Monday, December 31, 2012

The Top 13 Books that I Want that are Releasing in 2013

Fault Line by Christa Desir - This is probably the 2013 book that I want the most.  There's just something in the synopsis that sounds amazing to me.  It sounds like the type of book I would like.  It's male POV, which I've been trying to read more of lately, and it's darker, and I don't mind reading darker books.  I think I'm going to love this one, but unfortunately, I have to wait until November to read it.  Also, I really love this cover.

Pivot Point by Kasie West - The premise of this book sounds extremely fascinating.  I like the idea that Addie has to choose between two futures - one in the paranormal world and one in the normal world.  From reviews, it sounds like the type of book that reads like a contemporary but also has a bit of paranormal mixed into it.  I look forward to seeing how this plays out.

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller - The author is Trish Doller, and, in my opinion, that alone is a good reason to want to read this book.  Something Like Normal make me a huge fan of her books.  Also, the premise of this book sounds really good as well.

The Rules for Disappearing by Ashley Elston - The premise of this book sounds very interesting.  Also, I love the cover.

Insomnia by JR Johansson - This book sounds really good, and probably a little bit creepy too.  The cover is definitely creepy.  I look forward to meeting Parker, and I wonder whether or not he really is stalking Mia.

Canary by Rachele Alpine - I love the cover of this book.  It has such a great color scheme and a really cool look to it.  Plus, the premise sounds great.  I look forward to seeing what happens to Kate and how she deals with it all.

Brianna on the Brink by Nicole McInnes - This sounds like a really good teen pregnancy book.  Also, the cover is really cool.

The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher - This one sounds like a bit of a mystery, and it sounds sad as well.  I look forward to meeting the characters and reading this story.

How I Lost You by Janet Gurtler - I've read and enjoyed two of Janet Gurtler's books so far.  I still have to read Who I Kissed.  I think I will love this book too.  It sounds like a good story of friendship.

Charm and Strange by Stephanie Kuehn - This sounds like an interesting story.  It sounds like an interesting take on shapeshifting and werewolves.  Winston sounds like a fascinating character too.

Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook - This sounds like an interesting dual POV story.  I've seen mixed reviews, but I still am going to read it.  I think it sounds like something that I would like.  It sounds very emotional.

Bruised by Sarah Skilton - This sounds like a really emotional story.  I look forward to meeting Imogen's character and seeing how this event impacts her life.

A Point So Delicate by Brandy Colbert - I have never read a book that combine ballet and abduction.  I look forward to seeing how this is done.  I also am wondering what role the main character played in her friend's abduction.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Best of 2012: Best Friends

This list is for the best best friends of a protagonist of a book published in 2012.  Some of these friendships may become more than a friendship later in the book.

Lucy from Second Chance Summer - Lucy and Taylor got into a big fight when they were twelve, and Lucy still holds a grudge against Taylor at the beginning of this book.  Eventually, she is able to get past what happened back then, and she becomes a great friend to Taylor.

Dani from Bittersweet - There are some problems between Dani and Hudson in this book, but that doesn't mean Dani isn't still a good best friend character.  She really does care about Hudson.

Kaylee from Never Eighteen - Kaylee is the best friend that Austin has had a crush on for a while.  She supports him by going on his trip with him.  Eventually, he learns that she may return his feelings too.

Harrison from A Midsummer's Nightmare - Harrison is Wesley's friend from the DUFF, and he becomes Whitley's best friend in A Midsummer's Nightmare.  He's a good guy who is there for her.  He also can give her advice on things like fashion.

Blake from Breaking Beautiful - Blake is Allie's friend in Breaking Beautiful, but it is pretty clear from the beginning that he has other feelings for her.  Despite these feelings, he can be a good friend to her as well.

Kirsten and Paige from What Happens Next - Though Kirsten and Paige get mad at Sid after she sneaks out of their room during the ski trip, they are still good friends.  They stay mad at her for a bit, but then they make up and are there for her again.

Cassie and Matt from Smashed - Both Cassie and Matt are there for Katie in Smashed.  Matt is only friends with Katie, and neither him nor Katie have feelings for each other.  He cares about her, though he sometimes gets mad at her.  Cassie is Katie's teammate and her other best friend.  She also wants to help Katie get through her problems.

Alejandra and Ming and Noah from Live Through This - These are Coley's friends in Live Through This.  Though she has plenty of problems with Alejandra, they make up by the end.  Noah's a good guy who can be funny as well.  Ming is also a good friend to Coley.  After the fight between Coley and Alejandra, Ming has been becoming Coley's best female friend.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best of 2012: Male Characters

Some of these male characters are the protagonists, and others are the love interests.  They are all great guy characters.

Travis from Something Like Normal - Travis is the protagonist of this book, and he is an amazing one.  He is dealing with PTSD after his best friend's death in war.  While he was in Afghanistan, his brother took both his car and his girlfriend.  Harper is able to help him get better, but in the end, he has to really help himself to get past what has happened to him.  He is a strong main character, and one I loved.

Victor from Cracked - Victor is a great character.  At the beginning of Cracked, he just wants to give up and end his life.  His parents don't love him, and Bull always bullies him at school.  His parents decide to go on vacation without him since his SAT scores on the reading and writing sections aren't so great.  When they are gone, his dog dies, so he takes a bunch of pills.  He wakes up in the psych ward.  While he is there, he is able to meet some new people, including a girl, and he summons his will to live.  When he leaves the psych ward, he is happier with his life.

Bull from Cracked - Bull has a rotten home life, but that doesn't mean he is excused for bullying Victor.  His grandpa is abusive, and both his grandpa and mom drink.  He takes out his anger at his abuse on Victor.  When he tries to kill his grandpa, he accidentally shoots his own leg and ends up in the psych ward.  While he's in there, he finds a father figure named Frank, and he finds love in a girl named Kell.

Jay from Burning Blue - Jay suffers from epilepsy, and he was homeschooled for a few years after having a seizure in front of the entire school.  In the book, he is back at school again for the first year since the seizure.  When he finds out about what happened to Nicole, he decides to find out who did it.  He meets her and the two become friends, and possibly more.

Henry from Second Chance Summer - Henry is a really sweet guy who Taylor dated when she was twelve.  Back then, she said some stuff about him that she didn't mean, and he became mad at her then.  Once he gets over the problems they've had in the past, he is able to start a new relationship with Taylor.

Jase from My Life Next Door - Jase is a great character.  He comes from a large family and has many younger siblings that he has to help take care of.  He's a really sweet guy, and there is a great romance between him and Sam in this.

Noah from Pushing the Limits - Noah doesn't have the greatest reputation, but he is actually a good guy.  He is a great older brother, and he is determined to get custody of his two little brothers.  Eventually, he realizes what is best for them.  When Echo gets assigned to tutoring him, he meets her.  The romance in the book is great.

Butter from Butter - Butter is a great main character.  He makes this plan that he isn't sure he wants to go through with.  He never expects the reactions that he gets.  When people become friends with him because of what he's going to do, he mistakes it for real friendship.  He is a great guy who just wants people to see beyond his appearance.


Friday, December 28, 2012

Best of 2012: Female Characters

These female characters that I'm focusing on may either be the protagonist, or a love interest from a male POV book.  All of these characters are from books releasing in 2012.

Whitley from A Midsummer's Nightmare - Whitley is a great character who is struggling from her father's sudden engagement that he didn't tell her that.  She is clearly a broken character, but she is one that readers will root for.  I wanted her to be able to get better and reconcile with her family and become happy again.

Coley from Live Through This - Coley is a strong and amazing character.  She is dealing with some tough stuff in her life, yet she is still able to put on a brave face.  Her romance with Reece is very sweet and cute as well.

Quinn from If I Lie - Quinn is a great character.  She endures many tough things in the book.  She is bullied for being a cheater, and she made a promise to Carey, so she can't even tell anyone that she didn't really cheat.  She is very strong and it is a great experience to read about her.

Emme from Take a Bow - Emme is a great musician and a great friend to both Sophie and Ethan, and later, Carter as well.  It is amazing to watch her become more confident and learn how to sing in front of people along with writing the songs.

Sid from What Happens Next - It is clear in the book that what happened to Sid has had a large effect on her, but she doesn't let it ruin her life.  She also has a slowly progressing and sweet relationship with Corey.  She struggles with whether or not she should tell her secret, and she finally does in an emotional scene.

Jess from 34 Pieces of You - Jess is one of the three protagonists in 34 Pieces of You, and I loved her character.  Of the three, she was definitely my favorite.  When Ellie died, it was a huge loss to her, but since no one knew what Ellie had meant to her, much of her grieving had to be done in secret.  She had clearly been affected by what had happened to Ellie.  Jess was just an all-around amazing character.

Harper from Something Like Normal - Harper is a great character, and even though she isn't the protagonist, she is still well-developed.  Harper has her reasons to be mad at Travis after what he did to her at the beginning of high school.  A lie told by him led to rumors that completely ruined Harper's reputation.  Despite this, she is able to forgive him, and the romance between the two is so sweet and amazing.

Taylor from Second Chance Summer - Since Taylor's dad is ill with a very serious form of cancer, she is obviously dealing with a lot.  She's a strong character, though she has had a habit of sometimes running from her problems in the past.   During this summer, she has to face all her problems again since she had some major issues with her best friend and first boyfriend last time she went to her summer house.  She manages to be strong through her dad's illness too, despite knowing how it will end.

Allie from Breaking Beautiful - When her boyfriend Trip dies in a car accident, Allie has so many feelings, and one of them is relief.  Trip had been abusing her, and she hadn't told anyone this.  Throughout the book, she struggles to get past the abuse.  Everyone thinks that Trip was perfect, so if she told them the truth, they would be shocked.  The other people in her small town treat her like a grieving widow.  There is another boy that she becomes interested in, but she is worried about what others would think.  Eventually, she ends up dating this boy anyway.

Bria from Wanderlove - In a way, Bria is really trying to escape her problems.  She had recently broken up with her boyfriend after she made it into an art program and he didn't.  It was clear from his reaction that he thought his art was better than hers.  She wants to go to Central America, and she wants to make sure that she's only with guys she doesn't care about in the future.  She decides to ditch her tour group and go off backpacking.  This is one of her first impulsive decisions.  Throughout the book, she tries to leave the old Bria behind so there can be a new Bria.

Echo from Pushing the Limits - Echo has many problems since her mother gave her horrible scars not too long before.  She is traumatized by this, so she has to see a therapist.  She is trying to get over what happened with her through the whole book.  It is great to watch her growing stronger. 

Katie from Smashed - Katie has a lot of problems in her life.  She has a dad who left her, and a mom who is basically never home.  Also, she has a drinking problem, too.  During the summer, she gets to know Alec, a guy who ends up causing some problems for her.  She realizes that she is in a bad situation with him, but at that point, it is too late.  Her drinking continues to spiral out of control, until she is finally forced to get help.  She really is a great character, despite all her issues.


Review: Losing Faith by Denise Jaden

Losing Faith A terrible secret. A terrible fate.

When Brie’s sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie’s world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but.

As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don’t line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night... a secret that puts her own life in danger.

My Review:

Losing Faith was a gripping book with amazing characters that I sped through quickly.  I loved the mystery and I needed to know what had really happened the night Faith died.


Brie is a great main character.  She is clearly very upset at the death of her sister, and she finds herself lost and alone when everyone at school basically stops talking to her after Faith's death. Her parents don't want to talk about Faith at all, and they also begin to ignore Brie.  Brie realizes she wants to know what really happened when Faith died.  Many think the death was a suicide, but Brie is sure that Faith would never kill herself.  As the story unfolds, Brie realizes there were many things about Faith that she did not know. 

Two of the great secondary characters in this were Alis and Tessa.  Alis is the brother of Faith's friend, Reena.  He is homeschooled, and Brie sees him at Faith's funeral, and then at her school one day to take a test.  She decides she wants to meet this boy to see if he knows more about Faith.  The relationship between Alis and Brie progresses well and seems natural.  Tessa is a Goth girl who seems very tough and has been given the nickname Terrible Tessa.  Brie's locker is next to Tessa's locker, and soon after Faith's death, Tessa is the only person who will really talk to her.  Tessa and Brie become friends, and Tessa helps Brie to find out information about her sister.

The religious aspects of this book are well done as well.  From the beginning of the book, it is clear that Faith was very religious.  She and her friend Celeste were always going to youth groups.  After Faith's death, Brie discovers that her sister had not gone to youth group for a while.  She discovers that Faith and Celeste had joined a dangerous, cult-like religious group led by Reena and Nathan.  This group was quite interesting to read about.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.  


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #40: Hysteria


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My pick for this week is:


Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others. In another riveting tale of life and death, Megan Miranda's masterful storytelling brings readers along for a ride to the edge of sanity and back again.

This sounds like it could be very creepy read.  I enjoyed Megan Miranda's Fracture, so I am looking forward to reading her second book.  I'll be reading this once it releases on February 5th.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?


Monday, December 24, 2012

Review: Smashed by Lisa Luedeke

Smashed A field hockey star grapples with addiction in this riveting debut that will appeal to fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak.

Stay out of trouble for one more year, and Katie Martin can leave her small town loneliness behind forever. She is a field hockey star on the fast track to a college scholarship, but her relationship with alcohol has always been a little questionable. Then trouble finds her. Alec is the most popular guy in school, and also the biggest bully—with his sights set firmly on Katie. When Alec turns on the charm, Katie thinks she must have been wrong about him.

Except that she wasn’t. On a rain-soaked, alcohol-drenched night, one impulsive decision leaves Katie indebted to Alec in the worst possible way. This debut novel is a fast-paced and compelling story of addiction, heartbreak, and redemption.

My Review:

Smashed is an amazing book that I was unable to put down.  I constantly had to know what would happen next to Katie.  This book is extremely emotional, and the writing makes it impossible to not feel bad for Katie.  I rooted for things to get better for her.


Katie is a great main character.  She has many issues, but it is still easy for the readers to want her to get better.  Many of her problems stem from the fact that she drinks and parties too much.  Her dad left when she was eleven or twelve, and her mom is always working and spending time with her boyfriends, so Katie hardly ever sees her.  Katie's younger brother Will practically lives at his best friend's house.  He sleeps over there so much.  Sometimes, when she has a bad day, she decides to drink alcohol.  When she starts seeing Alec during the summer, she thinks that maybe he isn't as bad as his reputation says he is.  He seems like a nice guy to her, but then there is a drunk driving accident.  Katie was the driver, but Alec tells everyone that he was the driver.  Katie knows that he could easily use this against her.

The relationships portrayed between Katie and her two best friends are well done.  Some issues arise near the beginning between Katie and Matt when she starts becoming friendly with Alec.  In the past, one of Alec's friends had bullied Matt, so he doesn't understand why Katie would suddenly change her opinion of him.  Still, despite this, he is a great friend.  In many books, the girl ends up with her guy best friend, but that doesn't happen here.  Katie's other best friend, Cassie, is also a great friend.  She plays field hockey with Katie.  Near the end of the book, they have some problems since Katie tells Cassie she would have never gotten into the situations that Katie got into.  There is a great scene with the two of them when they reconcile.

The emotions in this book are so well written, and that was one of my favorite things about this book.  There is a scene when Alec does something horrible to Katie, and the aftermath of this scene is amazingly written.  Katie feels so sick that she lies in bed for days, thinking about what he did to her.  She sometimes half blames herself, but she also knows that it wasn't her fault.

If you like emotional contemporary YA, read this book.

Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #39: Brianna on the Brink


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My pick for this week is:

Brianna on the Brink

A one-night stand has life-altering consequences for popular, sixteen-year-old Brianna, who must then accept help from the one person closest to her mistake.

I think the story of this book sounds really interesting.  I have read a few teen pregnancy books, and I have usually liked them.  I can't wait to read this once it is released on January 7th.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?


Monday, December 17, 2012

Review: Bunheads by Sophie Flack

Bunheads As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.

But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life?

My Review:

Bunheads is a fascinating novel that explores the world of ballet.  I do take dance, but I am not in a company, so I still found the view of a company shown in the book very insightful and interesting.


Hannah Ward is a great main character.  She is a nineteen year old in the Manhattan Ballet Company, but she's not a principal dancer or soloist.  She is in the corps de ballet.  She wants to get promoted to higher rules in her company, but the competition is cutthroat, and you have to really prove yourself to Otto, the director, to get better roles.  When she goes out one night and meets a young musician, she begins questioning whether she really wants to solely focus her life on ballet.

The other girls in the company were interesting characters.  Zoe's friendship with Hannah seemed realistic.  She wasn't the best friend, since Hannah and she were rivals for parts.  They tended to get placed together in the same roles.  Things become especially strained between them when Hannah gets put in to dance the part of a soloist when she gets injured.  Both Zoe and Hannah were understudying that part, but Hannah, and not Zoe, happened to be in the wings when the dancer got injured.  Zoe knows that if she had been in the wings and Hannah hadn't, she would have been put in to play the role.  The other girls in Hannah's dressing room, Bea and Daisy, are also interesting characters.

The two boys in this book are good characters as well, though maybe not as developed as the ballerinas.  Jacob is the young musician who meets Hannah at a bar.  He is the first one to make her realize that there is a world outside of the Manhattan Ballet Company.  He shows her some sights in New York.  Their relationship is difficult since Hannah is hardly ever able to take time out of her busy schedule to see him.  The other boy is a balletomane, or ballet fan, named Matt.  He understands her schedule since he is such a fan of ballet.  He is always coming and watching her shows.  If you want to know which boy she chooses, read the book.

If you like YA contemporary and ballet, read this book.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #38: Taken


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My pick for this week is:

Taken (Taken, #1)

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends…and he’s gone.

They call it the Heist.

Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive.

Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?

This sounds like a really fascinating premise for a story.  Also, I like male POV books, and it sounds like this is a good male POV.  I can't wait to read this once it releases on April 16th.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?


Monday, December 10, 2012

Review: Butter by Erin Jade Lange

Butter A lonely obese boy everyone calls "Butter" is about to make history. He is going to eat himself to death-live on the Internet-and everyone is invited to watch. When he first makes the announcement online to his classmates, Butter expects pity, insults, and possibly sheer indifference. What he gets are morbid cheerleaders rallying around his deadly plan. Yet as their dark encouragement grows, it begins to feel a lot like popularity. And that feels good. But what happens when Butter reaches his suicide deadline? Can he live with the fallout if he doesn't go through with his plans? With a deft hand, E.J. Lange allows readers to identify with both the bullies and the bullied in this all-consuming look at one teen's battle with himself.

My Review:

Butter is a great book that tells a story that keeps you flipping the pages.  It is an emotional read with great messages about bullying.  The characters are interesting, and the narration is well done.


Butter is a great character.  He's clearly been through a lot in his life since he is morbidly obese with diabetes.  The kids at school basically ignore him, but he has experienced some bullying in the past.  An incident with a stick of butter caused the kids at school to give him the nickname Butter.  Butter wants the girl he likes to notice him, since he speaks to her online, but she doesn't know that Butter is her online "boyfriend."  He also is a talented sax player, but he doesn't want to play for people because it will draw attention to him.

The girl that Butter likes is named Anna.  She wasn't too bad of a person, and there were some good moments between her and Butter.  When she was talking to "Sax Man" online, she said she didn't care what he looked like; she would still like him, even if he was ugly.  I feel like she was lying because she became upset when she found out that her online "boyfriend" was Butter.  Even though she seemed to begin to forgive Butter near the end, I don't think that the two of them could have a relationship.  

I was not a fan of the kids in Butter's school.  Jeremy was an awful bully.  He was blatantly mean, and he started the bullying that caused Butter's nickname.   Trent and Parker, Butter's new "friends" were pretty awful too.  They were taking bets on whether or not he would kill himself, yet Butter thought they were his friends.

If you like emotional YA contemporary, read this book.


Friday, December 7, 2012

Cover: Fault Line by Christa Desir


I love the cover for this book, and the synopsis sounds amazing.  Unfortunately, it isn't being published until November 12, 2013, and that is almost a whole year away.

Here's the summary:

Ben could date anyone he wants, but he only has eyes for the new girl — sarcastic free-spirit, Ani. Luckily for Ben, Ani wants him too. She’s everything Ben could ever imagine. Everything he could ever want.

But that all changes after the party. The one Ben misses. The one Ani goes to alone.

Now Ani isn’t the girl she used to be, and Ben can’t sort out the truth from the lies. What really happened, and who is to blame?

Ben wants to help her, but she refuses to be helped. The more she pushes Ben away, the more he wonders if there’s anything he can do to save the girl he loves.



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #37: Pivot Point


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

My pick for this week is:

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.


This sounds like a really unique story.  I like the premise of Addie being able to see multiple futures.  I look forward to seeing what choices she makes once this is released on February 12th.

What are you Waiting On this Wednesday?


Monday, December 3, 2012

Review: This is Not a Drill by Beck McDowell

This Is Not a Drill When high school seniors—and former couple—Emery and Jake find themselves held hostage in a first grade classroom, they must do all they can to protect the kids. Brian Stutts, a U.S. soldier suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after serving in Iraq, pulls out his gun to convince the teacher to hand over the son he’s not allowed to check out because of a custody battle. The situation turns deadly when a security guard appears at the door and Stutts impulsively opens fire. When the teacher is carried from the room, the children's fate is in the hands of Emery and Jake. While Jake searches for a way to communicate with the policemen surrounding the building, Emery, fighting her shyness, fear, and POTS symptoms, tries to reach out to the soldier. She gains a new understanding of what he faced in Iraq, and discovers remarkable strength in his small son.

My Review:
This is Not a Drill was a great book.  It is suspenseful and kept me engaged in the story the entire time.  I couldn't put it down because I constantly wanted to know what would happen next to the characters.  I didn't want anything bad to happen to them, and I was worried about them.


This story is told in the alternating POVs of Emery and Jake, people who used to date and now teach French together to 1st graders.  Both of their characters were well-developed.  Emery has symptoms of a syndrome known as POTS.  Her symptoms include having panic attacks.  There are some moments during the book when she feels like she could have a panic attack, but she doesn't.  She tries to connect with Brian Stutts by asking him about his experience in Iraq.  Jake is the mayor's son.  He's gotten into some trouble in the past because he was friends with a guy who used drugs.  The friend got busted by the police for having drugs, and Jake was there, so he got into trouble too.

The first graders in the story are great characters.  Since they are so young, it is clear that having a man with a gun in their classroom could really scare them.  Some of them definitely do have moments when they get scared and cry, but they also stay strong through the situation.  The kids in the book can vary from sweet to dramatic to scared.  They each have distinct personalities.  Reading about these kids made the book even more heart-wrenching because I worried that something would happen to them.

Brian Stutts was an interesting character.  He was hard to like since he was wielding a loaded gun in a classroom of first graders, yet, when he started talking about his experiences in Iraq, I could feel sympathy towards him.  I don't think his actions are excused in any way by what happened to him, but I think somebody needs to help him with his PTSD.  He saw some horrible things over in Iraq, and I can see why he would be traumatized by them.

If you like YA contemporary, read this book.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Releases I'm Most Excited For

December 4th:
Never Let You Go by Emma Carlson Berne - This sounds like a very interesting story.  I look forward to reading it and meeting Megan and Anna.

 Never Let You Go

December 11th:
All the Broken Pieces by Cindi Madsen - This sounds like a really interesting story.  I look forward to seeing what happened to Liv.

All the Broken Pieces