Bite-Sized Reviews of Roxy, Cupcake, Jillian Vs. Parasite Planet, and The Only Plane in the Sky

Posted November 29, 2021 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Reviews / 14 Comments

Today, I have a YA contemporary fantasy, a YA contemp, a MG sci-fi, and an adult non-fiction book. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!


Bite-Sized Reviews of Roxy, Cupcake, Jillian Vs. Parasite Planet, and The Only Plane in the SkyRoxy by Neal Shusterman, Jarrod Shusterman
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on November 9, 2021
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: YA (Drug Use, Addiction, Overdose)
My rating:
4 Stars

From the team that brought you the New York Times bestselling Dry comes a riveting new thriller that proves when gods play games, even love is a lie.

The freeway is coming.

It will cut the neighborhood in two. Construction has already started, pushing toward this corridor of condemned houses and cracked concrete with the momentum of the inevitable. Yet there you are, in the fifth house on the left, fighting for your life.

Ramey, I.

The victim of the bet between two manufactured gods: the seductive and lethal Roxy (Oxycontin), who is at the top of her game, and the smart, high-achieving Addison (Adderall), who is tired of being the helpful one, and longs for a more dangerous, less wholesome image. The wager—a contest to see who can bring their mark to “the Party” first—is a race to the bottom of a rave that has raged since the beginning of time. And you are only human, dazzled by the lights and music. Drawn by what the drugs offer—tempted to take that step past helpful to harmful…and the troubled places that lie beyond.

But there are two I. Rameys—Isaac, a soccer player thrown into Roxy’s orbit by a bad fall and a bad doctor and Ivy, his older sister, whose increasing frustration with her untreated ADHD leads her to renew her acquaintance with Addy.

Which one are you?

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The Shustermans have a knack for tackling timely social issues in a unique and thought-provoking way. This book focuses on the theme of drug addiction. The story follows a high-school-aged brother and a sister, both ensnared by substance abuse. While Ivy has been caught up in a partying lifestyle, her straitlaced brother has always done his best to keep her out of trouble. But when Isaac finds himself addicted to painkillers, who can he depend on? One of the siblings will be dead by the end of the book, the question is who—and how do they end on that path?

The truly unique aspect of this book is that it is told not just from the perspectives of the siblings, but also from the POVs of anthropomorphized versions of the drugs that are wreaking havoc on Ivy and Isaac’s lives. Roxy (Oxycontin) and Addison (Adderall) have made a bet about who can lead their mark to “the Party” first (basically, which of them can kill them). The drugs’ storyline is just as much a part of the plot as the siblings’. This storytelling style can take a little getting used to, but it earns points for uniqueness. Roxy makes you think about the ways that addiction can hold a person in its grip and how it can worm its way into a person’s existence in numerous insidious ways. Plus, the story has some major twists and turns that will keep you guessing!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review purposes. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Roxy, Cupcake, Jillian Vs. Parasite Planet, and The Only Plane in the SkyCupcake by Cookie O'Gorman
Published by Entangled Teen on November 2, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Elizabeth Turner-Stokes
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
My rating:
4 Stars

I know what you're thinking.

You're thinking this will be just one more story of the ignored, "big-boned" girl, who sheds her glasses and a few extra pounds and finally attracts the notice of the most popular guy in school.

Except it isn't. Because I'm not unpopular. Not all that ignored. And I love the way I look―just as I am.

Then someone puts my name in for Homecoming Court.
The bigger surprise?
People actually vote for me!

Now, I'm a "princess"―whether I like it or not―but the guy I'm paired with isn't exactly Prince Charming.

Rhys Castle is the strong, silent type who always wears a frown―he's certainly never smiled at me. I'm 99.9% sure he hates being on Court and being my partner, but surprisingly…he doesn't switch when he gets the chance.

Turns out Rhys has a secret―something that makes him run hot and cold throughout the entire three weeks of Homecoming festivities. Whether he's stepping on my feet during dance lessons or gallantly escorting me through the Homecoming parade, I can't get a read on this guy, and for the first time, I find my confidence wavering.

But there's more to Rhys than meets the eye. And the more the spotlight shines on me, I realize there's more to me, too.

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A sweet high school romance that gets bonus points for its body positivity. When Ariel is nominated for Homecoming Queen, she isn’t as excited as most people would expect. She just doesn’t care all that much about all the Homecoming fuss, and she’s even less happy when she gets paired with Rhys, a football star who she just can’t read very well. The best aspect of the book is the fact that Ariel is perfectly content with her plus-sized frame. That doesn’t mean that she’s completely immune to the jibes from certain unenlightened classmates—or even to her own assumptions about what others might be thinking about her. The story is #OwnVoices, so Ariel’s interactions and internal monologue feel authentic. I also found myself rooting for Ariel and Rhys (though I did think she was a little undeservedly hard on him at times, especially in the beginning). These two were too perfect together!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for review purposes. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Roxy, Cupcake, Jillian Vs. Parasite Planet, and The Only Plane in the SkyJillian vs Parasite Planet by Nicole Kornher-Stace
Illustrator: Scott Brown
Published by Tachyon Publications on July 13, 2021
Genres: Middle Grade, Science Fiction
Pages: 288
Source: The Publisher
My content rating: MG (Some violence)
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Can an anxious eleven-year-old find her chill and save her family from creepy aliens? Only if she’s the most awesome, super-brave astronaut since Spaceman Spiff! So take a deep breath, grab your sidekick, and blast off with Jillian to Parasite Planet.

Eleven-year-old Jillian hates surprises. Even fun ones make her feel all panicky inside. But, she’s always dreamed of joining her space-explorer parents on a mission. It’s Take Your Kid to Work Day, and Jillian finally has her chance to visit an alien world!

The journey to Planet 80 UMa c is supposed to be just a fun camping trip. But then the local wildlife starts acting really dangerous. Only the onboard computer SABRINA sorta knows what's happening—at least when it's not goofing off or telling bad jokes.

Looks like it's Jillian vs Parasite Planet—and Jillian is determined to win!

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This book is a high-octane survival story adventure set on a distant planet! Jillian is both thrilled and anxious when her scientist parents surprise her with an off-world trip. But things go very wrong the moment they arrive, and suddenly Jillian finds herself stranded with both her parents’ lives and her own hanging in the balance. She has to put her fears aside and figure out how to survive on a dangerous alien planet with few resources (including a very limited amount of food and water). Not only is the suspense palpable, but Kornher-Stace incorporates some incredibly unique sci-fi worldbuilding, with deadly parasites that kill their hosts in a very unique way (I won’t spoil what that is) and an AI made out of a nanobot swarm that can change form at will. And along the way, Jillian learns to trust herself, which just might be the most important lesson of all.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for review purposes. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***


Bite-Sized Reviews of Roxy, Cupcake, Jillian Vs. Parasite Planet, and The Only Plane in the SkyThe Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett M. Graff
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on September 10, 2019
Genres: Adult, Non-Fiction
Pages: 485
Length: 15 hours and 55 minutes
Source: Library
My content rating: Adult (Describes the 9/11 attacks and fallout)
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Read by a 45-person cast, with Holter Graham and the author

Over the past eighteen years, monumental literature has been published about 9/11, from Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower to The 9/11 Commission Report. But one perspective has been missing up to this point—a 360-degree account of the day told through firsthand.

Now, in The Only Plane in the Sky, Garrett Graff tells the story of the day as it was lived—in the words of those who lived it. Drawing on never-before-published transcripts, declassified documents, original interviews, and oral histories from nearly five hundred government officials, first responders, witnesses, survivors, friends, and family members, he paints the most vivid and human portrait of the September 11 attacks yet.

Beginning in the predawn hours of airports in the Northeast, we meet the ticket agents who unknowingly usher terrorists onto their flights, and the flight attendants inside the hijacked planes. In New York, first responders confront a scene of unimaginable horror at the Twin Towers. From a secret bunker under the White House, officials watch for incoming planes on radar. Aboard unarmed fighter jets in the air, pilots make a pact to fly into a hijacked airliner if necessary to bring it down. In the skies above Pennsylvania, civilians aboard United 93 make the ultimate sacrifice in their place. Then, as the day moves forward and flights are grounded nationwide, Air Force One circles the country alone, its passengers isolated and afraid.

More than simply a collection of eyewitness testimonies, The Only Plane in the Sky is the historic narrative of how ordinary people grappled with extraordinary events in real time: the father and son caught on different ends of the impact zone; the firefighter searching for his wife who works at the World Trade Center; the operator of in-flight telephone calls who promises to share a passenger’s last words with his family; the beloved FDNY chaplain who bravely performs last rites for the dying, losing his own life when the Towers collapse; and the generals at the Pentagon who break down and weep when they are barred from trying to rescue their colleagues.

At once a powerful tribute to the courage of everyday Americans and an essential addition to the literature of 9/11, The Only Plane in the Sky weaves together the unforgettable personal experiences of the men and women who found themselves caught at the center of an unprecedented human drama. The result is a unique, profound, and searing exploration of humanity on a day that changed the course of history, and all of our lives.

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I don’t review most of the adult books I read, but I thought this non-fiction audiobook was a uniquely important read, and since I discovered it via other blogs, I thought I’d give a short review here so others will find it too! This book is filled with stories of 9/11, both from the day of the tragedy and the days surrounding it. It’s comprised of snippets from transcripts, oral history, interviews, and more, so it’s all told from the perspective of people who lived through 9/11, from people working in the World Trade Center that day, to first responders, to family members of people who died on the planes. The audiobook is narrated by a full cast and includes some actual recordings from the fateful day. The end result is a fascinating account of a day that changed the US (and the world) forever.


That’s it for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think?
I wanna know!

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14 responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of Roxy, Cupcake, Jillian Vs. Parasite Planet, and The Only Plane in the Sky

  1. I have Roxy for review, but it definitely sounds like an intense/emotional one, so I need to prepare myself. hah I just got The Only Plane in the Sky from a book swap and I’m definitely “excited” (seems like a weird way to describe reading this one haha) to read it.

  2. Roxy was hard for me to read, like you said, it took some getting used to how it was written. I ended up not finishing it, but I did give it a good review because I got what it was trying to do and definitely will be recommending it. I loved Cupcake. That last one sounds like a really good listen, especially around 9/11. I’ll look for it next September I think. Great reviews!

    Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature) recently posted: L-L-L-Little Reviews #35: 5 Audiobooks and a Sampler

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