Here are the verdicts, out of 10, from the May meeting of the First Review Book Club.
A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
Freya's verdict: 8/10
"A typical teenage romance that escalates into something more powerful, overcoming teenage anxiety."
Steffi doesn't talk, but she has so much to say. Rhys can't hear, but he can listen. Their love isn't a lightning strike, it's the rumbling roll of thunder. Steffi has been a selective mute for most of her life - she's been silent for so long that she feels completely invisible. But Rhys, the new boy at school, sees her. He's deaf, and her knowledge of basic sign language means that she's assigned to look after him. To Rhys, it doesn't matter that Steffi doesn't talk, and as they find ways to communicate, Steffi finds that she does have a voice, and that she's falling in love with the one person who makes her feel brave enough to use it.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Lili's verdict: 7/10
"This book opens your eyes to how some people have to live."
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed.
Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Mari's verdict: 1/10
"I found it a bit predictable and boring, just another mundane teenage romance."
Bailey “Mink” Rydell has met the boy of her dreams. They share a love of films and talk all day – Alex is perfect. Well, apart from the fact that they’ve never actually met . . . and neither of them knows the other’s real name. When Bailey moves to sunny California to live with her dad, who happens to live in the same town as Alex, she decides to track him down. But finding someone based on online conversations alone proves harder than Bailey thought, and with her irritating but charismatic (and potentially attractive?) colleague Porter Roth distracting her at every turn, will she ever get to meet the mysterious Alex?
The Light That Gets Lost by Natasha Carthew
Tim's verdict: 7.5/10
"It uses real problems and realistic situations to form a good story about damaged teens finding redemption."
A small boy hiding in a cupboard witnesses something no child should ever see. He tries not to look but he still hears it. And when he comes out, there's no mistaking. His mum and dad have been killed. And though he's only small, he swears that he'll get revenge one day. Years later, Trey enters a strange camp that is meant to save troubled teenagers. It's packed with crazies, god-botherers, devoted felons and broken kids. Trey's been in and out of trouble ever since the day the bad thing happened, but he's he not here for saving- this where he'll find the man who did it. But revenge and healing, salvation and hell are a boiling, dangerous mix, and Trey finds himself drawn to a girl, a dream and the offer of friendship in the dark.
One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus
Gina's verdict: 7/10
"This had a slow beginning, but the story wasn't predictable as I'd expected."
On Thursday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investiigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Thursday, he died. But on Friday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they just the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
Contagion by Teri Terry
Helena's verdict: 6/10
"There's a lot of hardship in this book. Strong friendships are formed, and there's a romance."
An epidemic is sweeping the country.You are among the infected. There is no cure; and you cannot be permitted to infect others. You are now under quarantine. The very few of the infected who survive are dangerous and will be taken into the custody of the army. Young runaway Callie survived the disease, but not the so-called treatment. Her brother Kai is still looking for her. And his new friend Shay may hold the key to uncovering what truly happened.