though I enjoyed Sarah Alderson’s Lila series, I haven’t read any of her books since. So, I had some high expectations for her newest novel, Out of Cothough I enjoyed Sarah Alderson’s Lila series, I haven’t read any of her books since. So, I had some high expectations for her newest novel, Out of Control. Unfortunately, Out of Control turned out to be a rather disappointing read for a few reasons. Firstly, its fast pacing made it hard to learn much about the characters or care about them. Secondly, I found myself getting annoyed by Liva because of her priorities, – I wouldn’t be focused on a guy if there were people trying to kidnap me, – and complaints about her looks (but really, she’s pretty). Lastly, it drove me crazy that the Hispanic characters in Out of Control were portrayed so stereotypically. ...more
Having seen the love for Sarah Fine’s Sanctum series and then the positive reviews for Of Metal and Wishes, I decided to give Fine’s writing a try witHaving seen the love for Sarah Fine’s Sanctum series and then the positive reviews for Of Metal and Wishes, I decided to give Fine’s writing a try with Of Metal and Wishes, a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera.
Of Metal and Wishes is very much a character driven book. While I liked Wen, a girl who learns to look beyond the Itanyai’s prejudices to see the Noor for who they are, and Melik, a Noor who refuses to be cowed by the Itanyai, my favourite character was the complex Ghost. Full of contradictions, I loved how the Ghost could be so kind one minute and then terrifying the next with the amount of power he wielded.
I also liked the romance. Although I thought there might be a love triangle in Of Metal and Wishes, there actually wasn’t one because Wen was only ever interested in Melik. Admittedly, they did develop feelings for each other quite quickly, but I was willing to excuse this because of the cramped and isolating conditions of the slaughterhouse.
Where Of Metal and Wishes could have been better developed, however, was the worldbuilding. Not only was little revealed about the world beyond the slaughterhouse, but there wasn’t a firm time period established either because while the conditions of the slaughterhouse had a historical feel, the machinery described in the outside world appeared to be more modern. Hopefully, the sequel will clear up some of my questions about the worldbuilding. ...more
Through the use of music and a loosely defined world of Limbo, Claire Legrand’s The Year of Shadows explores the themes of loss, friendship, and lonelThrough the use of music and a loosely defined world of Limbo, Claire Legrand’s The Year of Shadows explores the themes of loss, friendship, and loneliness in a manner suitable for MG readers. Consider for example the protagonist: Olivia. During a time of recession, many tweens will be able to relate to Olivia’s situation of having their parents be stressed about their finances. Although I found The Year of Shadows to be a solid read, I couldn’t help repeatedly comparing it to Legrand’s other novel, The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, which I thought was more engaging. ...more
In comparison to Eileen Cook’s previous books, I’d have to say that her latest novel, Year of Mistaken Discoveries, is probably the most serious in toIn comparison to Eileen Cook’s previous books, I’d have to say that her latest novel, Year of Mistaken Discoveries, is probably the most serious in tone. The subdued humour wasn’t what I was expecting, but I appreciated that Cook decided to try something new.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t get fully invested into the story because it involved more telling than showing. We also don’t get to know Nora very intimately, and so her death had little impact on me.
Furthermore, I couldn’t connect with Avery or Brody. In the case of Avery, I think this can partly be attributed to the fact that she herself doesn’t know who she is. Brody, on the other hand, seemed like a guy that I would easily like since he was sweet and honest … but, something just seemed to be missing to make him come alive off the pages.
I really liked the last few chapters of the novel however. Although Avery’s search for her birth mother progressed easily and in an unrealistic manner, the result of her search was unexpected and made her – and the reader – reflect on the definition of family....more
Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton had a completely outrageous but fun plot. I liked that there was plenty of action and an ending that I wasn’t expectTwo Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton had a completely outrageous but fun plot. I liked that there was plenty of action and an ending that I wasn’t expecting. I also really liked Kari and the secondary characters. Lacey and Evan both made me laugh, and seven-year-old Charlie, Kari’s brother, was pretty cute. As well, although the synopsis makes it seem like there may be a love triangle in Two Lies and a Spy, I liked that that didn’t end up being the case. Kari never veered from having a crush on Luke, but since we really don’t see much of him, I don't know how I feel about him. ...more
In my early days of blogging, I saw quite a few positive reviews for Jenny Han’s Summer series. But since the premise of the series never appealed toIn my early days of blogging, I saw quite a few positive reviews for Jenny Han’s Summer series. But since the premise of the series never appealed to me, I haven’t read any of her books until now. Given the synopsis, I was expecting To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before to be a very romance-centric novel, but was pleasantly surprised to find out it focused equally on family.
I loved the Covey family and wouldn’t hesitate to be adopted by them! I just felt the family dynamics, particularly the relationship between siblings, was portrayed so realistically. As the eldest child, I have no idea how true to life Lara Jean’s relationship with her older sister, Margot, is; but the relationship she has with her younger sister, Kitty, is definitely very accurate. Like Lara Jean, though I got along with my younger siblings most of the time, we did fight and get great glee out of annoying each other.
Moving on to Lara Jean as a character, I found her to be a bit immature and naïve at times. But at other moments, I could completely relate to her thoughts and experiences. For example, the way Lara Jean describes her driving is pretty much how I feel when I drive, which probably explains why I still only have my G1 license.
The romance was the weakest aspect of the book for me. I just couldn’t support Lara Jean’s feelings for Josh, Margot’s ex, at the beginning of the novel, and later on, thought he acted way too much like a jealous boyfriend. As Lara Jean began to hang out more with Peter to try and get over her feelings for Josh, I ended up slowly liking Peter. The open ending kind of ruined how I felt about him though because (view spoiler)[when someone – it’s unclear who, but I’m assuming it’s Peter’s ex-girlfriend – spreads rumours about Lara Jean being a slut, Peter doesn’t defend Lara Jean, a fact she somehow forgets. Also, it just seemed like Peter and Lara Jean randomly decided that they had feelings for each other and were over the people they liked, yet their actions suggested otherwise. (hide spoiler)]
After I ended up loving both Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer, Morgan Matson quickly joined my list of contemporary authors I woulAfter I ended up loving both Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour and Second Chance Summer, Morgan Matson quickly joined my list of contemporary authors I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. So, I was thrilled when I received an ARC of her newest novel, Since You’ve Been Gone, for review because it shortened my need to wait for its release.
In a well-ordered universe, here are five reasons (in no particular order) why you should get your hands on a copy of Since You’ve Been Gone:
1) The realistic depiction of friendship: I thought Matson did a fabulous job of showing a friendship from a variety of different angles. For example, through Emily’s thoughts, you see Sloane portrayed ideally whereas through flashbacks, you come to learn some of Sloane’s faults. When combined with Sloane's list of dares and the ending, the flashbacks also enable the reader to understand how important their friendship is to both girls.
2) The protagonist: I found Emily really easy to relate to because her personality is similar to mine. The way she reacts and the choices she makes are ones that I could see myself making too if I were placed in the same situation.
3) The slow personal growth: Accomplishing Sloane’s list of dares causes Emily to change in a very natural way, and it’s only at the end of the novel that you realize just how much she has grown over the course of the summer.
4) The secondary characters: I loved that they seemed like real people and were complex. For example, though Collins is Emily’s friend, he is also simultaneously jealous of her friendship with Frank, his best friend, because it means that he gets to spend less time with Frank.
5) The romance: Although I didn’t completely love the romance because (view spoiler)[Frank still had a girlfriend when he hooked up with Emily (hide spoiler)], I did like how it developed. I found the transition from the two being acquaintances to friends to something more to be very nicely paced.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Having enjoyed Sarah Ockler’s previous books, I was looking forward to reading #scandal. Sadly, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.
First, the rHaving enjoyed Sarah Ockler’s previous books, I was looking forward to reading #scandal. Sadly, it just didn’t live up to my expectations.
First, the romance was set up in a weird way. Not only did #scandal begin with Cole and Lucy hooking up and having feelings for each other, but the two were forced to go to prom together by Lucy’s best friend, Ellie, who didn’t tell Lucy that she and Cole had broken up. So, while I was trying to figure out how I should feel about Lucy and Cole as a couple (because I barely knew anything about Cole or Lucy as individuals or Cole and Ellie as a couple), I was also wondering why somebody would agree to pretend to still be dating their ex. On top of that, you’ve got two girls claiming to be best friends, yet keeping huge secrets from each other.
As the novel progressed, it became clear that the romance wouldn’t be a highlight of #scandal. Cole was barely around (because Lucy kept avoiding him since she felt guilty about hooking up with him); and when he was present, I just found the way that he and Lucy interacted to lack chemistry.
Another aspect of #scandal that could have been great had it been written differently was the cyberbullying element. I never really connected with Lucy, and it didn’t help that she refused to stand up for herself despite being given opportunities for doing so. I also found it very strange that the school administrators didn’t investigate the issue more but simply decided that Lucy was the bully. Even after realizing that she wasn’t the perpetrator, an apology wasn’t given; instead, the principal decided to use Lucy as an example and made her do a presentation about the effects of cyberbullying.
A book that took me far too long to finish!...more
I found Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, an older Eileen Cook novel, to be a bit more enjoyable. Although I couldn’t understand why Helen would still hI found Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood, an older Eileen Cook novel, to be a bit more enjoyable. Although I couldn’t understand why Helen would still hold a grudge against Lauren years after having moved away, I’m always game for a story involving revenge. Unfortunately, Helen’s revenge tactics turned out to be pretty petty.
I did like Helen’s voice though and the fact that Cook showed that getting revenge may not actually make you happier. Sometimes it’s better to concentrate your energy on yourself rather than on others. I just wish the story could have concluded differently because you never find out what type of consequences – other than the fact that her friends sure got over being used quite fast – Helen faced due to her actions. This was one novel where I could have used an epilogue!...more