Three Young Adult ARC Mini-Reviews

Posted January 19, 2018 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 8 Comments

I’m going to share the three young adult books I’ve read so far this year.  All are ones that I will recommend to students and possibly purchase for the library where I work. 

Meet Cute:  Some People are Destined to Meet – an anthology edited by Jennifer L. Armentrout:

Published:  January 2nd, 2018
Source:  E-galley from Netgalley
Genre:  YA romance
My rating:  4 stars

It took me a bit to get into the stories, there were a few at the beginning that didn’t really hit the “cute” part of the phrase “meet cute” in my opinion.  But as I got going, so many of the later stories won me over.  A few of the stories were done in second person, which isn’t always a favorite of mine.  Like the Imagines book, I couldn’t get that far in.  But then others in here that tried that point of view, did work.  I got to read something by Dhonielle Clayton, getting me ready to read her book The Belles soon.  I have to admit though, the first book that left me grinning like an idiot was Armentrout’s story.  Of course it had to do with a library, so it was totally the nerdy girl type of story I love.  That was totally what I consider a “meet cute”.  Then I also loved the story that took place on a subway, seeing the perfect guy on the subway train that was crossing the opposite way, and then having the girl use it as a project for her statistics class, it was just so cute! 

The book had a variety of stories, not all were necessarily just contemporary romance, there were several LGBTQ stories as well as different races and cultures.  And I will say, that even though a few of the stories were  not my cup of tea, all of them were very well written.  I will be purchasing this one for my school library for sure.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of “how they first met” from some of today’s most popular YA authors. 

Readers will experience Nina LaCour’s beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard’s glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon’s imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno’s story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick’s charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants. 

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert:

Published:  January 30th, 2018
Source:  Physical ARC received from Publisher
Genre:  YA fantasy
My rating:  4 stars 

This was a very unique story, even with its familiar themes throughout it.  A book of fairy tales that are coming out into the “normal” world.  A reclusive woman who after writing the book and publishing only a few copies, disappears.  Her daughter on the run, having to move with her own daughter from place to place, seemingly whenever their luck gave out, or maybe someone from the fairy tale world showed up.  The fairy tales weren’t ones that were your standard stories.  Nope, they were all pretty grim, pretty dark.  And I mean even grimmer than the original Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales.  The characters were all very interesting, and I definitely got to one point where I figured it was going to leave us hanging, and we’d have to wait for the the next book to come out to get some answers.  However, even though this seems to be a series, at least it is listed as book 1 on Goodreads, I feel like it ended in a way that doesn’t give a chance to go on.  At least not with the characters we followed in this story. But I guess we’ll see how that goes!

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed:

Published:  January 16th, 2018
Source:  Physical ARC received from publisher
Genre:  YA contemporary
My rating:  5 stars 

I picked this book up on a Tuesday, and could barely put it down.  It was really good.  Reading about a girl who used her camera to help her deal with her shyness and awkwardness in public was very unique, but made a lot of sense.  I enjoyed the relationship Maya had with her parents, as well as her aunt.  The small town she lived in was probably pretty accurate for how things can be.  For a while I was mad at Maya for giving up what probably was the perfect guy for one that would only cause her heartache, but in the end it worked out.  And while the way even that went when it was time for college was a little heartbreaking, it was realistic, and I liked it.  The way her time in the city was portrayed at the end was also fun, especially when I knew the places she was talking about.

The short little fillers in between Maya’s chapters, telling about the person that would cause so many bad things to happen to people as well as to Maya’s family indirectly were very eye-opening, and again heart-breaking.  They turned out different than a reader might have assumed from reading the book, and in the end there was even the sympathy you couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit for that person who caused all the death and terror.

This is a DEFINITE purchase for my school library.  

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:  
A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape–perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs. 

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8 responses to “Three Young Adult ARC Mini-Reviews

  1. John Smith

    “Meet Cute” sounds like its stories are pretty varied in tone, with some being relatively humorous. I imagine Ibi Zoboi’s is a bit more poignant!

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