We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Inside cover blurb:

“You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.”

-from publisher


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The first thought I had about this book is “Wow, that one really snuck up on me.”  We Are Okay is one of those books where you don’t realize how powerfully invested you’ve become until the end.

It is very obvious that LaCour has painted an intimate depiction of depression- I very much felt Marin’s grief and loneliness. But at the same time, the story becomes a beautiful examination of growing older and realizing that adults are fallible.

Both Marin and the adults in her life have made mistakes. She feels isolated and is failing to reorient herself to her circumstances, but she comes to realize that she’s had a loving support network waiting for her all along.

There is also an enchanting not-quite love story between Marin and her friend, Mabel. The thing I most admire, however, is that there is no pressure for the characters to resume their relationship. That’s pretty rare in YA novels.

I am just amazed that a story that encompasses so much can take place over the course of just a few days! I’m definitely looking forward to reading LaCour’s other novels.

Plus: Love, loss, and friendship. A story that manages to be both a character’s journey of self-discovery and memoir…I love that!

Minus: There’s more to be told! I feel like there are other story lines that remain to be explored.

If you like this book, try:

Fans of the Impossible Life by [Scelsa, Kate]

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa- Similar to We Are Okay, this story is all about the feels. And the main character struggles with depression as well.


Little Monsters by Kara Thomas

Inside cover blurb:

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.”

-from publisher


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If you tell me that a book is like Pretty Little Liars, there’s a very strong possibility that I will read it.

I’m not usually one for thrillers or mysteries, but Little Monsters has a lot to offer. I ended up reading it all in a day. I just had to know what happened and who did it!

Thomas does a great job of creating ambience- Kacey must try to figure out how her best friend Bailey disappeared…in the middle of a Wisconsin winter. Good thing I read this in August, brrrrr.

And I hate books where you know exactly who did it right from the beginning. Little Monsters is not one of those books. Thomas gives you a cast of characters who all seem like possible suspects with valid motives. But I was actually surprised by who ended up being guilty.

This book is like the Pretty Little Liars plot line (in the TV show, of course) involving Ravenswood…but a million times better (because we all know that was a garbage story line).

Plus: Twists and turns and shady friends, with just a hint of paranormal spookiness.

Minus: All the loose ends get wrapped up at the end and I almost wish there had still been a little left to the imagination.

If you like this book, try:


One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus- This one has been on my TBR for a while now and I think Little Monsters has put me in the mood to read it. The premise is basically The Breakfast Club, but with murder!

The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

Inside cover blurb:

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.

The palace is soon under siege, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them.

Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await? ”

-from publisher


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To be honest, I wanted to read this book because of the gorgeous cover…and because it had the word “library” in the title.

And this is what I get for being shallow.

This book just did not deliver for me. The story line is heading one way with the main character fleeing for her life, trying to get back to the boy she loves, and protect her subjects. So we’re all on board with that, right? Apparently not, because all of a sudden, the plot shifts drastically and the main character is in love with someone else and has a totally different goal.

I do respect that The Library of Fates tried so hard to have a good message about self-discovery and agency. But in the end, I can’t say that it even accomplished that because Amrita has to erase her identity to find herself…that makes no sense. Maybe I missed something.

Not to mention that this book is supposed to be filled with magic and whimsy…and the writing style is totally flat. I ended up speed-reading most of the book.

Oh, and the actual library scene is about five pages long. Bummer.

Plus: The mythos and cultural aspects of the book have a lot of potential.

Minus: But I would have preferred to read a book that was actually about the Library of Fates.

If you like this book, try:

The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1)

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi- Basically the better executed version of The Library of Fates. It’s got whimy and magic by the boatload, not to mention the writing style is exquisite. Chokshi is one of my favorite authors.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Inside cover blurb:

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.”

-from publisher


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This is everything I wished Radio Silence had been: a beautiful, complicated love letter to art and fandoms.

All of the characters, particularly Eliza, are extremely relatable. The relationship between Wallace and Eliza is maybe one of the best depictions of real-life teen romance that I’ve ever read- first loves are awkward, why do so many authors pretend otherwise?

Zappia does a wonderful job of representing what it’s like to be a 21st century introvert, someone who feels more at home when they can hide behind virtual anonymity.

And she also perfectly captures the ups and down of fandom culture. Not only does Eliza write a wildy successful webcomic, she got her start on the fan forums of a book series that was never finished. Eliza represents both the intense passion of internet fandom and the pressures of being an internet celebrity.

All of this is interspersed with panels from Eliza’s comic, Monstrous Seas, about stars, monsters, and supernatural powers. And now I totally want to read it! Maybe that will be a future project of Zappia’s…? Fingers crossed.

Plus: Two stories for the price of one!

Minus: I would recommend reading this as a physical book just because the formatting might not work as well on an e-reader.

If you like this book, try:


Children of Hypnos by Francesca Zappia– Eliza’s favorite book series is actually real and can be found online here. I know I will definitely be checking it out!

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

Inside cover blurb:

“In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.”

-from publisher


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This book is all about power- who has it, who doesn’t, who’s trying to get it, etc.

It’s all very Mission Impossible with multiple heists and close calls. Maxwell also weaves in historical elements seamlessly, including opium dens, banking barons, and European immigration.

I liked that the story is told from the perspective of multiple characters because you start to feel like you have insider information. But then Maxwell turns it all on its head and you realize you had no idea after all!

Things started to go sideways for me when it came time to explain both the time travel elements of the story and the complicated magical mechanics of the Brink- the force that keeps all magical folks from leaving the city.

But I will say that all that time travel double-crossing is juicy! So much drama.

I would have loved to hear more about the Order and all the mystical relics they possess. But since the ending makes it pretty clear there will be a sequel…I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Plus: Secret societies, romance, old-school New York street gangs, dastardly schemes, ancient magic…there’s something for everyone!

Minus: Clocking in at over 500 pages, I do think the story dragged on for a little too long.

If you like this book, try:


A Criminal Magic by Lee Kelly- Set during Prohibition, only it’s magic that’s been outlawed this time. Read this if you’re craving more about crime bosses, dangerous secrets, and illicit sorcery.