OK, I literally just changed my review from three to four and back to three and back to four stars, and then finally settled on three.
So I rememberedOK, I literally just changed my review from three to four and back to three and back to four stars, and then finally settled on three.
So I remembered really liking the first one a lot. This one... I like a lot less. The first book was all about this world-changing, life-ending love. A love that literally changes the world over and over and over again. A love that has stood since the beginning of time, a love that has survived eternal damnation. Then, in this book, Luce isn't sure she even likes him anymore. Sure, she LOVES him, but she just doesn't like him anymore. She's petulant, picking fights with him every time she gets a chance to see him and sulking and staying mad at him over every little thing, real or perceived. She kisses another guy, she pulls away from him, she is just plain ANNOYING. I thought "torment" referred to their inability to really be together, considering the circumstances of the end-of-days-war that is coming, but "torment" refers to her inability to put her delicate, teenager-y feelings on hold for two seconds and appreciate what she has.
I also didn't love the change of venue. It took me the better part of the first book to get accustomed to the cobbled together campus of Sword and Cross, to get all the characters straight in my mind. Then we start this new book with a whole new location and a whole new set of characters. Most sequels have the benefit of a familiar setting and a familiar cast of characters and can therefore dive right into the meat of the story (in other words- the ACTION and the ROMANCE). This sequel did not. We again spent nearly half a book learning about campus, teachers, students, schedules and expectations that came with this new setting, and it caused the entire story to feel sodden and sluggish.
Once things got rolling, however, I began to enjoy the book much more. The "glimpses" into Luce's previous lives were very interesting- I wish there had been more of them! I liked that we finally saw the REAL downside that came with this love story; the pain of everyone in Luce's life, the shock and loss that occurred over and over again. I liked the new friends, I liked the new teachers. I even liked the kid who has a crush on Luce. However, is it too much to ask that unrequited love remain unrequited in a YA novel? Why must all the female protagonists stray from their true love and go kissing some other guy who they know they don't share the same feelings for? I don't get it.
I just wish Kate had found a way to introduce these things without starting a whole new location. Most of the student body and staff at Sword and Cross had been "in" on the secret, why couldn't we just act as though S&C was really the Nephilim training ground- it would have made things simpler and picked up the pace A LOT.
I knew the battle at the end was coming a long way before it actually got there, and it was nice to feel the tension ratcheting up as the story moved along. It was well done and well controlled- not too much tension, but enough that you knew something big was coming and that Thanksgiving wasn't just going to be Thanksgiving.
In the end, I liked it well enough to be looking forward to the next book in the series, but I just didn't love it as much as I had hoped I would. I really, really hope Luce gets her head on straight and figures out what the heck she wants in the next book.
Parental Advisories: Sex 1/5: Some heavy kissing, hands under shirt hems, and a brief, discreet reference to a long-ago nighttime fling.
Language 3/5: I don't remember the language in the first being this strong, though I'd have to go check my last review to be sure. Since the story revolves around fallen angels, there's a lot of hell and damn and all their derivatives. But the S-word and the b-word are thrown around kind of a lot, too. More than I expected.
Violence 3/5: There's a lot of arrow-shooting, angels and demons are destroyed, a man is stabbed with a tree branch and then tied to an anchor and thrown into the ocean. A girl is pulled under the water by a mysterious evil force. A girl is kidnapped, but unharmed. Luce develops the ability to look into the past and sees several scenes of death and destruction. The burning of Soddom and Gommorah is depicted.
Substance Abuses 1/5: Brief mention of adults drinking in Las Vegas and at a posh holiday-type party. Nobody gets drunk, and the kids don't partake.
The marketing line on the front of this books says it is "for fans of The Hunger Games" and that line could not be more accurate... unless they said iThe marketing line on the front of this books says it is "for fans of The Hunger Games" and that line could not be more accurate... unless they said it was for fans of "I Am Legend," because while the pacing and the general feel of the story is very Hunger Games-ish, the story itself feels like it is I Am Legend, just being told from the point of view of somebody else. No matter, because both of those are very entertaining, and I enjoyed this book immensely.
THIS is how dystopian fiction should be written: the entire breakdown of society has occurred. There was a disease of some kind, the CDC ordered an evacuation, and those with the "luxury" of being able to leave, left. The cities then degenerated with this disease with the poor, the infirm and the uneducated left behind; many went underground (literally- into the transportation tunnels and sewer systems), others gave into their more feral tendencies and joined gangs for protection who, in turn, preyed on the weaker: the families, the individuals, the elderly. Nobody lives to an old age because the world is too dangerous (NOT because there's a mysterious virus that kills you on your 20th birthday).
I can't tell you any of this story without giving away too much of the plot, but I'll give you some tidbits. There is a controlling, pseudo-government that heavily regulates the decisions of everyone within the enclave. Outside the enclave, there are zombie-type "freaks" who pose a constant threat to every living person in the world- these "freaks" enjoy eating human flesh more than anything in the world. There are several fight-for-your life scenes, a long trek, hidden societies, legends passed down from "before the world was broken." It is a gripping read, to say the very least.
I also want to point out how talented Aguirre is; she manages to describe most of our world without using any of our common, modern day vocabulary. She describes things like freezers, roads, slickers and zippers without using any of our common terminology. Her characters weren't raised "in" our world, so they don't know anything about our everyday items, but they come across many of them. She uses detailed, but not overly wordy descriptions to convey these images to you without breaking the illusion of the world she has built. Brilliantly done.
I also love that even though these characters are young-ish (they don't say specifically, but I would guess they are very late teens, maybe early twenties), they don't behave with any of the angst that often seems requisite in YA novels. Because their lives are short; they become adults much more quickly. They have been given responsibilities, and they shoulder those responsibilities proudly. There's no whining, moping or "why me"-ing. They simply saddle up and move out... figuratively speaking, of course... there are no horses in this story.
Parental Advisories Language 0/5: Nothing.
Sex 1/5: Some people are assigned the role of "breeding" and the act is obscurely referenced a time or two. "I'm not trying to breed with you"- things like that. We meet a female character who lets us know- in not so many words- that she was repeatedly gang raped. All sexual talk is very, very subtle.
Violence 4/5: The warriors spar with each other. The warriors hunt zombies. The warriors battle a group of zombies; this scene happens multiple times, in multiple settings and with varying outcomes. A girl is murdered. Gang fights break out, a couple is attacked. Multiple fist fights. A young man is hunted by younger gang members, and many fights break out during the hunt. The zombie-freaks are flesh eaters, and there are a couple scenes of them eating humans, both alive and dead. Some ceremonial wounds are made on a couple of characters. The gore is never overly graphic, but the violence is omni-present, and death is a constant companion in this story.
Substance Abuses 0/5: They are barely scrambling to survive- there's certainly no partying going on. ...more
It's official: I've become a fan of Michelle Moran. All thanks to my friend Suzanne who brought "Nefertiti" to book club.
I love how she chooses a chaIt's official: I've become a fan of Michelle Moran. All thanks to my friend Suzanne who brought "Nefertiti" to book club.
I love how she chooses a character who is a front-row witness to the action but is not actually involved in the action. Marie (aka Madame Tussaud) is a tutor to the royal family and a renown artist/celebrity of sorts, so she has access to information and events that others of the time would not have. However, she's not personally invested in either the royal family (she's not of noble birth) or the revolution (she has plenty to eat and feels safe in her home) and as such is privy to details and conversations from both worlds. As Moran says, "It didn't hurt that her father was friends with some of the greatest influences of the day." The men who penned the Rights of Man and the French constitution ate dinner with Marie's family on a regular basis.
I love how she "fills in the gaps." She has hard, incontrovertible fact as the basis for her story, but she fills it in with personal details: relationships, personalities, conversations and thoughts. What is dull and confusing in a history text comes alive as we feel a person living it, firsthand.
I love her author's notes. She spends considerable time explaining where truth was blended with fantasy to create a plausible reality, and which events and conversations were true and documented, and which ones were fabricated to create a fluid storyline.
This particular story was especially fascinating, given the political climate here in the States right now. (If I hear one more person say "The wealth gap is worse now in the US than it has ever been anywhere in the world" I will probably barf) The French Revolution was basically an Occupy Wall Street Movement (Occupy Versailles?) that was more justified in its existence but then went completely overboard, abusing its own power and terrorizing its people. A cautionary tale for our times if ever there was one.
I don't normally do this, but I actually flagged several quotes that I loved and want to share with you: (these quotes are all fabricated, as far as I know) "A republic is undoubtedly the way forth... but will men be willing to govern themselves, or is it more convenient to hand the reins of power to someone who promises free bread and wine?" - Thomas Jefferson
"They want to believe in the king's cruelty. It's easier than believing that God and Nature are starving them to death." - a coachman, on the lies people tell each other regarding the royals
"He wants equality for all, even if that means we are all living in the dust. And he will get it, Marie. He will achieve equality if that means cutting off every single head." - Lucille Desmoulins, wife of Camille Desmoulins a revolutionary and journalist
This one is real, not just spoken by a character: "I predict future happiness for Americans,if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them." - Thomas Jefferson
And, finally, I have to point out that reading this book made me want to go and do more research on the subject. I read about Marie Tussaud, her family and her friends. I read more about King Louis and Marie Antoinette (though I have done considerable reading about them in the past; a curious fascination of mine). I refreshed my memory and put old information into a new context.
And that, my friends, is the whole point of a book like this: to point us toward the true history.
Language 2/5: Damn, Hell, a b-word and several sexually based slurs for women
Sex 3/5: Discreet conversations about "loss of virtue" and inappropriate relationships. Mistresses abound, but are scorned for their impropriety. A vague reference is made to methods of romance that don't risk pregnancy. Female prisoners are told that if they become pregnant, their executions will be postponed until after they deliver the baby, so they spend time with the male prisoners. Actual actions are never described; it's all very hush-hush and fade-to-black. Rumors regarding the queen's decadent sexual escapades are described.
Violence 5/5: It's a war. Shooting, canons, explosions, sabres, swords, axes and every manner of weaponry imaginable. The Reign of Terror is also documented, thus the guillotine is prominently featured. The revolutionaries were angry and vicious, and their battles were gruesome, even by wartime standards. Rape is also a common fear, though it's never shown. A lengthy conversation is had with the Marquis de Sade regarding the sexual violence he inflicted on others, sometimes children.
Substance Abuses 1/5: Wine is served with dinner and at parties. ...more
I've read other reviews of this, and while they are all right, I also think they are mostly wrong.
Let me explain.
For the most part, this book is beiI've read other reviews of this, and while they are all right, I also think they are mostly wrong.
Let me explain.
For the most part, this book is being criticized for, put simply, not being as good as the first. And this is where I think people misunderstand the word "different" and think it must be either "better" or "worse." I'm going to refer to this as Catching-Fire-Syndrome. After devouring Hunger Games, most people moved on to Catching Fire, which was exactly as fast paced and plot driven as the first. And many sequels, particularly in the YA world (although adult authors are not immune to this behavior) churned out sequels that were nearly indistinguishable from their predecessors, creating series that, over time, become stale.
However, most sequels don't- can't- function that way. They have to change. They have to either give more (more danger, more information, more character development, more something) or less (less character time, less mystery, less something). Which is exactly what Crossed did: it gave us less story in exchange for more character development. It delved deeper into the poetry and- dare I say it- literary world, away from the violent and political dystopian landscape we are accustomed to.
I liked it. I found it a welcome respite from the go-go-go pace that these YA dystopians usually offer us. A break in the middle of the story, giving us greater insight into the main characters' minds and setting the stage for what will be the final scene. We know where Cassia, Ky and Xander all are, both literally and figuratively. We didn't know any of this at the end of Matched. We now know their minds, we know their secrets, and we know their intentions. And that is worth the "lack" of story that so many are complaining about in regards to this book.
Flaws? Sure. The switching of POV was lackluster; each voice sounded like the other and lacked its own style and personality (although, after reading Game of Thrones and Martin's flawless execution of this device, I doubt I will ever hold another author's attempt in high regard again). The motives of the Society are incompletely explained, even for this stage of the game. So little is revealed that I almost don't care; and I really doubt that's Condie's intention.
However, the pros well outweigh the cons here. Condie has found a voice and a niche heretofore unexplored in YA dystopia, and I find it a welcome departure.
PARENTAL ADVISORIES Language 0/5: I don't remember any.
Violence 2/5: Guns and bombs, but they're always talked about or shown in the background. It's never up close and personal, and we don't get graphic descriptions of wounds.
Sex 1/5: Kissing, some of it fairly passionate and some talk of "I wish we could just be together for one night" type of stuff.
Alright, this one finally broke the magical streak from Sophie Kinsella. This one was OK, and certainly not nearly as fun as the Shopaholic, RememberAlright, this one finally broke the magical streak from Sophie Kinsella. This one was OK, and certainly not nearly as fun as the Shopaholic, Remember Me? or Can You Keep a Secret? that I've read recently (OK, Shopaholic wasn't recent, but the other two were), though I'm sure my personal preferences are at play here.
First off, I don't like fish-out-of-water comedies. I like them even less when the fish is out of water due to their own dishonesty. Kindergarten Cop, Enchanted and Big are a lot funnier than things like White Chicks or Just One of the Guys. It's funnier and more relatable when the new, uncomfortable scenario is thrust on the main character without their input/knowledge/efforts. I don't know why, but somebody lying and then complaining about the situation they're left in, when they deliberately went out of their way to be there is supremely annoying to me.
Second, about fifty pages in, I thought I had this whole book pegged. I thought I knew exactly what the Geigers were all about, how Samantha was going to solve her problem and how things were going to end up. NONE of it happened the way I thought, and, frankly, my plan would have been better.
This book ended up wrapping up like every typical, predictable, tired chick-flick, rom-com on the planet. She gets the guy, she has an epiphany of sorts, and then... who knows. There's no possible way for life to go perfectly from this point, the characters and the stories have twisted around (in order to bring about the biggest possible romantic surprise, naturally) in such a way that any normal person would be fired, dumped, ostracized, living somewhere illegally... whatever. They throw everything away, run away from everything just to be with that one special person, and then the story conveniently ends, and there's no mention of how they put the shambles of their lives back together.
This is a rant on chick-flick, chick-lit, rom-coms in general, not necessarily all to do with this story; though the rant definitely applies.
Aside from all that, I have to admit Kinsella is genuinely funny. Though I felt several characters in this book were left underdeveloped, there were others that were so true to life, it was endearing. I also loved the British, dry humor from Samantha. She was so deadpan and sardonic, I actually snorted in laughter a couple of times.
It is a cute story, and it does have a nice philosophical question threaded throughout it: Just because a woman CAN have a prestigious, successful career in a male-dominated field, does it mean she MUST seek and hold that career? Can our feminine brains be put to use outside an office? And why is a "man's work" the only work we consider worthy of our time, efforts, attention and accolades? Interesting, to say the least, especially coming from someone who I think is pretty liberal (and I do mean "liberal" for a Brit... which is to say "super liberal" for an American).
Sex 3/5: One couple has sex outdoors after a whole day's worth of teasing and touching, the actual sex itself isn't described, but it's fairly candid afterward and during the entire buildup. A couple engage in a long term relationship and sex is very casually mentioned. One couple leave a copy of "The Joy of Sex" open on their nightstand, open to a specific position, more than once. A woman talks of being very efficient in her sexual exploits, "I finish in six minutes, tops" A tacky word for orgasms is thrown around pretty casually.
Language 4/5: Every curse word, but pretty sparingly over the whole of the novel.
Substance Abuses 4/5: The main character gets completely plastered on a train ride, and then wanders around in a drunken stupor. One character admits to smuggling illegal anti-depressants and pain killers and shares them with friends. Champagne and beer are consumed casually. One character owns a pub, and everybody drinks and smokes in the pub. One character drinks copious amounts of liquor in secret to deal with her problems. Another character has a Bloody Mary every time she feels nervous.
Violence 1/5: A man punches a lawyer in the face. A woman punches a man in the face. A woman threatens to kill another woman, half jokingly.
The whole storyline of this book is based in deceit: lying about one's qualifications, lying in order to get the best legal outcome possible, cover ups, conspiracies, withholding information, etc. There are a lot of lies going around in this story. ...more
I don't know. I keep going back and forth on this one. I literally just clicked 3 stars. Started the pro list and changed it to four. Finished the conI don't know. I keep going back and forth on this one. I literally just clicked 3 stars. Started the pro list and changed it to four. Finished the con and changed it to two. Three. Two. Four. Three. Whatever. There were good things, and one big giant thing that irked me a lot personally. I'mma give you a pro-con list and let you decide.
PRO: - Pacing was pretty good. A light, easy read. I don't know how to give my opinion about this without being SUPER spoilery... but let's just say that we peaked earlier than expected with a fake-out climactic scene and then the real climax never really came. I know this is a romance novel but that sentence was not a euphemism. - Voice. Voice. VoiceVoiceVoice. Nailed it. To the point where if you get annoyed by teenagers you will definitely be annoyed by this. But mostly you'll just notice how conversational and real it feels. - Adorable. Cutesy romance without being insta-love or forever love or anything other than what it is: a blossoming teen romance.
CON: *deep breath*
The main character is Mormon, living in "Haven", Utah. "Haven" could be Provo or any other predominantly Mormon town. The main character spends most of the book complaining about how Mormon-y everything is. She is annoyed by Mormon people, Mormon traditions, Mormon trends, Mormon rules, everything. She mocks their clothes and their hair and their music and their food and their crafts and their kids and their parties and literally everything about them. She mocks their teeth, their language, their shoes, the fact that many of them play soccer and are hygienic.
I didn't know the main character was Mormon until around page 50 or so, when she explicitly says she is.
And I get that her rejecting the church and the culture was part of her arc, and I get that teens definitely do that. But it's hard for me to be on board with the "heh heh, I'm so cool, I can even admit that the rest of the people in my church aren't cool".
I guess I can sum it up this way: You know how when a guy says "You aren't like other girls" and he means it as a compliment*, it's actually REALLY insulting? 1. He's saying "other girls" are all the same. That "girl" is a monolith and that monolith is bad. 2. He's saying that you are better than them, meaning they are worse. Your best friend, your sister, your mom, his mom are all unworthy simply because they are "girls". 3. He's letting you know you can never be like those other girls, which means you have to actively eschew all girl-related things and who knows what that even means because girls are all different.
Replace "girls" with "Mormons" and that's this book. So.
*also the love interest guy says this word for word. "You aren't like other girls" and it's meant to be swoony. ...more
This was pretty darn near perfect. It gets the perfect five star rating because I just couldn't put it down. I was willing to risk zombie-infested-nigThis was pretty darn near perfect. It gets the perfect five star rating because I just couldn't put it down. I was willing to risk zombie-infested-night-panic-attacks (that's a real thing!) just so that I didn't have to stop reading at bedtime.
It's that interesting.
OK- so, for the review, it's hard to talk about this book without sounding like I think it's real. So, I'm just going to say it up front: I know that this isn't real.
Ten years ago, the humans defeated the zombies. The infestations are controlled and are now being monitored for scientific reasons (read: to prepare better for next time). This reporter guy went out and collected stories from during the war.
People who saw the outbreaks in their hometowns.
People who saw their homes and cities overrun with the hordes.
People who were on the front lines of the military efforts to stop the flood of refugees carrying the virus into their countries.
People who were behind the lines, stabilizing society and rebuilding their countries.
People who were out on the offense, clearing the land of zombie infestations, carrying supplies to outposts and rescuing isolated pockets of humans who had held off the horde for years on their own.
It's a chilling tale, really dozens of tales. Tales of survival and preparation and digging down and doing what you didn't think you could do. The whole "zombie apocalypse" thing gets people to laugh and roll their eyes, but world-wide catastrophes or economic disasters or medical epidemics are NOT impossible, and the preparations for the zombie apocalypse are pretty much the same preparations for everything else. So, I say, anything that gets people thinking about being more practical... it's a good things. Even if it's zombies.
PARENTAL ADVISORIES: Violence 5/5: It's a war. And a war against zombies, at that. Zombies- in case you didn't know- are living corpses that feast on human flesh, and the humans they feast on die and reanimate and become new zombies. The only way to kill them is to kill their brain. That makes for a lot of gore. It's pretty temperate, for a zombie story. It never turned my stomach, and it never made me cringe, but it's pretty hefty on the violence scale nonetheless.
Sex 0/5: Not even so much as a romantic-type hug in the whole story.
Language 5/5: Everything, but used pretty sparingly. Soldiers who have literally seen it all are pretty angry about their lot in life, so they swear. But most of the characters don't.
Substance Abuses 2/5: Some mention of cigarettes, a lot of alcohol drinking. Brief references to drug trafficking and recreational drugs, but it's pretty vague and goes by quickly. ...more
Lots of action, right from the start, but it manages to not manhandle the story (like the Maximum Ride series, where the action is dizzying, butPROS:
Lots of action, right from the start, but it manages to not manhandle the story (like the Maximum Ride series, where the action is dizzying, but at the end of the book you've accomplished practically nothing).
A fantastic world. Such a unique concept, at least I've never seen it before. So well-built and thorough, it's all-consuming. It's a world so complete that you feel disoriented after putting the book down, looking around and realizing, "Oh, yeah. I live HERE. I forgot."
Tight, complex storytelling. Just enough clues to let you know what's coming, breadcrumbs on the trail to lead you to the conclusion just a few pages before the main character gets there.
A strong female lead, though I have reservations and complaints about this, particularly when looking at the series as a whole.
The female character was so strong and independent, that it felt forced. So strong that she needs no person or thing to help her in any situation, and of course, she always looks gorgeous doing it. It was too much, to the point where I wasn't rooting for Katsa. She didn't need me to root for her. The character crossed from being a champion to being something I can't even quantify or identify with.
The danger was never big enough or long enough. "Oh, my gosh! Disaster! We're all gonna die!!!" *three sentences later* "Nope. We're good. All taken care of. Lunch?"
I was personally repulsed by the way Katsa handles her love life. Marriage is the worst possible thing in any way, shape or form, completely repugnant in every conceivable way. But sex? Hmmm... I'll consider it for about five minutes, then do it the very first time I kiss a man. A commitment is a commitment, regardless of what legal jargon you use for it, and I despise the fact that this author is praising sex and condemning relationships in the same breath, and in a YA book of all places.
The main love interest is named Po. That's the same exact name as Jack Black's character in Kung Fu Panda, in case you were wondering where you've heard it before.
OVERALL: I love the story. I love the world. I tore through the book, and if I wasn't ill right now, this series would be keeping me up way past my bedtime to finish it. It's fantastic. Mostly.
PARENTAL ADVISORIES Sex 3/5: The aforementioned sexual-not-a-marriage relationship. A not-too-graphic, but still obvious, description of their first time together. (More of feelings and overall impressions, less about what was touched and where it was placed). Some heated thoughts about shirtless boys.
Violence 4/5: Considering the book is about a woman who is the best trained assassin in the world, it's violent. Never gory, but the death toll is high. Everything from fist-fights to assassinations and including a couple conversations about a man who enjoys little girls and animals in the wrong way.
Substance Abuses 1/5: Some wine and mead and such is drunk on a regular basis.
This is Clueless-meets-Jason-Bourne. And that's a good thing.
There's this point where a joke/situation is not yet funny. We'll call that point A. ThaThis is Clueless-meets-Jason-Bourne. And that's a good thing.
There's this point where a joke/situation is not yet funny. We'll call that point A. That's where it starts. MOST jokes get to point B, where they become funny. Sometimes, it gets overdone (like Mad TV and such) and becomes un-funny again. That's point C. Then there are the over-the-top jokes (30 Rock, Community, Monty Python, Best in Show) where they've passed points A, B and C, only to arrive at point D: the place where you had NO IDEA it could be THAT funny. This book sits firmly on point D for most of the story. Concrete-dissolving-acid-disguised-as-lipstick, cracking the "guy code" and reconnaissance missions to determine what flavor ice cream a boy likes all contribute to this hilarious book.
Cammie is a super genius at a school for international spies in training. She meets a normal boy and falls for him. But for all her knowledge of world languages, bomb diffusion and street surveillance, she doesn't know how to talk to him. She obviously has to lie about who she is and what she does all day long. Hilarity ensues.
The problem I had was this: her whole "relationship" is based on a lie. A big one. How does she really expect this to last? This is done a lot in movies/books/tv shows, and it gets under my skin every single time. Because of this, I felt like the 3rd quarter of the book really sagged, and I just can't give this five stars. I think Carter redeemed the story in a reasonably believable way, and I am grateful for that.
I actually laughed out loud several times while reading this, and despite the distinct teenager-ish-ness of the characters, I really felt like I was rooting for them all the time. And yes, the teenager-ish-ness is strong in this story. This isn't your typical YA character cast: they aren't adult minds in teen bodies, they are out-and-out teens. If teens are not your cup of tea, you better skip this. But if you can laugh at their silly vapidness juxtaposed against their larger-than-life spy responsibilities, then this one is for you.
First in a series, four books out so far, two more to come. The end is not a cliffhanger, though, so I don't feel desperate to have the next book in my hands.
PARENTAL ADVISORIES Sex 1/5: Some teen kissing. A hot older, male teacher is lusted after by nearly every girl in the book.
Violence 1/5: Some brief fist fights and a fake kidnapping. Some light explosives are detonated. These are all during school drills, so nobody is ever actually in danger, so the intensity is really low.
Language 1/5: A very, very few instances of hell and damn.
Substance Abuses 0/5: Nothing.
I'd like to see more YA books like this written: it didn't have the "cheese" factor that is so often associated with a clean read, but this could easily be turned into a family-friendly PG movie. Well done, Ally Carter, well done indeed. ...more