So freaking excited to write this review! Now I just have to attempt to relay everything that is amazing about this book into words and regurgitate it...moreSo freaking excited to write this review! Now I just have to attempt to relay everything that is amazing about this book into words and regurgitate it for you all, which can sometimes be difficult with my scatter brain!
For starters, I pretty much stick to a set of genres and rarely deviate from those. Sorry, I just generally stick to what is safe and known. When coming across anything with the Fairy Tale or Historical Fiction genres listed, it usually scares me away. I don’t really know why because I enjoy both of those things, I just fear it will put me to sleep. So, I took a step out on the ledge with THRONE OF GLASS because I had total Cover Lust! Oh and I totally loved the synopsis I read, and OH WOW was I right for both accounts! But we will come back to that…
I am going to start with Ms. Celaena Sardothien aka Adarlan’s Assassin – HOLY COW – yes, I just said that in a review, but I really don’t know what else to say. She is the female heroine that you want your daughters reading; really strong, independent and an extremely keen sense of people/situations/right and wrong – just an overall GREAT character. Sarah J. Maas hit the freaking nail on the head when creating Celaena and stayed true to Celaena’s personality through the whole book, which, if you didn’t know is a big thing with me!
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention Captain Chaol Westfall and Crown Prince Dorian! My, my they were both quite tasty, each in their own way, but equally wonderful. Chaol is the captain of the guard for Prince Dorian as well as a good friend of his, so it’s quite a dynamic to see not only the interactions they each have with Celaena, but also with each other. Yes, yes this book has a wee love-triangle to it. But I loved it; I got sucked in and couldn’t choose sides. Probably due to Sarah Maas’s brilliant writing of detailed, loveable characters, so BRAVO Sarah!
The book opens with Celaena in the salt mines of Endovier and these opening scenes are what brought me to the conclusion that I have totally been missing out on an excellent genre by forbidding the historical fiction from my reading list. Maybe it was Sarah Maas’s writing along with it but either way, it officially proved me wrong because there was no sleeping while reading this book! I was enamored from cover to cover; hypnotized with the writing, the lucid scenes and one of the most fantastic plots.
Overall – a must read! Totally hitting my fav reads for 2012 and cannot wait for the next book!
Ok review time…I will lead off with a note that if you are looking for a fast pace read, this isn’t g...moreYAY A first ever book genre for me – YA Christian
Ok review time…I will lead off with a note that if you are looking for a fast pace read, this isn’t going to be it, BUT…lets continue for a moment before you run away!
The beginning of the book is a little slow moving and a can be a bit confusing though, these characteristics are not a bad thing in the case of this book. The book starts following Briella home, I won’t give too much away but, this is where we learn about who Briella and without this slightly confusing beginning, you can’t get to the wonderful end. We learn in small bits and pieces what lead Briella home and this journey is important throughout the whole book. I personally liked this portion of the book because Shannon Dittemore did such an excellent job of building up the mystery and I sooo was not expecting that. I also find this portion of the book critical in the understanding of the tenor and atmosphere of the rest of the book.
This leads me to an interesting point about Dittemore’s writing. So, with most YA reads things are explained and laid out in black and white, it may not happen right away but at some point everything is put on the table. But Dittemore didn’t do that; there was a lot of opened ending sections leaving room for interpretation and drawing your own conclusion. I strongly feel that this was intentional from Dittemore as during a lot of these moments of “open ends” your lead to think about the cause and effect of that moment morally and…yes…religiously.
So, how did I feel about my first Christian read? Well, for the most part as I said before, I enjoyed the buildup. Again, some may consider it slow, but I surely find it as a “boiling point” for the book and without it I think Angel Eyes would have fallen flat. I will say that towards the end of the book it did get a little heavier and for those points, well, those parts just weren’t for me. All-and-all I will guess that if that isn’t for you either, you can do the same as me and breeze past those moments since they aren’t chapter long sections, just brief snipits!
Drawbacks: written in alternating perspectives, heavy religious undertones at the end
End conclusion, I really enjoyed Angel Eyes for so many reasons that I didn’t realize until I finished. I like books that even if I take notes while I’m reading I still have to take a moment when I’m done and reflect. That shows that the author really made you think…and…I don’t get that too often anymore.
Ok I totally love the cover, beautiful and very demanding of attention, well done! Ok, sorry I had to mention that because I frequently suffer from “I...moreOk I totally love the cover, beautiful and very demanding of attention, well done! Ok, sorry I had to mention that because I frequently suffer from “I picked the book because of its cover” syndrome!
This is the first Michelle Rowen novel for me and if it’s any sign, I’m currently reading through the rest of her works trying to pick what will be my next Michelle Rowen book. I enjoyed Dark Kiss, it was definitely a fun read. While I would primarily classify this as a YA Angel read, I would also add Mystery and Suspense to that as well. I think Michelle Rowen did a fabulous job in the build-up and slow reveal of things throughout the book. Totally kept me reading!
I was split 50/50 on enjoying the characters, but I never really connected with Samantha. There were moments when I liked her and could relate with her, but sometimes even in the same paragraph, she would get a little too whiney for me. But, then there is Kraven and Bishop. I L-O-V-E-D both of these characters and Michelle Rowen did a great, unique job on her take of the angel/demon characters. Kraven, oh Kraven, he was, hands-down, my favorite character. His snarky attitude kept humor in the book. I am also really excited because I think Dark Kiss totally built a foundation for his character to become more prominent as the series progresses.
Overall, while I never fell in love with Samantha, I think that most of the YA readers will be able too. The high-school aspect of the book was a little too much for me, but what can I say, I’m gettin’ up there in age! The mystery and suspense in this book was built up extraordinarily well and regardless of my age, I will keep reading the Nightwatchers Series.
So, walking into reading this, the beat way to put is I really wasn’t prepared. I received a copy in May of this year and had tried on a number of occ...moreSo, walking into reading this, the beat way to put is I really wasn’t prepared. I received a copy in May of this year and had tried on a number of occasions to sit down and read this and was never able to get past the first 10-20 pages. I had almost given up hope, but thus far I have really enjoyed Aimee Carter’s Goddess Test series so I decided to give it one last try. Glad I did…once I got past that first section, or what I refer to as jarbled mess (no, the writing is good, but it just takes a bit for everything to start making sense, at least it did for me) the stories are fantastic, hey and even slightly educational for our YA readers.
THE GODDESS LEGACY is broken into five mini stories and each story flows into and builds on one another, so it is important that you read them in order. I am going to keep each a bit separate in my review though, so here is a small review of each story…
The Goddess Queen: Hera (Calliope): This is the one I had a hard time getting through as it was a bit slow and I was really confused as to where we were at in the story for most of it. It wasn’t until a couple pages till the end that everything clicked. Looking back (and re-reading) it is good but definitely is at the bottom of my list for this book.
The Lovestruck Goddess: Aphrodite (Ava): Enjoyed this one, I mean, how could you not enjoy the story of Aphrodite? More than that, I love the character that Aimee built Aphrodite into. She’s cute, childlike but yet she knows she’s cute and knows how to work it. You’ll be sure to fall into a love hate relationship with her through this story and the remainder of this book!
Goddess of the Underworld: Persephone: I was really a bit weary when I started reading this section. So frequently I get frustrated with versions of the Persephone/Hades story rewritten for YA. Hell, even when I began reading the GODDESS TEST series I was concerned, but just like with the normal portion of the series I was really happy with what spins and twists Aimee put into this…though…end the end I will have to say, I kinda hate Persephone, I can’t help it, Hades is just too sweet!
God of Thieves: Hermes (James): As I have said, each story in this book builds on one another and Hermes/James is in a good portion of the other stories, but things changed for me during this story. I have never really connected with James during the other GODDESS TEST series, but oh my, I made that connection here, big time, and now I think it may actually be hard for me to read the next book because I have been rooting for Henry all along, but now, there is definitely going to be a voice somewhere in my head rooting for James.
God of Darkness: Hades (Henry): Ahhhhh and now for the mini book that makes everything else here shrink in comparison. First, each mini book has had something to do with Hades/Henry, big or small, a piece of the background was revealed, but within the pages of this mini book the cover was torn off and all the secrets were laid out for us to cast judgment and pick sides. Each of the 14 original council has some part to play in Hades/Henry’s future with Kate and we get to see how everyone worked for (or against) it to become what it is. I LOVED this chapter/mini book and it has even inspired me to pick up THE GODDESS TEST again to re-read to see what things make a little more sense!
What was not to love about this book? I was stoked when I first came across this on GoodReads months back and waited and waited then, fina...moreMy thoughts?
What was not to love about this book? I was stoked when I first came across this on GoodReads months back and waited and waited then, finally, my Galley copy came through and I pretty much dropped everything to start reading.
Yes, everything about this book was right for me. The story was sensational. Echo’s struggle to deal with the unknown circumstances that left her memory wiped may be one of the best suspense plots I’ve read to date. That, coupled with the angst of Noah’s troubled past and current fight for his family, was such a power punch of emotion wrapped up with one beautiful cover. My life faded into the background while I dove into this read, I could not stop and was constantly sneaking reading breaks! It also stunned me the way that Echo's story rolled out to every branch of her life, just like it would for the "real world". It was gut-retching to read about the soul-less friends that deserted her and the unlikely friends that pulled her forward.
Also, while Echo and Noah are the main focus of the story the supporting case was not far behind in gripping my attention. With the overpowering emotion that their plot provided, the supporting characters helped to provide a "light-hearted" atmosphere to keep a balance of grit and good-humor. Isaiah and Beth provided the beef of the good-humor for the story. Both characters come from Noah's side of the story, so both are "delinquents" (per say) giving an undeniably diverse scope of life-style and crazy (yes, if I ever came across Beth in real life I think she would make me flip-my-lid scared!). These characters also provided a bit more of a story with-in a story and I was devastated we didn't find out more (though, keep reading to the end of the review for exciting news).
With the suspense, mystery, gripping emotion and the fight for family, you would think there would not be room for much more...but there was. The intoxicating romance between Noah and Echo was beyond words. It showed the real struggle between two people when trying to make their puzzle pieces fit. They each had an epic-sized problem that they were dealing with and tried, again and again, to figure out how each-other fit into the picture. So yes, it was intoxicating, gripping, frustrating, powerful, however you want to say it and it kept me reaching to turn the page and block out the rest of the outside noise.
End of the day...I cannot wait to get a copy of this on my shelves on Tuesday!
Honest and powerful, these may be overused in terms of reviewing books, but they sing so true for Scars. Cheryl Rainfield shared an amazing story wit...moreHonest and powerful, these may be overused in terms of reviewing books, but they sing so true for Scars. Cheryl Rainfield shared an amazing story with the public with releasing this book. I am still having reflection moments on it, still a little torn on my feelings, but I do know that no matter what, this is an “I need to buy a hard copy” book. I less and less buy physical books due to space constraints, but Scars will need to find a home on my bookshelf.
There were a couple things I would have liked to have seen done different though. I hate critiquing books like this, “real issue” books, because it’s someone’s story, their painful past and I hope that everyone who reads does take note of the end of the book in the Author’s Notes, as she does let us know that while not 100% of the story is, but most of it is a retelling of her own personal life. So, with all due respect to Cheryl Rainfield, here are some of the things I “would like to have seen different”. First, there is note to a past relationship with “Sarah” but there is never a lot of background given on it. I think that leaves a chunk of the picture out for me. While near the end of the book, we get just a LITTLE background, we are still never given enough to substantiate that who, what, when, why on that aspect of Kendra, leaving a little too big of a hole for me. The second thing is the relationship between Meghan and Kendra, it was a bit too quick for me, maybe Rainfield was trying to keep the page count down, but I just think this was another relationship hole for me, and with the already large hole from the lack of background with Sarah, Meghan never clicked for me.
But, overall, I still find this to be a jaw dropping book. I’m not a parent, so maybe my feelings will change later in life, but I do know that books like this should be recommended to teen BY their parents. Sexual abuse, physical abuse, any type of abuse is a huge “taboo” for much of society. I know we want to keep children and teens innocent and not make them fear the world and other people, but I also think that we need to let them know what is out there and that people recover. Scars, to me, is about recovery. While the book may be written to portray mystery, the tone from the first page to the last revolves around Kendra’s recovery, and we need to be able to let our youth know that you can recover. No matter how bad, hard, terrible, whatever, you can come back from it. So, while the subject matter and content maybe slightly “taboo” I hope that some of you parents will allow your teens to read this and see that no matter the circumstance, there is hope and there is a way to come out of it.
I think I like just about everything about this one. Yes, pure and simple, it was angst, it was love, it was the perils of starting hi...moreMy thoughts?
I think I like just about everything about this one. Yes, pure and simple, it was angst, it was love, it was the perils of starting high school all wrapped up and delivered to for my reading pleasure!
Why? Well, for starters there was Rose. She was one part geek, one part social butterfly, one part pretty girl and about 6 parts snark which equated to pure genius. I know, seems a bit too simple right? Wrong. I think this type of character is too often lost in the jumble or over played. It really is hard to get the snark across just right with an angst-y feel like this story had and for debut Louis Rozett, will I say Score 1 for her!
The other part of Rose that drew me to love this story and the writing was the true girth of emotion that was conveyed in her character. Rose is angry, yes, hence the title, but relaying what true "teenage" anger is like has proved to be difficult in books I've read to date. Being able to get that balance of not just anger but the lack of knowledge of why exactly your angry and the mixture of emotions beyond anger that it evokes,well, that takes talent, talent that we seemed to have found. Rozett managed to relay those in an emotional, humor packed read that I was immediately hooked on.
Oh yea, the humor! This book definitely scored higher on my ratings for actually getting me to laugh out loud!
I have to make note of the cover as it was one of the big things that drew me to this book. The simplistic nature of it is so far beyond most YA books that I've come across. Yes, one simple girl, seemingly lost in thought, pulling and playing with her necklace, this my friends is a marketing genius. Not over the top pretty, but not under played. It hits the perfect mixture of pretty+intrigue. Love's it!
Only things that didn't totally cut it? As much as I could go on and on about how perfect I think Rose was I do think that she might get slightly lost in translation. Where I found her to be perfect, it is still hard for me to believe that she was only 14 for part of this book. The age discrepancy may prove to be a bit more difficult for some readers to get past, but for me it plays to a love/hate. I can look past it and frankly forgot for part of reading how old she was supposed to be until they mentioned her turning 15. I just hope other readers can do the same.
Really? Cause I needed another massive flippin' cliffhanger this year?
Yep. Nope. Overall - I'll mark it a must read for the high-school generation. With Rozett nailing the persona of most(every) teenage girl. If you are an older YA reader just beware of the written age, if you are someone who holds a character to their age range then you may want to check out more reviews before jumping in.
So, if you read my review for dancergirl earlier today/yesterday then you know that I was pleasantly surprised by my enjoyment of it after my apprehen...moreSo, if you read my review for dancergirl earlier today/yesterday then you know that I was pleasantly surprised by my enjoyment of it after my apprehension in reading it. Well, Circle of Silence is part of what spawned all of the curiosity. Truthfully, I was more intrigued by the synopsis for this book and after finishing dancergirl I was so much more excited to start reading.
You remember my curiosity to how WiHi was going to be a series? Well it is, but it isn’t. You could, in theory, read these out-of-order. But, there are so innuendos within this book that you would only pickup on having read dancergirl. The series takes on the same setting, but picks up a completely new cast and story. Oh and boy was it a story. This book really stepped it up with the action and suspense aspects. Yes, there was also still mystery but this one. Totally takes a combination of all three and ends up kicking your butt!
I also loved the characters in this book too. Where the characters in dancergirl were great and contributed to the story fabulously, Circle of Silence does much in the same, while also ramping up the romance factor. Jagger, Jagger, Jagger. *Cue my bad boy infatuation* yes, Jagger is Valerie’s ex who dropped her like a bad habit their previous year of school and now he has come barreling back into her life while attempting to, what she thinks, ruin HER year on “Campus News”. Well, Jagger’s spectacular bad boy facade plus what seems like Valerie’s ideal story to give her the breakthrough year on “Campus News” equaled on book I couldn’t put down!
Oh, aaannndddd Masked men…freaking creepy! I loved the random MP LOG’s tossed in throughout the book totally added to the action and creep factor.
Overall loved this one too, Carol M Tanzman totally stepped up her game with it and will have to pick up a copy to add to the shelves!
I love real issue books, a lot. I wanted nothing more than for this to be an excellent read. Upon starting I was sure it was going to turn out well, but end the end, I’m afraid it just didn’t hit the mark for me.
Things that didn't make the cut
The writing. The Stone Girl is written in third person and when I first started reading this was pretty exciting for me. I felt that the POV could do a lot to diversify the story and provide insight, development and depth to what could have bloomed into an unforgettable read. Unfortunately, I’m afraid this will be much of a forgettable read for me. After getting into pace with the POV I found that the lack of maturity and development within the MC, Sethie’s, character left a lot to be desired. Yes, it did provide a difference in story telling that will allow it to stand out amongst other “issue” based books but that is all, no knock-out, punch to the gut outcome like I expected. The overall flow to the story was perplexing for me. When I began reading the third person POV, while exhilarating at the time, did take some time to figure out the pace of. Post reading I realize that wasn’t just the third person aspect that made it difficult. When you mixed that with the sometimes extremely choppy writing, it was difficult to keep up with on a comprehension/attention level. I found that there were many sections that I had to totally stop and reread once, twice and sometimes had to completely toss my hands up because I still couldn’t understand the purpose or context.
Characters. As I mentioned previously, Sethie’s character left a lot to be desired. While on many levels her moments of weakness and curiosity into others was realistic, frank and devastating to read. Seems contradictory to my point being left to desire something but, focus on the word MOMENTS; because they were just that, brief moments that were overwhelmingly outweighed by naïve, immature and sometimes downright childlike behavior. Had this novel been written with a younger MC it could have worked, though readership within the rest of the story would have been lacking.
Relationships, General Story and research (ok these all don’t seem to go together, but they do for me). While the characters themselves just didn’t work, the relationships themselves did. Something to be remembered is that there is an astounding amount of individuals who suffer from Eating Disorders that also suffer from a number of other disorders, syndromes and/or mental illnesses. Being able to maintain certain types of relationships with one or a mixture of those things creates a very complex platform for a multitude of unhealthy relationships, which The Stone Girl relayed in a skilled, subtle and very disturbing way (and I mean disturbing in a good way).
Shaw/Sethie: addiction to acceptance from lovers; providing reassurance in image and providing confirmation of failures.
Janey/Rebecca: addiction to constant guilt and feelings that authority figures are constantly thinking the worst of you.
Sethie/Janey: addiction to the new, the different and the fascination with acceptance, leads to constant curiosity into others opinions and comparison of body, lifestyle and denial of issues
That’s a very general outline of examples of relationships within the book but, as you can see there is a lot beyond an Eating Disorder that plagues Sethie, which is true for a good number of actual sufferers. This is also what kept my curiosity through the end of the book. There is generally a stigma around the type of person that suffers from an eating disorder and its commonly overlooked that everyone suffers differently. The Stone Girl, for me, was far above par in description of how many teenage girls suffer from ED and other mental illness in a blender of emotion, control, self-discipline, attachment and drug use.
Overall - while the story relayed more "true to nature" ED and metal illness for me, the lacking in the rest of the book left me barely able to finish.
I have rolled this review around in my head for a number of days because I have not really been sure how to formulate a review that doesn’t completely slice open this book (hehe play on my blog title). I had a TON of notes that I took while I was reading that I wanted to cover. As well as, after I finished reading I wrote an “initial reaction”. After combining those I sat on it a bit more trying to decide what I was going to do (more insight on that later) and finally after some editing, some research on other’s reactions and some additional editing (the initial drafts of this review were brutal, not to say what follows here is peachy, “more constructive” would be a good description) I have landed with the review below.
It’s long, I had no language filter when writing/proofing and I let some personal experience drive parts of the review. So there, you have been warned – controversial, negative, I.Don’t.Care – here is my review…
I can still remember the first time I came across Glitch because it gave me goosebumps from reading the synopsis. This is usually a sign that I have fallen in love with a book. Then, the cover came out and I had an epic cover-gasm – because, it is just stunning (love the color combos!). It was quickly looking like Glitch was well on its way to becoming a top read for me for the year. I mean how could something described as a post-war “community” where everyone is controlled by implanted chips, groups of people who are starting to “glitch” or, in laymen’s terms, no longer effected by the chips, toss in some telekinetic powers and uhh yea, I’m in for the long haul! I received a copy for review and all but flew to my room to start reading. It didn’t take very long for the WTFs to start and soon after the “you-gotta-be-fucking-kidding-me’s” were flying left and right (we will refer to those as YGBFKMs for the remainder of this review).
Glitch starts off pretty good. We get introduced to Zoe, our MC, who is “glitching” and it seemed like it was laying the ground work for the phenomenal story line I had planned out in my head. The first 20-30 pages of the book were, in fact, great. After that, it went to hell in a hand basket.
What went wrong?
I'm really trying to decide if maybe I should maybe be asking what went right. Some of the following are NOT deal breakers for me when reading a book. It was just the compounding of problems that led to this soap-box moment for me...let us begin.
Maturity. Overall this book was having a serious identity crisis and the characters maturity and the maturity in the writing just happen to be one of the many prominent examples of that. When the story opens up, the language and writing style lay the ground work that every other YA level read has. But, as we progress past that it seems all of the characters back-track and the writing started leaving a lot to be desired, giving me the first helping of some good WTF moments?
I understand that part of the foundation and concept of this book revolves around the fact that the inhabitants of "The Community" have never had emotion; therefore, they probably won’t know how to deal with it. What this should do is leave us with characters that are slightly "less mature", what it should not do is have things all over the spectrum of maturity. But that is what happened. One moment the characters and writing were like adults, then middle school, then adults, then elementary - it was too much bouncing. Unfortunately, (in my opinion) I don't think this was written this way intentionally.
Underdeveloped. Thinking back to the beginning of the book again, things there were extremely developed. Meaning, it felt like we were pulling some layers off Zoe as a character as well as, getting the feel for the setting of the book. It was descriptive and held what I felt was a good pace. But again, we hit that 20-30 page mark and we hit the brakes (leaving me with another WTF?) and I completely disconnected from Zoe and almost all of the other characters.
Language. Ok, I get the "futuristic" feel that some of the language was going for. I also think it’s commendable to try to use substitutes for curse words (this coming from me, the Queen of the Potty Mouth). BUT, if you are going to go for futuristic and less cursing - then STAY CONSISTENT. One minute characters would be talking using the language style of "The Community". Then, sometimes even in the same sentence, it was like we forgot how they were supposed to talk, or forgot that people who don’t know emotions like love and hate wouldn’t say things like that! Everything pertaining to the language left me with a great number of YGBFKMs.
Max. This character needs his own section…oh wait he does…yea we will talk about him later.
Emotions. Yet again, I understand the theory that the characters have never dealt with emotion. That wasn't the problem. The issue was the randomness in which the characters understood it. If you are going to use a plot that revolves around a group of people with controlled and/or non-existent emotions then it is something you really have to review for. You can't have characters understanding and knowing what some emotions are but being totally clueless to others and even sometimes knowing an emotion one chapter and the next chapter having the same character not know. It leaves an overall feeling of WTF?
The characters “special” abilities had much of the same problem, one minute Zoe would be all "I know what I need to do, but shouldn't do it in public, but I can't help myself, so I’m going to do it anyway". Then, suddenly she's all "I just can't control my abilities, (whine, whine) I can't even lift a pillow even though I was tossing people around intentionally a little bit ago" Yea, YGBFKM is exactly what I was thinking too.
Memories. Inconsistent, CHECK! If you write that a character has a memory wiped, let it stay wiped. Period. Because readers catch stuff like that and after one, three or ten times of catching it, it really starts to get old.
Only good? Adrien, I'm not sure why he was the only character that got developed. When I got to the end he almost seemed developed enough that I was satisfied. He wasn't great by any means (he was one of the biggest "language" offenders) but we got a good background, face-time and consistency in the "feel" of his character; mannerisms, thought, dialog, etc. YAY for Adrien!
Identity Crisis #2. Genre blending seems as though it is becoming more and more popular. Which I am totally ok with! I love having the mixture of genres to satisfy multiple aspects of my reading preferences. This was actually something that caught my eye when I was reading the synopsis initially. The synopsis read like it was Dystopia, Paranormal, Sci-Fi, Urban Fantasy with a hint of Romance, at least that is what I thought it was trying to outline. Yes, there was some background Sci-Fi/Dystopia but it read like a romance. Which I can deal with, but there are things to-do and not-to-do.
So, fine you want to be a romance? Then we need to have a heart-to-heart about what was wrong there. I hatedespiseloathe detest love triangles but have read my fair share that I eventually come to terms with. But, the love triangle in Glitch was just plain disturbing. No, I take that back. The love triangle wasn't the problem, MAX was the problem. Everything I have covered up until this point caused hair-pulling, frustration and general disengagement with the book. But, I was still reading, which means that I still held out hope for a righteous come-back, that never came. In fact, what I got was further reasoning why I didn’t like this book and it was so damning that I sit now writing my first bad, negative, mean, however you want to say it, review.
NOTICE! As I said before, a vast majority of the things that didn't work for me in this book could have been looked past and/or written off as “this book just wasn't for me”. I actually considered declining to review after I finished reading. But, each time I logged into NetGalley to decline I was overcome with the feeling that I just need to say something about the contents of this book. Unfortunately, I know that personal experience has heightened my feelings on this book, but that is also why I decided to proceed with the review. As a young-girl I encountered too many instances of (emotional/physical) abuse being portrayed as "OK and/or Normal" which lead to a lot of emotional confusion and inability to handle those situations as a young-woman. Bringing me to decide that something needs to be said about how those types of relationships are played-out within this book.
Some background...the book starts and we meet Zoe, Zoe meets Adrien and we get some insta-love action. Then, a couple of plot twists later we meet Dear Max who appears to have been someone Zoe grew up around within "The Community"
Enter Love Triangle
Max and Zoe begin their adventure into WTF-ville?
I proceed to have mass amounts of YGBFKMs
What happen you ask, well, let me tell you because it's unfuckingbelievable.
Emotional Abuse. This would be "Level 1" of the YGBFKMs while I was reading and, if you have ever read any of my Contemporary-Romance reviews, you should pick up on the fact that I love me some Alpha-Male. So, why did I have a problem with how the Max/Zoe relationship was portrayed? Because. This.Is.A.Young.Adult.Novel. Now, that doesn't mean YA can't have a good alpha-male or two. What it does mean is you need to play the relationship right from the female’s side too (we will touch on what I'm talking about with that in just a couple more points, bear with me).
Physical Abuse. This would be "Level 2" of the YGBFKMs (and a hearty helping of WTFs). Like the emotional abuse wasn't bad enough, no-no, let’s toss some good'ol physical abuse in there! YEAH! WTF?!
Almost Rape. This would be "Level 3" of the YGBFKMs. This was also the point at which I felt physically ill. Yes because for some reason the emotional abuse wasn't enough, so we tossed in some down-home physical abuse and that just didn't do it for us either. What do we do? Ahhhh break-out the sexual abuse because we're about to have ourselves a P-A-R-T-Y! WTF! YGBFKM! WTF?!
QUICK RECAP! Because I feel like I need to have some input here...
Controlling-alpha-male-like-boyfriend-character = Ok, I can deal with that. Hell, sometimes even damn sexy!
Emotionally-abusive-boyfriend-type = Alright, the book takes a good moral stand to show young men and women it's not ok, right?
Physically-abusive-boyfriend = I'm assuming this is a good realistic-fiction showing the perils of escaping this type of relationship, yes?
Boyfriend-who-likes-to-pressure-you-into-doing-more-than-you're-comfortable-with= Ok, I must have clicked on Rape Girl by Alina Klein (which is a great example of how to show readers the difficulties of rape or attempted rape), so we should be getting the high moral standing around dealing with these types of relationships...any minute....maybe....please?
No, we are not reading a realistic-fiction. Which is ok, we can deal with strong social issues outside of Contemp and RF. IF and ONLY IF you deal with it and show your YOUNG readers the right way to deal with them. How it was done here sure-as-hell isn't how we need to be portraying it. How was it dealt with you ask?
Passive aggressive. Yes, a great deal of passive aggressive behavior is how Zoe was portrayed to deal with this whole relationship. I couldn't believe it, hell I'm still sitting here flabbergasted. There is absolutely nothing that can be said to make this OK for me. Had we stopped with "Level 1 Emotional Abuse" I MIGHT have been able to move on when Zoe said things like “But I deserved it”. But, the fact that it escalated to the point it did and Zoe continued to say things to justify or excuse his behavior, thus setting the impression for readers that this type of behavior is normal and OK and it's probably your fault.
This brings us full circle to....
Identity Crisis #3. Again, relationships like this happen, I get that. But, if you are going to write at a middle-grade/ young-adult level book (yes, I did confirm the age groups that this book is posted for Amazon 13+, B&N 13-18, McMillan site 13+ or Grade 7+) with this type of relationship, please do not make that seem like it's OK, because it’s not. It is extremely easy to have the MC stand-up for herself or tell someone. It doesn’t have to be right away either; you can use it to build the plot, BUT PLEASE DO NOT MAKE IT SEEM OK!
Overall feelings and the Saddest part is that there was so much potential in the writing and plot. I'm no expert, nor have I ever written a book, but I feel like a lot of what was wrong could have been cleaned up with some good editing passes. Oh, and a good adviser to tone down the blatant portrayal that abuse, in any form, is OK/normal/your fault/not frowned upon.
David Levithan is officially a genius to me. While I have heard a number of times that his writing is beyond fantastic, I had failed until this point to read any of his work. I can tell you know I will, without a doubt, be purchasing as many as I can squeeze in my schedule.
I’m a mood based reader, such as I’m sure many of you are too but, I have to be into something for me to dive into it to the fullest. I tried a number of times to start reading this and had actually started to fear that I wouldn’t be able to dredge though. I was wrong, so.very.wrong.
There was so much wrapped together within the pages of this read that I am still a little awe struck. See, now that I am reviewing books, I try not to read reviews on books until after I’ve read and reviewed a book. I feel this helps to stay objective and lessens the probability that I will either get too amped up about a book or get drug down by others feelings on it. Much was the same when it came to Every Day; I refused to look at anything anyone had to say after I received my copy. Since this was a first read from the author for me really wanted to make sure I didn’t read into it before actually reading it! I did (and always do) read the synopsis on GR and NetGalley for Every Day and I remember thinking “this should be a good paranormal-ish read” well, I had no clue what could be done with words and a story that turned “a good paranormal-ish read” into a beautiful example of heart, mind and body encompassed by the exploration of love.
Exploration of love = the understatement of the year.
Every Day makes you think. It’s one of those books that you read and have to stop throughout and really think about what the story is saying. Once I hit a mood to read this, I couldn’t read anything else. The story itself pulls you in, constantly wanting to discover what body A will wake up in next and waiting in anticipation to see who A’s new body will be. So, even though I was stopping to reflect on the full meaning of parts of the book, it was still a fast, likeable read.
Every Day had a truly unique underlying romance, while in the body of Justin, he meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. Where A gives a diverse morality to the story, Rhiannon stood as the character to counter this. A was wise from years of jumping from body to body, life to life. Rhiannon was immature and less accepting; the difference in each of these characters thinking lead to a beautiful unfolding of the explanation of love and acceptance. The constant play of emotions and fears from both characters built up this curiosity to see how the relationship would end.
End the end, it all comes back to the grace of Levithan’s writing. The plot alone was mind blowing and the plot twists were out of control amazing but, everything to this point has not equaled what was so beyond our years about this book. It tracks back to the “Exploration of love” statement from earlier.
Are those things everyone wants or would you second guess them if you knew the true effect they could have?
These are all questions and notes I had on my scratch pad I keep while writing. These are all pretty deep questions for a YA read which leaves me intrigued as to how this book will be accepted by the intended readership. Part of me has wanted to say that maybe this should have been written for a slightly older audience. But, I cannot deny the fact that while it’s far beyond the thinking and mindset, on some levels, of most of its intended readership, I think it’s target audience is perfect. The topics within this read truly make you think and to me I think that middle-high school readers will have far more understanding of the relationships and lack the understanding of love, possibly leading those readers to think further into what love is and what it means.
Overall - While some depths of this book will be lost in translation to the intended readership. While others will blossom into thought provoking discussion that will make it worth while!
Every book for me starts out with 0 stars. It’s the only way I can give away my goods and feel that I did it in a kind, legit fashion. Let’s watch the progression, because this one was a bit difficult and sometimes 3 star reviews are overlooked…
Starting score 0 stars
BAM-POW! Yea, the beginning kinda felt like that. Inbetween had a stellar opening introducing you to the reapers (excellent concept we will discuss more on later) and you get small bits of info on the background story that is-a-brewin’.
+5 Stars for a BAM-POW beginning
Now we are past the excellent display of action, suspense and awkward introductions and we begin our decent into “the meat”. Yes, the portion of the book that gives us build up and keeps us guessing and moving. Right? Well, most of the time. Things got a bit sticky for me here. Slow could be the right term. This is where we spend a lot of time with Emma and well, I was less than impressed with her. She was a bit too weak and nondescript for me. Oh, but fear not, all attention was not lost because we also spend a lot of time with her best friend – Cash – see, he was my saving grace during this time period. He was/is totally my ideal guy friend, I just wish Emma would have opened her eyes and rocked out with him!
-4 Stars for slowing down
During and after this time we also learn more about Finn - reaper boy with a shady, sad, hurt, broken past. I usually totally hate the angsty boy type because I like my men strong. Because of this I was pretty shocked that, well, I enjoyed Finn. I thought his character was pretty freaking interesting and I kept waiting for more.Well, Finn + Emma = INSTA-LOVE! Ok, again, kinda. Inbetween took insta-love to a new level. Usually we have about 3 paragraphs of reading and SHWING our characters realize they are soul mates that cannot live without each other and not that Inbetween doesn’t follow that – it just took the side road to get there. There is history of Finn and Emma that we learn about as the beginning of the book develops. So even though once they see each other they are all “Ohhh I love you” it helped that it wasn’t their literal first meeting.
+3 Stars for Reaper Hottie and Insta-Love in a functional way
Now we have Emma + Finn (Reaper Hottie) + Cash (Rockin’ Best Guy Friend) – so things are starting to get good. Inbetween takes another redeeming step with the addition (or further intro) to Easton and Scout. These two fine pieces of character totally kept my interest, hard. Easton held this mystery, firm-handed, sarcastic personality that I freaking loved. FINE, I’ll admit it; I totally swooned harder for Easton than Finn. Finn’s a good Reaper Hottie, but Easton is Fiery-pits-of-hell Reaper Hottie, thus, he wins!
+1 Stars for the supporting cast
Hold on tight now, because we are again at 5 stars, but this is where things really get all over the place for me.The relationship between Finn and Emma starts to build, peaks and then suddenly, I was all “umm this seems a bit unhealthy?” I get it you love and need each other hard-core but maybe take a breather, relax a little, and stop having stalker tendencies (-2 stars for creep factor of the relationship)The plot and concept of the reapers develops and I found it to be way more enjoyable than I thought it was. The angels/demons thing has been a bit played out recently so this was a good mix of the concept. (+1 star for good original-twisty-spin on angels/demons)Now I must break the sad, sad news – POV CHANGES – YAY – No. (-2 stars for making my brain work too much while reading)
See, now we are down to two stars
What was the last item that knocked it over for me?
So, I can’t really tell you much without spoiling it, here’s the quick view – Love Triangle – Ok, not exactly, because if there had we would be looking at this as a 1 star review because love triangles make me think about putting needles in my eyes. Back to the point – Kinda Love Triangle - we did, for a moment have one and it was all “Invasion of the Body Snatchers style” and it was creepy hot so I had to give it another star for creativity and making me confused as to if I loved the romance or wanted to puke.
Ending Score - 3 Stars
Overall I really did enjoy Inbetween. It was totally what I was needing at the moment - a mix of paranormal and romance in a quick read. So, don't be fooled by the 3 stars cause now you have seen the ADD bounce that is me reviewing a book and you can see that there were a lot of items that really did it for me. It just happened that there were some others that made me twitch.