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Saleena's picks for November

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  I love a good horror story, and this one had so much hype that I was excited to read it.  And it was a good book; however, it definitely wasn't perfect.  The author obviously drew a lot of inspiration from Stephen King's Carrie (which isn't really credited beyond a "thank you for writing amazing books" note to King), and she did make her own twist on the situation basing it on racism.  I would say she eliminated the religious zealotry of the King novel, but she didn't; simply used it in a different way.  The purity culture was warped and twisted so that "whiteness" equaled purity, in addition to being perfect.  I did enjoy this book, but wish the powers were explored more or that we had gotten deeper into the character's minds.  Read it and tell me what you think? I wasn't sure about this book, mostly because Deaver has created a main character who truly is pretty awful....which makes it difficult to root for their happiness.  The "fak

Saleena's picks for September

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  Vicky has crippling social anxiety.  She can't even say hi to her classmates and is sure everyone hates her.  She is pushed to join the yearbook club by a guidance counselor, and finds that even if it's difficult, she can be a part of it while still being in the background.  She is really good at photo editing so she focuses on that.  Vicky's only friend has moved away, and when her friend accidentally dials her and Vicky hears her talking about her badly, she is devastated.  She wishes she could be more like "those people", and starts an Instagram account called Vicurious where she inserts herself through photoshop into various pics.  Everyone knows she isn't actually there (concerts that happened before she was born, red carpet premieres, fun parties) but she is having fun and somehow it catches on and goes viral.  Now Vicky is famous, but not really....and she has no idea how to handle that or how to actually confront her issues and be with real people.  

Saleena's picks for July

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  This road trip book was interesting and I did enjoy watching the family dynamics as 3 cousins (each for their own reasons) accompany each other on a road trip across country.  The intersections & tensions make sense, as family doesn't always agree and the fact that the death of their grandmother is a catalyst makes the reader understand each person's why & how they are handling their grief.  My only issue is that it's ending is a bit too neat & tidy (don't want to spoil the ending but.....yeah, it's a messy thing you see coming and it is POOF! magically all better.....and life doesn't work that way).  I recommend you trying it and let me know if you agree or not.  I love a good scary story, and this was fun.  The premise is that Alex doesn't get accepted to film school and her friends start a Go-Fund-Me to help her reapply with a better film.  An anonymous donation gives her almost a million dollars, and a retired film star offers free use of V

Saleena's picks 6/15/22

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  Hazard is a short book with some deep thoughts.... The basic premise is that Hazard is being forced to go to a therapist because of something that happened at football practice.  The book is all from Hazard's POV, and alternates between emails to his therapist and his own memories of various events.  It is quickly apparent to the reader that Hazard has some issues relating to his father's hospitalization, his mother's apparent abandonment (she's at the hospital with his father) and struggling to figure himself out.....as well as the whole toxicity that surrounds "being a man"...... This book felt a bit quick in places, like it jumped over some big things with just a quick mention; but overall, it works. It is quickly becoming apparent to me that Khorram is going to be an author I ALWAYS need to read because I will adore the book. In Kiss & Tell, we are following the "gay boy" of boy band Kiss & Tell as he and his friends tour and explode in

Saleena's picks 5/5/22

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  I didn't expect to like this book as much as I did.  I honestly tried it based on random "you should read this" remarks I had seen around, but fully expected it to be the same old story with new faces.....but it wasn't.   Skye enters a contest competing in a K-Pop competition aired on Korean TV.  She decides to compete both as a singer and a dancer, fully confident in her abilities; however, she is unsurprised to find that many doubt her dance abilities based on her weight, and even in the singing portion, she is questioned about "being willing to lose weight in order to be more attractive to an audience".  Skye has struggled to build her self esteem, and refuses to let anyone take that from her or to apologize for who she is, but she is still human and it is not easy being the focus of so much attention.  Adding to the attention is that infamous celebrity, Henry Cho, is also competing.  Of course she finds him attractive, but what I love is that he likes

Saleena's picks

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  I decided to reread the entire series, and finally got to read v 4 (bought it for myself, and hope to have a copy for the library soon). I am looking forward to the Netflix series, but am always worried they will mess it up. So, Heartstopper is sweet and awesome....if you haven't read it, you should.  In v. 4 Oseman dives deeper into depression, eating disorders and family issues but the optimistic spirit and the love still shines through......sigh......so lovely. Nicola Yoon writes awesome stories, but be ready...this one is not only a romance but also a tearjerker, with a touch of magical realism......I don't want to say too much because it will give away the story, but suffice to say there is dancing, there is love (family, friend and romantic) and there is growth but happy endings are not guaranteed.

If you liked these BookTok favorites, try these recommendations from Nicole!

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If you're having trouble deciding what to read next, here are some underrated recommendations based on popular BookTok picks!    A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas or The Cruel Prince by Holly Black  Sarah J. Maas and Holly Black shot immediately into the TikTok spotlight, but there are plenty of fae-inspired fantasy stories out there, like Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones. The author draws on goblin lore to weave together a captivating dark romance between Liesl and the infamous Goblin King. The emphasis on family, music, and magic make this a unique spin on the traditional faerie story.  Six of Crows  by Leigh Bardugo This magical heist story has been a YA favorite since its release. If you liked it, try Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody! It has a really cool magic system and a cast of memorable characters including a young woman looking for her missing mother, a charming street lord/con man, mafia leaders, and more. If you enjoy card games, cons, and the dark, gritty city se