Book Review | Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom

Not If I See You First Book Review Paige's Pages.pngTITLE: Not If I See You First
: Eric Lindstrom
: HarperCollins Children’s
: December 1, 2015
: Young Adult Fiction
: 310

At the heart of Not If I See You First is a powerful message about disability, disbanding blindness stereotypes I didn’t even realise I believed.  While I loved this representation, our fierce front woman, Parker Grant, is not the best developed character.  Despite having some fantastic themes with plenty of potential, this book was hit and miss for me. Continue reading


Book Review | Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Salt to the Sea Review Paige's PagesTITLE: Salt to the Sea
: Ruth Sepetys
: Philomel Books
: February 2, 2016
: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
: 393

I tend to avoid the historical fiction genre because it’s never really gripped me in the past.  However, Salt to the Sea is distinct from other historical novels I’ve read, using conventions of contemporary YA fiction such as fast pace and multiple first person points of view.  With none of the verbosity and foot-dragging I used to associate with historical fiction, it is an engrossing quick read.
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Book Review | If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

If I Was Your Girl Review Paige's PagesTITLE: If I Was Your Girl
: Meredith Russo
: Flatiron Books
: May 3, 2016
: Young Adult Fiction, LGBTQIA
: 280

If I Was Your Girl is a high school romance from the perspective of a transgender girl.  While the writing and plot are forgettable, this novel is necessary because it gives young adult readers of any and all gender identities the chance to read trans experiences in relatable contexts.  Besides the universal struggles of fitting in and finding true friends, If I Was Your Girl portrays a trans girl being the subject of romantic attentiongoing a long way to affirm that trans teens are equally deserving of prom proposals and a magical first kiss.  

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Double Review | More Happy Than Not / History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

More Happy Than Not (2015) and History Is All You Left Me (2017) by gay YA author, Adam Silvera, are a perfect pair.  Featuring realistic gay protagonists, they confront themes crucial to older YA readers including identity, sexuality, love, and loss.  Silvera’s representation of mental illness is unflinchingly honest and raw.  I may not be able to bid you “happy reading”, but I hope you will find Silvera’s writing as powerful as I did.

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Book Review | This Is Shyness by Leanne Hall

This is Shyness Paige's PagesTITLE: This is Shyness
SERIES: This is Shyness #1
: Leanne Hall
: Text
: August 2, 2010
: Young Adult, Magical Realism
: 272

In the magical realist town of Shyness where the sun never rises, strangers Wolfboy and Wildgirl share a dangerous night of self-discovery and unexpected kinship.  While Shyness is a vivid and interesting setting for this YA adventure story, I struggled to connect to the characters or the sense of stakes.

Wolfboy is a Shyness local.  Wildgirl is on a mission to forget.  When their eyes meet across the room at the Diabetic Hotel, they join forces and decide to see where the night takes them.  As their backstories gradually unravel, their bond deepens, and the adventure heats up. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review | American Born Chinese by Gene Luan Yang

american-born-chinese-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: American Born Chinese
: Gene Luan Yang
: First Second
: September 1, 2006
: Junior Graphic Novel
: 240

Fusing mythology with a contemporary coming of age story, American Born Chinese confronts Asian stereotypes and cultural alienation.  These topics may sound heavy, but Yang weaves his story around these themes effortlessly, like a present-day Aesop’s fable while remaining fresh and fun.

Jin Wang is the only Chinese American at his new school.  When the new kid from Taiwan tries to befriend him, Jin is scared that being seen with a FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) will destroy his chances of fitting in.  Meanwhile, cool all-American teen Danny is scared his Chinese cousin Chin-Kee will ruin his rep with his popular crush. Continue reading

Book Review | Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

simon-vs-the-homo-sapiens-agenda-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
AUTHOR: Becky Albertalli
RELEASE DATE: April 7, 2015
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction, LGBTQIA

With surprising heart, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda teaches that everyone’s journey is valid and private.  I grew invested in characters who represented many aspects of my  teen experience, and taught me empathy for experiences beyond my own.   

Until recently, Simon’s secret was safe with his online pen-pal, Blue.  But when his classmate blackmails him with screenshots revealing he’s gay, falling in love with Blue over email gets a whole lot more complicated.
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Book Review | The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

the-absolutely-true-diary-of-a-part-time-indian-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
AUTHOR: Sherman Alexie
PUBLISHER: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
RELEASE DATE: September 12, 2007
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction, Own Voices

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is the heartwarming and unforgettable story of Arnold Spirit a.k.a. Junior.  Everyone on the Spokane Indian reservation assumes he’ll never make it to college, and will continue his family’s pattern of poverty.  But Junior is determined not to live the life laid out for him.  

People on the rez call 14-year-old Junior a loser for many reasons: besides wearing glasses and being born with “water on the brain”, he refuses to follow in his parents’ footsteps.  So Junior does the unthinkable and moves to a middle-class, all-white public school beyond the rez.  When he’s accused of betraying the tribe, Junior must prove himself to his new and old friends.   Continue reading

Book Review | The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

the-chocolate-war-book-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: The Chocolate War
AUTHOR: Robert Cormier
PUBLISHER: Penguin Books
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction

Think it’s easy to tell the ‘good guys’ from the ‘bad guys’?  If you turn a blind eye to a bad system, are you part of the problem?  The Chocolate War is a nail-biting adventure into a world of psychological warfare and anarchy… high school.

Jerry Renault is the new kid at Trinity, an all boys Catholic high school.  Archie Costello and his secret society, the Vigils, exercise a reign of fear over the school.  When Brother Leon enlists Archie’s help to make the annual fundraising chocolate sale is a success, it looks like they’ve got it in the bag.  That is until Jerry disobeys the Vigils by refusing to sell chocolates.  Soon enough, Trinity is a war zone divided by chocolate. Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review | The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci & Jim Rugg

the-plain-janes-review-paiges-pagesTITLE: The Plain Janes
AUTHOR: Cecil Castellucci
ARTIST: Jim Rugg
RELEASE DATE: May 2, 2007
GENRE: Graphic Novel, Young Adult Fiction

The Plain Janes is the delightful story of how art changed a small community’s outlook on life.  With media constantly encouraging us to fear the unknown, this book reminds us that opening our eyes to everyday beauty can save our sanity.  

After she survives a bomb attack, Jane’s family relocates from the city to the suburbs.  At her new high school, she finds her tribe: Jane the theatre lover (TheatreJane), science whiz Jayne (BrainJayne), and Polly Jane (SportyJane).   Continue reading