May B. is a quick read with a strong protagonist all alone on the prairie and trying to survive. It's also about her struggles to learn to read. RevieMay B. is a quick read with a strong protagonist all alone on the prairie and trying to survive. It's also about her struggles to learn to read. Review to come....more
The Future of Us is a fun, quick read that many of my students will enjoy. I'll admit that I was hoping for something edgy considering this is Jay AshThe Future of Us is a fun, quick read that many of my students will enjoy. I'll admit that I was hoping for something edgy considering this is Jay Asher's second book, but it's good to see that he can write something lighter after the continued success of Thirteen Reasons Why. I read a couple of Mackler's novels and liked those, so I'm not surprised that these two authors are a good combination.
The premise is a fun spin on the idea of Facebook, and will generate lots of discussion. I'm looking forward to talking about this one with the students in my book club. My biggest critique is that even though the chapters are labeled according to Emma's or Josh's point of view, neither of their voices are distinct enough for me to tell the difference. Other than that and a few minor slow points, this is humorous and also sweet at times. Full review to come. ...more
I was instantly hooked when I started reading Fracture. The premise is refreshing and the opening is suspenseful.Review originally posted at Y.A. Love
I was instantly hooked when I started reading Fracture. The premise is refreshing and the opening is suspenseful. I couldn’t help but wonder what happened to Delaney as she told us about her experience with death. Watching Delaney struggle to awake from her coma was engrossing and intriguing. These pieces really carried me into the story and kept me reading.
As I read farther into the book, I became aware of some holes in the story and areas that needed more attention. Even some of the plot points didn’t seem necessary. Delaney’s attraction to those that are dying is certainly interesting, and I was even more interested when she met Troy who shares the same ability. Unfortunately, this relationship didn’t flesh out the way it needed to. Troy often appears to be an angel of death of sorts, but it’s never fully explained. Is he gaining something from these deaths? Is Delaney helping him or can she help these people? She tries to turn this around, but that part of the story isn’t explored as much as it could be. What’s the point of Delaney’s brain working this way? If these elements were more of a focus, Fracture would be a 4 or 5 star novel instead of a 3 star novel.
There’s an awful lot of focus on Delaney’s parents and friends that didn’t seem important. Delaney’s mother fears that if she doesn’t keep a close eye on Delaney, she could lose her again. This fear connects to a bad relationship Delaney’s mother had with her parents. I suppose this could play an interesting role in the story, but it mostly felt like a distraction from the story. Decker is Delaney’s friend, and also a boy that she’s felt a connection to for some time. After Delaney’s accident, it becomes an angsty relationship because Decker is full of regret that he didn’t rescue her sooner. He’s also upset that Delaney kissed their friend prior to the accident. Again, this element of the story felt like a distraction. I understand that it ties in with Delaney’s life and her guilt, but why is it important to the story? She doesn’t want to tell Decker about her ability, and their relationship grows more strained with Troy’s addition to Delaney’s life, but if this is an important part of the story then it needs more attention. These are all elements with potential to make a great novel, but they’re all elements that need fleshing out.
A number of my students have requested this title after I showed them the book trailer. I’ll bring my ARC in after Christmas break, and I look forward to their reviews. I often feel that after reading so many YA novels, I’ve become much more critical of them. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but it does sometimes make it difficult to book talk a title. I’m honest with my students, as I will be about Fracture, because it both intrigues students and prompts great discussion.
I’ve read a number of reviews like my own and many rave reviews as well. Fracture is an entertaining read, it just left me with multiple questions without any answers....more
And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky is a prime example of great contemporary Y.A. literature. Keek has a true, authenticActually 4.5 stars
And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky is a prime example of great contemporary Y.A. literature. Keek has a true, authentic voice, which I enjoyed immensely. I’m actually struggling right now trying to find the words to write this review because I loved this book that much.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure if And Then Things Fall Apart was a book I wanted to read when I first heard about it. I hadn’t read that many reviews, and I’ve never finished reading The Bell Jar, so I didn’t know if it was a book for me. When I was at NCTE, Arlaina Tibensky was signing, so I figured I’d buy a copy and get it signed for my classroom. Since then it’s been sitting on my shelf. Recently I bought a copy of Saving June by Hannah Harrington for my classroom, another book I haven’t read, and one of my freshmen read it. When she finished she told me she loved it and needed another book like Saving June. Since I haven’t read that one yet, I was at a loss, so I consulted Twitter. Thanks to Kelly at Stacked, I had a couple book recommendations for my student which included And Then Things Fall Apart. I didn’t have that in my classroom at the moment, so I gave my student the other recommend book and decided to read And Then Things Fall Apart. I know this is a long-winded story, but I’m SO GLAD I read it! Based on what my student said about Saving June and then Cracked Up to Be by Courtney Summers (which was the other read alike), I’m almost positive she’ll love And Then Things Fall Apart.
Anyway, back to why I loved this debut. I need to bring up Keek. She’s sick in bed with the chicken pox during summer vacation. Chicken pox become worse with age, so Keek is really suffering. To make matters worse, her mom is out of state, and her parents are about to get divorced, so she’s trapped at her Grandma’s house without any technology to interact with the outside world. But she does have a typewriter and her worn-with-love copy of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. To give herself something to do, she decides to start writing. Arlaina Tibensky’s novel is essentially Keek’s book. She has a wonderful sense of humor that’s made up of mostly snark and wit. Her voice is authentic, so it’s easy to picture Keek. There isn’t much dialogue because Keek is isolated for the most part, but also because she’s a character that really lives in her head. The lack of dialogue didn’t bother me at all, and it wasn’t something that I noticed until I saw some reviews on Goodreads after finishing. Keek, who’s real name is Karina, is very mature for her age in the way that she thinks. But on the other hand, she’ll sometimes act immature when it comes to her boyfriend Matt and her reactions to her parents. Teens that view themselves as being more mature than their peers will really identify with Keek.
While Keek is mature and a deep thinker, she’s inexperienced with boys, which adds to her insecurity with Matt. When she’s confronted with moving forward sexually with Matt, she often consults The Bell Jar for advice. Her virginity is always on her mind, as is Matt. At times Matt drives her crazy and she can’t stand him. Other times she’s thinking about times when she was madly in love with him and her hormones were driving her actions. Keek’s really conflicted; she doesn’t know if her feelings are real and why she’s so scared to have sex with Matt. Some readers might be put off by Keek’s thoughts about sex and her virginity; they might see it as being too mature for some readers. I read Keek’s memories of Matt and her thoughts about her virginity as very real and what many teens probably go through and think about.
The only fault I found with And Then Things Fell Apart, is that sometimes Keek’s voice and thoughts felt off character. She started to sound more like an adult, or like I was reading a non-YA novel. I normally wouldn’t say this is a bad thing, but Keek at times was too smart for her age.
Overall, if you want to read a fantastic example of contemporary Y.A., then I can’t recommend And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky enough. It’s humorous, honest, and just all-around great. I can’t wait to read more books written by Arlaina Tibensky.
P.S. If you’re currently on a budget, you’ll be happy to hear that this was released in paperback....more
Kody Keplinger knows how to write engrossing stories. I probably should have waited to read A Midsummer’s NightmaReview originally posted at Y.A. Love
Kody Keplinger knows how to write engrossing stories. I probably should have waited to read A Midsummer’s Nightmare until summer break started because I didn’t want to stop reading it! I loved The Duff and really enjoyed Shut Out, but A Midsummer’s Nightmare is now my favorite.
I’m impressed with Kody Keplinger’s ability to take touchy subjects like Whitley’s and handle them with so much care. Whitley drinks and parties too much, and often fools around with too many guys. It’s earned her a reputation. In the beginning of the book, Whitley doesn’t care all that much about what she does or what people think of her. It’s not until she’s spending the summer with her dad and his new family in a new small town that Whitley really starts to second-guess how she’s acting. Kody Keplinger didn’t write a novel preaching to teens about how to behave, but it’s easy to learn what not to do by watching Whitley’s actions.
Whitley isn’t always the most likeable character because she’s so self-destructive, but it’s also easy to see how much potential she has. Is her road to changing her ways an easy one? No, and it shouldn’t be. If Kody Keplinger had written a book where the protagonist becomes a new and better person with the snap of your fingers then she wouldn’t have written a believable book. I know people like Whitley and I know how difficult it was for them to see what they were doing to themselves and change that behavior. I appreciate Keplinger for writing such a real character.
Much of Whitley’s anger and actions stem from the dissolution of her parents’ marriage and her relationship with them since the divorce. I couldn’t stand either of her parents when I was reading A Midsummer’s Nightmare, and I’m sure that was her point when writing this book. It’s apparent that both her mom and dad care about her, but it’s also apparent that both of them are too self-involved to care as much as they should. The sad fact is, there are too many parents out there who aren’t involved in their children’s lives. Kudos to Kody Keplinger for tackling two big issues in one book!
If you haven’t read The Duff or Shut Out yet, I recommend starting with A Midsummer’s Nightmare. Kody Keplinger is a talented young author in the YA world, and her writing is only getting stronger. I can’t wait to read her next book!...more
I have been a big fan of Greek mythology since it was introduced to me in my 8th grade reading class. There’s beeReview originally posted at Y.A. Love
I have been a big fan of Greek mythology since it was introduced to me in my 8th grade reading class. There’s been an influx in Greek mythology in YA, which I love. Admittedly, Everneath was on my “maybe I’ll read it” list, but after reading a few reviews and listening to people at NCTE talk about it, I decided to give it a shot. I was hooked right away, but about half-way through the novel, the story fell apart.
Everneath has a great hook in the prologue. Nikki is in the Everneath with Cole, and it’s obvious that she and Cole have a strong connection for reasons unknown until later. She’s with Cole and doesn’t seem to remember much about her life, but there’s an image of a guy that’s keeping her connected to her life before the Everneath. She’s remembering a guy named Jack. I loved this because I wanted to know more about how Nikki arrived at the Everneath, who Cole is and why they’re connected, what the Feed is, and who Jack is and why he’s important to her. Brodi Ashton did a great job with the prologue and kept up that mystery by alternating between present day and Nikki’s memories of when she met Cole and ended up with him at the Everneath.
Unfortunately, my intrigue and wanting to continue reading only lasted for about half the novel. Eventually Everneath lost momentum and my attention. Nikki has returned from the Everneath and doesn’t remember much about her life on the Surface because even though everyone from home thinks she’s been gone for six months, that’s the equivalent of 100 years in the Everneath. Much of the novel is about Nikki trying to get her life back and making amends for the next six months before she has to leave the Surface again. During this time, she’s trying to gain back Jack’s trust because of her bond with him and the love she feels for him. Cole follows Nikki back, because he wants her as his queen, but Jack is standing in his way. This makes for the typical love triangle we find in paranormal YA, but I needed more. I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters, so this love triangle had no effect on me as a reader. Much of the focus of Everneath turns to Nikki’s feelings for Jack and her connection to Cole, instead of the story behind the Everneath and why Cole needs her to return. Because I didn’t feel a connection to the characters, I needed more background about the mythology and how it connects to Nikki, Jack, and Cole. I can’t explain why I didn’t feel for the characters, which still bothers me. I can usually pinpoint the reason, but I’m at a loss. The format of the story might be part of the reason because there’s no real build up; we’re thrown into Nikki’s memories about her whirl-wind connection with Cole and her friendship-turned-relationship with Jack. It just didn’t work for me.
Like I said, I needed more Greek mythology. I enjoy the story of Persephone, which is one of the reasons I read Everneath (**Note–After a comment I received, I should add that I know part of the myth connected to this story is about Orpheus and Eurydice**) . The concept for this debut is intriguing, but it needed more connection with the myth. Maybe it will be explained more in the second book, but I don’t think I’ll read the second novel because this one fell apart. We gain more knowledge as the story continues, but at close to 400 pages, the myth needed to be explained sooner. Also, if a novel is aiming for mystery, as a reader I don’t want to come to realizations before the characters. At almost every twist in the story, I knew it pages before Nikki did. Quite a few reviews have mentioned the great ending, but I saw it coming chapters before it happened. It’s a real let-down when I know the ending that far before it actually happens.
I’m disappointed that I didn’t fall in love with Everneath, because I really wanted to. ...more
I don't know exactly what to say about this book. I've read some really great reviews, so I went in with high expectations. The reviews mentioned it'sI don't know exactly what to say about this book. I've read some really great reviews, so I went in with high expectations. The reviews mentioned it's humor, and they were spot on. This book is very humorous and entertaining, but I don't really understand the point of it. It's not a horribly sad cancer-book, which is refreshing. I'd almost go so far as to say that Greg's writing this book to sort out his feelings about his friend's cancer, and how he often felt obligated to deal with it and keep her company. Many books that deal with cancer won't write about that aspect; they're focused almost on romanticizing it. Considering I've dealt with cancer in my family, there's nothing romantic about it. I need to think on this one a little more before I write my full review....more
I’ve read quite a few paranormal angel novels, and while I’ve enjoyed many of them, too many ofReview originally posted at Y.A. Love
4.5 out of 5 stars
I’ve read quite a few paranormal angel novels, and while I’ve enjoyed many of them, too many of them follow the same plot. When I was speaking with the women working at the Sourcebooks booth at NCTE, I was told how awesome Embrace by Jessica Shirvington is and that I should give myself time to start it and finish it in one sitting. Based on my past reading experiences, I’ll admit that I was hesitant to start reading Embrace, but I’m happy to report that I worried for no reason at all! Embrace puts a fresh spin on the paranormal angel plot with a different take on the lore and a strong female protagonist. And the women at Sourcebooks were right: I needed uninterrupted reading time because I didn’t want to put Jessica Shirvington’s debut down.
Violet is different from many of the other female protagonists in paranormal Y.A. because she’s independent and strong. Does she feel conflicted about her purpose and her love interests? Yes. But she’s still smart enough to make her own decisions and own her choices, even when she makes choices that she might end up regretting. Too many of the female protagonists in this genre fit the damsel in distress archetype. Violet breaking that mold is probably the most refreshing part of Embrace. She spends a large chunk of time in the novel conflicted over her feelings for Lincoln, but I never felt like she was being overly dramatic. Violet often weighs her feelings before taking action. She’s still a teenager, so some drama is expected, but overall I was really impressed with how she’s written. The one flaw I found is the number of times Violet swears. Normally that doesn’t bother me, but it didn’t feel necessary. I’m fine with a well-placed swear word, but there were times when it felt forced or out of character for Violet.
The mystery and action are perfectly paced. Not too much is revealed too soon or too slowly. Readers will appreciate this because from the very beginning I was drawn in and the mystery only kept me reading and turning the pages. There are plenty of life or death situations, mixed in with romance, intrigue, and self-realization. There wasn’t a moment in Embrace that I was bored or feeling the need for something more.
Overall, I definitely recommend reading Jessica Shirvington’s debut. It’s already been released in Australia, so the first three books are already finished. This means that the books will be released within six months of each other! ...more
I haven’t read any other books by Siobhan Vivian, but she has been on my radar. When I saw The List at the ScholaReview originally posted at Y.A. Love
I haven’t read any other books by Siobhan Vivian, but she has been on my radar. When I saw The List at the Scholastic booth at NCTE, I decided that was going to be my first Siobhan Vivian book. It’s a fast read and one that kept me turning the pages, but I have mixed feelings about it.
*Siobhan Vivian created some very real characters. Danielle is one of my favorites because she really came alive on the pages. She’s voted as the ugliest in her class and dubbed “Dan the Man.” She’s a gifted swimmer, especially as a freshman. She has a new boyfriend, and now that the list has been released she fears he won’t see her as beautiful anymore. I was a swimmer in high school and worried about my body, my shoulders in particular, becoming too masculine. This wasn’t something that Danielle worried about until the list was released because she was wrapped up in her boyfriend and hoping to make the varsity team. Her insecurity and everything else that happened as a result of the list really resonated with me. A few of the other characters stuck with me as well, but Danielle’s character is still on my mind. *Even though I think The List would have been a stronger book with fewer characters, the constant switch from character to character made this a fast read with some added mystery. Most times one character’s section would end at a point of intrigue and then switch to the next character leaving me wanting more from that particular character. I can see The List being a high interest and popular book in my classroom, especially since a few of my girls in class were already showing interest while I was reading it during SSR.
What Didn’t Work:
*My biggest issue with Siobhan Vivian’s newest book is that too much was thrown into one book that takes place within a week. We have bullying, eating disorders, self-esteem issues and more. These are all important issues to write about, but I was left feeling like Siobhan Vivian wanted to write a book about all of these issues and couldn’t decide on just one. I think it can be done, and I appreciate what was attempted, but it missed the mark. Maybe if the book took place for longer than a week I would have bought into this more. I can see how this list changed how people viewed the characters and how the characters changed because of the list, but some of it was pretty drastic. *Another problem I have is that there are so many stereotypes portrayed in The List. The List features a pretty girl who isn’t very smart, the ugly “freak”, the jock, the mean girl and so on. Honestly, we get a deeper characterization than some of these stereotypes, but the stereotypes are still present. The List would have packed more punch with fewer or none of these stereotypes. *The ending. I’ve read mixed reviews about the ending of The List, many of which I’ve thought myself. Personally, I didn’t like the ending because it leaves so many loose ends. Others appreciate the ending because it’s not realistic to have an ending with closure when the book takes place within a week. Without spoiling the story, I understand what those reviewers are saying because it makes sense. My problem is that some of the characters could have had a better ending because their issues weren’t as problematic as others. On the other hand, one or two of the characters were facing such large problems and suffered so much during the week, I didn’t believe their endings because by the end of their part of the book I had the feeling that their affliction took place over a longer period of time. ...more
This is a cute book. Most of the characters are stereotypes which I wasn't thrilled about, but I think many of my students will look past that and stiThis is a cute book. Most of the characters are stereotypes which I wasn't thrilled about, but I think many of my students will look past that and still enjoy the story. ...more