Author: Dave Barry
Narrator: Todd Haberkorn
Published: April 26, 2016
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 21-23, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Last year, Wyatt Palmer was the hero of middle school, having foiled a plot against the president of the United States. But now he and his friends are in Coral Cove High School-home of the Fighting Conchs-and Wyatt is no longer a hero: He’s just another undersized freshman, hoping to fit in, or at least not be unpopular. Things start to go wrong when Matt Diaz, who is Wyatt’s best friend but also unfortunately an idiot, decides to bring his pet ferret, Frank, to school. Through an unfortunate series of events Frank ends up in the hands of the Bevin brothers, who are the most popular boys at Coral Cove High, but are also, as Matt soon discovers, the nastiest. When Wyatt and Matt try to get Frank back, they concoct a plan to attend a party for the cool clique at the Bevin’s waterfront mansion and stumble onto the Bevin family’s dark and deadly secret. That’s when Wyatt learns that some things are worse than being unpopular in high school. MUCH worse.
I listened to The Worst Class Trip Ever at the end of last year and it was a very pleasant surprise (My review is here). I was able to listen to The Worst Night Ever which is the second book in the series. Wyatt and his friends are back for another adventure and this time they are in their freshman year of high school. Wyatt’s friend Matt decides to bring his pet ferret Frank to school, which leads them on a crazy series of events. They stumble upon a dangerous secret involving the family of the biggest bullies of the school.
Worst Night Ever was enjoyable, but there was not as much magic to it that Worst Class Trip had. The beginning dragged for me, and it all just seemed too silly. Even though they are in high school now, Wyatt and friends still came off as middle schoolers. Maybe this is just ‘boy mentality’/ lack of maturity. Everything dealing with Frank the ferret just did not work for me, though it all led up to Wyatt’s discovery. When it got to the ‘dangerous secret’ I became interested in the story.
These stories are not believable at all (in a good way); this would be enjoyed by and appropriate for middle schoolers, especially boys. The narrator Todd Haberkorn portrays Wyatt perfectly. I would like to see what adventure Wyatt and his friends find themselves in next. I can’t see any adventure being better than the first.
The Worst Night Ever is recommended.
Author: Karen M. McManus
Published: May 30, 2017
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 25- March 1, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
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.
One of Us is Lying (to be referred to OOUIL for the rest of this review) was quite the debut for Karen McManus. The mystery of who killed Simon never drags and you take turns suspecting each student that was in the room. They all had reasons to kill Simon, but so did most of the school…. This has a similar feel to the movie The Breakfast Club, and we have characters that you grow to like.
This is one that you do not want to put down. You want to keep reading (or in my case listening)! These characters start out as the clichés they represent and they grow out of that by the end of the novel. I did not figure out each student’s secret (one secret I was not surprised about) or who killed Simon (OMG!) until all was revealed.
I listened to the audiobook, which had four different actors narrating for Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, and Cooper. This helped with the narration as it was a little difficult keeping each student straight. I did have a post-it note in my car with the names and the stereotype they represented.
This novel has been a popular one and McManus has written a second book I will be reading (Two Can Keep a Secret). Two is not a sequel to OOUIL but McManus will have a sequel coming out in 2020. I cannot wait to read it to see what happens next. According to McMannus’ website, here is a little about the upcoming sequel:
Bronwyn’s sister Maeve gets main character treatment when Bayview High’s newest gossip game turns deadly. Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate aren’t POV characters, but you’ll see plenty of them. As of now the book is scheduled for release in January 2020, but subject to change of course.
OOUIL is highly recommended.[Top]
Author: Amy Lukavics
Published: September 25, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
At seventeen, June Hardie is everything a young woman in 1951 shouldn’t be—independent, rebellious, a dreamer. June longs to travel, to attend college and to write the dark science fiction stories that consume her waking hours. But her parents only care about making June a better young woman. Her mother grooms her to be a perfect little homemaker while her father pushes her to marry his business partner’s domineering son. When June resists, her whole world is shattered—suburbia isn’t the only prison for different women…
June’s parents commit her to Burrow Place Asylum, aka the Institution. With its sickening conditions, terrifying staff and brutal “medical treatments,” the Institution preys on June’s darkest secrets and deepest fears. And she’s not alone. The Institution terrorizes June’s fragile roommate, Eleanor, and the other women locked away within its crumbling walls. Those who dare speak up disappear…or worse. Trapped between a gruesome reality and increasingly sinister hallucinations, June isn’t sure where her nightmares end and real life begins. But she does know one thing: in order to survive, she must destroy the Institution before it finally claims them all.
Lukavics is easily becoming one of my favorite authors. Every book has been a home run! She is able to capture the creepy and scary so effortlessly and I’m freaked out after every reading. Nightingale even has a psychiatric facility . . . Y’all know my affinity to facilities. The 50’s setting added a nostalgic feel and actually helped to soften my one problem with the story. The only thing I didn’t like was the attitude towards traditional women’s roles. I know that during the 50’s it was expected to stick to those roles and it was greatly frowned upon to deviate from them. It just felt like Lukavics overcompensated by looking down on those traditional women. I am a wife and homemaker, in and slightly less traditional capacity, but I decided that my husband, his career and our home outweighed any job I could get. That doesn’t make me any less of a strong, opinionated, free thinking woman. But I also understand that the 50’s were a different time and women back then had to fight harder for their independence. So it did not by any means ruin this book for me.
I really enjoyed the alien element. Normally, I don’t find aliens to be that scary, but in Nightingale, I was freaked out by them!!! They were terrifying!! June was a sympathetic character that I liked and completely believed. Burrow Place Asylum had all the elements of the perfect asylum, complete with experimentation, disappearances, and lobotomies. And thankfully, the resolution was completely satisfying and answered my questions and I was content! Overall, a great, scary read with all the stuff I love in it! I would save this for older teens, due to some adult elements but I’m sure those older teens would love this book!