Chika Akatsuki and Shito Tachibana - two boys who miraculously survived a horrible accident six months ago. Michiru, possessing the rare ability to see these rings, knows that they warn of impending death. Thinking that, perhaps, she can do something to save her classmates' lives, she approaches them...but it seems the boys have already made a different kind of deal and garnered themselves a heavy debt.

Review: I am conflicted on my opinions of Zombie Loan. I picked up primarily because I thought it would be a great read-alike for Black Butler, a manga series that I've really enjoyed but have fallen behind on. Zombie Loan shares dark paranormal/supernatural elements and humor of Black Butler, however, there is a lot more thoughtful meditation on the value of life and what it truly means to live sprinkled throughout the series.
  It took me up to the third volume of Zombie Loan to warm up to the characters and finally begin to see the manga story arc a bit clearly. Michiru who at first comes across as a hopeless, ditsy female character soon becomes much more complex as she realizes her destiny. I liked how she slowly grow into her own strong character instead of assuming this role because she has a hidden superpower. I also really liked how the two male leads in this manga, Chicka and Shito, treat her like a sister instead of both falling in love with her.   In addition to Michiru's character development, we also learn back stories of Chicka and Shito as well as watch these two boys with polar opposite personality traits overcome their differences and work together.
  The concept of fighting zombies to rack good points is a fun concept. The story becomes more intricate as it nears to the end, which is expected. There is plenty of action to keep readers on their toes along with moments of thought and reflection.
  I was not a big fan of the artwork in this manga. The girls have gigantic eyes and small features, which plays nicely off of the chiseled good-looking leading men. There were many times where I was confused as to which male character is which because they are drawn so alike. Overall, Zombie Loan was a decent manga series but not one of my favorites. I would have dropped it earlier, but a few students of mine told me to continue and said it got better, which it did. I would recommend this series to readers who like lots of action in their manga along with some food for thought and humor.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is strong language, strong violence, and crude humor throughout the series. This series is rated OT for older teens.

If you like this series try: Black Butler series by Yana Toboso, Blue Exorcist series by Kazue Kato
Rummanah Aasi
  I am so happy that I took part in the nonfiction reading challenge this year. I was a bit worried at first that I would have a hard time finding good books to read since nonfiction is out of my comfort zone, but I am glad that I am wrong.


Description: Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth…but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. It never prevented her from entering beauty pageants or playing soccer or making the honor role. On an unremarkable day in middle school, while attempting to console a friend, Paige disclosed her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. She was called "PAIDS," first in whispers, then out in the open. Her soccer coach joked that she was an asset because opposing team members would be too afraid to touch her. Her guidance counselor told her to stop all the “drama,” and her principal said she couldn’t protect her. One night, desperate for escape, Paige swallowed fifteen sleeping pills—one for each year of her life to date. That could have been the end of her story. Instead, it was only the beginning.

Review: Positive is an eye opening, realistic, and unflinching read about a young woman living with HIV. Rawl was born with HIV, diagnosed early, and took medication for as long as she could remember. She never experienced symptoms of the virus or AIDS nor did she understand the severity of her disease and how it could alienate her until middle school. In a moment of empathy, Paige confided in her best friend about her HIV-positive status. Her best friend then told others, spreading like throughout the school. Paige was bullied, prevented from playing soccer, her favorite sport, and discriminated because of her HIV+ status.
  Though the incidents of bullying that Paige faced were heart wrenching and awful, the lack of support from her school's administration infuriated me. Instead of holding the bullies responsible for their reprehensible behavior, they placed the blame on Paige and told her that she was causing unnecessary drama. Like many young adults her age, Paige's self esteem dropped dramatically. She became depressed and developed panic attacks. Paige did not want to burden her mother of the ugly truths she faced at school and turned to self harm and attempted suicide to solve her problems. Luckily, her mother intervened and Paige sought help. She attended support groups of HIV+ children and slowly gained back the support that she lacked from her administration.
  While her experience has been painful, Paige eventually gained control of her life. Her persistence is admirable. Now she is a college student planning to study molecular biology, but more importantly, she is an advocate against bullying and an HIV/AIDS educator.
 Through short chapters, readers will get a balanced view of Paige's life, balancing the happy and tumultuous time of her life as well as gain accessible information on HIV/AIDS. The book beautifully conveys what it's like to grow up with HIV, dispelling myths about the virus and imparting useful knowledge. At the back of the book there are websites and resources on AIDS, HIV, bullying, and suicide for readers who would like to know more and become an advocate themselves.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There are discussions of self harm and attempted suicide though the descriptions are not graphic. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi, Empty by K.M. Walton
Rummanah Aasi
  I have read a lot of great graphic novels this year. While El Deafo has been my favorite graphic novel so far, Noelle Stevenson's Nimona is nearly perfect. Nimona was actually a very popular webcomic that Noelle Stevenson created and was later picked up by HarperCollins. I really hope we get to revisit these characters in other books because I wanted to learn more about them!

Description: Nimona is an impulsive young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren't the heroes everyone thinks they are. But as small acts of mischief escalate into a vicious battle, Lord Blackheart realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. And her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit.

Review: Nimona is a fun mash-up of a medieval setting with magic, science, and technology. Although it provides lots of humor and great action sequences, Nimona is much more complex in its exploration of assumed identities and what makes a person good or evil.
  Lord Ballister Blackheart is a notorious supervillain according to the Institute of Law Enforcement who spends his time creating nefarious schemes to overthrow the Institute and take over the kingdom. He is incredibly smart and has even created his own robotic arm after his arm was cut off by his nemesis and former best friend, Sir Ambrose Goldenloin, who also happens to be the kingdom's champion and hero. Though Lord Ballister wants to destroy the Institute, he wants it to be done nonviolently. He finds killing dishonorable and wrong, much to the chagrin of his sidekick, Nimona,
 a brash, spunky, young shapeshifter. Nimona is all for destruction, chaos, and mayhem, but she is constantly frustrated when Lord Blacheart makes her reel in her anger.
  As we get further into the story, we realize that the Institute isn't noble as it portrays and they are planning a deadly event for their own personal interests. While Lord Ballister and Nimona try to convince the common people of the hypocrisy of the Institute, Sir Ambrose because the Institute's puppet. Quickly, Sir Ambrose also realizes the Institute's real intent and is conflicted about what he should do since he is considered a hero.
  I loved the relationships throughout Nimona. Lord Ballister's and Nimona's relationship is some what of a guardian and a youth. Despite her anger management issues and her reluctance to tell about her past, Nimona becomes Lord Ballister's invaluable ally and together they form an alliance of mutual trust and dependence.  Though she understands Lord Ballister's adverse reaction to killing, Nimona is a villain and has no remorse for harming people in order to justify the means to her ends and doesn't change her behavior even when she is with Lord Ballister. Interestingly, Lord Ballister doesn't force her to change her ways, but also doesn't condone her behavior.
  Another prickly relationship is that of Lord Ballister and Sir Ambrose. It is quite clear that they cared for each other and may have even been lovers and now are turned enemies. It takes them a while to get over their feelings and built up resentment towards one another to actually move on. Though we are given a snippet of how these two knights met, I wanted more time with just the two knights together without Nimona dominating the scene.
  The graphic novel has plenty of action scenes as Nimona shifts with Hulk-like ferocity from frightful creatures such as a fire-breathing dragon to a docile cat or a timid child. Dialogue is fresh and witty with an abundance of clever lines. I found myself chuckling while reading the graphic novel. A complementary color palette of Blackheart's muddy browns contrasts with Goldenloin's fresh transparent yellow-greens, which reflect very nicely with their moods and personality. Both color schemes also highlight Nimona's intense reds. Already a National Book Award nominee, Nimona is a delightful, diverse graphic novel that has many layers and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some violence in the graphic novel but it is not too graphic. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Supermutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki
Rummanah Aasi
  I always appreciate all the hard work librarians, teachers, and students put into the reading lists for Illinois. I always find new authors and books to read and enjoy. Below are some books that I enjoyed in the last few months and would make a great book recommendation for younger readers.

Description: Mark is a boy who needs a dog. But he can't get his mom on board with his plan.Buddy is a dog who needs a boy. Buddy has an owner already, but not one who understands the kind of love and care -the 'something more' a dog needs.
  Mr. LaRue is a neighbor who needs a community. He's alone all the time in his huge old house and everyone needs more than that.
Over the course of a summer thunderstorm and one chaotic town council meeting, these three characters cross paths and come together in a timeless tale ripe with emotions and told in verse that resolves with love, understanding, and a sense of belonging - plus a place to play a game of fetch!

Review: Buddy has a great life for a dog. She has a family who loves her, a nice home, and a warm bed, but that all changes when her family moves away and has to leave her with a friend. Unfortunately her owner's friend has no clue how to take care of Buddy and Buddy decides to run away to look for her old family, but she gets lost in the town of Erthly. In the same town a boy named Mark wants a dog of his own, but his mom says no. When Buddy gets lost (and then found), she is able to help Mark, his mother, an old man Charles Larue, and the rest of the residents in Erthly find what they have been looking for. This book is actually written a free verse form. Though the story starts out sad and the reader is worried about Buddy becoming happy again, it does end on a happy note. This book would be great for pet lovers and younger readers who like a little mystery in their book. Due to the writing style and great pictures, this would also be a good choice for a read-aloud or a book for younger readers who are venturing out to reading independently.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 2 and up.

If you like this book try: A Dog's Life by Ann M. Martin, Everything for a Dog by Ann M. Martin



Description: Flora the pig was born for adventure: “If it’s unexplored and needs to get dug up, call me. I’m your pig,” she says. The day Flora spots a team of sled dogs is the day she sets her heart on becoming a sled pig. Before she knows it, she’s on board a ship to Antarctica for the most exhilarating—and dangerous—adventure of her life. This poignant novel of a purposeful pig is sure to become a favorite with any young readers who have ever dreamed of exploring the great beyond.

Review: Flora is a pig, but she is no ordinary pig. She's curious and longs to explore beyond the perimeters of the pigpen. She dreams of going to Antarctica with the sled dogs on the farm and becoming a sled pig. Her family and other animals at the farm think she is crazy. When she is put in a crate onboard a ship, she sees the expedition as an opportunity while the crew views her as potential dinner. When the explorers are shipwrecked, Flora discovers her own bravery along with her talents and skills. Simple black-line drawings add a welcoming charm to an enjoyable story. Flora's persistence and optimism will encourage every dreamer to being their best self and following his or her own dreams.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 2 and up.

If you like this book try: Nuts to You by Lynn Rae Perkins, The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck



Description: Andy and Terry live in a treehouse. But it’s not just any old treehouse, it’s the most amazing treehouse in the world! This treehouse has thirteen stories, a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a secret underground laboratory, and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and automatically shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you are hungry.
  Life would be perfect for Andy and Terry if it wasn’t for the fact that they have to write their next book, which is almost impossible because there are just so many distractions, including thirteen flying cats, giant bananas, mermaids, a sea monsters pretending to be mermaids, enormous gorillas, and dangerous burp gas-bubblegum bubbles!

Review: Andy and Terry live in a treehouse that any child would envy because this tree house has a theater, library, a bowling alley, and even a game room. I actually wanted to live in this treehouse! The boys write and illustrate books, and are far behind on their deadline for their publisher, Mr. Big Nose. They bicker and procrastinate and experience many humorous adventures and misadventures. Fun cartoons on every page will engage young readers, especially reluctant ones, and inspire giggles. The authors do a great job in their descriptions of the wacky situations they find themselves in, both in words and in illustrations, that makes it easy to image what is happening in the book. I would definitely recommend this series to readers who may be a little too young to read the Diary of a a Wimpy Kid series.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for Grades 2 and up.

If you like this book try: Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, Big Nate series by Pierce Lincoln
Rummanah Aasi
 I fell in love with Rainbow Rowell's writing in Eleanor and Park and I immediately put her on my auto-read list. I finally made time to read Fangirl which is also listed on the Abraham Lincoln Book Award list for this year.

Description: Cath and Wren are identical twins, and until recently they did absolutely everything together. Now they're off to university and Wren's decided she doesn't want to be one half of a pair any more - she wants to dance, meet boys, go to parties and let loose. It's not so easy for Cath. She's horribly shy and has always buried herself in the fan fiction she writes, where she always knows exactly what to say and can write a romance far more intense than anything she's experienced in real life.
Now Cath has to decide whether she's ready to open her heart to new people and new experiences, and she's realizing that there's more to learn about love than she ever thought possible.


Review: While I enjoyed Fangirl I didn't enjoy it as much as Eleanor and Park and one of main reasons why is my inability to understand the passion of fanfiction, which is a huge aspect of Fangirl. As much as I would love to see some of my favorite fictional characters live on and have more adventures, I really have had no desire to read or write fanfiction. This lack of understanding made it a bit hard to relate to Cath at times, the main character of Fangirl, who would much rather live in the fantasies that she writes about rather than reality. I did, however, empathize with Cath's fear and anxiety of starting her first year of college.
  Cath's personal growth and her complex personality are what I thoroughly enjoyed reading in Fangirl. Cath is someone who enjoys her comfort zone. She is incredibly witty, funny, adorkable, painfully shy, and socially awkward. Though she would rather keep to herself, she does at the same time feel left out of the "college experience". Throughout the book, she is continually pushed outside her comfort zone: by befriending her snarky roommate, Reagan; by Levi, Reagan’s ex-boyfriend with the smiles and floppy hair (who always seems to want to hang out at her dorm room without any invitation just because); by her fiction-writing professor who challenges her in writing and going beyond her hobby of writing fanfiction; by her manic but well-meaning father; and even by her estranged mother who left an indelible mark on her life. Cath's obsession and passion of writing her fanfiction escalate as her anxieties are heightened. She can no longer rely on her sister to help her navigate the waters of school. On her own Cath is learning how to overcome her insecurities and learning to balance family and school responsibilities with her writing and romantic interests in order to discover what truly matters in her life. Cath's passion for Simon Snow was so contagious that I eventually succumbed to fangirling beside her as she writes her take on the Simon Snow story and I wanted to learn more (which thankfully I did after finishing Rowell's latest Carry On and yes, it's really good! I hope to write a review soon).
 Like she did in Eleanor and Park and her other books, Rowell creates characters with heart and with flaws. All of the characters, including the secondary characters stand on their own and are fleshed out. There is a nice balance between the whimsical fanfiction/fandom scenario along with the hard hitting issues such as the evolving sibling relationship, trying to understand parental abandonment and mental health issues such as social anxiety and bipolar disorder. There are also plenty of heart warming moments as Cath and Levi's romance slowly blossoms and starts off awkwardly until the two characters hit their stride since this is Cath's first real relationship.   Fangirl is a sophisticated coming of age novel that readers embarking on a new journey themselves will find a lot to relate to and to enjoy. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language in the book as well as frank discussion of sex. There are some scenes of college partying which includes underage drinking. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Just One Day by Gayle Forman and Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, 
Rummanah Aasi
 I hope all of my U.S. readers had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday and my international readers a great week! I spent the time catching up with family, friends, and of course with my large pile of books that need to be read. I have one more month and I'm feeling optimistic that I will reach my reading goal this year. Wish me luck. :)

Description: My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
  But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
  Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Review: Everything Everything was the darling of the ALA Annual Conference this past summer. I was a bit hesitant in picking it up for a while because of all the hype surrounding it. I've followed along with reader's reviews and they have been across the board. My feelings for this book are mixed. I liked Maddie and her yearning to explore her world outside of her shell both literally and physically. I understood her inner conflict of wanting to be selfish and taking her mother's sacrifice into consideration. Olly was also adorable as the boy next door and I liked how we got to know his own personal problems slowly throughout the book. The romance between Maddie and Olly was very sweet. I also loved the concept of the book and how it played with a variety of formats ranging from email, instant messaging, and drawings.
 What took away my enjoyment of the book were the huge moments where I had to suspend my disbelief in particular Maddie's and her mother's actions. There were plenty of moments that made me scratch my head because it just logistically didn't make any sense. One of the examples that annoyed me so much was Maddie applying for her own credit card as a minor and without parental consent, plus her mother not knowing of her credit card plus what items she bought. How else would Maddie pay her bills if she never worked? I also thought the twist was anticlimactic and wanted to know more what happened next, but the book ended too soon. Overall it was a quick read, but I didn't love it. I would be interested in seeing what Yoon writes next.

Rating: 3.5 stars


Words of Caution: There is some language, allusion to domestic violence, mention of alcoholism, and a small fade to black sex scene. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Summer series by Jenny Han, Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett



Description: Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter. She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever. When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

Review: I absolutely adored To All the Boys I Loved Before, which I read earlier this year, and was a little annoyed that I had to wait for a sequel to find see how the story ends. P.S. I Still Love You focuses on the consequences of the actions that took place in the first book. Peter and Lara Jean's relationship hits quite a few bumps in the road in this book, which freaks Lara Jean out. While there are swoon worthy moments in this book, there is plenty of drama. I was a bit annoyed with Lara Jean acting immature, which is such a shame considering how much she grew as a character in the first book. I also liked the addition of John Ambrose McClaren, a boy from Lara Jean's past who was so adorable and I even liked him as much as I like Peter. The book could have easily veered into the love triangle category, but thankfully it doesn't. While not as enjoyable as the first book, I would still recommended it to fans of YA romance. 

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language, crude humor, a scene of underage drinking, and frank talk of sex. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith



Description: Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Review: From the cover and description of the book, Emmy and Oliver gives off a strong romance vibe, but the romance is a small, subtle part of the story. The book is  much more complex and deals with some strong issues such as parental kidnapping and overprotective parents as well as the evolving relationships between friends. I really appreciated how the author doesn't make Oliver's transition back to his old life easy. He is rightly hurt, angry, and confused about recreating his new identity and new memories before the incident. He is conflicted on how he should feel towards his father who decided to kidnap him and change his life. I also really liked that Emmy was her own strong character who didn't smother Oliver. Like Oliver, she has her own parental issues with her overprotective parents who want to protect her with good intentions, but aren't they doing the same thing as Oliver's dad in a less dramatic fashion? I would definitely recommend this one to readers who like realistic fiction that will engage with this emotionally satisfying, if occasionally heartbreaking, book about a beautiful friendship that's lost and then found.

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and a scene of underage drinking at a party. Recommended for Grades 9 and up.

If you like this book try: Sweethearts by Sara Zarr, How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Sandiford, What's Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass, The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher, I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
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