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Win This: 5 From Merit Press (Giveaway)

Earlier this year, Merit Press launched.  It is a new YA imprint started by New York Times best selling author Jacquelyn Mitchard.  Their focus is on “riveting and relevant real world novels for young adults” (via their Facebook page).  Today we had a guest blog post from author Julie Anne Lindsey, a Merit Press author.  I happen to have right here in my hand five FINISHED HARDBACK books from Merit Press for you to win.  You can keep them, use them as prizes, or add them to your library collection if you are a librarian.  This giveaway will be open until Midnight on Saturday, September 7th.  Complete details at the end of this post.

Exposure by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

 “The minute you think you can outsmart life, that’s when life will outsmart you.”


A modern day homage to Macbeth.  The captain of the hockey team, Duncan, turns up dead.  And senior Skye finds herself caught in a love triangle.  She may be the only one who knows what really happened to Duncan.  To tell or not to tell, that is the question.

Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

“I shuddered, remembering the similar crown of condescension I wore back when I stook perched on a higher rung of the social statrum.”

Miranda Prsopero has found herself banished from the popular crowd (say not banished).  She now finds herself working at the Hot-Dog-Kabob (think Hot Dog on a Stick with awesome uniforms and tall hats).  A huge storm sweeps through and they are all trapped in the mall, creating the perfect opportunity for revenge against her former clique.  Like Exposure, Temptestous is a part of the Twited Lit series, this one a take on The Tempest.

The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab

“The one thhing even more dangerous than being in a hostage situation has to be being in a hostage situation that’s gone wrong.”

Rich, powerful people often make powerful enemies.  And they can seek revenge at the most unfortunate times.  Ariel is in the midst of a mega birthday party when they show up, guns in hand.  Everyone is now being held hostage, except Ariel who has escaped into secret tunnels.  Sera was forced to attend the party by her father.  As terrorists take over the party, Ariel and Sera may be everyone’s only chance for survival.

The After Girls by Leah Konen

“How could she have spent week after week with her friend, her best friend, and not known that she wanted to leave? The guilt ripped at her, enveloped her, drowned her.  If only she could find what it was that she’d missed. If only she could see how she’d failed her friend.”

Ella, Astrid and Sydney find their summer plans shattered when Astrid takes her own life.  Ella and Sydney are left reeling: they had no idea anything was wrong, shouldn’t they have seen this coming?  Ella hunts for the truth while Sydney tries to escape the pain, often in destructive ways.  And is it possible that Astrid is trying to communicate with her friends from beyond?  The answers may just change their lives forever.

Louder Than Words by Laurie Plissner

“Every night it’s the same thing. Screeching brakes. Crunching steel. A rush of cold, wet air as the glass crumbles, letting in the snowy night.”

Her entire family was killed in a car crash that left Sasha unable to speak without the assistance of a voice box.  Ben, an empath, seems able to read Sasha’s mind and tries to help her heal from the trauma of the accident.  Soon it becomes clear: Sasha’s family did not die in an accident, and her life is in danger.

Book Review: Tempestuous by Kim Askew and Amy Helmes

“Who cares what they’re doing as long as they’re at the other end of the mall?” Ariel seemed unperturbed. “We’re just in here for the night. What do we need with all that stuff, anyway?”

“Don’t you get it?” Derek answered. “We don’t know what’s happening out there with the storm. we could be snowed in here for days. What if we lose power/ This could turn into a survival game.:
“See?” I said to Caleb chidingly.

“It’s war. You’re involved now whether you want to be or not.”

“wait a sec,” Chad said, “before we get ahead of ourselves. . . Don’t we have bigger things to worry about? Like  oh, I don’t know. . . the computer store thief?”

“What about him?” I said with a shrug.

“They aren’t even real,” Caleb said. “We sell some just like those at Got Games.”

“Oh, they’re real,” Troy said.

“If they’re so real, how come I know the trick to get out of them?” Caleb said.
He twisted his wrist a few times even though it was clear there was no way he’d be able to get his arm out of them. He looked confused. I yanked back on my end of the handcuff.

Troy stuck his hand in his back pocket, this his front pockets.

“I. . . what the hell?. . . I can’t find the key. It was in my pocket,” he said. Caleb and I both looked at him expectantly, our irritation growing. “I’m serious.
He looked around the ground at his feet and everyone else did, too, but the key was nowhere to be found. Just brilliant. Brian, Rachel, and the Itneys were going all Lord of the Flies on us, a potentially armed criminal might or might not be somewhere in the mall, and Caleb and I were handcuffed together. What more could go wrong?


Forced into the pits of loserdom of working the mall food court to pay restitution for her crimes (and others as well), Miranda Prospero (sound familiar, English majors? Think very loosely of The Tempest) is trying to figure out how to survive the last few months of her senior year without gathering more attention from her former crowd, the Itneys. Yet life has other plans- in the form of a blizzard that shuts down the mall before Miranda, her co-worker Ariel, her ex Brian, her former BFFs Rachel, Whitney, and Britney,and other mall workers and mall rats can get home, and oh, yea- the THIEF who starts smashing and grabbing stores.  The preps and the nots set up camps at opposed ends of the mall, and Miranda sees her perfect chance for revenge- even while handcuffed to Caleb. Yet will Miranda discover herself or be focused on her revenge- and what about the thief?  

Tempestuous is the first of the author’s Twisted Lit series, and is extremely loosely based on The Tempest by Shakespeare- a few similar characters, everyone stranded together, a lot of learning about human nature.  It is a very fun and fast mystery, with a lot to hold readers and keep them immersed in the story.  There’s Miranda and her story, with not only her ex-friends and new friends, but Caleb and his backstory, Ariel and her growth; and a bit of fleshing out of secondary and third characters.  The mystery of the mall thief is a nice twist as well, as you’re not quite sure who it will be when people keep going in and out of the story line.  Definitely an entertaining read, one that I would pair with books by Louise Rennison or Rachel Cohn for the humor quotient.  3.5 out of 5 stars.

 SPOILER SPACE

I really enjoyed Tempestuous, it was amusing and catchy, and kept my interest throughout the book. I got invested in what would happen next- what would Miranda and Ariel do, and how would things progress between Miranda and Caleb, especially with the twists between the different cliques.  Askew and Helmes built a world could have come off as extremely superficial- instead, you could see how everyone fit in. And the reactions to the pranks and situations are not typical- the Itneys (Miranda’s old clique) react very different than what you expect to Miranda’s detailed revenge plans (including bunnies, henna, and hair dye gone rampant), and Ariel turns the tables on Miranda more than once.

Those that are expecting a hard mystery should look elsewhere- the focus is more on the development of character and discovering one’s self rather than finding the thief, although everything is neatly solved by the end.  It’s interwoven- don’t get me wrong, and adds tension, but it’s not a major focus point within the story until the last quarter of the book.
Tempestuous is the first of the Twisted Lit series, and part of the Merit Press new YA releases.  It has received an average of 4.06 stars on Goodreads (I am a hard grader, I admit) as of January 3, and was released on December 18, 2012.  ISBN: 9781440552649.