The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

girl fromThe Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig 

For Nix’s entire life, she has not only sailed the seas but time and space itself. Along with her father and the crew of his ship, they can travel to any real or fictional world as long as they have a hand-drawn map of the place and time. Unfortunately, there is a catch. A map can only take you to a place once. But in this life of adventure and excitement, Nix’s father, Slate, only wants to go back to one place: Honolulu 1868. That was the time and place that Nix’s mother died and Slate wants to have her back again. Over the years, Nix has grown accustomed to her father’s obsession and her doubts that he will ever succeed — until one day Slate finally gets the right map. Nix worries about whether or not she will exist in this new reality with her mother, but is forced to help her father no matter the cost.
My biggest problem with The Girl from Everywhere was the start of it. At the beginning of the book, I thought the plot moved along slowly and I was eagerly waiting for it to pick up the pace. Eventually, the plot began to thicken and grow more interesting as I read on. It was a powerful book that is beautiful writing. The epic journey Nix takes is worth the read, and the author manages to explain all of the rules of time travel without having a huge information dump. The end left me on the edge of my seat and craving more, so I was thrilled to find out this is only the first book of a duology. –Vyshnavi Poruri (Murphy MS Student)

Nix is a girl who has never stayed in one place or time. With her father, the captain, and their crew, Nix’s father sails them from one time to another through hand-drawn maps. Although they could go anywhere and any time, even fictional places, Nix’s father, Slate, only wants maps for the time when Nix’s mother was alive, Honolulu Hawaii 1868. In his obsessive quest to find and buy these maps, he goes to any extent even if it borders on unrealistic, he might even put a risk on Nix if he manages to get through.
The Girl From Everywhere is a great story about setting priorities and sticking with them till the end. Although it was quite slow at the start as Vyshnavi said, it ended well and when the pace picked up it really threw me off and forced me to reread parts because of the unexpected fast-paced action. It took me a while to get really into it and there were some parts I didn’t really like but overall it was a good read. I would say it’s a great middle school book and would recommend it for the Texas Lone Star List. –Elise Fenstermacher (MMS Student)

The Girl From Everywhere is a great story about a girl named Nix who lives with her father on a ship along with Bee, Kashmir, and Rotgut. Bee comes from Africa , Rotgut was an ex-monk in China, and Kashmir comes from a magical land in Persia. Wait! Magical land? Yes. Nix’s father, Captain Slate, has the power to travel to any place and time using authentic maps. That’s how they found Kashmir, through a magical map. Captain Slate is obsessed with going back to the time that Nix’s mother died. He believes that he can still save her from death. Even though it has been more than a decade, he hunts for maps that can take him back to that time. Yet, how far will he go? Would he even take the risk of robbing a king’s treasury, nearly 1 million dollars, and using that money to buy a map from a bunch of bad men? It seems like it. The Girl From Everywhere is a great book in my opinion. It has adventure in it as well as betrayals. I highly recommend it and I think that it should make the Lone Star Committee List. –Ishaan Javali (MMS Student)

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The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

TheColdestGirlInColdtownThe Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

About:  Want a creepy read for Halloween?  Look no further than Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.  Meet Tana, who lives in a world where the monsters have crept out of the closet and vampires are the latest celebrities.  You may be ready to put a stake in vampire lit, but read this first: “It’s dark and dangerous, bloody and brilliant,” ~ Kirkus Reviews.

Roben says: One morning, after a Sundown party, Tana wakes up surrounded by the corpses of her friends – the remains of a vampire feast. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperating ex-boyfriend Aiden, infected by the vampires, and the mysterious Gavriel, who speaks in riddles and seems to teeter on the brink of madness. Scared but determined, Tana races to save everyone the only way she knows: by going straight to the heart of Coldtown, where infected and uninfected humans mingle with vampires in a world turned upside down. The problem is – people go into Coldtown but hardly anyone ever makes it out again. Tana is determined to get back home to her little sister but – like all well-laid plans – things don’t necessarily work out the way she thought they would. You’ll have to decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I liked Tana – she is a strong, loyal, compassionate heroine with a little dash of crazy. I don’t read a lot of vampire books but I really enjoyed this one!

Check out the official trailer from Little Brown Young Readers

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The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone 

unlikeliesThe Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. Her best friend has left for college, she just broke up with her boyfriend, and she’s working at a farm stand all summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby from being kidnapped.  A video of the rescue goes viral and she’s an overnight internet celebrity.  Which results in a last minute invite to a luncheon celebrating young “hometown heroes.” The group ends up being five very different teens that form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs. They decide to name themselves The Unlikelies. They start off battling internet bullies and trolls, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads.  Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships–and anonymity–intact? This thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, mystery, and wisdom.

ROBEN SAYS: I loved this book. It’s a super quick read that has a little bit of everything.  There’s romance as Sadie discovers that one of the Unlikelies is an old crush that she had given up on.  And there’s a mysterious suitcase bequeathed to Sadie by one of her farm stand customers.  There’s the pain of losing old friends and the joy of finding new ones. And ultimately, it’s inspiring.  You will be encouraged to follow Sadie’s example of “If you see something, say something!” Or – in Sadie’s case – DO something.

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Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

girlGirl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

Girl in Pieces is a seriously heavy book. At the young age of 17, Charlotte “Charlie” Davis is dealing with self-harm, drugs, alcohol, sexual abuse, and homelessness- among other issues that teenage girls are faced with. But Charlie is a survivor. No matter what has been thrown her way, she has learned to adjust to her new normal, even when it means cutting herself to purge the agony that accompanies her life. Until her new life proves to be tougher than she is.

Charlie wakes up to find herself in a psychiatric hospital with other teenage girls. She soon learns that every girl in Creeley Centre shares a desire for self-harm in one way or another. The short time she spends there makes a big impact on her and she tries to use some positive behaviors she learned at Creeley to make a new life in a new city.

I feel if I indulge in the review anymore I will give away some spoilers, and there is still a lot of stuff that happens. I loved this book so much. The approach to this story feels very authentic. Kathleen Glasgow is a master at writing about raw, painful topics while remaining truthful about the intricacies or girlhood. Read this book in its entirety. The author’s note at the end is amazing,


Reviewed by Stephanie

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I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

loveI Believe In a Thing Called Love by Maurene Goo

About: A disaster in romance, high school senior Desi Lee decides to tackle her flirting failures by watching Korean television dramas, where the hapless heroine always seems to end up in the arms of her true love by episode ten.

What I Liked: I super love K-Dramas! So when this book came out I definitely had to read it. It is everything I hoped for and more. Desi is good on the soccer field as well as everything in the academic field. However, when it comes to love she is clueless. When Luca the artsy handsome guy shows up at school she is attracted to him, but makes a fool of herself in front of him. She decides to take matters into her own hands. She binge watches K-Dramas and emerges with the determination that she will get the boy. This can only happen if she follows the steps of a K-Drama heroine. Thus the craziness starts! I never knew what was going to happen next. This was super funny and I totally recommend it!

Reviewed by Yentl!

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The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

femaleThe Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

About- Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence.

Anna’s thoughts- This book is insanely intense. McGinnis goes into such detail about rape and sexual assault that it can be uncomfortable to read…and that’s a good thing. On the other hand, Alex forms relationships through the story that are real and normal. I was actually surprised by the love story within this book and how prevalent it was throughout the narrative. I appreciated how McGinnis would just drop the murders on the reader and walk away- like BOOM!, but now I’m changing the topic before you even have time to comprehend what happened. This book is definitely not for everyone although it is an eye-opener about rape culture and how rampant sexual assault is in our culture.

Reviewed by Anna

Check out the book trailer from Harper Teen

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The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

pearlThe Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

Julia begins her summer vacation by waking up in a hospital with no hair and a terrible headache. Initially anonymous, nurses quickly discover that she is Julia Beaufort-Stuart, 15-year-old granddaughter of the Earl of Strathfearn. Her late grandfather’s estate is being sold to pay debts and Julia was planning to spend her summer packing up the house. Instead she had her head bashed in while spending a lazy afternoon by the river.

Julia remembers little about the attack, and in an effort to discover what happened, she befriends Euan and Ellen McEwen, the Scottish Travellers who found her after she was injured.  Her sleuthing leads her to believe that her assault is connected with the disappearance of an archivist who is cataloging the estate’s antiquities. When a body is discovered in the river, her new friends become immediate suspects, victims of long-held local biases against the Travellers. With the stakes suddenly higher, Julia must unravel the mystery in order to uncover the true criminals and vindicate her friends.

Set in 1938, the book is mostly a murder mystery with a dollop of historical fiction and a touch of romance. It is also a prequel to one of my all-time favorite books, Code Name Verity.  In just a few short years, the young Julia of this book grows up to become a spy in World War Two whose code name is – you guessed it – Verity. So I knew I had to read this book to revisit one of my favorite characters.  I was not disappointed. In addition to uncovering the identity of the person who bashed Julia’s head, there are other discoveries – a search for lost treasure; unexpected romance; and learning about the culture of the Scottish Travellers and the prejudice against them. If you haven’t read Code Name Verity, that’s OK – this book can stand on its own.  But I think you will want to read all three of the books in this series.  Once you’ve started, you will just want to know more about Wein’s wonderful characters.

Reviewed by Roben

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