All You Get Is Me by Yvonne Prinz

Roar isn't looking forward to a summer full of farm-girl chores. She didn't ask for this life, she didn't ask to be uprooted from the city and plopped down out in the boonies to start over. This was all her dad's idea: they were going to be organic farmers, and get a fresh start. Roar was willing to admit they needed one after her mom disappeared, and left no forwarding address. They both needed a change.

She agreed to move to po-dunk middle-of-nowhere, and taking care of ungrateful chickens. In exchange, he builds her a dark room. Roar has practically been attached to her camera since she was six years old. She has made at least one really good friend in Storm, and the summer is shaping up to be pretty okay.

They're on their way to market one day, and some woman is riding their bumper, but on a one lane road, there isn't much they can do. Things go into slow motion when she attempts to pass them, pauses to flip them off, and plows head first into oncoming traffic. The woman herself seems fine, but the car she hit isn't so lucky. The driver of the other car is an illegal woman named Sylvia, and she doesn't make it. In the passenger seat is her baby, Rosa. Roar's dad asks her to photograph the scene, and she knows what's coming. He's going to make this into one of his causes.

As much as she knows that he's trying to do the right thing, she also knows that stirring up this kind of trouble is never easy. Roar also knows that the rest of the town won't appreciate this. The person she never expects to feel sympathy for is the driver's son, Forest, who shows up at their market stand that weekend gazing at her with those sea green eyes. He unsettles her, she doesn't quite know what to think.

Should Roar even give Forest the time of day? Should she tell her dad to drop the lawsuit before the town takes it out on them? How do you know what the right thing to do is when there's no one there to tell you?
"I suppose that the reson I like taking photos of these girls is that I'm drawn to the idea of transformation, the idea of changing who you are. The appealing thing about putting on makeup and fancy clothes is that you get to be someone else for a while. I learned that from my mom. She was always transforming herself into someone else. Her ultimate transformation was becoming someone who wasn't a mother anymore. At least not mine," (Prinz pg. 147, 2011).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

The Vinyl Princess by Yvonne Prinz
Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers
Exposed by Kimberly Marcus
Flash Burnout by L.K.Madigan

Prinz, Yvonne. (2011). All You Get is Me. New York: Harper Teen.

XVI by Julia Karr

Nina's best friend Sandy may be excited to turn 16, and get her required tattoo that let's the world know she's officially legal to have sex...but Nina dreads it. Ginnie,her mother, always warned her to think for herself. She knows that Media twists the truth, and she fears what boys will do if she isn't willing to comply. Nina doesn't want to become a sex-teen. No thanks! She's seen first hand how getting pregnant can keep you tethered to someone. Just look at Ginnie and Ed, her younger sister Dee's father. He's already married but he still hangs around. Mostly to beat up on Ginnie. A fact that baffles Nina even more: that Ginnie stays with him.

Nina just wants to focus on moving up. Not with FeLS though-Female Liason Specialists-becoming top tier still isn't enough to make her turn her back on her family and friends for two years. Not to mention what the program actually entails...which includes dozens of girls who never returned. No, Nina wants to be a creative and protect her family. No boys allowed.

When she saves Sal in the park, she thinks he's homeless. Getting lost in his beautiful brown eyes or even running into him again were never on the agenda. When he starts showing up places, and hanging out with her friends, there isn't much she can do to avoid him. It's hard to deny the spark between them, but she has bigger issues.

Her mother...why didn't she call Ginnie "mom" more often? How can she be...gone? Everything is happening so fast. Moving in with her grandparents means moving back to their old school, but it also means dealing with Ed all on her own. Her sister never saw Ed for who he really is, and Nina fears he will want her for a "Cinderella girl" to his own family. She won't let that happen.

Nina befriends Wei, a girl from her new school whose parents also knew her parents when they were kids. As Nina gets to know her better, she learns Wei's family - and maybe hers too - are involved in some pretty dangerous stuff. The secrets keep piling up, and she doesn't know how to keep them all. The deadling of sixteen is looming over everything, getting closer every day. Can Nina survive it all? Can she keep her friends and family safe?

*Library Link*
"Sometimes I wondered if I was some kind of freak myself. Most every girl my age was getting primed for turning sex-teen. I had my reasons for never wanting to have sex. I just didn’t have anyone to talk about them with," (Karr, 2011).
If you liked this, check out:

Truth by Julie Karr (XVI, Book 2)
The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Matched by Ally Condie

Karr, Julia. (2011). XVI. New York: Speak.

Skinny by Donna Cooner

Ever Davies knows how people feel about her: Skinny tells her. Fat. Ugly. Disgusting. Freak. Pitiful. Skinny is the voice in her head, the only voice of truth in a world of lies. A world that stopped making sense when her mother left her alone when she lost the battle to cancer. Her dad tries, but it's not the same. His new wife is a blonde, perfect, perky, skinny cookie cutter of what she will never be...just like her two step sisters.

Food is the only thing that seems to offer comfort. Food and Rat, her best friend. Everyone else just looks at her like she's a beached whale, and silently judges her, or not so silently. Little do they know there is another voice inside her. Ever can sing. I mean really sing. Not that it means anything. 15 year-old girls who weigh over 300 pounds don't get the lead in the musical. It's just a pipe dream, until the day she'll never forget. The day that changes everything, forever.

She doesn't even know why she agreed to this stupid award in the first place. Her whole M.O. is to be invisible, and sitting on a stage in front of the whole student body is not. Inhale, exhale...just get through this. That's when it happens. The chair she's sitting on. just...I mean...I...suddenly Ever is on the floor filled with the most profound shame of her entire life.

That's when she decides. She's got to make a change, things can't go on this way. With the support of her family and her friend, she's going through with a life changing surgery. If she can follow the rules, this fall she will be a completely different person. Jackson will see her. She will be trying out for the musical. Things will be different. They have to be, right?

This hit home with me in more ways than one. I have a close friend that is going through this process, and it really helped me understand more of what she will experience. I also loved that the author points out that we all have a Skinny inside of us telling us that we aren't good enough, that encourages us to push people away. Working with teens, I see this so often. Change is possible, but real change happens inside too. You have to change your preconceived notions about who you are, and how other perceive you before you can move forward. Ever has to see that people aren't against her before she can grow into the new person she wants to be. (Steps off her soap box.) Highly recommended for fans of issues books, and anyone with low self-esteem. I listened to it on audio, and enjoyed it.
"It's s simple solution, really. Girl loves boy. Boy loves girl. Girl gets fat. Boy leaves. Girl cuts her stomach up into a little bitty pouch to get boy back," (Cooner, 2012).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:

Fat Cat by Robin Brande
Perfect by Natasha Friend
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler

Cooner, Donna D. (2012). Skinny. New York: Point.
Cooner, Donna D., & Morton, Elizabeth. (2012). Skinny. New York: Scholastic Audiobooks.