The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

18369372 The One Thing by Marci Lyn Curtis

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, release date 9/8/15.

Maggie has only been blind for 6 months, resulting from a serious case of meningitis. She is trying to adjust to her new circumstances after 17 years of being “normal”. The worst part is that her love of soccer has been ruined and she can no longer play for the team she so adored. After meeting with her probation officer (over a school prank), she falls and hits her head in the waiting room and wakes up to a stranger…but, the crazy thing is that she can SEE this person named Ben.  He is the only one she can actually see and his light grows brighter and brighter as they become closer friends. He is a loving, adorable kid who happens to be 7 years younger than Maggie. It also turns out that his brother is the lead singer of a band that Maggie is obsessed with and he thinks she is faking being blind to be a groupie. While getting to know Ben’s family, she struggles with trying to figure out why she can see him and realizes that there are actually a few others she can see as well.  What is it that they all have in common? Will she figure it out before it goes away and before it’s too late?

I requested this book a while back and kind of forgot about it until this past weekend after I finished another book and needed something to read. I read the description and thought it sounded okay, but when I read some of the reviews on Goodreads, I knew I had to read it. Turns out, I totally agree with most of the reviews I came across, and I think this book is beautiful. It is a little bit heart-wrenching, a little bit funny, and a little bit romantic–the perfect combination of all three of those things to be a great story. I loved the writing style of this author and the creative storyline. I also liked that there was no perfect, insta-love happening because that irritates me. This is a wonderful story about kids/teens dealing with crappy situations that have been handed to them in life and still being able to develop relationships and confront their issues. I will be highly recommending this book when it arrives in my school library. Thank you, Marci Lyn Curtis, for such a beautiful book.

My rating: 5/5

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Chasing Sunsets by Karen Kingsbury

22609428 Chasing Sunsets by Karen Kingsbury

**This review is based on an ARC from Netgalley, releases on 4/7/15.

My reliable Karen Kingsbury did it again….had me hooked from word one. I read half this book one night and the other half the second night.  There is just something about her writing, I feel like I know all the characters and I can envision everything that is happening vividly.  They are just so real!  This particular story is mostly about Marcus and Mary Catherine, with several other characters that are vital to the storyline. Marcus is a famous pitcher for the Dodgers that wants to give back to his community by opening a Youth Center in a rough area. When gangs threaten the success of his center and even his life, Marcus tries to find a way to overcome the challenges, all while trying to navigate his developing feelings for God and Mary Catherine. She is a vibrant, young woman who thrives on adrenaline rushes…..but, she has a life-threatening medical condition.  This keeps her from wanting to fall in love so she doesn’t have to hurt herself or anyone else when her illness takes over. She is devoted to helping her friends at the youth center be successful, but can’t decide how involved she should get. With the help of other characters–Sami, Tyler, Lexy, Dwayne, Jag, Aspyn, and many others– a wonderful story unfolds, which is heart-wrenching and happy all at the same time.  Karen Kingsbury is the queen of making you feel all the feels while reading her books.  She left me hanging at the end of this one though, so I can’t wait for more! My whole family loves these titles and I have managed to introduce many of my colleagues and even students to love her books as well. This definitely is on its way to my high school library! Keep ’em coming, Karen, please!

My rating: 5/5