Starstruck, by Rachel Shukert:
It's a vision of Old Hollywood that both creates and dispels fantasy: it's got the glamour and the clothes and the glitter, but it also shows the ugliness behind the magic. And there's a whole lot of ugliness. Loads of TWISTS and TURNS, and there are clearly some BIG THINGS TO COME in future installments...
Escape Theory, by Margaux Froley:
Whenever the analytical part of my brain complained, the rest of me shushed it: because Escape Theory is entirely entertaining. Sure, Devon won’t be competing in the Detection Olympics any time soon, but the mystery is still engrossing, and even better, the emotional core of the book—her new friendships, but especially her relationship with Hutch—is ultimately quite affecting.
Scowler, by Daniel Kraus:
Scowler deals in true suspense and psychological horror—Kraus never resorts to the cheesy jump scare—and the constant unease and shifting alliances reminded me of the carjacking episode of Six Feet Under and parts of Rob Zombie's The Devil's Rejects. If you're more inclined to be convinced by the name-dropping of a modern classic, it also made me think of In Cold Blood.
Fat Angie, by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo
Heart of Glass, by Sasha Gould
MILA 2.0, by Debra Driza
Panic, by Sharon M. Draper
Poison, by Bridget Zinn
Promises to Keep, by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Strands of Bronze and Gold, by Jane Nickerson:
Historical fiction fans are likely to be bothered that Sophia’s language and diction—as well as the rest of the dialogue spoken by the white characters—is anachronistic, in that it sounds more 2013 than 1855: I smashed a mosquito against my neck and my own blood spurted out. Because of that modern feel, the dialect spoken by the black characters—He been beat before. He tougher’n he looks.—is somewhat jarring. Sophia also has a tendency to tell us how she feels, rather than letting us feel it through her...which is what ultimately leads me to what this book is missing.
Surfacing, by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Trinkets, by Kirsten Smith:
...it's a solid-if-not-particularly-original read about breaking social boundaries, the differences between our public face and our private self, the power of friendship, healing and family and lurrrve. I loved that while the new friendships become a source of strength and confidence for them, each girl really works through her own issues separately.
Through Dead Eyes, by Chris Priestley
The Secret Circle: The Temptation, by L. J. Smith
Deep Betrayal, by Anne Greenwood Brown
New paperbacks (that I've read):
A Monster Calls: Inspired by an idea from Siobhan Dowd, by Patrick Ness and Jim Kay:
A Monster Calls isn't a fable that features Everyman Characters To Make A Point: It's a story about people. Conor isn't just a stand-in for any random person experiencing heartbreak. He's a real, three-dimensional boy, with a real, three-dimensional life. His grandmother is a real person, as is his mother and his mostly-absent father and the people at school and everyone else in the book.
Cross My Heart, by Sasha Gould:
Judging by the description alone, Cross My Heart has loads of potential—setting, time period, mystery, murders, class and gender issues, secret freaking societies—but ultimately, unfortunately, it reads like...eh. It’s got a plotline standard to any number of movies you’ve seen and forgotten—girl attempts to solve her sister’s murder, gets involved with a shady secret society, falls in love with someone unsuitable—and neither the characterization nor the narration is a particular stand out.
Guy Langman, Crime Scene Procrastinator, by Josh Berk:
I’ve been looking forward to Josh Berk’s Guy Langman: Crime Scene Procrastinator for months. Not because I’m dying to read it. I already have. It’s because I’ve been dying for everyone else to read it. I read an advanced copy of it last October while my car was getting worked on, and I laughed so much and so hard that the receptionist gave me The Eye.