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TeenTober 2019 – With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

With the Fire on High

With the Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo is a heartfelt book about Emoni, a girl who’s gone through a lot and still holds her head held up high.

Emoni Santiago is that girl everyone warns you about not becoming; the girl that become pregnant when she was a freshman and now has a daughter. But, like her best friend and Abuela (grandmother) know, if you get to know her past her rough exterior, you will get to know a loving girl passionate about cooking the most delicious dishes she can.

When Emoni, who’s struggling through her last year of high school sees culinary classes being offered as an elective, she knows that it’s where she belongs. But from the trip to Spain she can’t afford, the strict teacher that makes her want to drop her only passion, and her very own Babygirl, Emoni doesn’t know how she’ll be able to face the challenges.

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Teen SRC 2019 – The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot

The Princess Diaries - Cabot, Meg

I’ve seen the movie, we’ve all seen the movie, except (obviously, I think) the book is so much better (no offense intended to Anne Hathaway, Julie Andrews, LOL, the movie was great.)

Amelia Thermopolis isn’t the popular girl, the nerdy girl, she isn’t even the artsy girl. Mia is just a regular kid with regular kid problems when her dad tells her that he is the prince of a small European country which makes her, Mia, the princess of Genovia. Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo can choose to stay in Manhattan and continue pretending to be a normal girl (not a princess) on the condition that she will take princess lessons from Grandmère (grandmother in french) in preparation of when she will ascend to the throne. Her father will also donate a hundred dollars a day to Greenpeace in her name if she agrees to the princess lessons. Mia, being the steadfast vegetarian she is, accepts because of that last part.

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Teen SRC 2019- The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein

The Pearl Thief - Wein, Elizabeth

The Pearl Thief by Elizabeth Wein is a mystery, historical fiction and romance novel all in one.

Before Verity, there was Julie. (The Pearl Thief is the prequel to Code Name Verity, a best-selling book by Elizabeth Wein which you should totally read right now if you haven’t 0_0 i’m serious) Julia Beaufort-Stuart comes home to her grandfather’s estate from boarding school, expecting one last summer of relaxation, of appreciating grandfather’s large estate grounds before it, and all of her grandfather’s possessions are sold off.

What she didn’t expect is waking up in the hospital her beautiful hair cut off because of an injury on her head that made her unconscious for almost three days. Julie is unsettled, especially when she starts to realize that her having hit her head might not have been an accident. One of her family’s employees has disappeared, and the last day he was seen was the same day she was injured.

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Teen SRC 2019- Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin

Someday We Will Fly - DeWoskin, Rachel

Stunning, compelling, and heartwrenching. Someday We Will Fly by Rachel DeWoskin is the story of a Polish-Jewish refugee escaping the Nazis in Poland for Shanghai, China, inspired by true stories of the past.

After her mother vanishes from Warsaw, Lillia, her father, and baby sister Naomi escape Nazi-occupied Poland and arrive in Shanghai, China. With little money for even food, and no mother to look after them, Lillia knows she will never feel at home in this city. As the weeks go by without sign of her mother, Lillia sees herself grow into a woman she doesn’t recognize. She feels like she’s been broken into pieces that can never join to make her whole again.

But despite all of that, she’s not alone. Lillia finds herself in a small community of rag-tag friends and neighbours, and with their help, Lillia can’t make herself whole again, but maybe she can learn to survive and keep Papa and Naomi safe until her mother comes home.

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Teen SRC 2019- The Fall Of Butterflies by Andrea Portes

The Fall of Butterflies

Whenever I read an incredible book, I like to search up the author and see if they have published other works because chances are, if I enjoyed one of their books I will also enjoy the others. Once such example is Andrea Portes. After reading Liberty (see my review here), I decided to read some more of her work, hence my review on The Fall of Butterflies. I am disappointed to say that I enjoyed The Fall of Butterflies less than I did Liberty, but found it a good read nonetheless.

The story starts with our protagonist, Willa Parker leaving her small town of What Cheer, Iowa to attend a fancy prep school her mother has chosen for her. Willa doesn’t see how a new life in the East will help her, and having hardly been able to fit in Iowa, she knows she will never fit in with the wealthy students of Pembroke Prep. Determined to lay low until she can find a way to escape, even if it means taking her own life, Willa goes by unnoticed by the students of Pembroke Prep on her first day at school. She is a little surprised, but mostly relieved. Her plan to lay low is demolished the next day, though, when a glittering, elusive, and rich girl takes the empty seat beside her in class.

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Teen SRC 2019- Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

Dangerous Lies

Thrilling, brilliant, fast-paced. Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick is one of the best thrillers I’ve read in a while.

Estalla Goodwin is no more. After she witnessed a brutal murder at her house in Philadelphia, Estella is placed into the witness protection program. Now she is Stella Gordon, an orphan who has moved from foster home to foster home for years. Stella Gordon is being fostered by a retired police officer named Carmina in a small town in Nebraska.

At first, Stella hates Thunder Basin, and everything to do with it; Carmina is too strict, the townspeople all hate jer, there is no nightlife… but worst of all? She can’t talk to her boyfriend, Reed Winslow ever again, because it might send the henchmen of the drug lord she’s testifying against right to her doorstep.

But then, Stella meets a boy named Chet, and as their friendship grows, Stella starts to feel at home in the one place she never thought she would belong. Despite feeling feeling like an impostor in her own skin, Chet is the only one who can make her feel like Stella Gordon — or Estella Goodwin, or whoever the heck she is — is worth fighting for.

It only takes one little mistake, though, to send the new life Stella has worked so hard to build crashing down, and lead the bloodthirsty criminals chasing after her.

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Teen SRC 2019- Under The Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples

Powerful, brilliant and captivating. Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples tells the story of two powerful Muslim heroines, one named Star and one named Helper (or one who helps), and it’s a story full of courage, hope, and strength.

In the rural mountains of Afghanistan, Najmah lives a simple but happy life with her parents and elder brother. But when the Taliban takes her father and brother prisoner to fight against the rebel forces, Najmah and her pregnant mother are left alone to look after the farm. Despite the days her mother wouldn’t get out of bed, and her Uncle who is trying to steal their land, Najmah is convinced that they can survive on the farm themselves until her father and brother come back, and is determined to keep going. When Najmah’s brother gives birth to a beautiful baby boy they name Habib, Najmah and her mother are elated. Her newfound happiness is shattered, though, when one day, while Najmah is herding the cattle into the far hills to the fresh grass, there is an air raid strike on her house. Najmah runs back just in time to see her mother point towards the airplanes in the sky before the bombs drop, killing the only family Najmah had left.

Nusrat, née Elaine, was born an American but never felt at home until she converted to Islam and met her husband, Faiz. When they hear of the American bomb attacks on Afghanistan, Nusrat’s natural instinct to help kicks in, and the married couple soon find themselves in Peshawar, Pakistan, Nusrat running a school for poor and orphaned children, and Faiz running an emergency clinic in the town of Mazar-i-Sharif. Nusrat loves her new family of in-laws, and teaching the eager children at the Persimmon Tree School, she finally feels like she belongs. But when the letters from Faiz stop coming, and the Taliban threaten to take her students away from her, Nusrat realizes she will have to keep her faith strong if she wants to keep the hope of her husband’s return.

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Teen SRC 2019- The Hidden Memory Of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato

The Hidden Memory of Objects

The Hidden Memory of Objects by Danielle Mages Amato is a book that encompasses loss, grief, friendship, and learning to heal in a beautiful story that will leave readers speechless and wanting for more.

Megan Brown’s brother, Tyler died, but no one understands how — or why. When the police tell her that he died from a drug overdose, and potentially a suicide, Megan is crushed. The brother she had known and loved — was it possible that she didn’t know him at all?

Heartbroken, she starts sifting through his old things, hoping to find some answers. But when she stumbles upon an old cigar box, one that was found on Tyler’s body after his death, intense pain fills her head at its touch. Confused, Megan starts touching other belongings of Tyler’s and realizes that when she touches some objects, she has visions of what happened in the past to the owners of the objects. Desperate for answers, she teams up with an charming friend of Tyler’s, and an old friend of her own to find out what happened that fateful day.

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Teen SRC 2019 – The Truth Commission by Susan Juby

The Truth Commission

Hilarious, powerful, and deep. The Truth Commission by Susan Juby is one of those rare books that makes you want to forget what you read, just so that you can read it again and again.

Normandy Pale goes to an art school in Nanaimo. She knows that she was only accepted there because of her sister; the infamous Keira Pale, author of the graphic novel series, the Diana Chronicles, in the hope that she also has some of those talented genes. Despite that, Normandy has made a life for herself, everything is going relatively fine for her until her sister suddenly comes back from college with no explanation. It wouldn’t be much of a problem for other families, but ever since the first Diana Chronicle was published, Normandy has had a complicated relationship with her sister, that is if she has had any relationship with her at all.

Why? The Diana Chronicle’s supporting characters are Normandy and her parents. The graphic novel series are inspired by incidents that happened in her family, none of which are flattering, and all of which are exaggerated. Normandy hates the distorted version of herself and her family in the Diana Chronicles, but can do nothing about it, not when her parents are happy to pretend that it doesn’t matter. Needless to say, when Keira moves back in, the entire family is on tiptoes, trying not to do anything embarrassing enough to be featured in the Chronicles, while at the same time trying to provide the very picky environment Keira needs to finish working on her latest book.

On top of all this, Normandy and her two best friends Dusk and Neil, after having confronted a classmate about her plastic surgery, decide to form a Truth Commission. “The truth will set you free,” they claim, and with that begins their mission to discover and confront their classmates’ and teachers’ secrets, not for the purpose of juicy gossip, but simply because living a lie isn’t something anyone should have to do. After their first few successes, the Truth Commissioners are on a roll. But when a truth hits too close to home, even the Truth Commissioners know that some lines just aren’t meant to be crossed…

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Teen SRC 2019 – Popular (a memoir) by Maya Van Wagenen

Popular (a memoir) by Maya Van Wagenen was probably one of the most inspirational reads I’ve tried in a long time. A huge plus, it’s also a quick one! I finished this in roughly 4 hours so “not having time” isn’t an excuse for not reading this. Also, since it’s a memoir, it’s a true story! Which made me relate to it even more.

Popular is written by 15-year-old sophomore, Maya, who recently moved from Brownsville, Texas to rural Georgia. The memoir begins with her cleaning out her house and finding an old book her dad picked up from the thrift store a while ago. The book, “Betty Cornell’s Teenage Popularity Guide”, was written by teen model Betty Cornell in the 1950s!

Since Maya was a “social outcast” at her school, her mom suggested she follow the advice of a 50s teen during her 8th-grade year and see what happens. During the year, Maya documents her classmates’ reactions as well as how she feels after trying Betty’s tips. To give you a feel for things, Betty Cornell’s wardrobe staples were girdles, pantyhoses, several long skirts and a simple string of pearls. As Maya moves throughout the book’s chapters and progresses through the school year, she slowly transforms from an awkward geek to a confidant, happy, young woman. Of course, she figures out the real definition of popular along the way and to her shock, it was not at all what she expected it to be.

I honestly loved this book and related a lot to it. I know popularity is a major cause of self-esteem issues in a lot of teens so this book is super relevant. The fact that it was written by a 15-year-old, who uses words like “er” and “ew” also makes it so much more lighthearted and sweet. Maya’s commentary is very amusing and will never, ever bore you. I give this book 9.5/10 stars because I wish she could’ve gone into a bit more detail about Betty’s book’s content but other than that, I give it my highest recommendation to my fellow girlies who are going through that awkward phase. This book will make you laugh, groan, smile, cry, you name it. Have fun reading!!