In Middle Grade Book Review on January 13, 2018 at 6:07 am


by Neal Shusterman

Dystopian/©2016/Recommended for Ages 12 and Up

Publisher Information (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Thou shalt kill.

A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.

Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own.

My Thoughts:
Neal Shusterman writes the most amazing books, and this may be one of his best. As is the hallmark of a Shusterman novel, it is masterfully written and has an incredibly unique plot with some jaw-dropping twists and turns that make it almost impossible to put down. There are a series of excerpts from journals of different scythes, along with the main story itself, that challenge the reader to ponder the larger issues of life and death and right and wrong. This is definitely one of those books you think about long after you turn the last page. Though there is a second book in the series, this book by itself is a satisfying read.


Renegades (Book 1)

In YA Book Reviews on January 6, 2018 at 8:25 pm


by Marissa Meyer

YA Fantasy/©2018/

Publisher’s Info (Courtesy of Goodreads):

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

My Thoughts:

I am pleased to say that Renegades, the first in Marissa Meyer’s new series, is every bit as clever and riveting as her Lunar Chronicles. I will admit that it started off a little slow for me, but I was quickly hooked. The super-heroes and villains are all truly creative and unique characters, and they quickly pull you into the story. There are a lot of twists and turns, and, just when you think you have figured out where this book is going, you find out you don’t. Not even close! Talk about your cliff-hanger!

Similar Books:

Steelheart (The Reckoners Series) by Brandon Sanderson


Orbiting Jupiter

In Middle Grade Book Review, YA Book Reviews on November 14, 2017 at 7:12 pm


by Gary D. Schmidt

Contemporary Fiction/©2015/Recommended for Grade 7 and Up

Publisher Info (Courtesy of Goodreads):

 When Jack meets his new foster brother, he already knows three things about him:

Joseph almost killed a teacher.

He was incarcerated at a place called Stone Mountain.

He has a daughter. Her name is Jupiter. And he has never seen her.

What Jack doesn’t know, at first, is how desperate Joseph is to find his baby girl.

Or how urgently he, Jack, will want to help.

But the past can’t be shaken off. Even as new bonds form, old wounds reopen. The search for Jupiter demands more from Jack than he can imagine.

This tender, heartbreaking novel is Gary D. Schmidt at his best.

My Thoughts:

This is a short, quiet book that draws you in and packs an emotional wallop. The author has a way of effortlessly drawing out emotions in every scene, without ever making you feel like you’re being manipulated.

I love everything he writes, but I think this may be my new favorite. It didn’t take long to read (you can read this in one sitting!), but it will stay with you long after you turn the last page. It pulls at your heart strings and just makes you want to be a better person. It may be directed at middle school students, but this book has something for everyone.

To sum it up, Orbiting Jupiter is beautifully written with truly memorable characters and a compelling plot – Gary Schmidt nailed it once again.