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Welcome!

I will be posting reviews for current, captivating or controversial novels. Posts will also include ongoings within the store, new releases/release dates, and quotes. Being a teenage girl, it is unsuprsing that my favorite genre is young adult. However, I will not limit my posts to this genre, as there are a variety of fascinating novels at Sparta Books! I am very excited for the future of this blog, and I truly hope it will help in your book selection!

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Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

My Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

Hillbilly Elegy

A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

From a former marine and Yale Law School graduate, a probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class through the author’s own story of growing up in a poor Rust Belt town.

Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of poor, white Americans. The disintegration of this group, a process that has been slowly occurring now for over forty years, has been reported with growing frequency and alarm, but has never been written about as searingly from the inside. In Hillbilly Elegy, J.D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hanging around your neck.

The Vance family story began with hope in post-war America. J.D.’s grandparents were “dirt poor and in love” and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually one of their grandchildren would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of success in achieving generational upward mobility. But as the family saga of Hillybilly Elegy plays out, we learn that J.D.’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, never fully escaping the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, and poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. With piercing honesty, Vance shows how he himself still carries around the demons of his chaotic family history.

A deeply moving memoir, with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillybilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.

Continue reading “Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance”

Reviews

Heart of a Champion by Carl Deuker

My Rating: 10/5 (no that is not a typo—it is just that good!)

Synopsis:

Jimmy Winter is a born star on the baseball field, and Seth Barham can only dream of being as talented. Still, the two baseball fanatics have the kind of friendship that should last forever. But when Seth experiences an unthinkable loss, he’s forced to find his own personal strength—on and off the field.

 

“A heartbreakingly beautiful book; it is everything that art should be: it instructs, communicates a human condition, and it elicits emotion.”- VOYA

“The sensitive, moving portrait of adolescence is combined with dramatic sports action in a book which adolescent boys, especially those graduates of Matt Christoper, will enjoy.”- Horn Book

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Reviews

Trophy Son by Douglas Brunt

My Rating: 4.5/5

Synopsis:

A compelling, provocative novel about a father, a son, and the cost of our achievement-obsessed society.

The third novel by New York Times bestselling author Douglas Brunt, Trophy Son tells the story of tennis prodigy Anton Stratis, from an isolated childhood of grueling practice under the eye of his obsessed father, to his dramatic rise through the intensely competitive world of professional tennis.

Written with an insider knowledge of the tennis circuit, Trophy Son explores a younger man striving to find balance in his life as he navigates moral compromises, performance enhancing drugs, and the elusive lure of wealth and celebrity.

From Wimbledon to the US Open, on and off the court, Anton finds exhilarating highs and desolate lows as he searches for an identity apart from his achievements.

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Reviews

Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

Review: 4.5/5

Synopsis:

When two polar opposites meet, the results are bound to be explosive.

When Brittany Ellis walks into chemistry class on the first day of senior year, she has no clue that her carefully created “perfect” life is about to unravel. She’s forced to be lab partners with Alex Fuentes, a gang member from the other side of town, who will threaten everything she’s worked so hard to achieve.

Alex is a bad boy, and he knows it. So when he makes a bet with his friends to lure Brittany into his life, he thinks nothing of it. But soon Alex realizes Brittany is a real person with real problems, and suddenly the bet he made in arrogance turns into something much more.

Neither Brittany nor Alex is prepared for the most surprising chemical reaction of all—love.

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Reviews

Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda

Publication Date: January 2018

My Review: 5/5

Synopsis:

“The room is full of you, Jessa”

Jessa Whitworth knew she didn’t belong in her ex-boyfriend Caleb’s room. But she couldn’t deny that she was everywhere—in his photos, his neatly folded T-shirts, even the butterfly necklace in his jeans pocket… the one she gave him for safekeeping that day.

His mother asked her to pack up his things—even though she blames Jessa for his accident. How could she say no? And maybe, just maybe, it will help her work through the guilt she feels about their final moments together.

But as Jessa begins to box up the pieces of Caleb’s life, they trigger memories that make her realize their past relationship may not be exactly as she remembered. And she starts to question if she really knew Caleb at all.

Each fragment of his life reveals a new clue that propels Jessa to search for the truth about Caleb’s accident. What really happened on the storm-swept bridge?

Continue reading “Fragments of the Lost by Megan Miranda”

Reviews

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

My Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:

How well do you know the couple next door? Or your husband?

Or even—yourself? People are capable of almost anything…

A twisty, roller-coaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives… How far would you go—if pushed past your limit?

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one hot summer night they are invited to a dinner party next door, and a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the Contis’ curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-wracking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep your breathless until the final shocking twist.

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Reviews

How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How-My-Summer-Went-Up-In-Flames-Jennifer-Salvato-Doktorski-Book-Cover-e1358117586837.jpg

My Rating: 4/5

            First she lost her heart and then she lost her mind.

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t mean to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with their responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road—Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

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