This is the Story of You

This is the Story of You by Beth Kephart

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On Haven, a six-mile-wide stretch of barrier island, Mira Banul and her Year-Rounder friends have proudly risen to every challenge. But when a superstorm defies all predictions and devastates the island, when it strands Mira’s mother and brother on the mainland and upends all logic, nothing will ever be as it was. A stranger appears in the wreck of Mira’s home. A friend obsessed with vanishing is gone. As the mysteries deepen, Mira must find the strength to carry on– to somehow hold her memories in place while learning to trust a radically reinvented future.

— From the book jacket of This is the Story of You

Six miles long. One-half mile wide. One school in what was once a bank. 14 kids in the class of 2016. One bridge in and out. One letter short of Heaven. One superstorm to change it all forever.

Mira has lived in Haven, a small island off the coast of New Jersey, her whole life. Living in the attic of the seaside cottage she shares with her mother and her brother, Mira enjoys the slow pace of being a Year-Rounder. Hanging out with her friends Eva and Deni, riding their “modes” from one end of the island to the other (Mira’s mode of choice– a pair of roller skates), and watching over her little brother Jasper Lee, Mira’s life on Haven is pretty normal.

When snippets of news float in about a storm out at sea, no one seems overly concerned. Haven is prepared for weather. They pride themselves on it. They’d be ready if it hits.

In the beginning it was just the beginning. The storm had no name. It was far away and nothing big, mere vapors and degrees. It was the middle-ish of September. Empty tables in restaurants, naked spaces in parking lots, cool stairs in the lighthouse shaft.

You could watch the sky, and it was yours. You could stand on the south end of the barrier beach and see Atlantic City blinking on and off like a video game. You could ride your wheels home, and the splat splat on the wide asphalt was your sweet siren song.

Everything calm. Nothing headed toward crumble.

— From the back cover of This is the Story of You

When Mira’s mother, Mickey, takes Jasper Lee to the mainland for his weekly treatments for the rare disease he was born with, Mira is left on her own. That night a mysterious stranger shows up at her door, looking for a way in. But soon the stranger is the least of her worries. The storm has also arrived, and it’s brought all its unimaginable fury with it.

In the light of morning, the devastation is clear. Mira’s home is flooded. Other homes are simply gone. Debris fills the beach and floats out to sea. People are missing, including Mira’s best friend Eva. And the bridge to the mainland–washed away. With no way to even contact the mainland, Mira has no idea how her family has fared. She’s on her own. But she’s not alone. She’s part of Haven, a community that watches out for each other.

In the days that follow the storm, there will be traedgy. There will be loss. There will be heartbreak and horror. But there will also be hope. Haven will rebuild, as it always has.

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Why I YA

Why I YA. That’s kind of fun to say when you read it out loud. Go on. Try it. Nobody’s listening. See? Fun! Anyway.. It’s a question I’ve gotten many times. Working at a major bookstore, I am tasked with recommendations on a daily basis. Customers will always ask if I’ve read the latest bestseller by that big named author. My most common answer? “No, but I’ve heard a lot of great things about it!” Followed up by the almost apologetic, “I work in the Kids’ Department, so I mostly read that stuff.”

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That stuff. I use my position as a Kids’ Lead as an excuse for why I don’t read books about people my own age. Let’s face it. I passed “Young Adult” several years ago. I was a young adult when today’s young adults were in the womb. But the truth is, I don’t just read it because the Teen section falls under my jurisdiction at work. I read it because I like it. But why?

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Truthwitch

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

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In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble– as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her– but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast to one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safiya’s hot-headed impulsiveness.

Safiya and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

— From the book jacket of Truthwitch

Safiya can tell deep within her bones whether someone is being truthful. Iseult can see the threads of everyone’s lives– their emotions, their bonds, the strings that tie their lives together. They make a pretty good team. At least one that’s good at stealing, fighting, and gambling. When the wrong carriage falls into the trap they’ve laid for a heist, they’re on the run from a host of guards, including one terrifying man with a rare witchery straight from the Void– a Bloodwitch who can track by the scent of blood.

To make matters worse, Safi’s uncle, a man of Cartorran nobility, has been summoned to Veñaza City for a Truce Summit by the emperor to discuss the end of the Twenty Year Truce and the Great War. Unbeknownst to Safi, her uncle has been putting a plan in place for years to bring about the end of the Truce– a plan that puts Safi directly at its center, forcing her to flee the city she’s called home and a life she doesn’t want.

While Safi is attending the Summit with her uncle, Iseult returns to her Nomatsi tribe north of the city. She quickly realizes that her tribe is now led by a priest who has little tolerance for those influenced by the outside world. As both girls are forced to escape the danger that chases them, they are taken aboard a Nubrevnan naval ship by the admiral, Prince Merik, who has a contract with Safi’s uncle to bring Safi safely to Nubrevna in exchange for desperately needed trade to feed his starving, war ravaged country.

Pursued by the emperor, the Bloodwitch, and Merik’s own sister who advocates piracy instead of diplomacy, Safi’s life is in danger, as well as Merik’s trade agreement, and the stability of an entire world on the brink of war. They will stop at nothing to get their hands on the only Truthwitch they’ve known in a century. But as powerful as a single Truthwitch can be, Safi and Iseult together as a team may be even more than what they appear to be.

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Unrivaled

Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

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Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing… And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

— From the book jacket of Unrivaled

Despite her parents’ plans for a perfect Persian life, Aster dreams of making it big in Hollywood. If only she could get her big break…

Layla wants nothing more than to leave her LA life behind for a journalism degree in New York. But her artist father hasn’t sold a piece in awhile, and with the money running out, she’ll never be able to afford it.

Tommy has packed up his life and moved halfway across the country, not just to break into the music business, but to connect with the father he’s never met. So far he’s only managed to land a job at a guitar shop, score one gig at a coffee shop playing John Mayer covers, and he’s had zero luck on the dad front.

But Madison? She’s already done it all. She’s taken over Hollywood as the hottest star around. She’s at the top of the A-list and has everything she could possibly ever dream of. As long as the past she’s worked so hard to bury stays that way.

When the owner of the biggest nightclub franchise in Hollywood holds a contest to become club promoters, Aster, Layla and Tommy all jump at the chance. Not only is there a huge cash prize for the winner, but being a promoter is an opportunity too huge to pass up. Rubbing elbows with Hollywood elite could mean a big break for Aster. Layla has been tossing around the idea of jump starting her journalism career with a celebrity news blog, and what better way to get all the juiciest dirt than to witness it firsthand. And Tommy figures this is the best way to connect with his long lost father–who just happens to be the club owner.

To be crowned the winner, they’ll have to increase their club’s attendance, and make sure they’re bringing in the people who matter. People like Madison Brooks. As the competition heats up, so do their plans for coming out on top. How far will they go to try to win? When Madison mysteriously disappears after a night at one of the clubs, Aster, Layla, and Tommy are all suspects. But in Hollywood, nothing is ever quite what it seems.

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Dreamers Often Lie

Dreamers Often Lie by Jacqueline West

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Jaye wakes up from a skiing accident with a fractured skull, a blinding headache, and her grip on reality sliding into delusion. Determined to get back to her starring role in the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Jaye lies to her sister, her mom, and her doctors. She’s fine, she says. She’s fine. If anyone knew the truth– that hallucinations of Shakespeare and his characters followed her from her hospital bed to the high school halls– it would all be over. She’s almost managing to pull off the act when Romeo shows up in her anatomy class. And it turns out that he’s 100 percent real. Suddenly Jaye has to choose between lying to everyone else and lying to herself.

— From the book jacket of Dreamers Often Lie

While her family loves to spend time outdoors, Jaye would rather be on stage performing– her true passion– despite her family’s disapproval. She is not comfortable with outdoor activities, and she’s downright terrified of skiing. And that’s even before she wakes up in the hospital with a brain injury after an accident– a injury that has left her with hallucinations… of Shakespeare.

But she won’t let a little thing like hearing and seeing the Bard and his characters all around her stop her from performing. She’s back at school a week later, hallucinations in tow. She tries her best to ignore them until she realizes that the Romeo she’s been dreaming about isn’t just a figment of her imagination. He’s actually real and his name is Rob. To make things even more complicated, an old friend comes back into her life, and now she’s torn between blossoming feelings for the new guy and lingering feelings for someone she’s known her whole life. When dreams of a bloody battle between the boys starts to cross over into real life, can Jaye keep her life from playing out like a Shakespearean tragedy?

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Seven Ways We Lie

Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate

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Seven students. Seven (deadly) sins. One secret.

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like at every high school, each student has something to hide– from Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues on stage, to Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the seven unlikely allies at the heart of it all, their ordinary-seeming lives result in extraordinary change.

— From the book jacket of Seven Ways We Lie

Seven high school students, each with their own secrets and sins they hide from the world.

Olivia, the girl that sleeps around, whose mother left her family and never looked back.
Kat, Olivia’s twin sister, who shuts herself away with theater and video games, angry because of it.
Claire, the president of every club in school, who overcompensates for her insecurities.
Lucas, Claire’s ex and star athlete, who has to hide his sexuality in their incredibly conservative town.
Matt, the stoner, who uses weed to escape the turmoil at home.
Valentine, the genius everyone calls a freak, who avoids the social interaction he doesn’t understand.
and Juniper, the girl with everything, who is spiraling out of control because of the biggest secret of all.

Told through all seven points of view, Seven Ways We Lie is a story of how each of us carry secrets that can threaten to destroy us until we let someone else in to help us carry the burden.

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