Review: A Very Large Expanse of Sea

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

Genre: Young Adult
Maturity Level: 5
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.

Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.

But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.


A Very Large Expanse of Sea was everything I was expecting it to be, and then so much more. It was like The Hate U Give meets Eleanor & Park. I felt all of the feels, but I also had to walk in the shoes of someone completely different than me. I swooned, and I also examined my own privilege. This book was everything, and everyone in America should read it.

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Audiobook Review: Sadie

Sadie by Coutrney Summers

Narrated by Dan Bittner, Fred Berman, Gabra Zackman, & Rebecca Soler
Genres: Young Adult, Suspense
Maturity Level: 5 (Content Warning, Sexual Abuse)
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.


This is a truly outstanding, difficult, and important book for teens. However, I didn’t connect with it as much as many other people did, in part due to the writing, and in part due to the narration.

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Review: Wayward Son

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Series: Simon Snow
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Maturity Level: 5-
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Rating:
⋆⋆⋆⋆

The story is supposed to be over.

Simon Snow did everything he was supposed to do. He beat the villain. He won the war. He even fell in love. Now comes the good part, right? Now comes the happily ever after…

So why can’t Simon Snow get off the couch?

What he needs, according to his best friend, is a change of scenery. He just needs to see himself in a new light…

That’s how Simon and Penny and Baz end up in a vintage convertible, tearing across the American West.

They find trouble, of course. (Dragons, vampires, skunk-headed things with shotguns.) And they get lost. They get so lost, they start to wonder whether they ever knew where they were headed in the first place…


I bought this book mainly because I figured as long as I own every book Rainbow Rowell has ever written, I may as well round out the set. I was fully prepared to not enjoy it. So I was pleasantly surprised by how much better it was than Carry On!

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Review: The Sun is Also a Star

The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Genre: Young Adult
Maturity Level: 4
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Rating:
⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?


THIS BOOK!!!! Oh my god, I am dead. I just want to read it again. It’s all the things that are amazing about a John Green book, all the philosophizing and complicated presentation of people as people. But they took out all the not so great John Green things and replaced them with Rainbow Rowell things. And together they make MAGIC.

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Review: Sorcery of Thorns

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Maturity Level: 4-
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Rating:
⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.


Have you ever finished a book and immediately jumped out of your chair and run around the house yelling “Oh my god this book!!!!!”? Because that was totally me. I loved everything about this book, but the ending in particular was so absolutely perfect. If you love YA fantasy or books about books this is a must-read.

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Review: With the Fire on High

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre: Young Adult
Maturity Level: 5-
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Rating: ⋆⋆⋆⋆⋆

With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.


With the Fire on High is one of my favorite YA novels I’ve ever read. It was touching and thoughtful, and it was about real life. Acevedo doesn’t sugar coat the realities of being a young black woman or being a teen mom, but the tone of the book is still hopeful.

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Sorting Hat Sunday: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

Lara Jean looked nervously at the barrier between the platforms. Margot had already told her what to expect, but Lara Jean was still nervous. It’s not going to hurt, she reminded herself.

She wished her mom was here. She shouldn’t be doing this alone. Margot didn’t have to. That was the thought that did her in. Tears poured down Lara Jean’s cheeks.

“It’s okay Lara Jean,” Margot whispered, pulling her into a fierce hug. “I’m here. You’re not alone.”

“How do you always know exactly what I’m thinking?” Lara Jean sniffed.

“That’s what sisters are for.”


Lara Jean

Lara Jean actually reveals her Hogwarts house during the course of the book, possibly more than once, so there’s not much for me to say here. Sorry if I’ve remembered incorrectly, but I also feel like this is pretty obvious.

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