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  • Sweet young adult sci-fi romance.

    'Under the Milky Way' by Vanessa Barnveld is a sweet young adult sci-fi tale that follows high school senior, Cassidy Roekiem as she tries to solve a mystery that landed her mom in a 'wellness resort' that feels more than a little questionable. As locals start to report lights in the sky and issue claims of alien abduction, Cassidy finds she's missing chunks of time that she can't account for.. and that's exactly the kind of symptom being associated with these said 'events.' The town insists nothing out of the ordinary is really going on, but the problem is so widespread she has her doubts. Then there's Hayden. He's new at school and seems to have all the right boxes checked for instant popularity, but he keeps to himself and has a strange habit of watching Cassidy. Almost constantly. Honestly, the writing itself is just okay, but the story is cute and enjoyable. Hayden really is lovely and the dynamics between him and his family, especially Trudy are quite amusing. Told in a non-linear format from multiple perspectives, there's a decent bit to keep track of both past and present. Conceptually and structurally, it could have been a robust story.. but the execution just isn't quite there. Having done a bit of research into the author, I feel that's largely just inexperience and that she's probably still learning to fill those pages out thoughtfully. She definitely has potential, she just needs to get all the pieces working fluidly together. Still, as I said.. I did enjoy the read. Anyone looking for a light fare with some cute romance and a sci-fi bent might enjoy this too.

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  • Original and gripping

    Aliens and space meld with high school drama to form a high tension, well-woven read. Cassidy is struggling. Her parents are divorced, her mother is a well-known figure, and now, her mother has checked herself into some strange wellness ranch, where Cassidy isn't allowed to visit her. Nothing makes sense, and everything about life seems out of sorts. So, when one of the boys at school...a 'hot' one...can't take his eyes off of her and starts accidentally running into her everywhere, she's not sure what to think. As she warms up to him, things on her mother's side grow stranger and stranger, especially as Cassidy begins to delve into the research for the novel her mom was writing. Add her sudden blackouts and hours being lost at a time, and she's afraid something big and sinister is going on. When I picked this one up, I was expecting a sappy, alien-human romance...but this is so much more. The author weaves tons of secrets and intrigue around the characters, creating a tale which is packed with unexpected twists and turns, high stakes, and dangerous shadows. Nothing is as it seems and so much is at stake. So, romance is there, and it does carry the tones of usual high school drama, but that is only the beginning. There's quite a bit going on in the background. To get this to all click together by the end, the author tells the tale not only from different perspectives, but includes emails and notes from the past. Each chapter does put a place and date at the beginning to help keep things clear and coordinated. Still, I was more than a little confused during the first half of the book and just trusted that this was all going to fall into the right place by the end. And it does for the most part, although some things were still blurred and I'd have to go back and reread several spots to see exactly how it worked. But to say this ruined the read for me would be wrong. I read this one in a single sitting and couldn't put it down. The characters and situations are very original, and while it's clear there are some evil doings happening, it's not so clear how it all works. The tension is high, the characters are more than easy to root for, and it's an entertaining read until the very end. So, if you're looking for high school romance with a dash of science fiction and a super helping of evil intrigue...this one is for you. I received an ARC and found the tale very engaging.

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  • Cute Story!

    This book is about a girl who will do anything and everything to get her mom back. Her mother was researching the disappearance of a young girl who went missing. She happened to be the presidents daughter. But it seemed to be too much for her and she checks herself into a wellness center to deal with her mental health. But Cassidy can’t shake the feeling that her mom isn’t there for the reason she says she is. Specially when she isn’t allowed to visit her. She’s determined to solve this case for her mom so she can bring her home. Going into the book, I thought it was going to be a nice contemporary book. NOPE! We got Aliens! Along the way Cassidy meets and befriends her new classmate Hayden. But Hayden isn’t who he says he is, not really! They are keeping secret! But my gosh they are so cute! This story kept me completely attached! Cassidy starts to believe aliens have been abducting her repeatedly. She meets others who were abducted along side her. Every encounter she looses her memory of each event. But things start to become clear. Cassidy and her friends definitely do the most to get to the bottom of it all. I really enjoyed the book, one Con Would be the Star Wars references, I’m not into that fandom and found it a little annoyed. But to each their own. Other then that this was a good read.

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