Sunday, September 30, 2018

Confessions of a Teenage Leper by Ashley Little

Confessions of a Teenage Leper
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Publisher: Penguin Canada | Penguin Teen
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 304 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For honest review

Abby Furlowe has plans. Big plans. She's hot, she's popular, she's a cheerleader and she's going to break out of her small Texas town and make it big. Fame and fortune, adoration and accolades. It'll all be hers. 
Abby is sent to a facility to recover and deal with this new reality. Her many misdiagnoses mean that some permanent damage has been done, and all of her plans suddenly come tumbling down. If she can't even wear high heels anymore, what is the point of living? Cheerleading is out the window, and she might not even make it to prom. PROM!
But it's during this recovery that Abby has to learn to live with something even more difficult than Hansen's Disease. She's becoming aware of who she really was before and what her behavior was doing to others; now she's on the other side of the fence looking in, and she doesn't like what she sees. . . 
But then she notices some spots on her skin. She writes them off as a rash, but things only get worse. She's tired all the time, her hands and feet are numb and her face starts to look like day-old pizza. By the time her seventeenth birthday rolls around, she's tried every cream and medication the doctors have thrown at her, but nothing works. When she falls doing a routine cheerleading stunt and slips into a coma, her mystery illness goes into overdrive and finally gets diagnosed: Hansen's Disease, aka leprosy. 
Despite the heavy storyline, Confessions of a Teenage Leper was witty, quirky and a really fun read!

Abby, a literal Regina George, is given a pretty harsh reality check. A girl who uses her looks to charm her way through life is diagnosed with Hansons Disease, aka Leprosy. She loses her friends and everything she has built in her shallow world.

I really loved the way Ashley Little crafted Abby's character. You really do kind of dislike her in the beginning, and her attitude can definitely make you cringe. But, all of that was necessary to get the full grasp of her transformation throughout the book. It is a great story of self-growth. Abby struggles to grasp her diagnosis and goes through all the natural stages of coming to terms with it.

Aside from Abby, we are given a pretty great character cast. Each character adds charm and depth to the entire story.

Confessions of a Teenager Leper was not what I expected at all. It is filled with so much personality. At times heart-wrenching it was just as much heart-warming. A wonderful reading experience! 

Monday, September 24, 2018

The War Outside by Monica Hesse

The War Outside
Release Date: September 25th, 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 336 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author:Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

A stunning novel of conviction, friendship, and betrayal from Monica Hesse, the Edgar Award-winning and bestselling author of Girl in the Blue Coat
It's 1944, and World War II is raging across Europe and the Pacific. The war seemed far away from Margot in Iowa and Haruko in Colorado--until they were uprooted to dusty Texas, all because of the places their parents once called home: Germany and Japan.
Haruko and Margot meet at the high school in Crystal City, a "family internment camp" for those accused of colluding with the enemy. The teens discover that they are polar opposites in so many ways, except for one that seems to override all the others: the camp is changing them, day by day and piece by piece. Haruko finds herself consumed by fear for her soldier brother and distrust of her father, who she knows is keeping something from her. And Margot is doing everything she can to keep her family whole as her mother's health deteriorates and her rational, patriotic father becomes a man who distrusts America and fraternizes with Nazis.
With everything around them falling apart, Margot and Haruko find solace in their growing, secret friendship. But in a prison the government has deemed full of spies, can they trust anyone--even each other?

The War Outside is one of those books that you hug tightly to your chest and let out a deep sigh as soon as you've finished the last page. The story and its characters will embed themselves deep into your soul.

The War Outside was a perspective of WW2 that I have never known. I did not know about these internment camps and their existence. It's another heartwrenching fact of that time. Although The War Outside may be fiction, I am sure its story is very true for the people that were involved. I'm sure if they could have read The War Outside they would have found a little piece of themselves in one of the characters.

This is my first book by Monica Hesse but it will not be my last. She crafted an emotional story about 2 girls that, despite the rules of society, developed an unbreakable bond. The War Outside is a very character driven novel. It is not a story about a war. It is a beautiful tale about 2 girls with a war happening around them. Hesse approached this story with a fine delicacy. It's as if Haruko and Margot were in the room with her, confiding their stories, whispering their secrets and she was just transcribing them to paper.

The War Outside is a book that you'll want to savour. You will want to take your time reading each word, not rushing, although it will be tough to not devour it. It's dual perspective will give you a deep look into each character and the own wars within themselves and their families that they are dealing with.

Get cozy, curl up with your favourite blanket (and a box of tissues) and delve into the stories of Haruko and Margot, but be prepared, once you meet them, you'll never forget them. 

I read a book, this book was called The War Outside and I will never forget it.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Confessions of a Teenage Leper by Ashley Little

Confessions of a Teenage Leper

Release Date: September 25th, 2018

Abby Furlowe has plans. Big plans. She's hot, she's popular, she's a cheerleader and she's going to break out of her small Texas town and make it big. Fame and fortune, adoration and accolades. It'll all be hers. 
But then she notices some spots on her skin. She writes them off as a rash, but things only get worse. She's tired all the time, her hands and feet are numb and her face starts to look like day-old pizza. By the time her seventeenth birthday rolls around, she's tried every cream and medication the doctors have thrown at her, but nothing works. When she falls doing a routine cheerleading stunt and slips into a coma, her mystery illness goes into overdrive and finally gets diagnosed: Hansen's Disease, aka leprosy. Abby is sent to a facility to recover and deal with this new reality. Her many misdiagnoses mean that some permanent damage has been done, and all of her plans suddenly come tumbling down. If she can't even wear high heels anymore, what is the point of living? Cheerleading is out the window, and she might not even make it to prom. PROM!But it's during this recovery that Abby has to learn to live with something even more difficult than Hansen's Disease. She's becoming aware of who she really was before and what her behavior was doing to others; now she's on the other side of the fence looking in, and she doesn't like what she sees. . .

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Little was born in Calgary, Alberta. She earned her bachelor of fine arts in creative writing and film studies at the University of Victoria and an MFA in creative writing from University of British Columbia. She lives in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.Little's debut novel PRICK: Confessions of a Tattoo Artist was published by Tightrope Books in 2011. Prick was shortlisted for the ReLit Award. Her second novel The New Normal (Orca Book Publishers, 2013) is for young adults. The New Normal won the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize at the 2014 BC Book Prizes. Her third novel, Anatomy of a Girl Gang (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2013) won the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize at the 2014 BC Book Prizes, one of two awards Little won that year. Anatomy of a Girl Gang was a Finalist for the 2014 City of Vancouver Book Award and longlisted for the 2015 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.Little served as the 2014 writer in residence for Calgary's Alexandra Writers Centre Society, and as the 2015 Vancouver Public Library Writer in Residence. Little served as the 2017 Edna Staebler Writer in Residence for Wilfrid Laurier University.
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Monday, September 3, 2018

People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins

People Kill People
Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books | Simon and Schuster
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 448 Pages
Format: ARC
Source: From Publisher
Reason: For Honest Review
Find the Author: Website
Buy the Book: Amazon CA | Amazon

People kill people. Guns just make it easier.
A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who? 

 You can't be a part of the young adult literary world without knowing who Ellen Hopkins is. She is well known and well loved for pairing her unique writing style with raw and relevant stories. Her books may be based off of fictional character but the issues she tackles so honestly hit home for many people. Ellen Hopkin's gets as real as fiction can get.

People Kill People is no exception. This book hit me hard. I finished it a few days ago and am still left reeling. Immigration, gun control, gun violence, and racism is a very active issue right now. Yes, it always lived, more so in the shadows, but not it is front and center, in the spotlight. People Kill People tells the story of 6 very different lives all within one pulsing week. The book is delivered from the perspective of each character: Rand, Cami, Noelle, Silas, Ashlyn, and Daniel. Each character holds their own strong opinion on immigration, racism and guns. This reason, driving them to make the decisions that they make. The pacing of this novel is on point. Hopkins does an outstanding job at building each character and letting their story unfold at a perfect pace. Giving you a glimpse into themselves and why they believe their perception of life is the right one. Why they believe they are justified in doing what they do. 

There is another perspective that joins us in this book, in Hopkins unique verse style, Violence. That's right, we also get to hear from the side of Violence itself. And I tell you, that made for quite a rattling and powerful reading experience.

People Kill People is honest and relevant. It will shake you up and consume you. It will tug at your heart and madden you all at the same time. It's a one of a kind read that will leave you thinking about it long after you've read it.
 
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