The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

a girl and a boy standing on a sidewalk leaning on a wrought iron fence

Kasie West has written her sixth book, The Fill-In Boyfriend. At first, I thought this book would be the typical, mushy-gushy love story. The type where the girl finds a random boy and falls in love with him in a day, and they live happily ever after. However, this was not the case. This unique story surprised me, and it also took an interesting turn. The story is set in a present day high school and is written as a first person narrative from the viewpoint of Gia Montgomery. There are complex rivalries, a too perfect family, and major boyfriend problems.

For the past two months, Jules has been working on a way to take Gia’s friends away from her. So when Gia gets a boyfriend, Jules thinks he doesn’t exist because her friends have never met him. Determined to prove her wrong, Gia tries to bring Bradley to her prom. But of course disaster strikes – Bradley breaks up with Gia in the parking lot the night of her high school prom. Personally, I was devastated by this break up! Gia does not deserve to be dumped on such a special day. As a result of this break up, Gia is left struggling with a way to save face. In desperation, Gia walks up to a cute guy who was waiting to pick up his sister, and asks him to be her fill-in boyfriend. As relationships continue to grow, this book reveals an unexpected turn of events. I would recommend this book for people who loves interesting turns and lots of drama.

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Geekerella, by Ashley Poston

A girl in a blue dress standing beside an orange Magic Pumpkin food truck

Geekerella, written by Ashley Poston, was a cute contemporary read I never expected to like. In fact, I’d even say I loved this book and I couldn’t recommend it enough. Generally, I tend to read more dramatic and intense fantasy books, so when I picked up this novel it came as a pleasant surprise. Geekerella is about a girl named Danielle Wittimer, also known as Elle, who loves a show she holds close to her heart called Starfield and the new reboot starring teen actor and heartthrob Darien Freeman. This book features points of view from both Darien and Elle, switching each chapter. The book is also a twist on the fairy tale Cinderella, with cute similarities found throughout. For instance, instead of a prince, there’s a celebrity, and Elle works at a food truck called the Magic Pumpkin, which are a few examples among many.

The character Elle is a relatable 17-year-old with an unfortunate string of bad luck that has followed her since her dad’s death. Elle is relatable to me because of her love and dedication to her fandom, which I can relate to with many books and movies. The other character Darien is less relatable because he is famous, but his feelings are genuine and believable which make him a well-liked character. Elle’s stepsisters Chloe and Calliope (Cal), are extremely bratty throughout the book, although one of them does show some unexpected development hinted at slightly towards the first half of the book. Elle develops an unlikely friendship with Sage, her coworker. Sage is a nice character who gives Elle the support she needs while she goes through the hurdles to get to Excelsicon for a cosplay contest.

The two main characters, Elle and Darien, meet through a wrong number text, and their relationship grows through their love for Starfield. The path to their encounter is cute and paced well, with enough time for feelings to grow between the pair. I do feel like them saying that they were in love (not to each other but to friends, before they had met) seemed quite soon and not as believable because they didn’t even know what each other looked like or anything other than their obsession with Starfield. That would be my only critique.

Poston does a good job of including a mix of races and sexualities despite only having a few characters. Darien is British-Indian and Sage (Elle’s coworker and later friend), is a lesbian, along with someone else I won’t mention because I don’t want to spoil too much. A lot of other books I’ve read with a lot more characters either have the same amount of diversity or less, which is unimpressive.

I started this 320-page book one night and finished it the next day. It’s a fast-paced read with an excellent storyline that keeps the reader intrigued. The writing style is great and the references to other famous movies and/or books make the read especially relatable despite Starfield not being a real show. The detail Poston put into the Starfield show and its intricacies make the book much better because the more references and knowledge the characters use the more understandable the obsession is.

Overall, I would rate Geekerella a 10/10 because of the fantastic one-liners, relatable/believable characters, and representation of nerd culture.

The Raft Review

 

girl lying on life raft in the ocean

The Raft is a story about a 15-year-old girl named Robie who is stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean after a plane crash with nothing but a bag of Skittles, a flashlight, a survival book, and a co-pilot. Robie, who lives in Hawaii has always considered herself unlucky until she looks bad luck straight in the eye. I guess if Robie had considered herself more lucky than she did, she probably wouldn’t have gotten stranded on an island. I guarantee that you will not want to put this book down and will be begging for the book to continue when it is over. I was extremely interested by the suspense and the realistic situations in the story. By far this has been the best survival book I have ever read. I could nearly feel the physical pain Robie went through, but just a lot less extreme. This story was very emotional, but not very dark and depressing, so it wasn’t a bummer that would make you feel sad the rest of the day. I feel like this book’s ending was just some overused happy ending, but I still would be happier with a happy ending than an ending where Robie gets stuck on an island and think “I am going to die here, oh well, that’s life”. Most of Robie’s problems were solved through luck but I don’t know what else to expect from a teenage girl. The sad twist to this story was when the co-pilot Max was talking about his years in high school. He was mainly a dark character that added more dialogue to the story.

Masterminds: A Book Review

Five teenagers with bikes beneath a helicopter with a search light

Living in a perfect city may sound like a blessing, right? Or is it a curse? Eli Frieden is a current resident of Serenity, New Mexico, where the mere idea of crime and poverty, and the thought of unemployment are oblivious to human-kind. Here in Serenity, there is no concept of stranger-danger, or danger at all. Here in Serenity, everything is okay, and everything is alright. But deep down inside, is the city as wonderful as it appears?

Eli Frieden lives in this so-called “perfect city” and seems to be living a normal life. However, upon biking to the city limits for the first time with his friend, Randy Hardaway, he experiences unimaginable pain. The next day, Randy makes a spontaneous trip to his grandparents, although Eli suspects this is not the whole story. He sets out to discover the genuine truth about this desert utopia. At a cost of knowing about the city, he also learns the truth about the 184 other residents, and even himself. Meanwhile, many of his friends notice strange behaviors from many adults, and start to lose trust in the people he, and the rest of the town, live with.

Masterminds, altogether, is a phenomenal title that definitely deserves praise for its riveting plot twists and relatable characters. Along with that, this realistic fiction is a Maryland Black- Eyed Susan nominee. This book has a breathtaking storyline, and leaves mysteries lying in every corner. Chapter by chapter, this story starts to unfold, and one by one the pieces connect into a grand idea, that the reader has yet to discover. I would highly recommend this book to teens, and anyone  who enjoys thrillers and unforeseen conclusions. For these reasons, I would rate this book a 9/10. Masterminds holds a special place in my top favorites, and hopefully will do the same for you too!

The Truth About Us by Janet Gurtler

The Truth About Us book cover - a teen girl and teen boy embracing in front of a brick wall

Seventeen year old Jess has dealt with more problems than most teenagers her age. After a tragic incident in the past, her family can never be the same again. Her life becomes a ball of confusion and anger that only ends in her sabotaging her only true friendship with her best friend, Penny. After Penny and Jess stop communicating with each other, Jess gets involved with the wrong crowd, leading her to get into trouble with her father and being sent to help out at the Local Soup Kitchen for the whole remainder of the summer as punishment.

When Jess goes to the Local Soup Kitchen for the first time, she ends up seeing Flynn, a poor boy who eats there with his family and also helps out when he can. Whenever Jess sees him, her heart flutters. Soon, Jess feels like Flynn is the only person that understands her. They end up wanting to be together but since Flynn and Jess live different lifestyles, both families disapprove. Sometimes opposites attract – but can this relationship withstand the pressures against it?

I would recommend this book to mature readers. If you are up for a good romance story that will make you cry at times but also make your heart skip a beat, this is for you!

“The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly”, Part 2: Book Review

MinnowBly

“He watches me a moment, and I wonder if he can read my expression that I will never tell him the truth. I’ll give him a version of events, a half-truth, but I haven’t told anyone what happened in those smoke-filled moments in January when I stood over the Prophet’s body and watched him take his last ungodly breath.

And I never will”.

This enigmatic novel is definitely one that will make you read one chapter after the other. Full of mystery, suspense, and flashbacks, this is a very unique and intriguing novel. It is such an unpredictable book. Even if you think that you know what will happen next in the story, or if you think you solved the mystery of the murder, you actually didn’t. The mystery of the Prophet’s murder is so far away from what I thought it was. It is a book that I would definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys mystery and twist.

I really enjoyed reading this book. Even though it does not have any action, it is definitely very interesting. Even though it is a book with and extraordinary plot, I would rate it 4.5/5 for the use of bad words.

Ages — +12.

Everything Everything Review

Stars — 4/5


Summary — My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.(Goodreads)

Thoughts — Everything Everything was an amazing book. I expected something like The Fault In Our Stars, but I was really surprised. I got a different plot line. Lately, I’ve read a bunch of books with similar plot lines and I was really happy with this one. 

My favorite character had to be Olly because he gave Maddy something knew and he was a survivor. He was kind to Maddy and he understood the boundaries. Olly was also a really funny character. 

There were a couple parts of the book I thought were a little pointless, but I won’t say anything about them because they might spoil something and I would hate to do that. 

Age — 14+