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Dread Nation by Justina Ireland - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780062570604
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Balzer + Bray - April 3rd, 2018

“See, the problem in this world ain’t sinners, or even the dead. It is men who will step on anyone who stands in the way of their pursuit of power.” Zombies and a very different post-Gettysburg America set the stage for one of the most memorable and subversive dystopias in YA history. Even those hesitant to grapple with fantasy will love this novel’s ruthless and unstoppable Jane McKeene! ~Aubrey Restifo

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781484726020
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 10th, 2018

Daniel Cheng attends a competitive high school in Cupertino, where it seems like every one of his classmates is preparing to go to an Ivy of their choice. But Daniel, the “artist” of the senior class, applies only to RISD—and is shocked when he’s accepted early. As his close friends await college decision letters (and continue to pad their resumes), Daniel uses his newfound “freedom” from the intensity of his studies to examine his parents’ secretive past—and manages to disrupt everything he’s ever known. Profound, moving, and never too perfect, this novel is an exceptional meditation on the meaning of family and being an immigrant. ~Aubrey Restifo

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente - Book Review

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ISBN: 9781481497497
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Published: Gallery / Saga Press - April 10th, 2018

Is humanity sentient enough? When the civilized universe stumbles upon Earth, alien ambassadors issue humans an ultimatum: send the planet's best musical talent to compete in a Eurovision-style contest, or face total annihilation. Space Opera is brilliant Douglas Adams-type crack, led by the unforgettable Bowie-wannabe, Decibel Jones, a washed out "ethereal glamtrash satyr". I read it in one incredible sitting; I could read this kind of first contact novel over and over again. ~ Reviewed by Aubrey Restifo

There There by Tommy Orange - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780525520375
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Published: Knopf - June 5th, 2018

This impressive debut novel weaves an unflinching and provocative portrait of the challenges that face urban Native Americans today. Told through an assemblage of character studies, There There links together the experiences of multiple generations to show how small instances of erasure and elision become quite tangible over time—in this case, taking the shape of an incomprehensible tragedy in the novel's stunning conclusion. –Aubrey Restifo

Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780544867857
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Published: Clarion Books - January 9th, 2018

Jane has managed to get herself expelled from high school. She joins a college student's homemade reality tv show to prove herself/win an old car. She's so stable!

Jane is two parts acerbic wit, one part scheming mad scientist, and one part sad sack. You will find in no time that she's one of the most likeable and engaging characters in the YA world. Prepare to die laughing (and be moved).

Recommended in particular for those who loved Vizzini's It's Kind of a Funny Story, Jesse Andrews' sidesplitting odes to contemporary teenage existence (The Haters; Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl), and Arnold's sarcasm-laden Mosquitoland.

~Reviewed by Aubrey Restifo

Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson - Book Review

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ISBN: 9780062422675
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Published: Katherine Tegen Books - May 22nd, 2018

MONDAY'S NOT COMING is at once the most gorgeous and devastating pageturner you'll read this year. It's a little too intense to read in one sitting (you'll want to slow the pace), but you won't be able to put it down for long. It's that good.

The novel is, in its simplest form, the story of a friendship. Claudia and Monday were inseparable up until the year Monday disappeared. After a summer away, Claudia can't find her best friend anywhere: she's not in school nor at her house, and not one other person seems to notice her absence. Wracked with grief and confusion, Claudia pursues every lead to find Monday, even as her obsession with discovering the truth diminishes her own grip on reality.

Jackson's second novel is as suspenseful and addictive as her first (Allegedly), again demonstrating the author's remarkable ability to bring complex characters to life despite their tendencies to obscure parts of their lives from each other, readers, and themselves. Although some of the story's subject matter is bleak (i.e. abuse, poverty, gentrification, trauma), Claudia's search for Monday is largely underpinned by themes of family, love, and hope: showcasing Claudia's strength in the face of immense darkness.  —Aubrey Restifo


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