Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Black Lives Matter: Young Adult and Middle Grade Books about Racism

I've found that the best way for me to learn about racism is to listen, and a good way to listen is to start reading. Here are own voices books that tackle racial injustice, police brutality, and systemic racism.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
When Justyce McAllister and his best friend are victims of police brutality, Justyce begins writing letters to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to help make sense of his world.

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
This nonfiction book is a reimagining of  Kendi's book Stamped from the Beginning. It discusses the history of racism in America and how individuals can move toward antiracism.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
This nonfiction book about Bryan Stevenson's fight against the systemic racism in the justice system has been adapted for young readers. 

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone
Quan writes letters to Justyce while awaiting trial for the shooting death of a police officer. Nic Stone's new novel tackles the racism in the criminal justice system. This book is out in September of 2020. Add it to your TBR.

This is My America by Kim Johnson
Tracy Beaumont's father is on death row. He's innocent, and Tracy has spent years writing letters to an organization that she hopes can help him. Then her brother is accused of a crime, and Tracy is determined not to see history repeat itself. This book is out July 28th, 2020. Put it on your TBR

On the Come Up by Angie Thomas
After an incident involving racial stereotyping at her school, aspiring rapper, Bri, channels all her anger into a track that ends up going viral. The lyrics are hardhitting, and Bri soon discovers that they aren't being taken the way she intended. This book asks questions about the power of the media, stereotypes and perceptions, and what it means to "make it."

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Starr witnesses her unarmed childhood friend get shot and killed by the police. Starr is the only one who knows what happened, and she has to decide if she's going to stay quiet and safe or speak the truth.

Tyler Johnson Was Here by Jay Coles
Marvin and his twin brother Tyler are at a party that turns into a shooting and then a police raid. Now Tyler is missing, and soon it's discovered that he was shot and killed that night by a police officer.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
This is the story of Rashad and Quinn--a black boy who was beaten when he was accused of stealing and the white boy who witnessed it. Told in dual perspectives, this book confronts the very real aspects of prejudice, bias, and racism.

Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
This middle-grade books is about bi-racial brothers Donte and Trey, one presents black and the other presents white. Donte, the black-presenting brother, faces prejudice and discrimination at school, culminating in the principal calling the police in to arrest him.

I'm Not Dying with You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal
Two teen girls, one black and one white, must rely on one another and confront their prejudices if they are going to survive the race riots that have broken out in their town. 

Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Jerome is shot and killed by a police officer who mistook his toy gun for a real one. He was only twelve. Now a ghost, he observes the aftermath of his death and its impact on his family and community. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Reading on a Theme: Losing a Friend

The end of a friendship can be so painful. A book might help. Here we have five YA books about losing or nearly losing a friend.

James and Kat:
At the beginning of their senior year, James and Kat are best friends. By graduation they aren't speaking. Amy Spalding tells the story story of the disintegration of their friendship. We Used to Be Friends is told in alternating timelines. Kat's timeline moves forward in time and James's moves backward. The plot becomes a puzzle that the reader tries to put together, but what becomes clear as the timelines converge is that neither James nor Kat is completely at fault or completely blameless. Both characters are unlikable at points in the story, are both are also dealing with external circumstances that impact their well-being and friendship. Published January 2020. Review copy from NetGalley. 

Cleo and Layla:
Y.O.E. You over everyone. Layla has been Cleo's best friend since she was twelve-years-old. They start sophomore year as close as ever but slowly their friendship implodes. By Christmas it's over. Ashley Woodfolk's sophomore novel is so excellent. She tells the story through Cleo's eyes and alternates between the past and the present. Although, told from Cleo's perspective, it's clear that Cleo made some huge mistakes too. The dual timeline grants us access to the breakdown of the friendship but also to Cleo's recovery. A friendship breakup can be so devastating, and I love that I ended When You Were Everything feeling like, although they went through a lot, both of these characters are going to be okay. Published March 2020. Review copy from NetGalley. 

Ellory and Ret:
Bex, Jenni, and Ellory were three stars rotating around their sun: Ret. But then everything fell apart. See All the Stars takes place in two timelines. In the earlier timeline Ellory has three close friends and her first real boyfriend. In the later timeline she has no one. So what happened? Kit Frick's debut is a story of (borderline?) toxic friendship and a massive falling out. It's a great concept. Friendships end and not all friendships are healthy. And a friendship breakup comes with its own mourning process. Kit Frick's writing is really lovely. It's the kind of writing that gives you that melancholy feeling in your chest. I was struck by it right away. Published August 2018. Review copy from NetGalley.

Denver and Abigail:
Only an invitation from her crush could get Denver to attend a party hosted by her ex-best friend Abigail. She very quickly regrets that decision when a tsunami hits the coast of California. Now Denver is adrift in the Pacific ocean on a boat with four people who hate her, including Abigail. Kathy Parks sees your friend drama and takes it up several notches by mixing it with a survival story. The history between Denver and Abigail is inserted periodically throughout, and the reader gets to see how they became best friends and how it all fell apart. The fight for survival is no less harrowing, but maybe a life or death situation is the only thing that can bring these two back together? A+ for The Lifeboat Clique. I really enjoyed it. Published March 2016. Review copy from Edelweiss.

Willa and Flor:
Best friends Flor and Willa are keeping secrets from one another. Willa kissed the boy next door, who is also Flor's ex-boyfriend, and she doesn't know how to tell her. Flor isn't telling Willa about all the trouble she's having at home with her dad's new girlfriend. These types of secrets are enough to break a friendship. Unlike in the other books on this list, there's no outright fighting between friends in The Me I Meant to Be, but sometimes the things that aren't said can be just as destructive as the things that are. Sophie Jordan's book also has not one but two swoony romances.  Published January 2020. Review copy from NetGalley.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Reading on a Theme: World War II Resistance Fighters

Today is the 75th anniversary of VE Day, so we are casting aside our usually schedule for World War II content and celebrating World War II Wednesday on a Friday. In honor of VE Day, I bring you five books about the people working behind the scenes to make this victory a reality: the resistance fighters. I have a nice mix here with two adult titles (Resistance Women and All the Light We Cannot See), two YA titles (Girl in the Blue Coat and White Rose), and one middle grade title (Resistance), so there is something for everyone.

Resistance Women was one of my favorite reads of 2019. It tells the stories of Mildred Fish Harnack, Greta Kuckoff, and Martha Dodd, real women who were involved in resistance efforts in Germany during the Nazi regime. A fourth narrator, Sara Weitz, is a fictional character, a Jewish university student who is working with the resistance circle. Greta and Mildred and her husband had opportunities to leave Germany, but they chose to stay year after year and tirelessly work from within to bring down Hitler's regime. Most World War II books begin after well after Hitler's rise to power. I really like that Jennifer Chiaverini brought us to Germany and took us through the whole messy buildup. 

The Netherlands:
In 1943 Amsterdam, Hanneke is a courier for her boss who dabbles in the black market. An unexpected request from a customer--to find the Jewish girl who vanished from her hidden room--leads Hanneke to the Dutch resistance and a greater knowledge of the terrors the Germans have wrought on her countrymen. Monica Hesse does an excellent job evoking the setting of the World War II Amsterdam, and I really enjoyed learning more about the war years in The Netherlands. Hanneke is a strong character with a lot of passion and a lot of hurt who must decide if she will choose to fight back in the face of great danger. The Girl in the Blue Coat also gained a spot on my yearly favorites list back in 2016.

Chaya Lindner is a Jew living in Nazi-occupied Poland. After becoming separated from her family, she joins the resistance and becomes a courier. Her job is to smuggle food and papers into the ghettos and smuggle people out of them. Eventually Resistance takes us in the Warsaw Ghetto's final hours. Although I've read a lot of WWII books that take place in Poland, I think Jennifer A. Nielsen's book may be the first fictional middle-grade story set in that country that I've encountered. It would be a good way to introduce a younger audience to the horrors of the Jewish ghettos and the devastating impact the war had on Poland. 

Is there anyone who has yet to read All the Light We Cannot See? If so, I guess this post is for you. Anthony Doerr's sweeping novel follows Werner, a German radio operator, and Marie-Laure, a blind French girl whose household is involved in the resistance. I love all the details in this book: the radio, the museum, the gem, the locksmith. The characters are fantastic. I also appreciate how Etienne, Maurie-Laure's great uncle serves as the connection between World War I and World War II and drives home their proximity. The setting in the book is also perfectly rendered and will make you want to visit Saint-Malo. Most of all the writing is gorgeous. There's a reason why everyone loves this book and why it landed on my Favorites of the Decade list.

White Rose is a verse novel based on the life of Sophie Scholl. As a young college student Sophie and her brother challenged the Nazi regime by secretly publishing and distributing anti-Nazi pamphlets. Their small group of trusted student and professor dissenters called themselves the White Rose. Sophie and her brother, as well as many of the other members of the White Rose, were arrested and tried for treason by the Nazis. Sophie's story is one of great courage and dedication in the face of danger, and it is both inspiring and very tragic. Kip Wilson's retelling of Sophie's story moves between Sophie's past and present, and recounts Sophie's tale in stark poetical language.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Books Featuring Plagues and Pandemics

Maybe this is not the time to make this post, but, on the other hand, I can't stop thinking about all the many, many books I've read that feature plagues and pandemics. So maybe it's the perfect time to post this. For reasons that I don't entirely understand books featuring a rampant illness are totally my type of thing. A plague works so well in every type of genre from historical fiction to science fiction. Here are some of my favorites grouped by genre. Now if only we could get this pandemic to stay where it belongs: in a book.


Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright
Each chapter in this book discusses a different devastating plague from history from the bubonic plague to polio. This is the book that made me realize I had a thing for pandemics in literature. As I read it I realized I had read books about so many of these diseases along with dozens of books featuring plagues in speculative fiction. 

The Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
Johnson tells the story of the London cholera epidemic of 1854 and how two men, Reverent Henry Whitehead and Dr. John Snow, solved the mystery of how cholera spreads. What I loved most about this book is how it lays out for the readers the connections between what could be mistaken as unrelated facets of history.

Terrible Typhoid Mary by Susan Campbell Bartoletti 
Mary Mallon was an Irish immigrant who worked as a cook in New York City in the early 1900s. She was also a healthy typhoid carrier. Bartoletti takes the reader beyond the tabloid headlines and sheds light on the beginnings of a public health system in the United States. (featured here)

Historical Fiction 

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner
This book is set in Philadelphia during the 1918 flu pandemic (a hot topic now if ever there was one).
The Bright family is new in town, and the father is training to take over his great-uncle's funeral home business. It's quite the set-up: Philadelphia, WWI, Spanish Influenza, in a funeral home.  (featured here)

A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier
This book follows 17-year-old Cleo Berry as her life is completely turned upside down when the Spanish Influenza hits Portland. Cleo has never really known what she wants to do with her life, but the influenza suddenly gives her a sense of purpose when she volunteers with the Red Cross. (featured here)

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
Time-traveling historian, Kivrin, is the first historian to ever travel to the Middle Ages, and it's a rough journey. This book features two epidemics: the bubonic plague of the 1300s and an epidemic in Kivrin's present day. I love Connie Willis's Oxford Time Travel Series and absolutely devoured this book. 

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
Anna lives in a little town in Northern England. In 1665 a bolt of cloth infested with plague-carrying fleas is delivered to the village from London. The town members commit to self-imposed quarantine so that the disease will not spread. In less than a year more than half of the village has succumbed to the plague. 

The Plague by Albert Camus
Technically this one should probably be categorized as contemporary fiction, as it was contemporary when it was written. In the 1940s the plague ravages a coastal town in Northern Africa. I read this book in college and absolutely loved it. That should have been my first clue that I'm all in for books about plagues and epidemics.


Give the Dark My Love by Beth Revis
Nedra Brysstain has been awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Yugen Academy where she plans to study medicinal alchemy. Nedra's studies are frantic; a deadly disease is sweeping across her island home, and her only hope is to find a cure. This fantasy is deliciously creepy, and things really take a turn toward the dark side about halfway through. (featured here)

Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce
This newest book in Pierce's Tortall universe follows the training of the young Arram Draper whom we first met in the Immortals series as Numair. Arram is the youngest student to ever enter the Imperial University of Carthak. Much of the book follows Arram's day-to-day life: going to school, hanging out with his two best friends, Ozorne and Varice, dealing with unexpected magical occurrences, navigating the demands of Carthak society, and working to quell a deadly plague. (featured here)

Briar's Book by Tamora Pierce

Tempest and Slaughter is the second book by Pierce to feature a deadly plague. In the fourth (and unsurprisingly my favorite) of the Circle of Magic series the crew is up against a deadly, new plague. Briar and Rosethorn discover this plague and are trapped in quarantine for a time. Everyone has to pitch to help find a cure. Basically the story goes from one harrowing situation to the next. 

Illusionarium by Heather Dixon
In an alternate nineteenth-century Britain, known as Arthurise, a deadly illness that only strikes down women is devastating the nation. The main character, Jonathan, is a medical student who serves as an apprentice to his father, the country's second-best surgeon. This book is a steampunk, parallel reality tale with a little bit of horror thrown into the mix. It's creepy, fascinating, and other-worldly but not without innocence and hope, as well. (featured here)

Science Fiction:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
This book is set in a post-apocalyptic world where the majority of the population has died off from a virulent flu. The narration moves between post-pandemic and pre-pandemic, and it takes awhile to understand how the two sides of the story fit together. What I really loved about this book is the way that art is so essential to human existence even when individuals are fighting just to survive. (featured here)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This book is a sci-fi retelling of Cinderella set in a post World War IV world that is threatened by both a terrible pandemic and the Lunar Queen. Cinder is an orphan and a cyborg and a bit of an outcast, but she is also a famous mechanic which brings her to the attention of Prince Kai (he doesn't know about the cyborg part). Cinder finds herself unwillingly involved in interspatial politics. I love this whole series. (featured here)

Pandemic by Yvonne Ventresca
Fifteen-year-old Lilianna has lived through a traumatic event, and she is struggling with some paranoia as she attempts to rebuild her life. Then, while her parents are away on business, a deadly influenza sweeps up the east coast of the United States. Lil is alone and her worst fears have come true. Of all the books on this list, this one is probably the most realistic. (featured here)

Zombie Plagues:

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The year is 2575 and Kady and Ezra's planet has just been invaded by a rival corporation. The harrowing escape to the evacuation ships is just the beginning. Soon one of the ships is suffering from a deadly plague, and the AI that runs the ship is damaged and possibly deranged. This is a harrowing and fantastic ride. I highly recommend the whole series. (featured here

Contagion by Erin Bowman
A small crew travels to a sparsely populated mining colony on a nearby planet after receiving a distress call. It appears everyone on the planet has died from a strange and distressing plague. This book is a sci-fi/ horror mash-up, and I always love a good genre-bender. (featured here)

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Jane McKeene lives in a world where a zombie plague ended the Civil War. Slavery is outlawed, but a new strict caste system places blacks and indigenous peoples on the front lines as zombie hunters while white folks get to pretend that everything is fine. This book is both incredibly thought-provoking and entertaining, which is, I think, exactly what you want from an alternate history scenario. (featured here)

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Melanie is a bright and eager student. She is also living in a world where a dreadful disease has turned most of the population into zombies. While perhaps not all zombie books belong on this list, this one definitely does because there is a great deal of time spent on investigating the causes of the infection and working towards a cure.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Highly Anticipated Book Releases for the First Half of 2020

I'm a little late on this post because, well, it was so hard to decide what books to include. January, especially, had so many great books coming out that it was such a challenge to limit it to five. Somehow I managed, and here we are with the my most highly anticipated releases for the first half of 2020.

Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
Every January I look forward to the newest Wayward Children book. I love how Seanan McGuire takes us to so many fantastical worlds. 

One of Us is Next by Karen M. McManus
This book is a sequel to One of Us is Lying, which I really enjoyed. I'm just about finished with this book, and it's a nice follow-up. 

The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson
The final book in the Truly Devious series. I can't wait to see how it all plays out. (first book in the series featured here)

The Night Country by Melissa Albert
And, speaking of sequels, I loved The Hazel Wood, and I'm eager to see where the story goes. (series featured here)

The Map from Here to There by Emery Lord
Well, at this point, it's clear that January is all sequels. I wasn't expecting to get a sequel to The Start of Me and You, but I am not complaining. Not one bit. (series featured here)

Deathless Divide by Justine Ireland
The first book in this series, Dread Nation, was so good. I love a well-done alternate history, and this one has zombies and zombie hunters. (series featured here)

The Life Below by Alexandra Monir
I was so surprised by how much I liked The Final Six. I need to know what happens now that the six are off to space.

The Blossom and the Firefly by Sherri L. Smith
This book is the first of the World War II books on this list. There are several YA World War II stories coming out this year that look especially good. This one is about a kamikaze pilot and the girl he loves. (Sherri Smith's Flygirl featured here)

The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel
Station Eleven is one of my favorite books of all time, and I'm ready to give Emily St. John Mandel another go. 

Anna K.: A Love Story by Jenny Lee
This book is a retelling of Anna Karenina that's been described as a mix between Crazy Rich Asians and Gossip Girl. I'm intrigued. 

Moment of Truth by Kasie West
Now that I'm all caught up on Kasie West's backlist, I need her next book. 

They Went Left by Monica Hesse
The second World War II book on this list, and Monica Hesse's third foray into WWII historical fiction. I'm a huge fan of Girl in the Blue Coat, and I'm eager to go back to the WWII era with her.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
It's Elizabeth Acevedo. That's all that needs to be said. But, if you need more convincing, this book involves two sister who didn't know the other existed until their father's death.

The Enigma Game by Elizabeth Wein
Elizabeth Wein is a master of historical fiction, and I can't wait to be back in her capable hands. Also, it looks like we'll be seeing some familiar characters from the Code Name Verity series in her new book. (series featured here, here, and here)

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins
Returns to long-ended series make me just a bit nervous, but I'll admit that I am ready to go back to the world of The Hunger Games.

Chasing Lucky by Jenn Bennett
I love Jenn Bennett's contemporaries (featured here and here). They always make for the perfect summer read, and I'm thrilled to have one to put on my summer reading this again this year. 

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles
I don't know much about this one except that it revolves around a magical circus, and that's enough to get me interested. (Circus setting here and here)

My Calamity Jane by Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows
I love the Lady Janies, and I'm ready to head to the wild west with this crew. I'm sure this book will be just as endearing and hilarious as the previous two installments. (series featured here and here)

We Are Not Free by Traci Chee
I'm ending the list with another World War II book. Traci Chee's book takes us to the U.S. Internment camps. (World War II Wednesday here)

Friday, January 31, 2020

More Favorite Reads of 2019

It's been a couple years since I compiled a favorite reads post. It's been hard for me to read as much as I'd like to over the past few years and I'm excited to be feeling more like myself and to do more reading.

Here are some fun facts about these twelve books:
  • 5 were discussed in one of my book groups
  • 6 were audiobooks - I'm definitely reading more audiobooks than anything else these days
  • 3 were ebooks
  • 4 were debuts or new-to-me authors
  • 5 were fantasy
  • 2 were magical realism
  • 2 were science fiction
  • 1 was nonfiction
2019 was a good year for reading and I'm looking forward to 2020 being even better.

Favorite YA Contemporary: Again, but Better by Christine Riccio
This book combined several of my favorite things: American girls in Europe, parallel realities, and a main character who finds her voice. I read the book this summer when I was feeling so much wanderlust. I don't know if it helped or made it worse, but it was a great way to live vicariously. (featured here)

This book is magical realism at its finest and can we just talk for a minute about what a master storyteller Erin Morgenstern is? I loved the way everything in this book wove together with even the tiniest detail being integral to the story. I loved living in this world as I read and it's a setting that has stuck with me since I finished the book.

I loved the medieval feel of Onyx & Ivory and was excited to revisit the world in this sequel. The first book was a slow burn, but Shadow & Flame caught me immediately and did not let go. It's a perfect fantasy filled with interesting magic and political intrigue and dragons. We can't forget the dragons. (series featured here)

Favorite Series Conclusion: Supernova by Marissa Meyer
I read this entire series this year and will admit that it took me a little time to get into, but each book is better than the last. Supernova was the best of them all. It tied up loose strings and created new ones. It dove into the ideas behind being a hero all while giving us a lovely romance.

Favorite Science Fiction Book: Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The Illuminae Files series is science fiction at its best, so I was excited to see where Kaufman and Kristoff would take us next. They didn't disappoint with a new cast of distinct and interesting characters, a truly creepy monstrous problem, and the mystery surrounding the main character. I'm looking forward to the next installment. 

I first read this book in 2010 and loved it. When my book group decided to read it, I was excited to revisit it, and I still love it. The book has a lovely gothic feel and is shrouded in sadness and mystery. There were some details that stuck with me from 2010 to now but so many that I had forgotten, and I really enjoyed reading this story again. (featured here)

Favorite Audiobook: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
Echo has a little bit of everything. It's a WWII novel with music, magic, and intertwined stories. I really loved the audiobook because the music mentioned in the book was played along with the story. I enjoyed the different narrators for each section and the magic that wove through the story. This is a lovely middle grade World War II novel.

Favorite Book Club Book: The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry
This book opened up such an interesting discussion about devotion and faith with my book club. Thanks to JoLee, I was able to talk a little about the Mystics during our discussion, and I think this book does a great job of highlighting this lesser known historical concept. It was certainly a book that got me thinking. (featured here and here)

Favorite Retelling: The Blood Spell by C.J. Redwine
This is C.J. Redwine's fourth Ravenspire novel, but it's the first one I read. I was so impressed I went on to read the rest of them. I love the high fantasy feel of the book and the beautiful world-building. My biggest pet peeve with a fairy tale retelling is when it is too on the nose, and this one walked that edge a bit, but the setting was so well established that I didn't bat an eye. (first book in the series featured here)

Favorite Non-Fiction Book: Most Dangerous by Steve Sheinkin
JoLee and I have often discussed how the Vietnam War is a black hole in our knowledge of American history. This book did a great job of illustrating the historical context surrounding the war and the mistakes made leading up to and through the conflict. It was enlightening to say the least and done with Steve Sheinkin's signature style of telling the story of history, not just the bullet points. (featured here)

Favorite Read of the Year: Circe by Madeline Miller
Greek mythology is another favorite thing of mine, and so it's no surprise that I loved Circe. I loved the character as reimagined by Madeline Miller, I loved the way all these seemingly separate myths were woven together into one cohesive narrative that will forever change the way we look at this villain from the Odyssey. (featured here)

Favorite Book by a Best-loved Author: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
I loved Laini Taylor's The Daughter of Smoke and Bone series and was really excited to read Strange the Dreamer. It did not disappoint. This is the kind of book you sink into slowly until you are completely submerged in the setting, the story, and the characters. An absolutely beautiful read. (featured here)

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Blog Tour: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

I'm so thrilled to be part of the Tweet Cute blog tour. This adorable book is out today! It's a fantastic debut from Emma Lord that is basically guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Publisher/ Year: Wednesday Books - January 21, 2020

Genre: YA Contemporary

Source: Review copy from the publisher

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming — mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese — that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life — on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate — people on the internet are shipping them?? — their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t
ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of
them expected.

Add to Goodreads | Purchase Links

I knew I had to get my hands on Emma Lord's debut from the moment I first heard about it. Not only did it sound adorable, but it also has a bunch of elements that I'm unashamedly a complete sucker for. We've got teens with jobs, teens on the internet, and letters from strangers. I just had to see how all of these elements would come together in one book.

I have to say, Tweet Cute completely met my expectations and lives up to its title. This book is so sticking cute. First of all, I absolutely loved the relationship between Pepper and Jack. I'm all in for fictional relationships with a fair amount of snark, and these two can really deliver. I really enjoyed how this book had Jack and Pepper interacting on multiple platforms. It was fun to see how their relationship developed when they both knew with whom they were interacting and when they didn't.

But Tweet Cute isn't all fun and games, Jack and Pepper have some family issues that make this book both a little more serious and a little more meaty. Both teens are part of families with big expectations. They are trying to navigate the tricky road of being true to themselves and wanting to please the people they love. I knew that, before the end of the book, the characters would not only have to face the feelings they had for one another, but would also have to have a serious heart to heart with their respective families.

All of this takes place in the fast-paced, private school, New York setting, where the big franchise is pitted against the downtown deli. I love a good New York setting, and, as an overachiever and former high school athlete, I found Pepper's character to be very relatable.

If you like baking (or eating) desserts, if you love New York, if you are a swimmer or a diver, if you can't resist a good grilled cheese, or, if you just enjoy a cute teen romance, might I suggest Tweet Cute?

About the Author:

Emma Lord is a digital media editor and writer living in New York City, where she spends whatever time she isn’t writing either running or belting show tunes in community theater. She graduated from the University of Virginia with a major in psychology and a minor in how to tilt your computer screen so
nobody will notice you updating your fan fiction from the back row. She was raised on glitter, grilled cheese, and a whole lot of love. Her sun sign is Hufflepuff, but she is a Gryffindor rising. TWEET CUTE is her debut novel. You can find her geeking out online at @dilemmalord on Twitter.

Visit her online: Twitter | Instagram
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