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One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Saturday, Apr 22, 2017 at 5:13pm

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.

One of Us Is Lying was simply amazing! It got my attention from the very first page and continued to hold it throughout the entire novel. The author, Karen M. McManus, did a great job hiding who the true killer really was, and only hinted at it at the very end. Usually with books where the point of view rotates between characters, I enjoy one perspective more than the others, but that didn't happen with One of Us Is Lying. I wanted to know more information about each character equally. This created a very enticing read and I can't wait for others to read it! If you're a fan of thrillers or just books that take place in high school in general, I would 100% recommend this!

- Lauren, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

One of Us Is Lying will be available May 30.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

In a Perfect World by Trish Doller (From a Two Thumbs Up Reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Thursday, Apr 20, 2017 at 5:30pm

 Caroline Kelly is excited to be spending her summer vacation working at the local amusement park with her best friend, exploring weird Ohio with her boyfriend, and attending soccer camp with the hope she'll be her team's captain in the fall. But when Caroline's mother is hired to open an eye clinic in Cairo, Egypt, Caroline's plans are upended. Caroline is now expected to spend her summer and her senior year in a foreign country, away from her friends, her home, and everything she's ever known.

 With this move, Caroline predicts she'll spend her time navigating crowded streets, eating unfamiliar food, and having terrible bouts of homesickness. But when she finds instead is a culture that surprises her, a city that astounds her, and a charming, unpredictable boy who challenges everything she thought she knew about life, love, and privilege.

 In a Perfect world is not the kind of book that I would usually pick out to read. When I saw it, I thought it was going to be a cliche love story. I was kind of right, but there were so many little things that made it different in a good way.

 I feel like it started off really slow, but the farther I got the more engaging the book became. I personally found this book fascinating because I am someone who enjoys languages and learning about different cultures. It was full of so many details that I could picture all of the places that were mentioned. After reading this novel, it feels as if I've traveled to Egypt myself! I would rate this novel a 7/10.

 -Abby, a Two Thumbs Up Reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017 at 1:58pm

Celestine North lives in a society that demands perfection. After she was branded Flawed by a morality court, Celestine's life has completely fractured - all her freedoms gone. Since Judge Crevan has declared her the number one threat to the public, she has been a ghost, on the run with Carrick - the only person she can trust. But Celestine has a secret - one that could bring the entire Flawed system crumbling to the ground. Judge Crevan is gaining the upper hand, and time is running out for Celestine. With tensions building, can she prove that to be human in itself is to be Flawed?

Reading Perfect made me tired, considering the amount of time the characters ran for their lives. I strongly believe, however, that it matched the characters' personalities.

This book was a decent read, much to my surprise. It is the end to a thrilling duology, pack full of YA tropes that'll get you every time. It's full of good girls turning bad, love triangles, and misunderstood mothers, but I didn't mind reading those tropes since they were well incorporated into the story. I think what made me enjoy this book more though was the amount of action packed into the book. It was a constant run-for-your-life type of thing. Some books can't pull this off, but I strongly believe it was executed wonderfully in this scenario.

I enjoyed the characters much more in this read then I did the first time around. I felt like I could connect with each of them on a much more suitable level. All in all, I highly recommend this book to those who read Flawed and for those looking for a nice duology weekend read. I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

- Sabrina, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017 at 10:00am

Charlie Bloom is happiest behind her camera, unseen and unnoticed. When former classmate Olly Samson gets in touch and asks her to take backstage pictures of his new band, she takes him up on it. But Olly's band, Fire&Lights, isn't playing ordinary gigs. They're the hottest boy band in the country, and Charlie is immediately catapulted into their world of paparazzi, sold-out arenas, and screaming fans. Soon enough, she's caught between Olly and Fire&Lights' gorgeous frontman, Gabriel West. As the boys' rivalry threatens to tear the band apart, Charlie stumbles on a secret about the band—and herself—hidden within the lyrics of their new #1 single.

I give the book Songs About a Girl an 87%. I really liked the romantic assets, while still appreciating the fact that there is a strong plot. The whole "bad boy in a rock band" thing was the perfect touch. I also really liked the photo of the broken family for both Gabriel and Charlie. I feel like the author, Chris Russell, could have done a better job with the ending of the book because it ended so suddenly, I wish there was more. The way Chris ended it hints that there is going to be a second book though, which is a big plus! My overall opinion on this book is that it was really well-written and had a solid plot to go with the cute parts. I would recommend this novel to anyone who loves boy bands, music, or a sweet, romantic story.

- Courtney, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Songs About a Girl will be available May 30.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

The Freemason's Daughter by Shelley Sackier (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Monday, Apr 17, 2017 at 8:07pm

I couldn't even finish this book. I read until it had around 20 pages left and quit. I honestly couldn't take it anymore! The bad writing, the PAINFULLY slow, almost plotless, storyline and the characters who are as bland as plain oatmeal. Everything just got on my nerves and finishing the book was just not worth it, and I decided I had enough. See, I'm here to give an honest review, so that's exactly what I'm going to do. I'm going full out, with a list!

1) There is honestly no plot until the last 60 pages. I was sitting there, waiting for something to happen, and nothing ever did! Trust me, don't bother unless you have the patience of a saint.
2) The writing was dry. I mostly found myself putting the book down and dreading to pick it back up because of the writing! This has no sense of 'style' or 'voice.' It was bland and boring, and didn't execute the differences in the constantly switching POVs.
3) Jenna and Alex, our two main characters, are two of the most petty teenagers I've ever had the displeasure to read about. Their mindset is straight out of the 21st century which felt very out of place in a historical novel set in the 1700s. You feel no sympathy or remorse or anything for them! They're simply just... there.
4) Romance also plays a big role. Sadly, it was a badly-written romance that was forced and cringe-worthy.

Overall, The Freeman's Daughter just didn't do it for me. I liked the historical fiction aspect of it, but the story itself never goes anywhere. Add in the bad writing and characters, and you have the recipe for a hot mess.

- Yen Anh, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up
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