Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Reviews: Galley Group - December 15th

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

Brian from Patchogue-Medford

10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac

Maeve is a bundle of nerves. She suffers from severe anxiety and always seems to imagine the worst possible situation. When she is forced to live with her father for the summer and his new wife, she immediately becomes upset. Her father is dealing with an alcohol issue, her stepmother wants to have her birth take place in her living room, and Maeve is dealing with her lesbianism. The character of Maeve is a very well written one with a lot of irrational thinking. As someone who has anxiety, I was able to relate to her completely and see how the mind can just start to race and think thoughts that one just shouldn't be thinking. Maeve does deal with a bevy of problems including death and feeling disconnected from her family. Overall, this was a good read that faltered a bit in the last third, hence the 3 star rating.
3 stars

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

In this teen novel, we meet the unforgettable Pen, a girl who looks like a boy. Pen lives with her parents who are very strict Portuguese immigrants. Her mother in particular is extremely spicy and doesn't like the fact that Pen isn't very feminine. Pen's brother Eddie gets in trouble, but she really looks up to him. Pen also hangs out with Colby, a real womanizer who spends his time looking for his next pursuit. When Colby sets his eyes on Blake, Pen doesn't want to help because she has a crush on her too. Will this romance really last? And will Colby, who is becoming more and more dark end up causing trouble for Pen? The plot of this book was somewhat predictable, but I truly felt invested in Pen and her storyline. She has an extremely strong voice and I really felt for her and her situation. This is a great addition in the LGBT lineup of teen lit.
4 stars

Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos

In this novel, Jared, an adult has discovered he has a brain tumor. He's hesitant to tell his wife, Deirdre, or his two daughters Jackie and Megan. He realizes he only has a short time to live. So he decides to auction whatever life he has left off to the highest bidder on Ebay to do what he will. What follows are a slew of minor characters who the author attempts to integrate into the plot; a bored billionaire, a nun, a gamer, a TV producer. They all factor into the plot eventually but this was the part of the book I liked the least. The author also chose to personify the brain tumor, which was an interesting choice, but I felt like it was a bit too hokey. I think I would have enjoyed this novel a lot more if the book had only been told from the one perspective of the oldest teen daughter instead of jumping around. Overall, I enjoyed this but was a bit bored by it at times, despite the emotional punch it attempted to pack.
3 stars

Jan from Longwood

The Infernal Guard Book 1: Emergence by S.G.H. Singh

What this does is pull Indian mythology into a story with tropes along the lines of Percy Jackson and Harry Potter. It is a fantasy fully rooted in that culture. Our main character, Asha, lives with her grandparents in Miami. She is approached by a stranger who then tells her that she must go to India to fight an evil force. Although the story isn't brand new it is written in colloquial language that teens can relate to. This is great exposure to a different culture where they may not be a lot of representation in current YA lit.
3 stars

Darla from SCLS

Train I Ride by Paul Mosier

This is a fast but impactful middle grade/tween crossover novel. It tells the story of Rydr, a young girl whose already tenuous world is crumbling around her. Her mother died under circumstances that are mysterious to the reader when Rydr was younger, and she was sent to live with her Californian grandmother, who gave her the bare minimum in terms of love and care. Now she’s dead, too, and Rydr is being sent to live with an unknown great uncle in Chicago. As he’s her last surviving relative, if it doesn’t work out with him, she’s headed for the foster care system. Rydr’s anxiety is painfully real as readers follow her on to the train that will bring her to the great unknown of her future. Rydr finds unexpected family amongst the passengers on the train, and as she learns more about them she begins to understand the pain that lies within her as well. This unexpectedly touching hero’s journey is perfect for readers looking for a quick but poignant realistic fiction read. 
5 stars

Catherine from Hauppauge

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

The newest emotional read from Silvera is written in alternating chapters between now and back then: TODAY and HISTORY. It is a perfect way to tell this story. The reader sees an event and you then learn about how it came to be. Griffin, Theo, and Wade are best friends. Griffin and Theo come out to each other and start a relationship and Wade worries that he will be the third wheel. Theo moves to California and their relationship ends there especially when he meets someone else. While on the west coast Theo dies and so starts Griffin’s journey through grief.
4.9 stars (minus .1 for no tears)

*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!

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