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all fall downTitle: All Fall Down
Author: Ally Carter
Series: Embassy Row Book # 1
Recommended for: 6th Grade and up
Pages: 310 pages
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION CARTER, A.

Synopsis:

Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things:1. She is not crazy.
2. Her mother was murdered.
3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay.As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands.Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down.

– (Scholastic)

Grace can only remember little bits about the day her mom died.  What she remembers is her mom being shot by a man with a scar. Graces’ family has been trying to convince her that her mom died in an accidental fire.  Is Grace crazy? Did she make the whole memory up? Who should she believe?  The first half of the book you are getting to know the different characters that live on Embassy Row.  The last quarter of the book is where most of the action happens. This book was enjoyable to read.  I was hoping for more action, but I can tell the author is laying the ground work for the next book.  I am putting this for 6th grade and up because a huge part of this book is dealing with Grace’s internal struggle with what she thinks she sees and what everyone whats her to believe happened.

Something TrueTitle: Something True
Author: Kieran Scott
Series: A True Love Novel #3
Recommended for: 7th grade and up
Pages: 279 pages
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION SCOTT, K.

Synopsis: Will the love of her life distract True from reuniting with…the love of her life? Find out in the third book in Kieran Scott’s delightful series that blends ancient mythology with contemporary romance.

True Olympia is in the home stretch. After being banished to Earth without her powers as punishment for falling in love with a mortal, True was tasked with matching three couples before she could return home. Now, with two couples fully in love, she is ready for her time in New Jersey to come to an end.

But as easy as it should be to match one more couple, things are complicated by her immortal love Orion (who also appeared on Earth, just without the memory of their love). He’s dating another girl, but can’t seem to avoid spending time with True. Something about her finally seems familiar to him. But if True wants to get back with Orion for real, she needs to focus. Just one more couple, one more couple…

This is the third and I do believe final book in the series. The author tells the story from many characters perspective so you are able to understand how they think. In this book I felt that the author brought in more mythology to mix with the romance than in the other books.  I enjoyed the other books, but if you are looking for more of a mythology retell or Percy Jackson this is not the book for you.  The book is heavy on the contemporary romance.  Typical high school drama with the different cliques and  a love triangle.

How to Sell it: This series is about Eros the goddess of love being punished for rescuing Orion, having a relationship with him, and ignoring her responsibility’s.  Zeus banishes her to earth without her powers with the assignment that she has to make three  matches.  Once she has done that she will be brought back and will be able to be with Orion again.  Eros has no concept of how to live like a human and she has to learn that as she is making her matches.

imagesTitle: The Zigzag Effect
Author: Lili Wilkinson
Recommended for: 7th-12th grade
Pages: 345
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION WILKINSON, L.  

Synopsis: Sage is delighted to land a holiday job at a theater. Mostly because it will earn her the money she needs for the photography course she’s coveted since she first picked up a camera. And working for a magician should be interesting, right? Plus there’s a cute stagehand named Herb, who could make it even more interesting.

Review:
There is a lot to like about the Zigzag Effect, including learning that zigzag is one word and it won’t find it if you search it as two words!  🙂  The synopsis emphasizes the romance aspect, and the romance was well done–it is romantic, but not steamy.  They kiss, but they also get in fights and have misunderstandings and are real people with problems.  However, the romance is only a part of this book, which is alternately creepy, funny, fascinating, and empowering.  It takes place in Australia, which adds a level of interest to the tale, and Sage has recently moved, has no friends, and her parents are having money trouble.  She has a cute little brother who loves magic, so he is fascinated when she starts doing clerical work for a magician over break.  There is information about how magicians run their shows, there is a beautiful assistant who believes in the supernatural and that the theater is haunted, and there is a conniving magician out to ruin the show.  While I do think that girls are the most likely readers of this book, I appreciated that it was not a romance, it was a story that included romance.

impossibleknifeTitle: The Impossible Knife of Memory
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Recommended for: High School
Pages: 391
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION ANDERSON 

Synopsis:
Hayley and her dad move back to his home town ostensibly because he wants her to have a normal senior year of high school after years of traveling with him as a trucker–but really because the demons of his past in the military have started to take over and he is unable to hold down a job.  They muddle along together as his PTSD worsens and she covers for him more and more.  In the process, she has to stop living day to day and start remembering things from her past and planning for the future.

Review:
I picked up this book because of the army angle–after all, military service is a part of life for many families.  I was filled with sympathy for her father, even when he was a horrible dad.  But the book covers more life tragedies beyond PTSD and neglect without feeling like it is too crammed with issues.  Hayley slowly makes friends, and their seemingly perfect lives are also being torn apart by trauma–pill addictions, divorce, alcoholism, poverty, and probably more that I can’t remember.  But what unfolds is ultimately the message that everyone is messed up, but you can rise above.  Despite the subject matter, this book is actually really funny.  Hayley has a lot of sass and attitude and her friend Finn is a wise-cracking nerdy love interest that injects a great note of levity to the book.  I would recommend this book to people who like realistic fiction that are a cut above the “teen issues” books, but still want a book with emotional resonance.  I recommend this for high school, not because of bad content, but because the issues are a little more mature.  If I were booktalking the book, I would say, “This is about a girl who not only has to deal with all the junk that comes with high school (teachers on power trips, pressure to join clubs, trying to read into possible relationships), she also has to figure out how to deal with her dad who is slowly losing it from PTSD.  She finds the funny in the hard stuff.”

The wrond side of rightTitle: The Wrong Side of Right
Author: Jenn Marie Thorne
Series: N/A
Recommended for: Grades 7 and Up
Pages: 390
Call Number/Link:  TEEN FICTION THORNE

Synopsis: Kate Quinn’s mom died last year, leaving Kate parentless and reeling. So when the unexpected shows up in her living room, Kate must confront another reality she never thought possible—or thought of at all. Kate does have a father. He’s a powerful politician. And he’s running for U.S. President. Suddenly, Kate’s moving in with a family she never knew she had, joining a campaign in support of a man she hardly knows, and falling for a rebellious boy who may not have the purest motives. This is Kate’s new life. But who is Kate? When what she truly believes flies in the face of the campaign’s talking points, she must decide. Does she turn to the family she barely knows, the boy she knows but doesn’t necessarily trust, or face a third, even scarier option?

This was a great book to see how Kate grows throughout the book.  She is not sure of this father that just pops up on her doorstep, but she is willing to give it a chance.  I also, like that for once we have a step mom that is human.  The step mom  is a little stand offish in the beginning and rightfully so, as Kate is a product of an affair.  I just love that in the end the step mom is accepting and a great supporter of Kate.  Kate is trying to sort out how she feels, who she is, and how she fits in, that could be really drawn out, but this book keeps things moving with quick chapters.

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