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Every Reason We Shouldn’t - Sarah Fujimura

Every Reason We Shouldn’t is a YA ice-skating romance. Fifteen-year-old Olivia is a Japanese American figure skating champion. Or she was, before she blew a big performance last year and washed out of her Olympic dreams. Now she’s adjusting to life as a “normal” teen. She’s back in public school and working at her parents’ ice skating rink, teaching six-year-olds how to skate.  




Then Jonah Choi shows up, buying private ice time every day to practice his speed skating. Jonah and Olivia immediately hit it off. They share the intense and isolating experiences of child professional athletes and they develop a playful rivalry that pushes them both to train harder.  

This was a cute story. It’s a light romance, aimed at younger teens, and the love story is intertwined with Olivia’s struggle with whether she should return to professional skating. The narrative also touches on some tough topics, like the pressure to succeed that child athletes often experience, as well as the difficulty of deal…
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Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

I'll be the first to admit I picked this book up because of the cover. I was immediately  sold on the image of a witch and werewolf trying to make mooncakes. The witch, Nova, lives in a small town with her grandmothers and helps them run the local magic shop. When her friend mentions sightings of a white wolf in the woods, Nova slips into the forest to check it out. She discovers her childhood friend, the werewolf Tam, is back in town. Tam is on the run and needs Nova's help to defeat a powerful demon. Together, with some charming supporting characters, they tackle the evil in the woods.
Mooncakes is a really casual read with a cute art style and a traditional plot. You already know where the story is going, but the characters make it worth the read. The authors spent more energy designing the characters and their relationships.The story really focuses on the reunion of old friends, with a side of romance. This young adult graphic novel also includes lgbt and disabled characters…

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

I stumbled across The Ghost Bride quite by accident two years ago and was immediately taken with it.  It takes place in 1893, in a Malaysia still under British rule. Li Lan is from a reputable family, but they’ve fallen on hard times and they’re bankrupt. With such poor fortune, Li Lan will never be able to get married.  But the family receives a sudden and unexpected offer from the richest household in the community. The powerful Lim family has recently lost their son, and since he was not able to be married before his death, they would like to offer him a ghost bride. And they have chosen Li Lan.  The ancient tradition is designed to placate a restless spirit and ensure they’re not alone in the afterlife. Though the offer is quite generous, Li Lan has reservations. But she agrees to visit the Lim household and meet the family.  Following her visit to the Lim

Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

Since Prep debuted, Curtis Sittenfeld has made quite a name for herself. American Wife stirred up some controversy-- it blurred a few lines between "inspired by a true story" and fiction-- but no matter what, her novels are raw; eager to explore what growing up means, but careful enough to know that growing up can be a painful process.
Prep is also inspired by a true story-- her own-- and it's her debut novel. As a character study, Prep shines in a way its main character cannot.
Lee Fiora wasn't ever going to shine brighter than her best friends, or compete to win in any major tournaments, or score the hottest boy on campus. As an adult, she recounts her experiences at Ault, an austere boarding school in the northeast, where she can only afford to attend thanks to being on scholarship. At Ault, however, Lee is painfully self-aware, introverted, and she's lonely in almost every sense of the word. She doesn't fit in with her wealthier, trendy classmates; as she…

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace

All the Stars and Teeth drew me in with its odd title and gorgeous cover. When I looked around, I found nothing but stellar reviews, claiming this would be *the* YA book of 2020.
Though All the Stars and Teeth was not bad by any means, I'm afraid it was your average YA fantasy. 


Amora is the princess of Visidia, a kingdom comprised of seven islands. Each island corresponds with a different type of magic (elemental, enchantment, and so on). Every citizen may chose ONLY ONE type of magic to specialize in, and they must move to the corresponding island. No one is allowed to practice multiple magics, as legend says too many magics will overwhelm the body and corrupt the soul. 
The idea is simple enough, but in all honesty, I never fully grasped the names of the islands or their specializations. They are info dumped in an early paragraph, in a rapid-fire list of names and magics and corresponding gemstones. Yes, like early fanfiction, every color is described by gemstone. 
Though this …

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

In 1974, the Allbright family picks up and moves to Alaska. 
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, has been deeply troubled since returning from Vietnam. He's prone to drinking, bouts of anger, and he can't hold down a job. After being fired yet again, he learns he's inherited a piece of land in the Alaskan wilderness. And he just knows that living in the wild will make him feel better. He packs up his wife, Cora, and his thirteen year old daughter, Leni, and they set off for the Great Alone. 

They're welcomed to their remote corner of Alaska by a small but tight-knit community. And for the first time in forever, Leni feels at home. She and her mother take well to the harsh climate, learning to built greenhouses and animal pens, how to hunt, and how to prepare supplies for the Long Night.

At first, the long days and hard work seem to be comforting Ernt. But as the nights grow longer and the weather turns, Ernt's mood starts to sour...

Though it's obvious to us that Er…

An Edited Life by Anna Newton

I am a sucker for self help books. There is something so satisfying about sitting down and reading a book that tells me my life can be whatever I want it to be. All I have to do is follow my dreams, regardless of my financial situation or how likely actually following some of the steps might leave me homeless. Inspiring.

The one thing about self help books is that they have good tips if you go through all the pages and take only a grain of salt from the mounds and mounds of sodium laden advice. Most of the authors of such books have one of two things going for them: they are already financially secure/have people helping them OR they have a small patch of really good luck that gives them the boost they need to start their flight towards success. If I read one more story about someone who quit their job and booked a flight to Hawaii all in the same day, I might actually rip my hair out. It’s just not practical for the everyday person.

Still, I check these books out because after I clos…