4.5 stars I didn't believe all the high ratings, and now here I am with them.
A good example of why it's good to try authors again, btw. I'd read a cou4.5 stars I didn't believe all the high ratings, and now here I am with them.
A good example of why it's good to try authors again, btw. I'd read a couple of the author's earlier books and found them likable if a bit unmemorable, but there was absolutely no indication that one day she'd write a brutal book--or an uncompromising heroine--like this.
Vlad the Impaler re-imagined as an aggressive girl! Fantastic. ...more
4.5 stars I've read some Peter Pan retellings I've enjoyed, and read/sampled a whole lot more I did not. What's been missing from all these other lite4.5 stars I've read some Peter Pan retellings I've enjoyed, and read/sampled a whole lot more I did not. What's been missing from all these other literary adaptations is what I found in UNHOOKED: a real sense of being snatched away from your bed and looking wide-eyed at Neverland. You feel the air on your face as you fly through a brilliant night sky; you gape in wonder at this new world throbbing beneath your palms, even as you aren't certain who you can trust; and most importantly, you understand the devastating poignancy of losing your memories, and therefore your sense of self. This book takes you there in a way I hadn't ever experienced before, and it does so with urgency, with passion, and with really beautiful, sensory-rich writing.
This isn't a perfect book--the opening chapters left me a bit disoriented (though 32 pages in, the tone is quickly set right with Gwendolyn's kidnapping), I have questions about various identities, and two key characters could have been developed a great deal more. But I loved the use of dark magic, and how Gwendolyn truly comes of age in this story, in ways that are both unexpected and satisfying. And I very much appreciated how the book touched upon issues of consent and loss, as well as the ideals of responsibility and sacrifice, between friends and compatriots as well as between mother and child.
Also, Tinkerbell is a bitch and Hook is unbelievably sexy, so I'm pretty in love with the book for those reasons alone. (view spoiler)[Seriously, I was originally just going to put SEXY. CAPTAIN. HOOK. on this prereview and leave it at that. (hide spoiler)]
A bit more of a review to come. This one deserved a more beautiful treatment for its cover than the stock photo it got, but the important thing is, the content transports you to a place that's not only beautiful and dangerous, but one that feels both familiar and new.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
3.5 I liked this story, and it does a lot of things very well.
-- The book portrays coping mechanisms (with grief and life in general) and mental healt3.5 I liked this story, and it does a lot of things very well.
-- The book portrays coping mechanisms (with grief and life in general) and mental health issues believably, as well as therapy in a positive, healthy way.
-- It shows school routines, extra-curricular activities, and kids actually thinking about and planning for their futures. This was a huge part of my life as a teenager so I'm always surprised that it takes such a back seat in most YA books.
-- The relationships are solid: girl friendships/distrusts, Maguire and her mom, and Maguire and her stepdad especially
-- Jordy is a solid guy and I liked that they helped each other with their therapy goals, in a way that didn't feel like a big deal. They are nice together, and there are some cute moments between them.
But I think that's where I got stuck about halfway through--the story/central romance is "nice,' but it somehow lacked a certain spark, a zing that would make your heart sing for them. And while the pacing was fine at first, the methodical manner in which therapy and life and outings progressed eventually felt a little slow, especially with an even keel of feeling throughout most of it.
So...it's a solid book, but not one I quite loved. I really liked Stokes' LIARS, INC. and THE ART OF LAINEY, though, and she's still on my "always check out her latest" list.
Besides, finding out about California burritos is very exciting. Burritos stuffed with French fries?! I'm intrigued. ALSO. As I was reading it, a character named Pili popped up and I immediately thought of my blogger friend Pili--and then I was tickled to find the character was named after her! So fun.
An advance copy was provided by the publisher for this review....more
This felt very much like a debut, and unfortunately, none of the characters or story arcs surprised me or touched me nearly as much as they were suppoThis felt very much like a debut, and unfortunately, none of the characters or story arcs surprised me or touched me nearly as much as they were supposed to. Best to sample this if you're curious, as I think you can tell fairly early on if the writing style suits you.
Apparently I'm the black sheep on this one, though. Baaaaa!
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
A Note to Those Who Think This Book is Amazing: This is one of those books that seems like a magnet for people who loved it to come on and tell everyone else how great it is. Please save yourself and me the time, and just move on or write your own review rather than talking around me or down to me. I'm glad you loved it, and that you have your own space on GoodReads to talk about it to your heart's desire. I deleted the last pointed comment because I've blocked that person after a long history and her long blog rant criticizing this very short, fairly even-tempered reaction to the book as well as the comments, but I will say that I will not be nearly as tolerant going forward. Mind. Your. Own. Space. ...more
Sandy Hall writes the most adorable dialogue and narrative voice, but this one felt overall too scattered and lacking in focus, especially towards theSandy Hall writes the most adorable dialogue and narrative voice, but this one felt overall too scattered and lacking in focus, especially towards the end. She's already mastered the hardest thing, which is unique voice (with cute romance and delightful humor)--it'd be nice to see what a dedicated editor could do to help her shape her future work into something even better.
Still, I love that voice so much, I still enjoyed the read. And you gotta love a girl who writes Dr.Who + Little Women/Veronica Mars fanfic.