Tag Archives: YA

Blue Jeans and Sweatshirts a New YA Novel by Jo Ramsey

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Available from Harmony Ink Press and on third-party retail sites.

11694248_10152855727762352_879114048_nHolly McCormack has secrets. She’s started a support group for sexual assault survivors at her high school, but she was never assaulted. She’s also dating a girl, but she’s not a lesbian—at least not to the outside world—and that’s how she hopes to keep it. To top everything off, her girlfriend, Chastaine Rollo, is the most gorgeous girl at their school, and Holly is eating as little as she can because she thinks she’s “too fat.”
When hearing the stories of survivors begins to take its toll, Holly’s eating becomes even more of a problem. And as she struggles to hide her relationship with Chastaine from her parents, the stress becomes too much. But when keeping secrets has become second nature, it leaves her with no one to confide in.

 

 

EXCERPT:
While Chastaine wrote down what we’d talked about in her big, loopy handwriting, I leaned against the wall and looked out the window over Chastaine’s desk. It was snowing a bit. Not enough to make walking or driving a problem. Just enough to look pretty.
I must have zoned out watching the snowflakes, because the next thing I knew, Chastaine was shaking my arm. “Holly, are you okay? What happened?”
“Huh?” I sat up and shook my head, which only made it hurt worse. “Nothing happened. I was just looking out the window.”
“I said your name about six times, and your eyes were closed.” She let go of my arm. “Did you eat this morning?”
“For crying out loud!” I took a deep breath so I wouldn’t completely go off on her. “Yes, I ate. My parents made me eat, because they got it in their heads that I’ve been starving myself or something. So yes. I had food. I didn’t pass out. I was looking at the snow.”
“Which doesn’t explain why it took you so long to answer me. I was kind of scared.” She sounded it, too.
I felt like crap. “I’m sorry you were scared. I don’t know. I didn’t sleep well last night, so maybe I dozed off. You said my eyes were closed.”
“You’re really pale too.” She got up and motioned for me to follow her. “Andy’s probably gone by now, and we have some juice and soda. Drink at least a little, please. It’ll help.”
“Yeah. Okay.” She was only asking me to have a bit of juice or soda. That wouldn’t completely mess with my calories for the day, and it might get her to back off about whether I’d eaten or not.
She took a bottle of apple juice and a can of soda out of the fridge and held them up. “Which one?”
“Juice.” I wasn’t sure whether the juice would have any fewer calories than the soda, but it at least sounded healthier.
She poured some juice into a glass and handed it to me. “There. Please drink all of it so I can stop thinking you’re going to pass out again.”
“I didn’t pass out in the first place.” I took a sip and grimaced. “This tastes way too sweet.”
“Do you want soda instead?”
I shook my head. “No. I’ll deal with this.”
We went into the living room and sat on the couch, and she watched me drink the entire glass of juice. Even though the stuff tasted horrible, I drank it fast so Chastaine would stop staring at me.

AUTHOR BIO:

Author Jo Ramsey

Author Jo Ramsey

Jo Ramsey is a former special education teacher who now writes full time. She firmly believes that everyone has it in them to be a hero, whether to others or in their own lives, and she tries to write books that encourage teens to be themselves and make a difference. Jo has been writing since age five and has been writing young adult fiction since she was a teen herself; her first YA book was published in 2010. She lives in Massachusetts with her two daughters, her husband, and two cats, one of whom likes to read over her shoulder. Find out more about Jo and her books on her website.

Life Skills – Jo Ramsey

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life skillsAt first, Brian thinks of being assigned to assist in Mr. Spinetti’s Life Skills class, as a punishment. He doesn’t want to be labeled as the boy who helps in the “retard” class. Having no choice than to go, he reluctantly appears as told.

What he sees in the Life Skills class surprises him. He finds kids with a variety of handicaps doing their best to learn how to cope in the real world.

As a bisexual teen, Brian has had his share of bullying and teasing. An incident with one of the Life Skills girls makes Brian realize what they’ve put up with their entire lives.

With the help of his friends, Brian organizes a special rally, Spread the Word to End the Word. This is to make people aware of how much the word “retard” belittles handicapped people.

Jo Ramsey artfully depicts well rounded characters, presenting Brian and his own struggles with life and identity, with love and understanding. I highly recommend this story for any teen 14+. There is no explicit sexual content, no inappropriate language or violence.

Life Skills is a wonderful story of three teens who recognize there are people in the world with problems worse than their own.

5 Golden Acorns

© 2013 Dellani Oakes

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Connection – Jo Ramsey

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connection by jo ramsey coverShanna Bailey’s life is far from happy. Her mother is overprotective and abusive. Her father does nothing to protect his daughter—never inserting himself between them. Now that she’s starting high school, Shanna isolates herself further, but hopes for one friend to ease her loneliness.

Her first day of school is predictably bad, but she happens to meet Jonah Leighton, an even bigger outcast than she. They become friends. Shanna isn’t sure how to handle the attention and kindness Jonah offers, thinking it make her beholden to him. Never having had a real friend, she alternates between accepting him and shoving him away. Regardless of how she behaves, Jonah continues to be friendly.

 Kaylie Sturbridge is rich and the most popular girl in school. Unfortunately, she has a problem that only Jonah and Shanna can help her with. She doesn’t want their help, but knows she can’t do this on her own and they are the only people who don’t abandon her.

“Connection” is the first book in Jo Ramsey’s ‘Reality Shift’ series. In it, we meet the two main characters, Shanna and Jonah. Both outcasts, they cling together in a friendship that seems to have spanned the ages. If one believes in past lives, as Jonah does, they were probably friends or lovers before. Their new relationship is unique, for each of them has never felt this immediate connection before.

 Ramsey, as always, treats her characters with deep respect, even love. She shows aspects of Shanna’s life that make the reader weep. Despite years of abuse, Shanna is a kind, loving person of intelligence. She may have problems with math, but she excels at other subjects. Her favorite thing to do is write. She’s filled notebooks with her stories, using them as a way to escape.

The reader learns less about Jonah, but it’s obvious that his life is vastly different from Shanna’s. He comes from a loving family. Although they don’t understand all that he’s into, they respect him and his beliefs.

I look forward to seeing how the relationship between Shanna and Jonah grows and matures as the characters do. I sense a deep, abiding love there that probably neither of them quite recognizes yet.

Jo Ramsey continues to be one of my favorite authors. Her work is consistently great, her characters well rounded, her plots engaging. She may write for YA, but her books are a wonderful read for adults as well. I loved “Connection” and will be reading more of the Reality Shift novels.

5 Golden Acorns

© Dellani Oakes

Tales of Aradia: The Last Witch, Volume 1 – L.A. Jones

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Tales of Aradia: The Last Witch, volume 1 – L.A. Jones

 

300 years ago, vampires scourged the countryside, eradicating witches. Total annihilation was the goal, total genocide of the entire race of witches – and they were almost successful. Only the Seer of the Witches was able to elude them long enough to save her daughter, casting her into time. There, she was safe, born again in the future, not even knowing exactly who she is.

 

In the present, Ross and Liza Preston are driving home after being told by a fertility clinic that they will never have a child. Devastated by the news, they hardly expect to find a child abandoned in the wilderness. Seeing it as a sign, they take her home and adopt her, naming her Aradia.

 

The story moves ahead about 14 years and Aradia is starting high school. Her dad’s career change has necessitated a move from Arizona to Salem, Massachusetts. As an assistant district attorney, he’s been given his first big case, the Vampire Murderer, as the press has dubbed the mysterious killer who drained his victim of blood.

In a whole new school, Aradia faces her first day with trepidation. Fortunately, she makes friends with some other seeming outcast students, Rhonda, Felix, Everett and Calvin. She also meets a young man in PE named Roy and shows a little of what she can do by racing him on the track.

 

During the day, Aradia notices some of the other teenagers are too good looking for words. Roy is almost in this category, but Tristan and Dax are the two best looking guys in school. Aradia dubs them ‘too good to be true’.

 

Little does Aradia know, but much is afoot. The so called Vampire Murder may have been committed by an actual vampire! There is far more to Salem than meets the eyes and Aradia is about to get in over her head. Against her parents’ wishes, she investigates the murders, searching for the killer. What she finds is even more astounding than she anticipated.

 

Tales of Aradia: The Last Witch, volume 1, is extremely well paced, building steadily to the climax. The characters are believable, even though they are, for the most part, not human. Having it set in Salem is fun. According to the story, it’s a hot spot for paranormal creatures (or hiddens) to dwell. This is a wonderful book young adults and older adults as well. The language isn’t objectionable and there are no sexual scenes. It would make a great read for anyone 12 and up.

 

I highly recommend Tales of Aradia: The Last Witch, volume 1 and look forward to reading more about this plucky teenaged heroine.

Five Golden Apples

Connection – Book One in Reality Shift Series by Jo Ramsey

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It’s not secret that Jo Ramsey is one of my favorite authors. What I enjoy most about her work is that it’s not just for teens. Adults can read her books and be just as entertained and enthralled as easily as teens.

I’ve read and reviewed several of Jo’s books. Recently, she sent me the first in the Reality Shift series – Connection. I loved it and I think you will too.

Shanna Bailey’s life is far from happy. Her mother is overprotective and abusive. Her father does nothing to protect his daughter—never inserting himself between them. Now that she’s starting high school, Shanna isolates herself further, but hopes for one friend to ease her loneliness.

Her first day of school is predictably bad, but she happens to meet Jonah Leighton, an even bigger outcast than she. They become friends. Shanna isn’t sure how to handle the attention and kindness Jonah offers, thinking it make her beholden to him. Never having had a real friend, she alternates between accepting him and shoving him away. Regardless of how she behaves, Jonah continues to be friendly.

Kaylie Sturbridge is rich and the most popular girl in school. Unfortunately, she has a problem that only Jonah and Shanna can help her with. She doesn’t want their help, but knows she can’t do this on her own and they are the only people who don’t abandon her.

Connection is the first book in Jo Ramsey’s ‘Reality Shift’ series. In it, we meet the two main characters, Shanna and Jonah. Both outcasts, they cling together in a friendship that seems to have spanned the ages. If one believes in past lives, as Jonah does, they were probably friends or lovers before. Their new relationship is unique, for each of them has never felt this immediate connection before.

Ramsey, as always, treats her characters with deep respect, even love. She shows aspects of Shanna’s life that make the reader weep. Despite years of abuse, Shanna is a kind, loving person of intelligence. She may have problems with math, but she excels at other subjects. Her favorite thing to do is write. She’s filled notebooks with her stories, using them as a way to escape.

The reader learns less about Jonah, but it’s obvious that his life is vastly different from Shanna’s. He comes from a loving family. Although they don’t understand all that he’s into, they respect him and his beliefs.

I look forward to seeing how the relationship between Shanna and Jonah grows and matures as the characters do. I sense a deep, abiding love there that probably neither of them quite recognizes yet.

Jo Ramsey continues to be one of my favorite authors. Her work is consistently great, her characters well rounded, her plots engaging. She may write for YA, but her books are a wonderful read for adults as well. I loved Connection and will be reading more of the Reality Shift novels.

5 Golden Acorns