Can’t Wait Wednesday (211): More school dance horror vibes, I’m into it

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Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

The Black Queen by Jumata Emill

Release date: January 31st, 2023

Summary (from goodreads): Nova Albright, the first Black homecoming queen at Lovett High, is dead. Murdered the night of her coronation, her body found the next morning in the old slave cemetery she spent her weekends rehabilitating.

Tinsley McArthur was supposed to be queen. Not only is she beautiful, wealthy, and white, it’s her legacy–her grandmother, her mother, and even her sister wore the crown before her. Everyone in Lovett knows Tinsley would do anything to carry on the McArthur tradition.

No one is more certain of that than Duchess Simmons, Nova’s best friend. Duchess’s father is the first Black police captain in Lovett. For Duchess, Nova’s crown was more than just a win for Nova. It was a win for all the Black kids. Now her best friend is dead, and her father won’t face the fact that the main suspect is right in front of him. Duchess is convinced that Tinsley killed Nova–and that Tinsley is privileged enough to think she can get away with it. But Duchess’s father seems to be doing what he always does: fall behind the blue line. Which means that the white girl is going to walk.

Duchess is determined to prove Tinsley’s guilt. And to do that, she’ll have to get close to her.

But Tinsley has an agenda, too.

Everyone loved Nova. And sometimes, love is exactly what gets you killed. 

The part where I talk: This is like the third homecoming/prom themed horror book I know of. That’s almost enough for a themed book post.

And this sounds super intriguing and interesting. Can’t wait to check it out!

What are you all looking forward to reading this week?

– Laina


Things I’ve Read Recently (141): Did I mention I read comics?

If you’re new around here, Things I’ve Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn’t have enough to say for a full review, or just didn’t want to do a full post about for whatever reason.

The comics return!

Goldie Vance volume 3 by Hope Larson, Jackie Ball, Noah Hayes, and Sarah Stern

Published: November 15th, 2017 by BOOM! Box
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paper
Page Count: Goodreads says 113
Part of a series? This collects issues 9-12
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Marigold “Goldie” Vance has an insatiable curiosity with dreams of one day becoming a detective. Luckily, she lives at a Florida resort with her dad, who manages the place, and with a rotating roster of guests and events, there’s bound to be some mystery afoot!

With the Prescription One race in town, Goldie and her biggest rival, Sugar Maple, find themselves in an unlikely alliance to find who is sabotaging the drivers before the big event.

Thoughts: This was fun! I liked the racing theme, especially since Goldie loves cars so much. 

If you like mysteries, I’d really recommend this series. Very fun.

Birthday Smarty (Lumberjanes, volume 15) by Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Anne Marie Rogers, and Maarta Laiho

Published: August 18th, 2020 by BOOM! Box
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 112
Part of a series? This collects Lumberjanes issues 57-60
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): The New York Times bestselling graphic novel series continues with the biggest Lumberjanes birthday party yet – that is, if Jo can make it back in time to celebrate!


Jo’s birthday is coming up, and April is determined to pull out all the stops for her best friend! But when her elaborate plans for a huge, over-the-top celebration fall through, April recruits the yetis and some fellow ‘Janes to put on a play for Jo, instead.

Meanwhile, Mal has been tasked with keeping Jo busy to protect the surprise, but she might’ve done TOO good a job. Will the birthday girl make it back in time for her own party? And does she even want to?

Thoughts: It’s hard to talk about something when you’re at volume 15 of a series, but I just really love this series. I don’t love this art style, but it works okay. It’s all a bit bumpy for me, but it isn’t awful. This plot is super cute, and it’s fun to see a bunch of the people and “other types of friends” who the Lumberjanes have met over the summer come back.

Also if you’re a Jo fan, this is going to be one you really enjoy. April and Jo especially are very cute in this. 

Plus there’s smoochie kisses.

Inkblot, volume 2 by Emma Kubert and Rusty Gladd

Published: October 6th, 2021 by Image Comics
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 144
Part of a series? This collects Inkblot issues 7-12
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): Oblivious to the profound grief it has caused the Seeker, the cat continues to meander through time and space wherever its mood takes it.

Occasionally evasive and consistently playful, it threatens to destroy what little control the sorcerers have over the realms, and unravel what the Seeker knew to be true of magic itself.

Thoughts: I’m pretty sure this series was cancelled, and I can’t say I don’t see why. There’s a lot of ideas here, but they’re not particularly cohesive. I continue to love the cat and how it’s drawn, but the story is kind of all over the place. It feels like watching the sixth season of something and just being kind of confused. 

To All the Squirrels I’ve Loved Before (Squirrel Girl, volume 12) by Ryan North and Derek Charm

Published: March 10th, 2020 by Marvel
Genre: Comics
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: Goodreads says 112 
Part of a series? This collects Squirrel Girl issues 47-50
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): Ryan North brings the sensational saga of Squirrel Girl to a close! Brain Drain is missing! A sinister face from the past returns! And the hitherto unbeatable Doreen Green will have to face certain defeat in order to save her friend!

Because it’s Ryan’s last story ever, he and artist Derek Charm are going all out to make it completely huge and amazing -and it is going to blow your mind! The most nuts Squirrel Girl tale ever sees lives hang in the balance, narrative threads resolved -and shocking reveals, um, revealed!

Thoughts: This is the end of this series and I’m sad now, but it was a really good finale. It’s very in character and sweet. This is how you do a good finale. It’s so satisfying and hopeful. I’m just going to miss this so much.

But now I’m sad and I’m running out of comics. 

What other comic books should I start reading? Please leave me recommendations!

– Laina

Can’t Wait Wednesday (210): IT’S MY FRIEND + A Middle Grade Moment

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Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Friday I’m In Love by Camryn Garrett

Release date: January 10th, 2023

Summary (from goodreads): Mahalia Harris wants.

She wants a big Sweet Sixteen like her best friend Naomi.
She wants the super cute new girl Siobhan to like her back.
She wants a break from worrying – about money, snide remarks from white classmates, pitying looks from church ladies… all of it.

Then inspiration strikes: It’s too late for a Sweet Sixteen, but what if she had a Coming Out Party? A singing, dancing, rainbow-cake-eating celebration of queerness on her own terms.

The idea lights a fire in her, and soon Mahalia is scrimping and saving, taking on extra hours at her afterschool job, trying on dresses, and awkwardly flirting with Siobhan, all in preparation for the Coming Out of her dreams. But it’s not long before she’s buried in a mountain of bills, unfinished schoolwork, and enough drama to make her English Lit teacher blush. With all the responsibility on her shoulders, will Mahalia’s party be over before it’s even begun?

The part where I talk: This sounds so stinking cute and I really liked Off the Record so I’m super excited about this one! I also think the cover is absolutely gorgeous. I’m just really proud of Cam XD

And now for a middle grade moment!

What Happened to Rachel Riley? by Claire Sinarski

Release date: January 10th, 2023

Summary (from goodreads): Anna Hunt may be the new girl at East Middle School, but she can already tell there’s something off about her eighth-grade class. Rachel Riley, who just last year was one of the most popular girls in school, has become a social outcast. But no one, including Rachel Riley herself, will tell Anna why.

As a die-hard podcast enthusiast, Anna knows there’s always more to a story than meets the eye. So she decides to put her fact-seeking skills to the test and create her own podcast around the question that won’t stop running through her head: What happened to Rachel Riley?

With the entire eighth grade working against her, Anna dives headfirst into the evidence. Clue after clue, the mystery widens, painting an even more complex story than Anna could have anticipated. But there’s one thing she’s certain of: If you’re going to ask a complicated question, you better be prepared for the fallout that may come with the answer.

The part where I talk: The sound of this reminds me a lot of Drew Leclair Gets a Clue, which I loved. I also think the use of a podcast is really clever and is also going to add a lot of drama potential because, like, no one is going to like the idea of having a podcast based on them, lol. Very interested in this one.

What are you all looking forward to this week?

– Laina

YA Review: I Am Still Alive

This was supposed to be a mini-review but I had feels and now it’s long.

I Am Still Alive by Kate Alice Marshall

Published: July 24th, 2018
Genre: YA Survival Thriller
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 314
Part of a series? No and it doesn’t need to be.
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): After
Jess is alone. Her cabin has burned to the ground. She knows if she doesn’t act fast, the cold will kill her before she has time to worry about food. But she is still alive—for now.

Jess hadn’t seen her survivalist, off-the-grid dad in over a decade. But after a car crash killed her mother and left her injured, she was forced to move to his cabin in the remote Canadian wilderness. Just as Jess was beginning to get to know him, a secret from his past paid them a visit, leaving her father dead and Jess stranded.

With only her father’s dog for company, Jess must forage and hunt for food, build shelter, and keep herself warm. Some days it feels like the wild is out to destroy her, but she’s stronger than she ever imagined.

Jess will survive. She has to. She knows who killed her father… and she wants revenge.

Thoughts: I kind of loved this book. Like a lot. You wouldn’t know it to look at me, but I’ve always loved wilderness survival books. It all goes back to reading Hatchet as a kid, which is actually mentioned in this book, a small touch that got me very excited. I have probably six or seven of them on my tbr. One of my favourite games is Don’t Starve. I think the winter chapter in The Last of Us is the best chapter. 

I like this shit.

But I am not an outdoors person. I can’t deal without air conditioning and I hate bugs and I don’t deal well with being dirty. I’m also disabled, with some mobility limitations and chronic pain. I can’t relate to a lot of books like this.

Except Jess is also disabled. She has mobility limitations and chronic pain. She still has to survive, and surviving doesn’t look the same for her. She can’t do a lot of things, or she can’t do it in the way someone else might. She can’t power through her disability – when she tries to, or has to so as to avoid death, she ends up unable to move the next day, and it’s very dangerous. Survival never fixes her. She is still disabled. She is still always in pain.

She still has to survive. But there is always that looming threat that means she has to be so careful, because she could be injured so easily and if she ends up injured again, or especially if she’s injured worse, she won’t make it. She has to be so careful, because she’s already pushing herself to the absolute limit. It adds a lot of tension.

And, honestly, her descriptions of her limitations and pain are incredibly relateable for me. Me going to the grocery store is hardly the high-stakes situation of Jess trying not to freeze or starve to death in the woods, but pushing yourself too much and then paying for it the next day is really easy to relate to as a person with chronic pain. I got a cold 8 months after I hurt my back, and just coughing for several days used my muscles in a way that I wasn’t used to and it hurt. A lot. Not just when I was actively coughing, but for days, all the time. It made it really easy to understand what Jess was feeling, and I think a lot of disabled people would feel similar.

Of course, not just disabled people. The way it’s written is what makes it so relateable, and I think that’s very true across the board. I would absolutely recommend this and really loved it.

Representation: As mentioned, Jess is disabled. Her father struggles with understanding her physical limitations and thinking living out in the woods will basically fix her, and she has to eventually confront him about this not being true. I saw someone mention that Jess calls herself broken at the beginning of the book and that bothered them, but that doesn’t bug me.

Jess wasn’t born disabled – she was badly injured in a car accident. My disability came from a part of my body literally breaking. Personally, I need being broken to be an okay thing, not to say my body didn’t break.

Content notes: Jess kills a fair amount of animals, and processes them for food. This isn’t gory for gore’s sake, but it’s realistic about things she has to do to survive. She also watches several people die, and loses both her parents. There’s a lot of talk about guns.

I would also suggest caution if you struggle with food restriction. Jess starves for a lot of this book, unintentionally loses a lot of weight, and spends much of the book preoccupied with food, for obvious reasons.

This book also has a page on Does the Dog Die. There’s a dog in this book. If that’s a question you need the answer to, I’d suggest you read it.

Have you read this? Would you read this? What other wilderness survival books should I check out?

– Laina

Can’t Wait Wednesday (209): Murder dreams?

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Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Dream to Me by Megan Paasch

Release date: January 31st, 2023

Summary (from goodreads): Eva Sylvan didn’t ask for any of this. Not the cross-country move with her sister to a town in the middle of nowhere, not the family estate, inherited from a late great-aunt, that’s falling apart at the hinges, and definitely not the sudden death of her beloved father. So when the locals react with hostility to the very mention of her last name, Eva’s pretty sure things can’t get any worse.

Until she has a dream about a gas station employee and the next day, he’s in a coma.

And then it happens again.

Something sinister is lurking in the corners of Eva’s dreams, something that’s having devastating effects on the waking world. People are dropping left and right, and Eva finds herself squarely in the town’s crosshairs. In order to defeat the shadows of her unconscious, Eva must not only unearth the magic tied to her family history, but she must confront the guilt that has been haunting her since her father’s death. Only she can save the town from the dark power in her dreams – if the threat is truly even her dreams at all.

The part where I talk: This sounds so cool. It’s reminding me of a bit of The Darkest Powers by L. J. Smith, which was one of my favourite books as a kid so that’s really appealing to me. Really can’t wait to check this one out. 

What are you all looking forward to reading this week?

– Laina

Things I’ve Read Recently (140): Nostalgia, 2000s YA and Thrillers

If you’re new around here, Things I’ve Read Recently is a series of posts I do that are basically mini-reviews of books that I either forgot to review, didn’t have enough to say for a full review, or just didn’t want to do a full post about for whatever reason.

Paperback Crush by Gabrielle Moss

Published: October 30th, 2018 by Quirk Books
Genre: Non-Fiction
Binding: Paperback
Page Count: 256 
Part of a series? No but it talks about a lot of them
Got via: The libarary

Summary (from goodreads): Every twenty- or thirty-something woman knows these books. The pink covers, the flimsy paper, the zillion volumes in the series that kept you reading for your entire adolescence. Spurred by the commercial success of Sweet Valley High and The Babysitters Club, these were not the serious-issue YA novels of the 1970s, nor were they the blockbuster books of the Harry Potter and Twilight ilk. They were cheap, short, and utterly beloved.

PAPERBACK CRUSH dives in deep to this golden age with affection, history, and a little bit of snark. Readers will discover (and fondly remember) girl-centric series on everything from correspondence to sports to a newspaper at an all-girls Orthodox Jewish middle school to a literal teen angel.

Some were blatant ripoffs of the successful series, some were sick-lit tearjerkers à la Love Story and some were just plain perplexing. But all of them represent that time gone by of girl-power and endless sessions of sustained silent reading.

Thoughts: This was designed exactly for me, basically. I kept a count of how many books I either own or have read and decluttered in one of my “Old Books” posts. I got twenty-four! And that’s not counting books I read as a kid, or series mentioned I had read but not the specific book being talked about.

It does have a definitive slant towards the idea that every person reading the book was a woman, which I didn’t love, but I did really appreciate the efforts to talk about more diverse books than the typical thin nonqueer white upper class girl books, many of which I had not heard of myself.

Now, this is a little niche, but I was surprised that the book never mentioned the Nancy Drew on Campus books as it talked both about Nancy Drew books during this time period and college-set YA, and those seem so, so 90s to me. Seems like a missed opportunity.

Overall, though, this was really cool. If you’re a YA author and you want to learn more about the history of YA, I really recommend this. I’d also recommend it if you just like YA, especially if you grew up reading a lot of 80s and 90s books. It’s really interesting and I especially liked the interviews with authors talking about the process behind the books.

All Her Little Secrets by Wanda M. Morris

Published: November 2nd 2021 by William Morrow
Genre: Adult Thriller
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 371 plus acknowledgements
Part of a series? I thought no, but the author’s upcoming book I believe will be a prequel to this.
Got via: The library

Summary (from goodreads): Ellice Littlejohn seemingly has it all: an Ivy League law degree, a well-paying job as a corporate attorney in midtown Atlanta, great friends, and a “for fun” relationship with a rich, charming executive—her white boss, Michael.

But everything changes one cold January morning when Ellice goes to meet Michael… and finds him dead with a gunshot to his head.

And then she walks away like nothing has happened. Why? Ellice has been keeping a cache of dark secrets, including a small-town past and a kid brother who’s spent time on the other side of the law. She can’t be thrust into the spotlight—again.

But instead of grieving this tragedy, people are gossiping, the police are getting suspicious, and Ellice, the company’s lone black attorney, is promoted to replace Michael. While the opportunity is a dream-come-true, Ellice just can’t shake the feeling that something is off.

When she uncovers shady dealings inside the company, Ellice is trapped in an impossible ethical and moral dilemma. Suddenly, Ellice’s past and present lives collide as she launches into a pulse-pounding race to protect the brother she tried to save years ago and stop a conspiracy far more sinister than she could have ever imagined…

Thoughts: This was the Literally Dead book club pick for April and I’m desperately trying to take part in that XD But it took forever to get here so I couldn’t read it until almost the end of June. I really liked this author’s writing, but I think the whole corporate law thriller thing is not exactly my thing. The book is good, but I liked the parts about Ellice’s past and family and history a lot more than the parts about the law stuff.

So I suspect the author’s upcoming book, which is about a character in this book but set in the past when they were younger, might be more my thing and I have already pre-ordered it from the library. I also really liked the characters, especially that character, so I’m excited about that.

I’m still kind of new to reading adult books and I’m trying a lot of new stuff to figure out what I like. This was not 100% my thing, but I would definitely recommend it if you like thrillers, and especially this kind of legal thriller. Also, if you liked Ace of Spades but you want something more grown up, you might like this. Good book, just not a subject that I love.

Representation: Ellice is obviously a Black woman.

Content notes: Obviously this book deals heavily with racism, especially misogynoir. There’s also elements of abuse, including childhood sexual abuse, and a scene depicting a fairly graphic home abortion. There’s also kind of a lot of diet talk and body shaming comments – not just Ellice aiming them at herself, but at others.

Bad Apple by Laura Ruby

Published: September 23rd, 2009 by HarperTeen
Genre: YA Contemporary
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 247 plus acknowledgments
Part of a series? Nope
Got via: I bought it new. I know, that doesn’t happen often. It was very discounted tho.

Summary (from goodreads): High-school junior Tola Riley has green hair, a nose ring, an attitude problem, and a fondness for fairy tales, which are a great escape from real life. Everyone thinks she’s crazy; everyone says so. Everyone except Mr. Mymer, her art teacher. He gets her paintings and lets her hang out in the art room during lonely lunch periods.

But then rumors start flying and Tola is suddenly the center of a scandal. The whole town is judging her—even her family. When Mr. Mymer is suspended for what everyone thinks is an affair, she has no choice but to break her silence. Fairy tales won’t help her this time . . . so how can she tell the truth? And, more importantly, will anyone believe her? 

Thoughts: This is a weird one. I honestly don’t know if I liked it. I found Tola really hard to connect to as a main character. I never felt like I really knew what she was feeling until she told someone in dialogue what she was feeling.

I recently read Hate List and I just had to look up when that book came out because I really thought that this came out after that, because I really thought this was trying to copy that book, but maybe it was just kind of the 2009 non-paranormal vibe. And overall, this just did not work super well for me. It hasn’t aged particularly well and it’s just kind of weird.

I like to evaluate if I’d keep a book on my shelf, and I would probably keep this right now, mostly because I think the cover is really pretty. It wouldn’t last long if I needed badly to get rid of books for some reason, though.

Representation: Tola’s love interest is Black. It is not handled particularly well. It is in fact pretty poorly handled.

Content notes: Bullying, talk of possible abuse from a teacher to a student, illness of a family member.

The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley

Published: February 22nd, 2022 by William Morrow
Genre: Adult Thriller
Binding: Hardcover
Page Count: 356 plus acknowledgements
Part of a series? Nope
Got via: Library

Summary (from goodreads): Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.

Thoughts: And this was the Literally Dead book club pick for March and it only got to me in June. I desperately want to be in a book club but it’s so hard XD New releases are so hard to get from the library lol. 

Anyways, I like this, but I don’t think I liked it as much as most people. It was okay, and I think I’d like to check out more books from the author, but I don’t think thrillers about rich white people having rich white people problems are so much my thing, you know? I liked Jess’ POV, but the others didn’t do a ton for me and there wasn’t that many of her POV chapters overall.

Representation: There’s a couple bisexual characters but it’s not like a big part of the book.

Content notes: Disordered eating habits from one POV character, a fair amount of generally fat shamey language, adoption trauma, human trafficking, general thriller violence.

An interesting mix here! Have you read any of these? Are you interested in anything here? Let m know in the comments.

– Laina

Can’t Wait Wednesday (208): This sounds so much fun

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Breakup From Hell by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Release date: January 3rd, 2023

Summary (from goodreads): Miguela Angeles is tired. Tired of her abuela keeping secrets, especially about her heritage. Tired of her small Vermont town and hanging out at the same places with the same friends she’s known forever. So when another boring Sunday trip to church turns into a run-in with Sam, a mysterious hottie in town on vacation, Mica seizes the opportunity to get closer to him.

It’s not long before she is under Sam’s spell and doing things she’s never done before, like winning all her martial arts sparring matches—and lying to her favorite people. The more time Mica spends with Sam, the more weird things start to happen, too. Like terrifying-visions-of-the-world-ending weird.

Mica’s gut instincts keep telling her something is off, yet Sam is the most exciting guy she’s ever met. But when Mica discovers his family’s roots, she realizes that instead of being in the typical high school relationship, she’s living in a horror novel.

She has to leave Sam, but will ending their relationship also bring an end to everything she knows and everyone she loves?

The part where I talk: This sounds like so much fun. I really miss this kind of paranormal YA. It looks like it has a really fun tone that isn’t too serious and I’m excited about it.

What are you all looking forward to reading this week?

– Laina

Waiting on Wednesday Update (21)

This is a series where I look at my old Waiting on Wednesday posts and talk about if I actually ever read the book, if I liked it if I did, and if I haven’t, would I or not. That kind of thing. I think it’s interesting to talk about books from back then, and I hope you find it interesting, too.

Since we’re wrapping up 2022, I thought it was time for another one of these!

WoWed February 1st, 2012:

The Night She Disappeared by April Henry

Release date: March 13th, 2012

Summary (from goodreads): Gabie drives a Mini Cooper. She also works part time as a delivery girl at Pete’s Pizza. One night, Kayla—another delivery girl—goes missing. To her horror, Gabie learns that the supposed kidnapper had asked if the girl in the Mini Cooper was working that night.

Gabie can’t move beyond the fact that Kayla’s fate was really meant for her, and she becomes obsessed with finding Kayla. She teams up with Drew, who also works at Pete’s. Together, they set out to prove that Kayla isn’t dead—and to find her before she is. 

Update: I have read another book by April Henry, but I didn’t like it a ton, so I haven’t sought more out by her. I probably should, though. Still interested in this one!

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

Release date: April 24th, 2012

Summary (from goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Janelle Tenner is used to having a lot of responsibility. She balances working as a lifeguard in San Diego with an intense academic schedule. Janelle’s mother is bipolar, and her dad is a workaholic FBI agent, which means Janelle also has to look out for her younger brother, Jared.

And that was before she died… and is brought back to life by Ben Michaels, a mysterious, alluring loner from her high school. When she discovers a strange clock that seems to be counting down to the earth’s destruction, Janelle learns she has twenty-four days to figure out how to stop the clock and save the planet.

Update: Honestly, this is a pretty cool premise but I feel like it probably wouldn’t live up to my expectations, and I kinda don’t want to seek out a book published in 2012 and then bash it for being a book published in 2012 for no real reason, you know? It just seems mean and pointless.

WoWed February 8th, 2012:

What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen

Release date: May 1st, 2012

Summary (from goodreads): Sara and her mom have a plan to finally escape Sara’s abusive father. But when her mom doesn’t show up as expected, Sara’s terrified. Her father says that she’s on a business trip, but Sara knows he’s lying. Her mom is missing—and her dad had something to do with it.

With each day that passes, Sara’s more on edge. Her friends know that something’s wrong, but she won’t endanger anyone else with her secret. And with her dad growing increasingly violent, Sara must figure out what happened to her mom before it’s too late…for them both.

Update: I read this back in April! It was okay. Not amazing. I don’t think my review is actually up yet because I am chaotic and have a backlog going. Look for that soon.

Enchanted by Alethea Kontis

Release date: May 8th, 2012

Summary (from goodreads): It isn’t easy being the rather overlooked and unhappy youngest sibling to sisters named for the other six days of the week. Sunday’s only comfort is writing stories, although what she writes has a terrible tendency to come true.

When Sunday meets an enchanted frog who asks about her stories, the two become friends. Soon that friendship deepens into something magical. One night Sunday kisses her frog goodbye and leaves, not realizing that her love has transformed him back into Rumbold, the crown prince of Arilland—and a man Sunday’s family despises.

The prince returns to his castle, intent on making Sunday fall in love with him as the man he is, not the frog he was. But Sunday is not so easy to woo. How can she feel such a strange, strong attraction for this prince she barely knows? And what twisted secrets lie hidden in his past—and hers?

Update: This just isn’t really something I read much of. I’m really not a big fantasy person. Not for me!

WoWed February 15th, 2012:

Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

Release date: June 5th, 2012

Summary (from goodreads): Megan is a miracle. At least, that’s what everyone says. Having survived a plane crash that killed everyone else on board, Megan knows she should be grateful just to be alive. But the truth is, she doesn’t feel like a miracle. In fact, she doesn’t feel anything at all. Then memories from the crash start coming back.

Scared and alone, Megan doesn’t know whom to turn to. Her entire community seems unable—or maybe unwilling—to see her as anything but Miracle Megan. Everyone except for Joe, the beautiful boy next door with a tragic past and secrets of his own. All Megan wants is for her life to get back to normal, but the harder she tries to live up to everyone’s expectations, the worse she feels. And this time, she may be falling too fast to be saved.

Update: I actually did read this one!! And I liked it a lot. I remember really liking the writing and it made me want to read more Elizabeth Scott. I’ve only read one since and I didn’t love it, unfortunately, but I’m still optimistic.

All These Lives by Sarah Wylie

Release date: June 5th, 2012

Summary (from goodreads): Sixteen-year-old Dani is convinced she has nine lives. As a child she twice walked away from situations where she should have died. But Dani’s twin, Jena, isn’t so lucky. She has cancer and might not even be able to keep her one life.

Dani’s father is in denial. Her mother is trying to hold it together and prove everything’s normal. And Jena is wasting away. To cope, Dani sets out to rid herself of all her extra lives. Maybe they’ll be released into the universe and someone who wants to live more than she does will get one. Someone like Jena. But just when Dani finds herself at the breaking point, she’s faced with a startling realization. Maybe she doesn’t have nine lives after all. Maybe she really only ever had one.

Update: This is just another YA contemporary that I don’t have a lot of interest in seeking out. They really just aren’t super my thing.

WoWed February 22nd, 2012:

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Release date: June 19th, 2012

Summary (from goodreads): When Travis returns home from a stint in Afghanistan, his parents are splitting up, his brother’s stolen his girlfriend and his car, and he’s haunted by nightmares of his best friend’s death. It’s not until Travis runs into Harper, a girl he’s had a rocky relationship with since middle school, that life actually starts looking up. And as he and Harper see more of each other, he begins to pick his way through the minefield of family problems and post-traumatic stress to the possibility of a life that might resemble normal again. Travis’s dry sense of humor, and incredible sense of honor, make him an irresistible and eminently lovable hero.

Update: See above. Also, I’m really not into military stories. Not my thing at all.

Dust Girl by Sarah Zettel

Release date: June 26th, 2012

Summary (from goodreads): Callie LeRoux is choking on dust. It seeps through the cracks in the hotel that Callie and her mother run in Kansas. It’s slowly filling her lungs. Callie’s begged her mother to leave their town, like their neighbors have already done, but her mother refuses. She’s waiting for Callie’s long-gone father to return.

Just as the biggest dust storm in history sweeps through the Midwest, Callie discovers her mother’s long-kept secret. Callie’s not just mixed race — she’s half fairy, too. Now, Callie’s fairy kin have found where she’s been hidden, and they’re coming for her. The only person Callie can trust may be Jack, the charming ex-bootlegger she helped break out of jail.

From the despair of the Dust Bowl to the hot jazz of Kansas City, from dance marathons to train yards, to the dangerous beauties of the fairy realm, Sarah Zettel creates a world rooted equally in American history and in magic, where two fairy clans war over a girl marked by prophecy. 

Update: This I actually still think sounds cool. I like the setting and the premise sounds interesting. I also would like to read more historical books. I would still read this one. 

WoWed February 29th, 2012:

This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers

Release date: June 19th, 2012

Summary (from goodreads): It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going.

Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to? 

Update: I read this!! I did not like it at all! That was really disappointing.

Touched by Cyn Balog

Release date: August 14th, 2012

Summary (from goodreads): Nick Cross always listens to the voice in his head. Because if he doesn’t? Things can go really, really wrong. Like the day he decided to go off script and saved a girl from being run over . . . and let another one drown. Trying to change the future doesn’t work.

But this summer at the Jersey Shore, something’s about to happen that Nick never could have predicted. He meets a girl named Taryn and finds out about the Book of Touch. Now the path that he thought he was on begins to shift . . . and there’s no way to stop things from happening. Or is there?

In a life where there are no surprises, nothing has prepared Nick for what he’s about to discover–or the choice he will be forced to make.

Update: I kind of can’t tell if I would want to read this or not. I really like the cover, but the summary isn’t doing much for me.

Wow, 3/10 is more than we’ve had in a bit!

Have you read any of these? Would you read any of these? What are your thoughts on 2012 YA?

– Laina

Can’t Wait Wednesday (207): More cruise ships!

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

The Stranded by Sarah Daniels

Release date: January 3rd, 2023

Summary (from goodreads): Welcome to the Arcadia. Once a luxurious cruise ship, it became a refugee camp after being driven from Europe by an apocalyptic war. Now it floats near the coastline of the Federated States – a leftover piece of a fractured USA.

For forty years, residents of the Arcadia have been prohibited from making landfall. It is a world of extreme haves and have nots, gangs and make-shift shelters.

Esther is a loyal citizen, working flat-out to have the rare chance to live a normal life as a medic on dry land. Nik is a rebel, planning something big to liberate the Arcadia once and for all. When events throw them both together, their lives, and the lives of everyone on the ship, will change forever…

The part where I talk: This is such a cool concept. I love cruise ships and I think more books should use them for settings. It’s also got that kind of isolated spaceship vibe you get in some sci-fi and I think this could definitely be a lot of fun.

What about you? What book are you looking forward to this week?

– Laina

Can’t Wait Wednesday (206): IT’S A TALIA HIBBERT YA Y’ALL

can't wait wednesday three

Can’t Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa of Wishful Endings. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, which was created by Jill of Breaking the Spine.

Highly Suspicious and Unfairly Cute by Talia Hibbert

Release date: January 3rd, 2023

Summary (from goodreads): Bradley Graeme is pretty much perfect. He’s a star football player, manages his OCD well (enough), and comes out on top in all his classes . . . except the ones he shares with his ex-best friend, Celine.

Celine Bangura is conspiracy-theory-obsessed. Social media followers eat up her takes on everything from UFOs to holiday overconsumption – yet, she’s still not cool enough for the popular kids’ table. Which is why Brad abandoned her for the in-crowd years ago. (At least, that’s how Celine sees it.)

These days, there’s nothing between them other than petty insults and academic rivalry. So when Celine signs up for a survival course in the woods, she’s surprised to find Brad right beside her.

Forced to work as a team for the chance to win a grand prize, these two teens must trudge through not just mud and dirt but their messy past. And as this adventure brings them closer together, they begin to remember the good bits of their history. But has too much time passed… or just enough to spark a whole new kind of relationship?

The part where I talk: I don’t read much YA contemporary these days, but I love Talia Hibbert. Their writing is so good, and I’m really exciting to see that in YA. Also I’ve mentioned I love wilderness survival books, and this is close enough to intrigue me.

What are you all looking forward to reading this week?

– Laina