Author: Erin Stewart Publication date: March 15, 2022 Genre: YA contemporary My rating: 4.5/5 stars
By turns painfully real and softly hopeful, The Words We Keep is a striking exploration of the effects of mental illness not just on an individual, but on an entire family. It addresses the pervasiveness of mental health struggles across all types of individuals–social butterflies, high-achieving academic types, and nonconformist artists. And it does so through the eyes of anxious girl doing her best not to come unraveled even as her world seems to be falling apart around her. I couldn’t get over how much this story resonated with my own memories of high school and college–through those years of my life, so much of this main character’s experience could have been my own–and I sincerely hope this book is picked up by students working their way through high school today, as the stakes and anxieties have only gotten higher the past few years. Read on for a full review, as well as some quotes from this book that I really appreciated.
Author: Bethany Mangle Publication date: February 15, 2022 Genre: YA Contemporary My rating: 4/5 stars
Fans of Gilmore Girls, this book was basically made for you. A story of a single mother and her daughter, both struggling to find love, propelled by hefty doses of sarcasm and coffee, this is a great read if you’re looking for something sweet, fast, and fun. And, more importantly, it has Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome representation! Read on for more about the book and my thoughts on it.
Author: Sue Lynn Tan Publication date: January 11, 2021 Genre: fantasy, mythology, YA retelling My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Come for the gorgeous cover and Chinese mythology; stay for the gorgeous writing and epic scope. This book has been on my radar since it was first announced, so naturally, I was thrilled when Turn the Page Tours presented me with the opportunity to read it for their blog tour! This book is romantic, heartbreaking, and beautiful, with lush details and a strong heroine who grows from naivete into her own person. Read on for my review, as well as a sampling of some lovely quotes from the book.
Author: Chloe Gong Series: These Violent Delights (#2) Publication date: November 16, 2021 Genre: YA historical fantasy/retelling, romance My rating: 4/5
Crackling with tension and filled with (surprise, surprise) violence, Our Violent Ends is a deliciously dark* conclusion to the These Violent Delights duology. The first book in the series smashed onto the YA scene with much fanfare, a loose retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in Shanghai in the 1920’s, substituting rival gangs for feuding houses and adding a mysterious, monstrous illness. (Also, the author was literally still in undergrad when she published it, so uh…what am I doing with my life???) In this second installment, the stakes–both personal and political–are higher than ever, and the result is an action-packed, emotional whirlwind.
*I feel obligated to point out that this exact phrase, “deliciously dark,” was also used by Natasha Ngan in describing this book. I wrote this intro before looking at her quote in the official blurb. So…if two independent minds both came up with those words, you can pretty reasonably assume it’s a valid assessment.
Like most tour posts, I’ve got a review for you, a smattering of excellent quotes from the book, and, if you stick around until the end, a giveaway that you can enter to win a copy of both books in the duology for yourself! Let’s get started.
Author: Elizabeth Lim Publication date: July 6, 2021 Genre: YA fantasy My rating: 5/5 stars
Six Crimson Cranes was one of my most-anticipated reads of this year–and, I am pleased to report, it exceeded my expectations. Taking the bones of Western fairytales (especially “The Wild Swans”) and reshaping them in an Asian-inspired world brimming with its own unique mythologies, Elizabeth Lim has created a tale that feels at once classic and wholly original. Read through for my review, info on the author, and some quotes from the book, as well as my latest Bookstagram post about this beauty!
Author: Sheena Boekweg Publication date: June 1, 2021 Genre: YA historical fiction My rating: 4/5 stars
Take everything you knew about the 1920s, add in a secret network of women who manipulate the men in power to achieve social change, make it a little bit queer, write it with so many highlight-able lines, and you have…something pretty darn close to this book. The best way I can describe this book is that it is exactly what it is pitched as, and simultaneously way more than I expected. With strong female friendships, body positivity, ace and trans rep, and plenty of badass women (fighting with words and manipulation mostly, but still capable of fighting!), this was a seriously cool book.
Author: Destiny Soria Publication date: June 8, 2021 Genre: YA fantasy My rating: 4/5 stars
It seems like dragon books are making a comeback, and folks, I am here. for. it. Fire with Fire blends a contemporary setting in rural Tennessee (complete with usual teenage relationship difficulties) with a hidden world of dragons and sorcerers. With strong themes of sisterhood, loyalty, and defining yourself, this was a captivating read with a pair of compelling protagonists. In this post, you’ll find a review, some quality quotes, and–you guessed it–a giveaway for a copy of your own. Let’s go!
Author: Marina Lostetter Publication date: April 13, 2021 Genre: fantasy My rating: 5/5 stars
Magic masks. A serial killer. Political intrigue. Mysterious gods. Folks, this is my favorite fantasy novel I’ve read this year–a deliciously dark tale with intricate worldbuilding, memorable (and diverse!) characters, and a nuanced portrayal of the impacts of trauma on the human psyche. I’m so grateful to Jean Book Nerd for having me as a host on this tour. Stick around for my review, more info on the book, and a giveaway you don’t want to miss!
Author: Robbie Couch Publication date: April 6, 2021 Genre: YA contemporary My rating: 3/5 stars
Cute, diverse, and full of both the best and the worst of small-town life, The Sky Blues is an ode to friendship, young love, and the importance of being yourself. While I wouldn’t call it a perfect read, it is a fast, fun read that will certainly appeal to younger YA fans, especially fans of “leaked romantic feelings” stories like To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Stick with this post past the review, and you’ll find info on how you could win a copy of this book for yourself!
Author: Adrienne Tooley Publication date: March 9, 2021 Genre: YA fantasy My rating: 4/5 stars
Today is my stop on TBR and Beyond’s blog tour for Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley, a debut fantasy full of darkness, witchy magic, love bargains, and two girls who are polar opposites learning to work with each other to save their world–and fall for each other in the process. Read on for a brief review and some of my favorite quotes from this lovely slow-burn!