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ONE OF US IS LYING BY KAREN M. McMANUS

OneOfUsIsLying3.5 / 5 STARS   PUBLISHED MAY 2017

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

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I really don’t have much to say about this one. I was kind of disappointed by this mystery novel. Even though it did have me constantly changing my thoughts on who killed Simon, I was still hoping for more surprising twists and turns. It didn’t have me on the edge of my seat and I really wasn’t all that surprised by the outcome of who actually did it. So instead of the “OMG, no way!”, it was more of an “Oh, okay”. Overall it wasn’t a bad book and even though someone died it still had a happy ending.

 
SIDE NOTE: Now even though it wasn’t my greatest read, I think this novel will hit home for a lot of teens. Even with this novel being a murder mystery it still touches on an all too familiar issue that every teenager has had to face. Acceptance. Whether it’s being accepted by your friends, family, teachers or classmates. No one wants to be left out and some rejections can kill a person.

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HERE AND GONE BY HAYLEN BECK

HereAndGone

5/5 STARS PUBLISHED JUNE 2017

Audra just wants to reach california. She’s finally found the strength to flee her abusive husband and make a fresh start for her two children. With little Sean and Louise in tow, she has carefully made her way across the country, taking back roads and avoiding attention.

So when an unsettling local sheriff pulls her over in the middle of the Arizona desert, Audra works to hide her nerves and keep calm. She has to. But then he pulls a bag of drugs she;s never seen before out of her trunk, and nervousness turns into panic. She thinks the worst has happened.

Unfortunately, she’s wrong. The worst is yet to come.

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“Please,” she said, unable to keep the quiver from her voice. “I’ve done everything you said. I’ve been cooperative. Please tell me where my children are.”

Whiteside held her gaze.

“What children?” he asked

How two words can become a mother’s worst nightmare. All Audra Kinney wanted to do was keep her kids safe. But when she gets pulled over and arrested by a small town sheriff, her whole world takes a turn for the worst. Once Audra is at the sheriff’s station and behind bars she asks again where her children are and is taken back by the sheriff’s statement, saying that there were no children in the car when he pulled her over. Now accused of harming and possibly killing her children and hiding their bodies, Audra desperately tries to tell the FBI who have now come in to investigate that she is not the one they should be after. But with her troubled past it seems no one will believe a word she says. So is she telling the truth or is she what everyone thinks she is? A killer.

I could not put this book down! As a mother of two children who are actually the same age as the children the book right now, I was on an emotional rollercoaster. Haylen Beck (aka Stuart Neville) did an absolutely wonderful job telling the story. I felt as if I knew the characters personally and was right there with them. I found myself crying with Audra and also screaming with her and at her saying “No! You’re not crazy! Snap out of it!”. I also thought a lot about my own children and wondered how far I would go to save them. This is a definite must read.

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NEW BOY BY TRACY CHEVALIER

NewBoy4 / 5 STARS Published 5/16/17

Arriving at his fifth school in as many years, a diplomat’s son, Osei Kokote, knows he needs an ally if he is to survive his first day so he’s lucky to hit it off with Dee, the most popular girl in school. But one student can’t stand to witness this budding relationship: Ian decides to destroy the friendship between the black boy and the golden girl. By the end of the day, the school and its key players – teachers and pupils alike – will never be the same again.

The tragedy of Othello is transposed to a 1970’s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers. Peeking over the shoulders of four 11 year olds Osei, Dee, Ian, and his reluctant girlfriend Mimi, Tracy Chevalier’s powerful drama of friends torn apart by jealousy, bullying and betrayal will leave you reeling.

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It’s amazing how one little rumor or lie can create such disaster. How so much hate and jealousy can make people do unthinkable things but in the end hate will always destroy you. Even today things like this happen all the time. I have seen friends turn on friends and relationships destroyed over he said she said. All it takes is one small stone to make a huge ripple in the water.

Starting this book I was intrigued by the storyline, not knowing what to expect since I have never read Shakespeare’s Othello (in school or now), nor did I know about the Hogarth Shakespeare series. But once I got into reading the book it started to remind me of a movie I saw years ago called “O” that came out in 2001 that I found out was also based on Shakespeare’s Othello. Even though the plots were the same I enjoyed it from a child’s point of view and how they handled every situation. From love, hate, jealousy, and racism. It was beautiful and heartbreaking all at the same time.

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Something Like Happy by Eva Woods

SomethingLikeHappy4 / 5 Stars

Publication Date 9-5-17

Annie Hebden is stuck. Stuck in her boring job, with her irritating roommate, in a life no thirty-five-year-old would want. But deep down, Annie is still mourning the terrible loss that tore a hole through the perfect existence she’d once taken for granted—and hiding away is safer than remembering what used to be. Until she meets the eccentric Polly Leonard.  

Bright, bubbly, intrusive Polly is everything Annie doesn’t want in a friend. But Polly is determined to finally wake Annie up to life. Because if recent events have taught Polly anything, it’s that your time is too short to waste a single day—which is why she wants Annie to join her on a mission…  

One hundred days. One hundred new ways to be happy. Annie’s convinced it’s impossible, but so is saying no to Polly. And on an unforgettable journey that will force her to open herself to new experiences—and perhaps even new love with the unlikeliest of men—Annie will slowly begin to realize that maybe, just maybe, there’s still joy to be found in the world. But then it becomes clear that Polly’s about to need her new friend more than ever…and Annie will have to decide once and for all whether letting others in is a risk worth taking.

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In different ways Annie reminds me of myself. Numb to life, anti social, a real Mr./Mrs. Scrooge. You go through life thinking that this is it, this is as good as it’s ever going to get until one day when you meet that one person who changes everything. Hopefully we all have that one friend who sees the positive and good in everything, if you don’t find one fast! This book definitely had me in my feelings thinking about my own life and what I would do with my time if I only had a hundred days left to live. Something Like Happy will open your eyes to what it truly means to be happy and how simple but yet so hard it is to be just that.

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Just Another Week In Suburbia by Les Zig

WeekInSuburbiaJUST ANOTHER WEEK IN SUBURBIA BY LES ZIG

4 / 5 Stars  Publish Date: 9/1/17

Casper Gray goes to bed a happily married man. He wakes up questioning whether everything is a lie.

Life in suburbia holds few surprises for Casper. He and his wife Jane are still trying for a baby after seven years. His neighbours have their quirks to be navigated. And his job as a high school teacher, while satisfying, comes with its challenges.

Every day is much like the one before – that is, until Casper makes a discovery that threatens everything he knows.

As Casper’s fears grow into obsessions, his world starts to unravel.

Just Another Week in Suburbia is a story about love, trust, and insecurity, and the question of whether you can ever really know another person.
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I must admit, when I first started reading this book I didn’t know what to think of it. My first thought was ‘oh great, this whole book is going to be about a guy complaining about his boring life’. And usually with books like that I tend to toss them aside from boredom, but something about it kept me intrigued.

Casper is just your average Joe. He has a beautiful wife, decent job and a great suburban community that he lives in. The book follows Casper through what was suppose to be just another normal week but one day he finds something that starts a domino effect of disasters for him and what he thought was his perfect life. By the end of the book you’ll be rooting for one of two outcomes but will be surprised by what actually does happen.

The more I read the more invested I became in the character. I feel as though Les Zig made this book less about the storyline and more about getting people to think. By the time you finish this book you will be questioning everything. Whether it’s about your own relationships, career, or even general happiness. So if you’re looking for a book that makes you think, Just Another Week In Suburbia is definitely a book you need to pick up for your September collection.

**All reviews are of my own opinion