Category Archives: Wednesday Books

Teen Tuesday Review: The Search for Us by Susan Azim Boyer

Title: The Search for Us by Susan Azim Boyer
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Fiction
Length: 297 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


Two half-siblings who have never met embark on a search together for the Iranian immigrant and U.S. Army veteran father they never knew.

Samira Murphy will do anything to keep her fractured family from falling apart, including caring for her widowed grandmother and getting her older brother into recovery for alcohol addiction. With attendance at her dream college on the line, she takes a long shot DNA test to find the support she so desperately needs from a father she hasn’t seen since she was a baby.

Henry Owen is torn between his well-meaning but unreliable bio-mom and his overly strict aunt and uncle, who stepped in to raise him but don’t seem to see him for who he is. Looking to forge a stronger connection to his own identity, he takes a DNA test to find the one person who might love him for exactly who he is—the biological father he never knew.

Instead of a DNA match with their father, Samira and Henry are matched with each other. They begin to search for their father together and slowly unravel the difficult truth of their shared past, forming a connection that only siblings can have and recovering precious parts of their past that have been lost. Brimming with emotional resonance, Susan Azim Boyer’s The Search for Us beautifully renders what it means to find your place in the world through the deep and abiding power of family.


The Search for Us by Susan Azim Boyer is a thoughtfully written young adult novel.

Half-siblings Samira Murphy and Henry Owen find each other through DNA testing and theis lives could not be more different. Samira’s family barely scraps by and she shoulders burdens she should not be expected to bear. Henry family dynamics are complicated and he is growing increasingly unhappy with parental expectations. After learning of each other’s existence, Samira and Henry decide to find the father whose absence is felt in very different ways.

The Search for Us is a very compelling young adult novel with a refreshingly unique plot. Each of the characters are vibrantly drawn and quite endearing. The storyline is well-written and tackles heartrending, socially relevant issues. The various settings and characters spring vividly to life. The chapters alternate between Samira’s and Henry’s perspectives and this provides thought-provoking insight into their respective lives.  Susan Azim Boyer deftly handles sensitive subject matter and brings this engaging young adult novel to a heartwarming conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Fiction, Rated B+, Review, Susan Azim Boyer, The Search for Us, Wednesday Books, Young Adult

Review: Daughter by Kate McLaughlin

Title: Daughter by Kate McLaughlin
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Suspense
Length: 334 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Kate McLaughlin’s Daughter is a thrilling YA novel about trying to right deadly choices that were never yours to begin with.

Scarlet’s life is pretty average. Overly protective mom. Great friends. Cute boy she’s interested in. And a father she’s never known—until she does.

When the FBI show up at Scarlet’s door, she is shocked to learn her father is infamous serial killer Jeffrey Robert Lake. And now, he’s dying and will only give the names and locations of his remaining victims to the one person, the daughter he hasn’t seen since she was a baby.

Scarlet’s mother has tried to protect her from Lake’s horrifying legacy, but there’s no way they can escape the media firestorm that erupts when they come out of hiding. Or the people who blame Scarlet for her father’s choices. When trying to do the right thing puts her life in danger, Scarlet is faced with a choice—go back into hiding or make the world see her as more than a monster’s daughter.


Daughter by Kate McLaughlin is a brilliantly clever young adult novel.

Seventeen-year-old Scarlet Murphy is an excellent student who chafes against her mom Gina’s strict rules.  Scarlet suffers from anxiety and sometimes turns to unhealthy ways to manage it. But when the FBI shows up on their doorstep, her typical worries fly in the face of discovering the truth her mother has been keeping from her. Scarlet is the daughter of prolific serial killer Jeffrey Lake and her mom was married to him while he was actively kidnapping and murdering young women. Lake has been on death row for several years and now that he is dying, he will only reveal the names and locations of his other victims to Scarlet. Wrestling with her conscience, Scarlet decides to meet with him so the families of the victims can put their loved ones to rest. But does Lake have any intention of living up to his end of their bargain?

Scarlet’s horrifying visits with her father are juxtaposed against her introduction to grandparents and other family members. Despite her anger at her mother for keeping her past a secret, she relies on Gina’s support after Lake’s vile revelations. Scarlet is grateful for her new friendships with FBI Agent Andy Logan’s kids, Darcy and Luke. Agent Logan also gives her advice that help provide a new perspective on the secrets she has recently learned.

Daughter is an engrossing young adult that is very suspenseful. Scarlet grows and evolves throughout her sometimes-contentious meetings with Lake. She is also more understanding of her mother’s past behavior while also being a little angry about Gina’s deception. Lake is a thoroughly reprehensible man who is not to be trusted under any circumstances. Kate McLaughlin brings this thought-provoking novel to an unexpected yet satisfying conclusion. Recommended for older teen and adult readers.

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Filed under Contemporary, Daughter, Kate McLaughlin, Rated B, Review, Suspense, Wednesday Books, Young Adult

Review: Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher

Title: Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Everyone else in the tiny town of Enfield, Texas, calls fall football season, but for the forty-three members of the Fighting Enfield Marching Band, it’s contest season. And for new saxophonist Anna James, it’s her first chance to prove herself as the great musician she’s trying hard to be.

When she’s assigned a duet with mellophone player Weston Ryan, the boy her small-minded town thinks of as nothing but trouble, she’s equal parts thrilled and intimidated. But as he helps her with the duet, and she sees the smile he seems to save just for her, she can’t help but feel like she’s helping him with something too.

When her strict parents find out she’s been secretly seeing him and keep them apart, Anna and Weston learn what it truly means to fight for something they love. With the marching contest nearing and the two falling hard for one another, the unthinkable happens, and Anna is left grappling for a way forward without Weston.

Ashley Schumacher’s Full Flight is about how first love shapes us—even after it’s gone.


Full Flight by Ashley Schumacher is a poignant young adult romance.

Anna James is in the marching band and she is having difficulty playing her portion of a duet. She asks Weston Ryan, the other half of the duet, to help her with her part. He initially says no but Anna proves to be hard to resist. Her friends and parents do not want her spending time with the town’s “bad boy” but she knows there is more to Weston than rumors. Anna’s parents are strict and they have already made their opinion of Weston know. So, she sneaks around behind their backs in order to see him.  Weston and Anna begin to fall for each other, but what will happen to their relationship when Anna’s parents find out she has been lying to them?

Anna is refreshingly direct, sweet and used to being in the “friend zone”. She is very smart but she has not been playing the saxophone as long as the rest of the band. Her family is close and her parents keep tight reins on her and her younger sister. Anna feels bad about lying to her parents but she does not want to lose her part in the duet.

Weston is an incredibly gifted musician but he has been through a rough time recently. After his parents’ unexpected divorce, he went to a school in a nearby for a year to escape the gossip. His transfer back has not been easy since he is no longer as close to his friends, Ratio and Jonathan. Weston is smart but he does not prioritize his schoolwork until Anna begins helping him.

Anna and Weston quickly become friends but there is also a mutual attraction simmering between them. Anna does not want to get her heart broken again and Weston does not want another person in his life to disappear. But young love can be powerful and impossible to resist, so their friendship soon transitions to romance. Once Anna’s parents find out about them, will their relationship survive her punishment?

Full Flight is a heartfelt young adult romance that is utterly captivating. Anna and Weston are wonderful teenagers that are three-dimensional and incredibly life-like. The small town and high school settings are well drawn and easy to visualize. The storyline is well written and touches on a number of topical issues that will resonate with readers of all ages. With a heart-wrenching plot twist, Ashley Schumacher brings this bittersweet romance to a very emotional conclusion.

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Filed under Ashley Schumacher, Contemporary, Full Flight, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Wednesday Books, Young Adult

Review: These Deadly Games by Diana Urban

Title: These Deadly Games by Diana Urban
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Suspense, Thriller
Length: 407 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Let’s play a game.

You have 24 hours to win. If you break my rules, she dies. If you call the police, she dies. If you tell your parents or anyone else, she dies.

Are you ready?

When Crystal Donavan gets a message on a mysterious app with a video of her little sister gagged and bound, she agrees to play the kidnapper’s game. At first, they make her complete bizarre tasks: steal a test and stuff it in a locker, bake brownies, make a prank call.

But then Crystal realizes each task is meant to hurt–and kill–her friends, one by one. But if she refuses to play, the kidnapper will kill her sister. Is someone trying to take her team out of the running for a gaming tournament? Or have they uncovered a secret from their past, and wants them to pay for what they did…

As Crystal makes the impossible choices between her friends and her sister, she must uncover the truth and find a way to outplay the kidnapper… before it’s too late.

Author of All Your Twisted Secrets, Diana Urban’s explosive sophomore novel, These Deadly Games, will keep you riveted until the final twist is revealed.


These Deadly Games by Diana Urban is a spellbinding young adult thriller.

Crystal Donovan desperately needs the prize money from an upcoming egames tournament. The teams need to be five players so she and her friends are currently pitting their skills against each other for the coveted spots. But Crystal is soon consumed with fulfilling the demands of an anonymous person who has kidnapped her younger sister, Caelyn. Having proved the kidnapper knows her every move, she cannot reveal to anyone (and especially not the police) what she is being forced to do. When it becomes obvious the kidnapper is targeting her friends, Crystal must figure out why in hopes of outsmarting this dangerous person.

Crystal is frantic as she races against time to complete the tasks assigned to her. It is not until later in the day that realizes the kidnapper is setting her up to take the fall for the outcome of these dark deeds. Despite her desire to tell her best friends about what is happening to her, Crystal remains quiet as she tries to keep anyone from realizing something is drastically wrong. Even when things turn deadly, Crystal continues following the increasingly dangerous orders from the clearly disturbed kidnapper.

These Deadly Games is a suspense-laden thriller that is incredibly compelling. Crystal is a clever young woman whose gaming skills come in very handy while trying to outwit the kidnapper and save Caelyn. The supporting cast of characters is diverse and well-developed. The storyline is engrossing and moves at a blistering pace. With outstanding plot twists, Diana Urban brings this captivating young adult thriller to an edge of the seat conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Diana Urban, Rated B, Review, Suspense, These Deadly Games, Thriller, Wednesday Books, Young Adult

Review: If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich

Title: If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Contemporary, Gay, Bi, Romance
Length: 408 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Sophie Gonzales and Cale Dietrich’s “If This Gets Out is an absolute showstopper! Equal parts edgy and adorable, this bright, joyful book has everything I look for in a queer YA romance.” —Phil Stamper, bestselling author of The Gravity of Us

Eighteen-year-olds Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are two members of the boy-band Saturday, one of the biggest acts in America. Along with their bandmates, Angel Phan and Jon Braxton, the four are teen heartthrobs in front of the cameras and best friends backstage.

But privately, the pressure to stay in the closet has Ruben confiding in Zach.

On a whirlwind tour through Europe with an unrelenting schedule and minimal supervision, the two come to rely on each other more and more, and their already close friendship evolves into a romance. But when they decide they’re ready to tell their fans and live freely, Zach and Ruben realize they will never truly have the support they need.

How can they hold tight to each other when their whole world is coming apart?


If This Gets Out by Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich is a terrific young adult LGBTQ romance with fantastic characters.

Boyband Saturday is embarking on a European tour but the trip is nothing but business. Eighteen-year-old Ruben Montez and Zach Knight are close friends as well as bandmates. Ruben is gay but the band’s management will not let him come out. In fact, they have minimized his appearance along with his vocals. Zach is an introspective songwriter but he is cast as a bad boy and their manager never agrees to let them perform his songs. Exuberant, energetic Angel Phan’s role in the band is bland and suppresses his personality. Jon Braxton is nothing like his band persona and although his dad runs their label, he doesn’t get any say in anything with their band. During their overseas tour, everyone chafes at the lack of free time and Ruben and Zach become even closer. That is until a kiss between Ruben and Zach threatens to derail their friendship and leads to unexpected trouble with management. The band has achieved success beyond than they dreamed,  but will Saturday survive the fallout when Ruben and Zach want to take their romance public?

Despite their success, Ruben and Zach suffer from self-doubt. Ruben is constantly undermined by his mother and he has yet to set clear boundaries with her. Zach is easily paralyzed by worry since he is somewhat passive. Both are a little on the anxious side and neither want to do anything to jeopardize the band. Despite their personal concerns, they always let Angel and Jon know about anything that could impact Saturday.

Although If This Gets Out is an enjoyable LGBTQ young adult romance it can sometimes be a little angsty. The characters are vibrantly developed and very appealing. Ruben, Zach, Angel and Jon are very close and their friendships are always rock solid. The storyline is engaging and offers a realistic portrait of the exploitative side of the music industry.  The romance between Ruben and Zach is very sweet and Ruben is very patient with Zach as his new boyfriend becomes more comfortable with his sexuality. With the Saturday’s future hanging in the balance, Sophie Gonzales & Cale Dietrich bring this heartwarming novel to an uplifting conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Gay, GLBT, If This Gets Out, Rated B, Review, Romance, Sophie Gonzales, Wednesday Books, Young Adult

Review: Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn

Title: Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


In Erin Hahn’s Never Saw You Coming, sometimes it takes a leap of faith to find yourself.

Eighteen-year-old Meg Hennessey just found out her entire childhood was a lie. So instead of taking a gap year before college to find herself, she ends up traveling north to meet what’s left of the family she never knew existed – all while questioning the ideals she grew up with.

While there, she meets Micah Allen, a former pastor’s kid whose dad ended up in prison, leaving Micah with his own complicated relationship with faith. The clock is ticking on his probation hearing and Micah, now 19, feels the pressure to forgive – even when he can’t possibly forget.

As Meg and Micah grow closer, they are confronted with the heavy flutterings of first love and all the complications it brings. Together, they must navigate the sometimes-painful process of cutting ties with childhood beliefs as they build toward something truer and straight from the heart.


Never Saw You Coming by Erin Hahn is an engaging young adult romance with a topical storyline.

Eighteen-year-old Meg Hennessey’s gap year is turned upside down when she learns a huge secret about her life. She was homeschooled growing up and very involved in an ultraconservative church whose attitudes toward women she now questions. In order to distance herself from her parents, Meg heads to the Upper Peninsula in order to meet family she never knew existed. Her great-grandmother welcomes her with open arms as does her uncle James. But it is her chance meeting with nineteen-year-old Micah Allen that results in the most changes in her life.

Micah has been in his own crisis of church for several years. His faith in God never wavered but his faith in church institution did following the poor treatment lack of support of his family’s former congregation. Micah worships in his own way but he has yet to come to terms with the precipitating event that turned him away from going to church. His relationship with his family is a little strained under the weight of an expectation that he is unfairly burdened with. Micah is immediately intrigued with newcomer Meg and their lives intersect in a very unexpected way.

Until recently, neither Meg’s faith nor her relationship with her parents has ever been tested. She has always been a dutiful daughter but in light of new information, she rightly feels betrayed. Meg is hoping this trip away will help provide some clarity about her relationship with her parents and her now complex views on religion. Always extremely sheltered, Meg takes baby steps away from her strict upbringing as she decides her own viewpoints about the more extreme versions of her former church. She is also slowly feeling her way in her burgeoning romance with Micah.

Never Saw You Coming is a charming coming of age young adult novel. Meg and Micah are multi-faceted characters whose romance is very sweet. The UP is a wonderful backdrop since so much of Micah’s personality is tied to his love of the outdoors. The elements of faith are understated but religion is an integral part of Meg and Micah’s lives. Their less than positive experiences will resonate with readers who have questions about certain aspects of more conservative doctrine.  The story-line is well-executed and Erin Hahn brings this thought-provoking young adult novel to a heartwarming conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Erin Hahn, Never Saw You Coming, Rated B, Review, Romance, Wednesday Books, Young Adult