I can’t coo over this book enough. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but was blown away by what I got.
Ava is just an ordinary goth girl, born to...moreI can’t coo over this book enough. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but was blown away by what I got.
Ava is just an ordinary goth girl, born to liberal parents and possessing an ultra-hip, feminist crusading girl friend. Ava knows her role and it has served her well. Problem is Ava wants more. She’s tired of always wearing black, especially when she is nursing a secret love of Pink, and though her girl-friend is great and mega hot, Ava sort of wants a boyfriend, just to see what it’s like. Most importantly, Ava wants the chance to be herself, although at present, she has no idea who she really is, but she’s determined to find out.
Lili Wilkinson is nothing short of a genius. For the first time ever, I can say that a writer has truly expressed what it means to be a teenager. While I never went through some of the trials and experiences that Ava must journey through, her story came across as authentic. Pink beautifully displays all the screw-up’s, hang ups and misconceptions that are so often tied to youth, and let’s face it, adulthood too. Additionally, Wilkinson tackles some pretty touchy subjects with humor and grace.
Pink is a remarkable book that I can only hope many will read for themselves. (less)
I loved every second I spent reading Divergent. Its quick, fluid pacing, combined with edge of your seat plotting and heart rending characters, lent i...moreI loved every second I spent reading Divergent. Its quick, fluid pacing, combined with edge of your seat plotting and heart rending characters, lent itself well to this dystopian debut.
Divergent takes place in a Dystopian Chicago. It has long been discovered that the cause for the worlds’ strife and political unrest wasn’t due to race or religion but rather the personality traits of human beings. Thus a new government was formed and divided into factions that were created according to those virtues that leaders found to be the most prudent. Those of Dauntless value bravery and live a life dedicated to service through valor. Erudite values knowledge and are a faction devoted to studies. Amity values love and happiness, Candor – Honesty and Abnegation values selflessness above all else, thus making them best suited for leadership roles in government as they are uncorrupt able.
At the eve of the choosing ceremony, the event in which young adults choose the faction in which they will live, we meet Tris Prior. Tris is a 16 year old girl that has grown up in Abnegation, but has found the factions ideals difficult to live by. She often feels out of step and ponders what it would be like to live a life afforded by other factions. However doing so would mean betraying her family. While her upcoming aptitude test could support what she has always known, that she doesn’t belong in Abnegation, she also fears what the results with say. But when her results come back inconclusive, Tris must make her choice without a guide.
Tris’s choice and the consequences that follow kept me turning the pages into the wee hours of the night. I simply couldn’t find a stopping point! Tris was a character that I could root for and the world that Roth has created is intricate and entrancing. I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel.
Side note: I’m normally peeved to read books that are the start of a trilogy, but at nearly 500 pages, Roth gives plenty of meat to her story to keep readers satisfied. (less)
What. the. hell. In spite of my vow to eschew Lisa McMann with a firm hand after having read the last installment of her Wake series, I still allowed...moreWhat. the. hell. In spite of my vow to eschew Lisa McMann with a firm hand after having read the last installment of her Wake series, I still allowed myself to be allured by Cryer’s Cross. It wasn’t my fault really, I was having a weak moment and it was looking all shiny and interesting at the library. Of course, now that I have read Cryer’s Cross, I’m filled with sadness. Its always a shame when a talented writer goes off the deep end. A possessed desk! Come on now, that’s just tragic. Of course the real travesty is that some tree, well, several trees rather, gave up their lives so that this book could see the light of day only for McMann to make a mockery of their sacrifice!
To those of you who are currently reading or will soon read Cryer’s Cross, don’t be seduced by the enticingly creepy cover. Shun the words from the first 70 pages. I know that they are strung together rather nicely. I understand that McMann has done a fairly nice job of establishing a believable miniscule town that time forgot while underscoring it with a feeling of menace. She even has an intriguing character in Kendall, but I’m telling you, it only goes down hill once that desk comes on scene. You have been forewarned.
P.S. For those of you who have read the book, how do you suppose one goes about burying themselves alive? (less)
Be warned, the first few chapters of Unearthly are cringe worthy. By page 15, I swore that if I read the word “purpose” one more time, I was going to...moreBe warned, the first few chapters of Unearthly are cringe worthy. By page 15, I swore that if I read the word “purpose” one more time, I was going to gouge out my eyes! Thankfully, a fellow reader spoke up on behalf of this rarity amongst YA paranormal romance, beseeching me to spare my corneas, promising me that the story does in fact begin to not suck. She was right, sort of.
Premise aside, the characters of “Unearthly” behave like rather normal teenagers, sheltered, and extremely well mannered teenagers, but teenagers nonetheless. Clara is quarter angel, born to a half blooded mother and human father. At the age of 16, Clara is now being granted visions from up above meant to clue her in to her purpose (her reason for being on earth). Clara doesn’t know what her purpose is; all she knows is that it will involve a boy (a hot one) and a forest fire. When visions of her purpose aren’t springing up during inopportune times, Clara is doing her best to decipher clues about her purpose all the while posing as a normal teenage girl. Her mother also quizzes her about her visions, wanting to help her achieve her purpose, but the specifics of her purpose remain vague. Finally, Clara gathers enough clues to discover what city her purpose will transpire, and soon Clara, her mother and brother move to Wyoming so that Clara can fulfill her purpose. See why I wanted to gouge out my eyes? Luckily, all the purpose business dies down a bit once Clara actually makes it to Wyoming.
I can’t really reveal anymore about the plot, it would kind of ruin the fun for you. But I will say this; I was pleased with how ordinary the author made her characters appear. Clara isn’t an oh so talent artist or musician, she isn’t an outcast, nor is she incredibly popular, she is just sort of run of the mill, granted, she’s a bit Mary Sue-ish, but that is just par for the course with these type books. Likewise for our love interest. I won’t reveal his name, as that would also be spoilerish, but I loved him for being normal, kind and thoughtful, yet a bit green when it came to dealing with females. It took him a long, long while to work up his nerve to make his move, which only served to make me like him more.
As for the flaws, there certainly are a few. Many things were just way to convenient for Clara, and I find it a tad plot devicey for including so many angel bloods in such a remote part of the country. And what I assume was meant to be a big revelation about one of the characters wasn’t a big revelation at all, there were way too many hints for it to have been much of a surprise. All the same, Unearthly is still better than a majority of other works within this genre and I will certainly read the next installment. (less)
Blood Red Road is reminiscent of stories such as Graceling, Fire and Finnickin of the Rock with a bit of dystopian intrigue added for good measure. Co...moreBlood Red Road is reminiscent of stories such as Graceling, Fire and Finnickin of the Rock with a bit of dystopian intrigue added for good measure. Coming from me, that’s high praise. In fact the only reason I gave it four stars as opposed to five is because I couldn’t shake the feeling that I had read the story before, just with a different host of characters and extenuating circumstances. Nonetheless, Blood Red Road contained all my favorite things: brilliant writing, quick pacing, well developed characters, a flawed yet commendable heroine and engrossing plot.
Blood Red Road tells the story of Saba, who is in search of her kidnapped twin brother Lugh. Her journey is a perilous one, with constant obstacles and mishaps to over come, obstacles that don’t disappoint for action enthusiasts. It is on this quest that Saba discovers not only that which she has lost, but all that she was meant to find, including a renegade gang of fearsome female warriors, a sexy outlaw named Jack, and a kind hearted bear of a man named Ike. These fascinating characters, along with Saba’s annoying, albeit intuitive sister, Emmi, and her brilliantly trained pet crow rally together to seek Lugh, changing the world along the way. (less)
What a powerful book! Split tells the story of Jace Witherspoon, formally known as Jace Marshall. After one too many severe beatings at his fathers ha...moreWhat a powerful book! Split tells the story of Jace Witherspoon, formally known as Jace Marshall. After one too many severe beatings at his fathers hands, Jace has finally fought back and has been thoroughly beat and forcibly removed from his home for his efforts. Having no choice but to leave his abused, submissive mother behind, Jace sets out across country to reunite with his brother Christian, whom he has not seen or heard from for the past six years. Once Jace arrives at Christian’s door, a heartbreaking and thought provoking emotional journey ensues.
This author challenged me with her perplexing, well researched and poignantly written tale. Split will make you question everything you thought you knew about abusers and their victims. Are they forgivable, is there a line between recovery and a lost cause, if so, when do you cross it, when does it become blurred, and how can you tell the difference? I’m so glad that I was granted the opportunity to read this book and I would recommend to anyone with an eye for well written, realistically centered works to read this as well. (less)
Marchetta’s seqway into the fantasy genre is seamless. Her talent translates. Reiminisent of childhood favorite Robin McKinley and newcomer Kristin Ca...moreMarchetta’s seqway into the fantasy genre is seamless. Her talent translates. Reiminisent of childhood favorite Robin McKinley and newcomer Kristin Cashore, Marchetta reminds me of why I love this genre. I enjoyed my time spent with Finnikin of the Rock. The world was imaginative and complex without being elusive. The characters were multi-deminsional and the magic was present, but didn’t bombard the text. With that said, there were a few flaws that prohibited me from giving it a high rating.
Spoilers ahead…. While I will never say that this book is poorly written, I will say that much of it was unnecessary and defied logic. I know, I know, it’s a fantasy, but it’s a fantasy containing human characters and there were times these characters behaved as something other than human. I’m referring mainly to the characters treatment of Evanjaline and she them. Evanjaline/Isaboe is a detestable character. I just know I’m going to get flack from my fellow readers for saying that, as many people seemed to love her, but, well, I thought she was an arrogant asshole. And yet Finnikin fell in love with her. How? She betrays him, lies to him throughout the story, and yet he pines for her. Bullshit. If someone threw me in prison, regardless of their well intented albeit secret, agenda, and left me to rot, there isn’t a chance in hell I’d like them, much less love them. Finnikin spends the entire book doubting and distrusting Evanjaline, and rightfully so, and yet we are to believe he loves her. Were there is no trust, there can be no love. Its that simple. Lust, sure, but love, I think not. If Evanjaline had simply been crafty, I would have liked her. There is no denying she is the epitome of a strong, resourceful female, and she outbests all the men, I should have loved that. But her character was off putting. You can’t treat people as she did, with so little regard and get pissy when they don’t like or trust you. But I digress, what irked me more than Evanjaline’s deplorable character was the simple fact that I couldn’t fathom why she needed to hide who she was to Finnikin, Sir Topher and Travanion. Why didn’t she tell them? I didn’t make any sense. She made things harder than they needed to be by not telling them who she was, and they would have done exactly what she had wanted if she had trusted them with the truth and yet she lies, repeatidly. Why? The only reason I can think of is that more than half this story wouldn’t have occurred without the lie, and therin lies my issue. While I enjoyed the ride, when I wasn’t gritting my teeth, there really wasn’t nearly 400 pages worth of story here, more like 150.
The words flowed, I even enjoyed a majority of the characters. The world Marchetta built was captivating, but at the end of the day, the plot had a huge gaping hole in Evanjaline, one that I couldn’t look past. (less)
Ship Breaker is a fascinating concept. It’s written well and tackles concerning current world affairs such as class segregation and unlawful labor pra...moreShip Breaker is a fascinating concept. It’s written well and tackles concerning current world affairs such as class segregation and unlawful labor practices with ease and without appearing heavy handed. The world Bacigalupi has created is fantastical, multi-faceted and yet could be entirely plausible. His characters are well crafted and represent all the beauty and atrociousness that we humans possess. With that said, Ship Breaker was not without its flaws.
I can’t help but feel as though Bacigalupi lost his way about three fourths of the way through this story. The pacing fell through, and the ending was rushed, but more to the point, I’m lost as to what he wanted to accomplish with this story. If it was simply to shed light on issues that often go overlooked, then I say well done. But if he wrote this story to show readers how to initiate change, I say he failed. None of the characters in Ship Breaker change. They may have newly created outlets to express traits which they already possessed, but not one character grew. Nailer was a hard working, loyal, and moral character start to finish, as was Pima, her mother, and Tool. Nita was a spoiled, privileged, and judgmental girl start to finish. Moreover, change was not reflected on the beach in which Nailer lived. Nailer may have been graced with a lucky strike by books end, but what of the others? And truly, can we call Nailer’s fate lucky? He was nothing short of a slave, entirely at the mercy of ship yard bosses, commanded by the elite, at the start of the book, and though he escapes the ship yard in the end, it is only to serve on the ship of a rich girl to whom Nailer devoted his life. That is trading one master for another, imo, albeit a kinder one.
All in all, Ship Breaker is a worthy read, filled with creativity and will certainly provide much food for thought in addition to a world you can loose yourself in, but in no way would I compare it to Hunger Games, as many have done. Apples and oranges as they say. (less)
How does one pen a review for such an exquisitely layered work of art? Revolution reads like sadness feels. It’s throbbing, aching, raw, desolate and...moreHow does one pen a review for such an exquisitely layered work of art? Revolution reads like sadness feels. It’s throbbing, aching, raw, desolate and poignant. In short, it’s lovely and extraordinary in scope.
Revolution is a juxtaposition between two 17 year old girls set worlds and over two centuries apart. Nevertheless, these girls are bound by their love of music and a tangible guilt they both feel as a result of their own perceived selfishness. Andi and Alex each provide an astonishing portrayal of a haunted soul struggling for redemption.
Andi lives in present day Brooklyn. When her grief for her deceased brother, Truman, isn’t coercing her to numb herself with anti-depressants, Andi struggles to keep her head above ground and her suicidal thoughts at bay. If it weren’t for her guitar, Andi feels as though she would cease to exist. When news that she is failing school reaches her noble prize winning father, he whisks her away to Paris. He hopes the time away will provide Andi with a revived sense of direction. If nothing else, he will be able to keep a watchful eye on her to ensure she completes her senior thesis. It is in Paris that Andi discovers an antique guitar case, complete with a secret compartment containing the long lost diary of a girl who calls herself Alex.
Alex lives in Revolutionary France. As the daughter of a poor, unknown playwright, Alex must earn her way by reciting Shakespeare, Virgil and the lot. A simple twist in fate secures Alex the position of caregiver to the dauphine, Louis-Charles. However, the country is in an increasing state of unrest, and Louis-Charles is the very representation of power and oppression. Struggling with her own desires and the ever increasing love she feels for the dauphine, Alex will have to make a choice that helps change the course of history.
Andi blew me away with her unapologetic tale of self-destruction. Her loss touched my heart, and her love of music was palpable to the point of becoming its own character. All the same, it was Alex’s story of betrayal and redemption that kept me turning the pages. Each of these girl’s lives are filled with loss. They have been exposed to the volatile and often brutal side of human nature, and yet each continues on without knowing what they move toward. Revolutionis vibrant and surprisingly candid. Filled with dozens of tiny little nuances, it dazzles the mind with its vivid and seamless depiction of a disheartened modern day girl who collides with the all too distant past. There is undeniable beauty in the gutter, as Donnelly shows us all to well. Meticulously researched and thoughtfully penned, Donnelly proves herself to be a truly gifted writer. All in all, this was a wonderful book to get lost in. (less)
When I picked up Not that kind of Girl, I was expecting light and fluffy. After all, the cover boasts a young, pretty couple in the throes of what loo...moreWhen I picked up Not that kind of Girl, I was expecting light and fluffy. After all, the cover boasts a young, pretty couple in the throes of what looks to be a sweet, affectionate kiss. Naturally, I assumed this book would contain a three star YA romance albeit with some added teenage emotional drama for added conflict. In other words, I was expecting a Dessen novel, but what I got was so much more. While I was anticipating a cutesy romance, I received a wonderful tale about what it means to be a teenage girl. A girl who thought she had it all figured out and is now discovering herself for the first time. Sounds cliché I know, but at 25, this book somehow managed to give me some food for thought.
Natalie is a senior in high school. She has spent her school years buried in books and community service in hopes that she can gain entrance into a top college. She has one friend to her name, Autumn, who was ostracized by the remaining student body freshman year after an unfortunate boyfriend fiasco. Most would find Natalie’s world empty and boring. She never goes to parties, has never had a boyfriend or even a first kiss. Her experience has been limited, but that hardly prevents her from having a world view. You see, Natalie learned a great deal from Autumn’s traumatic experience. Boys can’t be trusted, and nothing good can be gained from attempting to earn their attention. Natalie has it all together, she’s pretty, intelligent, accomplished and assumingly intuitive. Never for a moment has Natalie considered the fact that she could be wrong, that being attracted to someone and wanting to be attractive to them in return is the natural order of things. Never has she considered that there could be such a thing as genuine jocksters. But this year, there’s a new freshman girl in town, and she, along with the good looking senior jock, Conner, are about to open Natalie’s eyes to a whole new realm of possibilities.
Not that kind of Girl taps into the very essence of a battle that all young girls face throughout their lives. There’s a fine line between prudishness and whorishness. Women often walk a tightrope on their journey of self discovery. What’s sexually empowering, when does it become slutty, when do we lose control? And how to we maintain that control while delving into our own sexuality? This was a brilliant story that fully encompassed the awkwardness, the impotence, and uncertainty that accompanies our teen years. I felt as though I had been thrown back into high school as the portrayal, verbage, etc. was spot on. I felt Natalie’s joy, fear, pain and frustration and was glad to see her finally come to terms with a very valuable lesson. Siobhan Vivian has written a wonderful story that I would recommend to women of any age. (less)
Several terms come to mind when describing Jellicoe Road, but perhaps what works best is clever. Melina Marchetta has a masterful way with words. Her...moreSeveral terms come to mind when describing Jellicoe Road, but perhaps what works best is clever. Melina Marchetta has a masterful way with words. Her writing is simple and yet effective. She’s down to earth, whilst being thought provoking. Lamb dressed as mutton. I could go into a plot summary for you, but I think it would ruin the experience; therefore, I’ll say this:
There is a story within a story that inevitably intertwines the past to the present, and both are vivid and remarkably told. The dust jacket and/or blubs will present this book as a mystery, but to be frank, that’s a bit false. All mystery dissipates 150 pages in, with the first 50 pages being a bit of a confusing mess. I’ll admit, I had my doubts about Jellicoe Road in the beginning. The narrative hops around way too often, in no seeming order, and there were times when I had no idea who was speaking. But I pressed on, hoping that the story would reveal itself in time if I could only endure for a little longer. I’ll note here that Marchetta has this way of luring you in against your will. In this instance, I was compelled by Taylor Markham, even though there were times that I was a bit put out with her. She’s just so lost, so solitary, so angry and she’s been so betrayed. You want to slap her, then give her a hug. Though, as Marchetta has proven with her other works, her narrator is never the only character to shine albeit they shine through a rain cloud as her characters are almost always emotional train wrecks. Nevertheless, everyone is complex in their own unique, intriguing way. You get the sense that these people exist, somewhere along the Jellicoe Road. Their stories begin to feel like your experiences, their pasts become your memories. You can’t help but fall a little in love with them.
All in all, Jellicoe Road won a Printz Award for good reason, and if you can just stick it out for 50 trying pages, you will be more than well compensated. (less)
I finished this one last night and my mental crickets are still chirping. I’m hoping writing this review will help me flesh them out. I loved the form...moreI finished this one last night and my mental crickets are still chirping. I’m hoping writing this review will help me flesh them out. I loved the format. I’m a sucker for stories that are conveyed via letters and/or journal entries, as it leaves no room for vague. You are reading the ramblings of a characters mind, no analysis necessary. The downside to Punkzilla…his mind isn’t anywhere I would want to be. He really is a little punk, though his nickname is derived from his love of punk music, not because he acts like a rat bastard.
Jaime is 13 and living the life of a runaway in Portland, Oregon. He has recently been in contact with his older brother Peter, who is coincidentally dying of cancer. Peter has requested Jaime visit him in Memphis, TN before he passes and in the interim, he wants a detailed description of Jaime’s life since he ran away from Buckner, the Military School he had been banished to, thus explaining why Jaime is writing a series of letters describing his every action prior to and since going AWOL.
Through these letters we learn that Jaime suffers from ADD, along with a meth addiction and an overall lack of conscience, imo. We are also provided with the familial circumstances that caused Jaime and Peter to feel disconnected from their parents and sibling, thus resulting in their breaking from the family unit. As Jaime travels across country, the letters begin to include descriptions of his present journey along with details of his colorful past.
The letters were incredibly well written, too well written in fact, for me to believe they could be written by a 13 year old. This made Jaime’s tale seem contrived, bordering on obscene, as Rapp clearly wrote this book for shock value’s sake. That’s just disgusting, especially when you read some of Jaime’s more morally ambiguous thoughts. While I have no doubt that there are young teens that must survive in similar means, I shudder to think their favorite pastimes would be similar in taste. Nonetheless, the ending made me cry, though I attribute that to Peter, as opposed to Jaime. Peter was a truly endearing, fascinating character and I would have much preferred this story to have been told from his POV. I would give Rapp props if I felt like this book wasn’t exploitive, but I do, so I won’t. Stick to playwriting Adam Rapp, or switch to adult fiction. I'm giving this one two stars in lue of none as the letters truly were well written and would have been captivating if they had come from a character slightly older, late teens perhaps. (less)
Set over a three day period, we get to witness Adam’s life 3 years after the incident that killed Mia’s family. Shooting Star is now a chart topping b...moreSet over a three day period, we get to witness Adam’s life 3 years after the incident that killed Mia’s family. Shooting Star is now a chart topping band, however Adam is despondent, and oddly detached as he continues to dwell on the life that he has lost rather than the one he has been afforded. On the outside, Adam’s success is a dream come true. He’s been blessed with a God given talent and lucky enough to have been given an outlet to share it. Yet Adam can’t muster up any feelings of contentment. Instead he yearns for a life that he can no longer have, existing as a shadow of his former self, resigned to singing songs born of his misery.
Once again, Forman tugged at my heart strings. Though I didn’t find Where She Went as emotionally devastating as If I Stay, it still left a lingering emotional impact. This is the first book I’ve read that truly encapsulates the depression, bitterness and seemingly never ending misery that coincides with the end of a life changing relationship. While the effects may not as be as permanent as losing someone to death, it is often no less debilitating. More over, it superbly demonstrates the willingness of individuals to lose themselves in grief and refuse to give it up. Adam’s despair and anger were his only link to what he had lost and letting go was yet another loss that he simply couldn’t bear. I cried when he finally found the strength within him to do so.
My two complaints are as follows: I was supremely upset to discover how Mia had hardened herself to Adam, though I understand why she did. All the same, it made me lose a bit of my affection for her. Second, while I certainly was already emotionally involved with these characters, I felt as though this story could have been even more powerful had they been “normal” as in not rich, famous and supremely talented. With that said, I liked seeing how far these two have come, was thrilled to read a story in which music continues to play such a huge component and emotional nuances are presented in such a unique yet authentic way. Lastly, I'm grateful that Forman made these characters work for their ending in spite of all the crap they had already been through, because the most powerful books are the ones that reflect life's true design, and since when has anything in life worth having come easy? (less)
This is my second read of “The Disreputable History” and while I initially gave it a three star rating, I have since decided to give it an additional...moreThis is my second read of “The Disreputable History” and while I initially gave it a three star rating, I have since decided to give it an additional star. I would; however, like to note that Frankie still grates on me like sandpaper on bare ass.
When I first read this book, I was thrown off the story as there isn’t a single “likeable” character that isn’t minor (i.e. Trish and Zada). The book’s heroine, Frankie, is described as attractive and intelligent, but as the story progresses, it is easy to ascertain that she is also deluded, hypocritical and pig headed. She makes terrible choices and yet is the first to throw stones on the choices and actions of others. I found it irritatingly duplicitous that she judged all her female peers for daring to enjoy being “feminine” (i.e. cooking and crafts) and yet was frustrated by the boys at her school for judging her for her gender. Was she not just as guilty? Furthermore, she secretly mocks these girls for being at these boys beck and call when Frankie’s every action is geared toward earning their approval. Even after the fallout and Frankie’s supposed self awareness takes hold, Frankie’s heart surges when Alpha praises her, this from a boy who treats women like dirt and whose entire persona is a lie. Even on the last page, she is pinning away after her ex, Matthew, hoping to earn a place in his good graces, until he makes it clear he has no interest, and then of course, she is better than him, he lacks awareness, etc. Yeah, right.
So as I was saying, I was initially deterred by a book that possessed an unlikable heroine, a cheating ex-boyfriend, a patronizing current boyfriend, and a lying, arrogant womanaziser. If this book was meant to be about feminism, Lockhart missed the mark in Frankie. She isn’t a feminist; she’s a judgmental whack job, Zada and Trish, however, would have fit the bill perfectly. But then, I thought about it, and realized that perhaps that is the beauty of it. E.Lockhart has endeared herself to me as a favorite author because she pens such honest, authentic characters. I don’t like Frankie, I don’t respect her choices, I disagree with her assumptions, but there is no denying she is affecting, and more to the point, she is bona fide.
“The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks” may make you grit your teeth, role your eyes, and dislike Frankie, but it will also force you to turn the pages for sheer readability, and perhaps may also cause you to realize that there is no such things as flawless, authentic characters, in life or in books, which for me, was the true moral of the story. (less)
Comparatively speaking, Hold Still is well done. It is always refreshing to see a young adult author, a new one at that, who isn’t reduced to writing...moreComparatively speaking, Hold Still is well done. It is always refreshing to see a young adult author, a new one at that, who isn’t reduced to writing about paranormal romance, popular clichés, or originating as a geeky outcast only to later ditch the glasses, swap out the t-shirt for a sundress and become part of the popular cliché. Hold Still actually attempts to flesh out a harsh reality, a reality that sadly, many teens may one day be forced to face. With that said, I couldn’t give it more than three stars.
In my opinion, Hold Still isn’t honest enough. Let’s face it, contrary to the realities that even the best YA books present, many teenagers can’t boast of having even one friend, much less several. There are many teens who eat lunch in the bathroom stalls because no one, not even the fellow outcasts will be seen with them and they can’t bring themselves to eat alone publicly. Teens that are taunted mercilessly in the halls and can’t brag of having a secret artistic talent that makes them oh so special. Teens who don’t have that one great teacher take notice of them. Teens who are just sort of there, blending in to the background. They spend their weekends alone in their rooms, watching MTV all weekend until they are forced to face the torture that is known as high school once again. They don’t have boys clamoring to take them out, much less the hottest boy in school, and they don’t have girls who try repeatedly to be their friend. Just once I would love to see this teen girl, this normal but ever ignored teen girl, written about. I have yet to find her. What would happen to this girl, if the one friend she had, the one person who bothered to invest in her, took her own life and left her alone? We have yet to know, as that book has not been penned. What has been penned is Hold Still a half hearted attempt to address this very question.
Crap, what is this heroine’s name? I have momentarily forgotten it and I just read it, Jesus Christ. Its there on the tip of my brain…Screw it, I’m going to look it up.
Caitlin! Now I remember, our heroine and narrator’s name is Caitlin. Judging by the fact that I couldn’t even remember her name, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that despite her tale of grief, she isn’t memorable and fails to make much of an impression. She is a cardboard cut out of the typical YA girl. She has a lone friend, Ingrid, who takes her own life. Now Caitlin is alone, but as luck would have it, there is a new girl in school who tries to befriend Caitlin, who Caitlin spurns, but later becomes friends with. Ha, my ass, tell me one person this has actually happened to? Girls are not the forgiving sort and I say this as a female. If you spurn a teen girl, there is no forgiveness to be had for you unless she too is equally desperate for a friend. And even if you do become besties, she will never forget that you rejected her. That is just the way it works. But I digress, when Caitlin isn’t rejecting the one person who would have her friendship, she is angsting over how to sabotage her photography, which she is brilliant at. Furthermore, she has Taylor, a popular, good looking boy paying special attention to her and wanting to be there for her in a flirty yet unforceful way. Again I say give me a break. From the time of puberty, boys are filled with nothing but ulterior motives that they hope will lead to sex.
So, while I’m glad that Hold Still attempts to tackle a serious issue, I wish it would have told it in a way that is true to life, devastating and miserable, leaving a wound that only a large amount of time can really begin to heal. Lovely artwork though! (less)
A special Thank you goes out to my matey T for recommending this book to me, great choice mon amie. :) No review I’m capable of writing will do this b...moreA special Thank you goes out to my matey T for recommending this book to me, great choice mon amie. :) No review I’m capable of writing will do this book justice, so I’ll keep it short and sweet. Lips Touch is stunning and reminiscent of my childhood favorite, Robin McKinley, and it is because of books like Lips Touch, that I fell in love with the YA fantasy genre so many years ago. Filled with inventive lore, gorgeously flowing language, and unique illustrations, Lips Touch is nothing short of a delight.
Made up of a collection of three short stories, Lips Touch takes readers through a journey where kisses transform, sometimes beginning, and other times ending lives. While the first story, Goblin Fruit, was my personal favorite of the three, each story offers an enchanting and fantastical new lore, including goblins, demons, and soul snatching, body wrenching immortals. My only complaint is that each of these stories would have made for a fantastic book in their own right, and I wish that I could have read more about these characters, especially Kizzy. (less)
If this book ever gets interesting, it happens much too late in the novel. A hundred pages into this 200 page book and I was still unaware of any plot...moreIf this book ever gets interesting, it happens much too late in the novel. A hundred pages into this 200 page book and I was still unaware of any plot or point.
Was I supposed to feel sorry for Deanna? Yes she has a bad reputation, but last I checked, 13 year olds who get caught doing the deed in the back of a popular 17 year olds truck by their dad don't exactly garner respect and admiration of others. Furthermore, Deanna has exactly two friends and she spends much of her time lusting after one and being jealous of the other.
I suppose there are some good messages contained in this book; however, I don't think making the heroine unsympathetic is any way to drive those messages home. It's never too late to become a good person, but books require character from the start. (less)
An Abundance of Katherines contains the typical John Green formula; however, unlike John's other successes, this book lacked the humorous best friend...moreAn Abundance of Katherines contains the typical John Green formula; however, unlike John's other successes, this book lacked the humorous best friend and possessed a nerd narrator obsessed with math. As I detest math, I found no joy in reading a book whose plot revolved around theorems. I was not at all surprised that this narrator had found himself dumped by a succession of Katherine's as protractors will not keep a lady warm at night. The only reason I saved this book from being placed on my shite book shelf was because that vomiting sequence in the first chapter was described very well and because I have a bit of a shameless crush on John Green. I do enjoy his writing, but I doubt I will read more of his works as they are all the same.(less)
The Knife of Never Letting Go demonstrates my qualms with male authors perfectly. The story as a whole was a good one, and rather suspenseful to boot,...moreThe Knife of Never Letting Go demonstrates my qualms with male authors perfectly. The story as a whole was a good one, and rather suspenseful to boot, but as is usually is the case with books written by male authors, the characters never became alive for me.
The story is narrated by Todd who is Twelve years and thirteen months old. On the cusp of being a man, and yet still spurned as he is technically a boy, Todd is forced to spend time with his only companion, his dog, Manchee. What would seem slightly isolating is made less so by an odd quirk in this alternate universe called Noise. The Noise allows men and animals alike to hear and share their thoughts, voluntarily, and more often than not, involuntarily. One day, while playing in the swamp, Todd hears and odd thing, or rather, he doesn’t hear a thing. Suddenly, life as Todd knows it is about to change and everything he thought was true proves to be false.
While I’ll admit to finding this plot intriguing, I was incredibly annoyed throughout much of the story. First of all, Todd would often be given bits of information, while we, the readers are left in the dark. That is very very grating and a major writing no no. If the writer is unwilling to inform their readers at that time, they should not inform their narrator. Second, both Todd and Viola caused me a great deal of frustration throughout various points of the story. At first, I loathed Viola, her silence, and her condescending nature. Once I finally managed to tolerate her, I began to detest Todd. Seriously, it felt like the author couldn’t move his story along without making his characters stupid or completely unbelievable, which brings me to Aaron. Aaron is a beast that I can’t exactly tackle in this review as it is very spoilerish, so I’ll just say that throughout the story, I was expecting Aaron to have some sort deep dark secret identity that he does not have. Not only was this a major let down, it made the events surrounding his character entirely unbelievable. Lastly, Ness killed the only decent character in the story. I can’t even begin to tell you how miffed I was to be reduced to tears by this writer. Normally I am a huge fan of having a good cry, but I felt as though Ness was playing with my emotions because his book was otherwise crap and needed a sympathy vote.
Overall, I’ll give the book 3 stars for inventiveness and for the fact that the author is clearly willing to sucker punch his characters and his readers. (less)