A nice wrap up of Mia and Adam's love story from If I Stay, but instead of Mia's POV, this book is narrated by Adam. The book happened three years aftA nice wrap up of Mia and Adam's love story from If I Stay, but instead of Mia's POV, this book is narrated by Adam. The book happened three years after they first appeared in If I Stay....more
I loved the story, characters and the plot, the plot especially has lots of potential. It's just the format, the graphics and the mixed fonts I don'tI loved the story, characters and the plot, the plot especially has lots of potential. It's just the format, the graphics and the mixed fonts I don't care about, but I can see how a 12-15 year old might fall in love with the thick book in various narrative formats: letters, emails, interviews, restricted files, wikipedia, graphs, drawings, designs...etc. It would be like coming upon a stash of secret files for them. I read the the dead tree book in case anyone wonder, and took a month and the 1/2. I normally read about 3-4 books a week on my Kindle. Maybe I'm just not a kinetic kind of reader and needed structure and white balance. This book just looked - messy. ;)...more
Before I start my lengthy book review to explain why we need to read another YA dystopian tale, here’s the short version of it.
The Testing is good, reBefore I start my lengthy book review to explain why we need to read another YA dystopian tale, here’s the short version of it.
The Testing is good, read it.
I usually stay away from copycat books and like authors who think outside the box and come up with their own unique ideas. Harry Potter inspired thousands of witch and wizards books, Twilight: vampires and werewolves. The Hunger Games: Post-apocalypse dystopian with children fighting each other. After going through Divergent, Legend, Delirium, Daughter of Smoke and Bone…especially the disappointing third book after an amazing first book in the Delirium trilogy, I just wanted to say, “Enough already!”
So, after I received the ARC of this book with it’s very Hunger Game inspired cover, I put it aside, and read about 15 other books, none young adult. A few nights ago, I was looking for a fast and easy read, and decided to give it a try. The story pulled my in from the first page, three hours later I reached the ending, and finally took my first breath. Okay, the breath was an exaggeration, but this book was a joy to read. The Testing proved that a certain “formula” would still work with the right creativity under the hands of a talented writer. The reader sometimes needs to have an open mind in these situations.
So, among hundreds of reviews (mostly of 1-2 stars due to the fact that it’s similar to The Hunger Games), I will focus on why this book is worth a read, even though you think you have read your share of similar books.
The story is definitely inspired by and similar to The Hunger Games and Divergent, and it also reminded me a little of City of Ember. There were quite a few similarities…and I admit, some were so similar to The Hunger Games, the I kept telling myself, “Don’t go there; do NOT go there.” One particular scene was her descriptions of the eyes of some wild creatures in a war scene. And, of course, I also glimpsed the possibility of a future love triangle.
The story took place in the post-apocalyptic America. The country was divided into colonies. When a teenager graduates from local school at 16, the Commonwealth government will send an invitation for the crème of the crop to join the Testing. All those who passed the testing will be attending the University and become future leaders of Commonwealth, and will focus on improving present living conditions for all people because the multiple wars had left the land dry and infertile, all living structures broken or destroyed. However, before Cia left for the testing, her Dad told her, “Do not trust anyone.”
The main character, Cia, came from a loving family, a family with 4 boys and a girl. The family work and play together, and also love and feel deeply for each other. This brings a bit of normalcy to the chaos of the outside world. I really enjoyed reading everything about Cia’s family and herself, and I loved her more than any other female characters in the books I mentioned above. Her character is realistic, strong, likable, smart and well developed. The author also did researches, or she actually knows facts on engineering, math, history…as well as current events. All the technical and historical bits were fascinating to read, as well as believable. I think she should receive some credits for writing YA fiction with something more than just a plot and likable characters. For example, here’s a question and answer in the testing process:
Q: Explain the cause of the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Stages of War and their impact on North America. A: Use of nuclear and biological weapons increased the pressure near fault lines. This sudden rise of pressure caused earthquake swarms and aftershocks that began in what was once the state of California and traveled across the continent. Earthquakes also disrupted the ocean floors, triggering the first of the floods that signaled the start of the Sixth Stage and submerged what remained of the coastal states, destroying most of the population. The Seventh Stage was marked by a shift in the weather patterns, Tornadoes, radioactive windstorms, and droughts caused the population to decrease even further and tainted all but the hardiest of plants, animals, and food sources. When the weather calmed, those who survived could finally begin to rebuild.
If you don’t like the long wait for the sequel, “Independent Study," there’s actually a free prequel/novella available in the Amazon Kindle store available to purchase. Here’s the link:
I'm always on the look for interesting YA series, for my daughter and son mainly, but also for myself. Although the writings of YA boA 3.5 stars book.
I'm always on the look for interesting YA series, for my daughter and son mainly, but also for myself. Although the writings of YA books are a bit less sophisticated and there's always a love with such childish teenage angst (not to mention the consistent appearance of love triangles), some recent YA books are beautifully written with a wonderful plot and/or great prose. Some well written YA series that I loved are Delirium, Divergent and Seraphina. This book falls into the great plot category, but I definitely will not call the writing great, or the characters unforgettable.
A girl, recovered from a plane crash site, who does not remember who she is, or where she's from - does the plot sound familiar to you? The Jason Bourne plot line has been used over and over again in modern literature. In this case, the mystery is that she was not on the original passenger list. It later turned out that she was also great with numbers, strong, fast and intelligent, but lack human emotion that we all possess naturally. The girl has beautiful, inhuman purple eyes, and a tattoo on her wrist that later turned out to be some sort of a tracker. She was then adopted by a foster family that appeared only in one or two chapters. During this time, she was constantly approached by a boy who she has no memory of, but his appearance always triggered a bit of recognition in her subconsciousness. He insisted her to trust him, and that there are people, bad people, after her. She was amazed by her own strength and intelligence, but also the lack of will power to face danger instead of fleeing every time. Is she human?
"What makes us human? Is it our hearts? Our brains? Our senses? Our limbs? Ask a hundred people and you'll get a hundred different answers."
The book is a page turner, with a good (yet a bit familiar) plot. However, the character development is a bit weak compared Delirium or Divergent. Although the physical descriptions were there, I could not visualize them as someone likable or grow to empathize them. They blindly believe in the love between them, and think it will triumph over every other obstacle...and that they will find each other even if one's memory is erased, which I found a bit unbelievable. In addition, the writing style is a bit bland compared to the other books, and quite lacking in prose. A phase from a Shakespeare sonnet was used throughout the book, and it was, sadly, the most beautiful writing in the book:
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds admit impediments. Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove."
I wished the characters are as attractive as Romeo and Juliet, but they are not. However, I will still read the second book when it comes out. I love how the author integrated lots of technology, math and science facts into the story. I can't reveal too much, or I'll be giving the plot away. The plot is quite intriguing, so, if you ask me if this book is worth reading - yes, it is....more
There will definitely no book 3 or 4 in my future... Sometimes one needs to trust their own instincts, and shouldn't be forced into reading a book jusThere will definitely no book 3 or 4 in my future... Sometimes one needs to trust their own instincts, and shouldn't be forced into reading a book just because an attractive movie trailer!...more
This book could have been so much more...with such an interesting plot, conflicted yet attractive characters and wonderful world building/setting (SouThis book could have been so much more...with such an interesting plot, conflicted yet attractive characters and wonderful world building/setting (South, Civil War vs. present day). I could see why a movie was made based on the above factors: forbidden love, characters torn between two worlds, mysterious families and past, unbelievable power that could used to do good, as well as bad...and a haunted mansion with an attractive owner... I loved how the main character was a love-sick boy, not a girl as in most other YA books.
Unfortunately, there are several factors that did not contribute to a good rating for the series:
1. The story drags on too much without smooth transitions from one part to another. The story could be told in less than two books, 4 are just too many.
2. The characters are not consistent in their actions and beliefs. It's hard to really know and cheer for them, except that they love each other, just like Edward and Bella from Twilight. (Did I mention how much the beginning and plot of this series reminded me of Twilight? By the way, I DID like Twilight, so I'm not one of those anti-paranormal fans) The first person thinking of a new twist is a genius, all others are just copycats.
3. There are so many opportunities to make the 2 main characters likable, yet the author(s) failed; probably neither of them is good in writing from her heart to begin with. Not to mention the collaboration, which may also hinder the smooth flow of the story. It also happened to most of the supporting characters, so I feel sad for the extremely great ones, as Macon and Amma, since they would go down, with the series.
4. Terrible and unpolished writing and grammar, weak descriptives and word choices.
“Just as I lay down, she sat up. I sat up, she flopped back down. Awkward. That was my every move, when it came to her.”
"There was a curse. There was a girl. And in the end, there was a grave. I never even saw it coming."
"I knew what I was doing. You don't. You think you do, but you don't. She was in my head again, as it she'd always been there."
"Everything around me changed, and it was like I was somewhere else. I was in the garden, but not in the garden..."
I'm a serious note-taking and highlighter (with Kindle) when reading, and the only phrase I highlighted in this book was in the beginning: "There were only two kinds of people in our town. The stupid and the stuck." After reading the first two books of the series (and skimping through the third and the fourth), I seriously think a third person wrote that quote...
5. People can die and be revived as the authors pleased; as well as the characters gaining and losing their power(s). Anything goes. This is the main killer for me. This predicted the forever dragging on of the plot.
I wish some wonderful YA authors, like Roth, Taylor, or Oliver could take this series and rewrite the books so not to waste the characters and the setting. ...more
You hate bad language and have a weak stomach. You love long, windy and beautiful prose. You are looking for something happy aDo not read this books if:
You hate bad language and have a weak stomach. You love long, windy and beautiful prose. You are looking for something happy and fluff. You can't stand cruel acts against others, especially minors. You need confirmation that life and beautiful, or you believe that all human are capable of love.
If you belong to one of the above groups, you possibly shouldn't read a book that begins with two girls burying their parents in the back yard, should you? I think you should stop and walk away now. But, if you are an adventurous and open-minded type, and a serious reader who enjoy all sorts of delivering ideas and language, then this books would be a treat for you. Before you dive it, I'll have to alert you, every possible crime and unimaginable cruelty under the sky was committed by someone or to someone in this book.
I think I might have an affinity to child narrators, since I've loved and praised so many (except Room). Yet here's another wonderful book narrated by a child, the 15-year-old Marnie. Marnie has a sister, Nelly, who's 12. Both smart, precocious and understand life much better than you and I do. When both parents died under some unpreventable circumstances, the girls decided to bury them in the back yard, since their parents were not the loving/caring kind, the girls absolutely hated the foster system, and Marnie was not yet 16. They were hoping to hide the secret until Marnie turned 16 and be responsible of both herself and her sister, which she has been doing anyway.
The book is narrated by three voices: Marnie, Nelly and Lennie. Lennie is an older gay man who took the girls under his wings, hoping for some kind of redemption for a mistake he committed a while ago. Lennie's parts were written as if he was talking to his partner, whom he lost a while ago. Marnie's narratives were brutal, down-to-the-point, and lack of polish with a bit of humor. It took me a while to get used to, but then I fell for her hard and couldn't get her out of my mind. She was practically a baby but had to endure so much but acting tough, since there was no one to look after her.
"Our phone died. Just like that. We can't call the local constabulary and we can't call an ambulance. Have you ever heard of such a thing? A calamity and no mistake."
"I just don't get why anyone would want to ink their name or their secrets on the surface of their skin, why can't they just keep them inside like I do?....I'm never getting a tattoo. My secrets are etched safely on the inside and I intend to keep them there."
The book was a page-turner for me. I think the author did quite a good job in keeping the plot interesting and engaging. The characters were great. Each of them was deep and etched vividly in my mind no matter how unimportant they were in the story. I deliberately slowed down reading near the end just to enjoy Marnie and Nelly's voices a bit more. This author was successful in building a great plot as well as developing his characters, which I've only seen in a few authors. The ending was also quite satisfactory.
Can one fall in love in just one day? When we were young, we believed we could...so did Allyson in this book.
"We are born in one day. We die in one daCan one fall in love in just one day? When we were young, we believed we could...so did Allyson in this book.
"We are born in one day. We die in one day. We can change in one day. And we can fall in love in one day. Anything can happen in just one day."
Allyson was young, 18, a goody-two-shoes who followed her parents' every advice and was on her road to become a pre-med student. A trip to Europe, or more specifically, a day in Paris, changed everything...Did she see the truth on that day, or a big fat lie?
Allyson was a normal and average American girl who was not particular pretty nor witty. She was awkward in social situations, even, but she was a good thinker, and she did a lot of self-introspection throughout the course of the story. She made stupid mistakes and quick decisions that caused the Mom in me to wince with horror. She made friends, but also lost them. It was heartbreaking to observe Allyson to come of age in the hard way through every error and consequences of her decisions. This story begins when she made a decision to visit Paris for a day with a guy she barely knows, while she was in Europe for her high school graduation trip. The day changed everything in her life.
My bookish friend, Kathleen...once mentioned that she could not resist any YA novels that quote Shakespeare or mention his works. This book will definitely attract her attention. The Dutch boy in the book, Willem, and Allyson met when he was performing as Sebastian in Twelfth Night. Shakespeare's plays and works are subsequently mentioned in the second half of the book, and more intensively. They also sparked my interest in a few plays and I plan to read the original works a bit later. Part of the story also took place in Europe, yet the author described the places quite accurately, (view spoiler)[especially in the second trip. (hide spoiler)] For those of you who has never read Shakespeare, or has never been to Europe, you'll definitely add a few more things to your bucket list after reading this book.
This is another wonderful book from Gayle Forman, the author of two other books: If I Stay and Where She Went. Just like her the format of her previous two books, Just One Day is written in the girl's perspective, and the upcoming sequel will be in the boy's voice.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
My middle son is a graphic novels fan. He started reading them before he was reading regular books early in life, like 4 or 5. He has very eccentric tMy middle son is a graphic novels fan. He started reading them before he was reading regular books early in life, like 4 or 5. He has very eccentric tastes as well, and read books like The little Tyrant, Bone, Sardine in Space, Mail Order Ninja, Amulet and Robot Dreams. However, this book was chosen by my younger son, who is 9. He ordered this along with "Cardboard", which is another great read for boys. The same author also wrote Ghostopolis. I think the characters are quite developed in such a short book, and the plot is great with two story lines (past and present). The graphics are nicely done...after all, this is a graphics novel by a well-known pro in this field.
The teenager Reese reluctantly joined his parents and little sister Janie on a boat trip and of course, the ship wrecked and they ended up on a strange island. The setting is Lost-like. They had to start getting used to the life of this strange island with unfamiliar plants and animals...and some very bad creatures.
Although there are already many YA trilogies with the same formula - female protagonist, first person-narrative, war-torn world, love-triangle..., I tAlthough there are already many YA trilogies with the same formula - female protagonist, first person-narrative, war-torn world, love-triangle..., I think this series is worth reading due to the amazing world-building skills of the author. She's also the type that describes scenes, things and places quite skillfully and ornately (Think Night Circus). I can visualize her colorful (literally) world through-out the entire book, which was quite an amazing experience.I think the characters needs a bit more development, but since there will be two more books that I have to dwell into, my view hopefully will change.
If you are in love with the fantasy world in this series, make sure to check out the Map of Ravka and the expanded map in Siege and Storm by Keith Thompson. They took my breath away.