Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Reviews: Galley Group - May 12th

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

Kristen from Brentwood

Places No One Knows by Brenna Yovanoff

Suspend reality for a minute! Waverly can't sleep, she runs to the point of exhaustion but still can't sleep. Waverly is one of the popular girls at school... in a group that could easily be the next Plastics. Straight A student, involved in student council activities, cross country athlete... picture perfect. Marshall is a stoner, smart but doesn't apply himself, crumbling home-life, and a jerk for a brother. Waverly doesn't bother with anything that doesn't fit into her perfectly cultivated life... Marshall definitely doesn't fit into her life. One night, while trying to sleep she burns a candle that she found in a cabinet in her house... suddenly she is transported to a party where she finds Marshall tripping on acid. No one can see her bu him, but how? (spoiler alert... you never find out how ... she just does). And so begins Waverly and Marshall's night-time visits but during the day it's as of theydon't know each other. Marshall loves Waverly... Waverly is afraid - she's got a bunch of horribly judgmental friends... is Marshall worth it? As long as you can get over the non-explained sleep teleportation, it's a good romance. Drugs and alcohol use is a big topic, so suited more for older teens. 4 stars

The Incident on the Bridge by Laura McNeal

HATED THIS BOOK! Thisbe is depressed... the boy she was seeing but didn't really like (she has a crush on his best fiends) used her and then humiliated her in front of everyone at a party. What's a girl to do in this situation? Well... steal a car and his drugs (he's a weed dealer), and leave it on the Coronado Bridge hoping then when the cops find it Clay will get in trouble. Part one of her plans goes perfectly. She leaves the car and from there things take a turn. The Coronado Bridge is a known spot for suicides, the cops find the car but think the driver jumped. As a note: multiple narrators tell the story. WAY TOO MANY PEOPLE TELL THE STORY! We have to wait many chapters to find out that after Thisbe leaves the car on the bridge she gets kidnapped by a man who believes she is his sister reincarnated. Honestly, by the end of the book I was hoping Thisbe died just to have a little excitement occur! Bland, boring book with no real likable characters. 1 star

A Totally Awkward Love Story by Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison

Boy and girl meet in the bathroom at a party, they have an instant connection, and then are swept away from each other. Hannah is taken with Sam even though she doesn't even know his name or know how to find him. Sam is taken with Hannah but sees her making out with a girl on a trampoline five minutes after meeting her. Sam ends up making out with Hannah's best friend. Therefore their connection is broken. It's a book about missed opportunities... so many chances for Hannah and Sam to get together but they don't and then they do... and then they don't... and then they finally do. Frustrating!!! Hannah, Sam, and all their friends are obsessed with losing their virginity. It's a running theme throughout the book. Sex, alcohol, and drugs appear multiple times. Nothing graphic on the page. 3 stars (not horrible, but not great either)

Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

Drama, drama, drama! The book opens with Sloane finding out that her best friend is pregnant... with Sloane's boyfriend's baby! Scandalous! In response Sloane breaks her boyfriend's nose and in the process breaks her hand. All on the day before she and her twin brother are set to leave or the summer to see their mother in Hawaii. Sloane's parents are divorced her mother remarried and lives in Hawaii where the twins go every summer. This summer Sloane decides she's going to focus on herself. She blocks out the cheating bff and bf, ignoring texts, calls, and even snail-mail letters. She meets a boy while there, but nothing can be easy. Finn has his own issues, including an overbearing, absent father. So much drama! Fast, quick beach read! 4 stars

Khan from Port Jefferson

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

The main character is a comic book artist who is getting ready to go off to college. There is a lot of profanity and sex jokes so maybe give this to an older reader. One of their long lost friends Daniel comes back to town and he is now a super buff actor. Nothing really happens in the first 150 pages of a 300 page book. The art is the thing that drew me in, but the writing wasn't great. It turns out that there group of friends pushed Daniel to flirt with her to make Grady jealous so he would want Alba more. 2 stars

Shadowmagic by Joshua Khan

This is Disney taking on a Game of Thrones teen experience. The books starts off with Thorn who is looking for his father who has been missing for taking the blame for Thorn breaking the law. The two main kingdoms are the Shadows and the Solars. Thorn is kidnapped and is forced to become a squire. There is also a princess, Lily, who is being forced to marry a boy named Gabriel from another kingdom. Thorn and Lily meet on their adventures and start to have back and forth twelve year old banter. Someone tries to poison Lily and the pair travel together to each solve their own life mystery. This will most likely be a series. 4.5 stars

Darla from SCLS

Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson

Rose Lee Carter is a 13-year-old African-American girl growing up in Jim Crow-era Mississippi. It’s the summer of 1955, and Rose’s mother is abandoning her and her younger brother to move to Chicago with her boyfriend and his young children. Rose is left to cope with her sense of abandonment as well as the temper of her grandmother Ma Pearl, with whom she will live, along with her brother and her older cousin, Queen. Rose’s grandparents are sharecroppers, but Queen, who has a light complexion, is allowed to relax and sleep in every day while Rose and her brother, who have dark complexions, are left to tend the fields. Rose’s town is rocked by racially-motivated crimes and murders that culminate in the lynching of Emmett Till and the subsequent arrival of the NAACP, which is not welcomed by all the members of Rose’s family. When facing the opportunity to move north, Rose must decide whether to escape to a better life and good education or stay and use her smarts to fight for her rights. 5 stars.

Every Single Second by Tricia Springstubb

12-year old Nella is dealing with a lot. She’s juggling four crazy little brothers, caring for her grandmother with dementia, an unspoken feud with her father, and keeping up with her scientifically-minded and adventurous best friend Clem, when her Catholic school is shut down. Thus begins a series of events that turn Nella’s world, as well as her whole town, upside-down. Things come to a head when the older brother of her former best friend is involved in what might be a racially-motivated shooting that divides the town. Told in chapters that oscillate between the past, present, and the point of view of a statue in a graveyard, this novel tackles a lot of issues, from class divisions and racial segregation to PTSD and the meaning of time. 5 stars.

It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas

It’s the late 70s, and Zomorod Yousefzadeh and her family have moved once again because of her father’s job - they’re from Iran and he is an engineer working with American oil refineries. They’ve settled in a new apartment in a nicer area of California than they’re used to, and Zomorod, who chooses the English name Cindy, has a hard time fitting in. Just when things are seeming settled, the Iranian Revolution begins. At first this means that people just ask Zomorod about her home country all the time (even though she doesn’t know much about the revolution herself), but when the hostage crisis begins, the interest of her peers and neighbors devolve into fear and intolerance. This novel starts out upbeat and punchy, but the pain and depression that settle upon Zomorod’s family pack an emotional punch. 5 stars.

Brian from Patchogue-Medford

Great Falls by Steve Watkins

Shane is on the football team at school and he lives in the shadow of his brother Jeremy who returned from a tour in Afghanistan. His brother is suffering from severe PTSD. The pair go on a camping trip and there is a rafting accident where one of them perishes. 3 stars

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork

The main character tries to take her own life and ends up in a mental institution. In the institution she befriends three other teens who are dealing with their own problems. Sometimes it feels a bit like a self help book where the reader is really being educated on mental illness. 4 stars

Mayday by Karen Harrington

Twelve year old Rain is having dinner with his uncle at the start of the book. We flash forward to him being pulled out of school. The reader comes to find out the uncle has died. On the flight home form the uncle's funeral the plane crashes. He wakes up in the hospital and learns that his throat was pierced by a lap top, he loses his voice, and his face is scarred. The book manages to cover deep depressing topics but in a light manner surprisingly enough. 4 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.


  1. Thanks so much for the thoughtful review of my new book! It makes me especially happy and grateful since I grew up in Huntington, still have family there, and will always feel like Suffolk is my home!