POVone: The First Person Perspective

Rants and Reviews on Novels Written in the First Person Point of View

Tag Archives: High School

Book Review: In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks

Author: Jen Brooks
Title: In a World Just Right
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Number of Pages: 432
Narrator: Jonathan Aubrey

In a World Just Right by Jen Brooks

What’s It About?

When he was a young child, Jonathan Aubrey lost his family to a plane crash in which he was the only survivor. The accident left him burned and scarred–rendering him a social outcast throughout his childhood. Now on the verge of adulthood, he has fallen in love with a girl who barely notices him. But Jonathan has a way of remedying this situation.

Ever since the crash, Jonathan has been able to create worlds. When he wants to escape the real world, he simply closes his eyes and then opens them again to a world of his own fabrication. At his pleasure, he travels back and forth between his worlds–the latest of which is a reality in which the girl of his dreams is his girlfriend…and she is deeply in love with him.

But, there’s a problem. When he creates a world that so closely mirrors the real one, his dream girl starts to notice him in real life. Suddenly, he finds himself torn between reality and the fantasy he has created. When he receives an unexpected visit from his past, he discovers that there might be a way to merge his worlds together. Or, on the other hand, he might just lose them all…

Should You Read It?

At first, the novel seems to simply be a story about a kid dealing with tragedy through escapist fantasies. But the reader quickly discovers that the “fantasy” is real, and Jonathan really does have the power to create worlds. Or, does he? This is one of those stories that leaves the reader wondering what’s real and what’s imagined. If you enjoy that sort of metaphysical ambiguity, you might find this novel interesting.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook. Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, YA Midnight ReadsAfterwritten

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Jen Brooks: In a World Just Right is Jen Brooks’ debut novel.

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Book Review: Still Waters by Ash Parsons

Author: Ash Parsons
Title: Still Waters
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Philomel (Random House)
Number of Pages: 320
Narrator: Jason

Still Waters by Ash Parsons

What’s It About?

As a senior, Jason is known by all as the tough guy from the wrong side of the tracks. He gets into a lot of fights and has a scary reputation among his peers. But, in his view, he doesn’t start trouble; he is simply very efficient at finishing it. Defending himself and his sister against the abusive tirades of his father, experience has taught him to stand and fight rather than to walk away.

Jason is a loner. He is guarded in his relationships and only has one friend that he really opens up to. So, when he is approached by the most popular kid in school with an odd proposition, he is naturally suspicious. Seeking to build his reputation for an undisclosed reason, this other boy offers to pay Jason to hang out with him. Reluctantly, Jason agrees–because the money may just give him and his sister their ticket to freedom.

As Jason begins to hang out with the popular crowd, he senses that something is off. The more time he spends with them, the more he feels like he’s being set up. As new people come into his life, he isn’t sure who he can trust. Suddenly, the lines aren’t so clear. Who will he need to fight? And who will he need to fight for?

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy the kind of young adult story that centers on a kid dealing with a bad home life, you’ll probably really love this book. For a YA novel, it was really gritty and disturbing–so it’s not for the faint of heart. The focus on a disadvantaged kid trying to make the most of the situation reminded me a lot of Where All the Light Tends to Go. There is a lot of mystery and intrigue built up throughout, leading to a dramatic conclusion. Also, there’s a good balance of introspection and fast-paced action–so it would appeal to lovers of both literary and genre works.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Dee’s Reads, Bibliophile Gathering, Book Reviews and More by Kathy

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Ash Parsons: Still Waters is Ash Parsons’s debut novel.

Book Review: Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

Author: Lori Goldstein
Title: Becoming Jinn
Genre: Young Adult; Fantasy
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Number of Pages: 384
Narrator: Azra Nadira

Becoming Jinn by Lori Goldstein

What’s It About?

Azra Nadira has just turned sixteen and, as is the custom set by the governing council of Jinn, she receives her powers as a genie. Although she begins to gain magical powers such as the abilities to teleport and conjure things into existence, she is resistant to the change because she knows it means she will eventually become a slave to another’s wishes.

Along with gaining magical powers, Azra’s sixteenth birthday blesses her instantly with stunning beauty. As such, she gains the sudden interest of the coolest guy in school. While she enjoys the new feeling of being desired, she is torn between this new love interest and that of a childhood friend. This love triangle forms much of the conflict throughout the story.

Most of the story, however, focuses on the relationship between Azra, her mother, and her mother’s Jinn friends–known to Azra as “the sisters.” This group of ladies guides Azra into understanding her powers and her place as a young woman in the world of Jinn.

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy the newer genre of young adult genie literature, you’ll probably enjoy this–as the author goes to great lengths to describe and develop the rules of the world Azra inhabits. That being said, if you’re looking for a fast-paced adventure story with lots of twists and turns, this probably isn’t for you. I would describe the story as relationship-driven rather than plot-driven. It’s more or less a teenage “chick lit” story set in a world of genies. If that sounds like it’s up your alley, I would give it a shot.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Dark Faerie Tales, Snuggly Oranges, Fiction Fare

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Lori Goldstein: Becoming Jinn is Lori Goldstein’s debut novel.

Book Review: First There Was Forever by Juliana Romano

Author: Juliana Romano
Title: First There Was Forever
Genre: Young Adult
Publication Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: Dial (Penguin)
Number of Pages: 400
Narrator: Lima

First There Was Forever by Juliana Romano

What’s It About?

As they enter their sophomore year, Lima’s best friend reveals that she’s lost her virginity to a stranger over summer break. Shrugging if off as “no big deal,” Lima’s friend becomes increasingly more involved in the party scene–a space in which Lima is extremely uncomfortable. Eventually, Lima’s friend all but abandons her for another girl who is more interesting and fun to be around.

Lima has never had a serious relationship with a boy, and she has no plans to start one. That is, until she meets Nate. Never has a boy so cool and so attractive shown an interest in her. And, as painful as it is for her to admit it, she’s starting to have feelings for him too. There’s only one problem–this is the boy her best friend has always had a crush on, and Lima has promised never to be with him.

As the sophomore year draws to a close, Lima must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she try to sustain a dying friendship and, in doing so, lose her first real chance at love? Or, will she follow her heart and accept the diverging paths she and her best friend have begun to take?

Should You Read It?

Essentially, this story is about the complicated interplay between self-discovery, friendship, and romance experienced during female adolescence. You could call it “teenage chick lit.” If you are interested in love triangles in young adult literature, you’ll probably enjoy this story. But, at its heart, this book is really about the fleeting nature of friendship during the time in a person’s life that is most filled with change.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Kirkus Reviews, YA Love, Rather Be Reading

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Juliana Romano: First There Was Forever is Juliana Romano’s debut novel.

Book Review: Silence by Deborah Lytton

Author: Deborah Lytton
Title: Silence
Genre: Romance; Young Adult
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Shadow Mountain (Deseret Book)
Number of Pages: 320
Narrators: Stella Layne and Hayden Rivers
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B, Very Good; of the first 29 reviews, the average reader rating was 83.45%.

Silence by Deborah Lytton

What’s It About?

Stella is a shy, fifteen year old girl who is having trouble adjusting to her new school–following the divorce of her parents and the relocation of her, her mother, and her sister to a new town. She feels out of place, even as her only friend tries to pull her into the popular crowd. The only thing she has going for her, she believes, is her voice. When she sings, she doesn’t feel invisible. And, when her voice lands her the lead in the high school musical, she feels like she actually has a shot at being normal.

Hayden is an awkward and quiet boy with a speech impediment who is new to the same school as Stella. While he tries to keep his distance, he can’t help but be drawn to Stella–there’s just something about her that makes him want to reach out. But he is emotionally scarred by an abusive past and prefers to keep everyone at an arm’s length. Besides, he is embarrassed by his slow speech and prefers to stay quiet. How could he start a relationship with Stella if he can’t even speak to her?

When Stella is accidentally knocked unconscious and falls into a swimming pool at a party, fate intervenes and Hayden is there to save her from drowning. But when she wakes up, she has lost her hearing–and the only dream she ever cared about. Temporarily deaf, she loses her spot in the musical and falls into a depression. While waiting for an operation that can restore her hearing, Hayden begins to show her all that she can do without it. As the two spend more and more time together, they begin to fall in love. But, can Hayden really give his heart away when his past has already broken it? Is he good enough for Stella? And, is Stella willing to abandon her former dream when she discovers things about herself she never realized until Hayden showed up?

Should You Read It?

If you enjoy young adult love stories, like John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, you will love this book. The alternating first person narration between Stella and Hayden gives insight into how each character feels about the blossoming relationship. The tone, despite the characters’ damaged childhoods, is light and laced with hope. With an uplifting conclusion, this tale is a love story–not a tragedy. The chapters are short and language easily digestible. There are also many references to various arts–music, poetry, painting, etc. So, if you’re nostalgic about the role that the arts played in your high school years, you may also enjoy this story for that reason.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Book Reviews: Reading Bifrost, Mel’s Shelves, Bookworm Lisa

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Deborah Lytton: Jane in Bloom (2009)

Book Review: Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik

Author: Lili Anolik
Title: Dark Rooms
Genre: Mystery
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Number of Pages: 329
Narrator: Grace Baker
Amazon.com Reviewer Grade: B-, Very Good; of the first 32 reviews, the average reader rating was 81.25%.

Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik

What’s It About?

Grace Baker is an ordinary, middle-class teenage girl living in Hartford, Connecticut. Just as she is about to graduate high school and move on to a prestigious liberal arts college, her younger sister Nica is murdered. When the murder goes unsolved, Grace decides to put off college and stay in Hartford to seek out her sister’s killer.

As she works through her list of potential suspects, she is forced to deal with the fall out from Nica’s death. Her father has become listless and spends most of his days sulking. Her mother has left her father and moved away to be by herself. On top of her parents’ issues, Grace realizes that she is pregnant–and she honestly doesn’t remember having slept with anyone recently.

Working with her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Grace begins to investigate her sister’s circle of close friends. The more leads Grace gets on her sister’s murder, the more she realizes that her family isn’t exactly what it seems. Her sister, it turns out, had secrets that Grace knew nothing about. And the revelation of these secrets ultimately lead Grace to discovering the mystery behind Nica’s death.

Should You Read It?

This book has been rightly compared to the writings of Megan Abbott and Gillian Flynn, as well as to Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. The story–with its cast of sex-crazed, counter-cultural characters–can be described as a psychological soap opera. As the plot develops, the mystery builds around tangled relationships and sexual secrets. While it is a murder mystery, the intrigue has less to do with the murder than it does with the web of secrets leading up to it. If you’re into that sort of thing, I would definitely give this book a read.

Links and References

Author Information: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Vanity Fair Interview

Book Reviews: LA Review, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, BookPage

Purchase: Buy It On Amazon.com

Other Books By Lili Anolik: Dark Rooms is Lili Anolik’s debut novel. However, she is an accomplished popular journalist and currently works for Vanity Fair.