OK,it's official.I absolutely love Sara Shepard!I adore her series, Pretty Little Liars ,and honestly,I was expecting a lot from The Lying Game and itOK,it's official.I absolutely love Sara Shepard!I adore her series, Pretty Little Liars ,and honestly,I was expecting a lot from The Lying Game and it definitely didn't disappoint!
Emma is a foster home kid who has never stayed in one place for very long.Descriptions of her bad and sometimes violent foster parents make you really think of what these kids go through from a very young age through no fault of their own.In Emma's case, her mother Becky abandoned her when she was little and even though Emma could have grown up to be bitter and mean,she fought through it and became this amiable and kind-hearted girl.When she finds out she has an identical twin,Sutton,she secretly hopes for a new life and a shot at happiness. However, when she starts impersonating Sutton and living her life, she soon realises that things are not at all what they seem and that her happiness will take a lot longer than she thought.
Shepard's unbelievably meandering writing still continues to amaze me!You never know what will happen next and I know that most of you are going "Yeah, yeah,OK!We've read a mystery book or two,we know what to expect".Believe me,you really don't!Every time you start to devise a theory in your head of what might have happened, bam!next chapter comes and it completely changes your whole perspective, all the while making you start thinking of another possible scenario.I loved the idea of Sutton's narrative along with Emma's.It was like one person with two minds thinking completely different things.It was different and unique and also kinda creepy,if you ask me :)
The Lying Game had plenty of mystery, tons of twists, a pinch of romance and a whole load of awesome!If you enjoyed reading the Pretty Little Liars series, I'm absolutely sure you'll devour this one! A definite must read! ...more
I don't think you can go wrong picking up a dystopian novel at this point. After the Hunger Games obsession it is only natural that other amazing4,5/5
I don't think you can go wrong picking up a dystopian novel at this point. After the Hunger Games obsession it is only natural that other amazing post-apocalyptic stories are gonna spring up. One of those, is Divergent.
After people realised that religion, race, political ideology are not the actual reasons for the existence of a warring world, but man's innate ability to screw up basically, his inclination towards evil, they decided to divide the world into factions, each targeting at eliminating the factors that led to its destruction. The factions are 5: Amity-eradicating aggression, Erudite-eradicating ignorance, Candor-eradicating dishonesty, Abnegation-eradicating selfishness and Dauntless-eradicating cowardice. Each member of the community when sixteen, undergoes a test to help them decide their "calling", to which faction it is believed they would be more suitable for. After that, a ceremony takes place during which each of them is called forth to publicly declare their final choice of faction.
I know right?And you don't know the half of it!This is only the start of a long journey the characters in Divergent have to embark in order to discover the origins of their system's corruption, in the hopes of finding a piece of their true selves along the way.
Divergent was quite a ride and I loved every minute of it! Call me superficial, gullible, whatever, but I never stop and analyze the world building when it comes to dystopian novels. I mean unless the world building consists only of "The old ones died somehow. We are here now. I'm in love with him" I'm OK with anything they throw at me. I don't care if it sounds totally impossible or irrational. It's dystopian. Being irrational and impossible are kind of a "must".
That being said, I don't think that Divergent's world is irrational or far-fetched at all. Quite the contrary, actually. It sounds freakishly possible and doable. And the most terrible thing of all is that even though the people in Divergent had humanity's best interest at heart, and I truly believe they did at first, they still managed to screw it up because they are only human themselves and humans will always, always, have a thirst for power and superiority no matter how good their intentions are. That I believe is the message Divergent is trying to get across. A bit sad, I know, but very true.
Characters were all OK. There was plenty of room for development and Roth used it all perfectly. Apart from the protagonists, Tris and Tobias, who obviously get most of the reader's attention, secondary characters are also very well drawn. Especially Tris's friends in Dauntless whose initial fondness of Tris started wavering when they realised she's a force to be reckoned with and not just a shy, helpless little Abnegation girl.
What I didn't like about Divergent, and I really hope I won't get publicly flogged for this, was its length and consequentially the fact that it dragged at times. Especially in the beginning, all the Dauntless training was heavily detailed and unfortunately didn't help the story move forward. Which inevitably led to all the actual action taking place at the last 60 pages or so.
Apart from that though, I would recommend Divergent in a heartbeat. Brace yourselves, it's brutal. But I think that's a big part of its appeal. I strongly believe that Divergent IS the next Hunger Games. Read it! ...more
Wither blew me away!! I can't even stress enough how amazing this book is. In all honesty though, I was terrified of reading it! I was so sure I'd endWither blew me away!! I can't even stress enough how amazing this book is. In all honesty though, I was terrified of reading it! I was so sure I'd end up wasting precious hours of my life reading yet another over-hyped, bland debut novel. What I experienced while reading Wither was, fortunately, a far cry from that!
First of all I have to openly state that Lauren's writing is beyond incredible! Such depth and maturity, especially for someone so young and this being her debut novel and all, is very hard to find. She far exceeded my expectations and believe me, this is not an easy book to write! I also loved the whole period and historical feel to Wither, even though it takes place in the future. So, many congrats to Lauren because she totally deserves it and because she simply rocks :)
Now, to the story. The story behind Wither is a dark, gloomy tale about a girl, Rhine, trying to escape her destiny, which is already decided for her not only by nature, but also by man. She is kidnapped and along with two other girls, are forced to marry someone, Linden, for the soul purpose of reproduction. The 3 of them, Linden , his father, Mr.Vaughn, who is a scientist and some servants, live in a secluded mansion. The girls are purposely cut off from the outside world, stoically waiting the day they die.
Rhine is a character who undoubtedly deserves the title "protagonist". She is such an overwhelming presence, you can feel her emotions oozing from the pages, sorrow, anger, happiness. I loved how Lauren chose to portray her human side as well, and all its defects. Like when she finds herself feeling jealous when other women look at her husband, even though she claims to despise him, or when she momentarily thinks that maybe the life she lives isn't that bad after all.
I had no problem whatsoever reading about "sister wives" and their relationship, as some people seem to have had. Don't get me wrong, I still find the whole situation disturbing and degrading. However, I think they were far worse things happening in the book that not only was I not appalled by the polygamist lifestyle and what it entails, but I found myself admiring the true and honest friendship these girls had, even under such dire circumstances. You know they too are victims of Mr.Vaughn's dangerous ambitions and can't but feel sorry for them and the way the are forced to live their short life.
The character that surprised me the most though, was Linden. Lauren turned the tables on us halfway though the book, showing a side to Linden I never thought possible(again, my hat's off to you, Lauren!). I don't know if I am even allowed to say that he is as much a victim as the girls, seeing that his father uses him to get what he wants whilst keeping him happily ignorant, because that would be completely unfair to the girls and what they were subjected to because of said ignorance. Then again, I found myself feeling so sorry for him and his wasted life. Because he had dreams too, he must have. Only to find out someday that he is gonna die at 25 and that his life's only goal is to procreate. His actions and decisions are so debatable, that even now that I'm writing this I am completely torn.
Finally, I admit that I struggled with this review. Turns out I am not very good at praising because I can't seem to find the right words. I really hope I did found some for Wither though, because it totally deserves it! Highly recommended, especially to those who loved The Forest Of Hands And Teeth....more
Loved loved loved the penultimate installment in the Private series! I can't believe 1. that I actually said "penultimate" and 2. that there's only onLoved loved loved the penultimate installment in the Private series! I can't believe 1. that I actually said "penultimate" and 2. that there's only one book left till the end of the series :( :(
Book Of Spells led the path for Ominous, as it's full of magic, witches, dreams of the future. Ominous went to a totally different direction than the rest of the Private books, because a small, tiny little piece of paranormal was added in it. I know that rubbed some people the wrong way, and it's understandable. After 12 books about frenemies, parties, boys and a lot of mystery, all of a sudden magic has been thrown in and I can see why someone may not care for it. Personally, I didn't mind. Having already read Book Of Spells I was kind of expecting it, to be honest. Besides, I thought that the magic part was put into much better use in Ominous than BOS, thus resulting into more intrigue and "OMG" moments.
I loved the way this book kinda sums up everything that have happened during this 1+1/2 year of Reeds's stay at Easton. Cheyenne, Sabine, even our beloved Ariana made an "appearance". Reed's relationships with the other girls didn't change, nor did her relationship with Josh (and it better stay that way till the end, otherwise I'll freak out :) Yeah, I kinda love Josh. And so admire him for his patience, because what he went through(and still is)with Reed? I think he should win a medal for that or something! He is absolutely amazing and I really really hope they stay together until the very end.
As for the ending....priceless!!! Just when you think that OK mystery solved, end of story, close the book, then it goes and surprises you in a way you have to read to believe!
All in all, I absolutely loved Ominous, I read it in one sitting. I am so so so sad that this series is coming to an end (what's next? College? I surely hope so!) but also very excited to read the last book, Vengeance, coming out September 6th, 2011....more
The Girl Who Was On Fire-Movie Edition contains all the awesomeness of the first edition of The Girl Who Was On Fire, plus three brand new essays fromThe Girl Who Was On Fire-Movie Edition contains all the awesomeness of the first edition of The Girl Who Was On Fire, plus three brand new essays from Brent Hartinger, Jackson Pearce, and Diana Peterfreund, which I will discuss separately.
Brent Hartinger: Did the third book suck? Brent talks about his disappointment in the last book of the series, Mockingjay, but also tries to support people who liked it. I agree with Brent's opinion, more or less. I am one of the many (few?) who didn't like the Hunger Games ending. For completely different reasons that anyone else it seems, but I was disappointed nonetheless.
"There's apparently a fine line between "reluctant hero" and "cliche angst-y teen"
Agree 100%. That's why I think Katniss's reactions, emotions and behavior became so over the top, so melodramatic if you will, in the last book. Everyone is obsessed over her, and she can't help but think that she is indeed the centre and cause of everything. Yes, she is important to the world of Panem, no question about it. However, not THAT important that would justify her thinking that everything that happens in her dystopia world happens because of her. I also agree about Brent's take on the love triangle. If you're looking for tormented lovers, pick another YA book, there're a lot of them about with that particular theme. Agreed, the Hunger Games trilogy is not at all about Katniss's love life, far from it actually. Or...at least it shouldn't have been. I've said this a million times: if you don't want readers, especially YA readers, to have romance-centered expectations, DO NOT ADD AN ANGSTY LOVE TRIANGLE. It's that simple. "Cheap" tricks like that are so beyond Hunger Games. Its amazing story spoke for itself, it didn't need anything else. If you want to add some romance to lighten the mood, sure, by all means. But choose a guy for Katniss to love and find comfort in. Not two guys. If you chose the latter, you have to prepare for the backlash, which is unfortunately unavoidable. When you add a love triangle in a book, you automatically split your fan-base into two sides. That means that in the end, you can only fully satisfy the one side, if that. If you want to talk numbers, that's approximately 50% of the readers. Why go through that? Why not target at 100%? I just don't get it.
Finally, the one thing that I don't agree with Brent is that The Hunger Games world is not morally grey. There is nothing grey and in-between about it. It's pitch black and corrupt to the core, and if that makes me a cynic, so be it.
Jackson Pearce: Gale: Knight, Cowboy, Badass
"Katniss wants to run away with those she loves, because her family, her inner circle, is more important to her that the general populace" Gale flatly tells Katniss " Don't you see? It can't be about just saving "us" anymore. Not if the rebellion's begun!"
Yes! Finally! Jackson very accurately compares the altruism and selflessness that describes a knight's, a hero's life, to Katniss's who from the very beginning declares that her family is her first priority. Gale does love his family obviously, but he loves the cause more. I couldn't agree more. I don't know if that makes one character more likable than the other, what I do know however, is that visionaries and people who want to change the world have to put the greater good before themselves and their families and the people they love. If you want to lead a revolution, you have to put the populace's interests before yours. It doesn't work any other way. If your plan is to fight to save your ass, you're gonna fail and fail and fail. Or you're gonna succeed but you'll be no hero. There's this scene in Mockingjay I will never forget. The bombing in destrict 13 had started and everyone had rushed to the shelter except for Prim, who was not far behind. They had to close the door however, because they couldn't risk getting hit. Katnisss ordered for the door to stay open until Prim came, jeopardizing the life of everyone that was in the shelter. Did she care? Not in the least. Would she had done it for anyone else? Absolutely not. So, you realise, you cannot possibly do that, and still call yourself a hero. Cruel but true. For me, and for Jackson apparently, Gale is the real hero in the Hunger Games series. The leader of the revolution, willing to put his life on the line to save others. Finally, again, couldn't agree more when Jackson says that without Gale there would be no meadow for Katniss and Peeta's children to play at the end of Mockingjay: "He's the reason the series had a happy ending".
"Peeta, with all his domesticated ador- ableness, is a man, whereas Gale is an archetype—someone pos- sible to lust over, possible to care for, possible to love, but fundamentally impossible to settle down with." How right you are, Jackson. How right you are.
Diana Peterfreund: Hunger Game Theory Diana writes a very illuminating essay about game strategy, its origins and its various sides and uses. Playing a game of two players entails a certain amount of thinking and strategizing if you want to win, or at least accomplish the best outcome for you. That's what Diana's essay is about, how two people's game strategies are connected and how one cannot possibly exist without the other.
She refers to Harry Potter's Quidditch and Ender's Game Battle School game. What first came to my mind when reading the Hunger Games is Battle Royale. For those of you who haven't heard of it, Battle Royale is a novel by Koushun Takami. It takes place in Japan, in an alternate timeline. Under the guise of a "study trip", a group of students are gassed on a bus, and then wake up in an evacuated school in a deserted island. They learn that they have been placed in an event called the Program. Officially a military research project, it is a means of terrorizing the population, of creating such paranoia as to make organized insurgency impossible. According to the rules, every year since 1947, 42 third-year high school students are isolated, and each student is required to fight to the death until one student remains. Their movements are tracked by metal collars, which contain tracking and listening devices. If any student should attempt to escape the Program, or enter declared forbidden zones, a bomb will be detonated in the collar, killing the wearer. If no one dies in a 24 hour time period, there will be no winner and all collars will be detonated simultaneously. After being briefed about the Program, the students are issued survival packs that include a map, compass, flashlight, food and water, and a random weapon or other item, which may be anything from a gun to a paper fan(summary mostly taken from Wiki). Many argue that Battle Royale is more violent and bloody than the Hunger Games. Is it though? "Win or lose. Kill or be killed. Every man for himself." I think Diana answered my question.
"The only way to win the game is not to play at all"
I think the above phrase pretty much sums up the whole series. Diana reminds us what Haymitch told Katniss in Mockingjay, that they were all "still in the game". Whatever they do, it doesn't stop. It just goes around and around and around and for what? People never win, districts never win, it's always the Capitol. So the best strategy is to not have one, meaning not to play at all. I think that's what Katniss and Peeta realised when they thought about eating the berries, shaking the system to its core. Great analytical essay on game theory based on psychological examples and politics. ...more
These are my thoughts on If I Stay AND Where She Went
When a friend of mine gave me Where She Went, I still hadn't picked up If I Stay, although I hadThese are my thoughts on If I Stay AND Where She Went
When a friend of mine gave me Where She Went, I still hadn't picked up If I Stay, although I had heard awesome things about it. So, I read If I Stay first and I thought it was good, I liked it. The story behind it is very very sad, it's not for the faint-hearted. I fell in love with Mia's family so I was completely devastated when the accident happened. I am not sure I particularly liked Mia, though. I think she came off as needy and selfish at times, especially when it came to her relationship with her boyfriend, Adam. She acted like she was spoiled, which we know for a fact she wasn't, judging by her loving and cool parents and the way they raised her. So, I can't figure out what exactly went on with Mia. She seemed to have everything and be happy but still was unsatisfied for some reason, I think, like she wanted more.
Right after I finished If I Stay, I picked up Where She Went. I hadn't read the summary, so I was caught by surprise to see that it was written from Adam's POV. Where She Went takes place a couple of years I think since Mia's recovery. Adam and his band is a world wide success now and Mia is doing very good in her career as a cellist. They had broken up after Mia left for New York and Adam is still crushed by it. Where She Went is exactly that: Adam's torment, as he tries to figure out the reasons behind Mia's cruel goodbye. To say that I loved this book, will surely be an understatement. I was totally heart broken by the end, even though it was a satisfactory one, and it definitely is a book I will never forget. Adam's voice was so unique, like nothing I have read before. Is it because he is a guy and I am not used to it in YA books? Maybe. Or maybe it was what he said that moved me, things that you rarely hear from a guy. We find out that what Mia and he had in high school was not a simple crush, which I guess we already knew from If I Stay. What we didn't know was that their break-up, initiated by Mia, would cost him so. He seems completely broken and trying to put his life together was very hard for him, only to realize that he is still not alright. He knows well enough that it's only Mia who can feel the void in his heart and soul and what he regrets most is not having a chance to tell her that. Until he meets her again. And they talk. They argue. They cry. They laugh. And in the end they both confess what has been eating away at them all this time, leading to a catharsis they were both aching for.
Ugh, I am so not good at speaking highly of something and all the praising words can't do this book justice. I LOVED it and it will always be embedded on my mind. If you still haven't read If I Stay and Where She Went, please please do! You'll be doing yourself a favour!...more