Jennifer E. Smith's (You Are Here) novel will reel you in with its fun title and reward you with a heartwarORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON SHELF-AWARENESS.COM
Jennifer E. Smith's (You Are Here) novel will reel you in with its fun title and reward you with a heartwarming tale of first love.
Seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan missed her flight to London by four minutes. Now she's going to be late to her father's second wedding--to a woman she's never met. Fortunately, the twists of fate that left Hadley stranded at Kennedy Airport give her a chance to connect with Oliver, a charming British boy sitting two seats over on her next flight. The two instantly spark from the moment Oliver helps her with her suitcase. Hadley and Oliver, who meet by serendipity, are reminiscent of the title characters in David Levithan and Rachel Cohn's Dash and Lily's Book of Dares. The chemistry between them comes through when an elderly woman mistakes the two for a long-established couple. The woman asks how they met, giving Oliver license to slyly retell meeting Hadley hours before as if the event had occurred years ago--with Hadley chiming in and playing along.
Within the span of 24 hours, Oliver has charmed Hadley beyond the realm of friendship. But falling in love with him also comes with obstacles that prevent her from keeping him. This fun, standalone novel about first love and second chances will leave inspire readers to keep an eye open for true love....more
Quick Thoughts: Post-Harry Potter, the first series I ever devoted myself to was The Mortal Instruments trilogy (intentionally excluding "City of FallQuick Thoughts: Post-Harry Potter, the first series I ever devoted myself to was The Mortal Instruments trilogy (intentionally excluding "City of Fallen Angels") by good 'ol Cassie Clare. I wasn't a hundred percent sure if I wanted to read Clockwork Angel, but finally caved in, only to get stuck in the first one hundred pages and give up for almost a year. The writing flowed as stylistically as ever, definitely a Clare novel, but the characters felt way too much like Jace and Clary and Alec and Isabelle who I absolutely loved; I didn't want repeats. Yes, there were twists to them, but the dialogue could've just as easily been inside one of the TMI books. I finally reasoned with myself to start over and try to accept this book as its own and not as some phantasm of the books I loved back in my teenhood.
It took a couple hundred pages, but I got there. I finally read Clockwork Angel as Clockwork Angel and I stopped expecting to see Jace's name attached to snarky responses and actually believed that Will Herondale could possibly even be worse. Color me relieved. It's late, so I won't go to into the story, but Clare is awesome at keeping her readers engaged by the many mysteries she weaves throughout her stories, always spinning a new question when unveiling any answers.
I expect I'll always be a TMI fan over TID (The Infernal Devices), possibly because I'm a New York native and looked the more contemporary humor, but these Clockwork books officially have my interest ticking and ticking away. Off to read Clockwork Prince now!...more
Interesting story told in a very unconventional style that at times felt experimental, but was also successfully executed in many other areas. I conneInteresting story told in a very unconventional style that at times felt experimental, but was also successfully executed in many other areas. I connected most with Ariel - a character who is spoken about on every page and never a physical presence. With that said, the ending was absolutely worth reaching. ...more
Fans of Clockwork Angel, the first book in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices trilogy, will discover here aORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON SHELF-AWARENESS.COM
Fans of Clockwork Angel, the first book in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices trilogy, will discover here an even darker and sexier trip through the gaslit streets of Victorian London. Tessa Gray, 16, whose power was unveiled in Clockwork Angel, has settled in with the Shadowhunters inside the London Institute. Benedict Lightwood covets the Institute for himself, and the plot centers on protecting Charlotte's guardianship over it--which can only be secured if Charlotte, Henry Branwell and the Clave can hunt down the Magister. However, the Magister manages to stay always one step ahead of Tessa and the other Shadowhunters.
Series fans' favorite characters often commit despicable acts, yet Cassandra Clare draws them with enough complexity that it's hard not to sympathize with them after learning their histories. And the love triangle between Tessa and Shadowhunters Will and Jem presents consequences beyond pure heartbreak: Tessa must place the brotherhood between Will and Jem ahead of her heart's calling. The author also injects some comic relief through characters such as warlock Magnus Bane, who leavens some scenes of heavy confessions and betrayals--which set the stage for the final installment, Clockwork Princess.
Clare delivers an edge-of-your-seat sequel, then leaves readers holding their breath one last time with an emotionally brutal final chapter and game-changing cliffhanger....more
Bill Willingham's (the Fables series) storytelling here (a slightly different version of which was publisheORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON SHELF-AWARENESS.COM
Bill Willingham's (the Fables series) storytelling here (a slightly different version of which was published by his Clockwork Storybook collective in 2001) is reminiscent of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Twelve-year-old Max the Wolf (who's not a wolf) is not carried into another world by a twister, as Dorothy was. Instead, he has no recollection of how he appeared in the Heroes Woods. A quintessential Boy Scout who doesn't panic about his amnesia, Max relies on his "five most important rules of detection" to determine his surroundings. He realizes he's landed in a very different world when Banderbrock, a warrior badger, talks to him. Banderbrock, who suffers from amnesia, too, believes they are in the afterlife.
As they search for home and answers, Max and Banderbrock realize they're being hunted down in the Heroes Woods by Blue Cutters, a gang that uses their swords to change the essence of their prey. They're rescued by one of the book's most memorable characters, McTavish the Monster, a barnyard cat known by many exaggerated titles, including Lord Mousebane and Dogkiller. Soon they meet the affable Walden the Bear, which completes a collection of eccentric characters that readers will likely fall in love with and long remember.
Instead of journeying down a yellow brick road, this band of fugitives travels down the Mysterly River, to seek the Wizard Swift for sanctuary from Blue Cutters and answers about how to return home. The wizard behind this curtain is genre-breaking....more
When an electromagnetic pulse terminates both technology and countless civilians--and changes many of thoseORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON SHELF-AWARENESS.COM
When an electromagnetic pulse terminates both technology and countless civilians--and changes many of those who didn't collapse as corpses into something far more sinister--orphaned 17-year-old Alexandra Adair wonders if her second chance at life may be a life better lost.
Bick's (Draw the Dark) approach stands in contrast to other YA apocalyptic tales: Alex has been a survivor ever since the onset of "the monster," as she refers to her seemingly incurable tennis ball–size brain tumor, two years ago. Looking for solitude in Michigan's Waucamaw Wilderness, she gets some unexpected company when an older man named Jack and his eight-year-old granddaughter, Ellie, stumble into Alex's campsite. When "the Zap" hits, Jack dies, and Alex finds herself in charge of a terrified Ellie. At the same time, Alex gets back her sense of smell and wonders if her tumor may have shifted for the better--or for the worse. The relationship that develops between Alex and Ellie provides the backbone of the novel. After the two girls witness some carnivorous teens at their former campsite, a stranger narrowly rescues them from a rabid adult. He introduces himself as Tom Eden. Tom, an ex-soldier, shares with them his theory that "the Zap" may have been a giant EMP (electromagnetic pulse), but none of them can figure out what causes "the change" from human to zombie.
Alex's heightened sense of smell grants her access to a sanctuary called Rule, but how safe can this village be when civilization is crumbling? Warning: read the haunting, twisted last pages in daylight....more
If Variant teaches you anything, it's that school could've been substantially worse.
Orphaned 17-year-old BenORIGINALL PUBLISHED ON SHELF-AWARENESS.COM
If Variant teaches you anything, it's that school could've been substantially worse.
Orphaned 17-year-old Benson Fisher gets accepted for a scholarship at Maxfield Academy in New Mexico. From the moment he arrives, he realizes this school is unlike the "thousand schools" he's attended in the past. He's told to speak with Becky, who does the orientations at Maxfield. She is also 17. Two of the students warn Benson not to listen to "Isaiah or Oakland." Moreover, the school has no principal, teachers or any adult presence at all.
The students must perform assigned jobs, ranging from custodial, security and cafeteria duties to teaching classes with lesson plans--assigned by adults who monitor them through cameras. Everyone must obey four rules: no sex, no trying to escape, no refusing punishments and no violent fights. Disobeying the rules leads to detention--from which no one returns. The students have divided themselves into three gangs. Havoc (led by Oakland) wants to rule the school; the members of Society (headed by Isaiah) "play by the rules"; and the Variants are "everyone else." The only thing they share in common: "No one has any ties to home--no friends, no family."
Robison Wells's debut novel unfolds at a thrilling pace with a sympathetic protagonist who challenges the students' acceptance of their confinement and tries to unearth the truth behind this experiment--all the while plotting his escape. Despite an abrupt cliffhanger ending, the novel delivers a twist that will keep you doubting the humanity of every character until the last page....more
In her first book for middle-graders, Lisa McMann (the Wake trilogy) creates a magical adventure that serORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON SHELF-AWARENESS.COM.
In her first book for middle-graders, Lisa McMann (the Wake trilogy) creates a magical adventure that serves as a worthy successor for fans of Harry Potter. The author introduces us to Quill, a land whose governors label artistic children "Unwanted" and deport them to the Death Farm. On the morning of the government's annual Purge, the governors separate the Stowes, who are 13-year-old identical twins: they keep Aaron ("Wanted") and ship Alexander ("Unwanted") off to die. High Priest Justine warns that "creativity [leads] to revolt," which doesn't faze law-abiding Aaron. He will serve her and her Quillitary, an army of Wanteds, and co-exist with the Necessaries (the sect to which his parents belong), who must perform menial labors.
The Unwanteds do not undergo the fate they expect at the Great Lake of Boiling Oil, however. Instead, they are spared by Mr. Today, a mage who has been saving children for decades. He invites them to Artimé, where artists are not punished but rather rewarded and their gifts nurtured. While Quill is colorless and flooded with suspicion, Artimé is vivid and inspires a feeling of security. If their magical world were ever to be unveiled, the residents of Artimé would be prepared to battle with the Quillitary--which would pit Alexander against Aaron.
McMann creates a spectrum of well-defined worlds, peopled with characters that resemble archetypes yet retain original qualities. Stunning fight sequences make use of unique weapons such as slam-poetry charms and origami dragons that breathe fire. This masterpiece delivers a new spin on what it means to be wanted....more