The end of 2012 indeed brought the end of the world as we know it in “The Aftermath” by Sara Michelle. FREVIEW ORIGINALLY POSTED ON READER VIEWS KIDS.
The end of 2012 indeed brought the end of the world as we know it in “The Aftermath” by Sara Michelle. Few survivors are left following the terrible disaster; roads are torn up, houses decrepit, food and water are in short supply, and those left are struggling to survive.
Cecilia lost all her family and friends except her boyfriend Ryan, and it is lucky they have each other: their chances of survival alone are slim. It has now been a week since the end, and Cecilia and Ryan are looking for help as they begin to starve. They are hoping to find help at the local snow shelter – still a couple days’ walking away – but if this attempt doesn’t work out their prospects look grim. “The Aftermath” is the first book in a trilogy. It follows Cecilia and Ryan’s search for the snow shelter, and leaves us hanging at the end, ready for the next step in their journey.
I often felt that “The Aftermath” would have been benefited by more descriptions. Perhaps questions about Cecilia’s old normal (what did it look like, where does she live, what does she do for fun) or her new normal (how it came about, what caused the destruction, what happened and how it played out) would flesh out the characters and story. I can see a case, however, for this, book one, setting up questions for the next book - in which case, I am intrigued.
I read an Advanced Uncorrected Galley, and it must be mentioned that there were many grammatical and structural errors. However, these were not inductive of poor writing, so much as a lack of editing. As a bit of a grammar Nazi – one of my favorite books is “Eats, Shoots, and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation” by Lynne Truss – these errors left me disgruntled. However, on a second read through the book, I found the story itself much more enjoyable. I am sure that these errors will be fixed by final publication, and the book itself is good in spite of any problems.
Although “The Aftermath” isn't a game changer or likely to win many prestigious literary awards, it is a solid first release for author Sara Michelle, who shows lots of potential. I would recommend this book to fans of “Twilight” and readers looking for a quick, light-hearted, action, sci-fi and romance....more
“The Battle for Tomorrow” by Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall is narrated by Angela (Ange), who has had to deaREVIEW ORIGINALLY POSTED ON READER VIEWS KIDS.
“The Battle for Tomorrow” by Dr. Stuart Jeanne Bramhall is narrated by Angela (Ange), who has had to deal with lots of adult-level responsibilities in her sixteen years. In her thirteenth year, her mom had a stroke on her right side and lost speech and most mobility. Also at thirteen, Ange had her first abortion. Now, at sixteen, she is getting her second abortion, and while she accepts that her relationship with the 23-year-old political activist is over, Ange is totally convinced of the need for activism.
In fact, Ange is willing to give up her goth-personality for a more responsible looking personality, and move to Washington, D.C. so that she can attend more rallies, particularly a large one later in the fall. Ange, at only sixteen, has some problems on her own, but manages living in a hostel, working at a grocery.
As she attends civil disobedience trainings and starts to lead trainings herself, Ange struggles to lead and interact with adults when they know she’s underage. Additionally, the protocol for dealing with a minor in the event of arrest is problematic and bureaucratic for a minor without a guardian to call upon.
Throughout the book, Ange learns to personally handle her own (temporary) “age-deficiency” and learns how to interact with adults in a mature and responsible way. She also challenges societies’ methods for handling minors, fighting for her right to live independently, without a legal guardian.
Dr. Bramhall’s writing flowed well. Written in first-person narrative, almost stream-of-consciousness style, “The Battle for Tomorrow” used the technique well. Ange’s voice was well-defined and clear. Dr. Bramhall captured the voice of a scared teenager who is still figuring herself out very well.
Although I didn’t agree with some of Ange’s political leanings (e.g., socialism), I admired the passion Ange exhibited, and the resolve she had to act on her beliefs and to see change happen. This inspired me to strive harder to stand up for my beliefs, even in ways that might not be comfortable.
I was also fascinated by the lifestyles I might not normally be exposed to – of living in a hostel, of marching and blockading roads – and I thought the book well-exposed the personal rationales behind any extremist movement.
Although I really enjoyed this book, I would only recommend this book to older readers, as it dealt with mature themes. That said, I would highly recommend “The Battle for Tomorrow” – it was an inspiring and insightful look at political change and the struggle for minors....more
“The Dragonfly Prophecy” by Jacquelyn Castle is narrated by Lexi, a 17-year-old with a perfect life. LexREVIEW ORIGINALLY POSTED ON READER VIEWS KIDS.
“The Dragonfly Prophecy” by Jacquelyn Castle is narrated by Lexi, a 17-year-old with a perfect life. Lexi is highly intelligent, has loving, caring parents who (mostly) don’t smother her, and she is dating handsome, rich, British William who is taking Lexi and her parents on a surprise getaway to a tropical island. Well, Lexi’s life is perfect apart from her frequent – and worsening – fainting spells, her horrendous dreams of dragonflies, and now she’s hearing voices.
Then, perfect turns on its end. She gets stuck in a fainting spell. While coming in and out of her coma, she hears William and her mom and dad discussing “finding the right person” and yelling, with worry in their voices. Next thing she knows, she’s awake and nobody remembers William and she supposedly doesn’t remember the accident.
“The Dragonfly Prophecy” involves super powers (yes, super powers as in flying, and shooting lasers, and invisibility, and teleportation, and fighting), dual worlds (not parallel exactly, but co-existent), romance, and mystery. Castle has crafted a believable and creative universe for her story to take place in.
The plot was entirely unpredictable. The only thing I successfully predicted was the happy ending, but I had no idea, throughout the entire novel how that would happen, or, for a large part, what it would look like. The plot was intricate, well-crafted, and compelling. Castle kept twists coming that kept me reading far too late into the night. The ending was maybe a little quick, and I didn't feel that the Evangeline subplot was fleshed out, but these are minor irritants in a largely well-done book. The largest fault I found was that the romance often irritated me – particularly with William – as the plot progressed. However, I am often cynical and unromantic, so that dig might just be me.
Overall, “The Dragonfly Prophecy” was a well-written book with good characters, a multi-layered world and plot, and good writing. I would recommend “The Dragonfly Prophecy” to anyone looking for an original and well-done fantasy novel....more
“Yellow Mini” by Lori Weber follows the story of five teenagers: Mark, Stacey, Annabelle, Christopher, aREVIEW ORIGINALLY POSTED ON READER VIEWS KIDS.
“Yellow Mini” by Lori Weber follows the story of five teenagers: Mark, Stacey, Annabelle, Christopher, and Mary. They are each struggling with issues of identity and voice. When the story starts, Mark’s dad has just died and Mark bought a yellow mini with the money he inherited. Stacey likes driving with popular Mark in his cool car, but sometimes Mark acts just too strange. Annabelle is betrayed when Stacey joins the cool crowd, and turns her energy to anti-consumer activism. Christopher likes Annabelle, but isn't sure how to get her love while keeping true to himself. Mary is an amazing pianist, but freezes in front of a crowd.
The story is told in short chapters of free form poetry, from thirteen different narrators (the kids, and some parents and teachers).
One of the first things I noticed upon opening the book was the uneven lines of poetry. The lines are sometimes short, sometimes long, and rarely rhyme, but the words of a beautiful rhythm and cadence.
For example, Mark writes:
“Driving out, getting away, ribbons of highway beneath my wheels, is the only way I feel real these days.” (p66)
Not only are the words put together well, but each of the characters has a distinct voice. Towards the beginning of the book, I had to make a note of which narrator was speaking, but by the middle, I barely had to glance at the name because their voices and stories (while intertwined) were so unique. I have seen even three narrators done awkwardly, with characters undistinguishable from one another; or heavy-handedly, with characters who were made different to extremes, but Mark, Stacey, Annabelle, Christopher, and Mary were not absurdly different, or hum-drumily similar.
“Yellow Mini” might sound at first like an angsty, emo-poem of teenage struggles, but it’s really much more. It is about finding a voice, a voice that says your own thoughts in your own way. It is about communicating new ideas with old people, old ideas with new people, and learning how to stay silent.
“Yellow Mini” is about growing into who you are, something we all do, more and more every day....more
"Mistwood" by Leah Cypess opens with the capture of a girl in a forest. Th girl, Isabel, does not know who she is or was. But we soon discover that Is"Mistwood" by Leah Cypess opens with the capture of a girl in a forest. Th girl, Isabel, does not know who she is or was. But we soon discover that Isabel is the shifter, an age old creature charged with protecting the king and his family. The shifter can take on many forms, be it a cat or stone, a bird or a wolf. And although she has been doing this for centuries, she does not remember it at all, and she is in a forest, not protecting the monarchy. But now the ruling prince (soon to be king) has reclaimed her for the task of protection.
Isabel struggles to protect Rokan; her powers are not what they were and her ability to shift is severely impaired. (I will admit that I was disappointed that we didn't get to see more action packed shifting, but I was satisfied with the explanation by the end of the book.) She must deal with sorcerers, admirers, doubters, and lies, in addition to figuring out who she was and who she is now.
Leah Cypess employs a descriptive writing style which I enjoyed. Her descriptions of what a person did, where they were, what they saw, or what they were wearing were detailed providing clear pictures of the book, without getting bogged down in showing every detail of everything; the descriptions were not so much as to make the reader feel as if the book was "filmed" in slow motion. However, I did not feel that there were clear depictions of explanations of what characters were thinking or feeling. I could see the characters well, but I couldn't always empathize with or understand them.
The first half of the book wasn't precisely slow moving, but it wasn't exciting or captivating. At first, I felt that the plot was predictable, the characters were black and white, instead of gray, and the stories and motivations and conflicts were flat. I felt as though Cypess was trying to paint a picture to set up for the rest of the book but instead left me waiting for anything to surprise me. The book really took off around chapter nine, when we first meet Kaer. At this point, I read the book very quickly, excited to see what would happen. I was caught up in an interesting story with characters who were neither clearly good nor evil, whose motivations were varied but real. And although I successfully predicted a major plot points conclusion, I was woefully wrong in how we got there. The twists Cypess added throughout the second half kept me reading and guessing, and, happily, guessing incorrectly.
"Mistwood" was an enjoyable read. It was neither particularly intricate, philosophical nor complex, but it had enough twists and turns to keep it exciting. I would reccomend it to anyone looking for a fun, light fantasy book. I plan on reading the sequel, not only to finish the story, but to see more of the characters and plots I saw during the intriguing second half.