It took me some time to get into this book both physically (my first attempt at reading it) and auReview originally posted on YA Love
It took me some time to get into this book both physically (my first attempt at reading it) and aurally. I’m so thankful I kept with the audio because it is one of my favorite audiobooks. To put it simply, the narration is wonderful. Khristine Hvam used a believable accent and differentiated between each character so well that I was never questioning which character was speaking. I love listening to audiobooks when I’m getting ready for work, driving to and from work, and getting chores/cooking done. I know I really love an audiobook when I find myself making excuses to drive somewhere or to get more cleaning done, which is what I did while listening to Daughter of Smoke and Bone.
The first thing I want to say about Daughter of Smoke and Bone is that I love Laini Taylor’s beautiful use of vocabulary. Her writing is lush and vibrant. I don’t know if I would have appreciated it as much if I wasn’t listening to the audio, but it’s seriously wonderful. I’ve never read a book that uses vocabulary and description to the degree that Taylor does, at least not recently.
The story itself is layered and engrossing. I love Karou and the incredible life she leads. She’s feisty, which I thoroughly enjoyed, but she’s vulnerable as well. I was a little lost during the Akiva back story, but when everything came together I was so impressed and excited. I’ll admit that the back story was beginning to bother me since I didn’t know where it was going, but it did make me love Akiva that much more.
I’m not sure if any movie rights for Daughter of Smoke and Bone has been purchased, but I would love to see this story come to life on the big screen. I know a movie wouldn’t do it justice (they rarely do), but I think I’d still enjoy it just the same.
If you decide to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which I hope you, make sure you have a copy of Days of Blood & Starlight handy because you’ll want to start reading it as soon as you can!...more
I enjoyed reading Sailor Twain and enjoyed the art even more. It's an engrossing story, though at times the sudden flashbacks through me and forced meI enjoyed reading Sailor Twain and enjoyed the art even more. It's an engrossing story, though at times the sudden flashbacks through me and forced me to re-read pages to figure out what I missed, or what I thought I missed. There's quite a bit of nudity and sexual scenes, so I wouldn't recommend this for young readers. I'll add it to my class library, but I'll worn some of my less mature readers before they read it....more
This was okay. I'm not all that impressed by the mix of story and image. Actually, the two parts need more balance. The story itself is fine, if a litThis was okay. I'm not all that impressed by the mix of story and image. Actually, the two parts need more balance. The story itself is fine, if a little tidy in its ending....more
I honestly had mixed reactions when I started reading The Farm. The concept is cool which is why I dReview & Giveaway originally posted at YA Love
I honestly had mixed reactions when I started reading The Farm. The concept is cool which is why I decided to try it and join the blog tour. I’m not really big on vampires, but I like post-apocalyptic books. My students still like reading paranormal vampire novels and the post-apocalyptic genre is a big hit with them as well. Emily McKay’s debut is another book that I need to break down into what worked and what didn’t work.
What Worked For Me:
*The multiple points of view–The Farm is told from Lily, Mel, and Carter’s points of view told in alternating chapters. My favorite chapters are Mel’s because she’s autistic and has a really unique perspective and understanding of the world around her. The story works with this format because there’s so much going on and the characters are so involved. I learned more about Carter and his history during his chapters than in any of the other chapters, and I really don’t know how we could have learned as much about him without this format. Overall it added more layers to the story and really defined the characters. *Lily–I like what a strong heroine she is. She’s quick on her feet and stands up for herself and her sister. Her sense of humor, despite how horrible her life is, is witty and snarky. I really think teens with siblings who they’re close to or protective of, will connect with Lily and enjoy her character. *The pacing & action–The Farm is full of suspense, twists, and action. Emily McKay did a nice job balancing The Farm’s character development and plot development; it doesn’t feel like one more than the other (character driven or plot driven). I enjoyed the suspense and wondering how new developments were going to come to light. The pacing it great and will keep my students interested as they read.
What Didn’t Work For Me:
*Vampires–I’m over vampires. I don’t have much else to say on that topic. *I tried to keep an open mind on the vampire front, but some of the background storyline didn’t work for me. I don’t want to ruin anything because much of that isn’t revealed until 100+ pages in, but when I came to that story I sort of cringed. I had to start thinking of the book as more of a book for my students than for me at that point. And sometimes that’s what I really need to do when I read a book outside my comfort zone; I need to think about the students in class who will like it more than me. *I really liked Lily, Mel, and Carter, but I didn’t find myself connecting to them and their story until 75 or more pages in. I needed more earlier than that. ...more
I am so very thankful that Zoe at Little, Brown brought a copy of this to NCTE for me. It's absolutely fantastic. I'll write a longer review closer toI am so very thankful that Zoe at Little, Brown brought a copy of this to NCTE for me. It's absolutely fantastic. I'll write a longer review closer to the release date which is in June. ...more
**The suspense and characters. Emery and Jake are developed well enough to distinguish who is speaking when. The different font and theWhat I Liked:
**The suspense and characters. Emery and Jake are developed well enough to distinguish who is speaking when. The different font and the names at the beginning of the chapters helps, but the characters voices are developed enough to know the difference.
**Reading from both Emery and Jake’s point of view keeps This Is Not A Drill gender neutral, which I always love.
**The fast pace. Despite the circumstances, the situation doesn’t take up that much actual time, so the quick pace really fits the plot. The action gets started soon after the book starts which will capture and hold my students’ attention.
**Brian Stutts’ background. Learning his background adds a layer of understanding when, as the reader, you don’t want to understand him and feel bad for him. He’s expected to be this evil person when really he’s suffering. It’s hard to look at Stutts as a suffering, wounded character.
What I Disliked:
**The background romance between Emery and Jake. It took away from the suspense of the shooting and didn’t feel like it added any important depth to the story. I know the characters better now, which I always appreciate in a story, but I don’t know if it was really necessary. I found myself skimming those parts. It just didn’t work for me as a reader.
**The length. It’s unusual for me to criticize a book for not being long enough, but I think This Is Not A Drill would be an even stronger book if it was a little bit longer. After all the suspense and build up, the ending felt rushed.
Overall, I think my students will enjoy Beck McDowell’s debut. Despite not caring for the romance between Jake and Emery, I think my students will enjoy it. They always want to know more about the characters, so I know they’ll appreciate it. This is definitely a great book to add to your library/classroom and hand off to your students, especially your reluctant readers....more
I started off loving this book, but towards the end I was getting bored. I don't think it needed to be so long. I'll read more of Chandler's books thoI started off loving this book, but towards the end I was getting bored. I don't think it needed to be so long. I'll read more of Chandler's books though....more
Who I Kissed is the first book I’ve read by Janet Gurtler and I enjoyed it. I have two of her other books on my shelf right now, and after finishing WWho I Kissed is the first book I’ve read by Janet Gurtler and I enjoyed it. I have two of her other books on my shelf right now, and after finishing Who I Kissed, I’m looking forward to reading those other titles. Despite enjoying this book, I still have a few issues with it so I’m breaking my review into likes and dislikes.
What I Liked:
**The easy writing style is definitely a win for me. Who I Kissed is a quick read and straightforward. The characters’ voices are distinct and the story is easy to follow. **I was a swimmer in high school, so it’s fun to read a YA novel about swimmers. I wish there were more that feature swimmers because I really don’t think swimming is recognized enough. It’s a tough sport! **I love Sam’s support system. Her dad helps in the few ways he knows how, but he’s still supportive and a positive influence in Sam’s life. Her aunt, however, is fantastic. She’s the mother figure Sam really needs and is so much fun to read. **The ending is “neat and tidy,” but I really liked it. **Sam has a really hard time dealing with Alex’s death and allowing herself to recognize that it was an accident on her part, but she really learns how to be strong and independent. She makes some big mistakes along the way, but she quickly learns from them and keeps moving forward. I like how Gurtler balances the weak Sam with the strong Sam.
What I Didn’t Like:
**I understand that this book is about dealing with grief and bringing peanut allergies (and similar allergies) into focus, but Alex’s death happened too fast. I think the story would have been stronger if we learned more about Sam before she meets and kisses Alex. Her crush on Zee may have been more believable along with realizing how insecure she is. It threw off the pacing a little bit because it ends up being lots and lots of grief which wore me out after a while. **I don’t know how I feel about Casper’s character. I understand the intent in adding him as a character, but I don’t know if the story really needed to go in the direction it did with him. Towards the end it just felt over the top. (I’m purposely being vague to avoid spoilers.) ...more
Thoroughly entertaining. More "bathroom" humor than Swim the Fly. Not quite as good as Swim the Fly, but I still really enjoyed it and ended up reallyThoroughly entertaining. More "bathroom" humor than Swim the Fly. Not quite as good as Swim the Fly, but I still really enjoyed it and ended up really liking Coop's character. Lots of character growth....more
Do you enjoy laughing out loud? (I’m going to assume your answer is yes.) Then you need to read Swim the Fly by DonReview originally posted at YA Love
Do you enjoy laughing out loud? (I’m going to assume your answer is yes.) Then you need to read Swim the Fly by Don Calame, or even better, listen to the audiobook. Seriously. Do it right now. ;)
I’m pretty sure Swim the Fly was first brought to my attention a year or so ago when someone posted a link about the author and how popular he and his book was at some middle school. I read the article and decided I needed to add this book to my classroom library since it holds so much guy appeal. Why did I wait so long to read it?! I was in an audiobook lull when I decided to give Swim the Fly a shot. I am SO HAPPY I did.
Nick Podehl is now my favorite audiobook narrator. He’s simply awesome. I love that he had a different, distinguished voice for every single character and never slipped when switching characters. Listening to him narrate Don Calame’s story was like watching a movie, a completely hilarious and entertaining movie. Honestly, I keep wondering if the book is as funny when reading traditionally as it is when listening to the audiobook. I have a feeling Nick Podehl read it exactly how Don Calame heard it in his head when he was writing it.
The guy appeal in Swim the Fly is fantastic. It’s full of “bathroom” humor which may or may not appeal to you, but while I’m being honest, I loved it in this book. It’s honest humor. I have a younger brother, so I easily remember the gross jokes he and his friends would tell. I overheard plenty of their conversations. Their jokes and conversations very much match the tone, situations, jokes, etc. found in Swim the Fly. Besides the humor, it has quite a bit of heart too. Matt may not have the most honorable intentions for his summer, but he’s kind and really a good guy. He’s loyal to his friends and close with his mom, brother, and grandpa. The scenes with his grandpa are priceless. I laughed the hardest because of some of the things his grandpa said and did. I loved seeing the different sides of Nick that presented themselves when he was with different characters. He’s stumbling and awkward when he’s around Kelly, but at ease and himself when he’s around Valerie. He holds back and does his best for his mom. He’s usually a voice of reason when he’s hanging out with the guys.
The plot is kind of predictable, but I think you’ll be able to overlook that since the story itself is so entertaining. I’ve only experienced Swim the Fly as an audiobook, so I can’t say how entertaining it is traditionally, but my students have been reading it like crazy. I honestly think you should listen to the audio if you have the means because it’s that good. As soon as I finished it I bought the next book, Beat the Band, which takes place at the end of the summer and is told from Coop’s point of view this time. (Side note–it’s also super funny.)...more
**Update** I just finished reading this out loud to my juniors and seniors in YA Lit II. They really liked it, and I loved reading it even more the se**Update** I just finished reading this out loud to my juniors and seniors in YA Lit II. They really liked it, and I loved reading it even more the second time.
This is definitely a "makes you feel good" book. I'm thinking of reading this to my sophomores; hopefully they'll like it....more
Ugh... I don't know how to rate this because I don't know if I liked it. I enjoyed parts of the story and the writing. I like the concept. Overall thoUgh... I don't know how to rate this because I don't know if I liked it. I enjoyed parts of the story and the writing. I like the concept. Overall though, there are too many plot holes and questions. It's often preachy. The way it ends leaves me thinking there will be a second book. If that's the case, I feel kind of ripped off. There's so much build up and then the ending left me hanging. And I could have seriously done without the insta-love.
I feel like the only person on Goodreads who feels this. I love David Levithan, but I wonder if his name on the book is part of the reason so many people rated this highly. Or maybe I'm daft and simply don't get it.
My convention buddy, Jillian, read and reviewed 52 Reasons To Hate My Father earlier this summer. She wrote her review as a list of things she loved aMy convention buddy, Jillian, read and reviewed 52 Reasons To Hate My Father earlier this summer. She wrote her review as a list of things she loved about the book, which is an idea I love (you guys know about my love of lists), so I’m following suit :) You can read Jillian’s review at Heise Reads & Recommends.
Here’s my list of what I loved and why you should read 52 Reasons To Hate My Father (in no particular order):
1. This is probably silly, but I love Lexi’s full name, Lexington Larrabee. It suits her character perfectly.
2. A fun, light, and engaging book is needed from time to time, which is why I loved Jessica Brody’s book. It’s predictable, but in the best kind of way.
3. There’s a message without being preachy or corny. Lexi learns the importance of hard work, family, and raising her expectations for herself.
4. The romance included in the story is sweet and not over the top. It’s not racy by any means, so I think it’d be okay for middle school readers.
5. The minor characters are loveable. I can’t say why really, but I really like Horatio and Kingston. They aren’t involved in the story much, but it’s obvious that they care about Lexi, even when she’s being obnoxious.
6. Lexi has a revelation towards the end of the book about the list and her life which I really liked. To us it’s pretty obvious, but seeing her finally get it was fun to read.
7. Lexi decides that for each job she wants to dress like and be a different person. I love her outfit descriptions and the wigs she wears and names she comes up with.
8. To stay accountable, Lexi has to keep a log of sorts for each job and what she’s learned. For these she creates a video log and we get to read the transcripts. It’s a creative way to see how Lexi is responding to her work.
9. I think my favorite job was when she was working in the funeral home. You’ll have to read it to understand why I like her reaction to that job so much.
10. I’ve always loved the idea of being a florist and many of my reasons match up with Lexi’s experience.
11. Jillian included Rolando on her list and I have to agree with her. I really like his character and wish there was more of him in the book.
12. Lexi’s quick wit and sense of humor had me giggling and snickering many times throughout the book. At one point in the book, Lexi compares her father to Henry VIII because of his many marriages and later thinks to herself that his current fling will probably be found “in the bathroom later Googling Henry VIII.” She’s sarcastic and I enjoyed it.
13. Usually I prefer covers that don’t feature the character, but I love the cover for 52 Reasons To Hate My Father. It’s eye-catching and has just the right amount of attitude and flair. My girls in class are going to be drawn to it.
14. Jessica Brody’s writing is easy to read and get into. I was hooked within the first few pages and wanted to stay up late to finish it.
15. It’s entertaining enough that I’ll be reading Jessica Brody’s other book My Life Undecided. She’s an author I want more from....more
This summer I’ve realized that I need to read more light-hearted contemporary YA. The Boy Recession by Flynn MeaneyReview originally posted at YA Love
This summer I’ve realized that I need to read more light-hearted contemporary YA. The Boy Recession by Flynn Meaney is a light and fun, quick read which is exactly what I needed when I read it. Don’t we all need that from time to time?
The premise of The Boy Recession will be easy to sell to my students this coming school year. I remember it feeling like there were hardly any guys to date in my high school, but if all the “cute” ones were gone?! I would have been devastated. I can’t imagine too many of my girls in class feeling any differently than I would have. I like that Flynn Meaney wrote the story so the girls in the novel start to look at these other guys in a different light.
I also have a number of students interested in books with more than one point of view, so there’s another selling piece. Readers get to see the story from Hunter’s side (representing the male population) and Kelly’s side (representing the female population). I honestly can’t picture this book being written any other way; I don’t think it would have been as enjoyable. I will admit that I wasn’t paying attention to chapter headings when I first opened this book. It says “Hunter” which explains why I was so confused when I started reading and thought, “This girl is acting kind of like a guy…” In my defense, I started reading this late at night. Anyway, the dual narration really works and it’s done pretty well. I wish the cover was a little more gender neutral (big part of the reason I thought a girl would be narrating the entire story) because I think some guys would enjoy it. I don’t know how easy it will be to hand The Boy Recession to one of my guys in class; they don’t always handle pink well.
The Boy Recession isn’t hilariously funny, but it’s humorous enough to get a few giggles here and there. One line that keeps coming back to me and making me laugh is when Hunter is getting dressed up for an event and compares his look and outfit to Scott Disick. *Warning he uses some poor language in the exchange.*
Hunter: “Holy crap,” I say. “I look like that douchebag who’s dating the other Kardashian sister.” Eugene: “Don’t hate on Scott Disick,” Eugene warns me. “He’s my fashion role model.”
Taken out of context that may not be as funny, and poor language aside, I love that reference because I know exactly how to picture Hunter’s outfit/look in this scene. Flynn Meaney has little one-liners like this (not all tinged with similar language) dispersed throughout the book. It’s scenes like these that give the reader a broader understanding of who the characters are and what their personalities are like. It’s fun seeing Hunter not really caring about anything at the beginning of the story to worrying about his pants getting wrinkled and that a plan works out by the end of the book. His humor, however, stays constant which Kelly really likes about him as do I.
I really liked The Boy Recession and am looking forward to recommending it to my students. I suggest that the middle school teachers following my blog read this first before passing it on to your students because while I’m not overly concerned about some of the language choices, you may not feel as comfortable with it. Besides, it’s an entertaining book that should be read! Maybe Flynn Meaney’s new book can be one more book read before the summer’s over....more
I enjoyed the story (fun, creepy, entertaining), but the actual writing is overdone and choppy. I had a difficult time picturing the characters, bu3.5
I enjoyed the story (fun, creepy, entertaining), but the actual writing is overdone and choppy. I had a difficult time picturing the characters, but so much time was spent on the setting that I could picture that easily. The jumps from character to character to character to character is choppy. Full review to come....more
I love a good mystery, especially when it’s a richly written contemporary mystery. Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone hasReview originally posted at YA Love
I love a good mystery, especially when it’s a richly written contemporary mystery. Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone has a lot going for it, but it also has a few flaws as well.
Books with more than one point of view almost always win me over and pique my interest. There’s so much to gain from the story when we can read and learn from more than one character. Kat Rosenfield provided us mainly with Becca’s point of view, but she also gave us Amelia Anne’s point of view hours before her death. What made this added perspective even more interesting is how much Amelia Anne’s life paralleled Becca’s. The pacing for this worked well also since we have it every two or three chapters. It’s just enough to make us want more from her story and to see how it connects to Becca’s.
Something that begs to be mentioned is the setting of Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone. Bridgeton is a very small town with a tight-knit community. The idea of either being an outsider or an insider is abundantly stressed in the story. Becca feels like an outsider in her own town and has dreams of leaving, but once that opportunity grows nearer it becomes that much scarier. Amelia Anne is an outsider which makes her murder in their town all the more shocking. No one knows who she is, where she’s from, or who killed her. The murder throws all of Bridgeton into a frenzy of gossip and pointing fingers; Becca even starts to feel more attached to her town. I had a hard time believing how much this murder affected everyone, but I’m also not from a small town. Regardless, the setting really becomes a major character in the story. The stress and tension grows to the point that I could feel it while reading.
As most reviewers have said, Kat Rosenfield has written a lush, beautiful debut novel. The story is engrossing and vivid and kept me reading page after page. My big qualm with Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone is how jumpy the plot is. Becca very often flashes back to earlier in the year without any warning. She also narrates different characters’ stories. These jumps in time happen without any kind of visual cue. The reader would benefit from a page break or a different font style when Becca switches time periods and focus. Overall, I don’t know if I really liked Becca all that much as a character. She’s incredibly naive, understandably so, and it’s believable but it grew on my nerves. I wanted her to ask questions. I found myself relating more to Amelia and enjoying her character so much more. She’s years ahead of Becca and knows how to go after what she wants. She’s confident and standing up for herself. As I was reading I kept hoping that Becca will grow to be like Amelia in those ways.
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone is a great choice if you enjoy contemporary literary YA. It’s a fast-paced, gritty debut that I can see becoming quite popular in my classroom. I’ll feel comfortable recommending this to some of my freshmen, but I don’t think I’d hand this over to middle school students. The story isn’t overly mature, but it does deal with mature situations and language that might be a little advanced for middle school students....more
The premise for So Close to You held so much promise and really piqued my interest, it ultimately disappointed meReview originally posted at Y.A. Love
The premise for So Close to You held so much promise and really piqued my interest, it ultimately disappointed me. I love the recent time travel trend happening in YA because it acts as a stepping stone to more solid science fiction, at least some of the “lighter” time travel novels like Hourglass and Tempest do. The blurb on the ARC of Rachel Carter’s novel claimed it has a “compelling romance like The Time Traveler’s Wife” and “imaginative suspense like Before I Fall.” Those are pretty big comparisons, so I had high hopes going into reading this.
I was interested when I first started reading So Close to You and really thought I was going to like it. The first 60-80 pages flew by and held my interest. Not long after that I was wondering where the story was going and what was going to happen. I kept wondering when the romance was going to come into play. Was Lydia going to fall in love with Wes, the guy who follows her back in time? Was she going to fall for Lucas, the guy living in a different time? There wasn’t any real romance to speak of until 200 pages in, and even then it wasn’t remotely believable. Lydia had maybe a few scenes with this guy and all of a sudden she was “falling for him.” Even then, the relationship (if we can really call it that) didn’t mean anything to me as a reader since it was so instant. The book is barely over 300 pages long, so waiting 200 pages for a dull romance was really disappointing.
The other bummer about Rachel Carter’s book is how nothing really happened for the entire book. Lydia is living in a different time trying to help her grandfather by keeping her great grandfather from making a bad choice. But she doesn’t really do anything until the last 80 pages or so. The rest of the book is her getting to know her distant relatives in a different time period and thinking about how she needs to save her family. And then there was Wes constantly reminding her not to change anything in the past because of the butterfly effect. Over and over again Lydia is reminded of this, and over and over again she ignores the warning.
I didn’t find anything about So Close to You as “imaginative.” I found it really boring and predictable. None of the characters meant anything to me; I couldn’t find a way to relate to or connect with any of them. I finished it because I wanted to know if my opinions were wrong. There’s a cliffhanger ending setting us up for the next book, and I’ll admit it’s interesting. I might read the second book because I’m optimistic and hoping this entire book was like a prologue to the actual story....more
I love this story. I know my mom still has my favorite baby blanket, so I hope we can fix it up and pass it on to my first child. I'm not a quilter, sI love this story. I know my mom still has my favorite baby blanket, so I hope we can fix it up and pass it on to my first child. I'm not a quilter, so that's probably the best I can do. I love the way family is depicted and how important tradition is....more