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Entries tagged with “teenagers”.



This is a terrific book!

It is about teenage characters, but it has such great depth and is written with so much emotion it pulled me in and kept me glued to the very last page.

Abbie James lives in the shadows of life, letting no one get close to her except for Jo, the one friend who accepts her as she is. Her classmates call her a freak, and because she is submissive and withdrawn, she becomes a target for a couple of girls who bully her.

One day, Jake, a dear friend who had been ripped from her life 10 years earlier when his parents moved and he didn’t have a chance to say good bye to her, enrolls in the school she attends. He has never forgotten her and has dreamed of reconnecting with her again. But having him come back into her life freaks her out and she pushes him away.

He is hurt, but also concerned. The carefree happy child he had known has disappeared.  She has been replaced by an angry, unhappy person and he does not understand what has happened. All he knows is that he still cares for her and she is not returning his feelings. But he is not giving up.

Abbie has a deep and painful secret that she has shared with no one—not Jo, her only friend, not her mother, -NO BODY. The author skillfully unfolds the heart of the matter. This book deals with the sensitive subject of child abuse that lasted over a long period of time and how it affected the heroines life. I have no firsthand experience with this matter, but I read a lot and I observe and listen. People who have been harmed in this way feel damaged and believe they are not good enough. Abbie was no exception.

Congratulations to Mandy Thomas for such a terrific debut novel. Her writing style is wonderful and as I read, the book seemed flawless. I will read the next book she writes.

Hard to Feel whole can be purchased here on




I don’t read a lot of YA—or paranormal, but this book came up in an online reading group that I belong to and the cover caught my eye—I love the cover! Then I read the book summary and was intrigued. I don’t read a lot of paranormal either, but the powers described to these three teenagers caught my attention because I have a fascination with healing powers. As well, I have personally known a couple of people who claim to have dreams that come true or just have a “knowing” about people. One time I commented that it must be cool to have that ability, and the man said he wished he didn’t have it, because it was very difficult knowing something was going to happen (usually a death) and not being able to do anything about it.

So, I was attracted to this book and once I started reading, I got lost in the story, forgetting that it was YA or considered paranormal.

The opening paragraph grabbed my attention immediately; “ Somehow I thought I would know when my life was in mortal danger. I’m not talking spidey sense or anything, just some kind of clue something bad is about to happen. I guess I got the idea from the movies. Real life, I found, is very different…..” When I read that I was hooked.

The book is YA, and author totally got the teenage thing—and since I have been around teenagers throughout the years, I appreciated the teenage insecurities, the alienation that Em felt at school, the very spiteful nasty girl named Angel, that bullied Em. I appreciated Tommy, the new boy at school who liked her, (rather than Roz) and was there for her, protective but encouraging her to stand up for herself. And I could imagine what it was like to have a best friend that the guys just fell all over, while they ignored Em even though the two girls were together. Yet Roz was special and a loyal friend. The two girls shared a strong bond and Roz’s father was the “dad” Em didn’t have. His love reached out and included Em. And I am certain that Em’s strange sister, Lauren could have a book of her own because we only saw an unflattering side of her and it was hard to decide if she was jealous, overprotective, mentally unbalanced or if she also had a deep dark secret from the past. Em’s mother had her own problems; in fact her entire family was dysfunctional in so many ways.

The author portrays the characters well. Some I really liked, others I couldn’t stand, but the plots turns and twists kept me engaged, and several times when I was certain that I knew who the murderer was, in the next minute I wasn’t so certain.

The author ended the story with a great hook. A frightening phone call: the voice of a person she thought was dead, that she believed was dead, that she wanted to be dead, saying “I’m coming home.”
—and I knew I will want to read the next book, even though this isn’t my usual genre.

A job well done Kat Stiles and I highly recommend this book to anyone who likes YA and paranormal—or people like me who will step out of the norm and just give it a try. Enjoy a great read!

This book can be bought by clicking on this link.