EDIT 25/09/2012: One day I swear I'll re-write this review. Really, just.....I have no words. This book! THIS BOOK! That is all. Read it.
Beautifull...moreEDIT 25/09/2012: One day I swear I'll re-write this review. Really, just.....I have no words. This book! THIS BOOK! That is all. Read it.
Beautifully written. I loved the whole premise of the novel. How, while Mia is in her condition, we're taken on a journey through her life and the interactions she's had with her family and friends. The ending is really sweet, and I almost cried (but had to hold back because I'm wearing makeup at the moment xD). At first I didn't think the ending was complete-- but then it kind of makes sense. A few alternate ways of ending it popped into my head, but the way that Forman ends it ended up on top.
Pros: Wonderful writing! The words I was reading were like poetry in prose. Music!!! I wish I had a full blown-out music family. Great story and concept, and I liked the idea of that omniscient narration, but in first person. Everything! But it's late right now (I stayed up late so I could finish it), so I won't get into more of the things that made this novel so great.
The Sky is Everywhere is a beautiful & lyrical but completely different and somewhat contraversial YA novel. The "description" at the back co...more4.5/5
The Sky is Everywhere is a beautiful & lyrical but completely different and somewhat contraversial YA novel. The "description" at the back cover (UK)... just disparage that, because I find that it was completely misleading. This novel is so much more than suddenly having the urge to "kiss all the boys at a funeral", or whatever it says. We discover that Lennie's sister Bailey has died, and of course, we don't know her, nor do we really care about her (or at least I didn't). It's rather the effect that Bailey's death has on Lennie, that makes Bailey such a crucial character in the story. Jandy Nelson equips Lennie with a sardonic tone of voice at the beginning of the novel, "My sister has died a thousand times over since this morning" (sorry, can't be bothered finding the real quotes). That tone of voice that we YA lit freaks have grown to love (or just grown accustomed to).
The book flows through Lennie's slow but steady "journey" towards acknowledgement and realisation of what she must learn to do: let go. The Sky is Everywhere touched me so deeply, I don't think I can really explain it, but in some moments I was crying buckets; others I was laughing or smiling... this book was unconventional, sweet but not cheesy, and for me, it was a book I needed to read slowly. I can't quite explain why that is.
Now, for the actual book, the cover is completely different to the book cover as presented here. The colours are less vibrant, which was a bit disappointing. However, the whole book is printed in BLUE ink!! I thought that was really neat, especially since I've never seen a book like that before. I've seen coloured pages, but never coloured text! And all throughout the book! I want to buy the US hardcover and make a comparison someday. I think those US vs. UK battles around the blogosphere are really interesting, and I love going through them. (less)
IF YOU HAVE NOT READ IF I STAY, IT MIGHT BE A BETTER IDEA TO NOT READ THIS REVIEW EITHER.
I actually think I liked If I Stay just that little bit...more4.5/5
IF YOU HAVE NOT READ IF I STAY, IT MIGHT BE A BETTER IDEA TO NOT READ THIS REVIEW EITHER.
I actually think I liked If I Stay just that little bit more. Though I prefer Adam's style. Grr this review's going to be hard to write, because I have no idea what I think of it right now. I just now that I really enjoyed it. I think this book is all about the little things, where it's easy to miss some of the most important details that can change the impact of certain scenes. It is also for that reason that I cannot wait to re-read it. Seriously, I can't properly read a book on the computer. But I must. *sigh*
Just give me a moment.
+ Characters. We're given more of an insight into Adam's life 3 years from the events in IIS. There's the band and Bryn his current partner. I like the links between WSW and IIS, and rightly so. The family makes quite a few 'appearances', all in character and with the whimsy and free-spirited-ness that they harnessed when they were still alive. Can I also say that I'm glad that Adam turned into a total ass? He's broken both due to his rising stardom and his losses. In his flaws, he actually became more fleshed out as a person. I mean, if he was still that sweet Man he was in IIS, after all this, then I'd start thinking he was in need of a backbone. But no, he's snarky and does what he wants. Kind of.
+ Heartbreak. In the eyes of a Man-Guy. There's a whole tornado of emotions, packed in yet another tiny book. This is a little longer than IIS, from my recollection. I finally got to understand WHY Adam and Mia aren't together anymore, and it makes sense, given the circumstances.
+ Power. Not just the book itself--yes, it is powerful, but I'm talking about everything in the book. The characters have strengths and weaknesses. Power. Mia's family still live on. Power. Being able to talk about pressing issues that have been ignored for 3 years. Power, and fate. Oh, a lot of fate.
+ Future. After If I Stay, I was so sure that Mia stayed, especially after Adam's glorious speech. Now, we get to see what happens after the accident. After all the grieving and loss and rehab and therapy. The dynamic duo have gone their own ways. This book is really about their futures.
+ New York. Had to. Especially for someone who's never even been in the US before, New York is one of the places I hope to go to one day. Forman paints an adequate setting for New York. Mia's New York Tour!
+ Music. Haha. DOI! Well yeah, there's heaps more of those good strings, and fingers going at it. We see even more clearly how Adam and Mia are so connected by music, and how that also drove them apart, kinda.
+ Sex. I think it was, anyway. LOL! I guess it's kind of like the crazy sex scene in the first book. You all remember it. :P Well yeah, I guess in WSW, the scene is a bit more . . . explicit? Read and compare yourself.
+ Lost and found.
+ Memories. The past. Flashbacks. Awesome.
- I don't know . . . it was amazing, but--actually? After "reviewing" WSW, I'm starting to think that this book exceeds IIS. It's got like everything I like in a book. So yeah.
I loved the girls. I hated the girls. I wanted to know the girls more and more. I liked that they had hobbies outside of music, how their liv...moreLoved it.
I loved the girls. I hated the girls. I wanted to know the girls more and more. I liked that they had hobbies outside of music, how their lives don't revolve around guys or popularity or shopping, etc. That there are secrets and mystery. We are only privvy to some of the facts as Wealer weaves the story from the past to the present.
Rival kept me up until 4 am this morning, until I finally gave in to my stomach and had to go to sleep. Later, at 8 am, I was rudely awoken and despite being exhausted I read right up to its charming conclusion that satisfied me.
Blargghh I'm not in a writing mood. So here are some check points:
+ Music. Plain and simple. That is what drew me to this book at first, but music is not the focal point which I am grateful for. I loved the definitions of musical terms that come with the switch from past to present, or present to past and that I recognised most of them. I love that the music aspects of it come so easy, and that the girls Brooke and Kathryn are not defined by their freaky love of music.
+ The ending. I think by the end of it I wanted Brooke to win, because she seemed to have come out of this a little bit better. I liked that the book ENDS with music, as is expected. Lots of contemporary books end with a romantic scene between the main character and her love interest, but not this one.
+ Brooke. I loved her insecurities and her resulting jealousy and possessiveness. At first I thought she was just this cold-hearted creature, but with the use of Wealer's perspective changes, we see this is not the case. That perhaps Brooke is a little more complex than that.
I did like Kathryn, too. At first I was rooting for her. I just didn't like the stuff she does later on...
+ The fact that the girls have hobbies apart from music. Brooke has her swimming and Queen B status. Kathryn has AP English, studying, journalism, reading. They couldn't be more different, but it is through music that they bond.
+ The book is so pretty!
+ I really liked how the flashbacks and perspectives were dealt with in this book. Some others found it confusing, but I found it very well planned out and it made me want to keep on reading to find out why things were so.
+ Glee. Come on.
- To be honest, I have a minor biff or too. The image quality for the page number looks surprisingly unprofessional. I don't know...it looks a tad choppy/pixelated. And the second was in some parts the teen talk seemed a bit forced or unnatural. There were a few occasions where a replacement for a swear seemed really awkward. (it's around the party scene somewhere, can't remember) I remember after reading the last page, I wanted so much for there to be some sort of an epilogue. Not a cheesy one, but just something that really ties it all together. But when I went back to that last paragraph, I thought back to myself Actually, I like it. I'm still very satisfied with how it ended.
Still, Rival definitely takes one of the top spots for my 2011 reads so far, and I can't wait to read more of Wealer's work! I have complete faith in her! :)
*PS. Everytime I look at the spine of Rival, I think of Sisters Red (Jackson Peirce) and vice versa. Anyone else see it or is it just me?
Jessica Martinez has written a beautiful story that strongly addresses CHOICE. Carmen has only ever had one choice--to be the best violinist in t...more4.5/5
Jessica Martinez has written a beautiful story that strongly addresses CHOICE. Carmen has only ever had one choice--to be the best violinist in the world and live out the dream that her mother was forced to leave behind. After all, this is what Carmen wants too, right?
VIRTUOSITY starts off with a dramatic image--a 1.2 million dollar violin hanging over a hotel balcony, about to be dropped to its abrupt, undeserved death. In several books this technique (introducing the story with its climactic point) does not work too well--either it's too spoilery or just unnecessary--but I liked the use of it in this book. Not only is it a tragically beautiful image, but it sets the mood for the story and kept me guessing right until the end WHY this girl wanted to do it.
Here is a list of words:
Stress Drugs Inderal - Beta Blocker, antianginal, antihypertensive, etc. (performance) Generic name- propranolol. LOLOL. I also like that THE UNBECOMING OF MARA DYER had a drug name in it. I had fun looking them up. :P Music Dialogue British male love interest Crazy mum whose own dreams were not met so she felt she could channel her lost dreams into her daughter Home-schooled and naive Emails Cool dad-guy-man Made me crave pizza Driven over the edge Addiction Awesome friend-tutor Juliard Guarneri music prize This home is not a home It's not about me, this is about you We cannot be together--we're both in it to win this prize so we have to hate each other Complicated family circumstances Speaking of food...THE HUNGER GAMES made me hungry as! Or maybe I'm just hungry now.
-------------- MY ACTUAL REVIEW ---------------------------
-------------- END MY ACTUAL REVIEW -----------------------
Some things I want to mention about the book presentation itself. The margins make it harder to read, since there's a big space on the outer-side of the page, so that I needed to open the book up a tad more to read the inner words. The cover itself is beautiful and perfect. I don't object to the look of Carmen (save for the black nail polish), or the pose. I did notice many 'missing' words. For instance, there'd be an 'an' missing that rendered a sentence grammatically incorrect. As well as a word that was missing its last letter.(less)
Tara Kelly strikes again! I loved this as much as I loved 'Harmonic Feedback', just in different ways. We've heard the story bef...more4.5/5
One word: Badass!
Tara Kelly strikes again! I loved this as much as I loved 'Harmonic Feedback', just in different ways. We've heard the story before: Teen gets kicked out of home because they're a disappointment to their parent/s. Teen goes off to fulfill their dream, whatever that may be. What really appealed to me though, was the musical aspects and the band and what the band brings to Jasmine, the protagonist.
'Amplified' is super atmospheric; Kelly really describes music perfectly. When I first started reading books with music in them, I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to 'hear the music', but so far I haven't had such a problem. It would be really cool if some of C-Side's tracks got recorded somehow, but that's probably wishful thinking. There are a few terms that, should you not be so musically inclined, you might need to look up. A little research on industrial rock also wouldn't hurt. I'll admit I'd never actually heard of the sub-genre before, but that's exactly what I love about reading. New stuff.
The band members of C-Side are eccentric and they each have their own distinct personalities that just magically drew me to them. I adored Felix's wicked fashion sense, Bryn's biting wit, Sean's quiet allure and Veta's spunk and sense of pride. I found myself chuckling and laughing way too much. They just have way too much fun together and their dialogue and actions with each other are so natural that I was able to believe they were real people.
What I most loved about AMPLIFIED, however, is the journey that Jasmine takes. She goes through so much development and has to endure quite a few obstacles in order to actually get where she does at the end. She suffers from intense stage fright, which is a big deal when she's going to be filling in for one of the hottest lead guitarists in the local industrial rock scene. What shines through with her is her innate ability to rock out and make things work, make them different and innovative. Like I said before, I could actually HEAR what was playing.
There is a romance, and one that I enjoyed a lot. The guy and Jasmine just get off to a really bad start, and first impressions make quite the impression. But over time they just start warming to each other and before we all know it, they're friends and leaning into something more. They had great chemistry; they're safely one of my top 5 fave couples for this year. Realistic - no insta-love going on ANYWHERE in here.
AMPLIFIED is fired-up and passionate, and is sure to catch interest of musically inclined readers. Kelly's sophomore release plays a familiar tune to her debut, but is a much lighter read - you might even chuckle a couple times. Jasmine is a great heroine whose endurance and strength of will persist time and time again.(less)
** What happened to the Australian cover/edition for this book? **
...And that's all I know. I read the majority of this book while on the train on...more** What happened to the Australian cover/edition for this book? **
...And that's all I know. I read the majority of this book while on the train on my way to uni - not the best time to read it, appropriate it may seem (train, road trip...you get the link?). This book is quite possibly one of my favourite contemporary YA novels, though it firmly sits at #1 for my fave contemp for 2011 (I haven't read LOLA yet, so we'll see). I could sit here and gab on about how much I loved it. Easy.
There's really so much to like in this book, and for me . . . I can't find one thing I didn't like about it. Though some people may be offended by the smoking, drinking and other hijinks that goes on, I found it appropriate and only serves to complexify the characters even more. It's what (some) teens do. Why hide it? Harrington really strips bare these characters she created and fleshes them out to the extremes, to the point where you feel you REALLY know them.
-- I read this book over 3 weeks ago, which makes this REALLY hard to think of what I was going to say, sorry for the rest of this review! --
WHY YOU SHOULD READ SAVING JUNE:
1. The atmosphere of this book! ROAD TRIP and blasting out totally appropriate music from the car stereo. This book could convince anyone to just head out on an impromptu road trip.
2. Harper and Jake. I love their dynamic - lots of the time they really oppose each other but they can't deny the instant connection they have through June.
3. Laney. What an awesome friend.
4. Heartfelt and funny!
5. Beautiful cover and overall feel of the book - grab a copy (AU) and you'll know what I mean!
6. The places. What would a real road trip be without the pitstops along the way? Harrington is spot on with writing up an interesting and adventurous road trip!
7. Dialogue was realistic and - you guessed it - had me chuckling at times.
SAVING JUNE follows the significant journey that three teens - June, Jake and Laney - take to come to a point where they come to terms with a mutual friend's (June's sister) committed suicide.
Taking the highway on an epic adventure from Michigan to Chicago, the three find out so much more about each other - and the mystery surrounding June's sister - than they ever could have imagined. Readers looking for a realistic portrayal of loss and friendship and romance can stop looking and pick up a copy of this thought-provoking novel.
4.5/5 [So annoyed, I actually wrote this review but I didn't get to save before I had a black-out :'(]
First, I should mention that my knowing about SH...more4.5/5 [So annoyed, I actually wrote this review but I didn't get to save before I had a black-out :'(]
First, I should mention that my knowing about SHADOWS ON THE MOON's experience starts with THIS trailer (hehe you can still read my comments). This was RIGHT up there on my list, along with Anna and Matched and Across the Universe, etc. I really pushed my expectations to the limit, and although I should have been setting myself up for disappointed, I was STILL terribly pleased.
SHADOWS ON THE MOON is just such a beautiful story. This book is a sort of retelling of Cinderella, except it's much darker and rather than a submissive Cinderella whose only dream is to go to the ball, Suzume is out for revenge. When her father is murdered, it's all Suzume wants.
When Suzume runs away from her deceptively evil step-father (see the gender switch here?), she discovers that she is a Shadow Weaver. Someone who can cast shadows that create illusions. Hide her scars, hide her emotions, her identity. Only one person will be able to see through them all, and he shares the same powers. A foreigner whose dark skin marks a stark contrast to her own.
The characters in SHADOWS are amazing! They're complex and well developed - Marriott knows exactly how to flesh out a character to make them all have their own agendas and lives and make you actually care about what happens to them. I really liked Suzume, though I suppose by the end of the book she's a completely different person. I love the procession of events that transforms her though, and I find the whole concept of Shadow Weaving really fascinating. I wish there were a sequel - I'd definitely pay another $7 to read more haha. ;)
*ahem* The one downfall I really have to say is that it at times was long-winded and all I wanted to do was put the book down for a bit. There is a lot of heavy stuff in the book so that could attribute to it, but there's also a lot of description. While not bad in itself, I did expect/crave a little bit more action. For what it is though, SHADOWS is a highly recommended high fantasy novel that delves into Japanese culture and plays on the age-old Cinderella story.
[I had more to say but I've forgotten the rest haha](less)
I have a fairly good feeling that if I had read this back in year 10, when dreams of my own endeavour were flying off the walls, I would have simpl...more4/5
I have a fairly good feeling that if I had read this back in year 10, when dreams of my own endeavour were flying off the walls, I would have simply adored this book. SOMEBODY EVERYBODY LISTENS TO is about dreams, and how even in the face of personal/financial issues, those with the will and strength to power on will prevail, at the least to an extent.
Retta Jones has lived in her small town Starling in Tennesee her whole life. And ever since she could remember all she's ever wanted to do is sing. After she graduates high school, she's in such a mad rush to get out there to Nashville to live out her country music dreams. However, the road to stardom is much bumpier than it at first appeared. First she needs to find a way to get there, as in, a car. Then she needs to find a job to earn money in order to facilitate her ambitions. When things finally start looking up, she's needed back at home...
Retta has a genuine, great voice. She isn't overly confident or cocky about her singing, she knows how tough it would be to make it big in the music industry; her passion for singing shines through, as does her natural ability to string together the events going around her into these beautiful lines of poetic lyrics.
Supplee is evidently a huge country music fan and enthusiast, and it REALLY shows in her book. Retta's experiences are incredibly realisitc and detailed, as well as humorous! I couldn't help but chuckle at the horrible situations that Retta got herself into.
The prose isn't all that special, but it did read pretty quickly. The thing that really stood out (which I shouldn't need to mention again but will, to prove a point) were those lyrics that Retta wrote.
The pull of home will always be here. Running fast or running slow. It's the place to get away from, the place I long to go. I can hear it in the treetops, feel it whispering against my skin. It's the air I breathe, the way I am. Home is my beginning and my end.
The novel has a clear focus right from the beginning: Retta dreams of becoming a recognised country musician. But the world around Retta is shifting - at home and in Nashville. I love the connections that Retta makes with those around her at home. It all just felt so . . . genuine.
What some people may be wondering is ANY ROMANCE? Sadly, I have to tell you that there is hardly any. Retta has a crush on a guy, but there is never much development with it. Though I do wish there had been something more definitive with their relationship, I found the absence of a romance okay. Instead of having all the drama that a new relationship would involve, Supplee chose to let us focus most of her dreams. I felt that a romance may have gone one way or the other - flat (as in, just a happy ending fluff thing) or completely dramatic (which I would have not liked), so I guess this book is one exception where having no romance was perhaps good? Opinions?
Fans of country music will want to read this. Even as a part-time country music listener I enjoyed reading the little biographies of some of the BIG country music stars. A fun, quick read that may inspire people to follow their dreams; if things go wrong, imagine how interesting the story leading up your Big Break will be!(less)