Review: Edge the Bare Garden by Roseanne Cheng

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So this book completely flew under my radar.  None of my friends have read it, it hasn’t been seen on any high profile lists…but for some reason it caught my eye.  The cover’s beautiful, without a doubt.  But the blurb is haunting and full of promise.

Agnes is an “Out.”  Not only does she not belong to any group at school, she often finds herself the object of everyone’s ridicule.  Some of the teasing is blatant, but most of it is subtle.  She doesn’t make things any easier with her reactions, though.  Rather than try to get along with the other kids, she seems to go out of her way to incite them.  Sure, she’s an easy target with her messy hair and weird clothes and strange mom and rundown house and all that.  But it does bother her.  And when the opportunity for revenge presents itself, she seizes it.  Suddenly everyone’s attention is focused on an anonymous blog. Every day they log on to see just which one of them is next to have their deepest darkest secrets revealed.  What will it take to stop Agnes, and just who can do it?

I loved this book for many reasons.  The subject matter is relevant and hugely important in today’s world.  The author deftly shows that everyone has something to hide, even those who are “Ins”.  And mostly, I loved that the story was told by a nameless somebody.  Just another student waiting to fall victim to Agnes’ wrath.  That nameless person could be anybody, and that’s the point of the story to me.

How far is too far when teasing is concerned?  What role does each person play?  Where does personal responsibility enter the picture?  And how easily could it be stopped if you just took the time to talk to someone?  These are all questions raised in this outstanding little sleeper novel.  Read it, give it to a teenager you love, and then talk about it.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Edge the Bare Garden

Review: How to Keep Rolling After a Fall by Karole Cozz0

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When I read Karole Cozzo’s debut novel, How to Say I Love You Out Loud, I knew I was on to something good.  So it was with great anticipation I began her new release.   And I just love when I can pass along five-star gems to other readers…

Nikki messed up big time, and she knows it.  After a party (unauthorized) at her house, pictures of a classmate end up on social media. And let’s just say these aren’t your average selfies.  Does it matter that she didn’t actually take and post the pictures?  Not really.  It was, after all, her house and her Facebook account.  Her punishment wouldn’t have been as hard to take if her friends hadn’t thrown her under the bus and left her to take all the blame.

A disappointment to her family and herself, she finds herself an outcast at her old school as well as at her new school.  She resigns herself to just getting by, not calling anymore attention to herself and making do until the end of the year.  But friendships do happen, and love interests do come along.  Nikki’s finding it harder and harder to forgive herself and to move on.  Will she be able to make amends and move forward?

This story takes a very real, very tough look at a topic very much in the headlines these days.  Where does personal responsibility begin and end?  Are you just as much to blame if you just stand by and watch? And how long does it take to earn back the trust of those you’ve disappointed the most?  Another outstanding story from this author!

~Thalia

~Buy It Now:  How to Keep Rolling After a Fall