And We Stay
Young Adult / April 20, 2017

Author: Jenny Hubbard. Summary: Senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend, Emily Beam, and then takes his own life. Soon after, angry and guilt-ridden Emily is sent to a boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where two quirky fellow students and the spirit of Emily Dickinson offer helping hands. But it is up to Emily Beam to heal her own damaged self, to find the good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow. (Goodreads Summary.) Content Review: Sexual Content: MC notes how she remembers the weather on the day she lost her virginity, but not details. “In the four months they were together they had sex fifteen times.” A few details in a memory of one of those times. Language: 10 scatological terms, 2 hell, 1 d*** Violence: Character remembers hitting a dog while driving. Girl remembers the painful aftermath of abortion.

Unwind
Young Adult / April 11, 2017

Unwind #1. Author: Neal Shusterman. Summary: Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives. The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: Shusterman has pulled off the impressive feat of writing a book that directly addresses multiple present-day problems without being boring or preachy. It’s an action-packed dystopia – I couldn’t put the book down. The dystopian element of unwinding is distinctly disturbing, and this is exactly the point. Content Review: Sexual Content: Light kisses. Character says “I’m not like my dads – my compass points to girls”. Boy corners girl in a bathroom and threatens to further assault her, before backing off when…

This Song Will Save Your Life
Young Adult / April 10, 2017

Author: Leila Sales. Summary: Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing. (Goodreads summary) My Thoughts: The theme is one I can relate to: that in the end, fitting in with the rest of the world isn’t worth it, not when it means giving up yourself. The actual story and writing is honestly kind of meh. Too much like all the other YA stories out there. Content Review: Sexual Content: Girl observes a couple of other characters kissing: boy/girl, two boys. School kids gossiping about the popular students wonder “had he (random student) cheated on Laura with Leah before breaking up with her?” One character trying to figure out another two character’s relationship: “So then why did you have sex with her?” “Because she’s hot.” Some kissing. Girl tells boy “You know,…

The Thousandth Floor
Young Adult / April 9, 2017

#1. Author: Katherine McGee. Summary: A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose. LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched. ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart. RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one? WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies. And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have. Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down…. (Goodreads summary)…

Windwitch
Young Adult / April 8, 2017

The Witchlands #2. Author: Susan Dennard. Summary:  Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies… After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery. Upon reaching the royal capital, crowded with refugees, he haunts the streets, fighting for the weak—which leads to whispers of a disfigured demigod, the Fury, who brings justice to the oppressed. When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal. She will return money stolen from him, if he locates Safi. Now they must work together to cross the Witchlands, while constantly wondering, who will betray whom first? After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands. (Published summary) My Thoughts: Windwitch is something of an unexpected departure from the previous book. All our characters are scattered to the four winds; there’s very little communication and no interaction between…