Twisted

Lisa Harrington’s novel Twisted has a very appropriate title for the content. It was a good book until the last chapter but it is disturbing that Lyssa does not tell the police the full story, she acknowledges a resemblance between her love interest and her brother, and that she is calm about what she discovers in the final paragraph. The decisions made by the author about the ending cast a new light on the novel that is not as favourable. Were it not for the denouement, the reader would be left with a less unsettling feeling.

Twisted begins as a drama with the typical teen angst about relationships and the sadness of a lost parent, but the second half of the novel is a suspenseful, psychological thriller. The pace begins slow but things escalate quickly once the suspense begins.

If you liked Twisted read:

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The Art Of Getting Stared At

cover artLaura Langston’s novel The Art Of Getting Stared At is a heartfelt character story. It explores the opposing pressures women face. Sloane has a step mother who wants her to focus more on her appearance and a mother who thinks that putting any effort into beauty makes you shallow. Both women are judgmental, and make assumptions based on appearances. Sloane has to learn for herself that taking pride in how she looks is ok but she can’t let her image define her or distract her from her more meaningful endeavors. This struggle becomes urgent when discovers she has an illness that causes her to lose her hair. She doesn’t want to care about how people see her, but this change in her appearance makes her very self-conscious and shakes her confidence in other areas of her life.

With an emotional story that will have teens examining their priorities, this novel has compelling characters and excellent writing.

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Raging Star

Mcover artoira Young completes the trilogy that began with Blood Red Road in Raging Star.  The novel has many of the same faults and accomplishments as the other books in the series.

The writing style is unique. Some will admire it but others will struggle following dialogue not separated by quotation marks, perspective that jumps without headings that indicate it will, and understanding terrible grammar and spelling that is intentionally faulty to develop setting and character.

The protagonist is a tough, sometimes selfish and cold survivor who is thrust into the role of leadership. She may appeal to fans of Katniss Everdeen. Her tactics to tear apart the enemy establishment are both intelligent and sloppy. She inspires the people to do what needs to be done, at great cost.

This is a dystopian adventure drama with a touch of romance. It will pull at the heartstrings of fans of the series, and concludes in a satisfying manner. The book will make most sense, and be enjoyed more if the series is read in sequence.

The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing

Ck. Kelly Martin’s novel The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing is an emotional drama.

The book explores the balancing act of being in high school, where girls are ostracized for being too uptight and chaste, or are taunted and humiliated for being too promiscuous. This is amplified with the prevalence of social media because word or even video of every mistake can spread quickly. The conflicting pressures from boys, friends, and family can be overwhelming as demonstrated in the novel.

cover artSerena has a complicated family life that has an impact on the rest of her relationships. Her favourite brother’s drug problems and disappearance leave her with mentally absent parents. Her other brother’s fame overshadows her, as she struggles to deal with the loss.

The author does a fantastic job of making the everyday struggles resonate. From insecurity about her weight, to a mix of excitement and shame about her sexuality, to the disillusionment she feels about her role-model turning out to be flawed- Serena feels like a real person.

Teens looking or realistic drama will enjoy this.