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A Million Junes by Emily Henry (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Sunday, Apr 23, 2017 at 11:12am

A Million Junes is a whimsical and refreshing read. The author does a great job blending a typical family feud plot with magical realism, the product being this beautifully written novel about love, grief, ghosts, magic, twists, and a "secret-turned-curse" that split apart generations.

Although, I can't say that I enjoyed the romance aspect of the book because it was too insta-lovey and that really puts me off. June is a loveable and sarcastic protagonist, but everything ends the moment she lays eyes on Saul, the guy that comes from a family that her family supposedly hates, and both instantly have crushes on each other.

Emily Henry does a great job handling other relationships however. June has a supportive best friend that doesn't come off as a sidekick, and their friendship is the perfect portrayal of girl love. June's stepdad is equally awesome. He is super supportive of June while she is still grieving her dad, and even tries to keep her father's legacy and memories alive. These kinds of relationships really made the book for me. They just give off such a positive vibe that I'm sure all will appreciate. 

All in all, the magical realism aspect of this novel was great to read aboutm but it could benefit a touch-up to make up for the draggy length and insta-lovey characters. 3/5 stars.

- Phuong, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

A Million Junes will be available May 16.

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

Vigilante by Kady Cross (from a Two Thumbs Up reviewer)

by McNally Robinson - Sunday, Apr 23, 2017 at 10:35am

Vigilante by Kady Cross is a blunt, informative novel about rape. It focuses in on Hadley, whose friend Magda was raped at a party and later ended her life. Hadley seeks vengeance for her friend, and goes after Magda's rapists who went unpunished for their crimes.

My interest for this book was sparked because it seemed very similar to the MTV show, Sweet Vicious. It has the same idea, the protaganist is a vigilante going after rapists, except on a college campus. I understand that books and TV shows both have different challenges when it comes to properly portraying and handling heavy topics like rape, but both actually did so exceptionally well.

I didn't exactly like the writing style, because it comes off as aggressive and angry, which is totally justifiable, but makes it hard to read. Rape victims are more than people who feel constantly angry or scared, they're actual people. I just didn't see a whole lot of personalities that stood out, so while I didn't exactly connect with the characters, I did empathize with the ones who were hurting and angry. I just wish I could've connected with them on more levels and see them as real people.

If you're looking for something heavy, but also empowering, this book will do; but if you're looking for something that is heavy, empowering, and has great comedic moments at all the right times, Sweet Vicious might be the route you want to go.

- Chloe, a Two Thumbs Up reviewer

Categories: Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Two Thumbs Up

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
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