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YA Book Reviews by Amy: The Books We Banter IV

I love reading books, but I think that I enjoy talking about them even more. I love putting into words why I felt a certain way about the book I have read because sometimes I have to do some introspection. Was it the book? Was it me? What caused me to love this book? Is there a pattern? Why was I disappointed in this book? What were my expectations and why did I have them? So many questions I add to just breaking down the characters, plot, and writing style of the author.

I have a lot of friends that share my passion for reading, particularly reading Young Adult books. We talk about why we love YA so much; I’m convinced nothing seems more heightened, special, and high stakes like a teenager coming into their own and making the steps toward being the person they want to be.

Reading the books together causes us to discover the different genres and formats that we may otherwise not have. There is a sense of community when sharing a hobby or passion and a connection that feels incredibly special. I am lucky to have found those people. I feel even more lucky that I get to share my thoughts as a part of my job: whether it is through talking to you in person, you reading my blogs, or watching our Book Banters, and now beginning this year, you will be able to watch us on Tiktok: breaking down our thoughts in a rapid fire style way, that we are now calling Rapid Fire Reviews.

Book Banter has been such a beautiful thing to come out of a terrible situation; Book Banter was created to connect during quarantine and working from home. To connect to you by sharing our thoughts about the YA books we have read. Now we will be sharing our thoughts in a different format that I think you will enjoy.

This is certainly not goodbye, but a new way to share the books that your librarians have read together!

To pay homage to the hard work that Sarah, Taylor, Alex, and I have done over the past couple of years, I wanted to share some books that we have bantered and some of my favorite memories.

The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan by Gia Cribbs

Sloane Sullivan isn’t her real name, but having only two more months left in the Witness Protection Program, Sloane will do just about anything to live a normal life again. After witnessing a terrible crime that she cannot fully remember, Sloane moves back to her original state to finish out her senior year. At school she runs into her old childhood friend, Jason, who believes that she is his long-lost friend, and she must convince him that she isn’t. Sloane should really pick up and move again for her safety, but she longs to reconnect with Jason. Will the six years hiding all be for naught if her cover is blown? Will she remember what really happened that day? All she knows is that her life will never be the same again.

The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan - Cribbs, Gia

This might be my favorite book that Taylor and I have read together. I read this book in one day, and I really found the story compelling with every chapter I read. Taylor and I have so much fun bantering together, and she always brings that nostalgia factor that I long for! We discussed our love of 90’s and early 2000’s culture with just one statement about the Olsen twins; I haven’t laughed that hard in a while! I love that we read thrilling books with a lot of twists and turns and this book will leave you breathless.

Watch our Book Banter!

Available as an eBook on Overdrive.

The Girls I’ve Been by Tess Sharpe

Nora has tried to escape from her past, but when she, her ex-boyfriend, and current girlfriend end up in a bank during a robbery, she may just have to show who she used to be. Nora was not always Nora, but a slew of girls that used to help run the cons her mother placed her in all throughout her childhood. After she turned her mother and stepfather in to the police, her life has been in danger ever since. Can she con the men trying to rob the bank to gain safety for her friends and innocent bystanders? Or will they take her captive because the price on her head is too good to leave it alone?

The Girls I've Been - Sharpe, Tess

Sarah and I read a lot of books together, and it is always fun for us to talk about it. I like that for the most part we seem to agree on how we feel, but when we don’t, it is also fun. Spoiler alert: we agreed on this one! We both liked the fast pace writing style of Tess Sharpe and this seemed to get us both out of a reading slump. Such deep discussions and the love of the characters. A must read if you like a book that you are not sure if you should believe our main character or not!

Watch our Book Banter!

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

So Many Beginnings: A Little Women Remix by Bethany C. Morrow

In 1863, the Civil War is in full force and the March family is trying to survive and thrive in the free Colony of Roanoke. Newly emancipated, the March four sisters have different dreams and goals in life: Meg is a teacher and begins searching for love. Jo writes powerful stories that need to be told. Beth’s kindness leads her to a path as a seamstress. And Amy dreams of traveling and becoming a dancer. They are connected by their family ties, the love they have for each other, and their drive to succeed during a time that is difficult to be who they want to be.

So Many Beginnings - Morrow, Bethany C.

I cannot wait to read this book because this is a remix of a classic book and placed in history that will cause me to do research. I like the original a lot, but I would love to read a new version of it. Watching Taylor and Sarah talk about how much they enjoyed this book and the way they articulated it, makes me want to read it even more! I love that Sarah said that this book should be called “Amy’s redemption story,” because Amy was always my favorite March sister in every version I have seen and read and everyone should like her character! This is why I love watching my colleagues’ videos because it causes me to want to read even more. I also love that this will be a series of remixes done by different YA authors for different classics. Something that I need to keep my eye on.

Watch our Book Banter!

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

Becca has just transferred to a new school her junior year of high school, and meets a group of popular girls that take her in. As Becca becomes closer to Marley, Arianna, and Mandy she begins to learn that they are quite protective over her. One night, when Becca is attacked, she is saved by her new friends, but learns their deadly secret, they are werewolves. Becca can either join their pack or die. They go after bad people and vengeance is sought after. When Arianna’s boyfriend ends up dead, the cops begin searching for the killer. Will they learn the truth of this supernatural squad of girls?

Squad - Tokuda-Hall, Maggie

Another Book Banter by Sarah and Taylor! I have really been into graphic novels recently and this one sounds like a lot of fun. When Taylor said that this is: “Mean Girls but make it werewolves, but then it slowly transitioned into like a Heathers story,” that description totally sold me. This also caused Sarah some nostalgia with some Archie comics vibes. I will definitely be checking out this graphic novel. Plus, this cover is stunning!

Watch our Book Banter!

Available as an eBook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

White Smoke by Tiffany D Jackson

Marigold and her newly blended family move to a newly renovated home in a dilapidated neighborhood that has a past. Marigold just wants to escape her past. Things begin to go missing and strange noises are heard that make Marigold and her younger brother wonder if this house is potentially haunted. Is there a supernatural force at play? Could it be Marigold’s mind playing tricks? Or is it something more human?

White Smoke - Jackson, Tiffany D.

I was so excited to get to talk about this book with Alex! We both wanted to read this book and when we read it, it was the perfect time to read a spooky tale in October. I feel like Alex always brings up fascinating points that I would not have seen otherwise. This Book Banter was so much fun to film and I think you are able to see that by our reactions. This is a must read for anyone that enjoys feeling on edge in a thriller.

Watch our Book Banter!

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

The Girl from the Sea by Molly Ostertag

Morgan has a lot of secrets that distance herself from anyone getting to know the true her; secrets like having a divorced mother that is constantly sad, friends that don’t know who she really is, and the need to escape the island she lives on to start anew. Maybe someday she can let the people around her know that she is attracted to girls and thinks about kissing them. When Morgan meets Keltie, and they become friends and there is potential for something more, but Keltie has her own secrets.

The Girl From the Sea - Ostertag, Molly

Another graphic novel that sounds amazing and is described by Sarah as a super sweet story. I swear that Taylor and Sarah make me want to read more graphic novels. I really enjoy watching Sarah and Taylor banter a book because they clearly have a lot of fun while filming and their positivity is contagious to watch. Any book that makes Sarah do some research is a book I’d like to read!

Watch our Book Banter!

Available as an eBook on Overdrive, an eAudiobook on Hoopla, and at the library* for checkout.

Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins

Felipe gets to spend the next 15 days living with his neighbor and crush, Caio. He does not know how to act; they used to be friends when they were younger, but when Felipe began to feel insecure about his body and his identity, they never regained their footing. Felipe needs to work on himself before even thinking about what their relationship could possibly mean. 15 days can truly change someone: friendships will be made, there will be nice family moments, self confidence should be at the forefront, and maybe a tad bit of romance.

Here the Whole Time - Martins, Vitor

This book was emotional and made me say “awwwwww,”, but I like that it also dealt with a lot of issues that teens (and some adults) feel: body positivity, identity, friendships, and so much more are themes that run throughout the story through our characters and plot. I am glad that I read this book alongside Alex because I feel like I might not have picked this book up as quick. This was a really important read to me, and one that I will recommend to anyone that enjoys a contemporary romance.

Watch our Book Banter!

Available as an eBook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

The Mary Shelley Club by Goldy Moldavsky

Rachel is trying to forget about her traumatic past after a home invasion. Moving to a new house and attending a new school may help, but she has not made many friends. Rachel also begins to have a slight obsession with horror movies to cope with her incident. When she finds a group of friends that are a part of the Mary Shelley club, they begin to become close while watching, writing, and performing everything horror. Could this club be doing more harm to Rachel than good?

The Mary Shelley Club - Moldavsky, Goldy

This was one of my favorite books this past year, and I love that Sarah and Alex also decided to read it and discuss it. I agree with Sarah when she said that this is a love letter to everything horror, and I also agree with Alex that I enjoyed this book so much more because it was not on my radar either and I had no expectations. I loved the shout out!!! I did recommend this to them and I’m glad they liked it much as I did. This is a must read if you are interested in reading a good horror novel.

Watch our Book Banter!

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

*check the link for available copies or to place on hold



Hello everyone! I’m Amy and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. When I’m not trying to reach my reading goal for the year, I like to talk about what I’m reading to my family, friends, and coworkers. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.