One Two Three by Elodie Nowodazkij (Advanced Reader Copy from Netgalley)
This book is touted as being Save the Last Dance meets Perfect Chemistry and I can see where the comparisons came from. As a teen, Save the Last Dance was one of my faves and, as a high school librarian, the Perfect Chemistry books are some of my fave to recommend in my library. For the most part, this story lived up to that hype. Though not a dancer myself, I am pretty fascinated and like to read/watch movies about the dance world. Some of my favorite references to those things are included in this story, like Center Stage. One Two Three is the story of Natalya, a dancer who has had to move back to her babushka’s house after having to leave a performing arts high school after an injury received in car accident that killed her father. Luckily, she has a great friend in Becca, who she knows from having spent her summers at her grandmother’s house. Becca makes the transition to a new school and mostly new life a bit easier. Natalya meets Antonio and the good girl/bad boy love story ensues. Throughout the book, Natalya is trying to figure out how to accept her new role in the dance world and also trying to figure out what really happened in that accident with her father. She is also trying to deal with her mother, who is coping with the pain by resorting to alcohol. Natalya learns some major family secrets along the way and falls hard for Antonio in the process. This will be a story I can see many high school girls flocking to and I hope the story continues, maybe telling the stories of some of the other prominent characters in the book, such as Becca, James, Rita, etc. The story is easy to read and enjoyable, with just the right touch of drama and romance.
Who will I recommend this to? Any of my high school readers interested in romance, especially those who are also interested in dance. It will, however, appeal to those that aren’t interested in dance as well because that is not the whole story.
Drugs/Alcohol: There is some drinking among the teens, but it is shown in a mostly negative way. Natalya is also dealing with an alcoholic mother, which many teens can relate to.
Language: Did not find it terribly offensive, normal teen language.
Sex: There is sex talk and some romantic scenes, but nothing that is unnecessary or irresponsible.
All Fall Down by Jennifer Weiner
I have always been a fan of Jennifer Weiner’s Women’s fiction titles, as are my mom and sister and some friends, so I was excited to be able to read the advanced copy of this title so I could recommend it (or possibly not) to them. I picked up this book without even reading a summary at first so I didn’t even know what I was going to be reading about. This is the story of a suburban mom who deals with everyday struggles (some would say more struggles than others) and gets addicted to prescription painkillers. It begins as a somewhat slow downward spiral, using regular doctors to get the meds, and then progresses very quickly into a major problem. She starts buying the drugs on the internet through an unknown source and spends ungodly amounts of money. The addiction really comes to light when she makes a poor choice while picking up her daughter from school one afternoon. From this point, her story is about recovery and the struggles that go with it. We have all read a story about someone getting lost in the world of drug use, I have ready many being a High School Librarian; but, Jennifer writes this story beautifully and in a way that doesn’t make you hate the addict or necessarily feel sorry for her either. You can truly just relate to her thoughts and kind of see what it might be like if this happened to you. The main character has grown up with a somewhat absent (or at least absent-minded) mother and has a marriage that was becoming hard to maintain, but the supporting characters step up in a way that is commendable and helps you see them in a good light as well. The daughter in the story, Ellie, is a hilarious, “overly-sensitive” child that kept me entertained throughout the story. As somewhat of a diva child myself, I could relate! All in all, definitely worth a read!
My rating: 4/5
Who would I recommend this to? Adult women mostly, maybe some of my older teen girls; anyone who has enjoyed previous Jennifer Weiner books; anyone who likes Women’s Fiction in general; fans of Sophie Kinsella, Emily Giffin, Kristin Hannah
Language: There is some adult language, of course, but nothing appalling.
Drugs/Alcohol: As is the nature of the story, there is definitely drug use and references, as well as some alcohol. It is not presented in a praiseful way though.
Sex: Nothing appalling here either.
**This was an advanced reader copy obtained from NetGalley.
Take Me On by Katie McGarry
Well, Katie McGarry has done it again…at least for me! I have read all of her titles within the past few months and have not been disappointed in the least. Though these are your typical teenage romance drama– tragic boy meets tragic girl and they try not to fall in love with each other, it is done in a way that is totally readable. All the characters are relatable and likable, and I can especially see my students being able to relate to them. This is the story of Haley and West, who is a character from the previous story Crash Into You. Haley grew up in a typical home with a fairly normal family…until her dad got laid off from his job. With a struggle to find a new job, they have had to move into her uncle’s home, a man who is despicable to say the least. Haley used to be a titleholder for fighting and quit due to an unfortunate incident with an ex-boyfriend. She meets West in her run-down neighborhood by chance and they protect one another against someone trying to steal from Haley. West is then kicked out of his home and starts attending Haley’s school, and thus their love story begins. He is challenged to a “legal” fight by Haley’s ex and starts training with her, not knowing her past with fighting. Throughout the story, Haley struggles with accepting her feelings for West, while West struggles with his family and the struggles they are going through. Though West’s father tries to convince him to ditch Haley and go back to the way his life used to be, West proves that Haley is worth fighting for and does the right thing. This will definitely be another title that I recommend to my student’s next school year, as well as Katie’s other titles. I am looking forward to the next book in the series that goes back to the characters in the first title. I like that you get to know a little about what’s going in all of the other character’s lives in each story, allowing you to keep up with those you have really come to love.
Who would I recommend this to?: Mostly my teen girls, but I think I will be able to convince some of the boys to read these because of the themes in all of the books
My rating (out of 5): 5
Language: Some rough language, but nothing that I don’t hear every day in the hallways
Sex: Sex scenes are present, but nothing graphic…always done responsibly as well
Drugs/Alcohol: References to alcoholism within the family, but no use of it by teens in the story