Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

16143347 There isn’t much I can say about We Were Liars without giving it away.  I can tell you that it takes place on the private island of a rich Boston family.  I can tell you that it’s about a group of four friends who call themselves “the Liars”, and that there are indeed a lot of lies in the story.  I can tell you that the writing is fearless, razor-sharp and beautiful, and that I read it in the space of about three hours.  But as for what it’s actually about?  No, I can’t tell you that.  The heavy, portentous suspense in We Were Liars is the book’s best feature.  The phrase “unputdownable” gets thrown around a lot with new, hyped books, but I’m gonna say it anyway: you will genuinely not put this book down until you get to the end.  As it says on the back of the book: Read it.  And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart; Random House; 17.99; 13+ years old

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Sarah Dessen Book Club

If you can’t get enough of Sarah Dessen, her newest book The Moon and More comes out on June first. Get warmed up for the new release by making this summer all about Sarah Dessen. If you buy three or more Sarah Dessen books at Hooray for Books! before July 30th you will be entered into a raffle to win a $10 gift certificate. Any Sarah Dessen book is eligible, just ask a bookseller for the Penguin punch card. The drawing will be held at our Sarah Dessen Book Club Event on July 30th from 6:30-7:30. You’ll have a chance to discuss your favorite Sarah Dessen books, and participate in activities and receive other Sarah Dessen goodies.

My favorite Sarah Dessen book is The Truth About Forever. Macy’s life is structured and predictable. When her boyfriend leaves for Brain Camp all summer long, her summer looks like it will be long, studious, and boring. Then she takes a job at Wish catering, and her wacky coworkers, including a gorgeous guy name Wes, show Macy that predicatbility and perfection isn’t the only way to be happy. This books got it all: romance, fantastic friends, summer job drama, a believable protagonist, and plenty of humor.

Swing by the store to pick up one of Sarah’s many books, and let us know your favorites. 

Happy Summer Reading,

Erin

The Moon and MoreSarah Dessen; Viking; $19.99

The Truth About Forever; Sarah Dessen; Puffin; $9.99

This Book Makes Me Happy :)

Are you looking for the perfect summer book? A light romance that is fast-paced AND well-written? This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith is the perfect escape. Fans of Sarah Dessen’s books, or Jenny Han’s The Summer I Turned Pretty will fall hard for this romance.

When teen celebrity Graham Larkin accidentally emails Ellie O’Neill about his pet pig, the two of them start a chain of emails and eventually become friends. Graham falls for Ellie so he manages to renegotiate the location of his newest film to Ellie’s hometown: a small resort town on the Maine Coast

Discovering her online crush is a movie star is actually quite complicated. Can they manage to avoid the paparazzi, keep Ellie’s family secret out of the news, and just get over the awkwardness of teenage dating?

Despite its over-the-top premise, the emotions and relationships are realistic, including complicated, but supportive, relationships with parents and friends. Younger readers, and even adults, will enjoy this clean read. The characters are witty, the romance is satisfying, and the setting is gorgeous. This is What Happy Looks Like is my favorite YA romance this year.

-Erin

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith; Hachette; $17.99

A Perfect Winter Read

tragedypaper

Looking for the perfect young adult novel to curl up with while it’s freezing outside? Try The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban.

Duncan returns to Irving School for his senior year, hoping to avoid discussing, or even thinking about, his role in the tragic event the winter before. But the previous tenant of his room, an albino named Tim, has graduated and left a stack of CDs for Duncan. The recordings not only reveal the details behind the tragedy, they narrate a secret romance between Tim and the most popular girl in school.

Duncan just wants to forget what happened last year, but as he becomes caught up in Tim’s story, he realizes it is influencing his own. Told in alternating perspectives, The Tragedy Paper is a compelling mystery that evokes the boarding school environment of The Disreputable History of Frank Landau Banks. Laban’s debut novel will keep the reader on edge as the tragedy looms closer and closer.

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth Laban; Knopf; $17.99; Ages 12 and up

The Madman’s Daughter

images (3)Life in 19th century London is brutal for Juliet Moreau. Her father, once a famous surgeon, scandalized the family and she’s now orphaned and destitute. But when she discovers he’s alive and practicing his experiments on a remote island, she journeys to find him. What she discovers, however, is that his madness may run within her, in alarming ways she doesn’t dare to imagine.

Based on H.G. Wells’ science fiction novel, the Island of Dr. Moreau, Megan Shepherd’s version turns the classic plot into a compulsively readable young adult novel. She crafts a well-written novel that balances scientific horror with an irresistible love triangle. Though the introduction to a new trilogy, the novel stands alone well, and the plot twists and surprises will keep you guessing right up to the last page. 

Megan Shepherd will be at Hooray for Books! this Thursday (Feb 7th) at 6:30 p.m. with three other exciting YA authors: Jodi Meadows, Meagan Spooner, and Lenore Appelhans.

The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd; Balzar and Bray /Harper Teen; $17.99

The Raven Boys

If you’re looking for a new series to sink your teeth into, this is it. In The Raven Boys, bestselling-writer Maggie Stiefvater (Shiver and Scorpio Races) weaves magic and folklore into an original ghost story.

Blue Sargent, daughter of a clairvoyant, has always known that if she kisses her true love he will die. Good thing Blue doesn’t believe in true love. Besides, she stays away from boys, especially Raven boys.

Each year on St. Mark’s Eve, Blue and her mother go to observe the procession of spirits who will die within the coming year. Blue never sees them, but this year she sees the spirit of Gansey. She’s told it can only mean one of two things: he is her true love, or she will kill him.

Gansey is a Raven Boy, a student at the privileged Aglionby boarding school. He and three best friends are on a mythical quest that Blue can’t help but become entangled in.

This page-turner will keep you guessing until the end, and will make you eager for Stiefvater’s next installment.

-Erin

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater; Scholastic; $18.99

Five Flavors of Dumb

In search of a funny YA read? Try Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. It’s anything but dumb.

Seattle’s newest high school band is Dumb. That is literally their name and Piper thinks it fits. But when Dumb wins the battle of the bands, Piper inadvertently becomes their manager. There are just a few problems-they only know one song, one member can’t even play guitar, they don’t have a drummer, and Piper is deaf. But she’s in desperate need of cash and determined to turn Dumb into a real rock band.

This fun foray into rock-n-roll is a great, quick YA read about the world’s most unlikely high school rock band. Antony John sends his characters on a crash course through Seattle’s rock history, while raising some interesting questions about being a deaf teenager.  Piper’s often snarky voice will make you laugh as she tries to transform Dumb into a band that really rocks.   — Erin

Five Flavors of Dumb,by Antony John, Speak, $8.99