Tag Archives: realistic fiction

Review – Keeping You A Secret – Julie Anne Peters

keeping you a secretKeeping You A Secret
Author: Julie Anne Peters

With a steady boyfriend, the position of Student Council President, and a chance to go to an Ivy League college, high school life is just fine for Holland Jaeger. At least it seems to be. But when Cece Goddard comes to school, everything changes. Cece and Holland have undeniable feelings for each other, but how will others react to their developing relationship? This moving love story between two girls is a worthy successor to Nancy Garden’s classic young adult coming out novel, Annie on My Mind. With her characteristic humor and breezy style, Peters has captured the compelling emotions of young love.

Holland Jaeger is the girl who by all appearances has it all – the girl that everyone wants to emulate. But life isn’t always as simple as that, especially when she discovers that she is gay. Suddenly her whole life changes in the space of an afternoon – the loss of family and friends, of all that is known to her was written in such a way by Ms Peters that it was terrifying and yet this is what many GLBT youth go through when they come out. I felt for Holland, I got teary-eyed when everything in her life started to change, and yet at the same time, when she picked herself up and said screw it to everyone, I cheered for her.

I felt that the author did a good job of exploring not only the teenage psyche (am I or aren’t I? what is going on?) as well as society’s acceptance/non-acceptance, and the different facets within (family, friends, school community, GLBT community). You (or at least I) could tell from the writing that this was something near and dear to the author’s heart, and that it was something that she likely had experience in. Which was confirmed when I finished the book and read her letter to the readers. She discussed the idea of writing a coming-out book and what risk it was to her and her partner, and the fear of what it might incite. Stuff that was similar to events in the story itself. You can easily see why this book was not only a Lambda Literary Award Finalist in 2003 (losing to Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan) and an ALA Stonewall Honor Book (an award given by the American Library Association every year for GLBT books). I know that I will most likely be looking for more books by this author in the future to try. Overall, 4 stars.

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Posted by on February 28, 2013 in Book Review


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Recommend A Book…With A Blue Cover

If I Stay – Gayle Forman

Dutton Juvenile, April 2, 2009
Hardcover, 208 pages

Purchase from Amazon here: If I Stay (Paperback) or If I Stay (Kindle)

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

While the cover of this book has been re-issued and is no longer the bright blue of the posted cover, I did read the bright blue one, so it fits ;) A lot of questions arose for me while I was reading this book – when faced with death and if you could make the decision to die or to live, what would you do? What if you were the only member of your family to survive – would that change your perception? I was pretty much in a blubbering mess as I was reading this. It wasn’t an overly difficult read, but a thought-provoking one.


Posted by on August 13, 2012 in Recommend A...


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Review – Night Road – Kristin Hannah

Night Road
Author: Kristin Hannah

Book Description:
For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices.
To hold on…
To let go..
To forget…
To forgive…
Which road will you take?

For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows—her twins, Mia and Zach—are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.
Jude does everything to keep her kids safe and on track for college. It has always been easy– until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.
On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.

This is a hard review for me to write because I love Kristin Hannah’s books and while I did give it 4 stars, I had some serious issues with a few of the characters in it. Anyone who has read Ms Hannah’s books before, knows that she takes a family type issue and expounds on it in a way to everyone can try to relate to, however, unlike other authors who write similar stuff, she does provide a concrete ending to the situation and doesn’t leave the reader hanging. In the case of Night Road, she takes teenage drinking, teen pregnancy and consequences of those respective actions and ties it up on a well-written book.

Personally, my issues with it stem from the character of Jude, the mother. Through-out the book, in the lead-up the the tragedy (which at least I saw coming), she is portrayed as being this mother who some would call (and even I would), a helicopter mother. Always hanging around her kids, making sure that they have everything that they need – which in itself is good, however, there is a point when it almost becomes too much and for me she reached that point when she was still acting this way when her kids were seniors in high school and about to head out into the world on their own. However, it wasn’t only that that pissed me off about her character, it was her actions in specific part of the book and what appeared to be her inability to take responsibility for the role that she played in the outcome.

She had always told her children (Mia and Zach) that they could always call her no matter what and she would come to pick them up from wherever they were no questions asked. The one time that they did get drunk and doing the right thing called her like she asked, they were punished for their behavior. Now, I know that they weren’t innocent in the situation, but at their age, doing what she did, was just asking them to not repeat the action (calling her) in the future and while ultimately playing a major contributing role to the tragedy.

I still can’t figure out, however, if her actions following the tragedy were due in part of her denial of her role in it, or her consuming guilt over what happened. I want to say the former, but looking back now (it has been several months since I read this), I’m leaning towards the latter.

Someone on posted a discussion question asking if this book would be appropriate for high school students. My resounding answer is yes.

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Posted by on June 13, 2012 in Book Review


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Review – Break – Hannah Moskowitz

It is always hard to rate a book like Break because using a simple star system just doesn’t seem to go in depth to describe how I felt about it.  It is the story of Jonah – a typical teenager, or so would you think – but as a way of dealing with the stresses in his life, he breaks his bones – his hands, his fingers, his ribs and many others.  Because he knows that broken bones only come back stronger than they were to begin with.

i don’t know if anyone else has noticed, but the whole theme of self-multilation/self-deprivation among teenagers seems to be a re-occurring theme in YA fiction today.  Break, Wintergirls (Anorexia), Cutters Don’t Cry (cutting) – it just seems that there are many on the market, and I have to wonder, while these books are good for exposing the issues that some kids face, does it ever influence them to try these different methods…I’ll have to admit, while I never did drugs, in college I took a course called Drug Education one summer, and it could have easily have been re-titled, how to do drugs 101 – it talked about the best ways to get drugs into your system, which ones worked better being injected and snorted and why…so it makes me wonder.

Break is a relatively short book (262 pages and the book itself is smaller than a standard mass market) so understandably, it didn’t take me all that long to read.  My main issue with it was that I didn’t really see all that much character development – Jonah sounded like he wanted to change and maybe towards the end he started to, but the book just ended…I was kind of left scratching my head trying to figure out what was going on.  The cast of secondary characters (his brother Jesse, not-girlfriend Charlotte and cohort Naomi) were other instances of where so much more character development could have gone on.

Either way, i will likely read another book by Ms Moskowitz in the future and considering the fact that she is still in her early 20’s and a college student, I found Break to be a good read – I just wish it had a bit more…

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Posted by on May 20, 2012 in Uncategorized


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