Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Reviews: Galley Group - March 2nd

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

Kristen from Brentwood

Seven Days of You by Cecilia Vinesse

Sophia is leaving Tokyo to move back to NJ. She's leaving the only 2 best friends, Mika and David, she's ever had. She has one week left with them and with the place she loves. Throwing a wrench into her week...Jamie, Mika's best friend is moving back from the States. He left 3 years ago, right after a big blow out with Sophia. Like so many teen books there are love triangles galore! Sophia has a crush on David. David is dating Caroline. Mika is secretly sleeping with David. And Jamie has always liked Sophia! And during the week Sophia decides she likes Jamie. So much drama! Drama! Drama! Not as good as Jennifer E. Smith but close. 3 stars

Brian from Patchogue-Medford

A List of Cages by Robin Roe

Julian is a young boy who has a slew of problems. He lives with his uncle/godfather Russell where there is definitely more to that relationship than meets the eye. After losing his parents to a car accident, he moved in with Adam, a boy slightly older and Adam's caring mother. But now Julian is in a different situation and he definitely needs a friend. Can he get the help he needs before it is too late? This was a great novel filled with a very memorable cast of characters. I enjoyed all of the side characters, in particular Emerald and Charlie and Adam's other friends as well. This book deals with a very difficult topic in a very well written manner and is a book I think I will be keeping an eye on for award lists this year. 5 stars

Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist

We meet a young guy named Will who is blind. Will has been going to a special school, but decides to go mainstream. When he starts the school, he is treated like an invalid which is the last way he wants to be handled. He stumbled upon a table of nice kids and becomes enamored with one of them named Cecily. But when Will gets the chance to have an experimental procedure that could allow him to see, will he jump at the chance? This book was just alright for me. The writing was so so, and there were a few scenes where the characters seemed to be a bit overwritten. It was a very quick read, but not a particularly memorable one. 3 stars

The Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron

High school is not an easy time and it’s very hard for Lilith, "Lily," who has returned to school after a suicide attempt. Her former best friends are acting weird and she absolutely cannot stand her lab partner Tara. But Lily encounters Dari, an African American student who was transferred to the school, and the two loners bond. Can the budding romance survive Lily's ongoing mental struggles? This book was pretty well written with some interesting side characters. I enjoyed the switching chapters and thought that the mother was very memorable as well, as well as Dari's extremely nasty father. This was a lot like other teen romance stories, but it kept me engaged throughout. 4 stars

Jocelyn from Westhampton

You’re Welcome Universe by Whitney Gardner

At Julia’s school for the deaf her best friend is slandered on a wall. OUr artist main character decides to paint a mural over the walled abuse only to be turned in by the friend she was trying to protect. Now expelled Julia is forced to go to a public school where she will be mixed with hearing kids as well. At the public school, she discovers the upsides to being deaf. This book has normal teenage angst, thoughts about fitting in, Julia finding herself, and whether or not she is her art. This is a great book that looks inward and seeing the world not just through the noises that you typically hear in normal communication. The book has a lot of elements - pictures, sign diagrams, text conversations, depth. Easy & quick to read with wide appeal. Light on male characters. 15+. 4 stars

Catherine from Hauppauge

The Someday Birds by Sally J. Pla

An awesome book about a kid who is autistic and has two twin brothers who wreak havoc and a boy-crazy older sister. They live with their grandmother because their father is in the hospital with a head injury - he’s a war photojournalist who was injured. Charlie is a lovable character who progresses through life. It’s a road trip book! They are in California and the dad has to go to a specialist in Virginia. During the trip they discover connections between their father and his new 24 hour caretaker. Another aspect of the story is that Charlie loves birding. He and his dad had a list of “someday birds” and he’s checking off birds on the list as they travel across the country. The author weaves “bird” mentality into the story in an incredible way. Each section is a different bird that he’s about to discover. He finds a journal from his favorite birder at a store and discovers he lives near the hospital where his dad is, and is hoping to be able to return it to him in person. Well-developed characters with endearing relationships. Satisfying ending. Nothing objectionable content-wise, but young teen for concepts. 5 very shiny stars.

Jan from Longwood

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Shannon Hale

Set in the Marvel Universe, Doreen Green is in 9th grade and has the powers of a squirrel and a hidden squirrel tail. Her hidden tail makes her a big girl -- calls it her “badonk”. She has super strength, super hearing, a large bushy tale and tremendous agility, and of course she can talk to squirrels. She has moved to a new town, is sunny, optimistic, quirky, but has trouble making friends because of her large badonk. Doreen ends up making some great friends inc luding a classmate who is deaf and the local squirrels, including special friend Tippy Toe. When the bad guy emerges, the Micro Manager (MM), Doreen texts other Marvel heroes for help. At the climax, he kidnaps several squirrels as well as the toddler that Doreen babysits! The book is written in third person, but is footnoted throughout with 1st person snarky comments from Squirrel Girl herself. This title reads down - 5th + even though Doreen is in 9th grade. Will appeal to everyone, but especially Marvel fans. 4 stars for charm and cuteness, loses a star for being a bit overwritten and lagging in the middle.

Jessica from Center Moriches

See you in the Cosmos, Carl Sagan by Jack Cheng

This road trip book is for middle graders, but can absolutely read up. For those who are curious Carl Sagan was an astronomer who recorded sounds of life on earth on a golden disc that was sent into space on a Voyager mission. Alex, our main protagonist, is so obsessed with Carl Sagan, he names his adopted dog after him. Alex has an ipod that he’s spray painted gold that he talks into all the time recording the daily happenings in his life. He wants to send it into space like Carl Sagan did. Each chapter of the book gives you the dialogue, written out like a script, that is being recorded on his ipod. Alex is extremely likable, and mostly very mature (cooks for his mom, who is detached, dad is MIA, older brother lives away) with charming, immature qualities as well. Alex decides to go on a journey with his dog and his rocket to get on the train and get to the camp to get to the competition where he can send his iPod into space. WARNING: his dog goes missing on the trip, there are mysterious siblings, strangers on the trip, and mom has severe mental health issues that send her to the hospital. This book has both chuckle-out-loud worthy and heart-wrenching moments. A great quick read. 5 stars!

Khan from Port Jefferson

Perijee and Me by Ross Montgomery

Ten-year-old Caitlin, is dyslexic and is hiding it from her parents. While attending school she finds a little white blob on the island they live on. She names the little alien Perijee. Perijee is a combo between ET, Gremlins, and Godzilla.She feeds him and he starts growing. She brings him home and he starts destroying the house. Dad eventually calls the army who knocks down the house to try and get him, but he’s already huge and angry/scared. After beign taken to a special army camp for safety Caitlin knows that she is the only one who can stop Perijee from destroying their home. As she makes her way off the camp she meets allies and groups of people who want Perijee to be their god. Caitlin must figure out where Perijee is from and how to return him to not only his normal state, but also his home. 5th-8th grade that reads on a higher level due to astronomy talk. 4.5 stars

Optimists Die First by Susan Nielsen

Petula is both obsessed and afraid of death. While meeting with her school guidance counselor she says that she has done some research and it turns out that optimists die ten years earlier than pessimists. Hearing this her guidance counselor makes her join an art therapy group. She meets a group of kids who are all dealing with their own problems. We also discover more about Petula’s past and how her baby sister died when she was younger. Throughout the book the group of kids work together to help each other deal with their tragic pasts. 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!

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