The Take-Over Friend by Carol Dines

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc and physical finished copy from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Take-Over Friend

Author: Carol Dines

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 4.5/5

Diversity: Jewish descent MC, Jewish descent character, Bipolar character

Recommended For…: young adult readers, younger YA readers, contemporary, friendship, emotional manipulation, growing up

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Genre: YA Contemporary

Age Relevance: 15+ (depression, cheating, death, sexual content, drugs, emotional abuse, emotional manipulation, mania, underage alcohol consumption, attempted suicide, self harm, eating disorder, animal harm).

Explanation of Above: Depression is mentioned in the book and there are scenes of mania shown in the book. Cheating is mentioned in the book. There is death mentioned, an attempted suicide is vaguely mentioned, an eating disorder is vaguely mentioned, and the after effects of self-harm are shown. There are a couple of scenes where there is a joke that has sexual organs mentioned in it. Drugs are mentioned in the book. There are scenes of emotional abuse and manipulation, as well as stalking, bullying, and harassment shown. Underage alcohol consumption is shown and mentioned. There is one scene where animals, dogs, are harmed but they are ok!

Publisher: Fitzroy Books

Pages: 205

Synopsis: On the second day of ninth grade, introverted Frances meets Sonja, a wildly funny newcomer from France, and the girls form a fast friendship. Frances adores Sonja’s worldliness, and Sonja adores Frances’s family, especially her older brother, Will. Frances and Sonja immediately declare themselves “The Poets” and rally their homeroom to enter the homecoming parade with a poetry-mobile built from Frances’s father’s old band bus. But respective family crises begin to escalate, and tensions come to a head when Sonja temporarily moves in with Frances’s family—forcing each friend to decide how close is too close. Alternatingly funny and poignant, The Take-Over Friend is a smart page-turner that focuses on the importance of finding your own voice in relationships.

Review: This was not what I was expecting the book to be. I thought the book was going to detail friends drifting apart or not being as close as they were, but the book is actually a cautionary tale on emotional abuse and manipulation, with a bit of stalking thrown in there for flavor. The book was very well written and I loved how well it explained emotional abuse and manipulation that you might receive from friends. The character development was well done as was the world building. I also want to empathize that this book would be good for younger YA readers. The contents of it aren’t that mature and it’s a great conversation to have early on so that children are aware that some friends aren’t true friends.

However, I did think that the book was a bit too fast paced and the time skips weren’t well defined. I was also thought that the book didn’t have a great resolution and I would have liked to see something more empowering for a character who had been continually torn down.

Verdict: It was great! Highly recommend!

Book Title: The Take-Over Friend

Author: Carol Dines

Publisher: Fitzroy Books

Release Date: September 27, 2022

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/60182438

Book Purchase link:

Book Description: 

“A really good story about the very complex world of trying to find out who you really are.”—Judith Katz, author of The Escape Artist and Running Fiercely Toward A High Thin SoundOn the second day of ninth grade, introverted Frances meets Sonja, a wildly funny newcomer from France, and the girls form a fast friendship. Frances adores Sonja’s worldliness, and Sonja adores Frances’s family, especially her older brother, Will. Frances and Sonja immediately declare themselves “The Poets” and rally their homeroom to enter the homecoming parade with a poetry-mobile built from Frances’s father’s old band bus. But respective family crises begin to escalate, and tensions come to a head when Sonja temporarily moves in with Frances’s family—forcing each friend to decide how close is too close. Alternatingly funny and poignant, The Take-Over Friend is a smart page-turner that focuses on the importance of finding your own voice in relationships.

Author Bio:

Carol Dines’s recent adult fiction, a collection of stories, This Distance We Call Love, won the Eric Hoffer Book Prize, 2022, and was a finalist in the National Indies Excellence Award for short fiction. In addition, her new young adult novel, The Take-Over Friend, finalist for the Achevan Prize, will be forthcoming from Fitzroy Books October, 2022. Her recent stories have been published in Ploughshares, Salamander, Narrative, Colorado Review, and Nimrod International. She has also published two novels for young adults, Best Friends Tell the Best Lies (Delacorte), The Queen’s Soprano (Harcourt) and a collection of short stories for young adults, Talk to Me (Delacorte.) In addition, she has published poems and stories in numerous journals and anthologies, including Somebody’s Speaking My Language (Women’s Voices Press), Voices of the Land (Milkweed), and Love and Lust: An Anthology, (Taylor and O’Neill’s Open To Interpretation, 2014). She is a recipient of the Judy Blume award as well as a recipient of Minnesota and Wisconsin State Artist Fellowships. Dines received a BA from Stanford University and an MA in English from Colorado State University. She has taught writing to all ages at universities, colleges, and public schools in Colorado, Florida, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband, Jack Zipes, and their standard poodle.

Author Links:

https://www.caroldines.com/

https://www.instagram.com/authorcaroldines/

https://www.facebook.com/Caroldinesauthor

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/163419.Carol_Dines

Soul of the Deep by Natasha Bowen

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Soul of the Deep

Author: Natasha Bowen

Book Series: Skin of the Sea Book 2

Rating: 4/5

Diversity: Nigerian based MC and characters, Black characters

Recommended For…: young adult readers, fantasy, African mythology and lore, mermaids, retellings, romance

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Genre: YA Fantasy

Age Relevance: 15+ (slavery, death, violence, gore, PTSD, prayer and religion, romance, parental death)

Explanation of Above: There are mentions and some showings of slavery. Death, violence, parental death, and gore involving blood are shown and mentioned in the read. There are scenes that show PTSD. There is some romance. There are some mentions of prayer and religious figures.

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Pages: 304

Synopsis: One life.

One choice.

One sacrifice.

To save those closest to her, Simi traded away everything: her freedom, her family, and the boy she loves. Now she is sworn to serve a new god, watching over the Land of the Dead at the bottom of the ocean.

But when signs of demons begin to appear, it’s clear there are deeper consequences of Simi’s trade. These demons spell the world’s ruin . . . and because of Simi, they now have a way into the human realm.

With the fate of the world at stake, Simi must break her promise and team up with a scheming trickster of a god. And if they succeed, perhaps Simi can also unbreak her heart along the way, and find herself again.

Review: I liked this sequel book to Skin of the Sea. I thought the book was a lot more straight-forward with what was happening, which I appreciated, and it featured more African mythology and lore. The book was beautifully written and I fell in love with Simi more than I did in the first one. The book continued with the well developed characters and continued to develop a beautiful world.

However, I did think that the book could have done with a bit of a reminder as to what happened in the previous book. There are some spots here and there that mention it, but mostly it just immediately jumped into the story and continued post 6-months after the events of last book. I also thought the pacing was a bit off in places. I’m also confused on if there’s a third book in the series or not.

Verdict: It was good!

Book Info:

Soul of the Deep (Skin of the Sea #2) by Natasha Bowen

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publishing Date: September 27, 2022

Synopsis:

The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller Skin of the Sea, in which the world must pay the price for one mermaid’s choice, and a dark force reverberates across realms. Perfect for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and those eagerly anticipating the live-action film adaptation of The Little Mermaid.

One life.
One choice.
One sacrifice.

To save those closest to her, Simi traded away everything: her freedom, her family, and the boy she loves. Now she is sworn to serve a new god, watching over the Land of the Dead at the bottom of the ocean.

But when signs of demons begin to appear, it’s clear there are deeper consequences of Simi’s trade. These demons spell the world’s ruin . . . and because of Simi, they now have a way into the human realm.

With the fate of the world at stake, Simi must break her promise and team up with a scheming trickster of a god. And if they succeed, perhaps Simi can also unbreak her heart along the way, and find herself again.

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60012953-soul-of-the-deep

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0593120981

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/soul-of-the-deep-natasha-bowen/1140985583

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Soul-Deep-Natasha-Bowen/9780593120989

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/soul-of-the-deep/9780593120989-item.html

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780593120989

About the Author:

Natasha Bowen is a New York Times bestselling author, a teacher, and a mother of three children. She is of Nigerian and Welsh descent and lives in Cambridge, England, where she grew up. Natasha studied English and creative writing at Bath Spa University before moving to East London, where she taught for nearly ten years. She is obsessed with Japanese and German stationery and spends stupid amounts on notebooks, which she then features on her secret Instagram. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, watched over carefully by Milk and Honey, her cat and dog.

Author Links:

Website: https://natashabowen.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/skinofthesea

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/natasha_bowen_/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19709936.Natasha_Bowen

Tour Schedule: