Category: YA Fiction

“A Bitter Pill to Swallow” by Tiffany Gholar

a-bitter-pill-to-swallow

Genre: Young Adult Fiction

Publisher: Pronoun

This is the story of two teenagers who are misdiagnosed and misunderstood by friends and family, and the adults who seek to help them. Devante has lost his best friend and falls into a deep depression. After barely being rescued from a suicide attempt he finds himself at the Harrison School, a facility for children with mental illness for instead of being medicated they are coached and mentored to understand themselves and their individual challenges. At Harrison, he meets Janina, a young lady who has been there a long time. Janina is shy and insecure but she stretches herself as she gives Devante a tour and they become friends. The book tells their story as they work through their issues and face the future.

I found the characters in this book to be very believable and real. The author has done a great job of developing their personalities and also their backstory. The book is very honest about the ways that their support networks let them down, but is also very hopeful as the family and friends start to realize how they can do better. These characters are African-American but that was not the main theme of the book. The struggles Devante and Janina face could be true of anybody of any race and for that I think this book would appeal to a broad range of young adults. Overall, I applaud the author for the creativity of the storyline, which kept me engaged, and the depth of the characters, which made them feel real. This would be appropriate for older teens but younger ages may have difficulty understanding the mental health aspects of the story.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-star-rating

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “Constant Guests” by Patricia Nedelea

Book Review: “Constant Guests” by Patricia Nedelea

Isa has just found out that her parents are not really her parents. Her birth mother has been in a coma for 20 years and has woken up, only to die just as Isa sees her for the first time. Then Isa is attacked in the hospital bathroom by an unknown assailant. When she discovers a picture hidden in her mother’s watch she can no longer resist the urge to find out everything she can about this mysterious woman. Her quest will take her all over Europe, to big cities and small towns, and put her life in danger. Along the way she will uncover deeply guarded secrets and her strength will be tested again and again.

This is a fast-paced book with lots of twists and turns. Isa and Mark are well developed characters, but Isa is not the most likeable person. She’s brash and harsh and doesn’t trust easily but as her story unfolds her personality begins to make sense. Mark, on the other hand, is very likeable. He defends Isa from the first moment he sees her and before the journey is over will put his life on the line for her. I think this book will appeal to young adults but history lovers may also enjoy this book because of the historical context of the story.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

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Available on Amazon

Book Review: “Warchild: Pawn” by Ernie Lindsey

Book Review: “Warchild: Pawn” by Ernie Lindsey

Caroline is 14 and a runner for her community. Her job is to discover any threats to the village and warn them. Usually the only threat comes from Republicons, groups of dissenters who travel around raiding villages. Today will not be a usual day. The United States has survived an apocalypse and is now divided into the DAV’s and the PRV’s. Caroline’s village is in PRV territory. The two governments have had a treaty in place for hundreds of years that has prevented them from attacking each other. Until today…today Caroline hears drumbeats while on patrol, the beats of war drums. Then she finds Finn, a DAV deserter and he confirms her worst fear. DAV is attacking PRV with an army of 50,000 men. Caroline runs to warn her village only to find it is too late for everybody to get away. As she views the carnage and finds herself a captive of the DAV, she realizes that the villagers have been betrayed and she’s the only one left who can lead the survivors.

This is a great YA post-apocalyptic story. I especially enjoyed Caroline. She is complex and engaging. On the brink of adulthood, she is thrown into a life or death situation that she feels ill-prepared for. Within a few hours, everyone she loves is dead and she’s responsible for a group of refugees. Her development as a person as the story progresses is just as fascinating as the story itself. The author has also created a great supporting cast. The story starts with a bang and the action just keeps coming. This book is a great choice for teen readers and young adult fiction fans.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

On Amazon

Book Review: “Shock Collar” by Darren Van Gramberg

Book Review: “Shock Collar” by Darren Van Gramberg

The story opens with David being woken up to his first day in Manrazor, a juvenile detention center. His incarceration stems from an incident involving a girl. This book relates the story of David’s experiences while in Manrazor. This is Book 2 in the Trauma Baby Trilogy and I definitely felt at a disadvantage because I hadn’t read Book 1. That being said, I found the story to be complex enough to keep me reading even without knowledge of the previous book. David turned out to be a very likable character and I was pleased that the book journeys with David as he faces his new reality instead of just being one fight after another. This book is targeted for young adults and suits that market well. Overall, I enjoyed the story and the transformation David goes through.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

BONUS: This book is currently available on Amazon for $0.99.

Book Review: “Twist” by Roni Teson

Book Review: “Twist” by Roni Teson

Sometimes I read a book and at the end I find myself envying the author’s imagination, because I have been so engrossed in the story they have created. This is one of those books.

The story opens with Luke meeting Beatrice for the first time. Beatrice has recently moved in with her Aunt and Uncle, and Luke’s father is Uncle George’s best friend. It’s love at first sight for our two teenagers, but after one spur of the moment afternoon together, circumstances will keep them apart for months.

Beatrice’s mother has died and her father is on the run from the FBI. Understandably, Beatrice is confused by the situation and no one will tell her what her father has done or when she will see him again. Suddenly, her father reappears and Luke ends up beaten nearly to death, while Beatrice is forced to return to Seattle. Will these two ever have a chance to be together again? Will Luke regain his memory? Will Beatrice ever learn the truth about herself and her father?

This book lives up to its name as the story twists and turns from beginning to end. I couldn’t help but root for Beatrice and Luke as these kids navigate the challenges thrown at them. The author’s style is very approachable and easy to read. While this book is about teenagers, and would be a great read for that age group, as an adult I enjoyed it tremendously. There was plenty of intrigue and the romance part was not overdone or frivolous. I particularly appreciated the author’s description of Luke’s recovery, which seemed very realistic and true to life. I am highly recommending this book and hope it will get the attention and readership it deserves.

Happy Reading!