Devon is at Keaton School on a scholarship, so she has a hard time fitting in with the kids their. She manages to find a few friends and get by. For h...moreDevon is at Keaton School on a scholarship, so she has a hard time fitting in with the kids their. She manages to find a few friends and get by. For her junior year she decides to be a peer counselor (the only one), which is now a needed position since a student, Hutch, killed himself. Devon is a bit thrown by this, because she has to lend support to the people who cared about him, and she is secretly one of those people too. Based on what she hears while counseling, Devon begins to wonder if Hutch even did take his own life or if it was something more sinister than that. Hutch committing suicide doesn't fit with who she knew, and it doesn't seem to fit the Hutch others knew either. Devon decides it's up to her to figure out what is really going on.
So the first thing that seemed strange to me is the obituary in the beginning of this novel. It mentions that Hutch committed suicide. Usual in obituaries they tend to avoid mentioning cause of death in that case and it seems especially strange since Hutch's parents are high profile people.
The mystery part of the story was pretty good. It kept me guessing, because the evidence only narrowed down some subjects. There were so many factors and that made it a bit trickier to pinpoint what happened. Some things were kept a "mystery" for too long though, and it made Devon seem a bit incompetent.
Also Grant was such a weird guy. I just wasn't sure what was going on with him. What roll did he play? Did he actually like Devon at all? She mentioned them being friends for a while. It seems strange not knowing the relationships between Devon and most of the other characters. Like, really, one night with a kid two years ago and you think you are connected on some super deep level even thought you didn't (maybe) talk at all for the next two years. Like what the hell!? Why didn't Devon and Hutch just hang out? Why weren't they at least friends? What is going on there? Why does Devon have all these sort of friends and no backstory or anything? Why should we care about Hutch? Devon seemed like an okay character. Sort of a Bitch though. A little crazy maybe? Most people in this novel seemed a bit crazy though. Hutch started to be fleshed out as some sort of Charlie Bartlett type.
There was too much that just didn't make sense. There were totally obvious things that Devon couldn't put together and I don't understand how friendship works apparently and why if you really liked the company of someone you would just not speak to them.
I didn't hate reading this book, but I wished that it made a bit more sense. I just had a hard time making connections because nothing seemed to be connected. People came in and out of the story with little more than a name introduction. It was just strange. I will probably read her next book, and hope that the relationships are worked out and explained a bit better.
First Line: "Jason Reed Hutchins 1996-2012 Jason Reed Hutchins, 16, of Marin County, died Wednesday, September 5th, 2012, of an apparent suicide at the Keaton school in Santa Cruz, California."
Favorite Line: "He finished and looked to Devon with that crooked smile of his. She now understood that this is the face Hutch made when he was proud of himself."
Mandy wants a better life for her baby. Mandy doesn't want her baby to be hurt or unwanted or have to want for anything. Robin seems like the perfect...moreMandy wants a better life for her baby. Mandy doesn't want her baby to be hurt or unwanted or have to want for anything. Robin seems like the perfect choice. Robin has a daughter already, just about Mandy's age. They are both grieving the sudden death of Robin's husband. Jill thinks her mom is crazy for wanting to adopt a baby. Jill doesn't even know how to convince her mother it's a bad idea without her father's helping words. Mandy wants a better life for her daughter and Jill doesn't want anything to do with Mandy. Mandy is also having doubts about what the right thing to do is. Maybe she shouldn't give the baby up...maybe the father... Mandy and Robin and Jill all have some learning to do in order to make the next step forward and together, they might just get through it.
Definitely reminded me of a well-written Hallmark movie. It was touching, sad and hopeful all in one drama-filled package. Mandy was a very odd character. She very much lived in her own little world. I don't think she was stupid, I just think she was left to her own devices most of the time. It didn't seem like Mandy ever got any positive interaction with anyone, especially peers. Jill was a bit more of a relateable character, except that the death of her father filled her with a rage that lashed out at everything and everyone. Jill was hurting and it seemed like she felt there was no place to put that pain. Her dad was her best friend, and so without him she pushed all her other friends away. Jill sometimes acted like she was the only one who missed her father, which I imagine happens when you grief. Everyone hides their pain. Robin hid her pain from Jill, so Jill felt like she was the only one still hurting, still not over his death. Ravi was an interesting character, but it was sort of predictable what his role was in this story. I'm not sure how it could be unpredictable though, because the story needed a character like him. I like how his relationship with Jill started and developed, it was humorous and a little bit sad.
It was a great move telling this story in alternating viewpoints between Jill and Mandy. This story would not have worked if it was told by only one or the other. Both characters when through tremendous changes and had completely different insights into what was happening. Seeing the story from only one side, would make either Mandy or Jill seem like terrible people. Without knowing what they are thinking behind their action, they seem shallow. I really enjoyed watching all the characters grow together and loved how everyone was touched by the death of Jill's dad. Even as a reader, you feel yourself a bit drawn to his character, just from the little bits that Jill shares. This was my first Sara Zarr novel, but I doubt it will be my last. Her novels deal with tough issues, without being tough reads. They won't make readers turn away for being too intense like some realistic contemporary fiction can tend to be.
First Line: "I am writing in response to your Love Grows post from Christmas Day."
Favorite Lines: " He takes the pen, writes, and slides it over. You'd think it's something epic from the way it levels my heart. It isn't."
In the future, there is a virus that makes everyone over the age of eighteen completely infertile. So babies are high market. Harmony and Melody are t...moreIn the future, there is a virus that makes everyone over the age of eighteen completely infertile. So babies are high market. Harmony and Melody are twin sisters who had never met before. They grew up very differently. Harmony grew up in a church sect believing that girls shouldn't pimp themselves by selling their babies to the highest bidder. Melody grew up groomed to sell her baby for the highest price imaginable. So it's quite a surprise for Melody when her sister shows up out of the blue. Having an identical twin can certainly be a problem and is one that Melody will have to face, even though she thought her and her sister were nothing alike. Melody gets matched with the top guy in the fertility market, but a case of mistaken identity takes her and her sister on a crazy little ride. Both girls aren't sure if they want to live up to what has always been planned for them.
This book was really awesome. I loved both the characters, they were alike in a lot of ways, but also different enough so you could tell them apart. This was a fascinating world that Megan McCafferty created. A place where people rarely had and kept their own babies, but rather had teen girls make babies and buy them. Looking around today, there would be plenty of teen babies to buy! I appreciated that there was a virus that caused the infertility and since our narrators were so young, they didn't know much of the details about it. I imagine that most people didn't know a lot about the virus except that it makes people unable to have babies. Zen was the sweetest character, even though he acted like a tool sometimes, he really wasn't. Poor vertically challenged boys :) The only thing that got under my skin was the slang in this novel. I feel like it added to the novel in some ways, but was completely distracting an confusing in other ways. Sometimes they would mention something by it's initials and it would be something they hadn't brought up yet, so then you have to wait until they finally talk about what the acronym stands for before you can understand it. Sometimes this was a little irritating, and I would go back to see if I missed something. This was another great dystopian though, with a realistic world full of real obligations. I think both kids felt pressure that is very relatable even in this day and age, especially Harmony. She had a lot of pressure to get married young and start a family, even though she didn't get to pick who was married. I think this happens in certain parts of the US all the time, and it sucks for the people involved, the boys and girls. Some of the boys don't want to be married of either. Harmony and Melody were very relatable characters with extraordinary lives/adventures. I was hoping this book would wrap up a lot nicer than it did, but I guess I'll just have to wait and read the sequel to find out what their next moves are. If you like dystpoian novels, make sure you check this one out soon!
First Lines: "I'm sixteen. Pregnant. And the most important person on the planet."
Favorite Lines: "I feel each syllable, his chest buzzing against mine. I can't seem to catch my breath."
Molly Biden at fifteen is a saint. At least that's what everyone calls her. She always follows the rules, does what she is told and is in general a go...moreMolly Biden at fifteen is a saint. At least that's what everyone calls her. She always follows the rules, does what she is told and is in general a good girl. Molly decides that she wants to kick her saintly image and decides to try on a more rebellious side. She starts to flirt with the (extremely attractive) new guy. When one thing leads to another Molly at sixteen winds up pregnant and facing a very difficult decision.
Hooray for novels in verse, they really are just fantastic. This novel was a bit different from others I have read in verse because this novel explored many different types of poetry instead of just one to tell the whole story. Molly is a scared and alone teen. Molly's voice rings clear and true with the heaviness of the world bearing down on her. Sure there are people who have to suffer worse but, each person has their trials and Molly's are some that many would not want to have to endure. Having lost her mom at a young age and being raised by her grandmother, definitely had an effect on her actions and emotions. Molly looks at the challenges she has to face and honestly I think she succeeded admirably. There are hard decisions and life and some people have to face them really early on. I think this is a great novel about accidental teen pregnancy and girls should definitely read it. Not only does this novel make you feel better about having to make those hard decisions, but it tells you that every decision you make can lead to something bigger. This book wasn't super preachy saying that teen sex is wrong. Molly is rueful, but isn't overly depressed and wishing she did something different. Molly gracefully accepts the consequences of her actions and I think that is an excellent and important message. Although teen pregnancy is not necessarily a light subject, this novel approaches it with a more jovial feel. Molly cracks jokes, writes poetry to her virginity and in general is a pretty positive person. If you love novels in verse make sure you make time for this debut from Pat Brisson, it was a truly fantastic read.
First Line: "She was a Golden Rule kind of girl-- doing-unto-others-as-she-would-have-them- etcetera."
Favorite Line: "Molly, this is your virginity speaking." (less)
Mary Finn is a girl from the country, sent away after her mother died and her father remarried. She gets a job as a maid in London, but soon some of h...moreMary Finn is a girl from the country, sent away after her mother died and her father remarried. She gets a job as a maid in London, but soon some of her choices threaten her job and her virtue. James Nelligan is an orphan who was taken in by a nice family until he was six. When he turned six he had to return to a home for foundlings. There he learns many things as he comes of age though the one thing he really wants to know(who his parents are) my soon be closer than he realizes.
This was a nice historical fiction novel told from four alternating viewpoints. I really enjoyed reading about Mary and James and how there lives were led. At times some of the characters acted or sounded a bit more modern than I thought they should, but the overall tone of the novel was quite 1800s. It was nice discovering the little mysteries and trying to find out how the four people may or may not be connected. Mary has to take care of her(very young) other siblings after her mother dies, so it was disheartening to see her driven from her home by(yet another) wicked stepmother. Also, I do wish more had happened with Oliver. He seemed very nice, but not a lot happens to anyone in this novel I suppose. Not to say that the characters aren't developed, they just could have been developed further. Mary and James seem to be much more developed than the other two narrators Oliver and Eliza. This was a nice read and if you enjoy historical fiction then you should try it out. It was a very brief read, but it was an enjoyable one nonetheless.
First Line: "I began exceeding ignorant, apart from what a girl can learn through family mayhem, a dead mother, a grim stepmother and a sorrowful parting from home."
Favorite Line: "I woke up blinding dizzy, with some quick and wily rodent darting about my belly."
(really I just love the word wily... wily wily wily ;)(less)
Kyra's family is part of the Chosen Ones, a polygamist cult. Kyra and her family except the way life is with their new leader. Maybe they can't leave...moreKyra's family is part of the Chosen Ones, a polygamist cult. Kyra and her family except the way life is with their new leader. Maybe they can't leave the compound freely anymore, maybe some people have been killed and they had to burn all the books they own. Life is still good though, they are still happy to be going to God's kingdom. That is until The Prophet converses with God and decides the Kyra is to marry her uncle, who is quite a few decades older than her. Kyra's father goes to the Prophet to dispute this, but it is done. Kyra fears this is due to her sins. She has been sneaking out and seeing and kissing a boy, she has been hiding books to read, and she has been saying terrible things about killing the Prophet. Kyra knows there is no way she can go through with the marriage, no way she can face becoming her uncle's seventh wife. She knows she has to run away, or do something, but how? Who is willing to help her escape?
Well, one thing is for sure, Carol Lynch Williams does not know how to write a happy story. ;) This was beautifully written though and completely heartbreaking. This is her first novel, but the second one I've read. Like Glimpse, this details the struggle of a girl growing up in an unwanted situation. The isolation that Kyra and her family face living on the compound makes this book all the more intense. I personally have ver been in a polygamist cult, or a much similar situation, but I could feel every heartache as Kyra's as I hung on her every move, every word. This was a fascinating and gut-wrenching read that you would do yourself a favor by reading. If you cannot handle being depressed and horrified however, please pass this book by. I appreciate Carol Lynch William's knack for writing just the right endings. They are hopeful, but not overly positive. They are happy without being unrealistic. It's sad that there are no super happy endings, but it's how life often happens.
First Line: "'If I was going to kill the Prophet,' I say, not even keeping my voice low, 'I'd do it in Africa.'"
Favorite Line: "Outside the sky has gone all dark except for the half-moon."(less)
On Lucy Scarborough's seventh birthday she had a big bash with tons of presents. Afterward, alone upstairs she found a hidden compartment in her bookc...moreOn Lucy Scarborough's seventh birthday she had a big bash with tons of presents. Afterward, alone upstairs she found a hidden compartment in her bookcase. Inside was a letter to her from her biological mother. Lucy was to young to understand that this was the best present she would receive, this would e the present that could save her life. Ten years later Lucy has forgotten about the secret compartment but not her mother Miranda. Miranda is a ubiquitous presence in Lucy's life, always popping up out of nowhere and singing her own version of Scarborough Fair. Lucy falls victim to a bad circumstance and it's not until her best friend Zach discovers Miranda's diary that everything starts to fall into place. Miranda has been through everything Lucy is going through but she wants Lucy to do it better, break the curse that traps them. With three impossible tasks ahead of her will Lucy be able to make it before it's too late?
I really enjoyed this novel. The beginning dialogue was a little choppy and unrealistic but as the book picked up the writing got a lot better. The story remind me of a fairy tale, very Rumpelstiltskin almost. The tension between Lucy and Zach is thick and very real. I loved how well Nancy Werlin managed to meld magic and reality and come up with this involved, romantic journey. This is a great book of magical realism with just a dash of romance that you can really sink your teeth into. (less)
How oh how could this be the last book??? I want, scratch that need more Vampires and shape shifters and darkness and light and love. This book was gr...moreHow oh how could this be the last book??? I want, scratch that need more Vampires and shape shifters and darkness and light and love. This book was great though, I wish we had more books with new views of how the supernatural is, well, supernatural. Stephanie (yeah we're on a first name basis) offers such a unique perspective on the unknown world, which draws readers of all types in. This series is a must read for all ages, cause pretty much, yeah, it's kinda a big deal.(less)