The History of Jane Doe by Michael Belanger (ARC Review)

4.5 STARS!

I usually read to escape, but this is BEAUTIFUL, WITTY book deals with real issues that are so very important. I enjoyed the alternating time perspectives, and the author really did a good job at making me invested in the characters. I love that Ray and Simon are unapologetically themselves, and I love their obsessions–Simon with milk and Ray with history. As a school counselor, I believe these books are so very important. Representation matters, and we need to normalize mental health conditions to fight the stigma and raise awareness with the goal of preventing fatal outcomes. I will definitely add this book to my collection.

I received an ARC from First To Read through Penguin Random House LLC in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis:

A poignant, deeply funny coming-of-age story about first love, first loss, and the power of history to give life meaning.

History buff Ray knows everything about the peculiar legends and lore of his rural Connecticut hometown. Burgerville’s past is riddled with green cow sightings and human groundhogs, but the most interesting thing about the present is the new girl–we’ll call her Jane Doe.

Inscrutable, cool, and above all mysterious, Jane seems as determined to hide her past as Ray is to uncover it. As fascination turns to friendship and then to something more, Ray is certain he knows Jane’s darkest, most painful secrets and Jane herself–from past to present. But when the unthinkable happens, Ray is forced to acknowledge that perhaps history can only tell us so much.

Mixing humor with heartache, this is an unmissable coming-of-age story from an exciting new voice in YA.

Release Date: June 5, 2018

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Counselor Considerations contain SPOILERS.

Do not read further if you don’t want to PLOT SPOILERS!

School Counselor Considerations:

Social/Emotional: Family:  Supportive, Involved Social: Bullied, Navigating Social Expectations, Strong Friendship, Emotional: Depression, Suicide, Coping Mechanisms

College/Career: N/A

Academic: N/A

Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka (ARC REVIEW)

3.5 STARS

Overdramatic drama students?! This book was cute, and I loved the premise. The tie in of Shakespeare’s plays, and the main character, Megan, as the Rosalind to multiple Romeo and Juliet’s was a wonderful plot line. I never knew I needed to know Rosalind’s story until now. Also, I loved Owen as a male lead. He was a good friend and that’s what we all really need, right?

The following will give away general plot ideas, but no specific details:

I appreciated how this story addressed the idea that who we fall in love with isn’t always in our control, but I don’t feel like it really held the people accountable for their poor actions in situations where this came up. It kind of felt like the story was saying, “it’s okay to act in a way that hurts someone, because they will eventually get over it.” And the cheating really turned me off during multiple parts of the story. Lastly, there were a few times when I thought, “this book really could have been a bit shorter.”

The theatre aspect was really adorable and just so much fun to read, but it just couldn’t redeem the story for me. Overall, this book is a cute teen read, that touches on navigating the relationships teens have with their family, friends and significant others, and how those relationships can impact each other. There is a HEA.

Counselor Considerations contain SPOILERS.

Do not read further if you don’t want to PLOT SPOILERS!

School Counselor Considerations:

Social/Emotional:Family: Blended Families, Step-Parent Families, Single Parent Families, Distance from one parent, Family leaving childhood home after HS graduation, Social: Labels, Owning your Labels, Attention Seeking Behavior, LBGTQIA+, Diversity, Loss of Virginity, Sex, Serial Relationships, Cheating in Relationships, Mending Friendships, Empathy

College/Career: College Bound, Fulfilling College Requirements, Career Driven,

Academic: N/A