One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

one of usOne of Us is Lying by Karen McManus – YA New Book YA F MCM

What’s it about:  When the creator of a high school gossip app mysteriously dies in front of four high-profile students all four become suspects. It’s up to them to solve the case.

Andrea Says: Once I started reading this book I couldn’t put it down.  The story begins very much like The Breakfast Club in which members from different groups of the student body; the brain, the jock, the princess, the outcast and the criminal meet for after school detention.  Among this group is Simon, who belongs to no group and is the creator of the school’s gossip app.  By the time the students leave detention Simon is dead.  Quickly each of the students become suspects while the book takes turns with each person’s perspective on what happened and their journey to clear their names.  The characters become more complex as the story reveals each student’s secrets and motivations for killing Simon.  I was pleasantly surprised on how each of these characters evolve from their stereotypical roles at the beginning of the book.  Relationships, friendship and betrayal are a result of this evolution, and it was so much fun to read.  This book kept me guessing until the very end, and I would definitely recommend this book to mystery and “whodunit” lovers.

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May 2018 Teen Library Council Teen Pics

May2018 TLC sign for blog (1)

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Far From the Tree by Robin Benway

Far from the Tree by Robin Benway 

Q3_FY18_Steph review


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Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

midnightMidnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson

About: Adri’s, Catherine’s, and Lenore’s lives are intertwined but not in the way that one would think. Adri lives in 2065 Kansas, Catherine lives in 1930s Kansas, and Lenore lives in England in 1919. As Adri is preparing to go to Mars, she stays with her cousin in Kansas, where the training takes place. Upon settling in, she comes across letters written from Lenore to Beth. Through journals and, later, letters, Catherine narrates her own story of being in Kansas during the Dust Bowl.

Ofilia’s Thoughts: Wow. When I read the description for this book, I thought there was no way the author would be able to pull this off in any way that makes sense. Not only does Anderson pull it off, but she makes it sing. The novel begins with Adri who lives in 2065 and is completely disconnected emotionally from people and really from herself. When she moves in with an elderly aunt temporarily before being shipped off to Mars, she finds some letters and a journal, which is how we get the stories of the other two protagonists. Anderson uses this story within a story device with maximum effect making the stories flow and intertwine seamlessly. This book is all about how knowing your history helps make your future. All three protagonists are interesting and tell compelling stories on their own. When you see how they are all connected it just makes the narrative that much stronger. Adri is also assisted by a 100 year old tortoise named Galapagos, who actually plays a role in all three stories. I know it sounds weird, but you have to admit you’re intrigued, right? You should be because this is storytelling at its most complex and beautiful. This book is like nothing I’ve ever read before and totally worth reading more than once.

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Devils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush

devils andDevils & Thieves by Jennifer Rush

Jemmie Carmichael has grown up in a world of rival biker gangs, fast living, and magic. Her father and Michael Medici founded the Black Devils, one of the most powerful and feared kindled (magic) biker gangs. Medici, the father of her best friend Alex, and love interest, Crowe, tragically died in a mysterious accident/possible murder last year.

Unlike the crowd Jemmie keeps, she can only smell magic. Feeling like an outsider and bereft over a failed romance with Crowe, she starts seeing rival gang prospect, Darek. During the kindled biker community’s annual meetup, people start to go missing, including her best friend Alex. Tempers and magic fly, and no one can be trusted.

The world of magic wielding motorcycle gangs is a nuanced approach to the contemporary fantasy genre. The novel leads with well-paced, adequate world building; Followed by a rush of drama, action, suspense, the dark arts, and a steamy love triangle, guaranteed to keep readers engaged. Though the protagonists are teens, that does not hinder their wild and reckless behavior, making the novel most appropriate for an older audience. Devils & Thieves reads as if Kami Garcia or Laini Taylor got together to write fandom for the Sons of Anarchy television show. Though an interesting pitch, a hard sell to the masses. However, the niche audience that Devils & Thieves does appeal to will find a winner in this new series.

Reviewed by Audrey and featured in VOYA magazine

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue by Mackenzie Lee


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Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

strangeStrange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – YA F TAY (Fantasy)

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Lazlo Strange is a librarian and a dreamer; Sarai is blue-skinned godspawn; Thyon is a charlatan, and Eril-Fane is the Godslayer.  The city of Weep, shrouded in mystery, brings them all together.  Long buried secrets will be revealed, love will be discovered, and lives will be lost.

ROBEN SAYS: Laini Taylor is one of my favorite YA authors.  I loved her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and so I was thrilled when Strange the Dreamer won a Printz Honor Award this year. Laini’s world-building abilities are truly amazing. She invents strange yet somehow familiar worlds and introduces characters that quickly earn your admiration or love or loathing. And – she has pink hair. I must warn you that the ending of this book will quite literally take your breath away – but don’t worry.  There will be a sequel- Muse of Nightmares – in October!


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