Compelling plot and empathetic characters makes for a page-turning read. The only thing that kept nagging at me was wondering WHY Libby and Frances weCompelling plot and empathetic characters makes for a page-turning read. The only thing that kept nagging at me was wondering WHY Libby and Frances were on the Persephone, which, unless I missed it, didn't seem to ever get answered. Where was the ship going? Was it just a regular cruise ship? And if so, why were there only 300+ people on board? Also: if Libby's family was rich enough that her father had his own yacht, why was she on a cruise to begin with? I know this is a strange detail to obsess over, but I could not let that go the entire time I was listening to the audiobook. ...more
Told in second person POV, Blackbird is a book that puts you, the reader, directly in the action of the story. At first this was incredibly disconcertTold in second person POV, Blackbird is a book that puts you, the reader, directly in the action of the story. At first this was incredibly disconcerting because second person is not that common in literature, and for good reason: it's really hard to do it well. But after a while, you begin to settle into it more. While I never completely bought into the second person POV, I do think it helped give the story a sense of immediacy that first or third person couldn't have done. While the publisher description calls this book The Maze Runner meets Code Name Verity, I think a more accurate comparison would be the YA version of The Bourne Identity -- especially given the action-suspense nature of the story coupled with the main character's amnesia.
I enjoyed this story for the most part and am possibly interested in reading the sequel, but I didn't care for the lack of any sort of resolution at the end. Cliffhangers are one thing, but just deciding to wait until the next book to attempt any sort of resolution just didn't sit well with me. I know this is becoming a more frequent trend in YA lit these days, but it's not one I'm a particular fan of.
Overall, Blackbird was an exciting, action-packed read though I'm not sure I was emotionally invested enough to read the sequel.
I wanted to like this book, especially because it doesn't seem to be getting that much attention and I would've loved to have been able to recommend iI wanted to like this book, especially because it doesn't seem to be getting that much attention and I would've loved to have been able to recommend it to people, but alas, I just couldn't find myself getting into the story -- even with Bahni Turpin as the audiobook narrator. ...more
Left to pick up the pieces of her best friend's suicide, Cody goes to pack up Meg's belongings that were away at college. While there, Cody discoversLeft to pick up the pieces of her best friend's suicide, Cody goes to pack up Meg's belongings that were away at college. While there, Cody discovers a side of Meg that she never really knew: one that she is now trying to uncover as she attempts to make sense of her death. As she gets to know Meg's roommates as well as the mysterious Ben McCallister who was Meg's former love interest, Cody is left to wonder how such a bright, vibrant young woman like Meg could possibly want to kill herself. But when Cody discovers an encrypted computer file on Meg's computer that she can't open, as well as months of deleted email correspondence that she can't recover, Cody now wonders if someone else had a hand in Meg's death.
I Was Here brings a new element into the writing of Gayle Forman: that of a mystery for the protagonist to solve. I will say though that I was not as emotionally invested in the characters in I Was Here as I was in If I Stay and Where She Went, which were Gayle Forman at her absolute best. If I started with I Was Here as my first foray into the work of Gayle Forman, I'm not sure I would be ask excited to pick up her other books. It's a solid story, don't get me wrong. It just didn't leave me feeling ALL THE THINGS the way IIS and WSW did.
What a fun, sassy mystery! I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook narrator as well. She really brought this story to life even more than if I had just reaWhat a fun, sassy mystery! I thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook narrator as well. She really brought this story to life even more than if I had just read the book myself. ...more
This was one ARC I had to nab at NCTE in November, and while I found the story to be interesting, I thought this most definitely was not classic ChrisThis was one ARC I had to nab at NCTE in November, and while I found the story to be interesting, I thought this most definitely was not classic Chris Crutcher. Yes, there's lots of strong language and controversial, challenge-worthy scenes that we're used to seeing in a Chris Crutcher novel, but behind all the grit, there is usually an equal layer of heart and feeling for the characters. I found myself feeling nothing for any of the characters in this novel, even the bad guys.
What sustained my reading and kept me turning the page was the suspenseful plot (that really didn't start to pick up until page 120) which was carried mostly by dialogue. In that regard, it would be a great selection for reluctant readers, especially guy readers, which has always been Crutcher's target audience....more
A funny take on the fiction factory mysteries like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. I especially love Barnett's subtle way of weaving in his love and suA funny take on the fiction factory mysteries like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. I especially love Barnett's subtle way of weaving in his love and support of teachers and librarians into the story. ...more
There is absolutely no doubt that Wasserman is an incredibly gifted writer. Like so gifted I'm envious of her ability to weave words into something beThere is absolutely no doubt that Wasserman is an incredibly gifted writer. Like so gifted I'm envious of her ability to weave words into something beautiful and magical. But I never really found myself fully invested in the characters of this story and I almost felt like if the ages of the characters had been changed to people in their 30s, this would have made more sense as an adult novel instead of YA. ...more
A fun, smart middle grade mystery. This is definitely one of those books that's not for everyone. It will appeal to the more thoughtful, intellectualA fun, smart middle grade mystery. This is definitely one of those books that's not for everyone. It will appeal to the more thoughtful, intellectual types in your class. ...more
Roswell Hart can't remember anything about the night her classmate Tricia Farni died, and she needs to start remembering soon - her life depends uponRoswell Hart can't remember anything about the night her classmate Tricia Farni died, and she needs to start remembering soon - her life depends upon it.
Roz is used to living in a hazy world. Macular degeneration has caused her vision to fail her on many occasions, but on the night Tricia disappeared, it's Roz's memory that fails her, not her vision. All Roz can remember from that night is that she and Tricia had a fight. What happens after that is completely erased from her memory.
But when Tricia's body is pulled from the Birch River six months after she disappeared, Roz is now a suspect in a variety of crimes, including Tricia's death. Soon Roz finds herself being questioned by the police to which she doesn't have any answers, other than just one: she didn't do it. And she's determined to get to the bottom of who did in order to clear her name.
Blind Spot is an amazing story that helps to fill a hole in modern YA literature: the mystery. There just aren't that many YA writers doing mystery these days and I love that Laura Ellen is helping to change that. While I did have some issues with the story, on the whole, it was heart-pumping and page-turning. It took me a while to get into the book, but then once I did, I stayed up until 2 a.m. finishing it, which I haven't done with a book in a long time.
While nowhere near as moving as Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys's sophomore novel is beautifully written and equally comelling as her first novelWhile nowhere near as moving as Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys's sophomore novel is beautifully written and equally comelling as her first novel. I hope this is the beginning of a prolific writing career for Ruta. I will read everything she publishes.
I wasn't expecting this book to be as mysterious and creepy as it was. It also took me a while to get the symbolism of Chopsticks: the notes F &
I wasn't expecting this book to be as mysterious and creepy as it was. It also took me a while to get the symbolism of Chopsticks: the notes F & G representing the main characters of Frank and Glory and Chopsticks is described as F & G notes starting off close together and moving farther apart.
The format of telling a story through pictures lends itself to great discussion on making inferences and predictions (with older readers of course) but the story itself just didn't feel believable. I realize a lot had to be written for readers to know what's going on, but it seems highly unlikely a school would suspend or expel a student via written letter. That is something you tell a parent in person or over the phone. It was little things like that that prevented me from thoroughly immersing myself into Frank and Glory's world....more
Warning: Bad Taste in Boys spoilers in the first paragraph. Read at your own peril if you haven't read the first book yet.
Kate Grable became a nationWarning: Bad Taste in Boys spoilers in the first paragraph. Read at your own peril if you haven't read the first book yet.
Kate Grable became a national hero after she discovered a cure for the zombie virus that was running rampant through her high school. Little did she know that would just be the beginning of her fame and notoriety.
When Kate's brother Jonah discovers a dead girl at one of his gamer meetings, something suspicious is clearly afoot - something suspicious AND hairy. And now that something is going around trying to kill people. Could it be... werewolves? That's what Kate has to find out, and if she doesn't soon, she could be the next victim on the list of bodies that seem to be piling up.
In Bad Hair Day Carrie Harris reminds us what we loved so much about Kate in Bad Taste in Boys. She is just as sassy, geeky, and quirky in this go-around as she was the first time. And in this book, we even have the added benefit of seeing a jealous Kate when another girl tries to steal her boyfriend out from under her. And if you're familiar with Kate at all, given that thought, hilarity is bound to ensue, right?
What endears me so much to Carrie's books is that she doesn't hide behind her writing voice. What you read is what you get with her. Not only is her writing hilarious, but she really is that funny in real life too. Anyone who writes sentences like this is surely a comic genius:
The stupid car alarm was still going off, but no one came to investigate. I thought someone ought to make a car alarm that shouted "Free beer!" I bet loads of people would come for that.
And just so you don't think I'm writing a biased review here because I know Carrie personally, I will give one minor criticism of the book and that is I wanted the villain to be in the story more than he/she/it <----- don't want to give it away -- was. It sort of felt like this person/thing just appeared out of nowhere and I wanted to better understand his/her/its motivations. Yet despite my own preference for the villain to be more in the foreground of the story, this is still a fully developed, hilarious novel. The humor is what I and so many readers love about Carrie's novels. In fact, I did a book talk on Bad Taste in Boys last week, and after I read a short passage, I closed the book and immediately heard the voices of many of my students say in unison, "Oh! I want to read that now!" The writing just speaks for itself. You can't ask for more fun and camp than what you get in a Carrie Harris novel. If I ever find myself in a bad mood and need a good laugh, I now know that she is my go-to read for a for some cheering up - unless I'm in a bad mood AND nauseated, in which case, I'll steer clear of Bad Taste in Boys with its frequency of vomiting zombies among its 200 pages. ;)
That is perhaps an added benefit of reading Bad Hair Day: those of you out there who are like me and have a low gross-out tolerance, the sequel will not gross you out nearly as much as the first one. For people (like some of my students for instance) who like to be grossed-out, they might be disappointed with this one - sorry, no black vomit this time. Oh wait, was that a spoiler?...more
First off, I just want to get this out of the way: I hate zombies. I don't watch zombie movies and I certainly don't read zombie novels. But two thingFirst off, I just want to get this out of the way: I hate zombies. I don't watch zombie movies and I certainly don't read zombie novels. But two things gave me pause and made me want to read this one. First off, Carrie Harris is from Michigan and I like supporting authors from my home state. Secondly, I have heard that this is not your run-of-the-mill zombie novel. And it's not. It's funny and it has a smart and quirky main character. Despite normally hating zombie novels, Bad Taste in Boys defied convention and kept me turning the pages, desperate to know how the heroine, Kate Grable was going save her classmates from undead to alive again. The only thing that kept me from giving this five stars is that I have a very weak constitution and the gore factor in this book, no matter how funny, was just a little much for me. ...more
When Abe Portman dies a mysterious and violent death, most people assume it was a vicious dog attack, but his grandson Jacob knows otherwise. His granWhen Abe Portman dies a mysterious and violent death, most people assume it was a vicious dog attack, but his grandson Jacob knows otherwise. His grandfather's final words to him were, "Go to the island, Yakob. Here it's not safe."
When Abe was a young man, his parents sent him to an island during the war to protect him from the invading Nazis. As a child Jacob always heard stories from his grandfather about the home where he stayed but always assumed they were just fantastical stories made up by a man who was trying to cope with the abandonment of his parents and the loss of his true home.
Given that he saw the creature that killed his grandfather, Jacob knows his death was from no dog attack, but terrorized by nightmares and a family that thinks he's gone crazy, Jacob is sent to a psychiatrist to deal with the trauma of his grandfather's death, all the while knowing there is something much more sinister afoot.
On his birthday, Jacob's aunt gives him a book that was inscribed to him by his grandfather. Inside this book is a letter written by one Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine to his grandfather. This letter is the impetus Jacob needed to go to the island his grandfather spoke of and find the house where he once lived with these peculiar children that Jacob always assumed were just bizarre stories he made up as a way of coping with the terror of war.
Now he knows otherwise and he somehow manages to convince his father to take him to the very island where his grandfather once lived. Will he find the answers he is looking for? Or just discover that his grandfather, and now he, are the crazy ones?
Peppered with a collection of unusual old photographs, Ransom Riggs weaves a story unlike any other. It is the very definition of the publishing house that printed this book: Quirk. It's not scary enough to be a horror story, but it's definitely enough to be creepy, and it's not something you'd want to read alone in bed at night if you're a chicken like me.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book up until about two-thirds of the way through when the world of the Peculiars started to reveal itself. As someone who is not normally a fan of fantasy and/or scary stories, I found it difficult to lose myself in the world that Riggs created. Still, I can see why this book is a Bestseller. The draw of the strange photographs along with the mystery of what really happened to Abe Portman allows this book to appeal to many different types of readers.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book because I thought the idea was extremely creative and the sensory details Weeks used when describing the pies and the pI thoroughly enjoyed this book because I thought the idea was extremely creative and the sensory details Weeks used when describing the pies and the process of making them was so vivid that you could actually taste them.
My reason for giving this book three stars instead of four or five, however, is because the characters didn't feel developed enough for me. They were a bit one-dimensional for my taste. Not only that, but there was an important detail that I thought wasn't addressed by the end of the story which was ***SPOILER ALERT*** how did Aunt Polly die? Given how much foreshadowing Weeks used to make the reader feel like there was some foul play afoot, I wanted to know what caused her death darn it!...more
So I was really gung-ho about this story when I first started it. Loved the suspense and the mystery of it all. But then the whole ghost-story aspectSo I was really gung-ho about this story when I first started it. Loved the suspense and the mystery of it all. But then the whole ghost-story aspect of it started to become unbelievable. I think the reason for this is that Johnson's writing style is very humorous and no-nonsense and doesn't have that lyrical, other-worldly quality that is needed in fantasy/supernatural stories.
The audiobook narrator, Nicola Barber was very good with all the different regional British accents, but I was a tad bit irritated that despite the fact that this book is written in first person, narrated by southern belle Rory Devereaux, the only time Barber speaks in a southern Louisiana drawl is when she is speaking to another person. Correct me if I'm wrong, but shouldn't Barber be speaking in a southern drawl ALL the time, except when she's narrating for a character who's not from the southern United States? For this reason, the story felt like it had a third person rather than first person narrator. ...more
When Cat discovers that her best friend Patrick has been the victim of a hate crime, she vows to find out who did it - especially given the sheriff deWhen Cat discovers that her best friend Patrick has been the victim of a hate crime, she vows to find out who did it - especially given the sheriff department's apathy and unwillingness to investigate any possible leads. As she continues to question people close to Patrick, Cat soon finds herself running into people who don't want her digging up dirt into Patrick's past and present. Part social commentary, part mystery, Lauren Myracle manages to deal with the heavy subject matter of the plot with respect and dignity.
The story grabs you from the very beginning and won't let you go, even long after reading the final page. I finished this book last night and actually found myself re-living the ending as I was driving home from work today and it was just as vivid as when I read it last night. ...more
This is by far Alison Pace's best book to-date. Her quick wit and penchant for writing humorous tales revolving around dogs and art have come togetherThis is by far Alison Pace's best book to-date. Her quick wit and penchant for writing humorous tales revolving around dogs and art have come together in this magnum opus.
While I loved and adored Pug Hill, what left me wanting more from that story was that the pugs of Pug Hill were not in it enough. A Pug's Tale most certainly remedies the problem of not enough pugs. While Hope is the protagonist of this story, her pug Max is most certainly the star, for without Max, it would be impossible for her to solve the strange mystery of the Fantin-Latour painting that has gone missing from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
And what Pace has mastered so beautifully is her ability to make a non-talking, non-narrating dog feel like a real character. Max is just a dog in this book. He has no special powers (well, other than intuitiveness) and yet, there would be no book without Max.
I don't think I've ever read an author describe the mannerisms and spirit of a pug so deftly as Alison Pace has. The whole book is full of perfectly pugnacious passages like this:
"I left the envelope on the desk and carried the contents with me back to the couch and say back down next to Max, who snorted at me. Spend as much time with your pug as I have and you will one day be able to differentiate between all their different snorts. This last one was not appreciative like the one before it but much more along the lines of, "Um, excuse me?" (277)
There are so many different hats this book can wear for different types of book lovers. If you love mysteries, you'll love this book. If you love chick lit, you'll love this book. If you love dog books, you'll love this book. Heck, if you loved From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler as a kid, you'll love this book as a grown up. Just go out and read it. More than likely it will appeal to who you are as a reader because there are so many different types of readers it will appeal to. ...more
Beth Revis starts this book with a jolt. Her description on how Amy and her parents are cryogenically frozen makes you squirm. There's no easing the rBeth Revis starts this book with a jolt. Her description on how Amy and her parents are cryogenically frozen makes you squirm. There's no easing the reader into the story that's for sure.
Revis describes this book as science fiction for people who don't like science fiction. I'd have to say that's a fair description because equally important to the story is the mystery that Amy and Elder must solve which is twofold: 1) who has been thawing out the frozen bodies and 2) What is Eldest (the leader of the ship)hiding?
I'm not going to review this book too extensively because I don't want to give anything away, but I will say that what Eldest is hiding is a doozy! And as I got to the climax of the story, I was so upset because I had to stop reading and couldn't come back to it until almost a day later.
Another great thing Revis does in this book is make you feel that sense of claustrophobia it must have been like to be traveling hundreds of years on this ship without a planet in sight. If you don't get anything else from this book, I would say the one thing you will take away is a feeling of gratefulness to be living here on this planet, even with all of the problems and the injustices we face.
I will say this - if you've seen this book around and have chosen not to read it because you don't like science fiction, give it a try anyway, especially if you like mysteries. Yes, this is a science fiction, but the science part of it not as prominent as other science fiction novels. This book is more about the people than the science. ...more
Ugh! I really wanted to keep on with this book since it takes place in Ann Arbor and that's pretty much in my backyard, but I could not connect with AUgh! I really wanted to keep on with this book since it takes place in Ann Arbor and that's pretty much in my backyard, but I could not connect with ANY of the characters. ...more