Category Archives: Young Adult

Fiction traditionally written for ages ranging from twelve years up to the age of eighteen. The terms young-adult novel, juvenile novel, young-adult book, etc. refer to the works in the YA category. The vast majority of YA stories portray an adolescent, rather than an adult or child, as the protagonist. Includes stories about the challenges of youth or coming-of-age novels. Age-wise this is a step beyong traditional Teen Fiction and may include adult themes not suitable for some teens.

Hot X:Algebra Exposed by Danica McKellar

Danica McKeller is a genius! One of the subjects most in need of some excitement is math and she found a way to do that. McKeller takes the subject of algebra and curls its hair, does its makeup and buys it a new gown. We are left with an amazingly easy (and fun) to read book that takes the mystery out of the feared subject. Each section has info on the topic at hand, then peppers in Quick Notes (tips), Step-by-Step examples (showing work), Takeaway Tips (reminders) and a bunch of examples on how to do the topic.

I was so enamoured with the book that I gave it to my daughter who is 11 years old to see what she thought (and how this played out with the target audience. After all, every parent is looking for the next best way to help their children learn but we all wonder if it actually works.) Here is what she said about the book:

Arieltopia: This book was about how easy algebra is when you understand how to do it. I think it is a great book and I recommend it for all young ladies in junior high through high school. Girls only because it talks a little about guys, but not anything parents would need to worry about. I really enjoyed this book and I hope you do too. The author has also written two other math-related novels. This book is written by the New York bestselling author of Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail. Her other book is titled Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss. The three are related and at the bottom of every page, page numbers in the other books are listed in case you are either lost or just do not understand. This book really does help. My math grade increased alot and I can only use some of the facinating algebra tips in this book. Just think what it would do for girls in high school! I really learned alot of cool math tricks and I hope you pick up a copy of this book right away!

I agree. This is a great resource for parents and teens alike.


Scott Asher is the founder and administrator of BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. He reviews for the commercial site BuddyHollywood.com and previously on Bookboro. His personal blog is AshertopiA – a land flowing with milk and honey… and a lot of sticky people.

Arieltopia is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She is an 11 year old avid reader – usually going through a book a day – who gives readers a unique perspective on Young Adult and Teen Fiction; an actual teenager’s perspective. Her blog is http://Arieltopia.blogspot.com.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Hot X: Algebra Exposed

Blending Time by Michael Kinch (BuddyHollywood.com)

Turning seventeen isn’t as exciting as it used to be… say, back in 2025. Because in 2069, turning seventeen means that you are ready to be assigned to a permanent work assignment by the Global Alliance.

Do well in school and differentiate yourself and you may get out of digging a canal for the rest of your life. Jaym, a poor child of a single mother is seventeen and running out of job options. Reya, daughter of refugees from the desert formerly known as MexiCal doesn’t have a choice. D’Shay, a young man with a history of mistakes has no shot of getting a good career without bribing a hacker. All three think that they’ve made it by avoiding canal duty. Their job: go to Africa, where the population cannot reproduce because of a terrible solar flare damaging their genes, marry a pre-chosen mate then repopulate the continent. But the Blender program they’ve been chosen for isn’t all it seems.

Once they get to Africa they find a world very different than their training prepared them for. With no support from the Global Alliance, they have to make their way in a land filled with rebels and abject poverty…

CONTINUE READING AT BuddyHollywood.com

The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

One Christmas Eve, Kate is shaken awake by her mother.  Kate, the oldest of three children, is implored by her mother to look after the younger two, Michael and Emma.  The three children are spirited away in the middle of the night to keep them safe.  For the next ten years, these siblings will find themselves shuffled from foster home to foster home, until one disastrous meeting with a potential adoptive parent lands them in the “orphanage” of Dr. Stanislaus Pym.  It is a strange sort of orphanage, made so because of the enigmatic owner of the house, Dr. Pym, the old caretaker, Abraham, and the housekeeper who insists on speaking to the children in address of royalty, Miss Sallow.  Oh, and the fact that Kate, Michael, and Emma are the only children in the orphanage.

Upon their first investigation of the house, the children find a book bound in green leather.  Purely by accident, they stick a picture in the book and are transported back in time.  It is here they meet the Countess, an evil witch in search of the book that the children themselves have found.  When they try to get back to their time, Michael is left behind.  The girls then return to find Michael, sending them on the adventure of a lifetime.   The children seems to be on one adventure after another trying to right the wrongs of the past.

When I first started this book, I was not sure if I would finish it.  The Emerald Atlas contains characters reminiscent of Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore and Rubius Hagrid, a story line about children entering another time (world) in order to save it as in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, and a seemingly never-ending abundance of dismal situations a la A Series of Unfortunate Events.  I was concerned that John Stephens would not find his own voice.

I am glad I kept reading.  While the aforementioned nods to other great children’s literature do exist, Stephens begins to weave his own tale.  The characters are ones for whom you can champion.  I am a major fan of books that incorporate strong female characters, and Stephens does this twice with both Kate and Emma.   He also manages to do so while keeping in consideration the fact that they are still children.  

As with any book, I rate it based on its repeat readability (yep, making up words now).   Stephens gets a solid yes.  Stephens’ novel is great for young readers, rich in folklore and vivid imagery.   I am looking forward to the next two books in this trilogy, even knowing I will have to wait quite some time (as Atlas is not slated for release until April 2011).


Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at Bookgateway.com and has generously supplied this review. She describes herself as “a woman just trying to keep it all together. Most days, I have the juggling act down! Others, I have the broom and dustpan handy to clean up the mess. My life is not always easy, it is not always neat, but it is always worth every minute!” Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost..

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: The Emerald Atlas (Books of Beginning)

Beyond The Valley of Thorns by Patrick Carman

From the back:Alexa Daley thought her troubles were over when she defeated the man who threatened to bring Bride well down from within. But now that the walls have fallen, a new, unexpected threat has risen from outside. Suddenly, Alexa is involved in a battle much, much bigger than her own life …a battle in which she is destined to play a key role. Sinister forces are gathering in strange and vile forms, all with the goal of bringing darkness to the land. In order to help good defeat evil, Alexa and her friends must venture farther than they’ve gone before- confronting giants, bats, ravenous dogs, and a particularly ghoulish mastermind in order to bring back peace.

The book was easy for me to read, but I would recommend it for grades four through seven. It really depends on the individual. I got into it on probably page one because I was so pumped up from reading the first book, The Dark Hills Divide, (which I have also reviewed.) It was a very fun book! I simply loved it! I recommend it for anybody that still likes a fun, fictional, but also suspenseful book about a twelve year old girl saving the world. Most normal middle schoolers would like the book almost as much as me. (Nobody could like it more or as much as I did!) It was not obviously Christian but I could relate Elyon to God and Alexa to each of us. It really depends on how you look at it. No one in the book reads the bible but I think they pray to Elyon in the third book a couple times but not in this one. There is absolutely nothing bad that parents would have to worry about. No bad words or actions at all. I think this book is a great source of reading for any one that likes suspenseful fantasy. Before you start reading this series make sure you have the next ones in the series close by. If you don’t you might go crazy: the only part I was the a little upset about was the fact that each of these books are cliff-hangers. They all end in “to be continued.”

This series of books is probably up in second place on the list of my favorite book series right behind The Percy Jackson series, but that’s another story (or book.)


Arieltopia is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She is an 11 year old avid reader – usually going through a book a day – who gives readers a unique perspective on Young Adult and Teen Fiction; an actual teenager’s perspective. Her blog is http://Arieltopia.blogspot.com.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Beyond The Valley Of Thorns (Land of Elyon)

The Radleys: A Novel by Matt Haig

Peter, the patriarch.  Peter is a physician in a small town where everyone knows everyone and is interested in their lives (obsessively so). He wishes for more in his home, doesn’t get it, so he begins to fantasize about what could be with his neighbor.

Helen, the matriarch. Helen tries to keep the family on the straight and narrow, hanging on to habit and tradition with a ferocity that would make a rabid wolverine proud.

Rowan, the son. Sensitive, artistic, and Lord Byron’s biggest fan. Rowan is subjected to the bullying of his classmates. He is also secretly in love with his sister’s best friend.

Clara, the daughter.  Clara starts out seemingly in the background. She is Eve’s friend, the beautiful newcomer who has enraptured Rowan (and most of the male teenage population of Bishopthorpe).   But Clara will not stay in the background long.

One fateful night, a young man decides that he is going to ignore the fact that no means no. It is his decision that will change the fates of this, well, boring middle-class family.

You see, the Radleys are vampires. Granted, Rowan and Clara do not know this, and Peter and Helen have been abstaining for the last 17 years. However, that night changes everything for them. Rowan and Clara learn their true natures, Peter’s long lost brother returns with his past on his heels, and this nuclear family goes atomic.

And all of this happens in the span of a week.

Matt Haig’s tale of family and what happens when secrets are finally revealed is one of the best books I have read in quite some time. He is in turn humorous and serious. Haig captures the nature of repression with sparkling clarity. His unique voice is one that I find refreshing. Haig expertly captures the disconnection that his characters are experiencing between what is right and what is nature.

When I first started the book, I was a little put off by the seemingly erratic change in topic in the first few tiny chapters (some as short as a few paragraphs on one single page).  However, as I continued reading, the book and its format began to make sense.  As in real life, we never get the full impact of a situation all at once.  Haig mirrors that in his writing.

As with all that I read, I gauge how much I like a book based on if I would read it again.  The answer: over and over!  This book is fantastic!  The only con I can really post is that I would have liked to have heard more from Clara throughout the novel.  She tended to take a backseat to everyone else, and she is really the character who put the major part of the story in motion.

Outside of that, the novel was great! My next step will be to seek out Haig’s other novels.  I can only imagine they will be just as grand as this one.


Robin Gwaro is a founding book review blogger at Bookgateway.com and has generously supplied this review. She describes herself as “a woman just trying to keep it all together. Most days, I have the juggling act down! Others, I have the broom and dustpan handy to clean up the mess. My life is not always easy, it is not always neat, but it is always worth every minute!” Her personal blog is Just Wandering. Not Lost.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon:The Radleys

The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman

From the back: Twelve year old Alexa Daley is spending another summer in Bridewell with her father. She looks forward to exploring the old lodge where she stays each year, with its cozy library and maze of passages and rooms. She’s also eager to finally solve the mystery of what lies beyond the immense walls that were built to keep out an unnamed evil that lurks in the forests and The Dark Hills-an evil the towns people are still afraid of. As Alexa begins to unravel the truth about what lies outside the protective barrier she’s lived behind all her life, she discovers a strange and ancient enchantment. Armed with an unexpected new power, Alexa exposes a danger that could destroy everything she holds dear-and change The Land of Elyon forever.

This book was about a young girl named Alexa Daley. Her country was made of three towns that were all inside stone walls. The passages to get to the other towns were also surrounded by walls. All of the buildings were one story high so that no one would be able to get into the towns or out. The walls were made by Warvold (who is now a old man) when he was young to protect his family and everyone in the town from a dark evil outside the walls. Alexa Daley likes going to Bridewell (the town that Warvold stays at.It is in the middle of the other towns,) because it has a three story building in it. Alexa is an adventurous girl who is always getting into trouble with the head guard Pervis. (They don’t exactly get along very well.) Alexa brings her mother’s magnifying glass to Bridewell even though they are forbidden. She has the only room in any of the towns that you can hop up on the window sill and get a peek of the Dark Hills, and the wilderness outside the walls. She is caught by Pervis using the glass to see outside the walls. He breaks the magnifying glass after taking it a few days later. Alexa always is looking for a way outside the wall throughout the story in till she finds out about the Joscastas. They are gems that Renny (Warvold’s now dead wife.) used to make. If you had a strong enough magnifying glass you could see what message was inscribed on the Joscata. Alexa is a very intelligent girl. She studies the gems for several days. Alexa finds a way outside the walls using the Jocastas and finds out that she was chosen by Warvold to continue the mystery of the walls and what lays outside them. She discovers that she has a power and that she must use it to save Bridewell, the Dark Hills, and the Land of Elyon.


Arieltopia is an 11 year old avid reader – usually going through a book a day – who gives readers a unique perspective on Young Adult and Teen Fiction; an actual teenager’s perspective.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Radiance by Alyson Noel

Riley Bloom is a 12 year old girl. She has a yellow lab named Buttercup. One moment she and her family are cruising down the highway. The next moment she is no longer on the highway or even in Eugene, Oregon, but in a beautiful shimmering field. Her parents are going one way, her sister another and there is a beautiful bridge waiting to be crossed. The bridge is the entrance to the afterlife – “Here and Now”. Who should she follow? Before she can decide, her sister has disappeared back to earth. Riley, her parents and Buttercup are dead. They have passed over. Now, all Riley need to do is cross the bridge.

Riley finds Here is not so different from where she lived in Oregon – an exact replica of her old neighbor – house and all. Her parents inform her she is to attend school where she will make new friends, learn new things; pick up where she left off on earth. Although she is doubtful this will happen she just smiles. After a light breakfast (yes you still eat in Here) she starts out to find the school – not really knowing where to go or what to expect. On her way she passes the “Viewing Room”. She has been told not to go in, but being Riley she doesn’t listen. She steps in side and sees her sister back on earth – alive but just going through the motion of appearing normal, but Riley knows her sister too well – this is just a front, she really isn’t handling things too well.

Riley soon learns that the afterlife isn’t an eternity of leisure. She has responsibilities. She is summoned by the Council. After seeing highlights of her life on earth, she comes to the conclusion that she had been a brat – bugging her sister, spying on her and anyone else she came across. The Council assigns her a job – Soul Catcher. She thinks – what in the world is a Soul Catcher. Before she can ask the question, the Council has disappeared. She learns her teacher is 14 year old named Bodhi – a nerdy guy dressed in the clothing worn in the fifties. They return to earth for Riley’s first assignment. She is to find the Radiant Boy and get him to cross over the bridge. He has been haunting an English castle for centuries. All other have failed and Bodhi is confident Riley will also. She is too cocky, disrespectful and must stop calling him the Nerdy Guy.

What transpires when Riley comes face-to-face with the Radiant Boy – not one but three- they are triples working in shifts – makes for a very interesting story and teaches Riley what it really means to live in the Here and Now. Bodhi’s encounter with the Radiant Boys’ grieving mother earns both he and Riley their “glow”.

An interesting, delightful work of fiction, but possibly not too far off from the truth of what we may expect to find in the afterlife – the Here and Now- where every moment in time is now.

Highly recommended!


Mary Asher, the Golden Reviewer, is a founding book blogger for BookGateway.com and has generously provided this review. She describes herself as “An 80 year old avid reader reviews the newest in Christian fiction and non-fiction with a sprinkle of the secular on top.” Her old blog was at http://GoldenReviewer.blogspot.com.

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

Support BookGateway.com by purchasing this book through Amazon: Radiance

The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, June by Robin Benway

April/May/June are sisters. Their parents have recently divorced and their dad has moved to Houston, Texas. They, with their mother, have moved to a new town and school. April is the oldest, May is the middle child and June the youngest.

April is the studious type – she actually likes school. May is a loner – she doesn’t make friends easy, and June wants to be popular and fit in with the in-crowd. May is having problems with European History and is assigned a tutor. Henry. This seems ironic to her since most the Kings of Europe have been named Henry. Henry is very serious about his studies and hopes to go to Stanford after graduation. He wears everything with the Standford name on it even down to his shoe laces.

June, a freshman, becomes friends with Mariah, a sophomore. Mariah is a little wild and persuades June to ditch school, attend drunken parties and lie to her family. April/May/June are extraordinary girls – they have special powers. April can see the future – May can literally disappear – June can read minds. Will they realize that they need each other before it is too late?

Highly recommended! This is a funny, well written book. You will be amused at the antics the three sisters go through trying to keeps their powers secret. Read how they cope with being teenagers in high school, their first boyfriends and their parent’s divorce. You will learn that there is nothing stronger than sisterhood!

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.

She’s So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott

Home is Where the Hate is…

 So begins the quick blurb on the back of She’s So Dead to Us.  In this novel, Ally Ryan is returning home after stealing away with her family in the middle of the night.  Ally’s father was responsible for a financial downfall that impacted many of the once affluent families in the Ryan’s social circle.  Once they left, Ally’s father also abandoned both her and her mother.  Ally’s mother has decided to move them back to their home town.  What ensues is a story with depth of feeling and one that leaves you wanting more.

Kieran Scott does a magnificent job of capturing the turmoil that is the teenage years.  It is easy to relate to each of the characters in the novel.  While you might not like some of them, Scott does ensure that you at least understand why each acts as he or she does. While many other authors attempt to lean on youth as justification for poor behavior, Scott does not reduce her characters to simply being too young to know better.  Each faces the consequences of his/her decisions with an awareness that belies each person’s age in years.  Scott shows that not all teen characters need to be written as vapid or shallow.

As the story progresses, Scott’s characters reveal the motive behind actions.  She shows us that not always do the adults act with decorum and tact.  There is actually a point where the teenagers surpass the adults in this story in terms of maturity.  Scott proves through this novel that it is possible to write a story that actually uplifts teens and shows they can overcome the challenges they face in their lives.  She does so without reducing them to whining, self-absorbed individuals that other writers do. There are points in the novel where Scott shows the contradiction of the age at which her characters are.  They are in one instance dealing with infidelity and in the next trying to hand on to their youth.

The only con I can list for this novel is that it ended too quickly!  Scott has set the novel up for a sequel, which is both good and bad.  Good because I want to see where she takes the story.  Bad because now I have to wait.

This book was provided free of charge as a review copy. The publisher had no editorial rights or claims over the content or the conclusions made in this review. No payment was provided in return for this review. 

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Samantha Kingston is having a bad day.  A VERY bad day.  One she gets to relive seven times.  In her debut novel, Lauren Oliver takes us into the very shallow world of high school. She brings us the story of four girls who live each day by their own whims.  Oliver makes a statement in her statement to the First Look Book Club.  She states that her first hope for the novel is that you won’t like Sam or her friends very much.  And, rest assured Ms. Oliver, I don’t.   They are vapid and self-centered.   They treat others around them abominably and are only interested in doing what they want to do. 
Even with that, you get glimpses of a group of girls who are doing what they think is expected.  Sam states several times that there are things she doesn’t like about what they do and even that she doesn’t like her boyfriend all that much; and yet, she acts just like a 17-year-old would be expected to act around her friends.  She shows that the desire to fit in can often override good judgement and even simple consideration for someone’s fellow human beings.
In grand Groundhog Day fashion (to which Oliver even refers in the novel), Sam tries seven different ways to  bring the day to an end.  The events of each day play out differently, depending on how Sam uses her knowledge of the day’s events to change their outcome.  
Having been on the opposite side of popularity while in high school, Oliver’s novel gives me a different view of  the students whose lives I thought were perfect.  At the time, I was very envious of the girls who seemed to have perfect everything.  I was of the opinion that it was effortless for them.  Oliver gives you a glimpse into a life that is not so black and white; one that makes you realize that very few people who walk this earth, young or old, have it all together.
Mid-way through the first chapter, I wanted to put it down and not pick it back up.  I was so irritated by the main characters that I wasn’t sure I could actually finish the book.  I kept going, hoping it would get better.  I am SO glad I chose to stick it out. Before I Fall is a beautiful novel by Lauren Oliver.  It is an amazing debut, and I expect we will see more great work from Oliver in the future. 
This book was provided free of charge as a review copy. The publisher had no editorial rights or claims over the content or the conclusions made in this review. No payment was provided in return for this review.