Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Reviews: Galley Group - March 17th

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

Catherine from Hauppauge

Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt

It's a small book that is very quiet, but very powerful. This is a young teen book. Maybe a Fox is about two sisters, Sylvie and Jules, who lost their mother when they were young. Nearby their home in the
 woods there is something called "the slip" near a river bank. If a person goes into it they can reappear somewhere else. When Sylvie goes into the slip she disappears and Jules can;t find her. At the same moment Sylvie disappeared a fox was born. The book is then told in alternating chapters between the fox and Jules. It is a very emotional book about grief. 5 stars

Darla from SCLS

The Museum of Heartbreak by Meg Leder 

Penelope Marx story starts on a bus where she falls for Keats. She has two best friends named Audrey and Ephram. As the school year starts Audrey is moving away from her and is becoming closer to a girl that hates Pen. She discovers that Keats, although handsome, is kind of a jerk. Through clues in the story we find out that her other best friend, Ephram, is falling for her. Each chapter title is an item in her museum of heart break and it is described as if it is going to be entered into a museum. Very cute and melodramatic in a good way. 4 stars 

Rebecca from Longwood

Seven Black Diamonds by Melissa Marr

This reminded me of the Mortal Instruments in the sense of the amount of different characters that live in its world. The Queen of the Fae (also known as the Queen of Blood and Rage) is furious with humanity. She feels that humans were responsible for killing her daughter. The queen plants Fae into the human world who are raised as humans who will at some point turn against the humans. The main character Lily is one of these fairies. She is sent to a boarding school where she meets the other 6 members of the sleeper cell. Since there are seven of them the author takes a lot of time in the book to describe all of them and their relationships. There probably could have been three less and the story would have been the same. This is not the something that you would want to give to a reluctant reader.  
4 stars

Khan from Port Jefferson

Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

This book made me feel so many emotions. It is 1939, Germany is invading Poland, and our young main character has a father who is a professor who has left her. The book starts off where you feel you can give this to a ten year old, but at the end you can probably give this to an adult because there is so much anguish in it. She meets a tall thin man who she ends up following. He tells her that as long as she stays hidden she will stay safe. They make it to the woods and then their quest begins. This quest is to save an endangered species of bird. As time goes on you realize that he is trying to save her from dying in the war. 3.5 stars

Holding Smoke by Elle Cosimano

Take the older teens of Divergent and the phenomenons in the movie Ghost as well as Orange is the New Black and that is this book. Our main character "Smoke" is in prison and wants to get in as many fights as possible to go to solitary confinement so he can read. It is said that he killed a teacher and another student. When he goes to sleep he has the ability of astral projection. With this power he decides to look into murders that he wants to solve. He wants to find out what happened the day he supposedly murdered the teacher and fellow student. 15 & up due to violence, language, and talk of sex. 4 stars

Brian from Patchogue-Medford

QUICK REVIEW: Where You'll Find Me by Natasha Friend

The subject matter is too mature for the audience. Her mother tries to kill herself and the character's life falls apart. It was meh. Okay and forgettable. 3 stars

QUICK REVIEW: A Step Toward Falling by Cammie McGovern

This is about a girl who is mentally disabled. She was sexually assaulted under the bleachers and she decide to get home-schooled. Two kids saw this happen and feel guilty. It is about healing and her trying to interact with her peers. 3.5 stars

QUICK REVIEW: If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo 

Amanda goes to a new school after she was sent to live with her father because of a suicide attempt due to her gender identity secret. A bit predictable. 3 stars

QUICK REVIEW: Symptoms of Being Human by Jeff Garvin 

The most interesting part about this book is that you never know whether Riley was a boy or a girl. From day to day their gender swaps. The main character is gender fluid. Riley writes a blog that goes viral and it is found out that they are the author of the blog and starts becoming bullied. 4 stars

Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley 

This is about a boy named Solomon who is agoraphobic. In middle school grade he had a panic attack in school, took off all his clothes, and walked into a fountain. Since then he hasn't left his house: it has been three years. Lisa is a 17-year-old who wants to get into a very good school and become a psychologist. She has to write a paper about dealing with a mental illness in order to receive a scholarship. So she befriends Solomon to try and use him as her project. (Brian was asked to not give spoilers because many Galley members want to read the book) It has a satisfying ending with good characters. 5 stars

Kristen from Brentwood

Rape books... One was done well. One wasn't.

The Word for Yes by Claire Needell 

This is about three sisters who live in NYC whose parents are writers. Every character in this book is insanely unlikable! One is a freshman in college, one is a model, and the other is a b*tch. At a party they find Melanie on the floor of a bedroom by herself and you find out that she was raped by her best friend (which is on the page). Melanie remembers none of this. The issue of the sister getting raped is never dealt with by any of the characters. There is no ending to this book because, internally, they all suck. 1 star

The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith 

I will warn you that in the very first page of the first chapter the main character is getting raped. She is about 12 or 13 years old. It is her brother's best friend. He sneaks into her room in the middle of the night, rapes her, and then tells her that if she tells anyone he will kill her. Almost every relationship she has deteriorates because she is never able to truly deal with this. It is broken up into the four years of high school. Thankfully in the end she finally tells someone and you feel relief as the reader. There are many parts where she is unlikable, but you understand why she is the way she is. 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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