Disclaimer to start: I won this through First Reads. Thanks Anchor Books. On with the review.
In You Disappear Mia as she learns about and has to copeDisclaimer to start: I won this through First Reads. Thanks Anchor Books. On with the review.
In You Disappear Mia as she learns about and has to cope with her family situation after he husband Frederik is diagnosed with a brain tumor that has changed his personality and possibly has led to his embezzling funds from the school where he worked. This is one of those books that is focused as much on the main character changing due to the circumstances of her marriage as it is about exploring those changes.
The first chapter was the best. It's fraught with a sense of danger and expectation. From there it went downhill and gets mired in Jungersen's attempts to explain away the problems as much as highlight the research he did just to write the novel. The translation from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra surprisingly adept and makes the book feel very much like it might have been written in English. However, there is still the sense that this book's original audience might understand more than the English speaking audience.
Mia's not the easiest person to like. She gets hung up on constantly referring to her husband's disease and blames it for all their problems at some point. She never manages the stages of grief, either, and jumps into a relationship that, from the outside, just does not completely add up. The approach is sometimes too heavy on explaining the psychology or uninteresting minutia. You Disappear has something to say about the way we relate to each other and justify our actions, but sometimes the author seems to have bitten off more than can appropriately be chewed. He's done his research and that shows. The narrative just never really lives up to the ideas....more
I found The Fourteenth Goldfish to be a slightly strange affair. I didn't dislike it, but I had a hard time fully connecting with what is really a relI found The Fourteenth Goldfish to be a slightly strange affair. I didn't dislike it, but I had a hard time fully connecting with what is really a relatively quick read.
Eleven-year-old Ellie finds herself having to put up with a house guest who is actually her scientist grandfather. What's stranger, he's a teenager thanks to a scientific discovery. Cut off from his laboratory, Ellie must help her grandfather figure out how to be young again and possibly get his research back.
The initial introduction of Ellie's grandfather was a bit abrupt and everything kind of steamrolled from there. I think, thematically, the book is interesting, but the way the ideas and characters are introduced does not leave a lot of room for fleshing anything out. It feels a bit like a science experiment. Try this here, introduce that there, and see what the results are.
As an adult I had a bit of trouble going along with some of the more fantastical elements, but kids probably won't have the same hangups and will be more willing to just go with it. What does work is the relationships and the snappy dialogue. Holm never lets the book settle for long and that keeps things interesting. Given some of the ideas, I would say this is probably meant for slightly more advanced middle grade readers. ...more
Disclaimer to start: I won this through First Reads. Thanks St. Martin's Press. On with the review.
Brandon, a seventeen year old hacker and outsider,Disclaimer to start: I won this through First Reads. Thanks St. Martin's Press. On with the review.
Brandon, a seventeen year old hacker and outsider, finds his life taking some freaky turns not long after breaking off his friendship with Emma, the girl who is way out of his league. At first Brandon is sure he's hallucinating the guy who looks like him in the mirror, but then his piercings and tats disappear. Things only get weirder the more he tries to deny that something is wrong.
Duplicity is part cyber thriller, part YA bad boy trying to make good. There are attempts, though not in depth ones, to explain what is happening to Brandon. Brandon's relationship with Emma feels realistically drawn, but that's about the only one. Most of the girls in school act like potential sex objects toward Brandon and the guys at school pretty much just want a piece of him. The one sided narrative (told from Brandon's perspective) doesn't help a lot to flesh out the other characters either and even Emma tends to take a backseat to Brandon's immediate problems even when she is the immediate problem.
Conceptually, Duplicity has promise. It's a fairly quick read and it moves at a pretty good clip. Even so, the set up takes time to develop and the final payoff doesn't have the same intensity as some of the early parts of the book. A decent debut with a strong lead, but not a book with a plot or surrounding cast that's equal to the main character. ...more
Amanda Hocking's Frostfire introduces Bryn Aven, a tracker whose job is basically to find changelings in the human world and convince them to come bacAmanda Hocking's Frostfire introduces Bryn Aven, a tracker whose job is basically to find changelings in the human world and convince them to come back to their families in Doldastam which is somewhere in the norther wilderness of Canada. She's really good at what she does, keeps trying to deny her feelings for her five years older boss, and ends up knee deep in a conspiracy. So, basically it's your typical teen romancey fantasy-ish fluffiness. And no, this book does not require you to have read any of Hocking's other series to understand what's happening. It stands on its own fine, but it might help to have a passing familiarity with them. You might enjoy it more, even.
This book is much more about character and setting than plot. Halfway through I knew a lot about where Bryn was from and why it was a big deal she had different colored hair from everyone else. What I did not really know was why the events of the prologue had any import in the story. By the end I did, sort of. There is a slight "mystery" element to the book but if you're paying attention, one passage in particular will help you fill that in. It's not as important to the proceedings as Bryn's feelings for Ridley or her relationship with the her parents and fellow Doldastam residents most of the time. Inf fact, the most interesting thing to happen plot wise only showed up in about the last fifty pages and was purposely not concluded well because, you know, there's two more books to come.
The one thing the book does surprisingly well (other than the awkward transition period between prologue and chapter two that is called chapter one) is blend the fantasy and real world elements. The names, however, are a bit of a distraction throughout. I realize that none of these characters are humans, but they could at least have more normal and less awkward to read titles and names. Anyway, if you love yourself some teenage fluff that's not heavy on plot but big on wanting sidelong glances and denied feelings, this is worth it. If you want something that develops a plot and can manage it without turning it into a trilogy, you'll need to go somewhere else. Some good ideas and plot points strewn here and there, but I would have liked more action and less of the mundane.
Note: ARC received via Amazon Vine Program in exchange for an honest review....more
Claudia Gray's A Thousand Pieces of You is one of those books that tries to be one thing at times, then wants to be another, and finally sort of decidClaudia Gray's A Thousand Pieces of You is one of those books that tries to be one thing at times, then wants to be another, and finally sort of decides what it is but not really. Basically, it just does not fit easily into any one genre. It is part body-swapping multiverse love triangle but also part conscious-swapping multiverse conspiracy thriller. If the author could just have gotten away from the former throughout most of the middle of the book and focused more on the latter like in the beginning and ending this book could have been amazing (all caps those last four words, seriously). Instead the writing raises a lot of questions with no answers or no easily understood answers.
Sometimes the whole multiverse aspect of the book seemed present just so the author could fulfill some weird fantasies. The main character gets to live in an alternate universe London that's way more technologically advanced, an equally unadvanced Russia where she's related to royalty, and finally some freaky-deaky underwater base because the ice caps apparently melted causing the ocean level to rise catastrophically. Or I think that's what happened. I kind of got distracted by the fact that one of the love triangle dudes is totally huge while the other is not so huge, possibly a junky, but still quite buff. Describing love interests isn't exactly the book's strong suit.
The long and short of the plot outside the love triangle is that there is a device that Marguerite's parents helped create that allows conscious swapping to happen across the multiverse, aka different dimensions. After some obnoxiously unexplained (even by the end) incident, Marguerite finds herself jumping dimensions in search of Paul who she thinks betrayed her family and is aided by Theo. Oh, and Marguerite is seventeen, so technically underage and totally crushing on both genius grad students (Paul and Theo) who are a teensy bit older. So, yeah, nothing wrong with that or a whole other thing that happens that has zero consequences for Marguerite's consciousness, just one of her alternate one's potentially in the long run.
The first few chapters were kind of crazy, stream of consciousness and throw you into the middle of the story. Then somewhere it got all angsty and teenage girl can't decide which boy she likes. Despite the premise, too much goes unexplained either for too long or overall. There are some interesting ideas, but they just get muddled in the romance. So, if you're looking for the romantic triangle angle, great book! If you wanted more of the science fiction business, this won't be nearly so satisfying. It's fiction with the idea of being science fiction but there's no real scientific grounding. Disappointing on that front and for not filling out the whole conspiracy thriller angle better.
Note: ARC received via Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review....more