Robin Talley – As I Descended

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple. Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to ensure Maria wins the Kingsley Prize, securing their future together.

When feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line between foul and fair.

Robin Talley’s As I Descended is her third book. Talley’s previous books What We Left Behind and Lies We Tell Ourselves received great acclaim and her latest sounded fascinating. Set at a prestigious boarding school, featuring a lesbian couple, feuds, and power struggles, it seemed as if it would make for an awesome read. And it was, quite compellingly so, but it was also a book I don’t quite know what to make of in the end.  Read More …

N.D. Gomes – Dear Charlie

ndgomes-dearcharlieEngland, 1996.
Death should never meet the young. But it did. Thanks to my brother, death made fourteen new friends that day. Maybe even fifteen, if you count Charlie.

At sixteen, Sam Macmillan is supposed to be thinking about girls, homework and his upcoming application to music college, not picking up the pieces after the school shooting that his brother Charlie committed. Yet as Sam desperately tries to hang on to the memories he has of his brother, the media storm surrounding their family threatens to destroy everything. And Sam has to question all he thought he knew about life, death, right and wrong.

School shootings are a sad phenomenon of our time and have been the subject of numerous YA novels in the past years. I’ve read two of those, Matthew Quick’s Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock and Marieke Nijkamp’s This is Where It Ends. Both are gripping, emotional novels, each dealing with different points of view on the matter. Quick’s book is written from the point of view of the shooter, while Nijkamp’s novel shows us differing perspectives of teens involved in a school shooting. Dear Charlie takes a very different tack, though its story is equally compelling and emotional. N.D. Gomes focuses her novel on the aftermath of a school shooting and what happens to the family of the culprit.  Read More …