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LibertyREADS Elementary Middle High

High School Book Reviews

Dear My Blank: Secret Letters Never Sent

Trunko, Emily, editor. Dear My Blank: Secret Letters Never Sent. Illustrated by Lisa Congdon, Crown, 2016. 


All of the things you wanted to say but didn’t, can’t, shouldn’t. Emily Trunko has collected anonymous letters from teenagers about all aspects of life. 

Trunko’s own collection of unsent letters to crushes, friends, family and anyone that impacted her life inspired her to start her own Tumblr. The Tumblr was a way for other teenagers to anonymously share their letters never sent.

The Tumblr found itself in the spotlight overnight. Thousands of teenagers were submitting their letters. Dear My Blank is a collection of many of these letters.

Trunko has organized the letters into several categories; letters to self, love, friends, family, heartbreak, unrequited love, betrayal and loss. The letters are honest, raw and sometimes heart-wrenching. Readers will find themselves relating to many of the letters and making a mental list of their own secret letters never sent. This is one that once you start, you won’t put down until you reach the end.


Lori Riedel
Library Media Specialist
Liberty High School


Baker, Chandler. Alive. Disney-Hyperion, 2015. 


Suspense, Thriller


Stella Cross was destined to attend Stanford on a swim scholarship; fate had other plans.  A fainting spell landed her in the hospital where she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a serious heart condition that put an end to her swimming career.  Without a heart transplant, it could take her life, too. Uncertainty filled the next two years as Stella spent her time in and out of the hospital, when miraculously there was an anonymous donor and the transplant that would save her life.  Soon after, Stella began to experience bizarre side effects; nightmares, hallucinations, and an unbearable pain that came at the exact same time every day.  Nothing helped until a mysterious boy named Levi showed up at her school.  The two became inseparable as Stella realized that being with Levi was the single thing that would alleviate her pain.  Levi quickly became obsessed with Stella, throwing up red flags for those who cared about her.  This thriller unfolds as Stella begins to unravel Levi’s past and his fascination with her. 
Alive was recently voted the #1 teen pick in the annual YALA 2016 Teen’s Top Ten.  Fans of suspenseful thriller novels will drive right into this story.  Chandler Baker kept me guessing right up to the very end! 


Christine Anderson
Library Media Specialist 
Liberty High School

Emmy and Oliver

Benway, Robin. Emmy & Oliver. HarperTeen, 2015.

Realistic Fiction
Gateway Award Nominee


When Oliver is kidnapped by his dad in second grade, his friends Emmy, Caro, and Drew are devastated.  The whole world is turned upside down--their parents are spooked, the media is around every corner, and they always wonder where Oliver is.  Life will never be the same. 

Ten years later, Emmy is a smart 17-year-old who has to hide her favorite hobby, surfing, from her overprotective parents.  She, Caro, and Drew are closer than ever as they navigate their senior year together.  When Oliver suddenly reappears after 10 years, no one really knows how to respond--especially the adults.  

This realistic fiction story captures the touching rebuilding of a community of friends and families as they welcome Oliver home and get to know him all over again.  Oliver’s mom is married with twin daughters.  Emmy and her parents still live next door.  With quick, funny and touching dialogue, the author gives us a peek into the world of Emmy and Oliver.  The roller coaster they are living feels authentic as they work through the emotions of joy, anger, and fear.  Pick up Emmy and Oliver for a funny, moving read that feels true, but never too heavy.

Andrea Sumy
Library Media Director, Liberty Public Schools
Library Media Specialist, Liberty North High School

Book Reviews (In Order)

Dear My Blank ed. by Emily Trunko

Alive by Chandler Baker

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

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