Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

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I was so anxious to read this new book from Jeff Zentner as I completely fell in love with his debut novel, “The Serpent King.”  Mr. Zentner writes his characters with true emotional depth and this book did not disappoint.  Goodbye Days is based around a tragedy that allows the main character, Carver, to explore many difficult topics not only for young people, but the adult characters in the story as well – friendship, guilt, grief, blame, loneliness, choices, love, family, regrets, but most of all forgiveness.  I love “Southern Novels”. and once again, Mr. Zentner captures the atmosphere of the South perfectly, almost as if Nashville, where the story is based, is a character in the book as well.  Yet another phenomenal YA book from Jeff Zentner and I look forward to reading more of his work in the future.

Mad Miss Mimic by Sarah Henstra

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This is well executed historical fiction from a YA perspective.  If you love Jane Austen, the Sherlock Holmes mysteries, or Ruta Sepetys, you will definitely want to try this book.  A very smart young lady named Leonora, or Leo for short, struggles with a terrible stammer that causes her to compensate by becoming a spot-on mimic of other people’s voices.  Charmed by a seemingly handsome, rich and good Lord, Leo gets swept up into an opium plot that threatens to literally blow up London.  Suspenseful, fast paced, and action packed, this book was a lot of fun to read and kept me guessing, as well as hoping that Leo would find her happily every after.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin

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This book is a true coming of age novel that deals with complex topics like family, duty, the immigrant experience, love, loss, faith and temptation. And the beauty of this book is that these issues are not dealt with in a highly dramatic fashion. Eilis perseveres in her work, studies and relationships in such a matter of fact way. She knows what needs to be done and gets to it. Her small life suddenly became my whole world as I read this story. Her grace, wisdom and intuition serve her perfectly and makes Eilis a character I will not soon forget.