Incredible, phenomenal, sci-fi goodness with twists, turns, new words, and tyrants – I loved this book! It’s a pretty hefty tome, but I read it easily...moreIncredible, phenomenal, sci-fi goodness with twists, turns, new words, and tyrants – I loved this book! It’s a pretty hefty tome, but I read it easily in one day, unable to put it down. I’m not sure if I can even properly describe why Across the Universe is so good, but I’ll try.
Revis tackles sci-fi so well that even those who don’t read sci-fi (me) will still love it. Not only are the characters complex (and hard to figure out), but the ship Godspeed is so crazy/cool/complicated that I was salivating to know more.
The dual narrative of Amy and Elder works very well and keeps the plot moving. The main characters each offer insight into different worlds and different perspectives. The murderer on the loose provides this backdrop of suspense that never lets up. Each turn of the page feels like we’re getting deeper and deeper into the lies that have built Godspeed.
Amy’s cryo state is haunting and heartbreaking. Her struggle between dream and nightmare will stick with you, even after she wakes. Once Amy is awakened, we get to meet this fierce girl who will do anything for the people she cares about.
Then there’s Elder. He is young, but intelligent. He acts with his heart even when everything around him tells him otherwise. Eldest, Elder’s mentor and predecessor, on the other hand, is more tyrannical, more critical, more ‘for the greater good.’ Emotions never overwhelm him or control him, which makes him easy to hate – I sure did. He’s very Hitleresque, but sometimes I understand exactly where he was coming from.
Tension is palpable from page one, but Amy’s and Elder’s friendship provides some sweet moments and Elder’s best friend Harley brings some comedy and lightheartedness in. Revis ramps up the mystery, but never lets us forget that Amy is stuck on a ship full of strangers, in a time she doesn’t understand, desperate to make sure her parents do not meet the same fate as those who were awakened after her. She’s trapped on a ship with nowhere to run, desperate for freedom, but knowing she can’t have it. She’s an outsider, a freak. And we feel that along with her.
Across the Universe has surpassed all my expectations with its complex story built on lies and deception. Amy, Elder, Harley, even Eldest grabbed my shoulders, shook them, then told me to pay attention and figure it out. Figuring out one aspect of everything just left me reeling because the next second a twist threw me for a loop. Sci-fi and dystopian fans will love Across the Universe, but so will anyone who loves a well-written, thought out, complex story with interesting characters and a plot that only seems to thicken.
Favorite lines (I have a word doc full of fave lines, so picking one is beyond difficult): Everything is wrong here. Shattered. Broken. Like the light. Like me. I never thought about how important the sky was until I didn’t have one. I am surrounded by walls. I have just replaced one box for another. ~ pg. 125 And because one wasn't enough: This is the secret of the stars, I tell myself. In the end, we are alone. No matter how close you seem, no one else can touch you. ~ pg. 390(less)
XVI is one of those books that stick with you. Not just because it is a well-executed and thought-provoking dystopian, but because it has so many c...more4.5
XVI is one of those books that stick with you. Not just because it is a well-executed and thought-provoking dystopian, but because it has so many components that lend to its greatness. Nina, the MC and a 15 year old girl who is terrified to age that one year and become a ‘sex-teen,’ is strong, but fragile at the same time; she’s far too grown up for her years, but still just a child. Her life is dictated by the world around her – which isn’t a great one.
Julia Karr has created a Chicago of 2150 that is eerily reminiscent of the world of 1984 (one of my favorite books of all time) and she constantly reminds the reader just how much control the government has over its inhabitants. The technology is believable, at times it’s incredible and I wish I could experience it, but other times it just shows how much the government interferes in everyday life.
Nina, her sister Dee, her grandparents, and all of her friends truly have very little control over their own lives. The tier system is very much the same as a caste system and with little hope of moving up in tiers, the girls who turn sixteen sign themselves up to literally become sex slaves, only they believe they’re signing up for a better life, just with a few strings attached. Even Nina’s best friend, Sandy, is convinced that joining the FeLS (Female Liaison Specialist) is the perfect way to move up in life.
Karr throws Nina into the world of The Resistance and forces her to question all she has ever known, while introducing her to the mysterious Sal too. Nina’s only hope at escaping a life of forced sex and possible death, is in the whispered words of a dying woman. Those words drive Nina to become a stronger person, with an unbreakable determination.
At times an emotional thriller, XVI touches on many aspects of the society that we live in and pushes the limits on what could be. Tense, horrifying to imagine, but impossible to put down – I was enthralled in this future world, the technology, and the characters. All the characters are developed and no one felt flat to me. My only complaint is that the ending is rushed. I would have liked to see all of Nina’s struggling and worrying pay off in a more fleshed out way, instead of the quick wrap-up. But still, this is a dystopian that cannot be missed.
Opening line: “Nina, look.” Sandy jabbed me in the ribs. ~ pg. 12
Favorite lines: I’d choked back so many tears, they’d become a lake of sadness in my belly. ~ pg. 36
And this one:
“Personal sacrifice lies at the center of change for the better.” ~ pg. 189 (less)
Michele Windsor’s entire life has been spent living with her mom in a rather Bohemian way. The two women are mother and daughter, but also the best of...moreMichele Windsor’s entire life has been spent living with her mom in a rather Bohemian way. The two women are mother and daughter, but also the best of friends. When tragedy forces Michele to move in with the grandparents she has never known, all the way in NYC, her only solace becomes her possibly delusional exploits in the New York of the past. Add in a dashing young man and a long line of strong Windsor women and Michele may just discover enough about her past to impact her future.
First and foremost, Timeless is a love story. Michele’s ventures back to 1910 bring her to Philip Walker, the young man she’s dreamt about nearly her entire life and someone she almost instantly falls in love with. Once again, the insta-love thing bothered me a bit, but I was able to get past it.
The New York of 1910 is so vastly different from the NYC of 2010 and I loved that. Monir beautifully describes 1910, the roaring twenties, and then, a war torn 1944. Each trip to the past brings with it a vibrant, lifelike setting, new music that was so real I could hear it, some interesting characters, and another little piece of the puzzle of Michele’s past. While I found the love aspect a bit cheesy at times, I still enjoyed the relationship between Michele and Philip. The past ties in so well with the future and I love how the Windsor family unfolded through time.
Timeless is a romantic novel with a touch of elegance and beauty. There is mystery, there is family, and there are plenty of secrets to discover. Each trip through time was surprising and held just a sliver of the bigger picture. Michele’s family , both past and present, are engrossing, engaging, and so strong. The Windsor women will easily entertain anyone who enjoys a good story and I highly recommend this one.
Opening line: Michele stood alone in the center of the hall of mirrors. ~ pg. 1
Favorite lines: What was the point of loving when the people you loved were taken from you? When Death or Time were always looming and poised to strike, why did love even exist?. . . Why must we spend so much of our lives missing people instead of being with them? ~ pg. 266-267(less)
I wanted to love Here Lies Bridget, I really did. But it’s a difficult book to love because Bridget, the MC, is an atrocious person. That’s the whole...moreI wanted to love Here Lies Bridget, I really did. But it’s a difficult book to love because Bridget, the MC, is an atrocious person. That’s the whole point of the story. Bridget is selfish and self-centered. She treats everyone around her like crap, tearing them down to bring herself up. To her, life is great because she lives in a Bridget bubble – that is until the Bridget bubble pops and she’s forced to acknowledge what a terrible person she is deal with the consequences in a life or death boardroom judgment.
Bridget really reminds me of Regina George with a little Gretchen Weiner thrown in because she is the queen bee, but she is completely oblivious to how she treats other people, believing that her peers actually like and respect her. That’s pretty much where the Mean Girls similarities end though. There are no foot creams on the face or shirts with the boobs cut out; just a disgustingly horrible teenage girl who slips down the social ladder and crashes her car.
100 pages into the book and all the reader really knows is that Bridget is one mean girl. She treats her friends like crap, degrades her stepmom, and uses her power to hurt others. Once Bridget gets in the accident and wakes up in a boardroom full of her peers, things get much better.
When Bridget is in this limbo state, she must literally step into the shoes of some of the people she has wronged and see her actions from their perspective. In doing this, Bridget realizes who she is and how people see her. I even felt sympathy for her, which is surprising considering I loathed her before she nearly died.
Here Lies Bridget is a quick read with A Christmas Carol feel to it. Bridget starts off as such a horrible person, but gradually she grows and her attempt to atone for her mistakes doesn’t leave her with the happy ending she wanted. The story is wrapped up nicely and the character growth/transformation is handled well. While not my favorite book, Here Lies Bridget has a good message behind it.
Opening lines: I pressed down on the accelerator. It felt good to have power back in my life. ~ pg. 7
Favorite lines: Everything was done. I couldn’t take it back, couldn’t change it. It was way too late to say the two words that could have saved me if I’d just meant them sooner. I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m sorry… ~ pg. 9
*This is the e-ARC version and lines, pages, cover art may be subject to change before official publication (less)
When Asha, a soon-to-be senior, gets called a towel head at the local community pool because she is: A) part Indian and B) has a beach towel on her he...moreWhen Asha, a soon-to-be senior, gets called a towel head at the local community pool because she is: A) part Indian and B) has a beach towel on her head, she realizes the inequities that continue to abound in her world. On a whim and a joke, Asha and her best friend Carey conspire to create t-shirts to sell with The Latte Rebellion printed on them. The girls love lattes and joke that they themselves are lattes – the more ingredients, the better! Their money-making venture spins out of control and becomes an actual movement; a movement that Asha cares about, but not everyone has the same opinion.
The Latte Rebellion starts off slow, much like any grassroots group would. I enjoyed getting to know Asha and her family, and seeing how the Rebellion grew from being just a way to make some cash for a post-graduation vacation, into a movement that not only ignited the minds of others, but transformed Asha as well. The issues of race and inequality are tackled seriously, but never in a way that makes The Latte Rebellion an ‘issues’ book. Asha becomes the de facto leader of something that is so much bigger than her. And even though it gets out of control and it becomes too much for her to handle, living through that, growing through that, allows her to figure out who she is and who she can be.
Sarah Jamila Stevenson’s writing is realistic and fun. Each character brings something to the story, good or bad. I couldn’t help but be drawn to Asha’s sudden passion for the Rebellion and the realization that a single idea can wield so much power. Miranda’s go get-em’ attitude and overall awesomeness made me love her. Even the characters who I disliked contributed to the story and Asha’s growth.
One of my favorite aspects of the book is how it tells the story about how the Rebellion gets built up, but opens each chapter with snippets of its aftermath and the disciplinary hearing that results from some momentous occurrence. Throughout the book, the Rebellion becomes this tangible movement. Sarah’s propaganda drawings help to pull the Rebellion together and really make it feel like a real movement and I loved the code names Asha and her friends use.
The Latte Rebellion is a different kind of contemporary story that explores what it means to be proud of who you are and how to be that person in the midst of something so huge, with such polarizing sides. The book made me want to join in the movement, go to the rallies, and fight for what I believe in. It also left me smiling, and if a book can do that, it can’t be a bad thing.
Opening line: The jeering male voice came from somewhere behind me, waking me up from a heatstroke-induced doze. ~ pg. 1
Favorite lines: What mattered was that people believed in the Rebellion, and if enough people believed, then we, like Thad and Greg with their clinic, might actually be able to change the world. ~ pg. 230(less)
The synopsis for this book does not do it justice. This isn’t just some story about a girl who falls in love with a boy and then things go sour. It’s...moreThe synopsis for this book does not do it justice. This isn’t just some story about a girl who falls in love with a boy and then things go sour. It’s a story about Ari, this passionate, intelligent, caring teenager who loves art and feels this looming pressure to please her family. She does all she can for her sister Evelyn, who is a young mother, while lusting after her brother in law, Patrick. Her best friend Summer is a piece of work, but Ari still loves her. When she meets Blake, she slowly allows herself to live outside of the expectations that normally drive her. She gets lost in this new love and when things begin heading south, she slowly has to find a way to be Ari again. A different Ari, a stronger Ari, but still Ari.
The complexities weaved into this story took me by surprise. It takes place in the 80’s (before I was even born) and the setting feels much more intimate than stories set in the present where technology tears us away from face to face contact. Tying in information about the AIDS scare was also a nice touch.
I wasn’t expecting Ari’s story to pull me in as it had, but as a character, she is interesting. In fact, all the characters in Other Words for Love are interesting. Rosenthal layers each of them, so we get a peek at who we think they are, only to discover that maybe they’re more than we imagined. The story follows Ari in her day to day life, but somehow, every little thing about her drew me in. I haven’t been so absorbed with a character in a while.
Ari’s pain was my pain, her joy was my joy. When she felt the stirrings of love for the gorgeous and sweet Blake, I felt them too. When she hated her mother or her sister Evelyn, so did I. But when Ari felt alone and depressed, I wanted her to know that it wasn’t true, because I was there. That’s cheesy, right? But that’s how I felt. Ari could easily be me, or you, or anyone who has ever felt lost and Rosenthal conveys that so well.
Other Words for Love is so much more than it seems. It’s beautiful and touching and filled with heartache and hope. It’s about life, family, friendship, first loves, first heartbreak, and it’s about growing up along the way. Ari, Blake, Summer, Del, Leigh – every single character is fleshed out and well-developed. The story flows easily off the pages and it was hard to put down because as the time in Ari’s world continued to drift by, I wanted to drift along with it. The ending holds an astounding perfection that left me smiling with tears in my eyes. I was content with Ari's story came to a close, but it was bittersweet at the same time. Trust me when I say that this book will surprise you in the best ways, you just have to give it a shot.
Opening line: In 1985, just about everyone I knew was afraid of two things: a nuclear attack by the Russians and a gruesome death from the AIDS virus, which allegedly thrived on the mouthpieces of New York City public telephones. ~ pg. 7
Favorite lines: “Don’t be afraid of the dead, Ari. They can’t hurt you. It’s the living you should worry about.” ~ pg. 15
And this one:
I was sure he meant Del. I thought of the fight with the engineering student and the college expulsion and the STD, whatever it was. I also thought of Evelyn, and I wondered if Blake and I had something in common. We were both trying to make up for things we hadn’t even done. ~ pg. 100(less)
Let me preface this entire review by first saying that I don’t like angel stories. I rarely come across one that I enjoy, let alone love, but Unearthl...moreLet me preface this entire review by first saying that I don’t like angel stories. I rarely come across one that I enjoy, let alone love, but Unearthly is one of those rare exceptions. I loved it. Every. Single. Page. Of. It.
Clara Gardner is part angel or angel-blood as Cynthia Hand calls it. But the thing is, Clara isn’t an angel-blood who just happens to be a teenage girl, she’s a teenage girl who just happens to be an angel-blood. And she acts like it. She’s insecure and moody and fights with her mom and her brother. She’s a little bitter about her purpose as an angel and how it controls her life. Clara is a teenage girl, but she has to balance that with her destiny as an angel.
Hand masterfully creates Clara’s story, so that it reads like a contemporary love story, but has plenty of angel lore to reel in paranormal/supernatural lovers. This take on angels is something I’ve never read before and I was enthralled with the mythology behind these angel-bloods.
The characters of Unearthly are well-developed and I never felt like they were lacking. Clara’s Lorelei Gilmore-ish mom, her fun-loving younger brother Jeffrey, and friends Wendy and Angela are all unique and engaging in their own way. But let’s get to what everyone wants to hear about: the boy.
Clara’s love life really does not exist for the majority of the book and it’s wonderful – we get to know the real Clara, instead of love-struck Clara. But the boys are swoonworthy nonetheless. Christian, the boy from the visions Christian, is, as Wendy puts it, god-like. You can’t blame a girl for fainting around a guy like that, especially when being around him may or may not trigger visions.
As great as Christian is, I feel the need to gush about Tucker – Tucker who is snarky and rude and teases Clara and her orange hair by calling her Carrots. I love this boy and trust me, you will too. He’s engaging to read from the get-go, but once the story picks up, I never wanted Tucker to go away.
Unearthly is a sweet love story hidden in the mythology of angels on earth; here to do some life-saving, purpose-driven, destiny-following deeds. Cynthia Hand’s debut is tender, wrought with tension, and will easily be one of my favorite reads of the year. If the cover isn’t enough for you to pick this up, then hopefully this review directs you straight to the bookstore.
Opening line: In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees. ~ pg. 9
Favorite lines: “Oh, come on. You eye-hump him all through British History. I thought you were just enraptured, the way everyone at school seems to be. I’m happy to find out that you have a good reason.” ~ pg. 106
*This is the ARC version and lines, cover art, etc. may be subject to change before official publication. E-book page numbers may not match with physical copies.(less)
I’ll let the description speak for itself in explaining the book, but I will say: this is a short read. I finished it in about an hour and like always...moreI’ll let the description speak for itself in explaining the book, but I will say: this is a short read. I finished it in about an hour and like always, David Levithan does not disappoint.
The format of The Lover’s Dictionary is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Short snippets of the lives of a couple are showcased through dictionary definitions. The chosen words play out in each scenario, some funny, some tender, some angry, and some a little heartbreaking. Levithan somehow captures the narrator and made me care for him. He remains nameless, as does the woman in question, but the two of them have this up and down, rollercoaster of a relationship that will get into your heart and make you feel for them.
The Lover’s Dictionary is not fun or lighthearted; it is real and full of aching and pain, but also the budding curiosity of new love and the hope for a forever. David Levithan is a force to be reckoned with and this book showcases that. Each page brought with it another line of inspiration or a few words that just jumped out and grabbed me. I don’t even have a favorite line, I have about ten.
Opening line: Aberrant, adj. “I don’t normally do this kind of thing,” you said. ~ pg. 3
Favorite lines (one of many): You were asleep, and I imagined you older and older. Your hair graying, your skin folded and creased, your breath catching. And I found myself thinking: If this continues, if this goes on, then when I die, your memories of me will be my greatest accomplishment. Your memories will be my most lasting impression. ~ pg. 161(less)