Give Up The Ghost

Megan Crewe

Cass McKenna can talk to and see people who are dead. Ghosts, you may call them. Ones who have for some reason have not moved on from earth. In fact, she highly prefers communicating with them than ‘breathers’, people who are living. They are so much more uncomplicated and always tell Cass any dirt or secrets they can dig up on people. Ones that ‘breathers’ think are told in private places, however, little do they know that the dead are listening in. Cass uses this to her advantage to expose the poseurs in her school which is why most of her peers highly dislike her and keep their distance. And to be honest? She is totally fine with this.

When Tim, the extremely popular president of the student council, approaches her asking for her help, Cass’s guard automatically goes up. However, when Tim keeps persisting, she finally relents a little bit and only will help him if he gives back secrets and information on a few select students. Nonetheless, as she becomes more involved in his life and helping him out, their relationship becomes much more than just trading each other for things they want. Although they are an unlikely couple, Megan Crewe keeps her readers guessing at every turn of the page!

This book was sometimes slow at certain parts, but other than that it was an interesting story to read. Despite the fact that I usually am not into these kinds of genres, I still enjoyed this novel and the characters within. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys romance books with a classic ghost fantasy twist. – Juliana M.

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The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1)

Kelley Armstrong

Maya is in grade 11 and lives a pretty ordinary life. Since she was adopted, she doesn’t know much about her biological family or how her life would be if she lived with them. The only clue she has is a paw shaped birth mark that sits on her hip. However, Maya had never really thought about her biological parents as she is happy with living with her adoptive family in a very small community on Vancouver Island until strange events start to happen in the small town. Events that for some reason make her think of her best friend Serena’s strange and ‘freak accident’ drowning. For instances, mountain lions always seem to be near wherever Maya is. And a mysterious new boy starts to slowly draw her in.

After a ‘reporter’ starts to come around the island and ask unusual and out of place questions, Maya and her best friend Daniel feel that something is off. As they investigate further, a puzzle starts to form about her biological family, the medical institute in her small community, and the incident of her best friend’s death. As she dives deeper down into this entanglement, relationships start to form, even in a way she would never expect.

‘The Gathering’ was enjoyable for me to read as I connected it to my life and my experiences. This book draws you into a web of secrets, puzzles, and questions that can only be answered by guessing and reading. My recommendation for this book would go out to people who relish in fantasy novels, as well as trying to figure out many mysterious questions and characters. – Juliana M.

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Six of Crows (Six of Crows, #1)

Leigh Bardugo

“No mourners. No funerals. Among them, it passed for ‘good luck.’”

Kaz Brekker, known as “Dirtyhands” to many, is given an offer he can’t refuse. If he manages to complete the task of infiltrating the Ice Court, the most highly secured prison, he’ll be paid a large sum. Within the Ice Court, Kaz is supposed to kidnap a scientist who is being kept there. He will have to gather six of the deadliest outcasts known throughout Ketterdam if he wants to be able to pull this off. If he can get them to join him, they could manage to finish without a hitch. But they’ll have to learn to trust each other and work as a team, first.

Not only one of my favourite books, but one of my favourite series of all time. This book takes a group of characters from a number of different backgrounds, as well as the reader, on a journey of crime and desperation. Filled with magical realism as well as action and adventure, the characters we meet make us question what really is good versus bad in the world. Can something that we would normally see as a crime be justified for the right reasons?

Six of Crows is filled with so many incredible characters that are strong, intelligent and quick-witted. You’ll end up loving most, if not all of them.

This book is such a fun and enjoyable read, as well as very well written. I became a fan of Leigh Bardugo because of Six of Crows. – Stacie C.

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The Masked Truth

Kelley Armstrong

Teenage Riley has experienced and witnessed something no adult or person could even fathom: a double murder. Worse, the people murdered were the parents of the child she was babysitting. Shocked, confused, and feeling guilty for living while the child’s parents both died right in front of her, Riley allows her mom to bring her to an overnight therapy ‘sleepover’ with other kids who are also suffering mentally. However, unexpectedly three masked men barge into the renovated warehouse they are staying in and hold both the therapists and the group of teens hostage. The kidnappers claim they want ransom money and no one will get hurt if they follow orders.

Things go horribly wrong when the group tries to escape and many of the teens are shot and killed right on the spot. Only some make it away and are hiding in the warehouse running from the masked men who are on a prowl hunting for them. Riley meets Max who is also a patient, and they escape together running through the warehouse trying to find a way out. Although, later in the book, they find out that this kidnapping is linked to many more people than originally thought as well as the plot is much more sinister than anyone would have expected.

Personally, I really enjoyed reading this book and all of the action, and craziness throughout it. The book, however, has some vicious and fierce parts, so I wouldn’t recommend this book to you if you do not like books with some very intense scenes. Overall, I would definitely suggest this book to anyone seeking action packed novels that provide a great thrill.

– Juliana M.

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Blood Rose Rebellion

Rosalyn Eves

In an alternate Victorian England where social prestige stems from a trifecta of blood, money, and magic, sixteen-year old Anna Arden is barred from the society she yearns for by a defect of blood. Anna would do anything to belong, but after inadvertently breaking her sister’s debutante spells, Anna finds herself exiled with her aging grandmother to her grandmother’s native Hungary.

Her life might as well be over. However in Hungary, Anna finds that nothing about her world or her own lack of magic is quite as it seems. Fissures in the Binding that holds her world’s magic are expanding, and the ancient creatures bound by that spell beg Anna to release them. As rebellion sweeps across Hungary, Anna’s unique ability to break spells becomes the catalyst everyone is seeking. In the company of nobles, revolutionaries, and Romanies, Anna must choose: deny her unique power and cling to the life she has always wanted—or embrace her ability, destroy the Binding, spark a revolution, and change the face of magic itself.

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Be More Chill

Ned Vizzini

Be More Chill takes you through the life of Jeremy Heere; a loser and a nobody with a desperate crush on a girl and a wish for popularity. All of this changes when one day his bully, Rich, tells Jeremy that he needs to become cool. Rich gives Jeremy his secret to popularity; a Squip. The Squip is a new piece of technology yet to be released, a supercomputer in the form of a small grey pill that communicates with you through your brain. It tells you how to fit in, make friends, make everyone love you, and so much more. Jeremy knows he needs a Squip, and everything will change when he gets it.

A funny yet at times depressing book has a large theme of social structure within high school, and how popularity and coolness affects teenagers. The novel shows a rather ugly side where the way the boys treat girls as if they were objects, and is insulting and misogynistic. It has gotten mixed reviews from many people as it also features homophobic slurs, and some see it not at all like high school.

In my own opinion, I found it an enjoyable read. While it was not too exciting, and Jeremy is not the most memorable of characters, the way he goes through his problems and everyday life is certainly entertaining.

There has also been a musical adaption. The musical, while much different from the book, is very good. It is important to note that the way they are characterized differs from musical to book. Even if you are a not a fan of the book, you may still enjoy the musical, and vice versa. All in all, I recommend both musical adaption and book. – Danielle A.

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It’s All Your Fault

Paul Rudnick

Caitlin Singleberry is as pure and innocent as it gets. She wears knee socks twenty-four seven, is homeschooled and of course, hates her famous, yet vulgar and completely not innocent cousin, Heller Harrigan. Caitlin was completely content with her simple sweet life until Heller’s mom (and Caitlin’s aunt) pops back into her life and asks her to do something, something that would only occur in her wildest nightmares. She is expected to be a good influence/chaperone to an out of control Heller who is about to star in one of the most anticipated movies ever, “Angel Wars”. Which means that Heller can’t handle having a bad reputation or any incidents that make her look bad. After some heated debate, persuasion, and reassurance, Caitlin agrees to this seemingly excruciatingly draining task of looking after someone she despises, and for good reason. But if only Caitlin knew what kind of problems this would bring her in the future. Join Heller and Caitlin as they go on the greatest (and maybe worst in Caitlin’s perspective) adventure of their lifetime, and maybe a bit of well-needed bonding/reconciliation after four years of silence. This journey includes kidnapping, a tattoo (or maybe a few), a piercing, stealing a convertible, a robbery and ultimately, the police and a jail cell. But as Caitlin would say, “It’s all your fault, Heller Harrigan!”

Paul Rudnick has created a comical yet a serious book when it comes to exploring family issues. You are going to be rolling on the floor laughing, then two seconds later you are going to have a stream of tears down your face like a waterfall. In four words all I can say is, this is a gem. – Oshadi G.

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Carve the Mark

Veronica Roth

Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth have grown up in enemy countries locked in a long-standing fight for dominance over their shared planet. When the ruling Noavek family kidnaps Akos and his brother, Akos must serve Cyra, the sister of a dictator who governs with violence and fear. Cyra has a reputation for transferring extraordinary pain unto others with simple touch, and her tyrant brother uses her as a weapon against those who challenge him. Nevertheless, as Akos fights for his own survival, he recognizes that Cyra is also fighting for hers, and that her true gift—resilience—might be what saves them both.

When Akos and Cyra find themselves in the middle of a raging rebellion, all of their beliefs about their world and themselves are in question. Fighting for what is right might mean betraying their countries, their families, and each other.

When the time comes, will they choose loyalty or love?

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Stephanie Garber

Just reading the synopsis of this novel is enough to get you excited for what’s to come. Straight from the get go I was anticipating the world created in Caraval to be an intriguing one, and it definitely lived up to my expectations. Caraval is a book you won’t want to put down.

Scarlett Dragna has lived her life without achieving her dream of visiting the annual performance, Caraval, when her father sets her up in an arranged marriage. Believing her dreams of seeing the performance are crushed, she’s elated when an invitation finally reaches her, a letter from the master of the game, Legend, after years of her writing to him. The game of Caraval is a magical one, and readers get to learn its rules at the same time as Scarlett does.

The whole mystery aspect of the novel, as well as being a world of fantasy and magic, is something that really appeals to my taste of books. While those three points are a big part of Caraval, the elements of love, romance and family are also present, and the subject of abuse is touched upon too. Combining the characteristics of the book and the important points brought up throughout it, was what sold me completely. That’s all I can tell you about this one. Stephanie Garber created the type of plot in which you end up enjoying the story more when you know less about the plot.

Fantasy fans will enjoy this one. It keeps you waiting for more, with the thrill and action of the world inside this book.– Stacie C.

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The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins

The nation of Panem (that used to be North America) is made up of 12 districts and the Capitol that rules them. Residents of The Capitol live a glamorous, fabulous lifestyle compared to the very poor, sorrowful lifestyle of the Districts. Every year, one boy and one girl (aged 12-18) from each District is forced to be in the Hunger Games, a televised game where it’s either kill or be killed. So, on the day of the Reaping, in her District 12, when Katniss’ sister Primrose gets chosen as that year’s tribute in the Hunger Games, Katniss volunteers to take her place. The boy chosen was Peeta Mellark, who has seen Katniss within their district. At first, Katniss is okay with Peeta and considers him just a friend but, after Peeta comments regarding her on live television she has quite a surprising reaction, rethinking her original opinion of him. Leading up to the commencement of the Hunger Games, a former winner from district 12, Haymitch is mentoring them. He prepares them for the games, helping them throughout many challenges they encounter within the games with helpful gifts.

In an enthralling journey, Katniss Everdeen must fight for her life in order to survive. If she is the last one standing, it means a much better and richer life. If she loses it means definite death! That is what the Hunger Games is all about. Through extreme obstacles and variable terrains, Katniss and Peeta go through difficult decisions that their life will depend on. Who will be the one to survive? Who won’t make it home? It will all come down to life or death if Katniss wants to see her family again.

Being the first out of the three books in the series, it was surprisingly enjoyable and very hard to put down. This book has emotion, excitement and tension. But, in my opinion, there could’ve been more action and some events could’ve had a different outcome. I give this book 4 stars because it is very well written and is such an amazing adventure that the characters had to go through. I suggest reading this because of the conflicts, life and death struggles and how, combined, they brought forth unexpected emotions. Because of the mature content within the story I recommend this book for ages 12+. – Emma M.

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