"NEW Teen Fiction" shelf!
By: Stephanie Tromly
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Audience: Teen - Grades 9 & Up
Do you need to suspend disbelief? Yes. Is this story completely over the top? Pretty much. Did I enjoy every minute of it? Absolutely!! Stephanie Tromly has done something sensational, she takes the quirk, sensibility and characterization of a beloved John Hughes movie and adds a gritty element of mystery akin to Veronica Mars and Sherlock to create something truly extraordinary for this generation’s teen readers.
Philip Digby isn’t usual. He wears the same baggy suit, he asks more questions than he answers, he has a weird relationship with most of the town and when he shows up, uninvited, on Zoe Webster’s doorstep, she is less than impressed. But before she knows it, Zoe becomes immersed in the world of Digby as she’s dragged into the investigation of the kidnapping of a local teenage girl, led by Digby himself, that may somehow be connected to the tragic disappearance of his own sister eight years ago. As the two traverse dangerous, but mostly hilarious, situations, readers are rewarded with all the elements of a great mystery, a moving problem novel, and an unconventional romance that will attract a wide audience. Additionally, throughout the entire novel readers can expect dialogue that is razor sharp, characters that are witty and clever, and a mystery that is, well, mysterious.
Overall, teen readers will not only be immersed in a fast paced plot and well-conceived story but the novel’s authentic portrayal of these two teen protagonists provides a depth that goes above and beyond to create a truly remarkable novel and while the specifics of the mystery warrants a satisfying ending and could certainly work as a stand-alone , I’m sure readers wouldn’t mind a companion novel, reuniting Digby & Co and answering some of the questions that left us hanging.
[ My Life Next Door #2 ]
By: Huntley Fitzpatrick
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
Audience: Teen - Grades 11 & Up
*Author We Love!*
Fans of My Life Next Door will be pleased to be reunited with the Garrett family as well as some of our other favorite characters in this wonderful companion novel. A romantic story about redemption, transformation, and an unflinching portrayal of family life, Fitzpatrick doesn’t hold back in her pursuit to show readers that it’s not impossible to overcome being the person everyone thinks we are to become the person we want to be and that family, accountability and love can be found in the most unlikely of places.
High school superlatives are not lost on Tim Mason. Known for being “The Boy Most Likely To …” find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house, Tim has come to terms with his wayward past and is making the effort to become sober and prove everyone, especially his father, that he isn’t the man everyone thinks he is.
After tragedy struck the Garrett house, Alice Garrett’s life continues to spiral as she tries to keep her family together leaving little time for relationships, especially one with her brother’s baggage burdened best friend. Besides, she’s never really been all that good at them in the first place.
Tim and Alice. Alice and Tim. The idea is ridiculous and by no means wise, but Tim’s never been known to make the “smart choice” and Alice questions whether or not the “smart” choice is necessarily the right one. When their worlds collide, each finds something in the other that goes beyond right or wrong but straight to the heart of what it means to love and be loved in return. However, when Tim’s past throws him an unexpected (or expected) curveball, he is forced to make some tough decisions and determine if he will always be the boy everyone think him to be and forcing Alice to be caught in the middle of something she’s not sure she’s ready, or wants, to handle.
Despite some underdeveloped plot points that were a result of cramming too much drama into a story that already had plenty, this is still an excellent companion to My Life Next Door. Fitzpatrick provides a compelling continuation of her first book through the alternating voices of Tim and Alice, characters whose stories readers will eagerly want to hear. In addition to the adorable blossoming romance between Tim and Alice, this novel is a wonderful representation of finding the strength to become a better version of ourselves and a lovely illustration that family doesn’t necessarily mean blood but rather the people who know us best and we can know in return. Equal parts sweet, funny, and thoughtful, readers will quickly be immersed in the lives of Fitzpatrick’s young protagonists. And it doesn’t hurt that there’s more George, Patsy, and the rest of the delightful antics of the Garrett kids!