that book and what I saw again here was a great mixture of familiar romance tropes that we all know and love, and amazing women doing important work. Theres a magic in taking the familiar and infusing it with nerdy facts and science that reminds readers they do not have to be just one thing, to fit in just one box, or limit their goals and aspirations to what other people expect from them.
Bee is a great main character- shes complicated and messy, she's dealing with past trauma that impacts her in ways she doesn't really always understand, but she's also smart and confident and navigating a world that isn't neccessarily built for her, and she's succeeding. The reality of Bee's life, that there are times she has to defer to others combined with the fact that she has found a way to actually make changes in that system is something I think a lot of readers can relate too.
Plus, she gets the guy. Levi is a perfect romantic lead- he's stubborn and bad with his emotions, he makes a million bad choices, but also backs Bee up no matter what. He's dealing with his own issues, but is willing to figure it out and move forward. This book employs so many good tropes- I love a good enemies to lovers- and some of miscommunications are crystal clear to the reader even when they are not to Bee and Levi... but, and I say this for a lot of books, it's okay to be a little predictable.
In romance especially, we read it because we want the HEA, the exciting part is finding out how they get there. Love on the Brain is a fantastic journey to a totally satisfying ending for more then one character. I can't wait for everyone else to get their hands on this one when it comes out.
This Appearing House by Ally Malinenko
Release Date: August 16, 2022
Why I love this book: Ally Malinenko is one of my favorite authors- her book Ghost Girl nailed middle grade horror perfectly and my students took it out consistently all year. So I was extremely excited to read This Appearing House. This book is absolutely everything I hoped for and then even more.
First- the horror. This book again hits middle grade horror perfectly. Parts of it are absolutely terrifying. I’m going to avoid spoilers here, but suffice it to say- the house is sufficiently scary, and there is at least one scene that will probably give me nightmares. Main character Jac faces it all and finds a way through and it is a fantastically scary journey.
Second- this book is about so much more then a scary book about a house of horrors. The scariest things are in Jac’s head as she deals with possibility of her cancer returning. This is a kid who has been through the worst, she has come out the other side, but the specter of disease is always right behind her, and that too is a scary journey.
Malinenko finds the perfect balance here- and kids (and adults) will be better for having read this book. My students need to see that they can face scary things. I really can not wait to hand this one to my students in the fall.
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