The Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann is a book that I’d describe as well, peculiar. It was written by Bachmann when he was in his teens, yet reads likes itThe Peculiar by Stefan Bachmann is a book that I’d describe as well, peculiar. It was written by Bachmann when he was in his teens, yet reads likes it’s been written by a more experienced author. It’s classified as a MG novel, yet has an adult as one of its two main characters and features steampunk and politics, topics most middle graders aren’t really interested in. Personally, I felt emotionally disconnected from the characters; and while the worldbuilding was imaginative, I would have liked it to be better explained....more
The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson was a book that I wanted more from. For example, although it addresses the fact that transgendered teens arThe Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson was a book that I wanted more from. For example, although it addresses the fact that transgendered teens are often bullied and are more likely to have mental health issues, I would have liked this to have been done more through showing than telling. As well, despite the book beginning with David wishing that he was a girl, David didn’t end up being as interesting a character as Leo, who appears to have a huge secret for at least half the book. Unfortunately, I knew what this secret was because of the summary on Goodreads so I was frustrated by how long the secret took to be revealed. Finally, I thought that some parts of the story were rushed (e.g. I personally didn’t feel that Leo and David were that close when the two decided to open up to each other) whereas other parts weren’t explored enough (e.g. we never find out Leo’s mother’s side of the story with regards to his dad and how her opening up to Leo then changes Leo’s relationship with her). ...more
Cat Jordan’s The Leaving Season was a book I decided to read because I was in the mood for something predictable. And it was ... until an unexpected pCat Jordan’s The Leaving Season was a book I decided to read because I was in the mood for something predictable. And it was ... until an unexpected plot twist, which kind of ruined the rest of the story for me because it created unnecessary tension. (To be honest, even then there was hardly any drama since Nate is supposed to be a great guy.) I knew going into The Leaving Season that it would be cheesy, but I wish there was more to the plot than Meredith missing Nate and discovering that she’s wrong about Lee’s reputation. I didn’t feel like I got to really connect with the characters, and felt that Meredith’s relationship with Lee was more of a rebound situation than her actually falling in love with him....more
With the rise in gun violence and the issue of gun control in the media, it’s not surprising that Marieke Nijkamp’s This is Where it Ends ended up onWith the rise in gun violence and the issue of gun control in the media, it’s not surprising that Marieke Nijkamp’s This is Where it Ends ended up on my radar. Then, I found out that Nijkamp is an advocate of diversity in YA, and I knew I had to read her book.
Unfortunately, although This is Where it Ends features PoC and gay characters, the characters lacked depth. Also, with the story being narrated from four different viewpoints, it was hard to connect with any of the characters, especially when some of their voices sounded kind of similar. Furthermore, I didn’t like that the main characters were so obviously portrayed to be victims; each had their own sob story, and it was apparent that I was supposed to sympathize with them. I wish Nijkamp could have written This is Where it Ends in such a way that I would have cared about her characters even if they had trivial problems.
In addition to the four viewpoints, there were tweets, texts, and blog posts from students in between chapters, which were unnecessary to the story. The voice, however, that was clearly missing from the story was that of the shooter. Those involved in school shootings often have suffered from years of abuse or have mental health issues – and that appears to be the case with Tyler – but there seems to be some vital information missing in This is Where it Ends. What makes Tyer decide violence is the best solution to his problems? How does a loving brother and boyfriend become capable of so much cruelty in such a short amount of time?
Although I felt that This is Where it Ends wasn’t suspenseful enough and – as cold-hearted as it sounds – didn’t really care about most of the people that died, I did like the ending. There’s a sense of hope that the town of Opportunity will recover from the senseless violence with time....more
Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams started off great as the main character, Ruth, woke up concussed and bound in a truck, unsure of what had happened to heRuthless by Carolyn Lee Adams started off great as the main character, Ruth, woke up concussed and bound in a truck, unsure of what had happened to her. The tension increases once she realizes that she has been abducted by a serial killer. However, the further I delved into Ruthless, the more bored I became with it due to its repetitive plot. The bad guy finds Ruth, she escapes, rinse and repeat. Neither the bad guy nor Ruth seemed very competent in their roles, although I did like Ruth’s determination to survive. ...more
I haven’t had the opportunity to travel much so I love it when books incorporate traveling abroad. It’s too bad then that Jen Malone’s Wanderlost did I haven’t had the opportunity to travel much so I love it when books incorporate traveling abroad. It’s too bad then that Jen Malone’s Wanderlost didn’t do such a great job of making me feel as if I was in Europe since it involved more telling than showing. Also, the chance for Aubree to go on a trip to Europe began with the laughable premise of her perfect older sister being arrested for literally no reason. If you’re in the mood to read something that will make you want to book a trip ASAP, I’d recommend Kirsten Hubbard’s Wanderlove instead....more
Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira was a novel I put on my wishlist as soon as I heard about it because it promised a bookworm as its protagonistBookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira was a novel I put on my wishlist as soon as I heard about it because it promised a bookworm as its protagonist. Sadly, this debut ended up being a disappointing read. I wasn’t a fan of its plot, and thought Bandeira tried too hard to appeal to bookish people.
As mentioned, a huge reason I was compelled to read Bookishly Ever After was because I thought I would instantly connect with the main character. Unfortunately, I ended up finding Phoebe more annoying than charming because she came across as a stereotype. Yes, we bibliophiles love to read and discuss fictional worlds and characters, but our lives don’t only revolve around them!
I also wasn’t expecting the plot to be so driven by the romance. Nothing really happens in the book other than Phoebe doing her best to impress Dev using her favourite heroines’ lines. (There are excerpts from Phoebe’s favourite novels included in Bookishly Ever After, which I felt was unnecessary because it didn’t add anything to the plot.) Moreover, the purpose of the secondary characters only seemed to be to drive the plot along (so it wasn’t surprising that they lacked depth). For example, Phoebe’s best friend is extremely pushy and convinces Phoebe that Dev is right for her, Phoebe’s sister conveniently comes back home from college once in a while to make Phoebe outfits from her favourite books, and to prove that a diverse romantic interest – Dev is Indian – can be handsome, he must be cast into a Bollywood movie....more
Shallow Graves by Kali Wallace began promisingly with the main character talking about killing a man after rising from her grave, having died under myShallow Graves by Kali Wallace began promisingly with the main character talking about killing a man after rising from her grave, having died under mysterious circumstances. It lost steam after that as it turns out that Breezy isn’t one of a kind – there are, in fact, a whole host of other paranormal creatures that exist in the world, unknown to most humans; and they’re being hunted by a cult group for not being human. Combine that with the very slow pacing, characters that weren’t fleshed out, the plot sometimes becoming confusing, and Breezy knowing how she died but refusing to admit to it; and I was bored for most of Shallow Graves....more
My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor was a book that I had in my TBR pile for years, ever since I heard about it in one of my undergraduate neuroMy Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor was a book that I had in my TBR pile for years, ever since I heard about it in one of my undergraduate neuroscience courses. The premise just sounded so cool: a neuroscientist has a stroke and is able to recover and talk about her experience from a neuroscience background. Unfortunately, My Stroke of Insight wasn’t exactly what I expected, Although I liked the first few chapters where Bolte Taylor described what she experienced on the morning of the stroke, how her deterioration related to different brain structures and functions, and strategies that aided in her recovery, the latter section of the memoir focused too much on how she now feels more at one with the universe. The tone during this portion of My Stroke of Insight was just too sappy for me, and I struggled trying to finish the book....more