Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Inside cover blurb:

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.


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Not bad. After all the hype this book received, it wasn’t as good as I hoped, but it was better than I thought.

The main character, Scarlett, annoyed me quite a bit throughout most of the book, but the lavishness of the setting and the mystery of the game itself kept me going. I was interested in hearing about Caraval and Legend more than anything…perhaps a prequel wouldn’t be a bad idea in this case.

Plus: Awesome concept of a deceptive magical game and enigmatic game master. There were also some fantastic twists that I didn’t see coming.

Minus: I was a bit disappointed by the ending, but the epilogue made up for it in a way.

If you like this book, try:

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The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Front cover blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


It’s incredibly sad that we need books like this, but we need books like this. And we need everyone to read them. This book is incredibly well done and gives insight into a world that a lot of us choose not to see. I would recommend this to teens and adults alike.

Plus: So many good, memorable characters and so many good lessons in this book.

Minus: Maybe an overly happy ending (at least relatively speaking) but I can also think of several reasons why the author would choose to do that.

If you like this book, try:

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All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

Inside cover blurb:

“Everything about Jessie is wrong. At least, that’s what it feels like during her first week of junior year at her new ultra-intimidating prep school in Los Angeles. Just when she’s thinking about hightailing it back to Chicago, she gets an email from a person calling themselves Somebody/Nobody (SN for short), offering to help her navigate the wilds of Wood Valley High School. Is it an elaborate hoax? Or can she rely on SN for some much-needed help?

It’s been barely two years since her mother’s death, and because her father eloped with a woman he met online, Jessie has been forced to move across the country to live with her stepmonster and her pretentious teenage son.

In a leap of faith—or an act of complete desperation—Jessie begins to rely on SN, and SN quickly becomes her lifeline and closest ally. Jessie can’t help wanting to meet SN in person. But are some mysteries better left unsolved?”

– from publisher


Me at the big reveal of Jessie’s mysterious SN:

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Am I the only one who saw this coming from a mile away?

This book is not plausible, no. But it is a cute story about friendship, grief, and the struggles of growing up. Good escapist read with just enough real-life drama.

Plus: Theo, Jessie’s new stepbrother, and Scarlett, Jessie’s bestie left behind in Chicago, were probably my favorite parts of the book.

Minus: Jessie spends a lot of time believing she is ugly/inferior to her new rich classmates which I could have done without.

If you like this book, try:

Saint Anything

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

Inside cover blurb:

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.


I was so excited to read this and find out what happens at the end of the trilogy….come to find out SHE IS STILL GOING TO WRITE MORE OF THESE.

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Why. Just why. I will still read the next one, but purely out of spite.

Most of the book is spent detailing Mare’s treatment as Maven’s prisoner…not that interesting, I have to say.

I’m now firmly #teamEvangeline.

Plus: It was cool to learn more about the different types of Newblood powers and the other regions of this world finally appear (go Lakelanders!). There were also some good battle scenes.

Minus: See GIF above…

If you like this book, try:

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

The Young Elites by Marie Lu

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Inside cover blurb:

In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…


LOVED THIS BOOK!! There are just enough misdirects and dropped hints to make you second guess yourself time and again. I don’t like predictability in mysteries and this one leaves you hanging with unanswered questions right to the very end. It’s also unexpectedly very feminist and thought provoking in terms of social issues (eg. mental illness) which was a welcome treat.

Plus: Basically everything? Too hard to choose!

Minus: Things kind of drag a little during a particular scene toward the end of the book- but I don’t want to give anything away so that’s all I’m saying!

If you like this book, try:

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In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware