I would probably really like to give this book 2.5 stars. At the beginning I was unimpressed. During the early space camp part I found myself turningI would probably really like to give this book 2.5 stars. At the beginning I was unimpressed. During the early space camp part I found myself turning back pages, thinking I'd accidentally turned 2 pages at once because it felt like I'd missed something.
In the end, it was a fun action adventure tail, but it took a while to get there....more
I was pleasantly surprised by Amber House, the first book in the series, because I am generally suspicious of books with multiple authors. I remain veI was pleasantly surprised by Amber House, the first book in the series, because I am generally suspicious of books with multiple authors. I remain very pleased by this sequel and am looking very forward to the final volume in the trilogy.
I read Amber House back when it came out, so I was also nervous I wouldn't remember enough when reading this one. It did take a little bit for me to slip into the book, so I will note that you do need to read these books in order. Also, if your memory isn't great, you might want to re-read Amber House before picking up Neverwas.
I loved this series & am fairly pleased with it's finale. It's good to see Anya come into her own. Still, where the other books (All These ThingsI loved this series & am fairly pleased with it's finale. It's good to see Anya come into her own. Still, where the other books (All These Things I've Done and Because It Is My Blood) soaked in the rich stew that was Anya's life: fighting for her family, love, and to separate from her crime "Family", this book felt like it was just skimming along the surface. But it's impossible not to be hooked on and root for Anya, so I really enjoyed the fact that this book provided a positive - and not easily earned - closure for her....more
This is a terribly sad story of a teen who blames himself for his brother's accidental drowning because he was kissing a boy (his first kiss) when itThis is a terribly sad story of a teen who blames himself for his brother's accidental drowning because he was kissing a boy (his first kiss) when it happened. Asher isn't really to blame, but he finds all sorts of ways to put blame on himself. Everything from family dynamics (divorced & remarried parents) to religion, from everyday friendships to school is effected by Travis's death & is thoroughly explored. There are no happy endings, and definitely no closure is offered. However, by the end of the book, one senses that Asher might be beginning to move through (if not really past) this one moment that he has allowed to define him all this time. So there's hope, even if it is more seen than felt. Worth reading for any fans of tearjerkers & the kissing is as mature as the content gets "on stage". A minor character references something more mature "off stage" just once. FYI....more
This is an ultimately uplifting fictional account of a real historical event. There was an outbreak of cholera in London in the 1850s that was traceabThis is an ultimately uplifting fictional account of a real historical event. There was an outbreak of cholera in London in the 1850s that was traceable to a water pump. This incident helped in the discovery of how cholera was spread, advancing both scientific understanding and public health policy.
Hopkinson manages to fit this history into a genuinely moving tale of a young boy living on the streets of London as he watches his neighborhood succumb to disease & death then works with the (actual historical) doctor who brings to light the way cholera spreads. While not always enjoyable reading - after all it's a tragic subject with the disease, death, and poverty - it's very well written, and worth reading for anyone with an interest in history &/or medicine. ...more
It took a little while for me to get into this book, but by the end I was hooked. It's tone was fairly light, given the society the story took place iIt took a little while for me to get into this book, but by the end I was hooked. It's tone was fairly light, given the society the story took place in. This historical fantasy takes place in an alternate America at the end of the 19th century. Witches are real - and they are completely restricted by the religious Brotherhood that completely controls the fate of all women. So this is one part magical fantasy/adventure, and one part family drama. I enjoyed the sequel even more & can't wait till the third comes out!...more
I really enjoyed this sequel to Born Wicked even more than the first. I found the interplay of politics far more interesting than the family drama focI really enjoyed this sequel to Born Wicked even more than the first. I found the interplay of politics far more interesting than the family drama focused first one. Can't wait to read the next one!!!...more
Here's my disclaimer, there is no way to talk about this book without discussing mature topics, so this review is only intended for those people to whHere's my disclaimer, there is no way to talk about this book without discussing mature topics, so this review is only intended for those people to whom I would recommend the book - adults and mature teens (at least in high school). Scroll down for more. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - First, I'm giving it 4 stars for quality of writing, not enjoyability. This is not a "fun" book that I would say I liked as much as a well written book that I admired.
If you've read the publisher's summary, you know what choppy waters you're about to sail into. So given the topic & the title, it's worth noting that while this book talks about sex a lot, it is not a sexy book. Nothing is there to be exciting or titillating. This book really looks closely at the complex relationships Evan has with all different kinds of people: family, friends, members of the opposite sex who may be more than friends, people that Evan just wants to have sex with.
What this book does really well is to NOT simplify Evan, either his relationships or his personality. There is part of Evan that only looks at girls as people he can potentially have sex with. It's clear as you read on that his sex partners have not been part of any healthy relationships. Evan is very analytical about his sexual activities. As the book winds on, you see that they also cause him some shame and discomfort while still providing an emotional escape for him. Nothing is completely or cleanly resolved for Evan at the end of the book either. He's shown some progress, but he still engages in some self destructive behaviors. Still the overall ending has a note of hope in it while showing that life does go on.
What frustrated me about this book was the community and the adults in Evan's life. I'm not completely clueless about teen life. I know that many teens choose to drink, experiment with drugs, and have sex. However, I do generally believe these are not good choices for most teens most of the time (probably 99% in my personal opinion). So that does color my perspective. However, it really rubs me the wrong way when an author presents a world where every character is doing most or all of these things as if it is not possible for a teen to choose not to engage in them.
In this story, there is nearly constant drinking, a fair amount of drug use, and a lot of focus on sex, obviously. What drives me crazy is how the adults in the novel all just accept, and even encourage in some cases, the drinking by minors throughout the book. No doubt some - e even most - teens drink sometimes, but the culture of drinking in this book is unhealthy and leads to unhealthy sexual decisions as well. ...more
maybe the best book I have read this year. this story pulls no punches. it busts stereotypes about concentration camps. they weren't only populated bymaybe the best book I have read this year. this story pulls no punches. it busts stereotypes about concentration camps. they weren't only populated by Jews. rose is a fully developed character, with strengths and faults. the secondary characters are also well drawn and multidimensional. due to the extreme violence and starkly frank depictions of camp life, I recommend this book for high school students and adults. it's Shindlers List in a book....more
Overall I enjoyed this series, but it is much weaker than Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series - to which I believe it will be inevitably be compared.Overall I enjoyed this series, but it is much weaker than Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series - to which I believe it will be inevitably be compared. I am glad to have read the series once, but I'm pretty sure I won't feel compelled to read it again. Here are a few things I did & didn't like (hopefully without giving any spoilers away): -Didn't Like: the alternating voice in alternating chapters - I think the alternating voices would have worked better if we had stayed with one character for a little longer than the brief chapters, plus the voices often sounded the same. I had to keep asking myself which character's point of view I was reading from. Four and Tris just weren't distinct enough for me. -Did Like: The ending. Without saying what happens, it was only at the climax and closure that I really felt emotionally connected, and I like that not everything was happy. It felt more real. -Did Like: the overall premise of the series - it was a unique way of looking at a possible society & the author made this society much more plausible in this book by virtue of what we learn about it's founding. -Didn't Like: the narrow worldview. We learn that Tris's city is part of a larger nation, and yet, all the decisions & changes that were made - supposedly to solve society's ills - were very local to the city/urban area. I found this narrow scope implausible.
OK, until lots of people have had the chance to read it, I really don't want to say much more, but it remains appropriate for middle & high school both (the more steamy moments are clouded by some subtlety). I do think that fans of this series will not be disappointed (mostly - but explaining that would be a spoiler)....more
This is an entertaining modern fantasy set in a world where "Oldworld" (presumably Europe?) still uses magic, but "Newworld" (presumably the AmericasThis is an entertaining modern fantasy set in a world where "Oldworld" (presumably Europe?) still uses magic, but "Newworld" (presumably the Americas or North America?) relies on technology to combat Cohesion Breaks in reality. The story takes place in Newworld, where Maggie's mom has just married an immigrant from "Oldworld." Maggie can't stand him because she sees seriously creepy shadows surrounding him all the time.
Being a fantasy novel, naturally crisis strikes, and it takes the efforts of the entire group of family & friends working together to solve things. (Including a surprising cast element from "Farworld" -presumably the far east? - definitely Japan is part of it.)
What I love about McKinley's writing, which could frustrate readers who are not comfortable with the conventions of fantasy as a genre - is that she doesn't spend a bunch of time world building at the beginning. Instead, she just drops the reader right into the environment, almost with a presumption that we will know what's going on. We, as readers, are left to glean the rules and workings of the world throughout the tale.
While this isn't my favorite book by her (The Hero and the Crown remains my first love, though it is occasionally eclipsed by Dragonhaven, and I'm dying for the sequel to Pegasus) there is something about McKinley's writing voice that just makes me feel I've come home. Write on Robin! You bring joy into my heart & I know I'm not alone!!!
Recommended for grades 6 & up, but probably best for more experienced readers of fantasy....more
A fascinating look at the man at the center of English Tudor period history. I have so often overlooked Henry VIII as a person, but rather seen him thA fascinating look at the man at the center of English Tudor period history. I have so often overlooked Henry VIII as a person, but rather seen him through the lens of his wives and children. Most of this book is spent in his younger years: his childhood and early adulthood. Time with each wife is briefer and briefer. This isn't a biography, but a novelization & so focuses on Henry's psychology. As a child, he is loving and intimidated by his father and older brother. He has a drive to excel - particularly at physical feats like fighting - and is convinced from a young age that he will be king based on overheard "prophecies."
What I did like about the book was the new perspective it gave me, particularly on how an essentially decent child can turn into a terrifying and horrible adult when they have a huge sense of entitlement. It never occurs to blame himself for any of his difficulties.
What I had more of a question about was the author's decision to employ what was either a vision or hallucination at key moments of disaster in Henry's life. In reading it, it felt vaguely supernatural, which did not seem to fit - to me - in a historical novel based on a real person. I don't know enough about Henry's life to understand if these visions/hallucinations were based on historical fact or on the author's imagination. It made interesting reading, but I was a little uncomfortable with the idea that the author might have made up this detail, as it was so prominently featured in the tale.
Anyone know more? I'd love to hear it!
P.S. This book would be fine for middle school students & high school students both, because even with the 6 wives & many children (most who died) there's really no sex per se. It's all politics & private obsession/insanity. Recommended for grades 6 & up....more
While not as "amazing" as the hype I've heard about it, this was an enjoyable dystopia, especially for fans of The Hunger Games. I also recommend EndeWhile not as "amazing" as the hype I've heard about it, this was an enjoyable dystopia, especially for fans of The Hunger Games. I also recommend Ender's Game to readers who enjoyed this book....more
A very important read for all young people to read BEFORE they become sexually active. We don't talk enough about HIV &/or AIDS in today's cultureA very important read for all young people to read BEFORE they become sexually active. We don't talk enough about HIV &/or AIDS in today's culture. Because I reached adolescence in the early-mid 1980s, we had discussion after TV special, and quite a few films discussing this topic. But as it has become less new there is less news about it, along with other sexually transmitted infections. Even if the scenario in the book isn't very likely - it is entirely and extremely possible. ...more
Without a doubt one of the best stories I've read this year. The first section in the book is about as well written as anything I've read ever. YancyWithout a doubt one of the best stories I've read this year. The first section in the book is about as well written as anything I've read ever. Yancy manages to just about perfectly capture the intimacy of a young person on the run - their terror, survival instincts, and references to our everyday world that existed for her before the story takes place.
It's that ongoing skill - the voices of the characters - far more than the plot that effected me so. Don't get me wrong - the plot is good, filled with action & thrills. It's not totally unique in the world of science fiction, but when the writing keeps you this close to the emotions, it doesn't have to be. If you like science fiction or dystopias at all, you MUST pick this one up!...more
This book was amazingly well written. FYI, it does contain alot of sexuality and other mature content (it is the subject of the entire book, in fact),This book was amazingly well written. FYI, it does contain alot of sexuality and other mature content (it is the subject of the entire book, in fact), so I recommend it for older teens and adults. That said, I think it's aptly titled with "Miseducation" because there is very little education that Cameron receives at all regarding sex or sexual development from caring adults. The book begins in 1989 when Cameron is 12 and has her first kiss with her best girl friend. Her parents are killed in a car crash the same weekend. Growing with her through her teen years, Cameron explores her budding - definatelly lesbian - sexuality. She never has any doubts about that, despite the fact that she tries "dating" a boy friend briefly in high school (partially to fit in & partially as a consolation over the girl she's mooning over). Eventually, Cameron ends up hooking up with a girl who is to all outward appearances strait (she has a boyfriend - he's just gone for the summer). This girl, though can't handle her feelings about the relationship with Cameron, and confesses the situation to her minister. This minister & Cameron's aunt (her legal guardian) decide to send Cameron to a Christian oriented reducation residential school to "cure" her of her "sexual sin."
The good stuff about this book include Cameron's authentic voice - her confusion, stupid teen behaviors, and her pain. Also, despite the rather horrid sounding summary above, Cameron's family & friends really do want what they think is best for her. They believe sincerely that her lesbianism is a sin and their desire to "fix" her is intended for the best. So too do the people running the school think they are doing God's work. When a tragedy occurs at the school, we see the real danger of a place that makes promises they can't deliver on - especially ones where the participants believe the stake is your eternal soul. ...more
A really good sequel to Grave Mercy. I strongly suggest reading Grave Mercy first to make the world of this one more clear. I recommend it for high scA really good sequel to Grave Mercy. I strongly suggest reading Grave Mercy first to make the world of this one more clear. I recommend it for high school readers, due to the mature content. In the story, Lady Sybella is both a trained assasin - a daughter of "St. Mortain" the "god of death" - and the daughter (in name) of Alain d'Albret - a most evil and lecherous lord of Brittany. d'Albret is trying to forcibly take over Brittany from it's 13 year old dutchess and ruler. Sybella is sent back to his household to spy on him. However, once there she can't escape the poisonous family & courtly dynamics. Ultimately, she is forced out of her position in the household & has to face the rest of the world while she's wondering if her nature is as twisted as d'Albret's or if there really is a higher purpose in her commitment to Mortain.
What this story does well is show the inner turmoil Sybella is going through. She was raised in a sick and violently disfunctional family. She escapes them, trains as an assassin, then returns to her family with the promise that d'Albret will be "marked" by Mortain for excecution. When he is not, Sybella's inner world starts to collapse. She has to find a sense of purpose - and peace - seperate from her family heritage. ...more
I enjoyed this lightweight summer read. It's got just enough romance and conflict (& a little steaminess) to make it a fun book. Recommended for hI enjoyed this lightweight summer read. It's got just enough romance and conflict (& a little steaminess) to make it a fun book. Recommended for high school....more