Author: Nic Stone
Published: February 28, 2023
Audiobook: 5 hours 41 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: July 7-10, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin, delivers a gripping romance about two teens: a certified genius living with bipolar disorder and a politician’s son who is running from his own addiction and grief. Don’t miss this gut punch of a novel about mental illness, loss, and discovering you are worthy of love.
Scars exist to remind us of what we’ve survived.
Since Shelbi enrolled at Windward Academy as a senior and won’t be there very long, she hasn’t bothered making friends. What her classmates don’t know about her can’t be used to hurt her–you know, like it did at her last school.
Andy Criddle is not okay. At all.
He’s had far too much to drink.
Again. Which is bad.
And things are about to get worse.
When Shelbi sees Andy at his lowest, she can relate. So she doesn’t resist reaching out. And there’s no doubt their connection has them both seeing stars . . . but the closer they get, the more the past threatens to pull their universes apart.
Nic Stone likes to take on tough issues and brings them to attention in a YA setting for the YA reader. She begins the novel with an author’s note to bring attention and reader discretion to some of the issues brought forth in Chaos Theory. This one would be for older teens who can handle these issues.
We have Shelbi and Andy and both have a far from perfect life. Both have been through a lot and are going through life the best that they can. Shelbi has been burned by friends before and changes schools for her senior year. She just wants to make it through school and move on in life after high school. Andy has multiple family issues with a politician mother. And he’s an alcoholic who hasn’t come to terms with the past. Both are at a low point and then meet. It’s a unique way they meet too. They become friends, but with the challenges they both face will their friendship last? Or will they become more than friends?
We see both Shelbi and Andy’s home life and we get both sides. I adore Shelbi’s parents and Andy’s are just..Well… They have many issues.
There are many sensitive and triggering issues bravely and candidly discussed in this novel including mental health, alcoholism, teen pregnancy, abortion, parental abuse, suicidal tendencies, and self-harm. Stone writes her novels with a very realistic approach. She is also from the Metro Atlanta Georgia area, so I know about and have been to some of the places she writes about in her novels.
Stone is honest and frank about her own mental health issues in the past while informing us about the brain’s different functioning. Stone can seemingly write it all: Keep writing what needs to be written for those readers who need to be reached.
Nic Stone herself narrates as Shelbi and Dion Graham narrates as Andy. They both did a superb job with the narrations! Stone really brought out Shelbi and part of that is from her personal experiences. And I can’t help but think that Shelbi on the cover looks like a young version of Stone.
The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise
Author: Dan Gemeinhart
Published: January 8, 2019
Reviewed By: Cristina
Five years. That’s how long Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, have lived on the road in an old school bus, crisscrossing the nation. It’s also how long ago Coyote lost her mom and two sisters in a car crash.
Coyote hasn’t been home in all that time, but when she learns the park in her old neighborhood is being demolished – the very same park where she, her mom, and her sisters buried a treasured memory box – she devises an elaborate plan to get her dad to drive 3,600 miles back to Washington state in four days…without him realizing it.
Along the way, they’ll pick up a strange crew of misfit travelers. Lester has a lady love to meet. Salvador and his mom are looking to start over. Val needs a safe place to be herself. And then there’s Gladys….
Over the course of thousands of miles, Coyote will learn that going home can sometimes be the hardest journey of all…but that with friends by her side, she just might be able to turn her “once upon a time” into a “happily ever after”.
How would you like to live in a refurbished school bus with your dad, traveling across the country wherever and whenever you feel like it? For Coyote, that’s been her life for the past five years. It’s got some good things about it–Coyote loves the time with her dad, and seeing new places, but she misses home, too. So when she finds out that a very special place in her hometown is due to be paved over for new construction, she hatches a plan to get her dad to take her the one place he’s sworn to never go: Home.
I am a fan of an epic road trip, so this book grabbed me pretty quickly. The relationship between Rodeo and Coyote is one where she is really watching out for and taking care of him. At twelve years of age, she has a maturity above most kids her age. Why is she the grown-up in this situation? Nope. That would be a spoiler, and I want you to read this book. I will say–I may have cried a little towards the end. But I also laughed quite a bit on the journey there. The introduction of Ivan the kitten to Rodeo is pretty great. And with writing like this: “Rodeo, crown prince of freaks, had never looked more freakish. That man is hopeless. He is wild and broken and reckless and beautiful and hanging on by a thread, but it’s a heckuva thread and he’s holding it tight with both hands and his heart.” Well, how could you not want to find out how their road trip ends? Get on the bus. You’ll love the ride![Top]
Series: Berrybrook Middle School #1
Author/Illustrator: Svetlana Chmakova
Published: July 21, 2015
Reviewed By: Cristina
Cardinal rule #1 for surviving school: Don’t get noticed by the mean kids.
Cardinal rule #2 for surviving school: Seek out groups with similar interests and join them.
On her first day at her new school, Penelope–Peppi–Torres reminds herself of these basics. But when she trips into a quiet boy in the hall, Jaime Thompson, she’s already broken the first rule, and the mean kids start calling her the “nerder girlfriend.” How does she handle this crisis? By shoving poor Jaime and running away!
Falling back on rule two and surrounding herself with new friends in the art club, Peppi still can’t help feeling ashamed about the way she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward enough between the two, but to make matters worse, he’s a member of her own club’s archrivals–the science club! And when the two clubs go to war, Peppi realizes that sometimes you have to break the rules to survive middle school!
Today I’m sharing a graphic novel that I really enjoyed: Awkward, by Svetlana Chmakova. It’s the first of a series, too, so there’s more to read if you love it.
Being the new kid in middle school is tough. But embarrassing yourself on the first day? Even worse. It’s a good thing Penelope (Peppi for short) found the art club. Now if she could just apologize to the boy she was mean to on the first day…but he’s in the science club, art club’s worst rival! A story of owning mistakes, making friends, and resolving rivalries in the best ways possible, Awkward is a great summer read.
I am a believer in Graphic Novels. These are not just “comic books.” There are well thought out story lines, problems to solve, character development and lessons shared in a well done graphic novel. If you have a reader who shudders at the thought of a chapter book, a graphic novel is a great way to introduce them to deeper stories while still having visual interest through the art work. Enjoy![Top]