You know those books you see pop up a TON on review blogs? You read incredible reviews for the book...more[Review originally published on Rather Be Reading!]
You know those books you see pop up a TON on review blogs? You read incredible reviews for the book and add it to your TBR list on Goodreads, but somehow it takes you months to pick it up?
Yup, that was me with Cinder.
I sincerely wish a blog had blatantly stated SKIP EVERYTHING ELSE AND READ THIS NOW. I absolutely loved Cinder that much. So, this is me telling you to stop what you’re doing and read Cinder immediately.
Fairy tale retellings are a popular thing right now. It’s such a great way for us big kids to relive the stories we used to adore as children, but with a shiny new twist on things. Cinder was precisely that for me – unique and artistic, fresh, and oh-so-good.
Meyer took a lot of creative liberties and didn’t follow the original Cinderella to a T. It’s set in the future and our beloved Cinder is a cyborg, a human that’s been “fixed” by having a foot and an arm replaced with engineered, metal ones. Her step-mother is as atrocious as ever, but the circumstances are different. Cinder is adopted into the family by her step-father (who does, as in the original, pass away). She’s one of the best mechanics in town and undertakes as much work as she can to provide the cushy life her step-mother has grown accustomed to.
Cinder is a mere sixteen years old, but she’s tough and unbreakable. (I suppose having a wretched step-mother can callous you.) I loved her hard core attitude and the way she fumbled over her words when she was in the presence of Prince Kai when they first met. Kai isn’t your stereotypical arrogant/conceited/egotistical prince. He’s a little quirky, very funny, kind and tender-hearted. He was so sweet and immediately had my heart swooning.
Part of the brilliance of Cinder was that the entire cast of characters felt so fully developed. I connected and sympathized with Cinder, but my love wasn’t just for her. All the layers of Kai were peeled back, allowing us to see him for more than just a prince. (I wrote a list of moments I adored with him: when his father passes away, when Cinder arrives at the ball, quiet moments with her in the elevator, and meeting Cinder for the very first time at the festival.) But Meyer didn’t stop the amazingness with the primary characters. She gave Cinder an opinionated, original robotic friend, Iko and the sweetest, most innocent younger step-sister, Peony. Iko and Peony helped show us more than Cinder’s abrasive, distrusting side.
Oftentimes, I dislike when I can guess where a plot is headed (I like to be outsmarted by the author). Something I’ve learned to really like about Meyer’s writing is that she gives her readers just enough subtle hints without spoiling it entirely. Instead of feeling let down that I guessed the ending, I felt a rush as my suspicions were confirmed because I felt like I knew something Cinder didn’t know. I do think Meyer is intentional in the little breadcrumb hints she leaves along the way – she builds anticipation by allowing us to know things and be surprised when the truth is revealed to the characters.
I could go on and on about my love for Cinder, but I hope you’ll take my word for it and pick it up soon. You’ll want to be prepared for the sequel, Scarlet, to come out in February! (This time we get to meet Little Red Riding Hood!)(less)
So what would you do if the entire school was grieving a girl you’d never met but thought you wanted to...more[Review originally posted on Rather be Reading]
So what would you do if the entire school was grieving a girl you’d never met but thought you wanted to replace?
Imagine that you move into a new house. You are trying to settle there, but you also see how everyone else did things before you. How they lived and loved. The people that they surrounded themselves with. It’s like you’re surrounded by their shadows. Aside from you, the house is empty and abandoned – those people are long gone with absolutely no explanation for their disappearance. All the things and people they loved remain. You’re pushed to be a replacement. You’re constantly reminded of how those other people did things better, bigger, differently than you. You can’t replace them. In fact, you don’t want to.
It sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it?
For the new girl, it was. This new girl, nameless until the end of the book, was given the chance I wish I’d had. A chance to go to boarding school and to break out of the mold of her hometown. As a huge fan of Harry Potter, when she’s finally accepted her senior year, she expects lifelong friendships to be formed just like the ones of Harry, Hermoione, and Ron.
The reality is much different.
She’s constantly compared to a girl she doesn’t know and one she may never know if Becca doesn’t return. She’s not trying to replace Becca and while she doesn’t make an effort to be Miss Popularity, everyone assumes she’s trying to make them forget their lost friend.
The story is told from Becca and the new girl’s perspectives. We go back in time to get the truth about Becca’s life and we learn of the many lies she told to everyone at the school. We see present day from the new girl’s point of view. The stories blend easily and effortlessly together. With subtle hints we’re able to piece together the puzzle of Becca’s disappearance. This book was full of confusing friendships and dating relationships, incredible amounts of animosity, and raging emotions over the loss of Becca.
Speaking of insane emotions – Dana, the new girl’s roommate, was full of them. This chick was seriously messed up. She ranged from nice to deceptive to downright aggressive; she seemed extremely bi-polar. I had no love whatsoever for Dana; she treated everyone with such contempt. There were hints that she knew the truth about what happened to Becca and I just couldn’t wait for her to spill everything. Her behavior was so suspicious, and she seemed extremely protective over the two men that were in Becca’s life.
Max and Johnny were two boys that utterly complicated the entire situation. Somehow Becca was involved with BOTH of these boys. When they would pop in and out of the new girl’s life, I questioned their character and trustworthiness. I felt extremely protective over this girl who just seemed to be thrown to the wolves. She had absolutely no one she could talk to, and I just wanted to be there to help her through all the drama. I’m a girl who enjoys a good love story, but things were so mixed up that I actually preferred her staying away from the boys because I didn’t want her heart to be broken. (Or for Dana to go psycho on her.)
This story was meaty and complicated. It moved swiftly and though the story is dense, it never felt overwhelming. With the alternating points of view and flashbacks, this story could have been difficult to follow. There is a lot to take in and Harbison did a great job making sure everything flowed well. I felt so compelled to read as fast as I could so I would figure out what happened to Becca. (And, if I’m being honest, I wanted to know the new girl’s name.)
New Girl will hit bookshelves on January 31st. Don’t forget to add it to your to-read list and pick up a copy! You’ll anxiously be awaiting answers, but it’s definitely unpredictable and worth the wait.(less)