Welcome to yAdult Review, a space where two girls review novels from across the genres, from YA and MG, to fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and mystery, with a sprinkling of non-fiction too. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we enjoy ours.

Tag Archives: publisher: little brown byr

26030682Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ARC from #thenovl newsletter
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

An unforgettable story of bravery, grief, and love in impossible times

The missing girl is Jewish. I need you to find her before the Nazis do.

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person–a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action.

Meticulously researched, intricately plotted, and beautifully written, Girl in the Blue Coat is an extraordinary, gripping novel from a bright new voice in historical fiction. – Goodreads

Review:

I’m not sure how this book made my radar, but what I do know is that Elizabeth Wein’s blurb sealed the deal for me. I was amazed how quickly I got sucked into this story and wanted more. I’m notoriously horrible when it comes historical fiction because, as everyone knows, World War II is my historical jam. However, I’m glad I got over myself and read The Girl in the Blue Coat. I see this book as a historical game changer.

Hanneke, our protagonist, doesn’t know who she is anymore. It’s clear to me, as a reader, that she’s the heart of this novel and she’s a historian in the making (says a historian!) Hanneke is carrying around a lot of guilt, and this guilt has changed her. After her boyfriend, Bas, dies in the war she is dealing with the fact she convinced him to enlist, and how she can do her part to help in the war. When Bas died, part of her died too.

Her duty, is part of my favorite part of the war movement, the Resistance. Besides the fact that my graduating capstone was on women in the Resistance, Hanneke is everything I loved about the movement. She’s seemingly innocent, she becomes obsessed, she wants to do her part. What works is that this doesn’t differ from her life before the war. Before the war Hanneke was a firecracker who was never used to keeping her head down. The guilt of Bas’ death however changes her. What I enjoyed was how Hesse used that guilt to drive Hanneke into a mystery that shocked me until the final page.


24819554The League of Unexceptional Children by Gitty Daneshvari
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ALA2015
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Are you average? Normal? Forgettable? If so, the League of Unexceptional Children is for you! This first book in a hilarious new adventure series is for anyone who’s struggled to be noticed in a sea of above-average overachievers.


What is the League of Unexceptional Children? I’m glad you asked. You didn’t ask? Well, you would have eventually and I hate to waste time. The League of Unexceptional Children is a covert network that uses the nation’s most average, normal, and utterly unexceptional children as spies. Why the average kids? Why not the brainiacs? Or the beauty queens? Or the jocks? It’s simple: People remember them. But not the unexceptionals. They are the forgotten ones. Until now!
. – Goodreads

Review:

The League of Unexceptional Children is the story of two unrememberable children, Jonathan and Shelley. Two kids from Washington D.C., who are meant to save the world. The thing is Johnathan and Shelley really don’t want to save the world. That’s meant for people who are meant to save the world and that’s not them. They’re unexceptional. They’re middle of the road. They don’t understand why they’re being recruited except, that’s exactly why they’re being recruited. They’re wanted because people don’t remember them.

With the use of humor and an excellent plot Daneshvari takes the reader on an interesting story. Unfortunately the characters were a little too unexceptional and I couldn’t wait for the story to end.

My friend Jen and I are obsessed with middle grade obsessed. So this book was a pleasant surprise at the Little Brown booth during this year’s ALA. However, sadly, this book was a bit of a let down. It just moved too slowly for me to get involved in the story.



23467595The Truth about Twinkie Pie
by Kat Yeh
Release Date: January 25, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Source: Audiobook from Library!
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

“A quirky, heartwarming coming-of-age debut novel about a girl who s out of her element but up for the challenge”

Take two sisters making it on their own: brainy twelve-year-old GiGi (short for Galileo Galilei, a name she never says out loud) and junior-high-dropout-turned-hairstylist DiDi (short for Delta Dawn). Add a million dollars in prize money from a national cooking contest and a move from the trailer parks of South Carolina to the Gold Coast of New York. Mix in a fancy new school, new friends and enemies, a first crush, and a generous sprinkling of family secrets.

That s the recipe for “The Truth about Twinkie Pie,” a voice-driven middle grade debut about the true meaning of family and friendship.” – Goodreads

Review:

The Truth About Twinkie Pie is a stellar middle grade novel that just made my heart warm and fuzzy. It’s about a girl who learns to grow and yet stay the same. It’s a story that broke my heart (because she has a sister who loves her so much) and made me laugh all at the same time. This book has everything that is A++ in books: complex characters, complex family relationships, real life issues and is completely relatable. It also has strong female friendships! Which is something, as you know, is very close to me.

GiGi is a girl from the south and she’s proud of that. She misses her mom and loves that her sister watches over her. DiDi, her older sister is trying her hardest to have GiGi grow up to be a solid person meant for the world. Never once did I question how much DiDi loved her sister. GiGi could drive her crazy and up the wall, but there was always trust and love between the two of them. I also enjoyed how Yeh shows that just because someone’s life looks perfect doesn’t mean it is. Her friends all look like they all have these “perfect” lives, but they are struggling with her.

GiGi considers her sister to be stifling and overbearing her sister is just loving her the only way she knows how. She’s convinced everyone is judging her and they’re not. They’re worried about their own lives, but when you’re in middle school that’s not how your brain works. I get that. I also get that no matter how much you love someone, you sometimes feel like you need a break from someone. Or even find someone that actually listens to you when you’re surrounded by people who mean well, but don’t listen.

This book really is everything. It’s enjoyable. It’s heartbreaking. It makes you think. It’s a must read.



24396858The Dead House
by Dawn Kurtagich
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Little Brown
Source: ARC provided by NOVL newsletter
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Debut author Dawn Kurtagich is dead on in this terrifying psychological thriller!

Over two decades have passed since the fire at Elmbridge High, an inferno that took the lives of three teenagers. Not much was known about the events leading up to the tragedy – only that one student, Carly Johnson, vanished without a trace…

…until a diary is found hidden in the ruins.

But the diary, badly scorched, does not belong to Carly Johnson. It belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, a girl who shouldn’t exist Who was Kaitlyn? Why did she come out only at night? What is her connection to Carly?

The case has been reopened. Police records are being reexamined: psychiatric reports, video footage, text messages, e-mails. And the diary.

The diary that paints a much more sinister version of events than was ever made publicly known – Goodreads

Review:

This book sounds perfect. Horror that is told in transcripts, diaries, and notes. Yet, it fell extremely flat for me. I wanted to quit The Dead House multiple times. That may have been because this is the second book with DID (dissociative identity disorder or multiple personalities) that I read in about a three book period. I also had a hard time following the story. The natural rhythm of the story never worked for me.

There is also a lot going on in this story that you can’t really talk about because that gives away too much about the story but I was constantly putting this book down unsure of what was going on. Between plot, characters and pacing The Dead House fell extremely flat for me.

I also had problem with how many characters there were and I kept getting them confused and putting them together. I feel with more editing this book could have really shined.


17333253Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ALA2014
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society’s definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to questioneverything–and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions…like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people she imagines flying over her at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.– Goodreads

Review:

A.S. King knows how to back a punch, which she does in Ask the Passengers. Astrid, lives in a small town and she doesn’t fit in. Astrid has fallen in love with a girl, Dee. This is nothing to be ashamed of; however, Astrid isn’t even sure she wants to be a lesbian, or in love with a girl. Not because it’s a bad thing, but because she lives in a small town, where rumors run rampant and the last thing she wants is the small town to talk more about her.

When it comes out that Astrid is dating Dee, Astrid’s BFF Kristina is heartbroken that Astrid wouldn’t tell her. It is never that Astrid doesn’t trust Kristina, it is that she doesn’t trust her small, judging town where you tell one person a secret and it hits three different high schools by dinner. What drives this novel is King’s ability to write true emotions. True, realistic emotions that stay with you for quite sometime, even if they are heartbreaking. Astrid’s family bothered me far more than I thought they would throughout this novel, because they are so worried about themselves, that Astrid gets lost in the shuffle.

To get away from this world, Astrid lays on her picnic table, away from her mother and her pushiness, her father’s lack of caring, and her sister’s problems. Astrid feels she has no one and to deal with this she sends love when she sees planes fly above her and she asks them her biggest questions. Like…is it okay to fall in love with a girl? Does everyone lie to their parents? Their best friends?

What King does is weave in the stories of the passengers on the plane and Astrid. Not all of the passengers interested me, but there were some I wanted to know more about. Or I wanted to hug them and tell them that everything will be okay. Even though it may not be okay. Astrid is over being controlled and finally she explodes at Dee and ask “If you love me, shouldn’t you be patient with me.” But it’s not just directed at Dee, it’s directed at everyone in her life. Her mom, her best friend, her sister, her teachers..herself.

Astrid really wants everything to stay the same, comfortable; even though she is not even close to comfortable. What she really wants to is leave this small town, and go to where she is welcomed. The problem is, Astrid won’t be comfortable until she accepts herself, something she works on throughout Ask the Passengers. During a class Astrid has, in which the teacher calls them the smartest and the brightest, they are three votes short of marriage equality and her best friend has lied to everyone and left her alone. To say Astrid is having problems loving and accepting herself, is the last thing

While I enjoyed Ask the Passengers, I did have one fairly big problem with the novel. My one big problem in this novel was Dee, oh Dee. I’m sure you’re a good person and Astrid sees you as this good person. But Astrid is good at saying no, and you’re good at telling her she means yes. That is no bueno. I would have enjoyed King to flesh that part out more. Is Dee the good person Astrid believes she is, or is she the person I believe Dee is?


21822422

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, a true story by Josh Sundquist
Release Date: December 23, 2014
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

A bright, poignant, and deeply funny autobiographical account of coming of age as an amputee cancer survivor, from Josh Sundquist: Paralympic ski racer, YouTube star, and motivational speaker.

Josh Sundquist only ever had one girlfriend.
For twenty-three hours.
In eighth grade.

Why was Josh still single? To find out, he tracked down the girls he had tried to date and asked them straight up: What went wrong?

The results of Josh’s semiscientific, wholly hilarious investigation are captured here. From a disastrous Putt-Putt date involving a backward prosthetic foot, to his introduction to CFD (Close Fast Dancing), to a misguided “grand gesture” at a Miss America pageant, this story is about looking for love–or at least a girlfriend–in all the wrong places.  – Goodreads

Review:

Josh Sundquist has been single his whole life, minus that period in eighth grade when he dated a girl. For 23 hours. Josh wants to know why he’s been single, so he wrote a book about it. Yes, that is the whole point of this book, why has he never really dated someone. And Sundquist, really isn’t a bad guy, throughout the book that is proven to be true. He goes back and talks to every girl he really had a crush on to find out what went wrong and a lot of the time, it was miscommunication.

Through drawings and in-depth analysis of his dating history he begins to find out where things went wrong. “Background”, “Hypothesis”, and “Investigation.” This was very much a legit scientific discovery and because this is a memoir, Sundquist often seems a bit obsessed with romance; however, I never once thought he wasn’t genuine, honest, and a bit awkward which makes him more genuine. He talks about being homeschooled through eighth grade to that first day of public high school and those experiences in college we all wouldn’t mind forgetting.

Sundquist often assumed girls wouldn’t like him. He’s awkward, he has one leg, that he lost to childhood cancer and while he tries to not let that be a problem, it does effect how he acts. He tries so hard to not be a bother about that fact, that he has one leg, but it does cause him to have walls up around himself. The reader, and Sundquist himself, find out he had a lot of walls up around himself and for the longest time really didn’t love and accept himself. How could he expect someone to love him, if he really didn’t love himself? I’ve read enough romance novels in my time to know that it’s not impossible, no wait it generally is. But once he starts to accept his disability and himself, he stops looking for love and what happens? He finds Ashley, he present day fiancée. (Another Ashley, not me Ashley.)

I wanted to enjoy this book. And I found it to be a quick read; however, I also found it to be quite problematic. It started before I picked up the book and saw this post my friend Anna had on tumblr. I was like “Ugh. Bad joke to promote the book.” And then I started to read the book and found this in the book and my heart hurt. Because why? Why do we have to “joke” about the friend zone? It’s almost 2015, can’t we move on?


18196040The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Little Brown
Source: Netgalley
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Review: I tried to pick it up a few times and every time I just could not find myself to care. There are too many books in the world for me to read/care about. This was not one of them.

 

 

 

 

18106985Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1) by Heather Demetrios
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Source: ALA2014
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Review: Never jumped off the page and excited me. It annoyed me more than anything. I may go back and pick it up in the future, but at the moment with my long TBR pile there are too many books out there.

17061489

The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown
Source: ALA2013
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Review: I made it to 12% and was bored out of my mind. Maybe it’s wrong book, wrong time. I may come back to it later. But there were so many side stories it was hard to stay concentrated.