Bite-Sized Reviews of The Big Flush, Give Me a Sign, Come See the Fair, Always Isn’t Forever, and Year on Fire

Posted August 8, 2023 by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction in Reviews / 3 Comments

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

Bite-Sized Reviews of The Big Flush, Give Me a Sign, Come See the Fair, Always Isn’t Forever, and Year on FireThe Big Flush by Julie Buxbaum
Illustrator: Lavanya Naidu
Series: The Area 51 Files #2
Also in this series: , The Area 51 Files
Published by Delacorte on July 25, 2023
Genres: Middle Grade, Science Fiction
Pages: 256
Source: The Publisher
My rating:
4 Stars

A killer space toilet is hurtling toward Area 51, courtesy of a mystery traitor on base, and things are about to get messy if Sky and her friends can't solve the case. Don't miss book two in the hilarious, highly illustrated Area 51 Files series by New York Times bestselling author Julie Buxbaum, illustrated by Lavanya Naidu!

"Epically fun!"--Max Brallier, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Last Kids on Earth

Sky Patel-Baum, Area 51's latest arrival, thought she had finally figured out her strange new home. Sure, there are aliens everywhere, and her new BFF Elvis is from the planet Galzoria. But it turns out things can still get weirder. Because some special visitors just arrived with a warning: Area 51 is in danger!

A hunk of space junk is headed right for the base! And it's not just any hunk of junk! It's a giant toilet! Even worse? A traitor on base is working with angry aliens to coordinate the attack.

With one case already under their belts, Sky and her friends are on a mission to save Area 51. But what happens if their investigation goes down the toilet? That would stink!


I absolutely adored the first book in this zany MG series, so I jumped at the chance to review THE BIG FLUSH. At Barnes & Noble, I often recommend this book to younger MG readers or more reluctant readers. The combination of humor and fun illustrations makes it very accessible.

This second book is very much in the same vein as the first: the kids once again have to solve a big mystery, but this time the stakes are even higher because their home is in danger of being blown to smithereens by a space toilet! (Yep, there’s plenty of potty humor in this book. Honestly, I’m not always a fan of potty humor, but somehow in these books it seems to come across more silly than gross? At least to me.) Kids will love the inclusion of lots of crazy aliens – including a few new characters, two of whom look like giant T-Rexes to our MC. There are also some surprising check-ins with characters from the last book who have changed a whole lot. And Elvis’s adoption and family are explored a lot more in this book. The mystery itself is engaging, and readers will have fun trying to solve it right along with our kid-sleuths.

Great for readers who love Diary of a Wimpy Kid and The 13-Story Treehouse Series!

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

Bite-Sized Reviews of The Big Flush, Give Me a Sign, Come See the Fair, Always Isn’t Forever, and Year on FireGive Me a Sign by Anna Sortino
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on July 11, 2023
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 303
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Christina Chung
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Lilah is stuck in the middle. At least, that’s what having a hearing loss seems like sometimes—when you don’t feel “deaf enough” to identify as Deaf or hearing enough to meet the world’s expectations. But this summer, Lilah is ready for a change.

When Lilah becomes a counselor at a summer camp for the deaf and blind, her plan is to brush up on her ASL. Once there, she also finds a community. There are cute British lifeguards who break hearts but not rules, a YouTuber who’s just a bit desperate for clout, the campers Lilah’s responsible for (and overwhelmed by)—and then there’s Isaac, the dreamy Deaf counselor who volunteers to help Lilah with her signing.

Romance was never on the agenda, and Lilah’s not positive Isaac likes her that way. But all signs seem to point to love. Unless she’s reading them wrong? One thing’s for sure: Lilah wanted change, and things here are certainly different than what she’s used to.

In her sweet and swoony debut, Anna Sortino delivers a poignant coming-of-age story and a revelatory exploration of Deaf culture, its vastness, and its beautiful complexities.


A heartfelt YA contemporary about what it really means to be part of a community. Lilah has spent her life working hard to fit in with her hearing friends at her hearing school. She does her best to follow along with conversations and not be a “burden” when she misses things. She feels the constant weight of having to keep up – or at least pretend to – when the words spoken blur by in a muddled haze. When she gets the opportunity to be a counselor at the camp for Deaf kids she went to when she was younger, she’s excited but also scared that she won’t feel at home there either – after all, they mostly use ASL, and she hasn’t had much chance to practice it over the years. But when she meets Isaac, she finally finds someone who makes her feel comfortable in her own skin.

This Own Voices story highlights those feelings of otherness and loneliness that are prevalent for many teens, but it also shows a perspective that will be new to a lot of readers. With a swoony romance, burgeoning friendships, and a fun summer camp vibe, it’s sure to win over both contemporary readers who are looking for a read that will widen their understanding of the world and readers who just love a sweet YA romance!

***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 The Big Flush, Give Me a Sign, Come See the Fair, Always Isn’t Forever, and Year on FireCome See the Fair by Gavriel Savit
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on April 11, 2023
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Middle Grade
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley
My rating:
4.5 Stars

An unforgettable story of magic, mediums, and seances set during the Chicago World’s Fair from the author of the National Book Award finalist The Way Back.

Twelve-year-old orphan Eva Root travels the country pretending to channel spirits at seances. Her audiences swear their loved ones have spoken to them from beyond the grave. This, of course, is impossible.

But one day, Eva experiences another impossibility: she hears a voice in her head telling her to come to the World’s Fair in Chicago. There, she meets a mysterious magician who needs her help to bring magic to life. But as their work progresses, Eva begins to suspect that the project’s goals may not be as noble as they seem. And when tragedy strikes, Eva will have to reach beyond death itself to unravel the mystery of the magician’s plan—before it’s too late.

From the author of the National Book finalist The Way Back comes a story of what to do when you get burned by the magic you’ve been looking for all your life.


Imagine if the Chicago World’s Fair had included a secret shadowy magic exhibition, hidden from all but a select few. That’s the premise of this haunting story. Eva has spent her life pretending to be psychic, performing for the benefit of the woman who found her in an orphanage years ago. But then she feels the World’s fair calling to her, and her whole life changes. Eva finds herself caught in a web of alluring magic that starts to seem more chilling as the days pass. This is one of those books where the MC has no idea who is truly good or who to trust – she has one friend she relies on, but when he starts to have doubts about the magic surrounding them, she isn’t sure if she should follow his lead or not. The story takes many twists and turns and heads into some darker territory, but it’s perfect for upper MG readers who are often forgotten!

***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 The Big Flush, Give Me a Sign, Come See the Fair, Always Isn’t Forever, and Year on FireAlways Isn't Forever by J.C. Cervantes
Published by Razorbill on June 6, 2023
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 383
Source: NetGalley
Cover Artist: Karmen Loh
My rating:
4.5 Stars

Best friends and soul mates since they were kids, Hart Augusto and Ruby Armenta were poised to take on senior year together when Hart tragically drowns in a boating accident. Absolutely shattered, Ruby struggles to move on from the person she knows was her forever love.

Hart can’t let go of Ruby either…. Due to some divine intervention, he’s offered a second chance. Only it won’t be as simple as bringing him back to life—instead, Hart’s soul is transferred to the body of local bad boy.

When Hart returns to town as Jameson, he realizes that winning Ruby back will be more challenging than he’d imagined. For one, he’s forbidden from telling Ruby the truth. And with each day he spends as Jameson, memories of his life as Hart begin to fade away.

Though Ruby still mourns Hart, she can’t deny that something is drawing her to Jameson. As much as she doesn’t understand the sudden pull, it can’t be ignored. And why does he remind her so much of Hart? Desperate to see if the connection she feels is real, Ruby begins to open her heart to Jameson—but will their love be enough to bridge the distance between them?


This paranormal romance explores the bounds of grief and the power of love. When Hart dies before his time, he is given a second chance. He is desperate to get back to his old life, and especially Ruby, the girl he’s loved for forever. Unfortunately, his old body is … no longer available, so he has to take on the life of someone else. And he’s physically unable to tell anyone who he truly is. To make matters worse, he’ll eventually forget his old life completely, including Ruby. Meanwhile, Ruby has been dealing with grief and guilt over Hart’s death and she doesn’t understand the pull she’s feeling toward a guy she’s never liked, at all. This is one of those romances where you basically know how it’s going to work – there aren’t a ton of surprises – but the addition of Hart’s fading memories and his integration with his “new” identity does add an element of suspense that you wouldn’t otherwise get in a book like this. It’s enough of a twist to keep you wondering how it will all work out. This twist is what kept me turning the pages, and had me rooting for Ruby and Hart the whole way!

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

Bite-Sized Reviews of The Big Flush, Give Me a Sign, Come See the Fair, Always Isn’t Forever, and Year on FireYear on Fire by Julie Buxbaum
Published by Delacorte Press on April 12, 2022
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Source: NetGalley
My rating:
4 Stars

It was a year on fire. They fell in love. Someone was bound to get burned.

The Spark: Just days before the start of junior year for twins Arch and Immie and their best friend, Paige, a spontaneous kiss shakes the very foundation of their friendship. But some ties run too deep to be broken by accidental betrayal.

The Fuel: Enter Rohan, new to Wood Valley High by way of London, who walks into school on the first day completely overwhelmed by his sudden move halfway around the world. When Paige calls dibs on him—he’s too cute to ignore—Immie is in no position to argue, certainly not after taking the fall for the disloyal kiss. Too bad for Immie that Ro feels like the best kind of familiar.

The Kindling: Former lab partners Arch and Jackson, Paige’s ex-boyfriend, have never considered themselves more than friends. But sometimes feelings can grow like wildfire.

The Flames: When the girls’ bathroom at Wood Valley is set ablaze, no one doubts it’s arson. But in this bastion of privilege, who’d be angry enough to want to burn down the school? Answer: pretty much everyone.

Year on Fire explores the blinding power of the lies we tell others and those we tell ourselves, the tight grip of family secrets, the magic of first love, and the grounding beauty of friendship.

What secrets will people keep—or reveal—to protect those they love? This novel, set against the frightening backdrop of an encroaching fire season, sparks reflection about friendship, the allure of romantic love, and loyalty to family.

Can a single kiss change everything?


A riveting YA contemporary that follows several teenagers through a school year of friendships (built and broken), romances, family issues, and the mounting pressures of the journey into adulthood. I do have to warn that this book is a character study at its heart, so it’s light on plot. Some people might be put off by that, but I was engaged enough with these teens and their complicated relationships that I didn’t mind. The story is told from multiple POV’s as we follow twins Arch and Immie, their best friend Paige, and new kid Ro. We find out at the beginning that something happened that has majorly strained the relationship between Paige and Immie – a kiss, a betrayal – but the details are murky, and the mystery of those circumstances unfolds throughout the book. Immie spends the book struggling to get back into Paige’s good graces and fighting an attraction that she fears will harm their friendship more. Meanwhile, Immie and Arch are keeping secrets, both about that night and their family, and Paige is struggling to just stay afloat when her world seems to be crumbling around her. This book is perfect for anyone who likes a character-driven story filled with emotional angst!

***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley. 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!


3 responses to “Bite-Sized Reviews of The Big Flush, Give Me a Sign, Come See the Fair, Always Isn’t Forever, and Year on Fire

  1. Always Isn’t Forever is one I had been curious about. Glad too see that it was so good! Sounds like it is emotional, which I do like in a contemporary. I was also curious about Year on Fire, and I do like character focused books so it might work for me. I hadn’t heard at all about Give Me a Sign, so I am glad you put it on my radar, it sounds lovely!

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Sometimes I Watch Shows (Part 12)

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