{Book Review} With Malice

{Book Review} With MaliceWith Malice by Eileen Cook
Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on June 7th 2016
Genres: Mysteries & Detective Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 316
Source: Purchased
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It was the perfect trip…until it wasn’t.
Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last six weeks should be. She discovers she was involved in a fatal car accident while on a school trip in Italy. A trip she doesn’t even remember taking. She was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident.
As the accident makes national headlines, Jill finds herself at the center of a murder investigation. It doesn’t help that the media is portraying her as a sociopath who killed her bubbly best friend, Simone, in a jealous rage. With the evidence mounting against her, there’s only one thing Jill knows for sure: She would never hurt Simone. But what really happened? Questioning who she can trust and what she’s capable of, Jill desperately tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

Imagine waking up in the hospital with having no recollection of how you got there and realizing you don’t remember the last six weeks of your life. Now imagine finding out that you and your best friend were in a car accident and she was killed…and then you find out that you are suspected of murdering her! Jill and Simone go on the trip of a lifetime to Italy, but Simone never comes back.

The book is written from Jill’s point of view and is interspersed with police interviews as well as blog posts and comments that provide different perspectives on the events that transpired before the accident. Did Jill intentionally kill her best friend? The police, media and blog comments seem to point to her guilt but will Jill’s memory ever return so she will know what happened? As in real life, the media and news play a big part in public opinion and we see how that impacts Jill’s case and her recovery. Her therapist helps Jill come to terms with the fact that even if her memory of the events does return she will never be sure if those memories are real or false memories because of the way the brain functions and heals.

This is a gripping story that reminded me of the Amanda Knox case. A handsome Italian guy, two best friends, the police mishandling of evidence as well as the media frenzy that ensued, parallel the Amanda Knox case and make for an intense read, I kept turning the pages hoping Jill’s memories would return and wanting to find out what really happened. But will we ever truly know the real stories in either case?


Summer Reading 2016

Summer is in full swing and I am really enjoying some time to read and finish some books in my TBR pile. I just finished The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, which was amazing! It is not often that I actually read an entire series, but this was one I could not put down. When I initially started the series I was kicking myself for waiting so long to start it, but in the end I was glad I waited until the entire series was out. One of the major reasons I rarely ever finish an entire series is because I lose interest after waiting so long between publications.


Some other books I am looking forward to reading this summer.

Summer Reading 2016

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick
Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnson
The Outliers by Kimberly McCreight
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes
With Malice by Eileen Cook

What are you reading this summer? Have you finished any awesome books? Please share in the comments!

{Book Review} The 5th Wave

{Book Review} The 5th WaveThe 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Published by Penguin Books, Limited on 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction
Pages: 460
Source: Library
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The 1st Wave took out half a million people. The 2nd Wave put that number to shame. The 3rd Wave lasted a little longer. Twelve weeks . . . Four billion dead. In The 4th Wave, you can't trust that people are still people. And The 5th Wave? No one knows. But it's coming. On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs. Runs from the beings that only look human, who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope. Now Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up. www.The5thWaveIsComing.com

I absolutely loved The 5th Wave. I had been holding off reading it because of the daunting length of the book, but I downloaded the e-book which makes it so much easier for me to read long books. I’m not sure why I waited so long to read it, students have loved it, and now I am anxiously awaiting the movie adaptation and can’t wait to read The Infinite Sea. It has everything I love, adventure, romance and mystery. Cassie’s perseverance despite the overwhelming odds of defeating the aliens, finding her brother and just surviving make her a character to admire. These are some of my favorite quotes from the book. Read this book, you’ll love it!

“This silence is deafening. Why did they come billions of miles just to stare at us? It’s rude.”

“We’re here, and then we’re gone, and it’s not about the time we’re here, but what we do with the time.”

“I want him to touch me again. I want to feel his hands, as soft as clouds. But I’m afraid if he touches me, all seven billion billion billion atoms that make up my body will blow apart and scatter across the universe.”

“Don’t you get it yet? The minute we decide that one person doesn’t matter anymore, they’ve won.”


{Book Review} Some Boys

{Book Review} Some BoysSome Boys by Patty Blount
Published by Sourcebooks on August 5th 2014
Genres: Love & Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 339
Source: Purchased
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Some girls say no. Some boys don't listen. When Grace meets Ian, she's afraid. Afraid he'll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses Zac, the town golden boy, of rape, everyone turns against her. Ian wouldn't be the first to call her a slut and a liar. Except Ian doesn't reject her. He's the one person who looks past the taunts and the names and the tough-girl act to see the real Grace. He's the one who gives her the courage to fight back. He's also Zac's best friend.

What do you do if you’re raped by the most popular boy in school and no one believes you? If you’re Grace, you stand up to everyone no matter what until someone believes you. She shows courage and determination even when everyone turns against her, including her best friends. I really admired this about Grace, because I know when I was in high school I never would have been that brave.

“It would be so easy for you to – I don’t know – hide. Run away. Pretend.” He shakes his head. “But you get in people’s faces. You don’t back off. Even when you’re scared. And you’re scared a lot lately, aren’t you.”

The book, told in alternating chapters between Grace and Ian, the best friend of Zac, the boy who raped her. Ian has always liked Grace, but since Zac is the alpha male of the group and “scored” with her, which apparently means she is now off limits. After Ian and Grace are both assigned week long detention during spring break, Ian starts to realize that things aren’t always as they appear.  The book raises important stereotypes that pervade the issues of sexual assault, such as the way a girl dresses or that fact that she was drinking.

“I just want people to believe it happened.” I shiver, suddenly cold. “Nobody does, you know. The cops wanted to know if I was Zac’s girlfriend, if I was drinking, doing drugs, if I ever worked as a stripper, if I ever kissed Zac before that night. What the hell does any of that have to do with what happened? Do the laws against sexual assault not apply to strippers? To girlfriends? I don’t get that.”

Along the same lines as Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson and Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, Some Boys is an important and well written book about sexual assault which I highly recommend. It would make an excellent book club/discussion book.


{Book Review} The Last Time We Say Goodbye

{Book Review} The Last Time We Say GoodbyeThe Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on February 1st 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 400
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THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE is a poignant, layered and compelling novel about a teenage girl grappling with the suicide of her younger brother Ages: 13+ The last time Lex was happy was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment. Now she's the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be. As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone - a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything. Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that the past doesn't have to define the present. From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a story of love, loss and learning how to let go.

“Time passes. That’s the rule. No matter what happens, no matter how much it might feel like everything in your life has frozen around one particular moment, time marches on.”

I ended this book with tears streaming down my face, actually I was balling. Even after I finished reading I couldn’t stop crying. My husband was worried about me.

I couldn’t stop reading. What was the text that that Lex got from her brother? Who was leaving her the paper flowers? Why did she break up with Steven? Was her brother sending her messages from the afterlife? I couldn’t stop turning the pages.

Suicide is one of the hardest deaths with far reaching consequences. Cynthia Hand shows first hand the impact it has on the people closest to the victim and the guilt that clouds those people. Could they have stopped it? Why didn’t they see that person was hurting? Why didn’t they reach out for help? Everyone works through their grief in different ways, but eventually they learn that they must move on.

I loved all the characters in the book, but Steven, Lex’s geeky, math nerd boyfriend, was by far my favorite. He’s my new favorite book boyfriend.

I absolutely LOVED this book!


{Book List} Justice

JusticeA teacher recently asked me to see if we had enough books in the library for her class to do a project based on justice. It could be fiction or non-fiction, it could be set in the present, past or future and be any form of justice, whether criminal, racial or social. I turned to the trusty YALSA-BK listserv for some help and we came up with quite a few titles as well as some lists on other websites.

Do you have any other great books that you would add to this list?


  • The High Price I Had to Pay 2 Sentenced to 30 Years as a Nonviolent. First Time Offender. by Michelle Myers
  • I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
  • Juvenile in Justice by Richard Ross
  • Losing Matt Shepard: life and politics in the aftermath of an anti-gay murder by Beth Loffreda
  • The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi by Neal Bascomb
  • No Choirboy: Murder, Violence and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin
  • The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
  • Pete Rose: An American Dilemma by Kostya Kennedy
  • The Port Chicago 50 by Steve Sheinkin
  • An Unspeakable Crime: the prosecution and persecution of Leo Frank by Elaine Marie Alphin
  • Zeitoun by Dave Eggers



  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
  • The Girl from the Well by Rin Chupeco
  • Holes by Louis Sachar
  • How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
  • I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves Robin Talley
  • The Lightning Dreamer by Margarita Engle
  • Lockdown by Walter Dean Myers
  • Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant
  • The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney
  • Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis
  • Mortal Danger by Ann Aguire
  • Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
  • Returning to Normal by Patrick Jones
  • Rikers High by Paul Volponi


Graphic Novels

  • In Real Life by Cory Doctorow
  • Superhero graphic novels


Book Lists on Other Websites