Tag Archives: secrets

What We Saw, Review

8 Jul

What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

*WARNING: Explicit content in this book, for mature audiences only

Plot: This story begins the day after a wild party at John Doone’s house where alcohol and bad judgment were widespread, and Kate is trying to piece together what happened. She is able to figure out that her good friend Ben whom she’s had a crush on for years drove her home in her car since she was unable to do so. At school the next day, the party is all anybody could talk about. After a couple of days, John Doone and three other star basketball players are apprehended by the police based on an accusation by a student who claims she was sexually assaulted by the guys at the party.

Since Stacey is known for being fairly promiscuous, students and teachers alike are finding it hard to believe that their beloved basketball stars could have done anything wrong, and that Stacey must have just been feeling regret from bad decisions at the party. There is talk of a video having circulated among some students, but the police are unable to locate it.

Kate and Ben begin dating and their relationship is tested since Kate feels Ben may know more about what happened at the party after she left than he is letting on. It begins to feel like only a handful of people are asking themselves “What if Stacey is telling the truth?” instead of just assuming that she’s not. Kate decides to do some digging to see if she can uncover the truth about what happened at John Doone’s party.

Would you recommend this book? Yes. I was often angry at the reactions of people in the town, but I suppose that is unfortunately an honest portrayal of many similar situations.

4 stars



Isla and the Happily Ever After, Review

28 Jun

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Plot: In the conclusion to this loose trilogy (different characters, but characters from the previous books make cameos), Isla is studying abroad in France and finally is making some headway on friendship with her longtime crush Josh. It even almost seems like he likes her back, but for some reason he seems aloof with her best friend Kurt.

After a few misunderstandings, Josh and Isla are finally dating. A few bad decisions lead to complications in their relationship. Can it survive family pressure, as well as distance and Isla’s own insecurities?

Would you recommend this book? Yes, however there are a few mature themes. The one thing I did not like is how Isla sabotaged her own happiness for reasons that she tried to justify but did not really make much sense to me. I know that there are always bumps in the road, but it just made Isla seem immature while stating that she wanted to be mature about everything with her relationship.

3 stars


Stand-Off, Review

24 May

Stand-Off by Andrew Smith

Plot: This is the sequel to Winger. Ryan Dean is now a fifteen year old senior at Pine Mountain Boarding School. He is seeing how his relationship progresses with Annie Altman, as well as dealing with some leftover issues with Seanie and JP from the last year. A major hurdle Ryan Dean runs into is his new roommate Sam Abernathy. Sam is a twelve year old freshman with extreme claustrophobia, an addiction to microwave popcorn and the cooking channel, and seemingly no sense of how he is viewed by those around him.

There are also some serious changes on the rugby team after Joey’s absence that are hard for Ryan Dean to handle. Enter a chance meeting between him and Joey’s family that leaves Ryan Dean trying to connect with Joey’s younger brother Nico, short for Dominic. Ryan Dean also wonders what Joey may have wanted to tell him shortly before his passing, and whether or not he had told Nico.

Would you recommend this book? Yes, for older teens due to language and mature themes. The tone of the book was a little different than the first one. Ryan Dean had lost some of his young, innocent humor and was a bit more jaded and downright mean at times. However, there were still parts that made me laugh out loud, and it was nice to see some loose ends tied up.

4 stars


Winger, Review

17 May

Winger by Andrew Smith

Plot: Ryan Dean West (Ryan Dean is his full first name, though he is known by the nickname Winger) is a 14-year-old junior at a rich boarding school called Pine Mountain. Placed into Opportunity Hall, a dorm for troublemakers, Ryan Dean is forced to room with Chas Becker, a popular but difficult person to get along with. Winger tries to maintain his friendships with fellow Rugby players Seanie and JP, but that does not always prove to be an easy task due to their age differences and female trouble.

Ryan Dean is trying to take things to the next level with his good friend Annie, while also dealing with not altogether unwelcome advances from Megan, who is dating Chas. He also forms an unlikely bond with another rugby player who takes a lot of heat from the other guys.

Would you recommend this book? Yes, for more mature audiences. There is a lot of bad language and adult themes. I like the fact that Ryan Dean is so honest as a narrator so you know exactly what he is thinking and feeling, and you’ll find yourself laughing out loud about some of what he encounters, and just his thoughts in general.  There is a surprise ending that I was most definitely not expecting. I look forward to reading the sequel to see what senior year has in store for Ryan Dean.

5 stars


Lola and the Boy Next Door, Review

6 May

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Plot: This book touches upon many different topics–we have Lola who lives with her two dads, since her birth mother had to give her up when she was young due to some poor choices with alcohol and drugs. Lola is a free-spirited high school girl who never has the same look twice–always experimenting with different colors/styles of wigs, and different combinations of outfits. She is dating an older guy named Max, a rocker in a band, that her dads disapprove of despite him trying his best to show them he is a good guy each week at Sunday brunch.

Then there is the return of the neighbors who had lived there a while ago and then moved away and have now returned–Cricket and Calliope Bell. Lola struggles with her feelings for Cricket whom she had liked when they were younger, and her dislike of Calliope who was never Lola’s biggest fan.

Lola must see if she can handle becoming friends again with Cricket while still dating Max, maintain her friendship with her best friend, and also find who she truly is beyond all the costumes.

Would you recommend this book? Yes. You find yourself rooting for Lola to make the right choice.

4 stars


99 Days, Review

29 Apr

99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Plot: This is the story of a girl named Molly who is back home for the summer after running off to boarding school for her senior year of college. She was best friends with Julia and dating her brother Patrick–when she and Patrick briefly broke up junior year, Molly had a secret fling with his brother Gabe. Molly’s author mother used the details of Molly’s dramatic situation to write a best-selling novel, unbeknownst to Molly. When the book came out, it wasn’t hard for everybody to figure out the truth, which caused Patrick to break up with Molly for the second time. Unable to deal with the onslaught of hatred and hurtful words and actions from her former friends and classmates, that is when Molly left for boarding school.

Now back for the 99 days of summer before going off to college, Molly must deal with her resentment toward her mother for exploiting her pain for her own gain, her confused feelings toward both Gabe and Patrick, mean girls, and a budding friendship with Patrick’s new girlfriend.

Would you recommend this book? Yes, for older teens. Although I was not happy with the fact that there was such a double standard–everybody was shunning Molly for the events that took place, but nobody was acting like the brothers had done anything wrong.

4 stars



Allegiant, Movie Trailer

31 Mar

Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, Review

30 Mar

Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics by Chris Grabenstein

Plot: In this sequel, Kyle and his teammates are back again to compete in Mr. Lemoncello’s first-ever Library Olympics! This time teams from all across America have been invited to compete–but throughout the course of the games it is discovered that some books are missing. Is somebody trying to censor what books are allowed in the library? All the teams must band together to solve mysteries, riddles and puzzles and get to the bottom of this issue. Can they do it in time before Mr. Lemoncello decides to give up on the library?

Would you recommend this book? Yes.

4 stars


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School, Review

11 Jan

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney

Plot: This latest installment in the Wimpy Kid diaries has Greg singing the blues over being forced to unplug from technology. His mom is on a campaign to have people sign a petition to vow not to use electronics for a weekend of family and neighborhood togetherness. This leads to a park cleanup project, so people have a place to go during this technology-free weekend. Throw in an amateur lemonade stand, a troop of Girl Scouts running a tight ship, an elementary school kid who is too smart for his own good, as well as a busload of juvenile delinquents, and you have the makings for some typical Greg Heffley shenanigans. Is technology-free always the best way?

Grandpa has also come to stay in the Heffley household, hopefully just temporarily. After Greg gets himself in trouble that Grandpa tries to get him out of but ends up getting him further into, Greg finds himself on a bus to Hardscrabble Farms for a week long class trip with no technology or junk food. Will Greg make it through a week of team-building exercises, not enough supplies, questionable hygiene, pranks, and an old camp legend?

Would you recommend this book? Yes.

5 stars




L8r, g8r, Review

23 Nov

L8r, g8r by Lauren Myracle

Plot: This is the third book in a series following three friends through their high school career. This book takes place in the second half of the girls’ senior year, and chronicles their lives through texts and IMs. The girls chat about boyfriends, school, college applications, parents, and their ongoing confrontations with classmate Jana. There are frank discussions about sex, birth control, and drug/alcohol use, which is why this book (and the others in the series) are frequently challenged books. The beauty of this book is the “nothingness” that seems to happen – it’s just a bunch of friends talking about their lives. But the reader can appreciate how interesting and important these every day events can be. I was reminded of high school with my friends, when a good bit of gossip could stop the world in its tracks, and a taking a relationship to a new level was the most important thing to happen – ever.

Would you recommend this book? Yes, but for older teens, since it had a lot of mature themes.

4 stars