Book Review: Letters to the Lost

Yes, I’m alive. Can’t believe it’s been over a year since my last post! I’ve been reading like crazy, but I just haven’t been blogging. It’s on my goal list for this year, so maybe I’ll be better! I always love sharing about books, just can’t always find the time to blog.

Letters to the Lost CoverBook Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

While doing community service, Declan finds a letter on a grave that speaks to his heart. He is moved enough that he feels compelled to add a note to the bottom of the letter. Later, when Juliet sees his note, she is both furious at the violation, and slightly curious, so she writes back. The two begin correspondence. Through these letters (later emails) they both share things they aren’t able to share with others, but life is rarely that easy. Will the friendship last if they discover each other’s identity? Especially since they quickly learn, they go to the same high school.

I was so thankful for this book because I started my year with a few duds (books not people). I grabbed this book because it is on the 2019 Lone Star List, and I loved the cover. This book is beautifully written, and I had to stay up late to finish it in one sitting. I really enjoyed that even the minor characters have some complexity, and there were quite a few main character layers I wasn’t expecting. I’m interested to read her next novel, because I think there is sooo much more to learn about Declan’s best friend Rev.

Reader’s Note: I would suggest some Kleenex if your heart is a defender of the marginalized. The feeler in me wanted to punch/shake/hug some characters-sometimes in the same chapter.

Quote-none (book was due next day, so there were a few I loved but didn’t have time to collect).

Recommended Grades: 7-12 (tiny bit of language-but not much and some tough issues)
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Overall Opinion: Recommend
Source: Book


Book Review: Hear the Wolves by Victoria Scott

Hear the Wolves CoverBook Review: Hear the Wolves by Victoria Scott

Sloan has been paralyzed with fear since her mother abandoned the family. A preceding incident left her forever changed, and Sloan finds herself unable to move on with her life. Her family leaves her at home for what should be a quick trip, but when a snow storm sets in, Sloan is forced into action. The harsh conditions only get worse,and then the wolves in the area decide to attack.  Will Sloan and her friends be able to get to safety in time?

This is a really quick read with lots of excitement. I was a little worried about not having enough time to connect to the characters, but I didn’t find that to be true. I loved the friendship between Sloan and Pilot, as well as the complicated relationship with his father. Be sure to read the author’s note at the end about her trip to visit the wolves. It’s pretty interesting!


“…there are hundreds of kids in the world like Pilot and me. Maybe thousands. All of us just dangling from silver threads, fearing-and sometimes hoping-that someone will cut the strings and we’ll all fall down.”

“No matter how people live their lives, they leave holes. Because once a person is gone, all that is left is the wondering. Wondering what might have happened if they’d stayed. If things were good, how much more good could there have been? And if things were bad, could they have ever gotten better?”

Recommended Grades: 5-8
Genre: Realistic Fiction (or Action Adventure)
Overall Opinion:   Recommend
Source: Book

Book Blog: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Saint AnythingThat moment when the list of book reviews you need to do is over one page…and you realize that you haven’t blogged since October…and you can’t decide where to start…yeah. Sooo….without further ado:

Book Review: Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

When Sydney’s brother is arrested, she is left to deal with the aftermath. She is conflicted because she feels a sense of duty to both the victim and her brother. Normally hiding in the shadows, Sydney struggles to find her place in the family now that the roles are starting to change. When she meets new friends, they help her face the future by first better understanding herself. 

It wasn’t that I’d broken down, but that I hadn’t been alone when I did so. You only really fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.

I was used to being invisible. People rarely saw me, and if they did, they never looked close. I wasn’t shiny and charming like my brother, stunning and graceful like my mother, or smart and dynamic like my friends. That’s the thing, though. You alway think you want to be noticed. Until you are.

Recommended Grades: 8-12

Genre: Realistic Fiction

Overall Opinion: Recommended

Source: Audiobook

Book Review: The Geeks Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

geeksBook Review: The Geeks Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash

Graham has been in love with Roxy most of his life. The trouble is that she doesn’t know. This year, he plans on telling her at Comic Con, after he arranges the perfect day. Will things go as planned? Of course not, or no one would want to read the book! HA HA.

First, can we just take a moment to love on this cover. You have to admit this is stunning! I think my students who love all things geek will really like this book. It was cute and true to comic con/sci-fi fans. You can tell that some research was done! The plot was quick and will have appeal for reluctant readers. For me, I loved the love affair with writing more than the love affairs in the book!

Quote about writing

“I know what is has to feel is epic. But also sweet. Like the romantic subplot of a superhero movie. Like that rainy, upside-down kiss in Spider-Man. But knowing what something is supposed to convey and actually getting it to do that is hard. Ask any writer.”

Recommended Grades: 12
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Overall Opinion:   Average
Source: Book

Book Review: Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

wordsBook Review: Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy

Set after the Taliban have left Afghanistan, this novel is a beautiful story of a girl named Zulaikha. Zulaikha’s story involves learning to read, meeting an American soldier who arranges for a surgery to help fix her cleft lip, and the realities of life for a woman in her culture.

This story is sure to capture your heart. The audio for this book is very well done and the story moves quickly. My heart broke for Zulaikha and her family and my head shook at how sometimes we get things wrong even when we try to get them right. Great for fans of Shabanu, but a quality book all on its own.

Quotes: None

Recommended Grades: 7-12
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Overall Opinion:   Above Average
Source: audiobook from

Book Review: Summerlost by Ally Condie

summerlostBook Review: Summerlost by Ally Condie

When tragedy strikes Cedar’s family, they buy a home closer to her extended family to spend the summer. There, Cedar takes a job working a Shakespeare festival and meets Leo. Together they have some adventures and learn about friendship and love.

I picked up this book because A) Ally Condie is a great writer and B) I heard her talk about why she wrote this book on an author panel. It is a very honest book without being forced. I loved the quiet friendship between Leo and Cedar, but I also loved the brother sister relationship in this book and the complexity of the characters


On why Cedar liked to hang out with Leo:

I wasn’t sure why. But if I had to guess, I would say it was because I liked talking to Leo. He always seemed to be thinking about something. His brain was very busy.

I wanted to go along with him, tag along with his mind like a hitchhiker, so that I could keep my brain busy too.

On missing someone

“You don’t have to know someone all the way to miss them,” Leo said, “Or to feel bad that they’re gone.”

On tunnels…and so much more.

As we came out of the hallway, I pretended that the whole world had secret tunnels, where people could walk straight to wherever they really wanted to be and ignore all the meanness in the middle.

I wiped my eyes on my sleeve before Leo could see.

Recommended Grades: 5-8
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Overall Opinion:   Recommend
Source: Book

Book Review: A World Without You by Beth Revis

worldBook Review: A World Without You by Beth Revis

When Bo’s girlfriend Sofia commits suicide, he is unable to come to terms with her loss. Instead, he believes that by learning to control time, he can somehow save her. The story gently unfolds as Bo learns more about himself, his family, and Sofia.

I listened to Revis talk about how this book helped her deal with something in her past. That is evident by the honesty in the characters she created. Loss is tragic, and the author managed to capture the pain and helplessness that survivors of suicide often feel, while still allowing for the joy of hope.

Quotes: None that I pulled out, but think that was because I read it too fast. Lots of beautiful word choice.

Recommended Grades: 9th and up
Genre: Realistic
Overall Opinion:   Recommend
Source: ebook from Edelweiss