When eleven-year-old Thyme Owen’s little brother, Val, is accepted into a new cancer drug trial, it’s just the second chance that he needs. But it also means the Owens family has to move to New York, thousands of miles away from Thyme’s best friend and everything she knows and loves. The island of Manhattan doesn’t exactly inspire new beginnings, but Thyme tries to embrace the change for what it is: temporary.
After Val’s treatment shows real promise and Mr. Owens accepts a full-time position in the city, Thyme has to face the frightening possibility that the move to New York is permanent. Thyme loves her brother, and knows the trial could save his life—she’d give anything for him to be well—but she still wants to go home, although the guilt of not wanting to stay is agonizing. She finds herself even more mixed up when her heart feels the tug of new friends, a first crush and even a crotchety neighbor and his sweet whistling bird. All Thyme can do is count the minutes, the hours and the days, and hope time can bring both a miracle for Val and a way back home.
Steph: The cover is nice – I like it. The back copy doesn’t mention anything about writing letters or doodling or anything so I’m not sure what’s inspired the cover… I also wonder what exactly it is – besides the idea of home and her best friend that is making Val wish to move back when it sounds like New York is really awesome – there is a “sweet whistling bird”! The pun (is it really a pun?) on her name and the counting of “the minutes, the hours and the days” is a little over the top for me… I think I might sit this one out and let the other book warriors recommend it if they see fit.
Nafiza: I like that the protagonist’s homesickness is expressed in the letters she is strewing from the window. At least, that’s what I think the letters mean to represent. This is another case of a cheerful cover masking a more sombre storyline. I think I’d read this but I’d have to be in the right mood. I’m not sure if I can take sick children who may not make it. :\
Janet: Although I don’t generally like the cover illustrative style, the cover itself is just right: somber with bright spots of hope; a sense of yearning yet a balanced fit. The back copy is sweet and serious enough to draw me in. If I come across this I’d take a closer look inside.
Kyon Ensin finally has what he’s always wanted: possession of Kricket Hollowell, the priestess who foresees the future. Together, their combined power will be unrivaled. Kricket, however, doesn’t crave the crown of Ethar—she has an unbreakable desire to live life on her own terms, a life that she desperately wants to share with her love, Trey Allairis.
As conspiracies rage in the war for Ethar, Kricket’s so-called allies want to use her as a spy. Even those held closest cannot be trusted—including Astrid, her sister, and Giffen, a member of a mysterious order with a hidden agenda. But Kricket’s resolve will not allow her to be used as anyone’s pawn, even as the Brotherhood sharpens its plans to cut out her heart.
As the destiny prophesied by her mother approaches, Kricket will backtrack through her fiery future to reshape it. For she knows one thing above all else: the only person she can truly count on is herself.
Steph: I’m not a fan of the cover. The pretty girl with the impossible hair and lack of bra don’t really woo me. I’m also not a huge fan of the back copy because: 1. another impossibly gorgeous, desirable AND special larger-than-life protagonist who is stubborn is just… not really anything new and getting tired for me, maybe in a year or two I’ll get back to this sort of read, 2. it is too obvious that there will be a love triangle between Kricket and Trey and either this Kyon guy or Giffen, 3. is this “mysterious order” also the Brotherhood or are there two other factions after Kricket’s life? 4. by the end of this synopsis I don’t feel like reading the first two books in the series.
Nafiza: First of all, the name. Rolling my eyes so hard at it. Sorry. :\ Second, while the cover it aesthetically pleasing, I feel like it is yet another example of a helpless woman, in fact this one is entirely without any agency and trapped in some kind of trance and immobile. The synopsis, too, is unconvincing. Not my cup of chai.
Janet: So… she’s drowning. And considering that name and that feeble pose, I don’t care. The back copy doesn’t give me any reason to invest in for the characters, either, and the last line (“the only person she can truly count on is herself”) is revolting.
A teen is forced to make a fresh start after witnessing a violent crime—but love and danger find her anyway in this novel from Becca Fitzpatrick, the New York Times bestselling author of the Hush, Hush saga.
Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.
After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.
But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.
As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…
Steph: Too romance heavy for me (another love triangle? is this terrible trope making a come back?). I’ll admit that the witness protection program is a cool way to frame a novel and it gives our character a motive for lying that is clear and obvious from the get-go but I’m not a fan of our lead female being undone by romance. I’m also not sure what to think of the cover, it works because Stella has already run away and will continue to do so, but it also frames her as the weak chick from a horror flick.
Janet: That is a HORRIBLE tagline. The only thing real about the cover is the corn. The back copy says NO to me from the first line; sorry, are love and danger not normally associated with fresh starts in all YA lit? *Agrees with Steph and Nafiza*
There’s a reason they say “be careful what you wish for.” Just ask the girl who wished to be thinner and ended up smaller than Thumbelina, or the boy who asked for “balls of steel” and got them – literally. And never wish for your party to go on forever. Not unless you want your guests to be struck down by debilitating pain if they try to leave.
These are things Lennie only learns when it’s too late – after she brings some of her uncles’ moonshine to a party and toasts to dozens of wishes, including a big wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was abducted and murdered six months ago.
Lennie didn’t mean to cause so much chaos. She always thought her uncles’ moonshine toast was just a tradition. And when they talked about carrying on their “important family legacy,” she thought they meant good old-fashioned bootlegging.
As it turns out, they meant granting wishes. And Lennie has just granted more in one night than her uncles would grant in a year.
Now she has to find a way to undo the damage. But once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…
Steph: Ok… I think I like the sounds of this? Haha, I’m pretty sure just a couple of weeks ago I questioned why anyone would revamp a Disney movie instead of just write a creative story that features a genie -and here we go! The cover is fine enough, simple, bright, playful and a little eerie. I do have to question a couple of things – why doesn’t Lennie know what her legacy is? This sort of plot device is kind of irritating. When all that would have to happen is for one character to talk to another for less than five minutes and the whole catastrophe would have been avoided… well it’s just sort of flimsy. I know, I know, there will be some rule “the child can’t know until she turns 16!” or some such nonsense. *sighs* Despite this travesty, I might… MIGHT give this one a go.
Nafiza: I really enjoyed Quinn’s debut novel and I quite like the whimsy of the blue and the smoke. This seems to be characterized by her signature magical realism so yeah, I’ll give this a whirl if it ever comes my way.
Janet: The cover is bold; I’m tempted to like it, although it is a photograph. The synopsis is appealing. My hesitation is that wish-granting is usually associated with weakness and frivolity. Curious as to why Lennie has such an unusual, male, name. If Nafiza recommends this I’ll give it a shot.
For as long as Alice can remember, she has dreamed of Max. Together they have traveled the world and fallen deliriously, hopelessly in love. Max is the boy of her dreams—and only her dreams. Because he doesn’t exist.
But when Alice walks into class on her first day at a new school, there he is. It turns out, though, that Real Max is nothing like Dream Max, and getting to know each other in reality isn’t as perfect as Alice always hoped.
When their dreams start to bleed dangerously into their waking hours, the pair realize that they might have to put an end to a lifetime of dreaming about each other. But when you fall in love in your dreams, can reality ever be enough?
Whimsical, romantic and utterly original, Lucy Keating’s debut novel will win readers’ hearts.
Steph: Now this is the kind of romance I can get behind (see? see? I’m not always against it!). This sounds cute, whimsical, original and kind of fun – also a little bit sci-fi, which I generally gravitate towards. I LOVE that Alice and Max aren’t necessarily the same in real life as they are in their dreams. The only problem that I foresee is that I might not pick up the cover for fear it was a boring romance (all that pink and the scrawly writing – this is aimed at females for sure, but should it be? this kind of marketing really limits the audience reached). Glad I read the back though! I’d give this a go.
Nafiza: The cover is rather too minimalist, almost too minimalist. I still don’t mind it but I don’t like it as much as I like the synopsis which presents an interesting set of conflicts for the narrative to unwrap. I’d give this one a read too.
Janet: I like the minimalism of the cover but not the title. The synopsis is a bit like the first of the Lynburn Legacy, only sans murder and investigative journalism. I’m not sure the romance alone will stand; I’d look inside or wait for Steph and Nafiza’s report.
I love this feature, guys! You hold those lazy cover designers and uninspired copy writers accountable. ;) Steph, I totally agree with you, it drives me bonkers when entire plots could be undone if characters simply talked to each other for a few minutes, left a detailed note, or asked common-sense questions….argh!!!
It just burns me up!! :)
Love your comments on Down With The Shine. Really insightful!