Graduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities--but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide wheGraduating from high school is a time of limitless possibilities--but not for Glory, who has no plan for what's next. Her mother committed suicide when Glory was only four years old, and she's never stopped wondering if she will eventually go the same way... until a transformative night when she begins to experience an astonishing new power to see a person's infinite past and future. From ancient ancestors to many generations forward, Glory is bombarded with visions--and what she sees ahead of her is terrifying: A tyrannical new leader raises an army. Women's rights disappear. A violent second civil war breaks out. And young girls vanish daily, sold off or interned in camps. Glory makes it her mission to record everything she sees, hoping her notes will somehow make a difference. She may not see a future for herself, but she'll do anything to make sure this one doesn't come to pass.
Glory O'Brien's History of the Future is a dark, intelligent, layered coming of age. Through Glory's eyes we see glimpses of a near and dangerous future and how those glimpses change how she sees the world, how she sees the people around her. This is a definite must-read because of current discussions regarding feminism, equality, and women's rights.
Fresh out of high school, the world is there for Glory to take, to seize. The possibilities are endless. But how can they be when she knows what's coming? Can she still live her life, a happy one? A normal one? Or is the future to bleak?
I find it hard to review this like any other book I would review here. I could talk about Glory, her lonely life, her disconnect from a number of 'normal teenager things,' but all I can think about is the future Glory sees. That future frightens me, like Karen Healey's When We Wake, like Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, because it's so believable. This future could very well happen.
But it's not all dark and dismal. There is hope, as there always is, hope that those oppressed won't have to live in exile any longer, that they won't live in fear, that they will one night get more than a couple hours of sleep because they could be kidnapped or killed. It's just a bit hard to see.
I found this to be an extremely culturally-relevant book for the current climate, a book that should be read by all ages and all genders.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)...more
This is the story of a wild girl and a ghost girl; a boy who knew nothing and a boy who thought he knew everything. It's a story about Skylark Martin,This is the story of a wild girl and a ghost girl; a boy who knew nothing and a boy who thought he knew everything. It's a story about Skylark Martin, who lives with her father and brother in a vintage record shop in St. Kilda and is trying to find her place in the world. It's about ten-year-old Super Agent Gully and his case of a lifetime. And about beautiful, reckless, sharp-as-knives Nancy. It's about tragi-hot Luke, and just-plain-tragic Mia Casey. It's about the dark underbelly of a curious neighborhood. It's about summer, and weirdness, and mystery, and music. And it's about life and death and grief and romance. All the good stuff.
Girl Defective is honest, painful, and realistic. This book is an eye-opening experience for a number of characters, not just Sky, and a coming of age for her. Everyone is defective in some way, every acts and reacts differently in certain situations. Everyone is different.
Who is Sky? What is the world? She's trying to figure it all out, like why people do what they do. Like why her mom left, why her dad hides in records and beer, why Nancy lives carefree and parties, why her brother Gully won't take off that rubber pig snout, and why Luke is so distant and closed off. She's also trying to figure out herself at the same time, like what she wants to do and who she is. Why she keeps all of her mom's old clothes and leaves semi-cruel messages on her website.
The setting seems perfect for a rude awakening coming of age story. Sky's home, St. Kilda, sounds like it's caught between the past and the future. Slightly crumbling, old, rough around the edges. It's a little hard, a little harsh, but it's realistic and also unique. The record store was also an interested place, a number of important things happen in it and above it in the apartment. It's like a time capsule, where classic rock lives on.
Growing up sucks. It's hard, it's painful. It's something that, when we come up against it, we don't want to do it. But growing up is all about navigating those hard and painful times and, hopefully, coming out on the other side. Lessons learned and realized. I think that's what this book is for Sky. She's coming face to face with the idea that things aren't perfect, that people aren't always who she thought they were. That you can't keep things from changing.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Simon & Schuster Canada.)...more
When 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she's sent to live with her strict aunt — but Raina feels like she's perWhen 16-year-old Raina Resnick is expelled from her Manhattan private school, she's sent to live with her strict aunt — but Raina feels like she's persona non grata no matter where she goes. Her sister, Leah, blames her for her broken engagement, and she's a social pariah at her new school in Toronto. In the tight-knit Jewish community, Raina finds she is good at one thing: matchmaking! As the anonymous "MatchMaven," Raina sets up hopeless singles desperate to find the One. A cross between Jane Austen's Emma, Dear Abby, and Yenta the matchmaker, Raina's double life soon has her barely staying awake in class. Can she find the perfect match for her sister and get back on her good side, or will her tanking grades mean a second expulsion?
Playing with Matches is funny, witty, and clever. This is one girl's unexpected journey through the hopeful single Jewish community of Toronto. It has its perks, but it also has it drawbacks, and Raina has to be careful or else everything will fall apart at her feet.
Raina's just trying to survive this new and unwanted life of hers. She's trying to survive her sister's sadness and anger, trying to figure out where she fits in. Trying to figure out how she's suddenly a matchmaker. She's the kind of girl who wants to help out, but most of the time it's because she's been roped into it. She has her negative qualities. She judges nearly everyone at face value, she has secrets in her past that she'd rather stay hidden. But when it comes to family, like Leah, she'll try as hard as she can to make it all better.
She certainly falls into matchmaking by accident. It's certainly not something she'd planned for herself in the future. And it's not easy. It doesn't take her long to realize that it's more than just matching up two single people and hoping they'll have something in common beyond not wanting to be single any longer. You have to know people in certain ways, know what they want and what they don't, know what they really need from a partner, and hope you know someone who will fill that role. Raina has it extra hard because she barely knows these people and because of all the pressure they've put on her to save them from being single. As she says, she's only sixteen. What does she know about dating and romance that they don't?
I thought the pacing was great. It was hard for me to put this down once I started reading. This book was just so much fun to read. The characters, Raina's friends and family, were interesting. They sounded like regular people with regular problems. The Orthodox Jewish community is one I'm not familiar with and I enjoyed reading about it (I'm not Jewish, so I don't feel I can comment on the accuracy of the customs and religion portrayed here). With a clever and trying heroine and a quirky cast of supporting characters, this is definitely a must-read for fans of contemporary stories and realistic fiction.
(I received an e-galley of this title to review from ECW Press through NetGalley.)...more
Gretchen Meyers doesn't know exactly what went wrong, but life in the eleventh grade is beginning to suck. As if having a semi-nudist, food-obsessed fGretchen Meyers doesn't know exactly what went wrong, but life in the eleventh grade is beginning to suck. As if having a semi-nudist, food-obsessed family wasn't awkward enough, she has lost her best friend to the fanatical school swim team, and her chemistry grade is so close to negative digits that only emergency tutoring can save it. So far, so high school. Then James/Dean rolls into her life, also known as her zit-faced chemistry tutor James and his slightly less zit-faced cousin Dean. Kind-hearted rebels without a cause, they draw Gretchen out of classroom hell, and briefly the world seems full of possibility. But everything changes over the course of one awful night. Bewildered by harsh new emotions of grief and love, Gretchen realizes she must now decide who she wants to be and what it means to be loyal.
The Opposite of Geek is emotional, rough, and complicated, all about what it means to be a friend to someone and what it means to be you. To be brave enough to stand up and be the person you want to be and not who others want you to be. To be brave enough to be different.
When the book starts, Gretchen feels her life is spiraling into a big pit of nothing, brought down by her strange family, her growing distant best friend, and her failing chemistry grade. In turn she becomes angry, maybe a little depressed, and she doesn't understand why this is happening to her. She's hit that spot, the one where you start figuring out what you want to do after high school, after college, and what you want doesn't necessarily match up with that plans you had before. Or your parents' plans for you. Or what your teachers are pushing you towards.
It doesn't help Gretchen's tumble into frustration with her parents over her future that her best friend suddenly (to Gretchen) has other interests. Has new friends. Would rather hang out with them. Friends come and go, it's one of those painful parts of life that we just can't avoid. But then James and Dean enter her life, two guys rather different from anyone she knows, two weird guys who give her the chance to escape. And she needs to escape. She needs fresh air, away from the pressure. In a way, they save her.
I found the writing style of the book, the mixture of poetry and prose, to be rather lyrical and expressive. Gretchen's voice is clear, honest, filled with her disappointment, sadness, and happiness. Everything she feels is there on the page for the reader to see. Maybe there were times when Gretchen headed towards whiny and annoying, when her teen angst felt over-done and exaggerated, but then isn't everything over-done and exaggerated when you're a teenager? Doesn't it always feel like the world will end when something doesn't work out? I would recommend this to contemporary YA readers looking for a little poetry with their prose and a lot of reality....more
Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. BetweenAlek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out. Between bouts of interrogating the waitress and criticizing the menu, Alek's parents announce that he'll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshman year of high school. He never could've predicted that he'd meet someone like Ethan. Ethan is everything Alek wishes he were: confident, free-spirited, and irreverent. He can't believe a guy this cool wants to be his friend. And before long, it seems like Ethan wants to be more than friends. Alek has never thought about having a boyfriend, he's barely ever had a girlfriend, but maybe it's time to think again.
One Man Guy is light-hearted, humourous, and fun. The summer starts with Alek predicting boredom and disaster, but it slowly becomes anything but, an adventure into both the city and himself.
Alek seems to have reached the stage where he's trying to figure out who he is, and it pushes against the boundaries of how his traditional Armenian parents have raised him and his older brother. It's not that he hates them or his life, he wants to know what else the world has to offer a fourteen-year-old guy. All the excitement that other teenagers get to experience. Like taking the train into New York City, or shopping somewhere more interesting than the Gap.
I found the relationship between Alek and his parents to be rather interesting. They're traditional, steeped in Armenian culture, and Alek sort of straddles the line between them and 21st century America. It's a bit like the past and present coming together. But not in a hateful or spiteful way, I never got that feeling while reading. There wasn't any cruelty, any disdain. A lot of this book is about understanding, about family and love, and I thought this was a great glimpse into Alek's life, into a culture I rarely see represented in books, TV shows, and movies.
I can see this as a coming of age story, but not necessarily as a coming out story. It's all one story, it's all Alek feeling out of place at the beginning and slowly chipping away at the space he's been given so he fits into it better. It all worked together in a way I don't often see in LGBTQ YA. Alek and Ethan just felt right, it wasn't a grand production, it wasn't surrounded by hatred or fear, it was two teenagers maybe sort of falling in love the way teenagers do.
So much of this book is about family and understanding, about acceptance and love. Alek is pressured by his parents to advance at school, to be the best, but as serious as they are they're also supportive. This was a refreshing and fun read, and if it hadn't ended I would've hoped for more....more
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries' seemingly harmless magic attrHazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries' seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once. At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking. Until one day, he does… As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
The Darkest Part of the Forest is eerie and enchanting, magical and deceptive. This is a mix of the curious innocence of adventurous children and the angst and struggle of teens trying to figure out what their place in the world will be, what they'll have to battle against in order to keep it.
Hazel feels lost, aimless, undecided and afraid. She's trying to find out who she is, what her purpose is. What the thing is that will make her whole. What she does know is that it won't be being a knight, roaming the woods with a sword in her hand and a mission in her heart, with her bard brother Ben at her side, because that's childish. But still she searches. Ben is just as lost, both blessed and cursed. He's trying to live under the weight of it, under the weight of a gift he can't escape. The mystery of the horned boy in the glass coffin interests them both, more so when they were younger, and even more when he awakes. Who is he? What will he be to them, after all of their childhood fantasies?
Curses and consequences. Secrets and promises. Dreams and reality. It's interesting, where our imagination takes us when we're children. The far off places we travel to, the monsters we fight, the princes and princesses we save from fire-breathing dragons. Where does that wonder and magic go? It ends up buried underneath reality, responsibility, and duty. There's no time for dreams when the real world awaits, dripping with expectations for the future. But what we promise in the past somehow has a way of returning to haunt us in the present. What are we to do when we need to remember those promises?
This is a bewitching story of a young girl who dreamed of being a knight with her bard brother at her side. Nothing is easy for Hazel or Ben, or Jack. Nothing could ever be easy, not when it comes to being a teenager. Not when it comes to twisted faerie logic. This is almost like a brand new fairy tale: the brave knight racing through the trees, battling monsters and tricksters, with her brother right behind her, a flute in his hand as he pines for a faerie asleep in a glass coffin. A must-read for Holly Black fans.
(I received an ARC of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)...more
Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It's a place where she can be a leAnda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It's a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It's a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing. But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer - a poor Chinese kid whose avatar in the game illegally collects valuable objects and then sells them to players from developed countries with money to burn. This behavior is strictly against the rules in Coarsegold, but Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person's real livelihood is at stake.
In Real Life is an exploration of many things. Gaming, economics, friendship, wealth, poverty, labour, heroes and villains. There are two worlds, both in real life and in gaming: what's on the surface, the sparkle and excitement that's constantly promoted, and what's underneath, the downtrodden. When Anda glimpses that underneath side, she learns the hard way that nothing is easy, that right and wrong aren't simple terms anymore, and that fighting back isn't always the answer.
Anda is a sweet girl. She's nice, and she's a bit lonely, she doesn't seem to have many friends beyond those who play D&D. When she's introduced to Coarsegold she's found her place to be, a place where she can expressive and happy, where she can meet new people who like the same things she does. All she sees is the camaraderie, the working together.
It's not that big a part in the book, but there's a moment near the beginning that I found interesting. When Coarsegold is first introduced, the girls in Anda's class are asked if they game, and then if they game as female characters. Out of the three shown, none of the girls keep their hands raised. After reading Guy in Real Life by Steve Brezenoff earlier this year, a book about a teenage guy who games as a female character in a game similar to Coarsegold, I found this moment curious. Girls are playing as guys and guys are playing as girls. It's an interesting look at how we want to appear to others online, and at gender.
Anda certainly gets a crash course in economics, labour, and poverty here, learning that gamers will pay other gamers in real life currency to obtain special items and in game currency for them. That that's how some people, like the teenager in China she meets through the game, make money to live. That they have to farm gold for others because their current job pays so little and provides no benefits. Her way of living now seems luxuriant: living in a house with her parents, a computer, good food, a car, good health benefits through her father's job thanks to a recent strike and resolution. Not everyone has the freedom to strike against their employers as they do in countries like the US, Canada, and England (to name a few, I'm sure there are many more). This is eye-opening to Anda, and she knows she can't leave it like this.
While exciting and entertaining, bright and colourful, this book also hits on some harsh truths and consequences, some we forget when wrapped up in the bright lights of games. Anda's story is one of learning, of consequences, of economics, of wealth and poverty, of human rights, and of friendship.
(I received an e-galley of this title to review from First Second through NetGalley.)...more
Ella's grade eleven year was a disaster, but as summer approaches, things are looking up. She's back together with her brooding boyfriend, Samir, althElla's grade eleven year was a disaster, but as summer approaches, things are looking up. She's back together with her brooding boyfriend, Samir, although they both want to keep that a secret. She's also best buddies with David and still not entirely sure about making him boyfriend number two. Though part of her wants to conform to high school norms, the temptation to be radical is just too great. Managing two secret boyfriends proves harder than Ella expected, especially when Samir and David face separate family crises, and Ella finds herself at the center of an emotional maelstrom. Someone will get hurt. Someone risks losing true love. Someone might finally learn that self-serving actions can have public consequences. And that someone is Ella.
Capricious is honest, expressive, and emotional. This is what I imagine when I think of the hardships and terrible times, the jealousies and slurs of the teenage years. This is the struggle to find the balance between who we want to be and who the world wants us to be, straddling the line and trying to keep from falling to the ground.
Ella, Raphaelle, is explosive, controversial, and opinionated, and I would have her no other way. Her individuality is what breathes life into this book. Her desires, her sadness, her fears, her dreams and nightmares. She is the explosion at the centre, painful and impossible to look away from. She continues to try and find her place in life, continues to test bits and pieces in order to piece together who she is. Her family continues to not understand her, her classmates continue to find her overwhelming, and the boys in her life continue to find her appealing. But she thinks that having two boyfriends could be interesting, could be just the thing to do now after everything blew up in her face in the previous book.
By keeping both Samir and David and secret kind of maybe boyfriends, Ella receives a number of things. With them, she can be different. She can be closer to who she wants to be. But life is never easy like that. Life does not often forgive those who choose to be audacious.
What I love about verse novels is how they are both sparse and expressive. Every word has a purpose, has meaning, but only so many words are given to the reader in order to tell the story. Less words for such a large story. And it works as it did with Audacious. Ella's pain and confusion coat each and every page.
What does it mean to be capricious? To be subject to an odd notion or unpredictable change, to be erratic. But what can we be as teenagers if not capricious, if not audacious? Are we supposed to know, by glorious miracle, how to act what to wear how to speak where to work so we don't make mistakes? No, we're not. This book is filled with experiences good and bad, lovely and painful, and it's supposed to be. Ella is supposed to be audacious, capricious, adventurous, impudent, daring, foolish. Because Ella can do anything....more
A Clan of ninjas in San Francisco may sound improbable, but as the son of a ninja master, Tosh Ito knows what lurks in the shadows of his city. Or atA Clan of ninjas in San Francisco may sound improbable, but as the son of a ninja master, Tosh Ito knows what lurks in the shadows of his city. Or at least he thought he did. When a killer with a poisoned blade starts cutting down teens, Tosh enlists Amy Sato—newest ninja recruit and his best friend's crush—and sets out to uncover the killer's identity. What they find is ninjutsu more evil than they could have ever imagined. As Amy and Tosh grow closer, they discover their connection unleashes a legendary power that could stop the murders. Problem is, that power may be exactly what the killer is looking for, and wielding it could cost them both their souls.
Relax, I'm a Ninja is exciting, mysterious, and dangerous. It's a tense exploration of truth and lies, trust and secrets, good and evil, and the power to fight back.
What stands out for me with Tosh is his voice. It's filled with knowledge in terms of what it is to be a ninja, to train as a ninja, to keep quiet, to hide in a crowd. To appear as if you don't have any secrets to hide. It's also filled with the self-assuredness, awkwardness, and attitude that is being a teenager. Hanging out with friends, raiding in D&D, playing games online. Butting heads with the school jock or uptight cheerleader. Trying to figure out if a girl likes you or not, or if you like her.
I enjoyed this different look into ninjas, into the culture and the secrecy, the physicality and the training. It's not always all black clothes, throwing stars, and deadly poisons. Sure, those are present, but it's more than that. It's the day-in day-out of training that comes across in Tosh's tone of voice, in his habits and ways of thinking and observing. It's the acknowledgement that, yes, they're ninjas, but that doesn't mean they're on the side of good, that the lines are rather blurred. Except, in this case, when it comes to killing innocent people.
A life spent hiding, surrounded by secrets and deception, always watching. I imagine that kind of life would get rather lonely. Tosh isn't alone, though. He has his parents, his friends, the Clan, but it's still the life of a ninja. Hiding in plain sight, watching your every move so you don't give away the truth about yourself.
I will admit that I cringed during a scene that centered on how catty teenage girls can get, but other than that I found this book different and exciting. It's fast-paced with an interesting and new voice carrying the story. I certainly would recommend this to anyone looking for a book that's a little different, a lot quirky, full of adventure, and the odd ninja or two. Or ten....more
Sophie's junior year has been a bit of a train wreck. After the world's greatest kiss re-awakened her true identity as Persephone, she fought her dragSophie's junior year has been a bit of a train wreck. After the world's greatest kiss re-awakened her true identity as Persephone, she fought her dragon-lady guidance counselor to the death, navigated a mean girl's bitchy trouble-making, and dealt with the betrayal of her backstabbing ex. You'd think a girl could catch a break. Yeah, right. With Zeus stepping things up, it's vital that Sophie retrieve Persephone's memories and discover the location of the ritual to stop Zeus and Hades. So when Aphrodite strikes a deal that can unlock Sophie's past, what choice does the teen goddess have but to accept? The mission: stop media mogul Hermes from turning Bethany into a global mega-celebrity. The catch? Aphrodite partners Sophie and Kai to work together and to treat the suicide mission as a date, which could work out for Sophie's plan to force Kai to admit his feelings for her. If she doesn't kill him first. Add to that the fact that her BFF's love life and other BFF's actual life are in Sophie's hands, and suddenly being a teenager, even a godlike one, seems a bit like, well, hell. Whatever happened to dinner and a movie?
My Date From Hell is a fast-paced, exciting, dangerous mission towards the truth and stopping the end of the world.
Sophie's stuck in a bad situation. She's pushed by Zeus to find the memories of Persephone hidden away in her mind, pushed to work with Kai when she'd rather avoid and/or hate him, pushed to be around Bethany when she'd rather kick her off a cliff. Her life sucks in different ways for different reasons, but that doesn't stop her from pushing back, through snark and wit and also an inner strength.
I've said before in previous reviews how retellings of the Persephone myth are multiplying and making me lose interest. This tries to set itself apart in that it's not Hades that Sophie's attracted to but his son Kai. And there's a deeper, darker situation looming overhead. One that could end in the destruction of everything. It's not necessarily new and unique (see The Goddess Test and Everneath), but the author's own interpretation of the gods and goddess, their different personalities, is what's key.
It was the banter that did it for me, that kept me entertained and reading. All of the snark and sass and jabs at everyone and everything. Sarcasm mixed with seriousness, appearing at both the best and worst times. And it wasn't just Sophie, although she is the queen of snark. There were multiple characters with the ability to toss in a quick one-liner, it was like a funny little surprise every time it happened.
But as much as the banter kept me reading, Sophie's "war" with Bethany made me bored. Bethany seems to be the quintessential popular mean girl that every fiction high school has. I understand that she's not supposed to be likable, and did she ever do her job as coming across as extremely unlikable, but I was almost at the point of skipping the parts she was in.
I was slightly lost at the beginning, I haven't read the first book and it took me a little to get into the story, but I kept going. There were moments were the action and drama were hyped up to the point where it was almost too much for me (just about every time Bethany was around). In some ways I liked this book and in some ways I didn't. Maybe there was a bit too much drama for me, but it was still a fun, exciting read. I really want to know how it ends....more
Seventeen-year-old Skylar has always been haunted by fleeting yet powerful feelings that something around her has gone wrong. Those impressions have nSeventeen-year-old Skylar has always been haunted by fleeting yet powerful feelings that something around her has gone wrong. Those impressions have never seemed to reflect anything real, and have only earned her stares and whispers behind her back. But after she meets a mysterious boy named Win, she learns an unsettling truth: we are not alone on Earth. In fact, visitors from beyond the stars are manipulating our planet and the essential fabric of our world; life as we know it is starting to unravel. And Skylar, and her heightened awareness, just may be the key to our salvation.
Earth & Sky is an exciting adventure with twists, turns, and a number of surprises. What if someone else, someone in outer space, was constantly watching us, had been watching us for decades? Centuries? What if they'd done more than just watch?
Skylar is a perceptive girl, but that perception has lead to a fair amount of anxiety and coping mechanisms. She relies heavily on math and numbers in order to stay calm. Numbers can't be changed. There's always a solution. And so, Skylar can trust numbers. But trust Win? Not so much, considering he just appears out of nowhere. Considering he makes what she thought she knew about the world completely wrong. But that doesn't stop her from helping him.
I liked the world-building when it came to the science fiction aspect, the aliens and their purpose. What the author's had to do is craft a whole other world. A new species with new technology. A species with a curious set of motives, all in the name of science. As well as figure out who they are, what motivates them also had to be figured out, their reasoning behind their actions. Sometimes that's hard enough to figure out with human characters, let alone aliens from outer space.
A fair amount of this book has to do with control. There's the control that Skylar exerts over her world, her faith in numbers to keep everything ordered. But there's another kind out there. What if we weren't alone? What if something, someone, was in control instead of us? What if they controlled our destiny, changing events as they saw fit? What if we didn't even know it was happening?
It's an intriguing proposal, the idea that we are not alone in the universe, the idea that we're not necessarily in control but we're trying to fix it. It raises a lot of questions, especially for Skylar. What if she could change certain events in her past? Would those be for the best? But then what would happen to Win and his mission? This is definitely an interesting book with a solid ending still left open for the rest of the trilogy.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Penguin Canada.)...more
Dusty Everhart might be able to predict the future through the dreams of her crush, Eli Booker, but that doesn't make her life even remotely easy. WheDusty Everhart might be able to predict the future through the dreams of her crush, Eli Booker, but that doesn't make her life even remotely easy. When one of her mermaid friends is viciously assaulted and left for dead, and the school's jokester, Lance Rathbone, is accused of the crime, Dusty's as shocked as everybody else. Lance needs Dusty to prove his innocence by finding the real attacker, but that's easier asked than done. Eli's dreams are no help, more nightmares than prophecies. To make matters worse, Dusty's ex-boyfriend has just been acquitted of conspiracy and is now back at school, reminding Dusty of why she fell for him in the first place. The Magi Senate needs Dusty to get close to him, to discover his real motives. But this order infuriates Eli, who has started his own campaign for Dusty's heart. As Dusty takes on both cases, she begins to suspect they're connected to something bigger. And there's something very wrong with Eli's dreams, signs that point to a darker plot than they could have ever imagined.
The Nightmare Dilemma is dark and dangerous. Here we have the return of an unlikely detective and her friends investigating the curious and the deadly at their magical boarding school. Unfortunately for me, I felt something was missing from the first book.
This time around, after revealing some secrets and getting tossed around in more ways than one, Dusty is torn between a lot of things. Between getting on with her life post-Marrow, getting back to school, and doing what's asked of her. Between Eli, the other half of her Dream Team, and Paul, her ex-boyfriend who was part of the plot that changed everyone and their magic. Between worrying and not worrying over her mother, whose morals are questionable.
There were times where it felt like the love triangle/romance situation was taking over the mystery. Dusty and Eli are teens with normal teen angst and hormones and emotions, yes, but it just seemed like the romance was taking over, that Dusty was worrying more about how she felt for both Eli and Paul instead of worrying about her classmate's assault, what might happen next, and her nightmares. If she didn't want to deal with Paul, as she sort of doesn't, she could've said no when asked to spy on him.
I sort of miss Dusty from the first book. This Dusty has a huge weight on her shoulders. She's tired, stretched thin, she can't move beyond the image in her nightmares or her feelings for Eli (who avoids her) and Paul (who doesn't want her to avoid him). There's still some spunk, some snark, but not as much, and I'm wondering if that's because things have changed. I didn't necessarily like this one as much as the first, but I'm still curious as to what the next book will bring....more
Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. But coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for soSeventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. But coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory. She isn't prepared for the beauty of a world that is unlike her own in so many ways. Nor is she prepared to feel something more than indifference for the very target she seeks. Caden is nothing like Cale, but he makes something in her come alive, igniting a spark deep down that goes against every cell in her body. Faced with hideous reanimated Vector soldiers from her own world with agendas of their own, as well as an unexpected reunion with a sister who despises her, it is a race against time to bring Caden back to Neospes. But things aren't always as they seem, and Riven will have to search for truth.
The Almost Girl is a fast-paced science-fiction tale with many layers, layers of motives, missions, and truths. A soldier from another world is on a dangerous mission, one she can't fail, one she won't let herself fail. One that will reveal what she never thought could be true.
Riven has one purpose, one job. She must find Caden somewhere on Earth and take him back to Neospes. Cale needs him, and Riven will do anything for Cale. She's a soldier, harsh, unyielding, strong, skilled. She will not fail. But certain people appear, some from her past, some with questions and answers, and Riven begins to question what she knows. Is what she knows to be true still true? Is Caden just a mission? Is she just a soldier?
She's pulled in multiple directions at every turn. Her mission for Cale, her best friend. The similarities and connection she appears to have for Caden when she knows he's just a job. The reappearance of her sister, how they both trust and hate each other. She has doubts about almost everything and everyone right up until the end, until she learns something rather specific about herself. Until she then doubts herself.
I found the story to be interesting, but I found something missing that I think stems more from my own reading experience (reading this on an e-reader as opposed to reading a physical book). I think that's why this book didn't grab my attention as much as I thought it would. I still found the pacing to be good, it kept up with the action. Going into this book, I didn't know it was the first in a duology. The ending was left open for the second book, but I was hoping this would be a standalone. Still, I'd like to know what happens to Riven in the next book....more
It is Labor Day weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning. Lesh, who wears black, listeIt is Labor Day weekend in St. Paul, Minnesota, and a boy and girl collide on a dark street at two thirty in the morning. Lesh, who wears black, listens to metal, and is new to MMOs; and Svetlana, who embroiders her skirts, listens to Björk and Berlioz, and dungeon masters her own RPG. They should pick themselves up, continue on their way, and never talk to each other again. But they don't. This is a story of two people who do not belong in each other's lives, who find each other at a time when they desperately need someone who doesn't belong in their lives.
Guy in Real Life is entertaining and thoughtful, filled with great characters and a fair amount of gamer culture. But hopefully that doesn't scare away any non-gamers.
In this book the reader meets Lesh, maybe a little withdrawn, but maybe that's all the black clothes and the heavy metal. The reader also meets Svetlana, vaguely hippie-ish but extremely creative and artistic and comes across as random who a lot of people don't understand. They have their similarities, mostly that their parents don't quite understand them and want them to be not who they currently are. Their collision starts something, starts this weird journey through forests and graveyards. I liked that there was so much character development, that I could see them changing in different ways, figuring things out, figuring themselves out as the book went on. I also liked the chapters narrated by Lesh's RPG character, it was an interesting glimpse into the game.
The book isn't all about gaming, not completely packed with MMO terms and 20-sided dice jokes, but it is about two characters who game, one online and one with an in-person group. It's something they're interested in, something they're passionate about. Something they look forward to after a long day of school, parents, and real life pressure. And I love that. It doesn't have to be games, it could be art or music or sports. It's the enjoyment they get out of taking part it in that makes them feel realistic.
Roleplaying is a curious thing. It gives us the chance to be someone else, to live a different life, often a life filled with magic and monsters, with quests and heroes and dragons hoarding gold in dark caves. But it's not just in games that we put on a costume and pretend to be someone else. We do it at school, at work, in the grocery store, at the mall. We do it constantly in order to portray a role in front of others. It's who we want to be, or who we think we want to be, or who others want us to be. But showing people who we really are? That's so much harder.
I think this book says a lot about identity, about the ways in which we figure out who we want to be at different times. About the little things we see in other people that make us think about who we want to be instead of who we are at that moment. I hope that people who aren't into gaming, video or tabletop, give this book a read. I found this interesting, a little more serious than I was expecting, and a great book about two teens meeting by chance and what follows. The good and the bad, the raiding and the trolls. The adventure....more