I read a review that compared Thin Space to Through to You by Emily Hainsworth, which I didn’t really like, s...moreFlash Review originally posted on YA Love
I read a review that compared Thin Space to Through to You by Emily Hainsworth, which I didn’t really like, so I was hesitant to read this. I ended up really liking Jody Casella’s debut novel. The comparisonn to Through to You is a good one since both books deal with grief and loss, but the execution and story is so much better in Thin Space. I was completely absorbed in Marsh’s story. For a large part of the book I wondered if a Thin Space was some kind of coping mechanism or if it would turn out to be an actual place. I’ll let you find out when you read it! There’s a great twist in the story and wonderful character development. I understood Marsh and his profound grief. This is an excellent book that I know my students will love. Better yet, it released in paperback so it’s easy on the wallet!(less)
Audio Review: At first the audio sounded a little robotic and canny, but after a short while I didn’t notice that a...moreReview originally posted at YA Love
Audio Review: At first the audio sounded a little robotic and canny, but after a short while I didn’t notice that anymore. I ended up enjoying Josephine Bailey as the narrator, but I did think she sounded a little old to be acting as the voice of a sixteen year old girl. Listening to Libba Bray’s beautiful writing out loud was quite a treat, however.
Book Review: A while back I posted about reading gaps and trying to read more historical fiction, which is one reason why I chose to read A Great and Terrible Beauty. I like that this is historical fiction with a supernatural twist because it opens up the audience a little bit when I make book recommendations to my students. I also decided to read this because I’ve only read The Diviners by Libba Bray and one of my good friends was reading and really enjoying it.
For the most part I liked A Great and Terrible Beauty. I like Gemma’s character, I like the setting, and I like the plot. But my feelings don’t stretch much beyond like.
This is the beginning of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, so I understand the amount of plot development taking place, but the story didn’t move fast enough. There wasn’t enough happening to really keep me interested in the story. The spiritual world is interesting, but too much time was spent building it up instead of getting into the dangers and the “what’s really going on” part of the story.
Like I said, I like Gemma’s character. The other girls, however, aren’t developed enough. The girls fall into the overdone roles of dull and boring, power hungry, beautiful and misunderstood, etc. I wanted more from these girls. Considering that A Great and Terrible Beauty is written in third person, I thought I would have known them more. Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.
I noticed these two issues when I read The Diviners. I really like the story and the setting for that book, but again, I finished without knowing the characters well enough and the story was all over the place. I’m afraid to give up on Libba Bray, but I’m starting to think maybe she isn’t an author for me. Her writing is beautiful and vivid, and I know plenty of people who love her stories, but maybe I’m simply not her intended audience.(less)
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 tho...moreUgh... 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.
I enjoyed the story (fun, creepy, entertaining), but the actual writing is overdone and choppy. I had a difficult time picturing the characters, bu...more3.5
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.(less)
In all honesty, I’m really picky about middle grade novels. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m a high school Engl...moreReview originally posted at Y.A. Love
In all honesty, I’m really picky about middle grade novels. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m a high school English teacher and therefore more interested in young adult novels, or what, but I don’t always like middle grade novels. I have a really difficult time connecting with them and enjoying them, so when I find one that I like I want to spread the word all over the place. I didn’t just like Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy, I loved it.
Small Medium at Large released this week and positive reviews have been all over Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads, so on an impulse I decided to get a copy. It’s a short book, at only 208 pages, but it has the perfect blend of realistic situations, supernatural elements, and humor that amounts to one positively adorable and enjoyable book. I’m not always sure what’s “okay” for middle grade readers, but I feel secure recommending Joanne Levy’s debut to 5th graders and above because it’s a clean book and the themes in the story aren’t too complex. The characters aren’t doing anything questionable or using foul language. There are discussions about “boobs” and kissing but that’s as far as it goes. Considering I was reading Caroline B. Cooney books and the like in 5th grade, I think this one is okay (not that her books are bad, but there were some “big” issues in her books).
Lilah Bloom is such a cute character. She ends up with the ability to hear ghosts after being struck by lightning and is pretty level-headed about the whole thing. The first ghost she encounters is Bubby Dora, her grandmother who passed away four years ago. I love her interactions with Bubby because Bubby acts as both an authority figure and a helpful friend. The way she and Lilah spoke to each other made me think of what it would be like if I could talk again with my grandma who passed away when I was six; I think many of our interactions would be the same. The ghosts, in general, are really amusing and bring out Lilah’s character. Lilah is a very believable sixth grader simply trying to fit in, but now trying to do that with the ability to talk to ghosts. She worries about boys, bras, and bullies. Lilah also wants to help her dad get back into the dating scene; those scenes are some of the cutest.
I like that even though Small Medium at Large might be considered supernatural since Lilah is communicating with ghosts, it mostly reads as realistic fiction. Lilah is experiencing many of the same things an average 12 year old experiences, only she has ghosts helping her out at times. She has a close group of friends, she struggles in school sometimes, she’s dealing with a bully, and she’s crushing on a boy.
What really sets this book apart is its execution. Joanne Levy really makes Lilah stand out and come alive on the page, along with all of the supporting characters. There wasn’t a dull moment in the book. Small Medium at Large is my favorite book of the summer so far, and I really hope you read it.(less)
It's weird giving Unravel Me less than 4 or 5 stars since I loved Shatter Me so much, but Juliette dragged this one dow...moreI'm actually giving this a 3.5
It's weird giving Unravel Me less than 4 or 5 stars since I loved Shatter Me so much, but Juliette dragged this one down for me. Her constant drama and doubt grew tiring as it continued through the book. Unravel Me needs more plot development; there's plenty of action, but it felt like too much of the story was stagnant. I'll have a full review closer to the release date.(less)
Switched is okay, but I don't know if I liked it enough to continue with the series. I'll probably buy the rest of the series so my students can read...moreSwitched is okay, but I don't know if I liked it enough to continue with the series. I'll probably buy the rest of the series so my students can read it though.(less)
I started this today and right away realized it's not for me. I don't think I like art enough to stick with this and Julien isn't holding my interest....moreI started this today and right away realized it's not for me. I don't think I like art enough to stick with this and Julien isn't holding my interest. Oh well. I'm sure some of my students will enjoy it.(less)
I chose to read Crash with my ears because reading it traditionally wasn’t holding my attention. I wri...moreReview originally posted at YA Love
I chose to read Crash with my ears because reading it traditionally wasn’t holding my attention. I write this first because the audio swayed parts of my enjoyment of this book, but not all of it. Overall Allyson Ryan did a good job narrating the story. Her voice is believable as a teen girl, and I was able to discern most of the other character’s voices. Ryan did a great job expressing the emotions of the characters which really brought the story to life. This is weird, but something I noticed about Allyson Ryan’s narration that bothered me. Every now and then she awkwardly pause while speaking and it reminded me of William Shatner’s quirky speaking. Do you know what I’m referring to when I mention his speaking? That. Awkward. Pausing. It didn’t happen often, and usually I’d giggle when it did, but it was slightly distracting.
Lisa McMann is one of my favorite authors. She writes engaging stories that hook my students and leave them wanting more. So when I found out about Crash and its premise I was really excited. I loved the idea of the visions because I knew it would make the story exciting with that added supernatural twist while still feeling realistic. When I started reading it traditionally, I couldn’t stay with the story. I wasn’t engaged. Thankfully the audio kept me engaged, but I still found some key faults with the story.
First, I have to say that my absolute favorite part of Crash is Jules’s relationship with her siblings. Trey and Rowan are wonderful supporting characters; they’re full of life and really add something extra to the scenes. I think I even liked them more than Jules!
The problem I have with the story is that it’s more of a spin on Romeo & Juliet than a story about visions of a crash. I like that Jules has a love interest and the reasons why she can’t be with him. I simply wish for more balance in the story. Jules starts seeing the crash visions at the very beginning of the story, and they’re dragged out until almost the very end. That’s not completely unexpected, especially since Crash is a short book, but most of the focus is on Jules worrying about and pining over Sawyer. When I was hoping for an exciting story about visions, that left me disappointed.
The sequel to Crash, Bang, releases this October, and I’m sure I’ll read it. Crash ended with a twist, so I’m curious to know how that will play out. I’d also like to read Bang because so much wasn’t explained in Crash. I have mixed feelings about the unexplained elements because if less time was spent on the Jules/ Sawyer love aspect, we could have learned more about the visions themselves.
Most of my friends really enjoyed Lisa McMann’s newest YA novel, and I’m positive many of my students will love it as well.(less)
The Raven Boys is getting LOTS of early buzz and rightly so since Maggie Stiefvater is a writing genius. Since I know many of you will be reading rave...moreThe Raven Boys is getting LOTS of early buzz and rightly so since Maggie Stiefvater is a writing genius. Since I know many of you will be reading rave reviews for the start of her new series, I’ve decided to make a list of the reasons I love this book. It doesn’t hurt to get straight to the point from time to time, right?
*The third person point of view, while confusing at the beginning, ended up being completely fantastic and engrossing. I wanted to really know every single one of these characters and Maggie Stiefvater delivered. *Speaking of characters, The Raven Boys is full of elusive, interesting, dynamic characters. So much is discovered about all of them, but at the same time, so much is still left to learn in the second book. Let me know what you think of Ronan when you finish reading. Mysterious much?! *The setting and the mood is magical and just the tiniest bit creepy. Maybe even a little romantic at times, but the book isn’t full of romance. I know that probably sounds goofy, but it’s true! There’s one scene in particular that involves a wooded area (I’m not going to spoil anything) and some magical/mystical events including Gansey and Blue that made my heart ache. It’s a quick, foreboding scene, but it’s full of emotion and vividly beautiful writing. *Plan on reading The Raven Boys when you have a long afternoon ahead of you because you won’t want to put it down. Like I said, I had trouble following the story in the beginning because the writing took a bit of time to get used to, but once I did I was hooked. I finished reading and wanted the second book immediately while also wanting to re-read it because I loved it so much. Honestly, I was sad that I finished it. *I simply can’t get over that ending. (It needed to be stated again. It really did.) *I’m still not sure if the women living with Blue and her mom are aunts or her mom’s friends, but regardless of who they are, I thoroughly enjoyed their scenes. Their supernatural abilities add so much suspense and intrigue to the story. There’s a scene when Gansey and his friends get tarot readings which had me on the edge of my seat. I kept thinking back to the scene over and over as I continued to read the story. *It reminds me a little bit of both the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl and Nevermore by Kelly Creagh. *The Raven Boys is by far my favorite Maggie Stiefvater novel. Plain and simple. *Gah! Ronan! :) (less)