Category Archives: YA Book Review

YA Book Review: An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittmann

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AAE- KWittmanIt’s interesting to see what comes across my virtual desk as a blogger and children’s author. I had a recent submission for a premise that intrigued me, Gen X rocker-punk parents in conflict with their trying to be normal Millennial daughter. It’s called An Authentic Experience by Kelly Wittman. With music references that brought back memories to me, I was wondering what a YA would be like with my generation as the “parental unit”. I wasn’t disappointed.

Silver Abelli is being a rebel against rebel parents. With Gen-Xer ex-rockstar parents, she feels trapped in her homeschooled anti-social and anti-establishment life. She yearns to go to high school like normal 15 year olds, and even maybe try out for cheerleading and date a football player. Normal American teenager stuff.

But there is one drawback. Her fabulous musical family is not normal. Her mother has a brain tumor and is going through recovery from its removal. Enter her rocker Dad, divorced from her Mom, Silver has to live with him for awhile until all is well with her Mom. Thus starts the beginning of everything, and also, be careful what you wish for.

Silver meets the gorgeous football player at the beginning of the book. Through all the struggles with her Mom’s illness and conflicts with her cynical Gen-X Dad, now Ipod alternative music expert, she finally meets Jake, that dreamy footballer via her cousin, Natalie. Ups and downs commence, in which the romance blooms, Dad wants to get the band back together, and her Mom goes through issues with her health.

But it all comes together in a horrible attack Silver must keep secret or it will ruin everything. But will she have the courage to come forward and accuse her attacker even at the risk of losing her boyfriend and her father’s chance at a reboot of his career?

I was hooked by the Gen X vs. Millennial generational conflict, which does become a basic thorn in the main character’s side. I mean, who relates with their parents? It had enough angst about this, but I kept enjoying and relating with the adults in the book far more than the 15 year old. Maybe it’s because of the 80s references, alternative music mentioned, or the feeling that the book was written by a Gen Xer. I enjoyed it all, but I didn’t get a real 15 year old vibe at times from the main character.

I did get a good up and down sense with the YA romance, but some of the conflicts were talked or told to me instead of shown. It could have used some real dialogue to show the evil of the Channing/villian character or the feelings grow more between Silver and Jake romantically. I just wanted a little more in those areas.

I did enjoy the conflicts between Silver and her parents, living with semi-famous 90s rockers and helping her mother through crisis was compelling writing. But I left wondering how a Millennial 15 year old girl would feel reading this. Would she care about the Violent Femmes references? Know that “Silver” was an Echo and the Bunnymen song?

I know that any Gen Xer that enjoyed alternative music back in the day would really enjoy this and get sucked into the story. Whether a teenager now would enjoy this? I think so. I think it captures enough of the ever happening conflict between generations, which is timeless.

Perhaps it will help bridge that mysterious gap between generations. Parents and children can read it together and have something in common to talk about besides everyone just looking at their phones. Think how the 1950s were looked at in the 1980s.

If anything, this reaches out to readers in two generations, and that is a good thing. Maybe the eighties references will get families talking about the past and how things in the end, don’t really change. Families are still families, and that seems to be a main theme in this book. In the end, teenagers could read this with their parents, and it would be mutually enjoyable.

***An Authentic Experience is available at Amazon.com.

To Note: I received a review copy for an honest review.

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YA Book Review: Damselfly

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Damselfly_coverI’ve come across a compelling YA. Damselfly by Chandra Prasad is a book that combines aspects of the TV show “Lost” and the book Lord of the Flies. Samantha Mishra finds herself in the middle of the jungle holding a glass eye. And doesn’t remember why. It just gets better from there.

Sam is traveling with her private school’s fencing group to Japan when their plane crashes on an island presumably in the South Pacific. Members make gruesome discoveries of those that didn’t make it, but manage to piece together the remaining passengers into a real game of “Survivor”. Waiting to be rescued, tensions from the social make-up of private school and the “real world” start to take their toll. A lurking menace stalks them before they can safely be rescued from the island. Can they figure the mystery before they are found?

This was an interesting take on a girl’s version of the “Lord of the Flies”. I liked the tension and social clicks being challenged and played with just to survive in the jungle, sort of like a “Breakfast Club” on a deserted island. I enjoyed the girl power perspective in this book, finally, giving a new POV missing from the classic. In the end, it was fun to see how all gets rectified. I’d recommend this for YA readers that enjoy a new spin on old concepts.

**I received an ARC copy for an honest review.

The release date for this book is on March 27, 2018. It is available for preorder at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and Kobo.com.

Children’s YA/Middle Grade Book Review: The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM

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BlueUnicornCoversmallI am a sucker for a good unicorn story. Ever since I read The Last Unicorn in high school, I’m drawn to them. So, when The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM by Sybrina Durant crossed my virtual desk, I couldn’t help but take a peek. I’m glad I did. In a land that resembles many video game worlds, map is included in the book; I began my adventure with Blue the Unicorn.

Set in a beautiful land of fairies and unicorns, The Blue Unicorn is a misfit, a unicorn with no magical gift. A prophecy said he would save the unicorns from the evil sorcerer trying to destroy them all. But so far, he was just an ordinary unicorn, until the day the Moon-Star was to appear. Now, Blue must meet his destiny to save the unicorns and defeat the evil sorcerer.

This plucky fantasy story is in a unique format of short chapters. It has beautiful, colorful illustrations for each small chapter, and moves the story along with the imagination. It is a complicated world with unicorns given unique personalities and powers. This fantasy adventure will be great for any child that loves to get lost in a fantasy world. And oh yeah, it’s got unicorns! Always a plus!

***The Blue Unicorn’s Journey to OSM is available on Amazon.com and is a Kindle Unlimited title.