Alice on Her Way by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor: This book is part of a super popular series that I have never, ever read (and, honestly, only heard of because of research for my class). That said, I liked it quite a bit. The series does tackle lots of issues. In this book alone there was: sex (Alice goes to a church group, her friend gives a hand and blow job), an abusive relationship, interracial dating, a mention of molestation, etc. And even though the book stood well alone (we decided as a class that it did), you can tell that there were larger conversations about most of these issues ongoing in the series. I kind of want to read them all now, but there are a LOT of books. Maybe I'll just start with the high school years. That might be a fun summer project.
The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson: For a book that has such a clever premise (Disney characters come alive after dark; they're trying to take over the world--Maleficent is the villain in this one), I am sorely disappointed in how cliched it is. The one black kid is a tall, athletic, and angry male? The main girl is so mysterious with a secret and the main (average white) boy can't quite figure her out? The nerdy (white) boy has red hair and knows everything? The other two girls that are part of the team are completely useless, so much so that they disappear from the action at the end? There's a character named JEZEBEL who totally manipulates the black kid with her sexiness? I mean, SERIOUSLY? That is totally lame. I read the whole book because I wanted to figure out just where it was going, but I am so, so turned off by the lazy and lame characterization that I don't even know if I can comfortably give it three stars for being an interesting enough read. The more I think about it, the more I kind of hate it. It's like Hero in that way.
Princess Diaries 10: Forever Princess by Meg Cabot: I really, really enjoyed this book and thought it was a fitting end to the series. The characters were in fine form, and I loved all of the plot threads and how they came together. Also, I love Tina Hakim Baba and Michael Moscovitz forever and ever and ever. Plus also, Mia was really enjoyable in this book, which is great, because she's one of my favorite Cabot heroines. So that made me happy. Also again, I learn so much science and psychology reading these books that it's kind of ridiculous.
You Know Where to Find Me by Rachel Cohn: Oh, this book. I loathed it kind of a lot. First of all, it's a fat girl narrative, and I hate, hate, hate fat girl narratives. (A fat girl narrative, btw, is a story all about how the main character is fat and she hates herself for being fat and fat, fat, fat, fat, FAT.) By the time I realized I was never going to get that turnaround from it being a fat girl narrative to something more (like in The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things), it was too late, and I was kind of invested in the end of the story. The fat girl narrative is especially troubling because the main character's cousin is SEVERELY depressed and also skinny. So I really needed her to get over the fat girl thing and be about something else, but she never was! And I just wanted to punch her and the author in the face because it made me so angry.
The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex: Hey, so this was super cute and fun, and the main character of the adventure was a BROWN GIRL. Yay, that made me happy! It is kind of absurd and strange because it's about what happens when aliens take over the Earth and then other aliens come to fight those aliens, but it had great, great commentary on race relations and Manifest Destiny and privilege and also family. Good times.
Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott: This book will haunt me for the REST OF MY LIFE. It is so freaking disturbing, omg. I seriously couldn’t put it down, and I doubt I will ever, ever forget it. Ever.