Alethea Kontis

Have you ever wanted to go back in time and fix your past? Even just one tiny little thing you regret? It's certainly a tempting proposition. But how might that one tiny thing change everything else in the landscape of your life? In Jennifer Honeybourn's The Do-Over, that's exactly what Emelia O'Malley is about to find out. And fair warning: Make sure you're paying attention on page one, because this story moves FAST!

Before I begin this review in earnest, I would first like to bestow upon Miss Amanda Sellet several Bonus Points for the most puntastic title of 2020 (Get it? "BUY the Book"). And then I shall implore you, Dear Reader, to brew a cup of your favorite tea and settle in while I tell you the tale of this most intriguing and delightful tome about the misadventures of a teen who grew up steeped in classic literature — and little else.

I started reading Jessica Pennington's Meet Me at Midnight on an empty beach in Florida, near where I live on the Space Coast. There are rarely many people at the Canaveral National Seashore, and I thought it would be a fitting place to celebrate a new "summer at the lake" title. That beach is closed now. Looking back, this book and that sand feel like they happened a lifetime ago, in a different world. But that doesn't make Meet Me at Midnight less wonderful in any way!

I'm not sure I know anyone around my age who doesn't have a special place in their heart for the 1992 film The Cutting Edge, where a spoiled figure skater is forced to team up with a smarmy injured hockey player and sparks fly. When I saw Sara Fujimura's skating book pop up on my radar, all I could think was, "Toe Pick!" I anticipated a similar enemies-to-lovers story, and I was totally on board.

Hannah Capin's most recent book, Foul is Fair, opens with a sensitive content warning and a dedication to every girl who wants revenge. I ask that readers here please keep that in mind for the length of this review, should you elect to continue.

As soon as I opened to the title page of A Castle in the Clouds, something seemed familiar. I saw Romy Fursland's translator credit, and then flipped back to Kerstin Gier's bio. She was indeed the German author of the fabulous Ruby Red trilogy, books I read many years ago. While A Castle in the Clouds is far more of a cozy mystery than a sweeping historical fantasy like the Ruby Red series, its precocious main character and huge, quirky supporting cast make this new novel just as enjoyable.

The holiday season that You've Got Mail was released, I saw it in the theater with my grandmother. Now that she's gone, I rewatch the silly, heartwarming Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan classic every year right around this time. Tiana Smith's How to Speak Boy was absolutely the perfect book to dovetail right into my tradition.

I know we're not supposed to judge books by their covers, but I had a few reservations about reviewing a book called Crying Laughing, just based on the title. By and large, I am not a fan of stories that make me cry. I don't mind getting teary by the last chapter because I've fallen in love with the characters and someone has just made a grand gesture or said the perfect thing — that's different. Those books don't typically have the word "Crying" just right there in the title.

It's that time of year again. Fall is right around the corner. Pumpkin spice fills the air. Kids are going back to school, the days are getting shorter, and books are getting heavier. The pie-in-the-sky, read-them-in-one sitting summer-blockbuster releases now make way for complex novels filled with luscious prose, years of history, and serious issues. Books just like Maika and Maritza Moulite's Dear Haiti, Love Alaine.

I was excited to get my hands on a copy of The Silence Between Us, as I had yet to review a book for this column featuring a deaf protagonist. I was doubly delighted to know that the story had been written by someone who is herself part of the deaf community — Alison Gervais suffered permanent hearing loss at a very young age, and is hard of hearing. Even the book's cover image is #OwnVoices, designed by deaf artist Nancy Rourke. I was absolutely ready to lose myself in a good book that both respected and celebrated deaf culture, and I was not disappointed.

Humor is incredibly subjective. It's unique to each person. So much so that my very first fiction writing teacher instructed us to never even attempt it. Instead of accepting the challenge this was probably meant to be, I took the lesson to heart. I already knew I had a strange sense of humor.

There are a million books out there about intelligent young people who overcome insurmountable odds and triumph over adversity, all on their own. These far outnumber the books about young people that start out this way. I was happy to find that Lauren Morrill's Better Than the Best Plan is one of them.

Books about rapturous, all-consuming first love are prevalent in young adult literature. But what about that last year before graduation, realistically? What about all those heartbreaking decisions that must be made when one or both parties go away to college? What happens to that beautiful teenage love then?