I love how plotful these books are, and I keep finding myself enjoying each one even more than the last! Also the Scribe Virgin is all kinds of terrifI love how plotful these books are, and I keep finding myself enjoying each one even more than the last! Also the Scribe Virgin is all kinds of terrifying badass....more
**spoiler alert** A very short and quick read, but not exactly a light read! The bullying June suffers after being gang-raped at a house party is even**spoiler alert** A very short and quick read, but not exactly a light read! The bullying June suffers after being gang-raped at a house party is even more horrific than the event itself. I found that I almost could't put this down, just wanting something to go right for her - and for her to just tell someone what happened!
I didn't trust John from the start either. Asswipe.
It was very sad how, apart from her friend Alice, nobody was on June's side. And I found that to be utterly shocking - the entire student body just turned against her, and even after her suicide attempt they still joked about how it hadn't worked....more
This book was really awesome and I actually stayed up past midnight to finish it. ON A WORK NIGHT. Ouch. And actually, it didn't grab me at first, I jThis book was really awesome and I actually stayed up past midnight to finish it. ON A WORK NIGHT. Ouch. And actually, it didn't grab me at first, I just thought it was going to be a typical high school misfit guy story; I didn't really like 'Alamo' or 'The Six' that much at first. But then that first mention of super-teacher Mr. R got me in... and kept me there.
I wish the book had been longer, with more detail! It just felt like it only scratched the surface and the idea was fascinating... a history teacher who is a holocaust denier. Yowzer! I've certainly never come across THAT before, and the creepy thing is, he really does make you think - clearly not about the holocaust itself, but his point that a lot of history is told by the winners and clearly they will make themselves look better and the losers look like they deserved it... but then he starts banging on about pictures being faked and how the Jews totally made it all up and okay, the guy is nuts. It's still so fascinating though! And loosely kind of linked back to this disaster at the local plant some fifty odd years ago, where his uncle (? grandfather?) was saved by a young Jewish girl, who is now the old Jewish lady the town terrorises - thanks to Mr. R - because he and others like to imagine that SHE caused the explosion in order to save the guy and make herself look good. I mean, wtf right?
Like I said, these people are nuts. But it makes for a really interesting book!...more
Loved this! Almost read it all in one go - very quick and compelling, neat plot, lots of twists. Vi and Ashley were really great characters as well, aLoved this! Almost read it all in one go - very quick and compelling, neat plot, lots of twists. Vi and Ashley were really great characters as well, and I loved the small town setting. The harassment and bullying and unfairness of the situation seriously made me mad as well! (view spoiler)[I KNEW giving that SD card to Mrs. Nash was going to be a bad idea... I just didn't expect HER to be the kingpin drug dealer behind it all! Also Brock deserves all he gets, AND MORE, for trashing Vi's room. (hide spoiler)]
My only gripe is that there were a fair few minor spelling/grammatical errors, and the dialogue at times felt very stilted and unnatural - practically no contractions coming out of the mouths of these teens! And there were a few times some last names got a little switched around as well. But it was still a fabulous read that I thoroughly enjoyed!["br"]>["br"]>...more
Oh wow, this book! From the start I could barely stand to put it down. It's instantly gripping and really gets under your skin and argh, I just lovedOh wow, this book! From the start I could barely stand to put it down. It's instantly gripping and really gets under your skin and argh, I just loved it.
Madeline has SCID, otherwise known as the "baby in the bubble" disease. Luckily for her, her "bubble" is her entire house, with its airlocks and everything, so she's not just confined to one sterile room. She lives with just her mom, as her father and older brother were killed in a car accident when she was only a baby, and has a nurse, Carla, who is there pretty much from dawn to dusk. She does classes online and reads voraciously and is kind of okay with her lot, until a new family move in next door... and of course there's a cute guy her own age as part of the parcel.
(view spoiler)[Olly's an awesome character. He and Madeline spy on each other a little through the windows before managing to swap email addresses, and they email and IM for a while and it's super cute.
And then, with help from Carla, they meet up. Olly goes through the whole decontamination process and they spend a half hour in the same room, and of course you know there's no going back... when her mom finds out she fires Carla and bans Maddy's internet access, this all culminating in Maddy fleeing the house in the middle of the night and running away to Hawaii with Olly because dammit, she wants to live a little!
She pretends to him that she has some trial pills that she secretly bought on the internet, and they should hopefully get her through the long weekend away, but unfortunately she does get horribly sick in Hawaii, complete with trip to the ER.
When her mom gets her back home again she's under even more lock and key than before. She also withdraws from Olly because she's realised that being as horribly sick as she was in Hawaii really sucked and maybe inside her bubble is the only way she can live.
BUT THEN. Omg. She gets an email from the doctor in Hawaii who says... hey, I don't think you have SCID, and don't think you ever did.
And yep, it was ALL a fabrication of her mom's to keep her safe. WHOA. Because Maddy DID get very ill when she was a baby, not long after her dad and brother died. And her mom did some research and... kind of made up her own conclusion. And stuck with it for 18 years. The illness Maddy got in Hawaii was just a particularly bad virus, not SCID related. Her immune system IS weaker than it should be because she's been in the bubble and not been exposed to, well, anything... but she's not sick. And never has been.
Talk about a mindfuck. I was wondering where this book was going, was she going to die in the end? Or end up with Olly living inside her bubble too? But nope, she ends up free and outside and visiting Olly in NYC (he and his mom and sister moved, finally fleeing their abusive father) and sure, she has to be cautious and careful but nope, she's not sick. No SCID.
Wow. This one is going into my kindle's "awesome keepers" folder. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
OMG so this book was completely awesome and full of so many delicious twists and turns that it actually had me going WHAT out loud.
And the funny thingOMG so this book was completely awesome and full of so many delicious twists and turns that it actually had me going WHAT out loud.
And the funny thing is, I almost quit reading right at the start... very glad I didn't! The blurb I read when I requested this did not mention why Riley had to go live with her father in New Mexico, so I was very unprepared when her mother passed away suddenly, from an aneurysm. As an only child from a single-parent family, Riley was living my worst childhood nightmare! (Which is still my worst grown-up nightmare but at least a grown-up orphan is marginally less distressing than being a child/teen orphan.)
Luckily for Riley, her father - who had left for reasons unknown when she was eight - raced back into her life to take her home with him. I have to honestly admit that this DID bug me at first because I can think of two people very close to me who, if their mothers had passed away when they were younger, would certainly not have had their deadbeat dads return like knights in shining armour. They might not have even come back grudgingly. But then, Riley's father wasn't just a deadbeat, he's actually a guy with a dangerous job and he had to leave in order to keep his wife and daughter safe... we're talking Russian spies and the like who'd take out the people closest to him in order to pin him down.
So now Riley's in the middle of nowhere, NM, in a house with no internet or phone reception, so she has no way to contact her bff from Jersey. Argh! And everyone in the town thinks her dad is weird because he's so reclusive, but that's because his work is so incredibly top secret, which is why he lives out in the bush with no connections. At least Riley manages to meet some local kids, including Kieran, the token Cute Boy. She's just starting to settle in, when... (view spoiler)[ boom, crash, NUCLEAR WAR.
So it turns out her dad's epic paranoia was RIGHT, the Russians/Koreans ARE attacking, and it's lucky he manages to get himself and Riley into the underground bunker in time. He has a radio down there where he can talk to Colonel Bering and call out for other survivors, but there just don't seem to be any. Most of the US has been incinerated, there's high levels of radiation outside, they've got supplies down there for like five years and they might actually need to stay there that long. But finally, after a week or so, the radiation warning light goes out... they're meant to wait two weeks to go outside after that, but her dad ventures out the next day.
Two days later he hasn't returned and Riley goes after him, only just managing to escape a pair of marauding rapist bandits and making it back to the bunker - without dad. Fortunately he stumbles in the next day, but he's been shot. Riley manages to patch him up but he soon turns delirious and she can't get Colonel Bering on the radio, so she decides to venture outside again.
This time she runs into a couple of police officers, one of whom she's met before, alive and well. She's amazed... and then they tell her that actually, everyone is alive and well. There was no nuclear war, the US is still there, the world is fine, there's no radiation and never was, IT WAS ALL IN HER DAD'S HEAD. The bandits she met were just a couple of blokes having a barbeque. There's no Colonel Bering. The radio isn't even connected.
WHAT THE HELL!!!!!!
Talk about an incredible twist omg. The whole town's been worried and looking for her for two weeks, thinking her dad went crazy and killed her. So clearly I did not see that coming at ALL, like Riley I totally believed it all. Epic. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The true story of a Polish Jewish family forced into hiding - the oldest daughter is the author's own mother, and the story is based on the memories oThe true story of a Polish Jewish family forced into hiding - the oldest daughter is the author's own mother, and the story is based on the memories of her younger brother, so you know at least those two survive! (view spoiler)[Fortunately the other sister and the mother do as well - in fact the mother ends up well outliving both her daughters, after they survive the holocaust only to die of cancer and a heart attack. Sadly the fate of the father of the family was never known for sure, he was most likely transported to Treblinka the day after the rest of his family escaped town, but there is a small thread of doubt - if the buried money Shoshana went to find was indeed hidden so well that only one who knew it was there could find it, then perhaps their father did in fact recover it before his death? (hide spoiler)]
The family, after being shunted around a little, end up hiding with two other Jews in a secret compartment off a barn on a man's farm... they remain in that tiny space for over two years! At first they have enough money to pay the family handsomely for their keep, but then the money runs out and food becomes even scarcer and things start to look as grim for the family as they would if they weren't in hiding at all.
I enjoyed this, but did find the writing made it feel as though the book was aimed at a younger reading level than I was expecting. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I thought this was a really awesome post-apocalyptic story, very harsh and graphic at times... a fascinating pioneer journey across America too, fromI thought this was a really awesome post-apocalyptic story, very harsh and graphic at times... a fascinating pioneer journey across America too, from Pennslvania all the way to Oregon. It's short and moves at a rapid pace, if I hadn't had to sleep I would have finished this in one sitting!
(view spoiler)[Basically, Mother Nature goes nuts and sets the world on fire to "start fresh", but she spares a few people she deems worthy... our narrator Jackie and douchebag fellow camper, Xander, are amongst the chosen few, and they set out west together to hopefully find Xander's family in Montana (nope - all dead! I was not expecting that.) and Jackie's in Portland - yay happy ending, her mom and best friend are alive and together.
I wish at least one of Jackie's camp girlfriends had been spared as well, it was just so harsh.
She first meets Deb, who lives off the land and teaches her a few survival skills, then meets up with Xander who has zero skills and is a jerk, but at least he's company (and of course he grows on her)... on their journey the pair actually stumble upon an Amish order so they get a decent feed and bed for a night, but can't stay.
At one point early on Jackie notices all these bubbles, and in the bubbles are tiny trees and the like, and when they pop - suddenly there's a fully grown tree! The earth is being repopulated with flora and fauna, some of which has long been extinct. It's a really neat idea.
And then... the unicorns. Omg I was totally buying the apocalypse and the bubbles, so it's a bit funny that unicorns made me go "wait what". I mean it's not exactly realistic to begin with!! Ah well. The unicorns are scary and blood-thirsty, but Jackie saves one from a barbed wire fence and it becomes their noble steed across several states, which is a good help.
Lol it's a good thing no dinosaurs were brought back to life!
It ends with Jackie and Xander arriving in Portland at last and finding Jackie's mom and Bernard, her gay bff. I'd have been interested to have one more chapter, about what happens next - how people rebuild and so on. Everything "unnatural" was burned, all synthetic fibres and technology etc.
I was so shocked when Xander found his family in Montana, all burned up :( He was so sure they'd still be alive, and so was I! Harsh, man. (hide spoiler)]
I liked but didn't love this. Cool roadtrip story and Mim was an interesting character, and there were some neat twists and turns... so I don't know wI liked but didn't love this. Cool roadtrip story and Mim was an interesting character, and there were some neat twists and turns... so I don't know why but while I enjoyed it and was interested, I just wasn't terribly overwhelmed....more
I just read The Chameleon, after we saw an ad on TV for a documentary on the guy, and Amber mentioned she'd read about him... and found the book in thI just read The Chameleon, after we saw an ad on TV for a documentary on the guy, and Amber mentioned she'd read about him... and found the book in the other room so I could have a read too. Totally insane that a 30-year-old guy could actually fool people into believing he was a young boy! Multiple times! ...more
Very interesting, easy to read and informative. I'd never heard of the molasses flood in Boston before, so this was fascinating to me! Gave all the deVery interesting, easy to read and informative. I'd never heard of the molasses flood in Boston before, so this was fascinating to me! Gave all the details very succinctly, with just the right of human interest....more
Omg this book was amazing AND MY REVIEW IS ABOUT TO SPOIL THE HELL OUT OF IT.
I think I was about eight pages in when I went and added Fiona Wood to myOmg this book was amazing AND MY REVIEW IS ABOUT TO SPOIL THE HELL OUT OF IT.
I think I was about eight pages in when I went and added Fiona Wood to my favourite authors list! She's such a gem and I want more in this "series". I love how it's NOT a series though, she's just following characters who are a little connected but not all like a group of bffs or anything. So I guess it wouldn't matter if you read them out of order or anything because there's only slight references to incidents of past books.
Van Uoc is basically the poor scholarship kid of immigrant parents who barely speak any English and live in a housing commission flat. She's at a private school for IB and, in English class at the start of the year, they're having a creative writing class and the "prompt" she gets from the box is a little glass vial that says "wish" inside it... so she wishes for Billy Gardiner to notice her, and not just notice her but be fascinated by her above all others...
...and suddenly, the wish comes true. Billy, who has never noticed her before, is following her around like a lost puppy. He's the star of the first eight, a total rowing god from a rich family, kind of the Aussie equivalent to the quarterback I guess.
I LOVE how this was in parts cute boy meets girl high school romance, but it's so much deeper than that too, it doesn't shy away from talk of class, of racism, of asylum seekers and "boat people" - super topical right now. Van Uoc's parents fled Saigon in 1980 in a shitty little boat and made it to Australia via Malaysia. They had mandatory English lessons when they arrived, but those didn't last long and weren't very good. Van Uoc has to act as translator to both her parents, which often works in her favour.
Her parents don't talk of their journey but Van Uoc eventually learns some of the truth. This isn't just fluffy teenage fare, there's a lot of sadness in her parents' story, and in her story, especially the realisation that the culture gap between her and her mother is too wide to ever let them be as close as her mother and grandmother were.
There's also a brilliant moment when Billy goes off at mega bitch Holly, because it means nothing when someone's parents have nothing and someone else's are loaded; that's the PARENTS, not the kids. Van Uoc works in a Vietnamese take-away joint (which is fictionally on Chapel Street AND WHY IS IT NOT REALLY ON CHAPEL STREET I WANT TO GO THERE), Billy has a housekeeper and thinks nothing of grabbing a $16 sandwich for breakfast.
Oh and the best part? When Van Uoc gets ahold of the vial again and unwishes the first wish, because she can't bear the thought of Billy not actually liking her and it all being magic... she cries herself to sleep at having lost him, then turns up at school the next day to find him waiting for her and nothing has changed AND IT WAS ALL REAL :D
It's so beautifully Melbourne too. The streets are all ones I know, the boatsheds along the Yarra, Birrarung Marr... I just want to find out if the street with the orange trees is real...
And bonus points to Van Uoc for liking the pineapple Snack pieces best. If only Cadbury just made a whole block of pineapple! Although if they did I think my flatmate and I would put on about ten kilos like *that*....more
Absolutely wonderful, thank you Curiosity Quills for letting me read such a lovely book! Definitely one of my favourites of 2015 :) There's a bit of aAbsolutely wonderful, thank you Curiosity Quills for letting me read such a lovely book! Definitely one of my favourites of 2015 :) There's a bit of a Cinderella storyline going on, with a gorgeous steampunk touch, and it's set in Philadelphia - I've not read much steampunk but it all seems to be Victorian London, so I loved this being set elsewhere. Funnily, I kept forgetting that it wasn't in London until suddenly someone would mention Philly, or New York, or something else American, and I'd be reminded!
I loved how cohesive the story was too. I think I've recently read a few things that had a fantasy and/or dystopian element that didn't quite make sense, so it was really good to read something where it all made sense, it all worked and fit together, I was never left going "wait, what?"
There's magic and a curse, an evil stepmother, a stepsister who is a LOT more than she seems, the first motorcar, danger and excitement, and a lovely romance plot, complete with lost shoe :) (view spoiler)[I loved that Ellie ended up with Hamilton too, that as much as she loved Ben it was more in a sisterly way - and it was obvious from very early on that Rebecca would be a very good match for him. (hide spoiler)]