Category Archives: Ya Contemporary

Review: Top Ten by Katie Cotugno

Top Ten
by Katie Cotugno
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: Oct. 3, 2017
Genre: Young Adult
Rating:

Ryan McCullough and Gabby Hart are the unlikeliest of friends. Introverted, anxious Gabby would rather do literally anything than go to a party. Ryan is a star hockey player who can get any girl he wants—and does, frequently. But against all odds, they became not only friends, but each other’s favorite person. Now, as they face high school graduation, they can’t help but take a moment to reminisce and, in their signature tradition, make a top ten list—counting down the top ten moments of their friendship:

10. Where to begin? Maybe the night we met.
9. Then there was our awkward phase.
8. When you were in love with me but never told me…
7. Those five months we stopped talking were the hardest of my life.
6. Through terrible fights…
5. And emotional makeups.
4. You were there for me when I got my heart broken.
3. …but at times, you were also the one breaking it.
2. Above all, you helped me make sense of the world.
1. Now, as we head off to college—how am I possibly going to live without you?

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin

The Big F
by Maggie Ann Martin
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: Aug. 29, 2017
Genre: Young Adult

Danielle effed up. Big time.

Danielle’s plans for the future were pretty easy to figure out… until she failed senior English and her single college application was denied. Suddenly she’s in hot water with very few options, because honestly who applies to a safety school when their mom is a semi-famous “college psychic”?!

Determined to get her life back on track, Danielle enrolls in her hometown community college with a plan: pass her English class and get back into Ohio State and her mother’s good graces. Romance isn’t on her radar… until she reconnects with her childhood crush and golden-boy-next-door, Luke.

Between family drama, first love and finding her own way, Danielle can’t help but feel a little overwhelmed. Thankfully she has her friendship with the snarky and frustratingly attractive Porter, her coworker at the campus bookstore, to push her to experience new things and help keep her afloat.

One thing’s for sure: This time, failure’s not an option.

 

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Review: I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

I Believe in a Thing Called Love
by Maurene Goo
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux Inc
Publication date: May 30, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Romance
Rating:

Desi Lee believes anything is possible if you have a plan. That’s how she became student body president. Varsity soccer star. And it’s how she’ll get into Stanford. But—she’s never had a boyfriend. In fact, she’s a disaster in romance, a clumsy, stammering humiliation magnet whose botched attempts at flirting have become legendary with her friends. So when the hottest human specimen to have ever lived walks into her life one day, Desi decides to tackle her flirting failures with the same zest she’s applied to everything else in her life. She finds guidance in the Korean dramas her father has been obsessively watching for years—where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten. It’s a simple formula, and Desi is a quick study. Armed with her “K Drama Steps to True Love,” Desi goes after the moody, elusive artist Luca Drakos—and boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue. But when the fun and games turn to true feels, Desi finds out that real love is about way more than just drama.

 

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Review: Map to the Stars by Jen Malone

Map to the Stars
by Jen Malone
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: July 14, 2015
Genre: YA Romance
Rating:

Author Jen Malone draws on her real-life experiences as a movie studio publicist to bring you an insider peek at love, Hollywood-style.

The California dream was supposed to give seventeen-year-old Annie Shelton a fresh start far removed from her dad’s unusual betrayal. But when things don’t go according to plan in La La Land, Annie’s mom snags a last-minute gig as makeup artist to a teen movie idol and finagles a spot for her daughter on his European promotional tour.

Down-to-earth Annie would rather fangirl architectural sights than an arrogant A-lister. That is, until behind-the-scenes Graham Cabot turns out to be more sweetly vulnerable than she could have imagined.

Too bad falling for a poster boy isn’t all red carpets and star treatment, especially when you factor in obnoxious fans, an overprotective assistant, a stage mom/manager, and a beefy bodyguard.

But it isn’t until the paparazzi make an appearance that things get really sticky…

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

Violet Grenade
by Victoria Scott
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult

Her name is Domino Ray.
But the voice inside her head has a different name.

When Madam Karina finds Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position at her girls’ home in secluded West Texas. With no alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval…and falling for Cain, the mysterious boy living in the basement.

But the madam has horrible secrets. So do the girls in the house. So does Cain. Escaping is harder than Domino expects, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the danger living inside Domino’s mind.

Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

 

 

 

Excerpt…

I met him at an arcade. I was playing Pac-Man when I saw him across the room. He was almost as thin as I was, and his nails told me everything I needed to know. He was like me—homeless. I’ve met homeless people who try to scrub away the streets. It never works. The human body has too many crevices, too many places for grime to settle. You can see it in the small lines of their faces and in their palms and elbows. And you can see it in their nails.

Dizzy’s nails were atrocious. He didn’t try to scrub away the street. He embraced it. I needed someone like that. As I watched, the long-legged, dark-skinned man-boy swiped a red can of soda from the bar. The soda was there. The soda was gone. If I hadn’t been watching closely, I might have believed he was made of magic—Dracula strikes Detroit.

That day in the arcade, Dizzy met my stare with a boldness I admired. I eyed the place where the soda had been, and he smiled. Then he turned and swept out the door. With the rang-tanging of arcade games behind me, I followed him. I followed him then, and I follow him now. He’s my person. Not that I need one.

I startle when I spot my person standing in the bedroom doorway.

His eyes widen as if he just remembered I’m a girl. Tugging the towel around my body tighter, I avert my gaze. “What are you looking at?”

“I forget sometimes,” he says softly. “What you look like.”

He means without my makeup. Without my rainbow wigs and chains and piercings. He means me as I am right now: Domino, in the nude. “Stop staring at me, perv.”

“I know you hate it when I—”

“Stop,” I say. “Just don’t.”

He holds up his hands in defeat. “I’m ready to go when you are.”

I move to my closet—a pile of clothes on the floor that Dizzy stole for me—and bend to dig through it. Behind me, I hear him turn to leave.

“You are so beautiful,” he says under his breath before he’s gone.

I almost charge after him. I almost beat his chest and scratch his face with my dirtied nails. Anything to make him regret what he said. But I just tighten my hands into fists and I count—one, two, three…ten.

Now my blood is even Steven, and everything’s going to be okay. It’s just Dizzy. His words are easy enough to forget. I smile like I mean it and lay a hand against the wall. It’s solid, real. If this wall is treated right, it’ll stand straight as the stars long after I’m dead. This particular wall is white with blotches of gray from God knows what.

But my wall, the one in my future house, will be blue.

I walk back into my bathroom, the one uglied by water stains and years of neglect, and pull on a black skirt and tee, lace-up heels, and green-and-black-striped tights like I’m the Wicked Witch of the West. Then I hook in my piercings—lip, ears, eyebrow, tongue—and swipe on enough eyeliner and shadow to cause anyone’s mama to shiver. Finally…hello, darling…I slip on my pink wig.

My armor is complete. But then I catch my reflection in the cracked mirror. My jaw tightens as I take in what Dizzy saw. The face of an angel, isn’t that what they always said?

They. They.

Them.

I see the same inventory Dizzy does: large blue eyes, soft skin, blond hair kept hidden beneath a wig. But there’s more than meets the proverbial eye here. There’s something else that he doesn’t know about. That no one knows about. There’s a darkness living inside me. A blackness that sleeps in my belly like a coiled snake.

His name is Wilson.

 

 

Meet the author…

Victoria Scott is the acclaimed author of eight novels for young adults including FIRE & FLOOD, THE COLLECTOR, HEAR THE WOLVES, and VIOLET GRENADE. She is published by Scholastic and Entangled Teen, and is represented by Sara Crowe. Victoria’s novels are sold in fourteen countries, and she loves receiving reader emails from at home, and across the world.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

 

 

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Review: Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

Violet Grenade
by Victoria Scott
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult
Rating:

Her name is Domino Ray.
But the voice inside her head has a different name.

When Madam Karina finds Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position at her girls’ home in secluded West Texas. With no alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval…and falling for Cain, the mysterious boy living in the basement.

But the madam has horrible secrets. So do the girls in the house. So does Cain. Escaping is harder than Domino expects, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the danger living inside Domino’s mind.

Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: Girl Out of Water by Laura Silverman

Girl Out of Water
by Laura Silverman
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Genre: Young Adult

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she loves.

 

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Review: Don’t Kiss the Messenger by Katie Ray

Don’t Kiss the Messenger
(Edgelake High School #1)
by Katie Ray
Publisher: Entangled Crush
Publication Date: April 10, 2017
Genre: Young Adult
Rating:

For most of her teenage life, CeCe Edmonds has been dealing with the stares and the not-so-polite whispers that follow her around Edgelake High. So she has a large scar on her face—Harry Potter had one on his forehead and people still liked him.

CeCe never cared about her looks—until Emmett Brady, transfer student and football darling, becomes her literature critique partner. The only problem? Emmett isblindsided by Bryn DeNeuville, CeCe’s gorgeous and suddenly shy volleyball teammate.

Bryn asks CeCe to help her compose messages that’ll charm Emmett.CeCe isn’t sure there’s anything in his head worth charming but agrees anyway—she’s a sucker for a good romance. Unfortunately, the more messages she sends and the more they run into each other, the more she realizes there’s plenty in his head, from food to literature. Too bad Emmett seems to be falling for the wrong girl…

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book involves one fiercely scarred girl who wants the new guy in town, the new guy who thinks he wants the new girl, and the new girl who really isn’t sure what she wants, and the misunderstanding that brings them all together. This modern Cyrano de Bergerac retelling will make you laugh, swoon, and fall in love.

 

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Sneak Peek Wednesday: Stranger Things Have Happened by Jeff Strand [Giveaway]

Stranger Things Have Happened
by Jeff Strand
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Genre: Young Adult

At 15, Marcus Millian III, the great-grandson of the famous Zachary the Stupendous, is already a talented illusionist. But when Marcus chokes during a card trick and leaves the audience unimpressed, prideful Zachary promises that he and Marcus are working on an illusion that will shock, stun, and astonish. That night, Zachary dies in his sleep.

To uphold the honor of Marcus’s beloved great-grandfather, the show must go on, and Marcus will need to make a shark disappear in front of everybody. It would take a sorcerer to pull this off, but, hey, Marcus is the next best thing…right?

 

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Review: Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Proof of Lies
(Anastasia Phoenix #1)
by Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication date: March 7, 2017
Genre: YA Mystery
Rating:

Some secrets are best kept hidden…

Anastasia Phoenix has always been the odd girl out, whether moving from city to international city with her scientist parents or being the black belt who speaks four languages.

And most definitely as the orphan whose sister is missing, presumed dead.

She’s the only one who believes Keira is still alive, and when new evidence surfaces, Anastasia sets out to follow the trail—and lands in the middle of a massive conspiracy. Now she isn’t sure who she can trust. At her side is Marcus, the bad boy with a sexy accent who’s as secretive as she is. He may have followed her to Rome to help, but something about him seems too good to be true.

Nothing is as it appears, and when everything she’s ever known is revealed to be a lie, Anastasia has to believe in one impossibility.

She will find her sister.

 

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