Thursday, July 30, 2020

#AmReading YA

Six Angry Girls

Adrienne Kisner
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A story of mock trial, feminism, and the inherent power found in a pair of knitting needles.

Raina Petree is crushing her senior year, until her boyfriend dumps her, the drama club (basically) dumps her, the college of her dreams slips away, and her arch-nemesis triumphs.

Things aren’t much better for Millie Goodwin. Her father treats her like a servant, and the all-boy Mock Trial team votes her out, even after she spent the last three years helping to build its success.

But then, an advice columnist unexpectedly helps Raina find new purpose in a pair of knitting needles and a politically active local yarn store. This leads to an unlikely meeting in the girls’ bathroom, where Raina inspires Millie to start a rival team. The two join together and recruit four other angry girls to not only take on Mock Trial, but to smash the patriarchy in the process.
After Raina is dumped out of nowhere and Millie is ousted from the mock trial team, they decide to channel their pain into forming a rival mock trial team. Though the team may have started as a means of payback, it grew into something that helped many of these young people reclaim some of their power. 

Among the things I think a multitude of readers will embrace are the many facets of inclusion Kisner wove into this story. Aside from an extremely diverse cast, she also addressed inclusivity via the case studies. It was an interesting way to attack the issue, and I appreciated the way each character's opinion and reactions were explored. 

I never knew a lot about the mock trial world, and therefore, I learned a lot as I read this story. It was quite fascinating to see what it involved and how they harnessed professionals from the community. I also loved being able to cheer on this team. They had to work really hard to get up and running, and obviously I wanted them to be amazing. 

Though mock trial was a big part of this story, it also focused on the personal journeys of Millie and Raina. Raina had been in a relationship for five years, and it took a break up for her to realize her boyfriend was sort of limiting her. It was wonderful seeing her branching out, making new connections, and exploring different options for her future. 

Millie was trapped in her situation by a kind of guilt. Her mother divorced her dad, left the family, and remarried. Though Millie kept in touch with her mother, she felt obligated to her father because he stayed. This was a tricky situation for her to navigate, but I was very happy with her choices. It was nice seeing her expanding her social circle as well and finding someone who understood her romantically. I won't lie, this little touch of romance made my big-sap heart happy. 

How could I not love a group of young women who harnessed their hurt and rejection in such a fabulous way? I loved that they sought their revenge via mock trial, but I also appreciated the focus on friendship, trust, setting boundaries, trying new things, and discovering the hidden parts of yourself.

The Scam List
Kurt Dinan
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Crime Spree Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Meet the best teen con artist team around.

Boone McReedy: high school conman, smooth-talking charmer, and the idiot who just got scammed out of $15,000 of his mom's money.

Darby West: ass-kicker, straight-shooter, and Boone's ex-girlfriend.

Now, they must team up to save their parents' business, one con at a time.

That is if they don't kill each other first.

Of course, they're only going to scam people who deserve it.

That’s a promise.

Would they lie to you?

As he did in his award-winning debut, DON’T GET CAUGHT, Kurt Dinan brings laughs, twists, and heart to THE SCAM LISTS’ funny world of teen con artists, exes, and outrageous five-dollar bets.
Boone McReedy was a notorious conman, and many had been his victim. This time, he's the victim and his family's business lies in the balance. Now, Boone and his ex, Darby, must race against the clock as they embark on a scam-spree, but will they be able to save Golden Mountain?

The main reason I wanted to read this book was because I LOVED Dinan's Don't Get Caught. It was hilarious, and as expected, so was The Scam List. Packed with wit, humor, and quirky characters, I found myself lost in this story and totally invested in its outcome. 

Boone's narration was probably one of my favorite things about this book. The kid was snarky, wry, self-depreciating, and fluent in my mother tongue - sarcasm. I won't lie, it was a ton of fun being in his head. I was bit worried about him with his laissez faire attitude, but the conman being conned humbled him a bit. Spending time with Darby (who was phenomenal) was also good for him. She helped him gain some perspective on things, and it was a pleasure seeing him grow. 

The whole scam spree was brilliant. It resulted in so many pitch perfect comedic moments, and I always welcome a good laugh. I am not privy to the world of scammers, and therefore, I found all these plans for scams quite intriguing. The plotting of the BIG CON was especially fun and gave me some heist-like vibes. It was quite a trip being with these two as they delivered their brand of justice scams, and I loved every second of it. 

Life inside the Golden Mountain flea market was a hoot too. To have that many zany characters in one place was a treat for me. I found myself looking forward to meeting each and every one of the boothers and found them all fantastic. 

When I picked up this book, I was looking for something that was laugh-out-loud fun, and Dinan delivered. I had an amazing time getting to know Boone and the rest of the Golden Mountain family, and am grateful I got to tag along on this caper. 

**ARCs received in exchange for honest reviews.

Have you ever participated in a mock trial?
Let us know in the comments!

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