Tag: YA

With the Fire on High

Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
Published: May 17, 2019
400 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating:  4 stars

Book Description:

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.

Kim’s Review:

Best. Cover. Ever. Easily my favorite of the year so far. This is one that I bought exclusively for the cover, it’s that gorgeous!

This is my first book by Acevedo and after reading it, I might just get her other book. I liked this story a lot. She kept it real and without much embellishment or polish. Emoni is believable and completely likable. She’s a young person who doesn’t hide from her responsibilities or the consequences of her actions. I loved her passion for food. While I thought this book was going to fall into the same problem as Fangirl, a student refusing to take the wisdom of the teachers and quitting something because it’s just too hard, Emoni surprised me and matured throughout the story.

I also liked the look into the life of a pregnant teen. While I don’t believe in sex outside of marriage, it happens and of course, accidental pregnancies crop up as well. Emoni and her grandmother worked hard to adapt to the new baby and I appreciated how Acevedo commended the hard work and effort put into the new life and responsibilities. I also now want to go on a food tour of Spain!

Overall, this is a sweet read, that combines happy and sad perfectly. There was a little bit of that woke focus on race, but thankfully, it wasn’t much. I really liked this book and absolutely recommend it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics

Author: Amy Lukavics
Published: September 26, 2017
299 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

From the outside, the Cane family looks like they have it all. A successful military father, a loving mother and five beautiful teenage daughters. But on the inside, life isn’t quite so idyllic: the Cane sisters can barely stand each other, their father is always away, and their neglectful mother struggles with addiction and depression.

When their youngest and most beloved sister, Rose, dies in a tragic accident, Mona Cane and her sisters are devastated. And when she is brought back from the dead, they are relieved. But soon they discover that Rose must eat human flesh to survive, and when their mother abandons them, the sisters will find out just how far they’ll go to keep their family together.

Kim’s Review

This book . . . Whoa. Lukavics has become one of my favorite authors. She does creepy so dang well and I can always count on her to write a great book! The Ravenous is actually her most unusual. Yet it’s so simple! There actually isn’t much to say because the story is straightforward. The synopsis pretty much covers the story, but saying that the journey is just as great as the destination totally applies here. It’s so full of emotion and insanity and realism (considering the unrealistic elements), it was rather overwhelming, in a great way!

This is a short review so y’all can go out and get The Ravenous and read it and experience all of it for yourselves! The one downfall is that there is a lot of language and adult themes so definitely save it for older teens. But I would definitely recommend this book for anyone looking for an unusual, creepy read!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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How to Make Friends with the Dark

Author: Kathleen Glasgow
Published: April 9, 2019
421 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating:  5 stars

Book Description:

Here is what happens when your mother dies.

It’s the brightest day of summer and it’s dark outside. It’s dark in your house, dark in your room, and dark in your heart. You feel like the darkness is going to split you apart.

That’s how it feels for Tiger. It’s always been Tiger and her mother against the world. Then, on a day like any other, Tiger’s mother dies. And now it’s Tiger, alone.

Here is how you learn to make friends with the dark.

Kim’s Review:

Another ugly cry book for Kim! The cover fascinated me, the title sounded interesting, and after reading the description, I became obsessed with wanting to read it. It started out pretty regularly, a teen who doesn’t get along with her mom, who just wants independence, etc. Thankfully, there’s not much to give away that you don’t already learn in the description. Tiger’s mom dies unexpectedly and the rest of the book is Tiger trying to deal with her grief and new life without her mother. There were times when the typical teen idea of “adults just don’t understand” came out and that got a little annoying, but the emotions were so raw and real that it didn’t bother me. There are a lot of good lessons throughout the story that I think teens would benefit from, but I would not recommend this book to younger kids. By the time I finished it, I was sobbing. I haven’t cried that hard since Jagged Mind! It didn’t help that I’m PMS’ing but that’s neither here nor there!

I liked how Glasgow documented the whole journey from death, to funeral, to foster care, to guardianship, to coroners report, to obituary, to dealing with permanent loss. I think this would be a great book to give to teachers to read. To be honest, while reading this, that opening quote from The Breakfast Club kept coming to mind. “…and these children that you spit on as they try to change their worlds are immune to your consultations. They’re quite aware of what they’re going through…” – David Bowie.

Fortunately, there isn’t any real adult vs. teen conflict in the story, but it is sometimes easy to forget that teens’ feelings can be complicated and hard to deal with. We think that they have the resilience of childhood, but they’re far closer to adulthood and they often need more attention than the younger ones. Overall, this is an emotional and educational read that gives a detailed look into everything surrounding death, specifically how it affects teens under 18. I absolutely recommend it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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