By the Numbers
Review Copies: 9
Teen: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
In lesser hands, this could have been a standard, soapy girl-power revenge plot. But Han and Vivian are good at characters, brimming with flaws. While I sort of cheered on the girls' vengeance, I also saw their victims as real people who were really getting hurt by their actions and may or may not have wholly deserved it. I had to immediately start reading the sequel.
Tween: The Summer Before Boys by Nora Raleigh Baskin
A mother away in Iraq, changing relationships, and the dumb things you do for your first crush perfectly captured the general topsy-turvy of t
hose first shaky steps into the teenage years.
Children: Dumpling Days by Grace Lin
On a family visit to Taiwan, Pacy struggles with being in a place where she feels like an alien but is expected to feel right at home. For every kid who's ever been caught in the middle and had to carve out their own place, this is for you.
Because I Want To Awards
Almost a Standout: Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst
The first half of this book is so confusing, because the character herself is so lost and confused, that I really had to hang in there and trust the author. Luckily, the second half came together.
Most Batshit Story Element: Gated by Amy Christine Parker
This story of a girl breaking free of a murderous, apocalyptic cult held me captivated, except that every time I came across one of their core beliefs--that the earth was going to reverse its rotation--I looked up from the book and went, "What?" Okay, maybe I'm nitpicky, because they also believed that they'd been chosen for survival by benevolent alien overlords, but boy did that bump me out of the story.