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Realistic Fiction Book Reviews
Like Other Girls by Britta Lundin
""Like Other Girls", by Britta Lundin is a eventful coming of age book that should inspire the lives of girls everywhere. The book shows real situations that happen to girls, and people everywhere. This empowering story of a girl who just wanted to play her game, turned into a beautiful story filled with friendship and romance. Standing up for herself and her sport, Mara gains the friendships of many, and creates some enemies as well. With the help of her new found friends, she comes to terms with her own identity regardless of her small towns standards. Mara gains strength in the field, but also grows and matures to be confident in herself. She learns that standing up for herself and her friendships is more important then any game. This book is a inspirational read, proving that people can change and grow with the help of others around them.
I loved this book. It was an awesome read! The character development was so interesting to see. I loved the way that Mara progressed and matured as the book went on. It was heartbreaking to see some of her friendships end, but in retrospect it was awesome to the the new friendships that were formed in her story, like with her brother, Noah, and the Elkhorn 5. This book was really inspirational and empowering. It makes me want to always stand up for what I believe in and to be myself, no matter how hard it gets, just like Mara did. "
This Golden State by Marit Weisenberg
"The book is about a teenage girl who struggle with finding her identity because her family is always on the run. She has a tough time building relationships and keeping these friendships because if anything out of the ordinary happens, she has to leave. After leaving abruptly from her last school, she finally arrives in Silicon Valley where she ultimately convinces her parents to let her have more freedom. This leads to the girl building a friendship, and later relationship, with a boy from her accelerated math class. She continues to go behind her parents backs to spend time with him and, along the way, finds out who she truly is.
I enjoyed that the book was unpredictable because it allowed the book to be a little bit of a mystery and not only a romance fiction. I liked that the main character was dynamic and that there were parts of the book that made me happy, but also upset. "
Indestructible Objects by Mary McCoy
"Lee lives in Memphis with her separated parents. She has devoted much of her life to her podcast that she created with her boyfriend, Vincent, but on the most recent episode, they announced their break up to their listeners. She does not know what to do with herself following this break up, and begins an investigation into the break down of her parents' marriage. She meets several people along the way, and forms close relationships with them. However, as she investigates her parent's marriage, she ends up finding more than she bargained for.
This book was a complex analysis of human emotions and relationships. It was well written, but I had trouble getting into it and did not enjoy it very much. "
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
“This book is about the main character, Mim Malone, and her journey to visit her mom for Labor Day weekend. Mim moved from Cleveland, Ohio to Mississippi after her mom and dad got divorced. In Mississippi, Mim lives with her dad and step mom. In the beginning, Mim’s mom sent her letters but she stopped receiving them. Mim believes her step mom is keeping the letters away from her. In order for Mim to talk to her mom, she starts her journey from Mississippi to Cleveland. This book is about the people and problems she faces throughout her journey.
I liked the book. All of the main characters had well written back stories which made the book more detailed. Overall, it was a good book with an interesting plot and well written characters.”
Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi
“Jayne finds herself struggling to live in New York with her ex. One day, her sister surprises her with news that changes her life. Jayne ends up living with her sister even though they fight a lot. They have to figure out their differences and help each other as best as they can. Jayne soon finds a love interest but has to find a way to manage everything and dealing with her sister and family
I thought the book was good and I recommend it for young adults to read it. The book was related to teen issues and people in college would relate to teen issues and people in college would relate to it. I think the overall plot was good and had many emotions throughout it.”
Black Enough by Ibi Zoboi
“This book is a collection of shorty stories written by black authors on either personal experiences, or encounters on what it is like to be a black youth in America. Complete with 17 stories, 17 authors, and over 17 compelling characters, this book is very insightful and very real in present day society. From stories of summer camps, queerness, parental pressures, love, societal issues, and not fitting in, this book shows many individual’s stories that need to be heard.
I really enjoyed this book as it offered many different and vivid characters and their opinions to ponder over and learn from. I love how each story showed a different writing style and a compelling plot that made me never want to put the book down.”
Baby and Solo by Lisabeth Posthuma
"Joel has struggled with mental illness since he was a young boy. He sees a girl named Crystal. An Accident caused him and his family to move states and start fresh. Now that he is a senior in high school, his psychiatrist thinks it is time to take him off of his medication. As he begins a normal life with a new job, he begins to build real relationships and friendships, especially with his coworker- Baby.
I really enjoyed this book and the representation of mental illness. It gave me strong Empire Records vibes, which is a great movie if you have not seen it. The main character had a trait of not prying or lingering on other people’s business which was both frustrating and kept me wanting to read more. The characters were all well developed an interesting."
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
“Emma Saylor doesn’t really remember her mom’s side of the family. Emma’s mom died when she was 12, so it has just been her and her dad. When Emma’s dad goes on his honeymoon with his wife, Emma decides to stay at the small lake town where her mom’s family lives. She discovers the two very different communities who live there. Emma also begins to learn her family history and what her mom was really like.
I loved this book because it was beautifully written and the main character was very relatable. This is a story about friendship, family, and love.”
As Far As You'll Take Me by Phil Stamper
"Marty lives in Kentucky with his parents who do not accept his sexuality. He moves to London for a summer, hoping to find a job as an oboist in an orchestra and live there, away from his parents, permanently. Once there, he begins making friends, and gets closer with his first boyfriend. He starts to lose focus, and has not found a job as the date of his return gets closer.
This book was an interesting story about a boy who leaves home for a better life in a more accepting community. It was interesting to watch Marty develop throughout the book and it was fun to read."
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
“This story follows Camino- who lives in the DR with her aunt and Yahaira, who is in NYC with her mother. When their dad goes on his annual trip to the DR and his plane crashes, his two daughters learn about his two families and two lives, one in the DR and the other in NYC. His death brings the two girls closer together as they learn to deal with grief and the reality that their father’s life was split in two...
I really enjoyed this book, even though it was a very heavy read as it deals with grief and sexual assault. The author does a great job using metaphors and figurative speech to display emotions. At first, it was a little hard to get into the book and adjust to it being in verse, but after that, it was outstanding.”
You Know I'm No Good by Jessie Ann Foley
“Mia has been labeled a “troubled teen” through some of her actions. Her dad and stepmom send her off to Red Oak Academy in an attempt to make her life turn around. This school strips the girls of basic rights, and Mia is quickly miserable. However, she makes good friends (and enemies) with the other girls. This book is a mental journey with Mia through her life changes and surprises.
I really enjoyed this book because it sort of took a common “troubled teen” stereotype and showed it from a different point of view. It kept me on the edge of my seat through all its twists and turns.”
Between Perfect and Real by Ray Stoeve
“This novel is about a trans boy named dean. It talks about his struggles and finding his identity. He found it hard coming out to his family and girlfriend. Everyone had misleading assumptions on his identity. When Dean got a role in the school play, he found out that he had a more enjoyable time playing a male than a woman.
Even though I am not a part of the LGBTQ community, I found this novel inspiring and interesting. It gives a raw reality of some people trying to find themselves. I feel like it will inspire others trying to find their identity and feel like they are not alone.”
Home Home by Lisa Allen-Agostini
“Having depression is not easy for a teen girl living in Trinidad. Moving from her home to Canada is even harder. After being hospitalized after a depression episode, she moves to live with er aunts. Adjusting in a new country makes her anxiety and depression worse. Nothing is like what she is used to and she just wishes to be home needing to accept herself. With the help of her friends and aunts, she can work out who she is and where she fits in the world.
I really like the book because it is so relatable. The main character is an introvert that gets anxious and nervous. She has panic attacks and can be indecisive. Many books don’t portray how stressed teenagers are and the book focuses on that.”
The Easy Part of Impossible by Sarah Tomp
“Ria, who has ADHD has always dreamed about being an Olympic diver. But then an accident at her meet separates her from her controlling coach, Benny. She then reunites with her childhood friend, Cotton, who is on the autism spectrum, and together they go spelunking. Spending more time with Cotton helps Ria realize that Benny was abusing her. When her dream offer comes, she is not sure if she can pursue her dream with an abuser or give it all up.
I like this book because being an athlete myself makes it easy to connect with another athlete. I can’t imagine giving up my sports, so I understand where Ria is coming from. The author did a good job of realistically portraying an athlete’s life.”
Running by Natalia Sylvester
“After being the senator, Mari’s dad is running for president, and she isn’t sure how she feels. She wants to stay out of the spotlight, but is pushed in the middle of her dad’s speeches and interviews. She is sick of her dad treating her like a child and wants to be heard. Mari has always known her father to be for the people, but activists, especially at her school, have pointed out to her that she doesn’t know everything about him. How can you stay out when you need to speak up?
I liked this book because it doesn’t matter where you stand on politics in order to connect with the book. The character struggles to speak up for yourself sometimes, which is relatable to many teens.”
Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
“This story, written in verse, is about Michael, a mixed boy in London who deals with being black and gay. It follows his entire life up to college and how he found who he is, where he belongs and what makes him happy. Later, he also joins in drag- his “character” is the Black Flamingo.
I absolutely ADORED this book. You don’t have to be similar to Michael in any way for you to feel connected to him. He addresses so many issues in such a respectful way, and this book is truly a work of ART! I would give it six stars if I could!”
Sparrow by Mary Cecilia Jackson
“Sparrow is a young ballet dancer that has had a rough past. Her new boyfriend, who her friends and family don’t like, brings trouble back into her life. All the while, her best friend, Lucas, is troubled with his crush on Sparrow and whether to do the right thing. After being assaulted, Sparrow must come to terms with her past. She also realizes what is important that she took for granted.
I enjoyed the book, but I didn’t enjoy the switch between Lucas’ and Sparrow’s point of views. It made the book choppy and sometimes became hard to follow.”
Slay by Brittney Morris
“The main character, Kiera, seems to live a double life. She is the developer of Slay, which is intended to be a safe space from racism by exclusively pandering to black gamers. However, Kiera struggles with keeping the game a secret from everyone she knows. Moreover, when news of the game reaches the media, Slay is heavily criticized for being racist. As a result, Kiera, struggles with the hate her game is receiving for being too ‘violent” and excluding white gamers.
I really liked the book and I thought it was extremely eye-opening. Even for nonblack readers, it is extremely relatable to read about keeping part of your life secret for fear of what others will think. I also liked how the book switched among different perspectives.”
Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab
“Susannah, the main character, is an extremely committed competitive swimmer. At an early age, she became a world champion. Now, she’s training for the Olympic trials. However, ever since going through puberty and a growth spirt, her times have slowed down considerably, leaving her frustrated with her body. This book follows her journey to achieve her lifelong dream of going to the Olympics while balancing other priorities like family, friendships, and love.
I really like this book! I thought it was very engaging and interesting to read. I also really like the way it addressed coming of age themes and issues teenagers actually face and can relate to.”
You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac
“You Me Everything is a young adult family drama which is both funny and heartbreaking. Jess takes her ten-year-old son, William, to the French countryside to spend time with his father, Adam. Adam, Jess’s ex-boyfriend, runs a successful hotel there but has lacked presence in his son's life. Jess urgently needs to change that for she has her own secret and is running out of time before it’s out. The story details Jess’s time throughout the summer with Adam and William as she gets to experience the family she never had and never knew she needed.
I really liked the book because of its sweet and simple story. Although the plot is still cliched, it has a lot to offer in the form of humor and writing style, making it an enjoyable, yet heart wrenching read.”
The Art of Dumpster Diving by Jennifer Anne Moses
“The book takes place in Crystal Springs, Louisiana. In the book, James, the main character, and Danny, James little brother, go through a series of events that leave them with no parents or guardians. Gabriel, James's friend, helps them to make a plan to keep them out of foster care. The book is about the struggles James and Danny go through, including money and hunger. James, Danny, and Gabriel also make friends with someone who can help them along the way.
The book was very entertaining. In every chapter something new would happen and that’s why I liked the book. But some parts were not believable or realistic.”
If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley
“Leighton has always suffered under her father’s domestic abuse. She is used to his outrages and how their house magically repairs the damages caused. Now in her senior year, she can work to take her sisters away from the danger and attend her dream college. The only person she seems to relax around is Liam, the football player whose charisma might lead to something more. As her town of Auburn, Pennsylvania is being bombarded by tens of thousands of crows, Leighton knows the clock is ticking before her whole world collapses.
I think this book is a good insight into the lives of people who suffer from domestic abuse and how to can control their lives. It is important to remember that not everyone has a calm home to return to. Some people leave for their safety.”
Who I Was With Her by Nita Tyndall
“Corinne Parker is like any other high school senior. Except she is falling in love with the captain of the rival high school’s cross-country team, Maggie Bailey, and no one knows about it. When Maggie dies, Corinne is left heartbroken, guilty, lonely, and confused. As Corinne struggles through these emotions, she finds comfort in the strangest places and eventually is able to accept herself for who she is.
Who I Was With Her in one word, incredible!! Nita Tyndall is a flawless writer, and the chapters were perfectly formatted for the storyline of the novel. It’s the kind of uplifting coming of age novel that everyone needs to read!”
Accidental by Alex Richards
“When Johanna’s father, Robert Newton, comes back to town, Johanna learns the deranged cause of her mother's death. This news takes her on a wild ride in and out of love and friendship. Johanna feels sad, mad, happy, and MAD!! But she gets through it all with her two best friends. She ultimately finds her way back to her family and happiness.
Accidental is one of the best books I’ve read!! I was really able to connect with Johanna throughout the book! However, the climax of the plot was revealed too quickly, which made what could have been a stunning and surprising climax for the reader, underwhelming.”
Impossible Music by Sean Williams
“Simon’s whole life is surrounded by music. When a stroke leaves him deaf, he struggles to find how he can reconnect with music. He refuses to fully believe he has no hope to heat again. Simon doesn’t want to learn sign language and just wants to hear his passion again. With his new friend, G, who also is deaf, he learns to adopt to his new life but keep his love of music.
Even though I think the beginning of the books is a little confusing, I like this book. It is obvious Williams spent a long time researching for this book. This book details how you can still find yourself when your whole life is turned upside down.”
Thoughts and Prayers by Bryan Bliss
“Three students first meet when they hid under the same staircase at school during the shooting. Claire now needs to adjust to her new life in Minnesota and heal with her new, secretive friends. Eleanor started a controversial t-shirt, but now is beginning to feel the hatred in the aftermath. Brezzen uses his Wizards and Warriors experience on his first day back in school. All need to overcome anxiety to heal.
I liked this book because it displays how students heal after a traumatic situation. People seem to forget about events like this after the news moves on, but it still stays with people years later.”
Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez
“The main character Juan is from a broken family and constantly faces struggles in his everyday life. The book describes the lives of his best friends and his mother, Fabi, who are struggling to stay afloat. Juan struggles to find a plan for his life and relies on a basketball scholarship to get him to college. Then, him and his family take a road trip to visit his father and find out the truth about his life. The book does a great job of presenting real-world problems in ways that are understandable to readers.
I did like the book because it showed the point of view of a teenager in a seemingly hopeless life. It unfolded prevalent societal issues and made readers think about privilege and prejudice.”
Bearmouth by Liz Hyder
“Newt has lived and worked in Bearmouth mine for as long as they can remember. Daily life in the mine is full of violence and injustice, which is blindly accepted until a newcomer begins to question their society. Newt must struggle to discover their own identity and beliefs while forming powerful friendships and discovering their own identity in the process.
I enjoyed this book. It was a powerful and engaging narrative that explored difficult issues. The language of the barely literate narrator made it difficult to read at times, but contributed to the effectiveness of the story. This book was enlightening and provided a new perspective on hearing subjects.”
24 Hours in Nowhere by Dusti Bowling
"24 Hours in Nowhere is an action-filled story that describes an adventure of four seemingly different characters. The main character, Gus, shares 24 hours of his life in Nowhere, Arizona. Along the way, the characters face many challenges and struggle to cooperate. However, they realize the importance of friendship and determination. At the end of the life-changing journey, they are able to find their true selves.
I really liked this book. The themes that the author attempts to convey fits perfectly with the plotline. Also, the story had a nice mix of action, humor, and mystery, allowing me to be intrigues from start to finish.”
Geese are Never Swans by Kobe Bryant
“Gus is the younger brother of a very promising swimmer, Danny, who takes his life when he fails to make it into the Olympics. Gus now has to live in Danny’s shadow, which he hates. He grows angry at his brother, mother, coach, and himself. He decides to do what his brother couldn’t do and make it to the Olympics. He must work through his anger and feelings to reach his goal.
I liked the book because it really highlights Gus’s feelings as the reader, one can very easily feel his emotions. In addition, I feel as though the pace of the book was very quick making it feel like the book was moving on from things, not staying on one story for a long time.”
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green
“Will Grayson, from Evanston, is best friends with Tiny Cooper. The other Will Grayson, from Naperville, doesn’t really have any friends aside from Isaac. One night, they cross paths and their lives intertwine. Both Will’s start as very negative people, but as Tiny’s production of a musical is progressing, the boys find themselves having a change of heart. They grow a lot as people, and their romantic lives mature drastically.
It was a very good book with a lot of character development. It was also a quick and easy read. However, I didn’t relate to the characters very much, which made it slightly harder to read for me. However, it was well written and I would recommend it.”
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