Book Reviews by VBat
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Chance César is a high school senior, struggling with a gender-fluid identity, a bullying problem, and an emotionally distant family. When Chance meets Jasper Donahue, whom he nicknames “Jazz,” he develops a huge crush. With the help of his best friend Emily, Chance develops a complicated plan to get Jazz to fall in love with him. As Chance and Jazz get closer, however, it becomes obvious that Jazz’s life isn’t always easy— his mother works two jobs, and many of the household responsibilities fall to the hardworking high schooler.

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After corporations take over the world in Nature's Confession, by J.L. Morin, humanity is stuck in an endless cycle of busywork. Students are brainwashed by the school system, reading censored history textbooks and encouraged to not ask questions. Society has devalued individuality, because “outliers soon start having their own ideas.” Boy, a teenage genius, has managed to escape the indifference that afflicts his fellow citizens.

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With Eyes Wide Open, Paul Fleischman attempts to expose the social and political problems that have led to the current need for climate action. He calls for clear thinking on pressing issues within the environmental realm. The book brings up everything from “divestment” of endowment funds to “greenwashing” marketing tactics, and has a special focus on making the reader a more discerning news consumer.

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Faith is a bright, introverted college student who is struggling to bring up her faltering grades and make a few more friends. Her nights are terrorized, however, by the surfacing of repressed memories. Her life gets more normal when she starts dating Jason--a sweet, handsome boy who takes the time to get past Faith’s emotional walls. Life is great--until someone begins raping students on campus. The violence, along with threats directed at Faith, leave her anxious and afraid.

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Sammey Keyes and the Night of the Living dead is the fourteenth book in the Sammey Keyes mystery series. Sammy is an eighth grade girl who, along with having the regular problems of a teenager, is constantly getting caught up in crimes. This time, she and her friends bump into a man in a graveyard on Halloween, and accidentally end up with the sack he was carrying. The discovery of two skulls inside, and more suspicious activity around the graveyard, leads Sammy to think she can find out why people in Santa Monica have been going missing. Hopefully she can figure out what is going on...

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Santa Claus and Little Sister is the sad yet powerful story of a young teacher who moves from Boston to Los Angeles and finds himself in a classroom full of girls who have grown up in the gang life, abused and distrusting of others. He is suddenly immersed in a culture where wearing the wrong colors can get you killed, but he manages to handle the many conflicting emotions as he starts to connect with his students. One student in particular, Lupe, catches his attention. Her parents have a contract out for her death, as they are afraid she will identify pictures and get them arrested.



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