Reviews written by Lauren Thoman, Listings Manager

81 results - showing 1 - 15
1 2 3 4 5 6
Ordering
October 03, 2016
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Young Adult Fiction
A beautiful story of grief and healing, friendship and found family

It’s always a little risky, both as a writer and a reader, taking on a book told from multiple points of view. It’s hard enough to find a book with one narrator I love, let alone two or more. Throw on top of that a non-linear structure — KIDS OF...

July 05, 2016
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Young Adult Fiction
A dark, gorgeous tale of monsters

For the past couple years, Victoria (V.E.) Schwab has been focusing on her adult books, with Vicious and her Darker Shade series. However, This Savage Song takes her back to her start in YA, with an urban fantasy that explores the question of what it means to be monstrous. For...

July 03, 2016
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Young Adult Fiction
Beautiful, poignant story of family, grief, healing, and first love

It's well-known that parents are scarce in YA literature. Either they're dead, or they're absent, or they're around but strangely invisible. It's understandable; YA is about teens, and it's hard to put teens front and center if their parents are continually barging in and trying to take charge. So many...

February 23, 2016
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Magic, murder, intrigue, and fabulous coats

As with most high fantasy, A Darker Shade of Magic starts slow and quiet, building a world that is like ours, and not like ours, brick by brick. We meet Kell, a mysterious wanderer in a fabulous coat, who travels between worlds as easily as stepping from one room to...

February 23, 2016
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Lush, confident, and wholly immersive

A Gathering of Shadows is a different beast from its predecessor, A Darker Shade of Magic. While the first book in V.E. Schwab's excellent fantasy series devoted itself largely to establishing the rules of its multiple (and occasionally magical) Londons, introducing its characters, and then throwing them all into tumultuous...

February 08, 2016 (Updated: February 08, 2016)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Young Adult Fiction
Hopeful, moving, inspiring, and immensely satisfying

Ruta Sepetys has a unique gift. She finds the tragic stories that history forgot and brings them to life through her books, educating her readers on these lost pieces of the past while simultaneously taking them on a heartfelt and emotional journey alongside her characters. Salt to the Sea is...

September 22, 2015
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
A beautiful, vivid, and compulsively readable portrayal of life in Gold Rush-era America

Before I dig into my thoughts on the first book in Rae Carson’s new Gold Seer Trilogy, let’s discuss genre for a minute. While WALK ON EARTH A STRANGER is being marketed as a fantasy, and while the opening chapter firmly establishes Leah Westfall’s ability to magically sense the presence...

June 07, 2015
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Young Adult Fiction
A beautifully crafted tale full of honest emotion and raw truth

From its very first page, ?EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU utterly captivated me with its poetic, sparse prose and keen emotional insight. Each word feels carefully chosen to immerse the reader in the Lee family's household, which seems ordinary at first -- in spite of the dead girl no one...

March 18, 2015 (Updated: April 02, 2015)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Young Adult Fiction
Full of sharp wit, abundant strangeness, and endless quotability

The first thing a reader notices when they pick up MOSQUITOLAND is the voice. Self-proclaimed strange protagonist Mary Iris Malone (“Mim”) leaps off the page, a precocious, declarative and impulsive girl with a view of life and people that is, even at its most stable, a little askew. She is...

February 10, 2015
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Young Adult Fiction
A thoughtful, honest story of loneliness, heartache, and hope

Suicide isn’t a topic most people like to discuss. It’s upsetting and sad, and I doubt the majority of folks want to believe that it’s a subject they’ll ever have to deal with personally. Of course, they think, if they ever need to talk about it, they will. They will...

January 31, 2015
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Young Adult Fiction
Raw, tragic, and ultimately hopeful

After reading Forman’s debut novel, If I Stay, and its sequel, Where She Went, I knew Forman was not afraid of tackling difficult subjects and handling them with care, which is why I was interested to see her approach to one of the most upsetting and relevant topics in our...

December 29, 2014
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Young Adult Fiction
As compulsively enjoyable as reality TV is watchable

Man, this book was fun. Everything about the premise of this book appealed to me. Sisters. Revenge. Reality TV. International travel. Romantic shenanigans. It sounded like exactly the sort of breezy, light read that would leave me with happy butterflies in my tummy and a goofy smile...

August 25, 2014
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Young Adult Fiction
A worthy send-off for this fantastical, post-apocalyptic world

A word of warning before you start: if you haven’t read the first two books in the DEFIANCE series, or if it’s been a while and you really don’t remember them, you’re going to want to catch up before cracking open DELIVERANCE. The final book in the trilogy hits the...

July 18, 2014
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Young Adult Fiction
Infuriating, brilliant, and important

From the opening pages of TEASE, I knew I wasn’t going to like Sara — and that it was okay. It’s a rare YA book that has such a purposely unlikable narrator (the only other one I can think of off the top of my head is Lauren Oliver’s BEFORE...

July 15, 2014
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Fascinating historical tale

I’m no historian by any means, but I have a deep appreciation for a well researched piece of historical fiction. Even when I know very little about a time period, I think that when an author does her homework, it shows. This is especially essential when the subject matter is...

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