The Island by S. Usher Evans – 3.5 stars
You Were Here by Cori McCarthy – 3.5 stars
Any Other Girl by Rebecca Phillips – 3.5 stars
Defending Taylor by Miranda Kenneally – 5 stars
The Mirror & the Maze by Renée Ahdieh – 4.5 stars
The Island is told in alternating POVs of Theo and Galian. Theo is a captain in the Raven army while Galian is a prince of Kylae, two countries that have been at war for the past fifty years over Raven declaring its independence from Kylae. A huge part of this book was the politics between the two countries and how these views affected both Theo and Galian. The world-building was rich. I enjoyed learning about the two different cultures of Raven and Kylae and about certain aspects came to be on the island. This book is very light on fantasy aspects. I enjoyed the plot of the story very much and definitely think that The Island is a good read. I’m excited to see where the story will go in the sequel! Full review here.
You Were Here is the story of five grief-stricken teens. One of my favorite things is when books include different mediums in them. This story does that by including visual art and graphic passages, which I loved. The characters are what make this story. One thing that I loved was how each character is hurting and experiencing some kind of grief. Throughout the novel, they’re just trying to figure out they’re place in life and how to move forward. Together, they’re able to figure a little bit out and solve a couple of their many problems. It took a little bit for me to get into the story, but once I got to know the characters a little bit more, they seemed so real, and I ended up enjoying the book. Full review here.
Any Other Girl was a sweet summer romance, and it’s perfect for those looking for an easy contemporary read. However, there is so much more to the story than just romance. Throughout the book, Kat is learning to accept herself for who she is, and her self-discovery is definitely one of the most important aspects of the book. The book also has a focus on family and friends and the importance of having them in your life. Full review here.
I was over the moon to receive an e-ARC of Defending Taylor, but decided to wait to read it as a post-finals/post-semester treat. However, after a particularly upsetting day, I knew a Miranda Kenneally book was what I needed to help me feel better, and I’m glad I did because it was definitely the pick-me-up I needed. Miranda Kenneally has a way of pulling you in with each story. Taylor made one mistake, and now she has to deal with the disappointment of not only her parents and older siblings but also the media, who tries to use her mistake against her father’s reelection campaign. It’s easy to relate to Taylor as she tries to gain control of her life again. We’ve all made mistakes and choices that we’ve regretted. Throughout the book, Taylor a learns what she actually wants for herself and that it’s okay not to be perfect. Defending Taylor wouldn’t be a Miranda Kenneally book if there wasn’t a swoon worthy romance and that it was. Full review here.
The Mirror & the Maze is another short chapter from Khalid’s POV, this time from when Khalid returns to his destroyed city. I really enjoyed this added scene, and I can’t wait to read The Rose & the Dagger!