A lot of good elements to this novel, but it seems like Brauning couldn't decide if she wanted to write an edgy romance or a mystery, and when she tri...moreA lot of good elements to this novel, but it seems like Brauning couldn't decide if she wanted to write an edgy romance or a mystery, and when she tried to squish them up against each other, the end result didn't fully satisfy on either front. Jackie and Marcus are 17-year-old cousins whose four parents decided three years ago to combine households to minimize their ecological footprint. As they've spent time together, the cousins' relationship has moved from friendship to romance, and they're trying to hide it from the rest of the family and their friends. When Jackie insists that they need to end things, Marcus starts seeing Sylvia, the new girl in town. Jackie is hurt that he is seemingly able to move on so quickly, and begins seeing hunky Will. In the background is the fact that Jackie's best friend Ellie, who moved away at the beginning of high school, went missing four months ago, and her body has just been found in nearby woods. A strange white pickup is seen around town and malicious pranks start occurring. Jackie eventually realizes there's a connection between Sylvia and Ellie and the white pickup. While Jackie and Marcus are fully realized characters, Will comes across as too good to be true, and the convenient way that all the elements of the "mystery" part of the story fall into place stretches credulity.
Meh. Leila is on a quest to see the Northern Lights, and during her road trip in her vintage red Plymouth Acclaim, she meets (and solves problems for)...moreMeh. Leila is on a quest to see the Northern Lights, and during her road trip in her vintage red Plymouth Acclaim, she meets (and solves problems for) various folks. I should have known what I was in for from Hudson's description of Leila when he meets her in the first few pages of the book: "She was a jumble of contradictions: short but with long legs, fierce green eyes but a kind expression, baby-faced but wise. She was wearing a snug, plain red T-shirt that matched her car. Her hair was down, the black locks reaching just past her chin." And that's pretty much how the writing goes for the next 340 pages. Why is Leila of the long legs and green eyes and wise core on this quest? You have to wait till close to the end to find out-- it's predictably heart-wrenching, but (whew!) all turns out okay. Just not my cup of tea. (less)
Not as compelling and earth-shattering as his others, but this feel-good story has lots of appeal for Green's fans. Quirky and often hilarious, it chr...moreNot as compelling and earth-shattering as his others, but this feel-good story has lots of appeal for Green's fans. Quirky and often hilarious, it chronicles Colin's and Hassan's road trip adventures from Chicago to Gutshot, Tennessee, and Colin's slow realization that there are no neat equations to sum up the future and love.(less)
A year after the death of her boyfriend, Jam still can't function, and her parents send her to The Wooden Barn, a boarding school for emotionally frag...moreA year after the death of her boyfriend, Jam still can't function, and her parents send her to The Wooden Barn, a boarding school for emotionally fragile teens who have experienced various traumas. From this fairly small group of students, Jam is one of five students who are chosen to participate in a special studies English class. The teacher, Mrs. Q, announces they will be studying Sylvia Plath over the course of the semester, and gives each of the five a red leather journal in which to record thoughts. The first time that Jam opens up her journal and begins writing, she's transported into an alternate world-- one in which she and Reeve have not had to say goodbye. She can stay in the world for a short period, and re-enter it whenever she begins writing in the journal. Jam is afraid that the world she has entered is evidence that she has gone around the deep end and is hallucinating, but slowly the five students realize that each of them is being transported to their own special pre-trauma world through these anything-but-typical journals. The group names their alternate world Belzhar, a play on The Bell Jar. Over time, the five students move toward healing, not only through the journaling, but as a group that is tentatively exploring friendship. A surprise twist at the end knocked me for a loop. An enjoyable and imaginative read that will have special appeal for those familiar with Sylvia Plath.
A group of culturally diverse teens comes together to take on the superpower corporation that controls much of the world. Quite a departure from the t...moreA group of culturally diverse teens comes together to take on the superpower corporation that controls much of the world. Quite a departure from the types of work that Myers did so beautifully, and while the premise is an interesting one, the execution feels way more forced and contrived than the other things I've read of his.(less)
Just amazing. Heartbreaking and beautiful and I-can't-put-this-down. Reminded me a little of a more accessible The Orphan Master's Son in the way that t...moreJust amazing. Heartbreaking and beautiful and I-can't-put-this-down. Reminded me a little of a more accessible The Orphan Master's Son in the way that the author weaves little-known real life into something that reads like the most disturbing dystopian fiction. Graudin doesn't shy away from the sordid details of human trafficking and gangs that she's created in her story, but this is suitable (and highly recommended) for high school and above.
It comes out in November... add it to your to-read list now. Thanks to NetGalley for the digital ARC.(less)
On her 17th birthday (fatefully October 31, 1900), Olivia's friends treat her to a hypnotist show, where she is chosen to go up on stage to demonstrat...moreOn her 17th birthday (fatefully October 31, 1900), Olivia's friends treat her to a hypnotist show, where she is chosen to go up on stage to demonstrate Henri Reverie's mesmerizing skills. Her mother ran off with the theatre when the girl was 4, and Olivia's father, an overly-enthusiastic dentist, is ever-vigilant for signs that Olivia is displaying unbecoming independence. He has his hands full, for the suffragists are in full force in Oregon, trying to get women the vote as they have in Idaho. As Olivia begins voicing her own opinions more, her father hires Henri to hypnotize his daughter into a state where she will not show anger or disagree with the men in her life. Instead, all she can utter when frustrated is "All is well"-- where, clearly, it is not. Her father's actions set off a series of events in which Olivia gets to know Henri (born Henry) better and becomes more determined than ever to speak her own mind and help other women do the same. Wonderful historical fiction with a touch of the supernatural. Turn of the century handbills, cartoons, and photographs captioned at the beginnings of chapters complement the story nicely.
I'm very glad that I can finally add James Joyce to my reading experience. I appreciate his skill with creating a wide cast of characters and with hel...moreI'm very glad that I can finally add James Joyce to my reading experience. I appreciate his skill with creating a wide cast of characters and with helping the reader to step into turn-of-the-century Dublin. Joyce is clearly a master at painting characters with a few strokes that allow us to see their hopes, their fears, and their disappointments with life. That being said, neither of these stories really resonated with me. I enjoyed Dubliners more than A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, simply because the free-association type of writing in Portrait was harder for me to follow. (less)
A lot of this story was just bleh. An interesting premise: Janie gets sucked into the dreams of people around her. The thing that annoyed me most was...moreA lot of this story was just bleh. An interesting premise: Janie gets sucked into the dreams of people around her. The thing that annoyed me most was that the dreams were so clichéd-- especially the mean girl constantly having lesbian dreams involving Janie's best friend. Good characters = faceted dreams; bad characters = sex dreams. Some interesting twists fairly far into the novel, but by that point, I was just kind of fed up.(less)
From Children's Literature review: Dusty Everhart returns in this sequel to The Nightmare Affair (2013). Since high school sophomores Dusty and Eli def...moreFrom Children's Literature review: Dusty Everhart returns in this sequel to The Nightmare Affair (2013). Since high school sophomores Dusty and Eli defeated the evil Marrow and broke The Will, students at Arkwell Academy have been able to practice magic much more freely-- with some disturbing results. Fights between various sects of magickind have increased, and after an attack leaves mermaid Britney Shell in critical condition, Dusty's assistance is requested by a Magi Senate member. As a Nightmare, Dusty can dream-feed, or see other peoples' dreams, through physical contact. Britney's dreams after the attack offer no clear answers, only more questions. To muddy things further, Dusty's ex-boyfriend Paul has just returned to school. Lady Elaine believes that someone in the Senate pulled strings to get Marrow's young apprentice released from jail, and asks Dusty to rekindle their past relationship to see what Paul knows. Eli realizes Dusty wants to help get to the bottom of a scheme that seems to have far-reaching political implications, but is not happy about Dusty spending time with Paul. Dusty's siren roommate Selene is keeping her own secrets, coming and going at mysterious hours. And a clandestine society called the Terra Tribe has something planned for the Beltane Festival in the capital city of Lyonshold. It's up to the Dream Team to put all the pieces together before others are hurt, but when Dusty, Eli, and Selene are all keeping secrets from each other, it's hard to function as a team. Light paranormal mystery and romance for fans of Claudia Gray and Richelle Mead. (less)
17-year-old Sahar and Nasrin have been best friends since they were young girls, and have known from a young age that they were in love with each othe...more17-year-old Sahar and Nasrin have been best friends since they were young girls, and have known from a young age that they were in love with each other. But homosexuality is illegal in Iran, and they will both be in danger if their true relationship is discovered. When Nasrin's parents arrange her marriage to a handsome and successful doctor, Sahar is beside herself. Her gay cousin Ali knows her secret and introduces her to some of his friends. Among them is Parveen, a beautiful woman who was born as Ahmad. When Sahar discovers that the Iranian government is much kinder toward its trans citizens than toward its gay citizens (believing that trans people are souls that were put into the wrong body, whereas gay people are simply an abomination), she becomes determined to go through the surgical procedure to become a man so that her relationship with Nasrin does not have to be a secret. Over the course of this fairly short story, Sahar comes to realize that this is not the solution, and grows believably as she struggles to come to terms with herself and the world around her. This is a beautiful story that tackles sensitive issues of personal identity. The backdrop of Iranian mores and culture makes the reading an even richer experience. (less)
High school sophomore Regan is a keeper of secrets. Her older brother Liam has been harboring a biggie-- (s)he is transgender, and posing as Liam for...moreHigh school sophomore Regan is a keeper of secrets. Her older brother Liam has been harboring a biggie-- (s)he is transgender, and posing as Liam for his parents and teachers and friends is slowly sucking the life out of him. Every evening, in the privacy of the basement that the two share, Liam becomes Luna, and Regan sees how much Luna wants to share her true self with the world. But their mom is disengaging from the family, escaping into work, and their dad continues to push Liam to be more of a "real" man. Regan is tired of being Liam/ Luna's confidante and having nobody to confide in herself. She's tired of the pretense. But when Luna decides that it's time to start her transformation, Regan dreads the impact that it's going to have on everyone in the family, and on their community. While secondary characters are fairly two-dimensional, this is an affirming story that offers a poignant glimpse into how life can get messy when societal expectations clash with being true to oneself.(less)
Heavy on the angst, this addition to the series may be a disappointment to folks who are looking for a lot of wolf action-- there's barely any. Instea...moreHeavy on the angst, this addition to the series may be a disappointment to folks who are looking for a lot of wolf action-- there's barely any. Instead, this is part ode to the excesses of Los Angeles, and part love story of Cole St. Clair and Isabel, two messed-up people who feel defined by their sins. Maggie Stiefvater's writing is, as always, drop-dead gorgeous and captivating.
Aislinn has always been able to see fairies, but she's noticing a lot more around her small town, and she comes to find out it's because she's been id...moreAislinn has always been able to see fairies, but she's noticing a lot more around her small town, and she comes to find out it's because she's been identified as the Summer King's long-searched-for queen. She likes her life just fine, though, and does her best to resist his advances with the help of boyfriend Seth. But Keenan's persistent, and when she drinks some fairy wine with him one evening, she starts the transition to fairy whether she likes it or not. Will she agree to take up the staff that determines if she is actually the Summer Queen or is doomed to be the Winter Girl? Will Keenan stand up to his mother the Winter Queen, who is not a very nice fairy? Will Seth stay in the picture? An enjoyable book, although there's never really a lot of tension and the ending is a little too tied up with bows.(less)
Rainbow Rowell has already shown she can rock the whole YA field, and I love that she's not slowing down long enough to be "categorized" as a YA autho...moreRainbow Rowell has already shown she can rock the whole YA field, and I love that she's not slowing down long enough to be "categorized" as a YA author. She writes characters so real and true and alive, regardless of whether those characters are high school students or college students or young(ish) adults struggling to stay sane as they balance marriage and jobs and kids. This is the story of Georgie and Neal, whose marriage is floundering, especially as Christmas rolls around and Georgie backs out on a trip to Omaha because she's got the opportunity of a lifetime in terms of her job, but it means staying in California and working through Christmas. Tight-lipped and hurt and furious, Neal bundles up the daughters and heads to his mother's as planned, and Georgie has the next week to beat herself up and TRY to make amends at the same time that she's pretending to be somewhat productive at work. She finds herself staying with her mother, who is hilariously over-involved and overbearing. And there's a phone. An old yellow phone from Georgie's childhood room. And the phone plays an integral part in the story. Georgie is funny and pathetic and frustrating and just all-around delightful. Bet you can't stop reading once you start.
I enjoyed learning about the world Alex inhabits, a world in which science has determined that love-- uncontrollable, passionate, Delirium Nervosa-- i...moreI enjoyed learning about the world Alex inhabits, a world in which science has determined that love-- uncontrollable, passionate, Delirium Nervosa-- is at the root of so many of society's problems. Their solution? A procedure around the 18th birthday that snips that propensity for passion and romantic love right out of you. Oliver's world-building is good, and Alex is an engaging character. I didn't enjoy this one as much as some of Oliver's other stories... several of the characters (especially adults) seemed quite two-dimensional, and I found them almost cartoonish. Overall, though, a compelling story to hand to fans of Suzanne Collins.(less)