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Reviewed YA, I Read

Wednesday, Jul 18, 2018 at 3:18pm

Here is the listing of our past YA, I Read books our young adults have reviewed. These are now available at a McNally's near you!

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White (discussed November 27, 2019)
Cover image for Guinevere DeceptionPrincess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom's borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution--send in Guinevere to be Arthur's wife and his protector from those who want to see the young king's idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere's real name--and her true identity--is a secret. To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old demand things continue as they have been, and the new fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. 

"The Guinevere Deception introduces a story that asks a lot of questions and leaves the reader questioning everything. Hopefully future books will wrap up these questions in an effective way." -Maddy

"In Kiersten White's interpretation of the Arthurian legend, we explore a Camelot in which a changeling takes on the life of Princess Guinevere and becomes Camelot's queen and protector. This novel will leave the reader with many questions that we can only hope will be answered in the following novels of the trilogy." -Catarina

"The Guinevere Deception was a unique and intriguing retelling of the classic Arthurian legend. A tale cloaked in mystery that will leave you wanting more." -Bronwen

"Kiersten White creates an interesting and magical world in The Guinevere Deception. The characters throughout the book don't have much development, but the plot twists keep you entertained til the end." -Callie

"Kiersten White's The Guinevere Deception is an interesting twist of the traditional Arthurian legend. A new perspective on the story that leads to an exciting reading experience." -Katie

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo (discussed October 23, 2019)
 Cover image for Ninth HouseGalaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug-dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. In fact, by age twenty, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most prestigious universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her? Still searching for answers, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. But their occult activities are more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

"A dark and enticing tale that brings the reader on an emotional journey. We follow Alex as we learn how the traumatic events of her past mold and shape her present. You will not want to put this book down!" -Catarina

"Absolutely full of magic and mystery, Ninth House is definitely a story worth taking time to read to fully appreciate the depth of Leigh Bardugo's writing." -Maddy

"Ninth House is an excellent read, though not for the faint of heart. Bardugo does a great job of constructing a world of magic that exists along with our own, using it to tell an exciting, mysterious, and often horrifying tale of ghosts and magic." -Emily

"Ninth House is an emotional and heavy read, but once you start reading, it will keep you guessing until the end. Alex Stern is a powerful character and we get to see her grow and see how events in her past affect her future and her journey of dealing with her trauma." -Callie

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow (discussed September 25, 2019)
  Cover image for Ten Thousand Doors of JanuaryIn the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut. In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place. Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

"A in-between girl with a heart for adventure finds herself a Door that leads to another world which proceeds to unlock all the lies that encased her life. A wonderful tale of magic and betrayal." -Catarina

"The Ten Thousand Doors of January itself acts as a door, transporting the reader into a fantastical world of magic and mystery." -Maddy

"A slow build to a fast-paced finale within a fantastic universe filled with magic and mystery mixed with an Edwardian world." -Katie

"The Ten Thousand Doors of January is an excellent fantasy novel that starts a bit slow and the picks up in a big way. It was fantastic and fun, with interesting twists on common tropes of the genre. I'd recommend it to anyone who loves going on adventures or just reading about them!" -Emily

"The Ten Thousand Doors of January sends you on an adventure with so many twists and turns, you won't be able to put the book down. You'll never expect what's behind the next door!" -Callie

Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly (discussed May 22, 2019)
Cover image for Stepsister
Isabelle isn't the beauty who captured the prince's heart. She's the ugly stepsister who cut off her toes to fool him. When the prince discovers Isabelle's deception, she's banished. It's no more than Isabelle deserves. She's a plain girl in a world that values beauty. A stubborn girl in a world that wants her to be pliant. Her destiny is a life of misery. That's what Isabelle believes until she finds herself in the midst of a battle between Fate and Chance. Cruel Fate believes that an "ugly" girl with so much bitterness in her heart can never change her destiny. Roguish Chance believes otherwise. And so, Isabelle is given the opportunity to harness strength she never knew she possessed, and learns that while "pretty" is a noose around your neck, "ugly" is the sword that cuts you free.

"More like a spin-off than a retelling, Stepsister is creative, filled with diverse characters and excellent descriptive scenes that feel as if the are straight from a Brother's Grimm fairy-tale." -Maddy

"Stepsister is a magical story that has struggles, bravery, empowerment, and discovery. It is the perfect story that shows us what really happens after happily ever after!" -Callie

"An enchanting tale of empowerment where even those who are looked down on can prove their strength and learn to be better. Jennifer Donnelly wonderfully captures the feel of a Grimm's take while retaining a unique style all her own." -Katie

"Jennifer Donnelly's Stepsister is a fun, adventurous, and empowering read. The retelling of the 'have a pretty face and pure heart to succeed' story of Cinderella to advocate for the opposite is a refreshing take. The main character's journey is both fascinating and easy to follow, as she regains parts of her heart and changes her fate in the process. Well written and exciting, full of cool characters and events, Stepsister is definitely worth the read." -Emily

"Stepsister captures the feel of a classic fairy tale without being cliche or predictable. Isabelle is a memorable character, and I think I'll miss her in other versions of Cinderella." - Sydney

The Center of the Universe by Ria Voros (discussed April 17, 2019)
 Cover image for Center of the UniverseGrace Carter's mother --- the celebrity news anchor GG Carter --- is everything Grace is not. GG is a star, with a flawless wardrobe and a following of thousands, while Grace --- an aspiring astrophysicist --- is into stars of another kind. She and her mother have always been in different orbits. Then one day GG is just ... gone. Cameras descend on their house, news shows speculate about what might have happened and Grace's family struggles to find a new rhythm as they wait for answers. She also uncovers some secrets from her mother's long-lost past. The more Grace learns, the more she wonders. Did she ever really know her mother? Was GG abducted ... or did she leave? And if she left, why?

"A family torn apart by the disappearance of their mother is pulled together closer than ever before. A full circle story full of misunderstandings, mystery, and healing." -Catarina

"A creative story that touches upon many topics in this coming-of-age novel. This book made me a level seven on the bangle scale. It was a very enjoyable read." -Callie

"Ria Voros' The Center of the Universe has an interesting plot and a story of a family going through one of the toughest experiences imaginable. The book portrays several realistic relationships and slowly uncovers secrets and not-so-secrets of a missing woman through the eyes of her teenage daughter. The story is an excellent read for anyone looking for their place in the universe." -Emily

"I enjoyed reading The Center of the Universe. I like how Grace's family grows closer together through everything that happens to them, and Grace's romance with Mylo felt very realistic. The sprinkling of astronomy throughout kept things interesting." -Sydney


Angel Thieves by Kathi Appelt (discussed March 13, 2019)
Cover image for Angel Thieves
Sixteen-year-old Cade Curtis is an angel thief. After his mother’s family rejected him for being born out of wedlock, he and his dad moved to the apartment above a local antique shop. The only payment the owner Mrs. Walker requests: marble angels, stolen from graveyards, for her to sell for thousands of dollars to collectors. Before Zorra, Achsah, a slave, watched the very same bayou with her two young daughters. After the death of her master, Achsah is free, but she’ll be damned if her daughters aren’t freed with her. All they need to do is find the church with an angel with one hand open and one hand closed…

"While reading Angel Thieves I found the individual story lines to be touching, but felt the overall novel to be very plateau. The story was not as emotionally pulling as I think it could have been. With that said, it was a nice and clean read." -Catarina

"Angel Thieves is an interesting, multi-narrated story of the past and present in Texas. The characters will capture your heart and the convergence of story lines at the end will reach a meeting of the stories of an escaped slave, an indigenous sculptor, an angel thief, and an ocelot." -Emily

"In Angel Thieves, you are introduced to a wide variety of characters whose paths intertwine. I found the story to be anti-climatic, but overall a good read." -Callie

"Angel Thieves is a study in historical connections and coincidences. Although it follows many different characters, it ties all the story lines solidly together with themes of parenthood and protection. The Bayou is a character in her own right, and she watches everything that happens." -Sydney

The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas (discussed February 20, 2019)
Cover image for Psychology of Time TravelIn 1967, four female scientists worked together to build the world’s first time machine. But just as they are about to debut their creation, one of them suffers a breakdown, putting the whole project—and future of time travel—in jeopardy. To protect their invention, one member is exiled from the team—erasing her contributions from history. Fifty years later, time travel is a big business. Twenty-something Ruby Rebello knows her beloved grandmother, Granny Bee, was one of the pioneers, though no one will tell her more. But when Bee receives a mysterious newspaper clipping from the future reporting the murder of an unidentified woman, Ruby becomes obsessed: could it be Bee? Who would want her dead? And most importantly of all: can her murder be stopped?

"The Psychology of Time Travel stands out from all the other time travel stories I've encountered. It focuses in on the people involved, and the impacts of their actions, in an incredibly immersive way." -Sydney

"Kate Mascarenhas was able to create an easy-to-follow world where time travel is largely prevalent. This book features mainly strong female character, which was a trait that I greatly enjoyed." -Callie

"A wonderful tale about four, strong female scientists who invent time travel and each of their fates. The question is, though, can fate be changed? It is a mystery to all, but I guess time will tell." -Catarina

"If you like anything murder mystery or Doctor Who, then you should pick up The Psychology of Time Travel. It's absolutely fascinating, well cast, and well written, with a story you won't want to end, but you'll also be dying to know the end of! Ten out of ten would read again." -Emily

No One Here Is Lonely by Sarah Everett (discussed January 23, 2019)
 Cover image for No One Here Is LonelyEden has always had two loves: her best friend, Lacey, and her crush, Will. And then, almost simultaneously, she loses them both. Will to a car accident and Lacey to the inevitable growing up and growing apart. Devastated by the holes they have left in her life, Eden finds solace in an unlikely place. Before he died, Will set up an account with In Good Company, a service that uploads voices and emails and creates a digital companion that can be called anytime, day or night. It couldn't come at a better time because, after losing Lacey who else can she confide all her secrets to? Who is Eden without Lacey? As Eden falls deeper into her relationship with "Will," she hardly notices as her real life blooms around her. Will Eden be able to say goodbye to Will?

"A relatable story of how time can manifest friendship, love, and loss into new forms where we least expected. Change is a part of life, but how we cope with it is the true tale. As Eden finds this out for herself I couldn't help but flip page after page." -Catarina

"Although the premise of this book is unusual--an A.I. designed to mimic a dead person--I found the main character very easy to relate to. It's a well-written story about the transition between high school and university." -Sydney

"Everett's No One Here is Lonely tells an interesting story about the love between a sad, lonely young woman and the A.I. version of her dead crush. Don't be too daunted by the odd premise; the book is well written and the characters are all locked in with some interesting secrets. If you want a relatable teen novel with a twist, you should check this out." -Emily

"Sarah Everett takes you on an emotional roller coaster that deals with loss and grief. Fans of Nina LaCour will connect to Eden's journey of self acceptance." -Callie

Pulp by Robin Talley (discussed November 21, 2018)
Cover image for Pulp  In 1955, eighteen-year-old Janet Jones keeps the love she shares with her best friend Marie a secret. It’s not easy being gay in Washington, DC, in the age of McCarthyism, but when she discovers a series of books about women falling in love with other women, it awakens something in Janet.
Sixty-two years later, Abby Zimet can’t stop thinking about her senior project and its subject—classic 1950s lesbian pulp fiction. Between the pages of her favorite book, the stresses of Abby’s own life are lost to the fictional hopes, desires and tragedies of the characters she’s reading about. She feels especially connected to one author, a woman who wrote under the pseudonym “Marian Love,” and becomes determined to track her down and discover her true identity.

"Entwined tales of love and hardship that will take any reader on a relatable journey of the ups and downs of life." -Catarina

"Pulp is an interesting fusion of past and present-day storylines. I liked how Janet's story was a window into a different era, and how Abby was able to relate to Janet through Janet's writing." -Sydney

"A great story that showcases how far we have come as a society, but also all we must overcome in the future." -Callie

"An interesting look into how lesbian pulp fiction has inpacted women in the past, as well as its impact on current-day women." -Katie

A Winter's Promise by Christelle Dabos (discussed October 17, 2018)
Cover image for Winter's PromisePlain-spoken, headstrong Ophelia cares little about appearances. Her ability to read the past of objects is unmatched in all of Anima and, what’s more, she possesses the ability to travel through mirrors, a skill passed down to her from previous generations. Her idyllic life is disrupted, however, when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, a taciturn and influential member of a distant clan. Ophelia must leave all she knows behind and follow her fiance to Citaceleste, the capital of a cold, icy ark known as the Pole, where danger lurks around every corner and nobody can be trusted. There, in the presence of her inscrutable future husband, Ophelia slowly realizes that she is a pawn in a political game that will have far-reaching ramifications not only for her but for her entire world.

"A Winter's Promise is a fantastic book. The world of the story feels so real and fleshed-out. Ophelia may be an outsider at the Pole, but her perspective is also completely different from ours. I'ts fascinating. I can't wait to read the rest of the series." -Sydney

"An intriguing tale of being torn away from a life you've always known. Ophelia must find a way to persevere through the challenges her new 'family' throws at her, all while staying true to her reflection." -Catarina

"A Winter's Promise was an intriguing read from the start to the end. I loved the fantastic world that Dabos created and the wonderful contrast between its parts. The main character, Ophelia, was an interesting protagonist whose life was filled with intrigue and manipulation as she moved from a mundane life to the dangers of the court. Can't wait to read the next books!" -Emily

"A Winter's Promise is set in a very interesting world that keeps you asking questions. Ophelia's story has many twists and turns that keep you wanting more and I can't wait to see the plot develop in the next book." -Callie

A Room Away from the Wolves by Nova Ren Suma (discussed September 19, 2018)
 Cover image for Room Away From the WolvesBina has never forgotten the time she and her mother ran away from home. Her mother promised they would hitchhike to the city to escape Bina’s cruel father and start over. But before they could even leave town, Bina had a new stepfather and two new stepsisters, and a humming sense of betrayal pulling apart the bond with her mother—a bond Bina thought was unbreakable. Eight years later, after too many lies and with trouble on her heels, Bina finds herself on the side of the road again. She has an old suitcase, a fresh black eye, and a room waiting for her at Catherine House, a young women’s residence in Greenwich Village with a tragic history, a vow of confidentiality, and dark, magical secrets. 

"A Room Away from the Wolves is a mysterious book. Maybe too mysterious at times. It's full of compelling ideas, but I didn't feel like the secrets were explained by the end." -Sydney

"Suma writes a compelling world when she comes up with Catherine House; the idea of a haunted home for girls in need of a rescue is one that will intrique the reader greatly. However, be prepared to be left with many questions about the nature of Bina's adventure as the book leaves a few stones unturned and some plot points unresolved." -Emily

"A Room Away From the Wolves is a ghost story with many mysteries and some realizations. The idea and plot for the novel are well written, but I found that the backstory for Sabina took up too much of the actual story. I wish the novel focused more on the magic happening at Catherine House." -Lauren

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