People Like Us by Dana Mele
G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: February 27, 2018
After boarding school student Kay Donovan and her friends discover a body floating in the water, she receives an email to participate in a revenge website to take down her friends. Intrigued, Kay visits the site only to find it is password protected. Unable to crack the code, Kay enlists in the help of Nola, a girl she once was mean to. Once in the site, the two discover that each task is given a certain amount of time to complete. If not completed in time, Kay’s secrets will be exposed. Despite backlash, Kay will do what it takes to hide the truth.
This psychological thriller will keep readers in suspense and turning pages to find out more. This book is similar to Pretty Little Liars, but with a boarding school setting. Most of the girls are mean, but readers will enjoy that there are consequences to face as a result of their actions. Each character is flawed in some way. At some point or another, each is faced with being a possible suspect in the dead girl’s murder. There are a lot of bad things happening in the book, including killing, revenge, animal abuse, and lying, but all of these factors make the story work so well. The mystery part of the book is spot on, as the ending is exciting and unpredictable.
Give this to fans of psychological, suspenseful thrillers, including One of Us is Lying, We Were Liars, Follow Me Back, and Pretty Little Liars.
Rebound by Kwame Alexander
HMH Books for Young Readers / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: April 2, 2018
This novel-in-verse tells the story of Chuck Bell growing up in the 1980s after his father unexpectedly passes away. After getting into trouble, he is sent to live with his grandparents for the summer. There he learns about jazz, basketball, and what life is worth living for.
This novel-in-verse with the occasional comic strip tells a compelling story that works well whether or not someone has read the previous book about Chuck’s twin boys. It captures the excitement and doubts of growing up. Chuck is a sympathetic protagonist who many students will connect to. The poetry is a stirring example of how to describe how basketball is played. It works beyond middle grades and the themes are universal about loss, love, and finding your passion.
This book will appeal to fans of The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai, and Ghost by Jason Reynolds as well as the TV shows Modern Family, One Day at a Time, and Black-ish.