sallenreads's reviews
99 reviews

Alone by Megan E. Freeman

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challenging hopeful tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

A compelling survival story that had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.

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Reclaim the Stars: 17 Tales Across Realms & Space by Zoraida Córdova

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adventurous emotional medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

5.0

RECLAIM THE STARS had an excellent selection of stories, with equally excellent writing. I adored how each writer infused their story with their cultural backgrounds; it made reading each of these stories feel like reading a warm hug (even the truly terrifying ones). I will gladly recommend this anthology to my students!

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Go with the Flow by Lily Williams, Karen Schneemann

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hopeful inspiring fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

Ivy by Katherine Coville

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lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
A sweet book about a girl who refuses to be anything but herself, and the townspeople who learn to accept her oddities.

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Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All by Laura Ruby

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Did not finish book. Stopped at 28%.
Returned to library.

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Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhhà Lại

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emotional hopeful medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

5.0

A beautiful autobiographical verse novel about a Vietnamese refugee and her family as they leave Saigon in 1975, live in a refugee camp in Guam, and resettle in Alabama.

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Well Matched by Jen DeLuca

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funny lighthearted medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes
+fake dating
+age gap (with an older woman)
+only one bed
+also there's lots of kilts

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Dreams from Many Rivers: A Hispanic History of the United States Told in Poems by Margarita Engle

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challenging informative medium-paced
Provides an introduction to the history of Hispanic and Latinx communities in the U.S., starting with the conquest of the Caribbean and Latin America in the late 1400s. Focusing on the voices of individuals through poems will make this a more accessible book for some readers.

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In the Shadow Garden by Liz Parker

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emotional hopeful reflective fast-paced

5.0

First of all: the cover for this book is absolutely gorgeous. I'm in awe. I preordered this book because I need it on my shelves.

Secondly: what's between the covers is equally gorgeous. We have a multigenerational story about (mostly) women as they sort through all of their trauma, most of which they don't even remember the source of. The descriptions of the shadow garden and grief and summertime in Kentucky were all lush and beautiful. And by the end, I was a complete and utter mess because I just had so many feelings all at once.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft

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challenging emotional tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

I loved Allison Saft's debut, DOWN COMES THE NIGHT, and was hoping this would be just as good. Fortunately, it was, and I adored absolutely everything about this book.

Saft wove together so many different elements in this book, and they all worked so well together. Like her other book, this one has a romance between two outcasts at the heart of it, with a setting that could be its own character, and high stakes driving the plot forward. But it also grapples with topics like religion, xenophobia, and abuse. None of the aforementioned elements detracted from the others, or felt unnecessary; it all blended together very effectively to tell a complete story.

And speaking of our main characters, they each had their own traumas to work through, and helped each other while maintaining their independence. I also appreciated Wes for his excellent neurodivergent representation -- he read as having ADHD, and maybe dyslexia. As someone with ADHD, I felt it was handled very authentically, and my heart ached for him because I've gone through many of the emotions (failure, inadequacy, etc.) that he did.

Thank you to Wednesday Books for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

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