ALL YOU NEVER WANTED is a story of sisters in crisis. Alex is the older sister, prettier and more popular, but hiding an embarrassing secret that is m...moreALL YOU NEVER WANTED is a story of sisters in crisis. Alex is the older sister, prettier and more popular, but hiding an embarrassing secret that is making her withdraw from life. Thea has always wanted to be like Alex, and as Alex diminishes, Thea sees her chance to take over, spinning wild lies in her quest for world domination.
It's also a "poor little rich girl" story, in a way, because Alex and Thea's problems are magnified by their new wealth. Their mother has remarried, to a fabulously rich man who lives in a mansion the girls call Camelot, and while the money can buy lots of things, it has also effectively removed their mother from their life, as she now travels with her new husband instead of taking care of her children.
I absolutely loved how real both sisters came off. They aren't best book friend material by any means - Alex is very withdrawn, prickly and "ice queen"-ish while Thea is overdramatic, a compulsive liar and could give Hedda Gabler a run for her money in the soul-sucking department - but their struggles are relatable and their motivations fully understandable.
Alex's story unfolds in third person, fitting for a girl who has distanced herself from her own life. Her secret shame came as a direct result of a rich guy power play by her step-father, so she's especially bitter. She's also developing an eating disorder, and no one wants to call her on it - not her drug-dealer boyfriend, her friends or her sister - all for their own underhanded reasons. But fortunately for her, Xander is in her life. And he might just offer the lifeline she needs. (LOVE Xander!)
Thea's story is first person all the way, and we get front row seats to the way she deceives everyone - even herself.
Highly recommended, especially to those readers who value excellent character development.(less)
Exhibit A: Anthem. Anthem is a rocker who can pull off guyliner, who takes care of his younger twin brother and sister, who...moreCODA is a very cool novel.
Exhibit A: Anthem. Anthem is a rocker who can pull off guyliner, who takes care of his younger twin brother and sister, who is extremely loyal to friends and (maybe) girlfriend Haven, and who is about to give a shock to the system of keeping the populace drugged out on music.
Exhibit B: The writing. Trevanyne knows music, and she knows how to convey that feeling you get when you're lost in the beat and nothing else matters. The music scenes were some of my favorite in the novel.
Exhibit C: The twists. CODA surprised me multiple times despite the plot being of the typical rebellion against the dystopian government variety.(less)
Cassia lives in a society that decides everything for its citizens for the greatest good of them all – even who you marry. When Cassia is matched with...moreCassia lives in a society that decides everything for its citizens for the greatest good of them all – even who you marry. When Cassia is matched with her best friend Xander, she is thrilled. But when viewing her matching card, another face flashes on the screen – that of mysterious classmate Ky. This seeming glitch awakens an awareness of forbidden desires within Cassia, and for the first time she begins to question a society where the individual has no right to choose.
MATCHED is without a doubt a well constructed novel, hitting all the expected beats of a YA dystopian novel. And while there may be few surprises for avid readers of the genre, there are some genuine discussion-worthy developments. I enjoyed this installment, but hope that the emotional impact quotient is raised in book two. (less)
Lena can’t wait to get the surgery, that at 18, will cure her of the disease that took her mother – the highly contagious delirium nervosa (or in laym...moreLena can’t wait to get the surgery, that at 18, will cure her of the disease that took her mother – the highly contagious delirium nervosa (or in layman’s terms: falling in love). Lena’s main concern is passing the exam that will determine her future status in society. But then she meets Alex and soon becomes “infected”.
While certain aspects of this dystopian society’s set-up seemed a bit implausible (i.e. why would a society that abhors love allow the family unit to remain intact, putting its most vulnerable citizens – those uncureds under 18 – at unnecessary risk?), the world-building suited the main plot brilliantly. Lena’s relationship with her best friend is heart-breakingly real, and her burgeoning feelings for Alex make the novel soar to dizzying heights of emotion. And that ending...whoa! What are you doing to me Lauren?!(less)