#BFYA 2019 Nominees Round Up, June 15 Edition

Last to Let Go by Amber Smith
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
ISBN: 978-1481480734

Brooke Winters is looking forward to starting a new school with better AP options for her junior year. On the last day before summer break, Brooke comes home to find her mother, who has been a victim of domestic abuse, arrested for allegedly killing her father. Her younger sister, Callie, is in shock after witnessing the killing and will barely speak to anyone. Her older brother, Aaron, becomes his siblings’ legal guardian while their mother is in jail. Brooke struggles to find a way to keep her family together. In addition to issues at home, Brooke is learning how to handle her feelings for her new friend, Dani.

This coming-of-age story is an emotional read that shows how one is able to keep things together despite how bad things in life seem to be. Brooke is a relatable character, as she goes through different emotions towards her parents. Readers will see how Brooke and her siblings are affected by domestic violence through flashbacks of when her dad was alive and after his death. The author shows that domestic violence can affect not only those in the family, but other things such as one’s job, friendships, school life, and relationships. Readers will also appreciate that the author does not blame either parent for their wrongdoings. Trigger warning: Domestic violence is portrayed heavily throughout the book.

Give this to fans of realistic fiction dealing with domestic violence including Blood Family and Still Waters.

–Lindsay Fricke


Not If I Save Your First by Ally Carter
Scholastic Press
Publication Date: March 27, 2018
ISBN: 9781338134148 

Maddie’s dad was injured saving her best friend’s mom… who just happens to be the First Lady. Logan and Maddie haven’t spoken since that night, and now Maddie wants to kill Logan. Unfortunately, an assassin shows up who tries to kill Logan first.

This is a fast-paced thriller with a mixture of political assassinations, wilderness survival, spy shenanigans, and just a hint of romance. Maddie and Logan are both independent characters with their own strengths and  weaknesses. The Alaskan wilderness is omnipresent in the story throwing our heroine and hero into new troubles even without the Russian assassins chasing them. On top of all this, Maddie and Logan are dealing with their growing feelings towards each other while dealing with the fallout of their broken friendship.

This book is great for fans of Ally Carter’s Embassy Row series, Hatchet by Gary Paulson, the Lois Lane series by Gwenda Bond, and the film White House Down.

–Mary Gensel