Bite-Sized Reviews of Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone, The Girl in White, A Long Way from Home, and Little Thieves

Posted February 17, 2023 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Reviews / 4 Comments

Today, I’m reviewing three MG reads and one YA. I hope these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!

Bite-Sized Reviews of Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone, The Girl in White, A Long Way from Home, and Little ThievesJennifer Chan Is Not Alone by Tae Keller
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on April 26, 2022
Genres: Contemporary, Middle Grade
Pages: 288
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Dion MBD
My rating:
4.5 Stars

In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal for When You Trap a Tiger, Tae Keller offers a gripping and emotional story about friendship, bullying, and the possiblity that there's more in the universe than just us.

Sometimes middle school can make you feel like you're totally alone in the universe...but what if we aren't alone at all?

Thanks to her best friend, Reagan, Mallory Moss knows the rules of middle school. The most important one? You have to fit in to survive. But then Jennifer Chan moves in across the street, and that rule doesn't seem to apply. Jennifer doesn't care about the laws of middle school, or the laws of the universe. She believes in aliens--and she thinks she can find them.

Then Jennifer goes missing. Using clues from Jennifer's journals, Mallory goes searching. But the closer she gets, the more Mallory has to confront why Jennifer might have run . . . and face the truth within herself.
Tae Keller lights up the sky with this insightful story about shifting friendships, right and wrong, and the power we all hold to influence and change one another. No one is ever truly alone.


Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone explores the intricacies and complexities of subtle bullying and how it can snowball into something so much worse. On its surface, the book is about a girl who believes in aliens and then disappears mysteriously. The question of whether or not the aliens in the story may be real will pull MG readers through the story and keep them reading to the end. But the real themes of the book are much deeper than aliens. Mal, the MC, has to face her own culpability in Jennifer’s disappearance after an “event” that we know is bad, but we don’t actually discover what really happened until toward the end of the book. The book shows how “innocent” snubs and turning a blind eye to bullying can be the predecessors to becoming the bully yourself, and it presents a nuanced examination of what actually leads to group bullying–Mal herself is a character with many shades of gray. (I highly recommend reading the author’s note at the end of the book to get even more insight into this. I found it fascinating.) Tae Keller manages to capture middle school in all its innocence and cruelty while also exploring magical thinking and the true mysteries of the universe. I highly recommend this book!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley so I could provide an honest review. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

Bite-Sized Reviews of Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone, The Girl in White, A Long Way from Home, and Little ThievesThe Girl in White by Lindsay Currie
Published by Sourcebooks Young Readers on September 6, 2022
Genres: Horror, Middle Grade
Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley, The Publisher
Cover Artist: Jana Heidersdorf
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Sweet Molly once lived in EastportSweet Molly once loved the seaSweet Molly lost Liam to the shadowsNow Sweet Molly is coming for ye …

Mallory hasn't quite adapted to life in her new town of Eastport yet. Maybe it's because everyone is obsessed with keeping the town's reputation as one of the most haunted places to visit.
And thanks to the nightmares she's had since arriving, Mallory is having a hard time sleeping. Combined with the unsettling sensation of being watched and losing chunks of time, she’s worried that maybe the ghost stories she’s been quick to dismiss might actually be real.

When Mallory has a terrifying encounter with the same old woman from her dreams, she's not sure what to do. With Eastport gearing up to celebrate the anniversary of their first recorded legend Mallory is forced to investigate the one legend she's always secretly been afraid of . . . Sweet Molly.


The Girl in White examines the ways we commercialize folklore and our modern fascination with all things macabre. The story takes place in a fictional town that celebrates its spooky history. Every day in Eastport is Halloween, and everyone in town seems to embrace the elaborate ghost stories that fuel its reputation, whether those stories are true or not. Mallory has recently moved to Eastport, and she’s already over the hokey celebrations of the town’s resident ghosts. But when she starts seeing frightening visions and sleepwalking, even she has to admit that something supernatural might be afoot. Mallory has to figure out just what the girl in white wants from her before it’s too late. In the end, the book explores the ways that people’s stories are sometimes taken from them and used for others’ gain.”History” can sometimes be twisted into a celebration of someone’s misfortune. The book made me think of my trips to Salem, where the witch trials have been turned into an attraction. The line between history and entertainment can be blurry.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher so I could provide an honest review. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

Bite-Sized Reviews of Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone, The Girl in White, A Long Way from Home, and Little ThievesA Long Way from Home by Laura Schaefer
Published by Carolrhoda Books (R) on October 4, 2022
Genres: Middle Grade, Science Fiction
Pages: 272
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Millie Liu
My rating:
4 Stars

Twelve-year-old Abby has a lot to worry about: Climate change. The news. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. And now moving to Florida for her mom's new job at an aerospace company.

On the Space Coast, Abby meets two boys, Adam and Bix, who tell her they're a long way from home and need her help. Abby discovers they're from the future, from a time when all the problems of the 21st century have been solved. Thrilled, Abby strikes a deal with them: She'll help them--if they let her come to the future with them. But soon Abby is forced to question her attachment to a perfect future and her complicated feelings about the present.


This MG time-traveling sci-fi story gives a message of hope and resilience, even in a time when the world seems to be spiraling toward our extinction. Abby is constantly worried, and with good reason–she knows the many ways our earth is dying, and she doesn’t see a real future for humankind. How can she focus on anything else? But when two time-traveling boys from the future show up in her new Florida town, she finally glimpses hope for humanity–and for herself. The story highlights family relationships and the ways we often put our own hopes and dreams and expectations onto the next generation. This would be perfect for kids who love stem topics, especially kids who are interested in space exploration because it goes into that somewhat extensively (the same, to a lesser extent, with environmental issues). Kids who find themselves worrying about our future will relate to Abby and find comfort in the idea that we can persevere through these challenges, just as we’ve done through many others. Life will always be full of both pain and joys, but that doesn’t mean we can’t treasure the moments we have and preserve hope for a better future.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley so I could provide an honest review. No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

Bite-Sized Reviews of Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone, The Girl in White, A Long Way from Home, and Little ThievesLittle Thieves by Margaret Owen
Series: Little Thieves #1
Published by Henry Holt & Company on October 19, 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Retellings, Young Adult
Pages: 512
Source: Library, NetGalley
Cover Artist: M.S. Corley
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Once upon a time, there was a horrible girl...

Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother's love--and she's on the hook for one hell of a debt. Vanja, the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, was Princess Gisele's dutiful servant up until a year ago. That was when Vanja's otherworldly mothers demanded a terrible price for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her future back... by stealing Gisele's life for herself.

The real Gisele is left a penniless nobody while Vanja uses an enchanted string of pearls to take her place. Now, Vanja leads a lonely but lucrative double life as princess and jewel thief, charming nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Then, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to an untimely end: turning into jewels, stone by stone, for her greed.
Vanja has just two weeks to figure out how to break her curse and make her getaway. And with a feral guardian half-god, Gisele's sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on Vanja's tail, she'll have to pull the biggest grift yet to save her own life.

Margaret Owen, author of The Merciful Crow series, crafts a delightfully irreverent retelling of "The Goose Girl" about stolen lives, thorny truths, and the wicked girls at the heart of both.


A dark YA fantasy reimagining of the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tale, “The Goose Girl,” told from the villain’s perspective. Anyone fascinated by morally gray characters will love this book. This reimagining takes the villain of the original fairy tale, the maid, and turns her into the protagonist. Vanja admits she’s anything but perfect–she stole her mistresses’ identity and steals from the rich, and she doesn’t think she has anything to be particularly sorry for. After all, life is harsh, and sometimes you have to take matters into your own hands or perish. But when she steals from the wrong god, she is cursed for her greed, and she must find a way to escape the city (before anyone discovers her false identity and without giving up her freedom to serve her godmothers, Death and Fortune) and break the curse. The story highlights the many cruelties of a system that punishes the poor and puts young women at the mercy of men (their future is often based on their beauty) or at the mercy of their parents, who may or may not have their best interests at heart. The story takes quite a few twists and turns, and we eventually learn all of the events that took place that made Vanja into who she is today. Is she a villain? Perhaps there is no such thing.

NOTE: I listened to the audiobook version, which was deftly narrated by Saskia Maarleveld. I will definitely seek her out as a narrator in the future.

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Netgalley (but ended up listening to the audiobook through my local library). No compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***

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


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