Mini Reviews: The Contemporary Edition

22840182Title: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids

Author: Sarah Ockler

Publication Date: June 2, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life. 

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

The Summer of Chasing Mermaids was a lovely, contemporary read. The main character, Elyse d’Abreau, had plans for her life, big plans. Everything changed the night she lost her voice. Now living with some relatives in Atargatis Cove, Elyse spends most of her days in silent solitude. When Elyse meets Christian, she begins to come out of her shell and her original plans of seclusion begin to disappear. The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is the story of a girl who is learning to realize that even when life changes all your plans, it’s still worth living.

4 out of 5 stars


Meet The Author

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Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of six young adult novels: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, #scandal, The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and Twenty Boy Summer. Her books have been translated into several languages and have received numerous accolades, including ALA’s Best Fiction for Young Adults, Girls’ Life Top 100 Must Reads, Indie Next List, and nominations for YALSA Teens’ Top Ten and NPR’s Top 100 Teen Books.

Sarah is a champion cupcake eater, tea drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading at home in Washington, she enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and her website.


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Title: None of the Above

Author: I.W. Gregorio

Publication Date: April 7, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she was born intersex… and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

Kristin Lattimer’s entire life is thrown for a loop the day she learns that she was born intersex. On the outside, Kristin looks like any other girl. A trip to the gynecologist changes everything when her doctor discovers that Kristin has internal male “parts.” When the entire school finds out Kristin’s secret, Kristin is ostracized and bullied. Kristin takes a break from school, but begins to volunteer at a local clinic where she makes new friends. As Kristin starts to come to terms with her body, she learns that her biggest bully wasn’t others, but herself. None of the Above is an educational and emotional read that I will recommend to everyone.

4 out of 5 stars


Meet The Author

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I. W. Gregorio is a practicing surgeon by day, masked avenging YA writer by night. A graduate of the Yale School of Medicine, she studied creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania and Johns Hopkins University. While a surgical resident, she published in the San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News and Washington Post. She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children. None of the Above is her first novel.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, and her website.


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Title: Since You’ve Been Gone

Author: Morgan Matson

Publication Date: May 6, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

It was Sloane who yanked Emily out of her shell and made life 100% interesting. But right before what should have been the most epic summer, Sloane just…disappears. All she leaves behind is a to-do list.

On it, thirteen Sloane-inspired tasks that Emily would normally never try. But what if they could bring her best friend back?

Apple picking at night? Okay, easy enough.

Dance until dawn? Sure. Why not?

Kiss a stranger? Um…

Emily now has this unexpected summer, and the help of Frank Porter (totally unexpected), to check things off Sloane’s list. Who knows what she’ll find?

Go skinny-dipping? Wait…what?

Ever since Sloane left without a trace, Emily has been miserable. What is she supposed to do for an entire summer without her best friend? When Emily receives a list from Sloane, Emily hopes that the list will lead her to Sloane. As Emily slowly checks off some of the activities on the list, Emily meets new people that just might make her summer worth remembering. As Emily’s new friends help her with the list, Emily begins to change. She’s more outgoing and happy. Since You’ve Been Gone is an adorable read that shows that life is so much more interesting when you step outside of your comfort zone.

5 out of 5 stars


Meet The Author

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Morgan Matson was born in 1981 and grew up in New York City and Greenwich, Connecticut. She attended Occidental College in Los Angeles but halfway though a theater degree, she started working in the children’s department of Vroman’s Bookstore and fell in love with YA literature.

Following college graduation (and the proud bearer of an incredibly useful theater/English degree) she moved back East to attend the New School, where she received her M.F.A in Writing for Children.

Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, inspired by Morgan’s three cross-country road trips, was published in May 2010. It was named an ALA Top Ten Best Book, a PW “Flying Start” book, and was shortlisted for the Waterstone’s Book Prize.

In the meantime, Morgan moved back to California, went back to school again and in 2011 received an M.F.A. in Screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

Her second book, Second Chance Summer, was published in May 2012. It was inspired by her experiences spending summers growing up in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It was named to the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults list, and selected as a School Library Journal Best Book of 2012.

Her third book, Since You’ve Been Gone, will be published on May 6th, 2014.

Morgan’s work has been published all over the world, and translated into 10 languages so far.

She lives in Los Angeles, though she loves to travel and does it whenever she can. She is currently writing another book, to be published in 2016.

You can find her on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and her website.

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