Tag: YA

Book Review: The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor

The Paper Girl of Paris
Author: Jordyn Taylor

Published:  May 26, 2020
359 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Sixteen-year-old Alice is spending the summer in Paris, but she isn’t there for pastries and walks along the Seine. When her grandmother passed away two months ago, she left Alice an apartment in France that no one knew existed. An apartment that has been locked for more than seventy years.

Alice is determined to find out why the apartment was abandoned and why her grandmother never once mentioned the family she left behind when she moved to America after World War II. With the help of Paul, a charming Parisian student, she sets out to uncover the truth. However, the more time she spends digging through the mysteries of the past, the more she realizes there are secrets in the present that her family is still refusing to talk about.

Sixteen-year-old Adalyn doesn’t recognize Paris anymore. Everywhere she looks, there are Nazis, and every day brings a new horror of life under the Occupation. When she meets Luc, the dashing and enigmatic leader of a resistance group, Adalyn feels she finally has a chance to fight back. But keeping up the appearance of being a much-admired socialite while working to undermine the Nazis is more complicated than she could have imagined. As the war goes on, Adalyn finds herself having to make more and more compromises—to her safety, to her reputation, and to her relationships with the people she loves the most.

Kim’s Review:

So this cover. This. Cover. And the story was pretty good too.

We all dream of being left a random metropolitan apartment that has been preserved by time and we are the first to open the door in decades. I geeked out just reading it. And then finding the diary of your grandmother’s sister from WWII? I was living vicariously through Alice and thoroughly enjoying it. Adalyn’s story was great! A Parisian girl who joined the French Resistance and bravely helping to defeat the Nazis is always going to be exciting and engaging. I had tears in my eyes by the time I reached the end, which was more twisty than I expected.

My main criticism is with Alice herself. I acknowledge as a historian that we can only go by documented evidence and I hold to that. But there will always be speculation, no matter the situation. Alice apparently has no imagination and could only handle one theory at a time and that got frustrating real quick. I can’t get into too much detail because I don’t want to give anything away, but long before the truth was revealed, I wanted to throw the diary at Alice’s head just to get her to open her mind a little.

But overall, I thought this was a good book and I really enjoyed it. This is a great one to give to teens for WWII reading!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

All American Boys
Jason Reynolds

Brendan Kiely
Guy Lockhard

Keith Nobbs
Published: September 29, 2015

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 16-21, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Rashad is absent again today.

That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all…

Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn’t matter what Rashad said next—that it was an accident, that he wasn’t stealing—the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement. So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again…and again…stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing.

And that’s how it started.

And that’s what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend’s older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway. But when the school—and nation—start to divide on what happens, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like “racism” and “police brutality.” Quinn realizes he’s got to understand it, because, bystander or not, he’s a part of history. He just has to figure out what side of history that will be.

Rashad and Quinn—one black, one white, both American—face the unspeakable truth that racism and prejudice didn’t die after the civil rights movement. There’s a future at stake, a future where no one else will have to be absent because of police brutality. They just have to risk everything to change the world.

Cuz that’s how it can end.

Jessica’s Review:

 All American Boys is another powerful novel that deals with racism and police brutality.  Though this novel was written back in 2015, it is even more relevant now.  I was first ‘introduced’ to Jason Reynolds last year with his novel Long Way Down which was my top read of 2020, and I was excited to listen to another of his novels on audiobook.

We have two narrators: Rashad and Quinn. Rashad is black and involved in the school’s ROTC and Quinn is white and on the basketball team.  They go to the same school but do not know each other. Rashad is inside a convenience store when an event happens and an assumption is made and then Rashad becomes a victim to excessive force from a police officer.  Quinn is outside the convenience store and sees the beating, which affects him, especially since he knows the police officer involved who has become a father-like figure to him.

Then as things happen in today’s world, the video goes viral and Rashad finds himself at the center of the news and the town becomes divided. We also see how this one event affects so many in the community. A graffiti tag shows up at Rashad and Quinn’s school and gains momentum.  Students at the school organize a march to protest and Quinn has to decide which side he ultimately chooses.

This is yet another YA novel that leaves the reader with many things to think about.  This is another one that is highly recommended and I look forward to seeing what else Jason Reynolds has written and will write in the future.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Book Review: Kim’s Thoughts on The Companion by Katie Alender

I read The Companion by Katie Alender last year and shared my thoughts with my friend Yami from A Bookworm’s Thoughts on release day!  Our review is here.  The Companion even made my Top 10 of 2020: see that post here.  Now Kim has read it and is sharing her review today!

The Companion
Katie Alender

Published: August 25, 2020
448 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

The other orphans say Margot is lucky.

Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family.
Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night.

And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate.

But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome older brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself.

Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun.

Kim’s Review:

Dude, this was creepy!

Sometimes reality can be scarier than the worst paranormal elements! Thankfully, this one wasn’t so twisty that I felt stupid for not getting it, yet I still had to think. I enjoyed going through all the possibilities in my head. I was immediately drawn in by Margot. As callous as it sounds, her trauma intrigued me. It was survivor’s guilt, yet she was so aware about it. And then of course, if something seems to good to be true, it probably is and the Suttons’ cracks started showing pretty quickly.

The house, I would like to live there! Creepy, yet livable! I think this is a great book for teens, especially those who like psychological thrillers! It’s very Jane Eyre, just add a psycho!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK