Title: Queerleaders

Author: MB Guel

Pages: 148 Pages

Publisher: Bella Books

The Blurb

“Mack snuck a look over her shoulder at the cheerleaders just as Veronica took her place at the top of the pyramid. Time seemed to slow as Veronica  swung her long, blond ponytail over her shoulder, pompoms high in the air…”

Mackenzie is used to being different from other kids—and to being bullied for not fitting into the rigid social expectations of her Catholic high school. Luckily, Mack’s best friend Lila has her back so school isn’t the total hell it could be. But it’s pretty damn close.

Until something very mysterious happens—Mack becomes a cheerleader magnet. Even she has a hard time believing it. And Lila is not too happy about her friend’s sudden popularity with the cool kids.

Is Mack being set up for an epic fail? Or is she finally headed for acceptance–and maybe even romance…

The Review

Oh Queerleaders is a great story.

I love LGBT fiction. I love YA fiction. Put those hands together and you have Queerleaders. The story of Mack and how she is forced to come out by the arrogant and narrow-minded bullies in her school and how she manages to lose herself and find herself all at once.

It is a story of friendship and a story of self discovery. Mack is shown to be a warts and all brilliant protagonist whose downfall is due to her own indulgence and greed but gosh I loved her.

If you love stories of the LGBT variety and you want something completely heart-warming then Queerleaders is the book for you.

Queerleaders by MB Guel is available now.

For more information regarding MB Guel (@MB_Guel) please visit her Twitter page.

Title: Final Draft

Author: Riley Redgate

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: ABRAMS Kids

The Blurb

The only sort of risk 18-year-old Laila Piedra enjoys is the peril she writes for the characters in her stories: epic sci-fi worlds full of quests, forbidden love, and robots. Her creative writing teacher has always told her she has a special talent. But three months before her graduation, he dies suddenly—and is replaced by Nadiya Nazarenko, a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist who is sadistically critical and perpetually unimpressed.

At first, Nazarenko’s eccentric assignments seem absurd. But before long, Laila grows obsessed with gaining the woman’s approval. Soon Laila is hiking through the Catskills during a thunderstorm in March and discovering the psychedelic highs and perilous lows of nightlife, temporary flings, and instability. Dr. Nazarenko has led Laila to believe that she must choose between perfection and sanity—but rejecting her all-powerful mentor may be the only way for Laila to thrive.

The Review

Final Draft by Riley Redgate is a bit of a strange story. It hits all different themes – loss, ambition, lgbt awareness, academia but I just don’t feel that they necessarily married up to make a great story.

If I am honest, Final Draft isn’t been my favourite book by Riley Redgate. I think Laila’s insecurities became tiresome too quickly and then the story dragged for me. The best part of her story was the relationship with her writing teacher but even then the resolution for that relationship seemed to peter away and I felt that there was a lack of resolution.

Final Draft was a ‘pass the time’ book. It didn’t change my life but it entertained me for a few hours.

Final Draft by Riley Redgate is available now.

For more information regarding ABRAMS Kids (@abramskids) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Tradition

Author: Brendan Kiely

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House

The Blurb

‘This very good school is nothing but a fancy promise, a broken one. A big lie.’

The powerful, glamorous and privileged students of Fullbrook Academy gather for a secret party in the woods.

A party that ends in disaster.

The Fullbook traditions are sacred. But they can hide dark and dangerous secrets.

Jules is in her senior year with one goal: to get out and start her life at college.

Jamie is a sports star on a scholarship; Fullbrook is his chance to escape his past.

Can they both stand together against Fulbrook’s most toxic traditions?

The Review

I really like campus novels. I like having a sneaky peak into a world that I may be unaware of. I like it when those novels tackle difficult issues and Tradition definitely tackles a difficult issue. Kiely looks at the privilege that is shown to sports stars within private schools and how that privilege can manifest itself in insidious sexual attacks that are brushed under the carpet.

With a dual narrative, we see what life at Fullbook is like from Jules perspective – she was once part of the privileged group but now abhors it. We also see it from Jamie’s perspective who has landed smack bang into that world and doesn’t fit in.

The toxicity of this environment drips from every page and makes you genuinely uncomfortable. It is a book that should be read and shared as much as possible.

Tradition by Brendan Kiely is available now.

For more information regarding Brendan Kiely (@KielyBrendan) please visit www.bendankiely.com.

For more information regarding Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.com.

Title: 100 Days of Sunlight

Author: Abbie Emmons

Pages: 311 Pages

Publisher: Self Published

The Blurb

When 16-year-old poetry blogger Tessa Dickinson is involved in a car accident and loses her eyesight for 100 days, she feels like her whole world has been turned upside-down.

Terrified that her vision might never return, Tessa feels like she has nothing left to be happy about. But when her grandparents place an ad in the local newspaper looking for a typist to help Tessa continue writing and blogging, an unlikely answer knocks at their door: Weston Ludovico, a boy her age with bright eyes, an optimistic smile…and no legs.

Knowing how angry and afraid Tessa is feeling, Weston thinks he can help her. But he has one condition — no one can tell Tessa about his disability. And because she can’t see him, she treats him with contempt: screaming at him to get out of her house and never come back. But for Weston, it’s the most amazing feeling: to be treated like a normal person, not just a sob story. So he comes back. Again and again and again.

Tessa spurns Weston’s “obnoxious optimism”, convinced that he has no idea what she’s going through. But Weston knows exactly how she feels and reaches into her darkness to show her that there is more than one way to experience the world. As Tessa grows closer to Weston, she finds it harder and harder to imagine life without him — and Weston can’t imagine life without her. But he still hasn’t told her the truth, and when Tessa’s sight returns he’ll have to make the hardest decision of his life: vanish from Tessa’s world…or overcome his fear of being seen.

100 Days of Sunlight is a poignant and heartfelt novel by author Abbie Emmons. If you like sweet contemporary romance and strong family themes then you’ll love this touching story of hope, healing, and getting back up when life knocks you down.

The Review

100 Days of Sunlight is the story of perseverance, growing relationships and acceptance. It follows Tessa, a young girl who has been blinded after an accident. This is a temporary situation, doctors are sure she will see again but she is struggling with this loss of one of her senses. Enter Weston. He refuses to let Tessa wallow in self pity. Tessa does not appreciate the intrusion of Weston in her life. She tries to push him away as much as she can. However, Weston is not that easy to get rid of.

Abbie Emmons young adult novel is really sweet. It is of a similar ilk as Me Before You and The Fault in Our Stars. Her characters are likeable and more importantly believable. You do feel sorry for both characters without feeling pity. This book is important for another reason. It is important due to representation of disability. Fortunately, more and more novels are representing different abilities and not in a negative way. It is all very positive.

100 Days of Sunlight is a sweet story and one that I would recommend.

100 Days of Sunlight by Abbie Emmons is available now.

Title: Squad

Author: Mariah MacCarthy

Pages: 249 Pages

Publisher: Macmillan’s Children’s Publishing Group

The Blurb

Jenna Watson is a cheerleader. And she wants you to know it’s not some Hollywood crap: they are not every guy’s fantasy. They are not the “mean girls” of Marsen High School. They’re literally just human females trying to live their lives and do a perfect toe touch. And their team is at the top of their game. They’re a family.

But all that changes when Jenna’s best friend stops talking to her. Suddenly, she’s not getting invited out with the rest of the squad. She’s always a step behind. And she has no idea why.

While grappling with post-cheer life, Jenna explores things she never allowed herself to like, including LARPing (live action role playing) and a relationship with a trans guy that feels a lot like love.

When Jenna loses the sport and the friends she’s always loved, she has to ask herself: What else is left?

The Review

Squad is set during that awkward transition period of high school when you are still trying to figure out who you are and who you are going to be. It is made even more so when you lose your support group. This is what happens to Jenna Watson. She feels her best friend slipping further away but rather than dealing with it by crying and over eating she kind of goes a bit off kilter.

Squad is a fantastic look at toxic friendships and how mental health of young adults. We watch as Jenna slowly disintegrates and has to find out who she is away from the safety of the squad.

As far as books about friendship go then Squad is a fantastic story of how the heartbreak of losing your best friend is just as bad as losing your first love.

Squad by Mariah MacCarthy is available now.

For more information regarding Mariah MacCarthy (@MariahMacCarthy) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Macmillan’s Children’s Publishing Group (@MacmillanKidsUK) please visit www.panmacmillan.com.