Tag Archives: rock star

Girl Last Seen is a YA mystery that will keep you guessing

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Girl Last Seen is a YA mystery that will keep you guessing

A twisty mystery for the reader who enjoyed Gone Girl and When We Were Liars.  Lies and truth becoming increasingly scrambled as two teens accused of kidnapping and presumably killing a local YouTube star try to prove their innocence.  Honestly, I even got a few surprises out of this one, so I gave it four stars.

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Goodreads Summary

Kadence Mulligan’s star was rising. She and her best friend, Lauren DeSanto, watched their songs go viral on YouTube, then she launched a solo career when a nasty throat infection paralyzed Lauren’s vocal chords. Everyone knows Lauren and Kadence had a major falling-out over Kady’s boyfriend. But Lauren knows how deceptive Kadence could be sometimes. And nobody believes Lauren when she claims she had nothing to do with the disappearance. Or the blood evidence As the town and local media condemns Lauren, she realizes the only way to clear her name is to discover the truth herself. Lauren slowly unravels the twisted life of Kadence Mulligan and sees that there was more to her than she ever knew. But will she realize she’s unknowingly playing a part in an elaborate game to cover up a crime before it’s too late?”

My Thoughts

Even the most reliable voices in this book become questionable, and that makes for some surprising revelations and some unexpected turns.  While many readers will be certain they’ve figured it all out long before the final curtain call on this one, I’m willing to bet they won’t see the whole picture until the very end.  I got a real sense of the frustration these characters were feeling because the author was able to convey that place where kids know things that adults don’t, and the nuances that every YA will recognize as threatening are lost on the authority figures who only get the whitewashed version of people.  I felt like that made for well drawn characters, and it helps create themes about bullying and kindness that add some depth to story.  I didn’t love the romance angle – I’m a little weirded out by love blossoming in the middle of this particular situation, but the author took care to develop the relationship believably. Overall, this was an engaging read,  I think many of my high school readers will enjoy this book.  I’m adding it to my high school classroom library wish list, and I can’t wait to start sharing it with my mystery readers.  Language and situations are appropriate for grades 8+.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Ali Novak’s The Heartbreakers is clean YA contemporary romance about an everyday girl and the rocker boy who sneaks into her heart

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Ali Novak’s The Heartbreakers is clean YA contemporary romance about an everyday girl and the rocker boy who sneaks into her heart

If you know me at all, you probably know about my weakness for rock star love interests.  I couldn’t pass this one up, and you shouldn’t either if you are looking for a light, fluffy read that will leave you happy.  It’s not great literature, but who wants Hemmingway?  The Heartbreakers is publishing on August 1, 2015. *publication was moved to 8/4/15*

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Goodreads Summary

“When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. And he had no idea that I was the only girl in the world who hated his music.”

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara—even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.
Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?
But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver — dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band — when her sister could be dying of cancer?

Ali Novak wrote her debut novel My Life with the Walter Boys when she was just 15 years old, and has since penned her next book, The Heartbreakers. First a hit on the online community Wattpad, her second novel has over 38 million reads and is loved by readers around the world.

My Thoughts

Heartbreakers is a cute YA romance about a girl, about a boy band, and about finding your future.  Since I adore books with rocker boy love interests, I was really excited to get a chance to read this one.  I liked the theme of the bonds between family and the fear of losing that bond that this book explored.  It was sweet and gentle and played on every girl’s fantasy of being “The One.”  The characters were likeable, if rather generic. Initially, I found Stella rather off putting.  She throws a strange tantrum close to the beginning of the book which was explained as a character trait and I thought it was awkward and it didn’t bode well for the book, but it was even stranger when that temper didn’t manifest again anywhere in the book.  She does redeem herself, and I liked how she was introspective and had enough self respect to handle situations that have made other protagonists cave.  The members of The Heartbreakers had three distinct members and one who faded into the background, so I wasn’t sure what purpose he served and I thought he needed to be more distinctly developed or eliminated.  While the plot moved along at a nice pace and worked well to develop the romantic relationship, I couldn’t help but feel like several scenes were ones I had read before.  In the genre of rock romance, story lines do tend to have similar elements, though, so it didn’t really bother me.  Overall, this was a pretty fluffy read, but it will satisfy readers who just want to know that after the drama, they will finish with a smile on their face.  This is a clean read with only a few instances of mature language and scenes of light sensuality.  It is appropriate for grades 7+.  Adult readers of YA won’t find it as engaging as the intended audience.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Miranda Kenneally delivers a sweet and fun contemporary YA romance in Jesse’s Girl

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Miranda Kenneally delivers a sweet and fun contemporary YA romance in Jesse’s Girl

Sometimes you are just up for a little escape read, and Jesse’s Girl will do the trick.  This is a fantasy read where the average girl with a dream meets the superstar guy and somehow, someway, she is the most intriguing thing he has ever met.  Well, sort of, anyway.  This book is set to publish on July 7, 2015.

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Goodreads Summary

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse is pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?
My Thoughts

This book is just too cute. Maya expects to be set up at the music store in the mall for career day. Instead she finds herself shadowing Jesse Scott, one of the biggest stars in young Nashville. He might be a big deal, but all Maya sees is a jerk. Determined to get some useful advice about a musical career, Maya sticks it out, even when Jesse decides to toss the agenda and go a la Ferris Bueller. This was a fun and fast read. Maya is a little too much of a guy’s dream girl (she likes cars, fixes motorcycles, plays metal guitar, and is just slightly quirky) but she was quite likeable. She had a determination and independence that played well with the theme of going after your dreams. Jesse, too, was a pretty well developed character who had character growth and conflict of his own. The book is paced to develop a believable relationship. There are some sexual situations, but they are handled well, and there is nothing graphic or vulgar about them. I don’t imagine you are expecting great literature, and you shouldn’t, but escape reading is too highly underrated in my opinion.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sarah Ganon’s Date With A Rockstar is a purely escapist YA read, and I enjoyed every far-fetched minute of it

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Sarah Ganon’s Date With A Rockstar is a purely escapist YA read, and I enjoyed every far-fetched minute of it

I thoroughly enjoyed this guilty pleasure of a book. It combines a lot of things that I enjoy – a rock star love interest, an underdog protagonist, and a reality TV competition (I can’t watch them, but I love to read about them). Think The Selection minus the annoying love triangle and the reluctant participant, and you have the main idea of this book.

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Goodreads Summary

A Dystopian future + a Bachelor-esque reality show = a sly yet heartfelt love story that will have you tearing through the pages to see how it all ends. –Heather Lyons, author of the Fate series

Monet isn t just another lust-struck teenager trying to win the heart of Rock God Jeremy Bane–she needs the prize money from his new reality show to cure her illness. Monet has Fluxem, a contagious disease that’s spread through saliva. It’s completely curable if you have enough money, which she and her single mother don’t. Now that she’s on the show, Monet has to work harder to keep her Fluxem hidden. She only has to keep the secret long enough to woo Jeremy Bane so he picks her as the winner. She doesn’t even care about the love part; the prize alone will change her life. But the real Jeremy Bane is nothing like she imagined. Monet finds herself fighting against feelings that make her want to give in to her attraction and Jeremy’s attempts for a kiss. The further she goes in the competition, the more impossible it becomes to resist him–and when the producers turn the tables and start digging up dirt on the contestants, Monet fears her secret will be revealed before she’s ready and ruin everything. The only way to win Jeremy’s heart is to tell him the truth, but confessing her disease could cost her the competition, the prize money, and him.

My Thoughts

Monet is a character I could get behind.  She doesn’t have money or material advantages that the other contestants have, but she is down to Earth and someone readers can cheer for.  Jeremy, the rockstar, is also someone readers will like.  He didn’t blow me away, and most of the things that are designed to make him attractive are examples of simple human decency, but he is a suitable, if generic, love interest.  The other contestants range from crazy to crazier, and I enjoyed the inevitable cattiness and drama.   The book takes place in a future that seems pretty bleak, which I didn’t really expect from the premise.  It added a subtle but thoughtful commentary on ecological, economic, and social issues.  The book moved quickly and had a satisfying conclusion.  It isn’t great literature, but it was fun to read.  I finished it in a few hours and it was one I read straight through.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lola Carlyle’s 12-Step Romance is a funny YA contemporary romance with heart.

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Lola Carlyle’s 12-Step Romance is a funny YA contemporary romance with heart.

Lola Is a spoiled “celebrity spawn” who cooks up a plan to fake her way into a rehab program to reunite with the crush who got away. Things don’t go as planned and ridiculousness, breakthroughs, and lessons about love ensue. Lola is really obnoxious at the beginning of the book, and it takes a while for the reader to break through her defense mechanisms to the funny, smart girl inside. This is absolutely worth taking the time to do. This book made me laugh out loud, and it was a lot of fun to read. Lola’s antics and banter are amusing and heartbreaking in turns. There was a lot more depth to this book than I expected, and I’m so glad I stuck with it when I thought it might just be a vapid teen read. My high school girls are going to love this book. It is edgy without being crass, and the romance is cute but far from insta love. Absolutely worth the $5.99 ebook price tag on Amazon.
  
Goodreads Summary

Lola Carlyle is lonely, out of sorts, and in for a boring summer. So when her best friend, Sydney, calls to rave about her stay at a posh Malibu rehab and reveals that the love of Lola’s life, Wade Miller, is being admitted, she knows what she has to do. Never mind that her worst addiction is decaf cappuccino; Lola is going to rehab.

Lola arrives at Sunrise Rehab intent solely on finding Wade, saving him from himself, and—naturally—making him fall in love with her…only to discover she’s actually expected to be an addict. And get treatment. And talk about her issues with her parents, and with herself. Plus she has insane roommates, and an irritatingly attractive mentor, Adam, who’s determined to thwart her at every turn. 

Oh, and Sydney? She’s gone.

Turns out, once her pride, her defenses, and her best friend are stripped away, Lola realizes she’s actually got a lot to overcome…if she can open her heart long enough to let it happen. 

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

American Girl on Saturn will let you indulge in your secret boy band crush (you know you have one).  

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Look, the cover doesn’t do anything for me, but I really, really liked this contemporary YA romance, so just don’t look at it.  It has fun — look for the fake fridge twitter, a twinkle light treehouse for late night trysts, a wish lantern scene that ends with a five year old screaming, “I hate my life.”  It also has a hot musician in a boy band (ugh, just stop looking at that stupid cover — that isn’t him!).  Rock star books are my thing, so I am always glad to find one that isn’t full of graphic sexual situations. This is a sweet story and it is appropriate for all readers.  It’s free if you have Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, and under $4 for the ebook if you don’t.  It was the best four dollars I’ve spent in a long time!



Goodreads Summary

The summer after graduation is supposed to be that first real taste of freedom – but not for eighteen-year-old Chloe Branson. Just as that breeze of freedom is making its way into her galaxy, her secret-service-agent dad drops a meteor-sized bomb of bad news on her and her sisters. An attempt has been made on the lives of Canadian boyband, Spaceships Around Saturn, during their USA tour, and the guys have to go into hiding ASAP. The only problem? In the midst of the crisis and media frenzy, their dad volunteered to hide the guys…in their house.

Six-year-old Emery is as ecstatic as any self-proclaimed Saturnite would be, but Chloe and her seventeen-year-old sister Aralie watch their summer plans crash and burn like a falling star. The SAS guys aren’t happy with the situation, either. Bad boy Jules picks fights with Aralie about everything from his Twitter followers to his laundry, and heart-throb Benji can’t escape Emery’s fangirlisms for more than three minutes.

But after the super-cute Milo kisses Chloe during a game of hide-and-seek, she finally understands what Emery means when she talks about SAS being “out of this world.” If this is what Saturn feels like, Chloe doesn’t want to come back to Earth. 

Not from the goodreads summary:  While I enjoyed the story, I did find a lot of cringeworthy writing. The metaphors were ridiculous and need to be toned down — bleeding butterflies, crushed ladybugs, etc.  It could use a good editor, but I still loved it.

This book is available in our classroom library!

This girl and her lion can kick your butt and a zombie’s butt At The Same Time!

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This girl and her lion can kick your butt and a zombie’s butt At The Same Time!

Hollowland is an older book, but it is one of my favorites. There is non-stop action and a really tough protagonist. She is working her way across the wasteland of a zombie filled USA to find the military installation where her sick younger brother was evacuated to when their former safe haven is overrun. A solid and reliable pre med student, a fashion conscious preteen, and an incompetent but endearing former rock star make up her unwanted team of traveling companions. Also, there is a lion. This one is full of snark and attitude, which I always enjoy. Many reviewers on Goodreads thought this was an example of bad writing and/or bad plotting, but I loved it, and I read it at least once a year. The students that I can talk into reading it always want the sequel. The narrator isn’t a girly girl, so both male and female readers can find it engaging. It is also usually free on Amazon, so nothing lost if you download it and decide I am fooling myself about the enjoyment it will bring you.

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Hollowland Amanda Hocking
Paperback, 312 pages
Published October 6th 2010 by Amanda Hocking (first published September 28th 2010)

Goodreads Summary

Hollowland – the first book in the young adult dystopian series The Hollows…

“This is the way the world ends – not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way – not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.