It’s possible that I harbor a sort of morbid curiosity toward angst of any kind, given t...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
It’s possible that I harbor a sort of morbid curiosity toward angst of any kind, given the surprising amount of love I felt for this novel. Because I am not kidding when I say that the entire book is one humongous angst-fest. There’s Adam’s heartache and Mia’s barely hidden heartache and just pain and this awful sense of detachment from every other person around them.
And I loved every single page of it.
If Adam had been a stereotypical male from the YA genre, we would doubtlessly have been treated to paragraph upon paragraph of whining and pining after Mia. Oh, I miss the way her hair smells, the feel of her skin on mine, her beautiful lips like bright red cherries blah blah blah… But Adam is stronger and just plain better than that, even if he himself doesn’t think so. Yes, he wrote emo songs to vent his frustration at Mia’s departure. Yes, he was basically kind of catatonic for a year afterward. But he did something about his pain. He made it a sort of productive pain, if that makes any sense. Adam did not sit around and stare into space; he became a national rock sensation instead.
I confess, I had originally put off reading Where She Went because If I Stay wasn’t phenomenal for me. Perhaps I was put off by the feeling of stasis -- the total lack of overall change -- that pervades the first novel. Well, Where She Went manages to retain the emotional rollercoaster from If I Stay and adds a lot more movement and development to the characters since Mia is, you know, no longer in a coma.
Sigh... An author’s ability to turn something simple into something so engaging and extraordinary: this is why I read.
Book Source: ARC from Penguin Young Readers Group via NetGalley(less)
Life has finally settled down after the violence and uncertainty of the Force of Sheep rebell...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Life has finally settled down after the violence and uncertainty of the Force of Sheep rebellion. Trella, the famous Queen of the Pipes, now knows her place in this new version of Inside, and it is definitely not as the leader of 22,509 people. After endorsing a Committee of nine uppers, nine scrubs, and an extra member to prevent voting ties, Trella intends to fade away into obscurity and distance herself from the agenda and messy politics of Inside -- tedious tasks such as organizing work schedules and deal with the enemies and traitors of the rebellion.
Trella soon discovers that it is actually quite difficult to disentangle from this sticky web. Peace has not yet been achieved. Complaints of the people precede deadly bomb attacks that are, in actuality, distractions and/or clues in disguise. So Trella returns to her pipes, and the sneaking around begins yet again. There are consequences for every action, though. So be careful before you decide to stick your nose where you don’t belong.
Maria V. Snyder once again pens a story filled with action and suspense. It is quite an accomplishment, being able to master two different genres of writing -- the Middle Age fantasy setting like her debut, Poison Study, and the futuristic science fiction like Outside In. There are lush details (ie. believable techie gadgets and slang common in sci-fi novels), and since the world-building has been pretty much completed in the first book, Inside Out, the reader is plunged straight into Trella’s post-rebellion life.
At first, I had my doubts, as the story seemed complete with the conclusion of Inside Out, but Snyder seamlessly introduces new elements into the plot, weaving them in one delicate thread at a time. The surprising plot twists that occur throughout are also another one of Snyder’s fortes and greatly increase the unputdownable quality of the novel. Every once in a while I would utter a string of unintelligent sounds as another complication is revealed. Feelings of delight, incredulity, and outrage were frequent.
Snyder is a great writer who knows exactly what to do to grab the reader’s attention. I am looking forward to the next installment of the story of Trella and Riley and, of course, Sheepy the stuffed animal.
Book Source: ARC from Harlequin via NetGalley(less)
The creepy-looking cover of this novel proudly boasts the words: Romeo and Juliet meet the li...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
The creepy-looking cover of this novel proudly boasts the words: Romeo and Juliet meet the living dead in The Cellar.
Ughhh… (The above was an exclamation of annoyance, not an attempt to copy the moans of the undead.)
I shall preface this review by saying that yes, I am a huge zombie fan. Zombies are quite possibly the most genius fantastical creatures ever thought up by the human imagination. And despite my grumbling, I really did enjoy Romeo and Juliet. With this uncanny combination of interests, The Cellar must surely be the perfect book for me, right?
Imagine this. You have a dash of zombies are friends with hyenas and a pinch of oh look the lovey-dovey teenagers are off being idiotic again. Stir in the characters’ basically nonexistent personalities, and you’ve got an awkward mix of brown goo that looks and smells suspiciously like a paper copy of Twilight in liquefied form.
Is the plot at least slightly interesting? Well...
First, Boy meets Girl. Both fall in love. But wait, Boy is dangerous, and everyone tells Girl to be careful. Hey, Girl doesn’t care, because love overcomes all obstacles. Yay. And then tons of people die.
Hopefully further elaboration is not needed.
Although The Cellar does not suit my tastes, YA PNR lovers will adore the abundance of true love floating around in this novel. Those particular scenes actually succeeded in making me snort out loud. Twice. I sounded like an irritated bull, and I think I felt rather like one, too.
Book Source: ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley(less)
We are introduced to the quaint town of Near and its inhabitants -- both human and witch...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
We are introduced to the quaint town of Near and its inhabitants -- both human and witch -- through a graceful, lilting writing style accompanied by the soft blow of the Near moor wind through our hair (or if your hair quantity is similar to Voldemort’s: across your scalp). Life is the definition of stasis, for there are no strangers in the town of Near. But then Lexi glimpses a boy who blurs on the edges and fades like the wind, and the children of the town start disappearing out of their beds each night. Now, the hunt is on for the mysterious stranger, for the missing children, and for peace at last in the town of Near.
The Near Witch is a gorgeous novel with a slightly rustic feel that reminds me of the magic that is Hale’s Princess Academy. What a breath of fresh air, so completely different from the love + paranormal creature formula most authors are using these days. And really, why would someone pay to read a glamorized regurgitation of the same ol’ star-crossed love story?
My special thanks to Ms. Schwab for giving our heroine Lexi a brain bigger and wiser than her heart (not that her heart is lacking any essential ingredients, mind you). Headstrong and willing to take the initiative, Lexi is the one moving the story forward instead of being dragged by it from behind. Our mystery boy, too, is more than just a pair of dark, pretty eyes; he is the tangled result of grief and regret and unchangeable history. What a helpless -- but hopeful -- pair they make.
The only thing keeping the novel from being a 5-star is the plot’s overall simplicity. Most will find that not to be problematic; I’m simply very picky about the books I shelve as incomprehensibly awesome. But hey, a 4.5 rating is as close to that as you can get.
Ms. Schwab has penned a shining gem of a debut, and I am waiting with bated breath for her next novel, The Archived.
Book Source: ARC from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley(less)
This novel is the winner of my created-just-for-the-occasion 2011 WTF award. This WTF has a p...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
This novel is the winner of my created-just-for-the-occasion 2011 WTF award. This WTF has a positive connotation, and I like how it shaped -- more like attacked and mauled -- the ending. I can even say that I saw the WTF coming due to obscure foreshadowing, but the surprise was still WTF-worthy. Thus was the extent of the WTF-ness of Ultraviolet.
WTF (saying it again just for good measure).
Ultraviolet must take responsibility for the more pronounced eye bags currently adorning my face. I was not able to succumb to dreamland while there were still portions of this book I hadn’t read. Who needs coffee? Just grab Ultraviolet and watch your sleepiness evaporate. Gift a copy to your worst enemy and watch them show up to school/work the next day yawning and drowsy and possibly unable to function.
Alison, our wonderfully psychotic-seeming protagonist, manages to experience indignation at the way others are treating her. She fights the system whole-heartedly as a result. This earns Alison a hearty clap on the back and makes her deserving of the lovely beau that comes along later. You can pretty much guess who said beau is the moment they meet, although the semi-discovery is part of book’s charm. The pair’s relationship is almost entirely angst-free, too -- a nice change of scenery from other infamous angst-centric couples.
Curiously, I felt like most of the novel had no plot. No, that would be inaccurate. Most of the novel simply had very little plot advancement -- like a snail gliding across a hard-to-maneuver surface, while the WTF ending is a mad sprint to the finish line. Even more curious is the fact that I experienced no boredom at all, even during the slow parts. The entertaining side-characters and the little story progression that occurred were satisfying and addictive enough for yours truly.
Vastly different from most YA in plot and notably, WTF level, Ultraviolet is a great mystery sci-fi novel. Especially for those who can taste the chocolate of a lover’s voice. Or hear the melody sung by the choir of twinkling stars in the night sky.
Like a certain someone we know.
Book Source: ARC from Lerner Publishing Group via NetGalley(less)
You know those books that aren’t written, structured, or characterized that well, but you sti...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
You know those books that aren’t written, structured, or characterized that well, but you still manage to like it despite all its flaws? Guilty pleasures, basically. Bumped was a guilty pleasure for me. While the background of the novel is certainly dissimilar to the ones in any other book I've ever read, it failed to woo me once I got past the novelty of the shiny new dystopian world. With our media’s shifting attitude from condemnation to almost glorification of teen pregnancy, the world setup does take a provocative and challenging stance on the matter. But, again, Ms. McCafferty didn’t make the most of it. There was so much potential, but the story didn’t leave me with a profound sense of anything, a feeling I expect to get from great dystopians, or any novel, really.
The characters, too, were kind of generic, although they managed to do a few things that I wasn’t expecting at all. It’s not that they were stereotypical, they just weren’t special. At least there was no love triangle, and none of them spent time blatantly lusting after each other, something that would be normal given the society they live in.
Now onto a little gripe about character names. Let’s take, for example, Johndoe the ultimate sperm bank. Every time Johndoe is mentioned I would involuntarily picture Bambi running through the woods with his rabbit friends or something. And as you might have guessed, I found it difficult to reconcile a bouncing doe with the sex god image Johndoe is supposed to have.
I am going to read the sequel, Thumped, simply because I adored Ms. McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series and, despite all my complaints, I liked Bumped. Yes, I am proud to say I did.
Book Source: ARC from HarperCollins via NetGalley(less)
An article recently came out in the Wall Street Journal that generated quite a buzz in the young adult book community. It basically slanders every YA novel out there that is “dark” by their standards and indirectly blames the books for familiarizing and possibly prompting trauma, violence, and profanity within the average teen. Shine received an honorary place in the article and was complained about quite a bit. So, dear Ms. Gurdon, author of said article, I am a teenager. I have read Shine, among tons of other “dark” novels. Do I now feel the inclination to begin stimulating the nearest meth business or sexually assaulting my classmates? No. No, I don’t. Not at all.
Since I’ve read Ms. Myracle’s Internet Girls series prior to Shine, I simply dismissed her as a frivolous author. Well, all my expectations disappeared down the drain as I read the first page, which featured a newspaper clipping detailing the attack of a gay teen in the tiny town of Black Creek. The novel goes on to describe the protagonist’s search for the truth about what really happened to the teen, an old childhood friend named Patrick.
Ms. Myracle’s writing created a sort of thick and somber atmosphere throughout the book, which was appropriate given the gravity of the topic. Her characters are easy to sympathize for, and the mystery involved was not overly obvious or completely impossible to solve. A multitude of touchy subjects were tackled and handled delicately. Overall, I enjoyed Shine a lot more than I’d originally thought I would.
Even with all the hate and despair in the story, I finished the novel with a feeling of hope. Yes, WSJ article, maybe it wasn’t a happily ever after, maybe the characters experienced things no one should go through. But there is hope and healing everywhere if you look hard enough.
Book Source: ARC from Abrams Books via NetGalley(less)
Kate enters the town of Eden with a mother who is on the brink of death and a hope for a bett...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Kate enters the town of Eden with a mother who is on the brink of death and a hope for a better future that is fading bit by bit with the passage of time. As she drags herself through the motions of daily life, weird begin to occur around her. Her new frenemy is raised from the dead after an accident that definitely involved a large quantity of blood, and the only explanation Kate gets from the incident involves a certain dark-haired boy -- Henry, who later claims to be Hades, the infamous god of the Underworld. Kate soon finds herself participating in seven unknown tests to save her mother and help determine the future of the Underworld. A lot of responsibility for an eighteen-year-old, eh?
First off, gorgeous cover. The model’s white dress creates a nice contrast with the dark green fronds and plants in the background. Although that model looks like she’s 25 instead of Kate’s 18, that’s totally beside the point, right?
So here we go: Kate, Kate, Kate. If you existed in real life, you would be receiving death threats from readers of The Goddess Test. It’s one thing to be self-sacrificing and slightly clueless, but dearie, your lack of comprehension of life in general makes me want to go strangle some cute fluffy squirrel in the woods. I know you have a brain. Please use it.
And as various other reviewers have mentioned, the Greek mythology implemented in the plot was stretched just a wee bit too much. None, and I repeat, none of the Greek gods were virgins and/or particularly saint-like in any way. They cheated and murdered and raped and committed incest. Need I go on?
The Goddess Test presents modern twist of the myth of Hades and Persephone that strays a bit too far from the original. Combined with annoying characters and background inaccuracies, the novel was somewhat of a chore to get through. Although I suggest that you read the novel yourself and formulate your own opinion. Who knows? You might just end up joining the legions of reviewers who adored the book to death.
Book Source: ARC from Harlequin via NetGalley(less)
After reading a whole slew of horrible reviews of The Girl in the Steel Corset, I had me...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
After reading a whole slew of horrible reviews of The Girl in the Steel Corset, I had mentally prepared myself for a train wreck. Well, I confess: the novel didn't turn out that badly for me. It wasn't exceptional, but it didn't enduce fits of hair-tearing frustration, mostly. Perhaps I've been desensitized by the unhealthy amount of mediocre YA I've been reading lately.
The characters here are pretty much your standard set of YA heroes, although Finley managed to annoy me quite a bit more than the average heroine. That girl, for the life of her, just doesn't seem to be able to make up her mind about anything. Oooh, Griffin is so handsome. But wait, Jack is hot, too. I'll just blame my attraction on the two warring parts of my personality! No. Just no. And guess what? In case one love triangle isn't enough, we've got two! Aren't you excited? Ugh, at least the two triangles don't overlap. Imagine what a mess that would make. A love hexagon?
The background of the novel comes across as completely random. There are beasties that have cool powers and are apparently harvested from the center of the earth and machines that do your chores or suddenly turn evil and just attack people. Add the Aether, a spiritual plane inhabited by the dead, to all that, and you've got an overload of fantastical elements that don't really coexist nicely with each other.
The Girl in the Steel Corset does not succeed in distinguishing itself from typical YA despite its steampunk flare and gorgeous cover. However, it is still a notch above a lot of YA out there simply because it presents the stereotype in a slightly altered package.
Book Source: ARC from Harlequin via NetGalley(less)
April Bowers is Miss Invisible. Well, Miss Invisible with an oddly incurable bra stuffing add...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
April Bowers is Miss Invisible. Well, Miss Invisible with an oddly incurable bra stuffing addiction. She dreads starting sophomore year without her best -- and only -- friend Haley by her side. However, after a surprising incident that involves a cute skirt and some borrowed lip gloss, April finds herself invited to enter the exclusive clique of popular Britney Taylor. The thing is: no one gets to be that popular without a couple of haters. And April, desperate to attract the attention of the new boy she nicknames Mr. Hottie-Body Brentwood, is willing to try anything to improve her abysmal social ranking. But does that anything include tolerating the controlling Britney?
This book made me chuckle, at least at first. I was charmed by April’s snarky narrative and attitude. She was endearing in a younger sibling sort of way -- weird, considering the fact that she and I are both high school sophomores. As I got deeper into the book, I ended up getting more and more annoyed at April. She felt so artificial, along with all the other characters in the story. April’s friend Haley seemed especially fake. I would physically wince each time the two girls conversed on the phone. Their stilted conversations remind me of the script of some badly-written teenybopper TV drama.
The plot also lacked development. I know it’s impossible to fit every little detail into 200+ pages, but I felt that the humongous time skips in the story weren’t incorporated well enough. It was like walking down a flight of stairs and suddenly stepping through a missing step. Whoosh. Quite an uncomfortable feeling, you know?
Overall, The Lipstick Laws is a cute and slightly fluffy story about facing the mean girls of high school and accepting yourself for who you are.
Book Source: ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley(less)
Willow has always been psychic. Simply grasping someone’s hand will give her access to a...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Willow has always been psychic. Simply grasping someone’s hand will give her access to a person’s possible futures, which Willow views as branchings off a tree. When her classmate Beth unexpectedly asks for a reading, Willow is plunged into a world of deadly, human-consuming angels and slowly begins to understand the intricacies of cattle farming -- or human aura trafficking, whichever term you prefer. As the angels become aware of Willow’s existence and decide that they want her dead, Willow is whisked off on a daring escape plan with angel assassin Alex, and the two set off on a road-trip to save themselves and perhaps the entirety of humankind. It turns out to be a trip filled with deception and gun chases and auto theft; after all, these aren’t peaceful little fluffy-winged angels we’re talking about here.
Angel Burn contains a set of very untraditional angels and two extremely cute main characters -- and here, I seriously stress the word cute. The evil angels’ background acted as a great hook, and the author knows exactly how to create enough suspense to prevent the reader from putting down the book. The alternating perspectives are slightly disjointed at times, but overall it succeeded in portraying the feelings of various characters. Willow is the only one honored with first person, and in my humble I’m-not-an-editor-but-it’s-ok opinion, the author would have been better off simply keeping her in third person like the rest of the characters.
Kudos to Miss Weatherly for giving Alex and Willow time to get to know each other before proceeding to the lovey-dovey stage. However, once they got to that stage, the cheesiness began to overwhelm. Now, I am generally a proud enjoyer of cheesy romance novels; still, there were some scenes that morphed my aww, they’re so adorable into an ugh, guys, please stop before I start puking rainbows.
All in all, this novel was a surprisingly great read. I am looking forward to the sequel, Angel Fire.
Book Source: ARC from Candlewick Press via NetGalley(less)
Yes, you read it right: nothing happened in the entire 400+ novel. Oh, mundane events occurred, all right. Laurel went to school. She went to her therapist. She cried on her bed. She got a job at the animal shelter. But nothing of significance appeared on the horizon. The novel was a gigantic blob of nothingness. I don’t know about you, but when I pick up a piece of fiction, I expect to be dazzled or touched or experience some sort of change in the way I view the world. If I really wanted to bore myself with blobs of nothingness, I would pick up my Physics textbook instead.
I do realize that 1-star ratings are quite harsh since an entire team of people dedicated time and money on this piece of writing, only to have it hated on by a reviewer they kindly provided an ARC to. But hey, we have standards, and any book I think was a waste of time to read receives only 1 star.
OK, since Laurel’s parents and brother pass away in a car accident near the beginning, you would expect the novel to be about healing and dealing with grief. But no, Laurel basically mopes around for a while and then dives into an entire vat of boy drama. Would you be worrying about boys when your entire family has just passed away? Sending flirty emails to your next-door neighbor, whose mother also died in the same car accident? No. No, you wouldn’t.
While the characters themselves don’t get on my nerves, their interactions are quite infuriating, with Laurel and David being the prime example here. It is understandable that both would be unstable after the deaths of their families and that seeking solace with someone who knows what you’re going through helps with the pain. But the romance between these two; I mean, really. Laurel obviously pines after David for a good part of the novel, and David isn’t even around half the time. But then one day, the author decided to wave her magic wand and poof, they’re a happy couple. Not every single YA novel needs romance, you know?
I understand how others might have been moved by The Beginning of After, but this novel was not for me.
Book Source: ARC from HarperCollins via NetGalley(less)
It’s certainly been awhile since I’ve cried this hard over a book -- at two different spots,...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
It’s certainly been awhile since I’ve cried this hard over a book -- at two different spots, too. Ms. Sheehan, I demand my tears back immediately in an aesthetically pleasing and preferably crystalline container so my future children may have the option of putting it into a Pensieve and learning about all my failures and secret loves and whatnot.
Right, now that that’s over…
Readers looking for a genuine science fiction novel with a complete setup and intricate technologies will be sorely disappointed with A Long, Long Sleep. If I had to attach only one tag to this novel, it would just be romance. Not dystopian or adventure or self-discovery; just romance. This book was more of a 2-star if one only takes into account the characters and plotline. However, the slightly weird but still passable romance really tugged at my heartstrings and receives 5 stars from me. A 4-star rating was settled on because I tend to prioritize my emotions over logic (I am a teenager after all; blame the hormones). And I think the last time I cried for a book was during my third re-read of The Book Thief. It’s about time something else had the same effect.
Let’s just get this out of the way: Rose is an idiotic heroine, even she admits it. She acts idiotically. She thinks idiotically. She runs away from her problems idiotically. You get the drift. Weirdly, when Rose converses with Otto, a blue-skinned genetically-modified alien-human, she uses words that otherwise would not be part of the average idiotic teen’s vocabulary and sounds mildly intelligent, if not at least self-reflective and mature. In short, Rose sounds nothing like her usual self during these conversations, which bothered me to no end.
A Long, Long Sleep also explores parental abuse, something I found to be very surprising, given the sci-fi setup. You can’t help yourself from feeling growing sympathy for Rose, and I suppose that subtracts from her idiocy just a tiny bit. At least Rose is, for the most part, loyal to Xavier -- stupid Xavier. Now, Xavier isn’t necessarily a dull young man. I actually know nothing about Xavier’s intelligence since it was never mentioned. But Xavier, you stupid, stupid boy.
I will be looking out for Ms. Sheehan’s future books, as I’m willing to overlook some aspects of her novels just so I can enjoy other parts of it. Really, that’s just another way of conveying how much of a sap I truly am...
Book Source: ARC from Candlewick Press via NetGalley(less)
Truth be told: this story could have been written in less than 100 pages. The plot was s...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Truth be told: this story could have been written in less than 100 pages. The plot was simplistic and anticlimatic. The conclusion just a bit too easily resolved for my taste. But I will read more from Ms. Morgenstern.
Because the entire book tasted like honey.
I'm serious; if you buy a copy of The Night Circus and lick the cover, it would be sweet. This book is beautiful writing at its finest, with amazing word choice and descriptions galore. it makes me pity my circus-less childhood. it makes me pity the world because Le Cirque des Rêves is only a figment of the author's imagination. It makes me pity myself, because the only way for me to experience Le Cirque is through the printed words across the page.
Reading this book was like dreaming.
Quite apt, since Le Cirque des Rêves does translate to the Circus of Dreams. However, if the entire novel was one long dream, it would be a very jarring and bumpy dream rather than a smooth one. For some odd reason, Ms. Morgenstern felt the need to jump from here to there to some other place and then back again in her narrative. It's like living some sort of weird parallel life at five different instances in time all at once. This contributes to the lack of tension in the novel, too. Whenever we get to the high point of a chapter, all of it suddenly disappears as we jump to another time or place with another set of characters.
Knowing what I do now about The Night Circus and its plot imperfections, I would still have read it. If only to walk through Les Cirque des Rêves through the characters. if only to visit the Ice Garden and the Anthologies of Memory and the Cloud Maze through another's eyes.
Book Source: ARC from Knopf Doubleday via NetGalley(less)
To adopt the slang of the stereotypical blonde, blue-eyed SoCal surfer dude: “Ashfall wa...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
To adopt the slang of the stereotypical blonde, blue-eyed SoCal surfer dude: “Ashfall was hella legit, man!” It features an epic adventure of survival in the face of natural adversity, adaptation amidst chaos, and a frantic love that is equal parts desperation and need. Ashfall is going to appeal to a wide variety of readers, as it has something to offer every single one of you out there.
I would have liked Ashfall a lot more, too, if not for the beginning. We are dumped right into the middle of a volcanic eruption and the series of unfortunate events -- you see what I did there? -- that follows, and yet, the novel seems to drag on and on. It literally took me 7 days to read the first 1/4 of Ashfall and 1 day to read the rest. So yes, pacing was a problem.
Besides that, I enjoyed the novel. There was a good balance of gore, fighting, starvation, and discovery. Our protagonist Alex is brave and foolish and horny (like most teenage boys), and the love interest Darla is the definition of kickass. She’s the one stitching up axe wounds and smushing liquefied rabbit brain on animal hides -- don't ask -- while Alex struggles not to puke in the background.
Ashfall is an intense new post-apocalyptic novel that falters a bit in pacing but is otherwise a very engrossing read. It’s a great way to heighten your chances of surviving the next supervolcanic eruption, too!
Wait, looks like Californian surfer dude is back with a bit of reassurance: “Since no supervolcanoes will erupt for probably another few million years, you can chillax, OK? Here, have a beer.”
Book Source: ARC from Tanglewood via NetGalley(less)
This novel should come with a free one-way ticket to Guatemala, a ragged backpack, and a male...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
This novel should come with a free one-way ticket to Guatemala, a ragged backpack, and a male companion who just so happens to be a cute diving instructor afflicted with Wanderlove.
Umm hmm, where can I get me some o’ that?
Although in all seriousness, Wanderlove is a perfect story for your typical escapist. Those familiar with Central American geography will recognize the countries Bria (what a lovely name) and Rowan (what a lovely boy -- Do I sound pedophilic? He’s older than me, OK?) trek through on their eventful two week journey. The descriptions make me want to jump into my (nonexistent) car and drive down south. One particularly striking scene is the Río Dulce, or sweet river, which apparently resembles the white flower-filled sea in Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Visiting that river is now on my bucket list.
Our two main characters -- Bria and Rowan -- are beyond endearing. Both are trying to run away from their pasts, and their chemistry is undeniable. We are spared any sort of desperate pining from either of them, which is a relief, since no one enjoys pining characters anyway. The two argue, they exchange stories, they list taboo subjects, and they have a fair share of comfortable silences. The girl with the lovely name and the lovely boy with the ponytail make a lovely couple.
To add on to that all that loveliness are the drawings included in the book. Since Bria is an aspiring artist, Ms. Hubbard supplied some of her own sketches to supplement the novel, and the pictures are gorgeous. She could probably draw her own Wanderlove graphic novel if she wants.
Anyway, I’ve obtained a copy of Ms. Hubbard’s debut novel, Like Mandarin and can’t wait to read something by this author again.
Book Source: ARC from Random House via NetGalley(less)