For Craig Gilner, getting accepted into the prestigious Executive Pre-Professional High School in Manhattan isn't what he hoped it would be. Instead,...moreFor Craig Gilner, getting accepted into the prestigious Executive Pre-Professional High School in Manhattan isn't what he hoped it would be. Instead, it's too much. It doesn't take too long for Craig to realize that he is far from the best--in fact, he is mediocre. This realization crushes not only his ego; soon, he can't sleep. He can't eat. He is, it turns out, depressed.
A late-night decision to commit suicide results in a call to the nearest suicide hotline--and, eventually, at the hospital down the block, where Craig checks himself into the psychiatric ward. When it turns out that the teen's floor is closed for renovations, he's put on the floor with the adults, where the true adventure begins.
This is the first novel of Ned Vizzini's that I've read, and I enjoyed the ride. The voice is great and memorable, although sometimes childish--but the best part has to be the collection of strange and eclectic characters thrown into the mix. From Craig himself to Noelle, a girl who cut her own face with scissors, to the other patients in the psychiatric ward; I honestly don't think the characters could have been better.
Development was pretty thorough; there were no loops or holes, and the novel was definitely well-written. There was a good balance of comedy and irony and depression, although maybe, when thinking of the novel's topic, it was lacking a serious undertone that stories like this, I feel, have the need for. The main thing I disliked was the flow of the story, and the romance was somewhat awkward and unfinished-feeling. I had brief flashbacks of Suicide Notes and Paper Towns, so pick up Funny Story if you're a fan of either of those.
Unfortunately, the book I picked up before this one was The Perks of Being A Wallflower, so of course Funny Story was a bit of a let-down after that one. The ending wasn't my favorite, some aspects were a bit lacking, but overall Vizzini delivers.
Don't forget to stop by later this month for my interview with Ned Vizzini himself!
Jake Hayes and his family of eight live on a small island off the coast of Washington state, population 5,000. Jake has been in love with the same gir...moreJake Hayes and his family of eight live on a small island off the coast of Washington state, population 5,000. Jake has been in love with the same girl for the last four years, but he's never had the guts to tell her. And when he gets into a car accident after a party involving alcohol, he never will. Not when his vocal cords have been ripped out, and he'll never be able to speak again.
Taylor's novel deals with a very serious subject, one that I wasn't expecting to resound with such depth and poignancy. Jake's loss, all because of a stupid decision to get into a car with his drunk friends, is terrifying. He's lost his ability to speak. He'll never be able to tell a girl he loves her. Of course, this is relatable; almost everyone, I'd think, has regrets about things they didn't say but wish they had. But Jake's pain is all-consuming. His frustration and struggles ring true.
Jake is thoroughly developed as a character. He has a strong voice and, through his trials, his character shows three-dimensionality that makes him incredibly real to the reader. Life as he knows it is, essentially, over. His dream of joining the Airforce? Destroyed. His hobby of flying? Gone. His social life? Over. His difficulties are real. They jump off the page. Samantha, the girl Jake loves, is moderately likeable; well-developed but not in the way that Jake is, which is understandable. When it is revealed that Sam is having some problems of her own, though, that pain is there, too.
This story, through and through, is a powerful one.
Keary Taylor definitely achieves what I believe she hoped to--to create a fictional story, a fictional world, that has words of truth. These things happen. There are people like Jake out there. Taylor herself, she reveals in an added author's note, is one of these people. As a high school student, she had gone deaf in one of her ears. Her life changed. She struggled. She overcame.
Jane Eyre is my absolute favorite classic novel, and I was inspired to read it after loving another modern retelling of Charlotte Bronte's fantastic s...moreJane Eyre is my absolute favorite classic novel, and I was inspired to read it after loving another modern retelling of Charlotte Bronte's fantastic story called Jane. So when I received A Breath of Eyre in the mail, I couldn't wait to dive right in. And I wasn't disappointed. Everybody has a novel they wish they could literally escape into--a novel they wish their life was like, a character they wish was their boyfriend, and so on. But when it happens to Emma Townsend, she's completely caught off guard. Her life at home wasn't too great, so being Jane was a nice break.
Character development was pretty much amazing, especially when you consider that Emma had two different roles throughout the novel; Jane and herself. The death of her mother had left Emma feeling empty and alone. Her personal growth during the book is an important aspect of it, as she discovers new things about her family, her friends, and the kind of person she wants to be. Gray Newman was also developed thoroughly, and I have to admit I fell a little in love with him right along with Emma.
Eve Marie Mont balanced the two "realities" of the novel surprisingly well: Jane's world and Emma's world. And I think that, if I had never read Jane Eyre, I would have been inspired to read it. Which is, of course, a goal you must hope to achieve when writing a novel like this one. I can't wait to see what adventures Emma takes on in the upcoming sequels.
A Breath of Eyre is scheduled for release on March 27th from Kensington.
The best way I can describe this novel is painfully, stunningly real. It is absolutely the most down-to-earth, believable novel I have read this year....moreThe best way I can describe this novel is painfully, stunningly real. It is absolutely the most down-to-earth, believable novel I have read this year. Luna's struggle with the loss of her mother is equally heart-breaking and relatable, and her raw feelings are perfectly portrayed through Lewis's skilled writing and in-depth character development.
The novel itself had personality, and Luna's voice (as well as Lewis's writing) was unique and likeable. The truth of the plotline, story, and characters shown strongly throughout, and the romance was sweet. Many young adult novels focus strongly on passionate romances, and I was surprised by how much the sweet, kind romance of Luna and Oliver draws you in. That gentle romance is enough to satiate even the most romantic of readers, and reminiscent of most young love.
You Have Seven Messages is a fantastic novel, quiet in it's beauty and strengths, but unforgettable and touching. The perfect read for a wide variety of bibliophiles, I would not hesitate to add this novel to my list of favorites or to recommend it to all of you.
This is my third teen pregnancy novel, and the first that I've really, really liked. The first was Dessen's Someone Like You which just didn't have an...moreThis is my third teen pregnancy novel, and the first that I've really, really liked. The first was Dessen's Someone Like You which just didn't have any appeal for me at all, and the second was such a terrible experience, in fact, that it became the only book that I have ever reviewed negatively.I was pleasantly surprised with Catherine Greenman's debut novel Hooked and dually shocked by the negativety of other reviews I've seen.
The entire novel is very fresh and relatable; it's a sweet (and sometimes not-so-sweet) story of teen romance, pregnancy and parenthood that hasn't been told before. The plot is thoroughly developed and carried out perfectly. The writing is stunning and shines with personality. The characters are what draw you into this book from the start, and keep you hooked--Thea especially. She's your average teenager--sort of--with doubts about college and the future, issues with her parents, and boy troubles. Until it gets a little trickier; pregnancy tends to do that.
There are common stereotypes and misconseptions in our country about teen pregnancy. This novel--and Thea herself--push the boundaries of these stereotypes until they've been completely demolished. Thea is not irresponsible (at least not any more so than any other American teen), she is not extremely poor, she is not a hooker, she is not a slut. She is on the pill. She uses protection. The affect that this has on the reader's view of the novel is overwhelming: this could happen to me.
And, of course, this just happens to be Hooked's selling aspect. The fact that it is so relateable just makes you admire Thea so much, and question those stereotypes that I'm sure most of us must have hidden in the dark corners of our mind; the kind that comes up when you see a pregnant girl in the hall at school, or overhear someone in the bathroom talking to their doctor over the phone about the effectiveness of the pill.
I absolutely loved this novel. Don't listen to what anyone else says. It's fantastic.
Giveaway for the first in the series starting today! Don't forget to enter to win! www.simplynerdy.com
Princess Leia, Frances "Baby" Houseman, Sandy,...moreGiveaway for the first in the series starting today! Don't forget to enter to win! www.simplynerdy.com
Princess Leia, Frances "Baby" Houseman, Sandy, Trinity, Jane Eyre, Elizabeth Bennett, Josephine March, and Buffy. They are our idols, our favorite characters of all time. Why? They are confident. Smart. Independent. Funny. Strong-willed. In some cases, kick-ass. They are our heroines. For many of them, their time is over. Done. Not because they failed, or were defeated, or were killed. Something worse happened to them: they were forgotten. The personalities of our original favorite heroines are now embodied by new ones. Now we have Jess Mastriani, Evie, Susannah Simon, Rhine Ellery, and Mia Thermopolis.
Now we have Gwen Frost, and she is fierce in our hearts. She is smart. Independent. Funny. Strong-willed. And very much kick-ass. Not always confident, but she tries.
Basically, Jennifer Estep is a genius. I really don't know how else to better sum up my thoughts of both this novel and it's predecessor. The overall concept of the book just rocks--Spartans and Amazons and Valkyries and more, all at Mythos Academy. My new dream school. Warriors.
And to go along with any true heroine, there must be a love interest. Johnny Castle. Rob Wilkins. Mr. Rochester. Jesse de Silva. Angel. Gwen and Logan are complicated. Troubled. In love. That's just how it goes, how they work--or try to work. The suspense of their romance is just as troubling to the reader as it is to Gwen herself; we love them for it.
The writing is, not surprisingly, fantastic, because how can you possibly have such incredible ideas and such incredible stories and not be a stunning writer? You can't. It's perfectly paced, perfectly told, and drawn together without a flaw. Estep does not try and prove us wrong.
Thank God for that.
Expect to see Kiss of Frost in December from Kensington Publishing Corp. Don't worry. Only 67 days until Christmas, so it's not that far off.
Going into The Sleepwalkers, you need to be aware of one fact, and one fact only: this book is SCARY. When I read the summary, I thought Oh, well, it...moreGoing into The Sleepwalkers, you need to be aware of one fact, and one fact only: this book is SCARY. When I read the summary, I thought Oh, well, it sounds kind of creepy, but nothing too intense. And then I read the book.
And then I couldn't sleep.
It's like a horror movie on paper. I'm telling you, don't read it at night. Or, if you read it at night, you should probably leave the lights on. I am a crazy horror film fanatic, but for some reason scary novels get to me a lot more than scary movies do. And, realistically, it takes some serious skill to actually make that happen.
The characters were awesome, espeically Caleb and Bean. Their friendship is easy to relate to; anyone who's ever had a really close friend before can admire that. The writing was fabulous, not a surprise after having read Dark Territory. The plot was outright astounding, as creative as you can get.
I absolutely loved this novel. As much as it freaked me out, I adore the fact that it was able to. As much as it made me crave my night light, I enjoyed every moment of it. Literally everything that could ever possibly be in a novel, is in this one. There's action, there's suspense, there's mystery, there's a surprisingly high amount of blood and gore, and there's romance.
I was captivated at the very first page. Hourglass is an absolutely fantastic debut from Myra McEntire. Emerson is an irresistible character, one that...moreI was captivated at the very first page. Hourglass is an absolutely fantastic debut from Myra McEntire. Emerson is an irresistible character, one that you love from the very beginning. She is hilarious and quirky and vulnerable and strong. She is fierce (think Gwen Frost or Evie). The story wouldn't have been as impressive with any other character: she truly makes the novel.
Hourglass spins so many different plot twists, and is so surprising in so many ways that I don't even know where to begin without spoiling it for you, so the best advice I can give is: just dive in! It's definitely a must read.
Everything you look for in a good novel is easily found in this one: solid characters, realistic [and believable] romance, honest friendship, mystery, suspense . . . it's like the perfect burrito at Chipotle; you won't find one person who doesn't like it.
Wow, I loved this book. I loved this book. I swear, it has everything; martial arts (action, action, action), romance, school plays, gangs, train trac...moreWow, I loved this book. I loved this book. I swear, it has everything; martial arts (action, action, action), romance, school plays, gangs, train tracks . . . Just wow.
First things first: I have never before read a book involving martial arts. I really loved that aspect of the book; I've always thought that martial arts was such an amazing thing to be able to do, and I reading about it was awesome. The descriptions of the fights and moves flowed really well, and all of the action scenes were easy to follow. I've always had some trouble with action books, because it can be really hard to follow full-out fight scenes on paper. For some reason, I've just never been able to do it. But in this book, I loved the action scenes! I looked forward to reading them, and I got really excited during Raphael's and Zhai's lessons with Master Chin. It was just so fun to read.
Character development definitely rocked, too, and I absolutely love Raphael. I swear, I can't get enough of that boy. I think that the bad aspects of his life--his father's death, his mother's job, being on the poorer side--made him really easy to connect to and identify with. And then there are so many characters that I couldn't help but so passionately hate, and I absolutely love that in a book. If there's anything a good book needs to be able to do is make me really, really mad. I could relate to Zhai and Raphael's ruined friendship, like I'm sure most teens could. I think that everyone has that friend that you lost to an outside reason, and really wish things could be better. Nass really made me laugh, and so did Dalton. Aimee was also fantastic, and I couldn't help but feel really terrible for her and her home life, or root for her and Raph.
Which brings me to the romance! Oh, the romance! Once you read this book, you can never go back. Raph and Aimee! I got so caught up in the book, praying for everything to work out. I loved their relationship, and I loved them as a couple. It was one of the most suspenseful parts of the books, actually, when you were so hoping that everything would turn out good for them, but you just don't know.
This book was, really, a summer action flick. It has everything it needs to be amazing, with kick-butt fight scenes, an intense romance, great characters, and awesome dialogue. Basically, it has a little bit of something for everyone. Look out for it on July 1st!