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Weekly Reviews YA Reviews

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

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Title: The Grace Year
Author: Kim Liggett
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publishing Date: October 8, 2019
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WOW! This was a phenomenal story and a phenomenal audio book. In a dystopian world, women are born with magic and during their grace year, are banished from the community into the wilderness to burn it all off. It becomes clear the the main character, Tierney, that this is just a way to keep the women in control and to keep them oppressed, but when she tries to point the truth out to the other girls in her grace year, they turn on her.

Tierney is a wonderful and strong character in the likeness of other strong girls coming out of dystopian literature such as Katniss and Tris. She was relatable and likeable in many ways and imperfect in many ways. I was on the edge of my seat listening to this story, wondering what was going to happen to Tierney and the women in her community.

This is a YA book recommended to ages 14 and up. I definitely recommend it to women who like feminist works, anyone who enjoys dystopian fiction, and those who are fans of The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Divergent.

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YA Reviews

Bones of a Saint Book Review

Bones of a Saint is raw, emotional, and a much needed diverse read. This story is told in two different ways – once through the eyes of RJ in present terms, and once as stories told by RJ of his past to an old man he is suppose to rob for a violent gang.

RJ grows up in a very religious community in the past (1970s) and is dirt poor. He has several siblings, and they all have different, deadbeat dads. He tells his story through reminiscing of his Catholic roots as he tries to escape the clutches of the gang that has had his trailer park under their thumb for generations – but this generation will be the last if RJ has anything to do with it.

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the twists and turns of a thriller, without being terrified, for YA readers wanting a different format, and to anyone who was raised Catholic who can appreciate the many religious references throughout this novel.

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YA Reviews

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys Review

As soon as I picked up this book from this year’s TLA conference I knew I had to read it immediately. I am a huge fan of Sepetys novels. She writes so thoughtfully and you can tell how much research goes into each of her historical fiction novels.

The Fountains of Silence

Title: The Fountains of Silence
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publishing Date: October 22, 2019
Publishing Company: Philomel Books
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Synopsis

The Fountains of Silence takes place in Madrid, Spain in 1957. In the aftermath of World War II, most European countries are no longer under dictatorship, but Spain is still at the mercy of their ruthless Catholic dictator Francisco Franco. Most of the Red Republicans from the war have been arrested, sentenced to death, or worked in labor camps to death. Their children and relatives are still suffering under Franco’s rule and things aren’t as they seem.

Daniel is recently 18. His dad is an oil tycoon in Texas and expects Daniel to follow suit with a petroleum degree from Texas A&M. Daniel loves photography and wants more than anything to travel the world and photograph the truth. He is applying for a prestigious scholarship to his dream photography program, much to the chagrin of his father who does not believe photography is the right career path for Daniel. Daniel’s mother is a native Spaniard so for Daniel’s last summer between high school and college Daniel’s mother takes them to the new Hilton hotel in Madrid.

The maid assigned to Daniel’s family is Ana who is around Daniel’s age. She is mysterious and beautiful. She is also the daughter of a Republican and lives in extreme poverty with her older sister, a seamstress, and her husband and their daughter as well as her brother who is a gravedigger by day and aspiring bull fighter promoter by night.

Review

This story is told in many alternating points of view which helps us get a good grasp on the mysterious backstory of both Ana and Daniel and their extremely different families. Though Ana and Daniel are the main characters we do get POV from many of their family members and friends in addition to their chapters. Sepetys also gives us snippets of documentation of the history of Spain during this time to help support the historical part of this novel.

Ana and Daniel were both very relateable characters. I was very excited about Daniel’s character in the beginning because he is from a Texas oil family (much like I am) and is suppose to be attending Texas A&M (my alma mater). He also loves photography which is one of my hobbies. I love the way the author would describe his photographs. Even though you couldn’t see them in the book her imagery made you be able to picture what his photographs must look like. Ana is also very relateable even though the majority of the readers of this book probably won’t be living like Ana. She is empathetic, hardworking, smart, courageous, and a typical teen who falls head over heels in love for the wrong boy.

There is so much mystery in the plot of this book sometimes you feel like you have no idea what is going on, but the author does a good job at giving you pieces of the answer to the mystery one at a time. I was on the edge of my seat trying to figure out the final twist in this book until the moment it was revealed. Even though the main twist is heart wrenching, there are also many smaller plot mysteries happening in this book that make you unable to put down this book despite the length.

I 1000% think everyone needs to pick up this book. I will not reveal the historical terror that this book is based upon because it will most likely give away the ending, but this is a piece of history I knew nothing about and don’t think many people do, because even though this happened in the 1950s the documentation of the horrible events in this book did not come about until the 2010s. You need to read this! Seriously, I gave this 5 stars.

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Uncategorized YA Reviews

Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst Review

If you enjoy Dragons, snarky teenagers, magic, and heist movies, you need to check out this book which the author describes as “Were-dragons meets Oceans 11”.

Sky Hawkins is your typical teenager dealing with heartbreak and being snubbed by her so-called friends. Except that she is a wyvern (half human, half dragon) and her family lives in a semi-celebrity spotlight – so the whole world knows about her heart breaking public breakup with her boyfriend, Ryan, the disappearance of her mother, and her family’s fall from grace. Sky is determined to find her mom, restore her family’s status, and win back Ryan – but how can she do this without the help and support of her brothers and her father?

I LOVED this book. Anything with dragons is usually a big win for me so I knew I had to read the book. I wasn’t expecting for this to be a 5 star read though. I fell in love with the characters and world building in this book. The author made is so easy to visualize what was happening at each major plot point in the novel, the characters were anything but shallow, especially our heroine, Sky, and even though most of the plot was fairly predictable, the fast flying action had me gripping the book and sitting on the edge of my seat for the last 150 pages. I couldn’t put it down!

Recommended for ages 14 and up, anyone who loves a good dragon story or fast paced fantasy.