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Teenage Fantasies and Realities

Teens from Red Adept Publishing's YA book tour

The three YA novels I reviewed for the Red Adept Publishing Young at Heart book tour — Correlation, Upload, and Canvas Bound — have something in common. They all feature fantasies. Teenagers either travel back in time, save the world from a dangerous conspiracy, or journey inside paintings that have come to life. Fantasy seems to be a common theme in YA fiction. Even a novel about the horrible realities of terminal cancer includes a fantasy where young lovers jet off to Amsterdam for some, as the author would put it, scoodilypooping.

And yeah, including ghosts in a YA novel counts as fantasy too.

So, why all the teenage fantasy? Because teenage reality is harsh.

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Book Review: Canvas Bound

This is the third of three YA novels I’m reviewing for the Red Adept Publishing book tour, “Young at Heart.” Disclaimer: Review copy provided by Red Adept Publishing.

Olivia “Libby” Tanner is a young painter with problems. Two fellow students at her English art academy are attracted to her, but the one she’s attracted to the most already has a girlfriend. The headmistress at the school seems to have an unusual interest in her. Strangest of all, her paintings come to life. When she goes in search of a “mystery boy” who shows up in her paintings, she uncovers tragic and dangerous secrets about her family. Her quest leads her to the world inside her paintings — a world from which she might not be able to escape.

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Book Review: Upload

This is the second of three YA novels I’m reviewing for the Red Adept Publishing book tour, “Young at Heart.” Disclaimer: Review copy provided by Red Adept Publishing.

A teenager stumbles upon a murder and a violent conspiracy in the YA thriller Upload by Collin Tobin.

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Book Review: Correlation

This is the first of three YA novels I’m reviewing for the Red Adept Publishing book tour, “Young at Heart.” Disclaimer: Review copy provided by Red Adept Publishing.

“Do you believe it’s possible to change history?”

Sixteen-year-old Hailey Kent faces this question in Correlation, a young adult novel by Rosemary Fifield (writing as Mia Grace). A ride on a old Schwinn bicycle owned by Susan, the grandmother of Hailey’s best friend Jenna, sends Hailey back in time to the 1960s with a chance to change the future of her family and friends.

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Why remember?

Mary Ann Henderson grave marker
Another September 24. Another painful anniversary. And another question: Why remember a murder that happened nearly 40 years ago? Is it morbidity? A stubborn unwillingness to let go of a long-gone past?

If I didn’t remember, the only alternative is to forget. “You cannot invest in retrospect,” as my dad used to say. And I did try to forget. I thought I’d be able to forget when I moved from the Valley. When I started my current job on September 24, 2003, I thought it would finally remove the tragic association with that date.

But I’ve been unable to shake September 24, 1976.

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