The Locket

Stacey Jay

Katie is more than devoted to her boyfriend of three years, Isaac. She attends all his basketball games, plans their future together, and doesn’t ask for much in return. The one time Katie requires his attendance and support, he misses her performance as the lead role in the musical. Her disappointment and a minor alcohol influence cause her to cheat on Isaac with their childhood friend, Mitch. She regrets her mistake as fast as it happens and would do anything for a second chance. When she discovers her grandmother’s locket, it gives her the opportunity to go back in time! As Katie finds herself back at the night she cheated on Isaac, she learns quickly that there are serious consequences for changing the past and that perhaps the locket does more damage than good.

Stacey Jay’s vivid writing style keeps readers engaged without a hint of boredom creeping in. Suspense is successfully applied throughout since the world suffers a variety of changes every time Katie utilizes the locket and goes back in time. This causes the reader to be on edge, continuously flipping pages in order to see the aftermath of Katie’s repetitive interference with fate. This teaches readers that all actions have consequences.

Most characters are strong, dynamic, and do not simply just revolve around the main character. For instance, Mitch is not implemented for the convenience of a love triangle. He has goals and ambitions that have no correlation with Katie. There is the exception of a few characters that seem stereotypical and lack any originality such as Rachel Pruitt. She plays the distinct role of the mean girl and doesn’t have much more complexity. A more elaborate and interesting element could have been established if all the changes that occurred in Katie’s do-over life were directly linked to her going back in time. Some of the changes such as the homecoming week theme being different the second time seem totally unrelated to the part of the past she deliberately changed. The Locket has an intricate plot and makes use of a number of literary devices making it a great book to invest time in reading. – Julia K.

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The Rift Frequency (Rift Uprising, #2)

Amy S. Foster

To save her love and unlock the mystery of who she is, a brave young woman must travel between alternate realities in The Rift Frequency, the exciting second book in Amy S. Foster’s The Rift Uprising Trilogy.

She didn’t mean to, but… teenage super-solider Ryn Whittaker started an uprising.

For three years Ryn was stationed at The Battle Ground Rift site—one of the fourteen mysterious and unpredictable tears in the fabric of the universe that serve as doorways to alternate Earths—and then she met Ezra Massad.

Falling in love and becoming a rebel Citadel wasn’t part of Ryn’s life plan, but with Ezra there asking all the right questions, they began to decode what’s really going on with the Allied Rift Coalition, and what they discovered was enough to start a civil war.

When the base explodes with infighting and Ezra gets caught in the fray, he is accidentally pushed through the Rift, taking a stolen laptop—and the answers it could give Ryn—with him.

Now all Ryn wants is to locate Ezra and get back to her Earth. But that’s not easy when she’s traveling the multiverse with Levi, the painfully guarded Citadel who shoved Ezra through in the first place. And Ryn is quickly learning that inside the multiverse there is no normal—it’s adapt, or die—and the one weapon she really needs to win the war back home is the truth.

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Pixels (film)

Pixels is a blast from the past involving classic arcade games that are being misunderstood by aliens as a war threat. As war arises upon planet Earth, Sam Brenner, a former arcade game master has been recruited by the President of the United States alongside his childhood friends and arch nemesis to tackle these games. However, in this case, there’s no reset button and once all three lives have been used up planet earth would be in full control by aliens.

Throughout this film there are various ongoing battles that appear all over the world, for instance, some battles occur in countries such as Japan and The United States. With full control of military equipment and this war, these arcade game experts find themselves tackling classic arcade games such as Pac-man, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Frogger, and much more.

I personally enjoyed this film as it was very interesting and exciting, due to the stunning animations and special effects, as well as the range of sceneries. Also, I enjoyed the storyline of the film and how there were a lot of references towards classic arcade games. One of my favourite references would be the appearance of each game and how appealing it was within the film also, I liked how the characters were given three lives as if they were playing in an actual arcade. In conclusion, Pixels is a fantastic film for the entire family as it displays a well thought out storyline. – Jeffrey K.

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The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

Chelsea Sedoti

Hawthorn Creely is not an average teenager. Her mother is a flower-child, she believes in werewolves, and she spends all her time inside. But even Hawthorn knows who Lizzie Lovett is. When once-popular Lizzie Lovett goes missing, Hawthorn is intrigued. It is exactly the kind of mystery her boring town needs. So, Hawthorn gathers clues by getting a job at the diner Lizzie used to work at, hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend (who is a suspect in the investigation of Lizzie’s disappearance), and going to all the places Lizzie used to go to. Eventually, Hawthorn comes up with her own theory for what happened to Lizzie. Although it might be a long shot, Hawthorn will not stop until she proves she is right.

Things start to get complicated when bullies start to make fun of the awkward Hawthorn, and Hawthorn loses her best (and only) friend. Hawthorn starts to fall in love with the grieving boyfriend of Lizzie, and choices need to be made about Hawthorn’s future after high school.

It was interesting to read a book where the main character wasn’t flawless. Hawthorn is realistically rude, short sighted, and selfish. Over the course of the book you will see her grow and people learn to love her despite her flaws. I really enjoyed the perspective that Hawthorn had on the world. Although while reading you may not understand why Hawthorn does some of the things she does, in the end you will fall in love with her yourself. – Melanie G.

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La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)

Phillip Pullman

The Book of Dust is a work in three parts, like His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass). The book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-loved character Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon.

Philip Pullman offers these tantalizing details: “I’ve always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she’s grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra’s life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.

“So, second: is it a prequel? Is it a sequel? It’s neither. In fact, The Book of Dust is . . . an ‘equel.’ It doesn’t stand before or after His Dark Materials, but beside it. It’s a different story, but there are settings that readers of His Dark Materials will recognize, and characters they’ve met before. Also, of course, there are some characters who are new to us, including an ordinary boy (a boy we have glimpsed in an earlier part of Lyra’s story, if we were paying attention) who, with Lyra, is caught up in a terrifying adventure that takes him into a new world.

“Third: why return to Lyra’s world? Dust. Questions about that mysterious and troubling substance were already causing strife ten years before His Dark Materials, and at the center of The Book of Dust is the struggle between a despotic and totalitarian organization, which wants to stifle speculation and inquiry, and those who believe thought and speech should be free. The idea of Dust suffused His Dark Materials. Little by little through that story the idea of what Dust was became clearer and clearer, but I always wanted to return to it and discover more.”

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Push (The Game, #2)

Eve Silver

This book is the sequel to Rush.

Miki Jones is exhausted and stressed from The Game and The Committee’s cruel ways. The Game is where groups of teenage boys and girls are set out on missions to ambush The Drau, aliens that are planning to take over the earth (as if I haven’t heard that for the plot of every alien movie ever!). The whole process is in a form of a video game.

Things don’t make sense when Miki discovers that Jackson isn’t there but his jeep and keys are. Remember when Jackson would keep secrets from Miki in the previous volume? Well, that’s nothing compared to the number of secrets that The Committee is hiding from the players and humanity, secrets that simply don’t line up with the rules of The Game. Confusion isn’t nearly enough to start to describe what Miki is feeling. All the nightmares she begins to have about The Game, the strange events that follow it and her desperation to find Jackson is driving her crazy! Her mind is filled with question after question with barely enough answers to solve anything – questions like, maybe when your con goes red, you don’t necessarily die? That maybe the Drau aren’t the enemy after all? Let Eve Silver steer you down this wacky path of sci fi mystery that will make you dive right in and resurface with the determination to get your hands on the next book, Crash.

I adored this novel! The plot picked up right where it left off, starting off with the aftermath of the previous mission Miki, Jackson, Luka, Tyrone, Lien, and Kendra were part of. Last time I almost gave up Rush due to the fact it got boring for a bit, but in Push, it was so exhilarating that I barely put the novel down. Pure Genius. – Celine J.

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Rush (The Game, #1)

Eve Silver

Miki Jones enjoyed her ordinary life, unlike most girls. She had control over everything such as her weekday jogs and her strict healthy diet while being a homework queen. To be honest, right now she sounds like the perfect daughter that my mom would be yelling at me to be more like her. It wasn’t until she saved a little girl’s life that her own life went into chaos. She is brought into a game where she and a few other players – Jackson, Luka, Tyrone, and Richelle – are given a mission to terminate the Drau, beautiful extraterrestrials that are planning to destroy Earth. Questions obviously flood Miki after hearing this situation, and when her very “helpful” teammate agrees to answer some, they only lead to cryptic answers and even more questions which would infuriate anyone. These questions are keeping her mind distanced from reality and wondering more about Jackson, the leader of the group, as he is the one thing that keeps her awake at night, thinking that maybe her greatest enemy is her trusted leader.

Rush, as expected, was a fast-paced sci-fi adventure. It started off normal for the first few pages then the plot kicked in a little, after that it slowed down to a pace where I was starting to get bored of her ordinary and controlled lifestyle. Eventually, the book picked up again and became exhilarating and continued for the rest of the book. I understand that the main character can’t always be in eventful situations twenty-four seven, or that would be boring, but there was a part where it almost got too boring to continue reading, so I’ll leave this novel at four stars. The author represented a teenager’s lifestyle precisely as it included some high school drama and dealing with friendships with other personal problems even though usually they aren’t about saving the world from an alien invasion. In the end, Rush is an exceptional novel that I would recommend to sci-fi lovers. – Celine J.

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Continue with the next book in the series, Push!

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle, #2)

Jay Kristoff

The second thrilling installment of the award-winning Nevernight Chronicle, from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a ruthless assassin continues her quest for vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia’s suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.

When it’s announced that Scaeva will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end him. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

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This Savage Song

V. E. Schwab

In a crumbling city where the violence has begun to breed monsters, Kate Harker and August Flynn are heirs to the divided city of Verity. Kate strives to be just as ruthless as her father, even if that means getting expelled from six boarding schools. August just wants to be human, and to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent. Torn between his ambition and the ideology of monsters given to him by Leo, who acts as an older brother to him, August is given a mission. As Kate moves into the city and joins an esteemed high school after an attempt to burn down her previous boarding school, August goes undercover to keep an eye on her. But Kate discovers him, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair is forced to flee for their lives.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Unlike many post-apocalyptic young adult books, this one has a refreshing storyline that does not revolve around a romance. The characters are not one-dimensional, they make mistakes that have legitimate consequences, and they have flaws and disabilities. The combination of a monster-run city and in-depth characters makes This Savage Song an extremely good read. Anyone who is interested in thrilling action sequences, monsters that are both human and creatures, minimal romance, and a bit of music should definitely pick up this book.

This Savage Song is the first book in The Monsters of Verity Duology. – Janki V.

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How to Rock Braces and Glasses

Meg Haston

Kacey Simon is not only the most popular girl in the seventh grade, but also the most popular girl in Marquette Middle School. She has her own guidance show on Thursday mornings, she is friends with the other popular girls in her school, she is the lead of the school musical, and she is always honest with everybody, even though her honesty might hurt other people’s feelings. She has it all until she gets an eye infection and is in an accident, which leads her to wearing glasses, braces, and a lisp. She falls in popularity and loses her friends, her show, and the lead in the musical. After she hit rock bottom, she uses her nerdy ex-bestfriend and a geek guitarist who offers her to be the lead singer in his band to climb back to the top. During this struggle, Kacey learns to see life from a completely different perspective.

I really like this novel not only because it is hilarious, because the writer had a purpose in writing the book. The writer Meg Haston survived braces and glasses in middle school and wrote a book from a popular girl’s perspective that also survives braces and glasses. She also delivers a message to all teens that being honest is good, but it can hurt people’s feelings, so tell them your honest opinion in a positive way and it will not hurt them as much. (At least, that is what I learned from reading it.) What I also like about the novel is that it does not have bad words unlike some teen books that do. I am looking forward to reading the sequel and I hope I enjoy it. Overall, I recommend this novel and I hope the other teen readers experience the same experience I did. – Suzan N.

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