Second Look: Little Monsters by Kara Thomas (2017)

I’m going to try REALLY hard to be clear, coherent, and objective not fan-girl wildly.

Gush Note: I was planning on waiting until June for this book, but after meeting K.T. at #YAFest2017 and finding out what she based this story on, I was excited to see it on NetGalley and HAD TO READ IT RIGHT AWAY.


Book Birthday: July 25, 2017

Kara Thomas, Little Monsters
Random House, 2017


The novel opens with Kacey sneaking out with her two best friends, and little sister, to have a seance in an abandoned (and rumored haunted) barn.  The Red Lady — a local legend — isn’t summoned that night, but it does serve as the impetus for events to come later in the novel.

After Kacey’s BFF, Bailey, disappears after a party, Kacey becomes one of the prime suspects of the case.  As the story unfolds, Kacey finds out secrets about her best friends and her step-family.  She tries to figure out what really happened to Bailey, and who her real friends are.

Based, in part, on the Skylar Neese murder, this novel is a gripping, edge-of-your-seat-True-Crime-for-YAs.

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Second Look: THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas

I’m sure you’ve heard about The Hate U Give by now, right? The #1 NYT Bestseller for YA fiction this past week? If you haven’t, then I strongly question what parts of the Internet you’re trolling.

Angie Thomas’s book is very timely and deals with an extremely intense and complex topic: an unarmed black teen is shot and killed by a white police officer. The main character of our story is Starr, the witness of the aforementioned shooting, who struggles with coming forward with the truth or staying silent to protect her family’s safety.

I can’t even begin to describe how honest and perfect this book is. The language, family dynamics, personal relationships, and racial struggles are all so amazingly written. Angie T. puts her readers in her character’s shoes, making The Hate U Give not just a story, but an experience.

I like to think I’ve never been prejudiced or racist a day in my life. I respect the different lifestyles people have, and am a firm believer that you never know what a person has been through until you experience it for yourself.  I’m a suburban white women who will never know what it’s like to be an oppressed minority. But reading this book helps you walk that proverbial mile in a young black girl’s shoes (specifically Jordan’s, in this case).

Angie Thomas helped me understand that though I’m not racist, there are certain stereotypes I wrongly understood to be true, and indirectly perpetuated them by doing so. It was eye-opening, and I love that this book can help people recognize their own unfounded prejudices.

Not gonna lie… I think this book should be on every high school reading list in the country. I’m sure it would be challenged and banned somewhere, but ya know what?  I’m okay with that because those ridiculous challenges just draw more attention to books and result in more people reading them.

EpicReads posted on their blog that if you only read one book this year, it should be this one. And you know what? They’re absolutely right. This is quite possibly the most important book anybody can read, especially right now with the current state of our world. But it also has very likeable characters and intermittent shots of humor that help break up the intensity without disrupting the story’s flow (Starr’s family members cracked me the hell up). But the acknowledgment by Angie Thomas at the end was what got me…



BTW, as if Angie Thomas wasn’t having an amazing year already with this epic book release, the book was also picked up by Fox 2000 to become a feature film. WOOT WOOT! Congrats, Angie!



Second Look: Tiffany D. Jackson’s ALLEGEDLY

Not only did ALLEGEDLY look amazeballs, but bonus!, Tiffany D. Jackson is coming to #YAFest2017!  So, of course I had to get my dirty paws on this book as soon as possible.  And man, what a book!


Tiffany D. Jackson’s Allegedly
Katherine Tegen Books, 2017

Fangirl Synopsis:

Mary B. Addison has been released from baby jail and given to the state until she turns 18.  She lives in a girls home with others in her situation, but no one is quite like Mary.  Mary’s crime?  She killed an 11-month old baby.  Allegedly.

The novel chronicles Mary’s realization she’s pregnant and will lose her baby to the state because of a crime she didn’t commit.  Allegedly.  When she realizes she’s pregnant, she takes her case to the Absolution Project (much like the very real Innocence Project) to have her case re-tried in hopes she can keep her baby, affectionately named Bean.

The novel moves through Mary’s fight for a re-trial, her dysfunctional relationship with her Momma, who’s found a new husband and God, a relationship with Ted, her baby’s daddy, and the tenuous situation with the other girls in the group home.

The question remains: Will Mary get to keep Bean?  And did she really kill baby Alyssa?


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Book Spotlight: RARITY FROM THE HOLLOW by Robert Eggleton


Lacy Dawn’s father relives the Gulf War, her mother’s teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage — an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It’s up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn’t mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire.

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.” —Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.” Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

. “…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy.” — Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” —Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” —Piers Anthony, New York Times bestselling author

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” — The Baryon Review

Purchase links:


Public Author Contacts:

Th1rteen R3asons Why: 10th Anniversary Edition!!

Can you believe it’s been TEN YEARS since this little beauty graced our bookshelves for the first time?

And what’s more is that this edition contains (ARE YOU READY FOR THIS?): Jay Asher’s original notes when he was fleshing out 13RW, a letter from Asher to his readers, and his ORIGINAL UNPUBLISHED ENDING.





I was so excited to read this super secret ending and wanted to dive in right away. BUT. I realized it has probably been ten actual years since I read it. Even though the message of 13RW and the feels I had while reading it are burned in my memory forever, I have to admit I forgot a lot of the specifics of the story. So to fully appreciate such a momentous occasion, I decided to re-read it. And I’m glad I did. It didn’t hit me quite as hard as the first time, but only because I knew what was coming.

But re-reading it also made me realize how important this book STILL is ten years later, especially where we’re at now in our society. I forgot what Hannah suffered through. How she was gossiped about. How she was stalked. And how she was bullied into feeling like she had no value. And most importantly, how people’s actions can snowball into a heinous mashup that makes you not want to live.

If you haven’t read 13RW, first of all, why are you reading this blog and NOT reading this book??? Secondly, there will be spoilers for both the original AND the unpublished ending. Read on at your own risk…

So the original ending.

In the last chapter, we see Clay trying to figure out how in the hell he’s going to face his classmates now that he knows what Hannah experienced that made her want to end her life. After realizing how disgusted his is with everyone on Hannah’s tapes, including himself for not doing more to reach out to her, he decides to reach out to someone else. Skye made a brief appearance earlier in the book, and Clay mentioned how odd it was that she suddenly turned goth-y and introverted. This time, he’s not going to let her walk away like Hannah did the last time he saw her. The last page shows Clay approaching Skye and possibly befriending her.

I can’t think of a more perfect way to end Clay (and Hannah’s) story.

Now for the unpublished ending. Again, spoilers abound. You’ve been warned…

The last chapter starts off the same way with Clay trying to go back to school the day after hearing Hannah’s tapes. But this time, when he tries to leave school, Courtney Crimson (what a perfectly villainous name) approaches Clay and, after a brief conversation, reveals Hannah’s alive after all! Her parents found her after she took the pills, got her to the hospital, and she’s going to be fine. The last page shows Clay hightailing it out of the school to go see her at the hospital.

That’s a super condensed summary, of course, but you get the basic gist. So???! Whaddya think???!!

My personal opinion? I love the unpublished ending because it gives hope to both Hannah’s character and the readers. Hannah suffered through a lot of pain, emotionally and physically, but she WILL BE OK. And that’s a beautiful thing.

HOWEVER. I’m glad it wasn’t the ending they actually published. Jay Asher’s book has been used in thousands of classrooms and opened up countless discussions on bullying, suicide, and how our actions affect other people. And in order for that to have that kind of impact, 13RW needed to end the way that it did… with Hannah’s death, and Clay reaching out to another student because of what he heard on Hannah’s tapes.

If Hannah doesn’t die, the message of the story is cheapened with a type of “don’t worry… everything will be ok!” attitude. All the kids on Hannah’s tapes wouldn’t have been affected as deeply if Hannah had survived. The finality of Hannah’s death is what drives the point home, and THAT is why books like this are so important. I thought it was brilliant before, but now that I know how it *almost* ended, it’s somehow even more powerful.

Have you read the 10th Anniversary edition? And if so, what did YOU think of the alternate ending? Seriously, someone please weigh in on this because I’m DYING TO TALK ABOUT IT WITH PEOPLE.