Thursday, February 4, 2016

Reviews: Galley Group - January 22nd

Reviews of soon-to-be published reads by Galley Group*

Brian from Patchogue-Medford

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eager

Twelve-year-old Mexican American Carolina travels to New Mexico to take care of her grandfather who has dementia. The grandfather is obsessed with the drought that has occurred in his town and feels that there is some other force making it happen. He shares magical stories and folklore with his granddaughter, and she becomes fascinated. A mix of fantasy and reality - it has good characters and a solid ending.   4 stars

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Jessie's mother has passed away from cancer and her father meets a woman online forcing the family to move cross country. At school she is messaged by a mysterious person named SN who is giving her tips on social situations and how to fit in her new school. The book centers on Jessie trying to get through the trials and tribulations of a new school and high school life while trying to find out who her mysterious messenger is. 3 stars

Save Me, Kurt Cobain by Jenny Manzer

Nico's mother has gone missing. She lives with her father who she doesn't respect. Taking place in 2004, she is obsessed with Kurt Cobain, and with contacting spirits on her Ouija board with her best friend. She wants to solve the mystery of where her mother went.While on a very she sees a man she thinks may be Kurt Cobain so she follows him to a cabin in the woods where the pair ends up stranded. The author spends time on developing characters that do not have much to do with the plot. There is also a heavy history of Nirvana that doesn't serve the book well. 2 stars ENDING COMMENT: So entertaining in a horrible way.

Kristen from Brentwood

OPENING COMMENT: These are two very "Kristen" books.

Come Back to Me by Mila Gray

Jessa's brother and her boyfriend are both Marines and are serving overseas. The book opens with her finding out that one of them is dead, but you don't find out until the end which one it actually is. Next we are brought to a time before they have left and see that there is a blossoming relationship between Jessa and Kit, her brother's best friend. They hide their relationship from her father who is dealing with PTSD and her brother. The reader does find out who actually dies, and then follows the aftermath of this loss. This is recommended for older teens due to sexual content. 4 stars

What's Broken Between Us by Alexia Bass

This book opens with Amanda's brother being released from prison. Right before he is released he does an interview and shows no remorse for the accident. Amanda was and is still dealing with the aftermath of her brother's actions. There is a lot of drama that follows all of this with a boy named Henry who is connected to the accident as well. The brother continues to be the worst and while the reader does find out the whole story of the accident there isn't much of a pay off. Not great. 2.5 stars

Rebecca from Longwood

Under Their Skin by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Twelve-year-old twins Erin and Nick are shocked to find out that their mother is getting remarried to man who also has two children of his own, but they are not allowed to meet their new step siblings. The twins of course decide to investigate why this decision has been made. On a snow day they take a trip to the other kids' mother's house to see who they really are. Once they get there they look through the window to see that they are (SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!) robots!!! This leads to the discovery that every one over the age of twelve is a robot! There is a larger conspiracy happening between robots and humans on the planet that twins become entwined in. The first in a series. 3 stars

Jan from Longwood

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

This is a retelling of the Stubenville rape case. Kate goes to a party where she gets very drunk and doesn't remember what happens. Her best friend Stacy gets very drunk and blacks out. She is gang raped at the party. Her boyfriend Ben brings Kate home and she asks him "What happened?" but he refuses to go into detail. Stacy presses charges against the basketball team who did this horrible thing to her. A video surfaces leads to Kate turning in all of the witnesses who are in the video including her perfect boyfriend. It is earnest. It is overlong. He juxtaposes this story line with a high school production of Grease and this doesn't work. 3 stars because he is well intentioned.

Very in Pieces by Megan Frazer Blakemore

OPENING COMMENT: Surviving the Applewhites meets angst

Very is the sensible child in the family of artists. Her grandmother, who is dying of lung cancer, who is the most famous of the bunch is incredibly mean. She writes poems about her family and their sex lives. Very is a Math geek who doesn't get poetry, art, etc. Her family is falling apart and Very is trying to find her place. With a better editor it could have been done well. It suffers from excessive repetitiveness. You will be half way through the book and you cease to learn anything new about any of the characters. 2.5 stars

*Galley Group is a group of young adult librarians that meet about every 6-8 weeks to discuss ARCs, or galleys, they have read in the interim. They discuss plot, age group, writing, audience, opinion, etc. The group was made to help with collection development and reader's advisory for our teen patrons. If you would like more information about Galley Group contact Derek! The reviews contained in this post were written from notes I took during the group's meeting.

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