I had one of those amazing weekends where not only did I have TIME to read, but I also had a stack of books that looked interesting. The first was one that I picked up from the ACMS library on the recommendation of Mr. Feeken and the next was one that I got at the public library after seeing a recommendation on Twitter. My reviews are below.
How to Disappear by Sharon Huss Roat
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I ended up really liking this one. It was on the edge of a normal YA teen story (almost verging into Rom-Com status at times) while also walking the edge of something a little darker (what happens when we allow our online personalities to consume us?). Overall, a book I would recommend and one that I think would appeal to young readers. Many of the books I've read/enjoyed lately have been geared towards an adult audience/perspective, and this one was not.
Vicky's best friend (her only friend) has moved away. So now there is no one who can act as a buffer for her, talk for her, reset her when the world gets to be too much. Which happens all the time. Then, one night, Vicky creates an Instagram account for Vicurious, an alter-ego of sorts who photoshops herself into outrageous situations and places. As she continues to post photos, more and more people notice. And Vicky begins to realize that there are many others out there who feel #alone, #afraid, and wish that they could just #beseen. Using Vicurious, Vicky begins an underground movement of kindness, but can't keep up with the demands of living a double life.
Like I said, this was a good, solid read. The characters are sophomores in high school, but there is little in the way of language or situations that would make this only appropriate for older readers. Recommended for grades 8 and up.
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Well, I was pretty late to this party, but I have enjoyed quite a few of Jennifer Nielsen's other books, and most of my students and other staff members kept raving about this series, so I picked it up to quickly read over the weekend. That was a good choice on my part.
Sage, Roden, and Tobias are all orphans who have been bought by Conner, a regent to the crown who has a sinister plan. Not everyone knows, but the king, queen, and crown prince were all recently assassinated. On the brink of a certain civil war, Conner is searching for an orphan boy to pass off as the long-lost second prince, Prince Jaron. None of these boys are a perfect fit, but he is sure he can do enough to make them pass muster when it counts.
This was a fast-paced fantasy read. While it doesn't have the intense world-building of some of the other fantasy reads students enjoy, this was a good blend of adventure and fantasy. It was also a clear volume that could be read as one story while still leaving it open for the remainder of the trilogy. Highly recommend. Also of note, this book is completely appropriate for middle grade readers.