An über awesome book about coming out as bi, teenage angst and being yourself. It's way too early to post a review of this badboy, but know that it'sAn über awesome book about coming out as bi, teenage angst and being yourself. It's way too early to post a review of this badboy, but know that it's incredibly good and humorous in a laugh out loud to the point where everyone in your vicinity thinks you're nuts kind of way....more
Thank you so much to Random House for allowing me the awesome opportunity to be on the blog tour for Jack! I absolutely loved this book, it was such
Thank you so much to Random House for allowing me the awesome opportunity to be on the blog tour for Jack! I absolutely loved this book, it was such a refreshing and engaging retelling that readers of all ages will love. YOU need this book in your life!
Jack by Liesl Shurtliff is one of the best fairy retellings I've ever read and it's an extremely engaging, adventurous take on the classic tale. Everything about this one screamed read me and I had to stop myself from flying through this book because I wanted to savor it. The voice is so strong in this book as is the humor that it's nearly impossible not to be charmed by Jack and Annabella. Once you climb up the beanstalk, there's no backing down.
Jack's father has always told him about his great, great, great great grandfather Jack who slayed a giant and is the hero of countless stories. The problem is that Jack has never had a chance to go an adventure like the ancestor he's named after. When Jack's father is carried off by a giant who lives in the sky, no one seems to believe young Jack despite all of the evidence. It's up to Jack and Annabella (his sister) to rescue their dad from the giants.
What Jack succeeds at is delivering all the thrills of the classic Grimm tale, while still managing to be surprising with refreshing twists. Readers, young and old, will be enchanted by Shurtliff's take on the story and it's even more magical than any rendition I've ever read before. This is the kind of book that will engage any reluctant reader and make them say: "One more chapter." This novel is incredibly adorable and is just so much fun to read.
I absolutely loved the relationship between Jack and Annabella because it was so realistically developed and true. No matter how much the two fought and teased each other, it was easy to see the love the two have for each other. I loved how Jack and Annabella would do anything for each other and to help their papa out. The family dynamics in this novel are so wonderfully crafted and I loved watching the relationships enfold.
Though Jack is a companion to Rump, it's not necessary to read it prior to Jack and this novel does work on its own. I haven't read Rump yet but almost immediately after finishing Jack, I had to add it to my TBR list. I can't wait to read Rump and I have a feeling it's going to be absolutely amazing. There's also a third companion called Red about everyone's favorite caped heroine and I'm extremely excited for that one also.
Jack is such a wonderful book and I wouldn't trade this book for all the beans and cows in the world. This is the book readers have been wishing for and this is an adventure they'll never ever forget. Jack is a perfect book for anyone who's ever wished for an adventure and longed to find some magic.This review was originally posted on Bookish Antics...more
Check out Bookish Antics for reviews, giveaways and interviews! As of late, I’ve been reading more and more YA books about mental illness and I truly tCheck out Bookish Antics for reviews, giveaways and interviews! As of late, I’ve been reading more and more YA books about mental illness and I truly think that this is a subject that isn’t widely publicized enough. Challenger Deep is a beyond heartbreaking novel and I’ll even go as far as saying it’s perfect, a word that I don’t toss around lightly. Neal Shusterman has written numerous fantasy novels, but CD shows that what he really excels at is invoking readers’ emotions and writing books with heart. This is easily one of the most important novels ever written and Challenger Deep just might be Schusterman’s magnum opus.
Caden Bosch is drowning in himself and he’s losing sight of what’s real and what’s just in his head. He thinks classmates are trying to kill him, that nothing makes sense anymore and that the world is going to swallow him whole. Readers are brought aboard a pirate ship on a journey to the Challenger Deep and this is a trip they’ll never forget.
Neal Shusterman expertly balances Caden’s reality and the world he’s created, making readers question what’s really going on. This novel has a healthy dose of the real world and the fantastical one, both of which were finely crafted and imagined. I found myself immersed in both sides of the story and I enjoyed seeing how the two worlds were interwoven into each other.
Schizophrenia is something that’s real and it’s a disease that most of us are clueless about it. Neal Schusterman does an excellent job of shedding light on this terrible disease without unloading a textbook worth of info on readers. Caden Bosch’s character truly captures the fear, the unknowing and the danger that comes with schizophrenia, making Challenger Deep a difficult book to read.
Neal Schusterman’s son, Brendan has schizophrenia and this novel includes drawings his son made during schizophrenic episodes. There is so much depth in this novel and I haven’t seen mental illness captured in a way that has felt so raw and horrifying ever. This novel turns schizophrenia from something alien into a personal demon that’s frighteningly easy to understand.
This is not an “issue” book, it’s a journey of self-discovery and recovery. Challenger Deep shows the struggles that those with mental illness deal with on a daily basis without stigmatizing it. As informative as this book is about schizophrenia, this book is about Caden and not his disease. Caden is not defined by his disease ever and he’s never shown as someone who’s anything lesser because of his mental illness. Though Caden’s family doesn’t quite understand him, I’m truly glad this novel shows how important a support system can be for those in the Challenger Deep.
I’ll admit it, this novel made me bawl. I found myself so involved in this book and in the life of Caden that I couldn’t help but cry and cry for him. I cried for him because no one seemed to understand how he was drowning, not even himself. To say this book is powerful feels like an understatement because every words booms with importance and it should be treated as something sacred. This book could save lives, it could be the lifesaver that readers can cling to as they fight the currents of the world.
Read Challenger Deep and give it to friends, family members and co-workers, you never know who might be in need of help. This book should be in every school and library because it’s a beacon of hope that so many could benefit from. I can’t praise this book enough or stress how necessary of a read it truly is....more
Check out Bookish Antics for reviews, giveaways and interviews! Woven is not a bad book by any means, it’s just not the book for me. I tried readingCheck out Bookish Antics for reviews, giveaways and interviews! Woven is not a bad book by any means, it’s just not the book for me. I tried reading this one and I made it long enough to make some distinct impressions. Though this novel is about a seventeen year old named Nells, his character feels extremely immature and more along the lines of an eleven year old. The voice of his character doesn’t match his age by any means and I’ve yet to meet a seventeen year who sounds anything like Nells. Another issue I had was that the writing just didn’t flow well and there was way too much telling about magical events. This novel might resonate better with younger readers and I truly wish I enjoyed this one far more. ...more
Seen at Bookish Antics! We Are The Ants is one of the craziest books I’ve ever read and it manages to be both a brutally honest coming-of-age tale andSeen at Bookish Antics! We Are The Ants is one of the craziest books I’ve ever read and it manages to be both a brutally honest coming-of-age tale and an odd alien invasion tale. Shaun David Hutchinson interweaves the best aspects of contemporary and sci-fi literature to create one of the most satisfying books I’ve read in years. There’s something so undeniably perfect about this book and I found myself reading this book into the early hours of the morning. When I finally finished this book, I wanted to hug Hutchinson and thank him for writing this all-too-important book.
This could be the end of the world. Henry Denton has been abducted by aliens and they have given him the choice whether or not to avert the apocalypse. All he has to do is press a big red button, but Henry isn’t sure he wants life to go on. His boyfriend Jesse has committed suicide, his grandmother has dementia and he’s bullied at school. Maybe it would just be easier to let everything end…
The life-threatening desperation that Henry feels is extremely clear and I felt my heart break for him constantly. It was hard on me emotionally to read about Henry’s mourning of Jesse because it struck a chord within me. At times, I debated whether or not to put the book aside briefly to compose my emotions because I was just verklempt. I loved Henry so much and his character is easily one of the best depictions of an individual struggling with depression.
I really hoped that he would find the strength in himself to live and carry on. I wanted to just jump into the book and be there for Henry, but I’m glad he had Diego. Diego helps Henry find a will to live and I shipped them so hard because they were adorable together. In some YA books, the romance becomes a cure-all for the character’s depression or mental illness, but that’s not the case. Diego does not fix Henry, but allows him to confront his inner demons and seek the proper help that he needs.
As a work of science fiction, We Are The Ants is a superb, high-stakes adventure. Even though the abductions are frequent, each one manages to be engaging and entertaining. The stakes get higher with each and every abduction and so, readers constantly have an impetus to keep on reading. Not only that, but these aliens are the weirdest, most effed up creatures I’ve seen in YA.
We Are The Ants is Shaun Hutchinson’s best book yet: it’s brilliant, subversive and oh my god, you all need it. If you loved Challenger Deep or Grasshopper Jungle, this novel will totally be up your alley. I will never stop praising We Are The Ants and with good reason, it’s epic in scope and absolutely extraordinary....more
Check out Bookish Antics for reviews, giveaways and interviews! 3.5 stars - NO trivial rating can justify my feelings for this book! Magonia is the mosCheck out Bookish Antics for reviews, giveaways and interviews! 3.5 stars - NO trivial rating can justify my feelings for this book! Magonia is the most peculiar book I’ve read all year; I probably should’ve expected this considering it contains birdpeople, flying sharks, feathers galore and sky ships. Weird doesn’t even cover this novel which is like somewhere between a Neil Gaiman novel and a Tim Burton movie, making the song I Am The Walrus seem normal. Maria Dahvana Headley is truly incredibly and is one of the most imaginative authors to ever grace the publishing world.
Aza has always been sick from the day she’s been born with a rare disease that is exclusively hers. Aza has trouble breathing which makes it hard for her to act like a regular teenager and hang out with her friend Jason. Jason has always had a crush on Aza ever since they were little, but before he can confess it Aza is whisked away into the magical land of Magonia. There she is brought on the journey of a lifetime and she can be someone else.
This book is wonderfully written and Neil Gaiman wasn’t exaggerating when he said “[Headley] writes like a dream.” I’m envious of how perfectly clear and surreal Headley’s descriptions are, making the world of Magonia easily visualized in my mind. Everything in this novel is simply lovely, but I especially enjoyed all of the avian and feather imagery as well as the figurative language Headley used. Mark my words, Headley is capable of great things and Magonia is just the tip of the iceberg.
This is one of those novels that is so wonderful and outlandish, heck it makes Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland look normal at times. It was interesting to see Aza become something more than just the victim she’s always been. I wasn’t exactly happy how almost immediately after Aza came to Magonia, she suddenly became gorgeous because it was extremely ridiculous and shallow. It felt unnecessary for Aza to undergo such a dramatic physical transformation and it seemed to discount her emotional journey.
Magonia for the most part is from the point of Aza, but there a few chapters from Jason’s perspective. I absolutely loved Aza’s point of view, but I really found Jason’s chapters lacking and distracting because they averted my attention from the wonders of Magonia. I did find Jason’s relationship and love for Aza incredibly sweet, but I don’t think he deserved his own chapters.
I’m not quite sure if Magonia is part of a series or if it’s a stand-alone, but I know for sure I’d like to read more fantasy from Headley. This book was unlike anything I’ve ever read and was something so odd, yet it was what I needed to read at the moment. I’m so glad I delved into the world of Magonia and I truly hope there’s more coming. I applaud Maria Dahvana Headley and I truly would love to pick her mind because you have to be an incredibly interesting person to write a book like Magonia....more
Seen at Bookish Antics With over 6 millions reads, The Novice is a Wattpad sensation and so, I was eager to see what all the hype was all about. The woSeen at Bookish Antics With over 6 millions reads, The Novice is a Wattpad sensation and so, I was eager to see what all the hype was all about. The world definitely wasn’t wrong about this one and Matharu’s debut is easily one of the best high fantasy books I’ve read in ages. With a surplus of demons, elves, orcs and more, The Novice is a novel that is epic in scope and is just so compulsively readable. I had so much fun reading this novel and following Fletcher’s adventure to the point where I wished for my own personal demon several times over.
Fletcher is a poor peasant who gets himself into trouble one night at the graveyard, which subsequently leads him to becoming a fugitive. When Fletcher discovers that he is a Summoner, a person with the ability to summon demons, he is recruited to an academy. At the academy he discovers a world full of intrigue and political tensions between the different races (elves, humans, orcs, etc). In the war against the orcs, few will survive and Fletcher will need to take a side on the warfront.
In the past I’ve read about plenty of academies for “special kids,” but The Novice is still an extremely original novel that separates itself from other books in the fantasy genre. Matharu has developed a novel with such in-depth lore and back history about the academy, that the story extends beyond the page. There’s just so much first-class world-building and intricacies in this novel that it feels like a trilogy might not be enough to explore everything Matharu has to offer.
I found myself having so much reading The Novice with all of the humor, action and awesome uses of magic. Fletcher is such a great hero, one that is especially easy to root for and is extremely likeable to the point where readers will likely be obsessed with him. Taran Matharu is truly a gifted author and it’s no surprise why millions have enjoyed The Summoner series, it’s simply irresistible.
I’m so excited to see where Matharu takes readers in the following installments in this series and it’s going to be a painful wait until book two. Fantasy fans will find so much to love in The Novice and it’s supremely awesome. If I can’t have book two right now, the universe should totally give me my own Ignatius....more
Seen at Bookish Antics! Every once in a while there is a book that you read and it’s all you can think about, All Bright Places is that book. JenniferSeen at Bookish Antics! Every once in a while there is a book that you read and it’s all you can think about, All Bright Places is that book. Jennifer Niven has written a powerful book that has changed my view of the world and I don’t think I’ll view mental illness the same way ever again. This is a rare novel that has the power to spark something within us and ABP needs to be read.
Theodore Finch is the weird kid, the one that everyone knows of but no one actually knows a single thing about. Violet used to be an outgoing girl with a popular online magazine called Germ, but then her whole world was turned upside down when her sister died. Now Violet is “damaged” and everyone acts like she’s a fragile vase that’s on the edge and is one tremor away from shattering. When these two find each other on the roof of their school, both ready to die, the two decide to save each other. The two are paired upon a school trip to document “the natural wonders of Indiana” and nothing will ever be the same.
Jennifer Niven hasn’t just written characters, she writes people. Finch and Violet are beyond realistic to the point where they are not just words on a page, they practically jump off the page. Finch and Violet aren’t normal, their lives are messed up and a psychologist would probably have a field day labeling them with stigmas and mental disorders. Their lives are beyond complicated, they’ve had more hardships in their lives than anyone (let alone a teenager) should have to deal and yet they find beauty in the simple things in life. It doesn’t matter whether it’s just a pair of sneakers on a tree or a ball with paint on it, Theodore and Violet try to find the beauty in each and every moment of life.
Mental illness is one of the most misunderstood and stigmatized health issues there is because most people don’t understand how severe mental illness is. Depression and other forms of mental illness aren’t just things you “get over” and I think All Bright Places conveys that properly. In one scene in the novel, a character remarks how it’s unfair that people with mental illness are treated much harsher than people with physical illnesses. There was just something so profound and moving about that scene that just stuck with me and it just seemed to capture the theme of this book so well.
The romance in All Bright Places is touching, beautiful and radiant, I love this couple oh so much. Readers will fall in love with Theodore and Finch a hundred times over, desperately hoping this couple will get a chance to be together. The relationship is natural, sweet and it gave me that exhilarating feel that only comes with first love. Separately each character is broken, but together they make each other feel more complete and less lonely.
All Bright Places will fill readers with hope, love, happiness and will ultimately make them cry. The ending for this one is such a tearjerker, making me bawl out my eyes and Niven really knew how to hit me with the feels. After finishing this book, I couldn’t properly function and I just sat and thought about everything that went on. The ending is heartbreaking and painful to read, but it was so well-executed and necessary that Niven definitely deserves props for it.
Novels like this only come along once in a lifetime and All Bright Places is truly the real deal. This is one of the best contemporary novels I’ve ever read, as well as one of the best novels I’ve ever read period. One should expect great things from Jennifer Niven because she’s extremely talented and this is an absolutely perfect YA debut. This is the book that everyone will be talking about and it’s sure to be a popular book club pick....more
Check out Bookish Antics for reviews, giveaways and interviews! After reading Jeanette Walls’s superb memoir, The Glass Castle, I began to find memoirsCheck out Bookish Antics for reviews, giveaways and interviews! After reading Jeanette Walls’s superb memoir, The Glass Castle, I began to find memoirs about people with unusual upbringings intriguing. Once I saw the title of Schmidt’s memoir, I knew I had to read this book and I loved how dark and unusual it sounded. I’m in awe of Jason Schmidt — words can’t describe how headstrong and mentally strong he had to be overcome this life. Life dealt Schmidt a terrible hand, but he always tried to make the best of what he’s been given.
A List Of Things That Didn’t Kill Me is an amazing story about growing older, acceptance, family and love. Not only does this memoir tell of a time not so long ago when AIDS was rampant and homophobia was more prominent than it is today. Jason Schmidt grew up in an unhealthy environment where he was told to never tell the straights, the normal people about his family life. Schmidt didn’t have the necessities that most of you have and his childhood was full of tragedy.
There a lot of ups and downs in Jason Schmidt’s life and I still am amazed that he turned out normal in the end. There’s no way I would have been able to survive all of the ordeals that he went through unscathed. I would have lost it and though Schmidt does goes off the edge a bit, for the most part he keeps himself together for himself and his father. Even though his father is a total jerk, he still loves him and does his best to protect him all along.
Jason’s father is a piece of work, but he tries to be a good father to his son. Even if it means teaching your son about drugs and sex from an elementary school age, he did what he thought was best. He was far from the “straights” he hated and he was unconventional, but it’s hard to hate him. Even if he was abusive and unbelievable, I couldn’t hate him and I really wanted to, but I just couldn’t. His dad clearly had something wrong with him and his own messed up way he was trying to show affection for his son.
A List Of Things That Didn’t Kill Me is at times difficult to read, but overall it’s an intriguing and uplifting story of hardship and ultimately success. I loved reading Jason Schmidt’s story and I have a feeling he has a lot more to tell and if he does, I’d definitely read it....more
Seen at Bookish Antics! I’ve been a voracious reader of the Percy Jackson series for at least 5-6 years and so, I was ecstatic to hear that a retellinSeen at Bookish Antics! I’ve been a voracious reader of the Percy Jackson series for at least 5-6 years and so, I was ecstatic to hear that a retelling of the Greek myths from Percy’s point-of-view would be published. Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods is a hilarious, clever rendition of classical mythology that readers will absolutely love. This is a gigantic coffee-table sized book with absolutely gorgeous illustrations and this well-designed book that looks absolutely amazing on my bookshelf.
Readers will get quite the workout while reading Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods because this book is seriously heavy. It was an interesting decision to make this book into a coffee table book and the illustrations are truly spectacular and mesmerizing. I would definitely reread this book in a few years, but I can definitely see myself in the near future paging through this one and just staring at Rocco’s illustrations. I was in awe of the vivid, perfect depictions of the Greek Gods that Rocco illustrated and he brings the Gods to life in all their grace and glory.
Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods is the perfect way to further readers’ knowledge about mythology and the Olympians. Riordan infuses mythology with Percy’s signature humor and I found myself smiling and laughing constantly while reading. Percy looks at the myths in a totally different light — one that is extremely modern, fresh and extremely appealing. There are references to the Percy Jackson series, but there are also fitting references to Doctor Who, Tumblr, OTPs and so much more. Even though the myths are analyzed in a modern light, Riordan stills maintains the integrity and spirit of the classical tales. All of the wonder and glorious details from the original tales are still here, Riordan just supplements them with Percy’s wit and banter.
I absolutely loved Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods; this is the perfect book to sate fans’ hunger for the next Riordan novel and this definitely helped ease the wait till The Blood Of Olympus is released. I truly hope that Riordan tackles classical mythology in a similar vein in another companion book possibly about famous demigods like Hercules and Achilles. ...more
Check out Bookish Antics for reviews, giveaways and interviews! I didn’t know much about this book when I first requested it, all I saw was the title,Check out Bookish Antics for reviews, giveaways and interviews! I didn’t know much about this book when I first requested it, all I saw was the title, cover and the fact that Andrew Smith (one of my all-time favorite authors) blurbed it. I’m so glad I was impulsive because Simon is easily one of the best YA debuts and contemporary books I’ve ever read. Becky Albertalli has tapped into territory that’s not frequently explored in YA at all: coming out to the world and she does it with humor and unflinching honesty. Just reading Simon has made me realize how refreshing diversity in YA (in terms of sexuality and racial) can be and how necessary diverse books truly are.
Simon Spier is gay, but no one in the world seems to know that besides an online friend whose pen name is Blue. All Simon wants is to be done with hiding who he is and to go out with Blue, but things get complicated when someone gets a hand on one of his emails. Soon Simon is being blackmailed by a guy named Martin into becoming a wingman or else everyone will know he’s gay.
Simon vs. is one of those books that is beyond important, this is the type of book that could change someone’s lives. Even in 2015, life for GLBTAQI+ individuals isn’t easy and it’s important for people to see themselves in literature to know they’re not alone. Many teens are afraid to come out and I think a book like Simon could give people the courage to show the world who they really are. We need more diverse books and I truly hope there are more books like Simon that are going to be published in the future because the world truly needs them.
I was smiling nearly the entire time I was reading Becky Albertalli’s debut because this book is seriously adorable and hilarious. Simon is an incredible character and his voice is extremely distinct and realistic, evoking one of the most realistic depictions I’ve ever seen of a teen. It’s extremely easy to empathize with Simon and almost immediately I fell in love with his character. All it will take is one email to make you obsessed with Simon and Blue and to make you ship them.
This book doesn’t shy away from truly showing all different shades of the high-school experience. This entire book shows the ups and downs of being a teenager in a proper light, without tampering with it at all. From laughing along with Simon’s awesome friend group to dealing with bullies, this book shows the triumphs and struggles teens deal with. Even though Simon does deal with animosity, he has his friends to help him along the way and readers will wish they were apart of Simon’s little crew.
Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a remarkable novel, one that will resonate with readers long after they’re finished reading. Also be sure to have a healthy stack of OREOs on hand because you’ll definitely be craving those frequently while reading. This is a book that will hit close to home for many readers and it’s my hope that Albertalli doesn’t ever stop writing. Simon is a gift to the YA world and it’s going to be a hit with so many....more
Seen at Bookish Antics! What better way to get in the holiday mood than read My True Love Gave To Me? This holiday anthology has something for everyoneSeen at Bookish Antics! What better way to get in the holiday mood than read My True Love Gave To Me? This holiday anthology has something for everyone with adorable New Year’s kisses, a Hannukah catastrophe and lots of Christmas cheer. Overall this novel was just so much fun and this is a perfect novel to read while bundled up in a blanket, drinking hot cocoa as you wait for the holidays to roll around. MTLGTM is one of the best anthologies I’ve read to date, but just like all other anthologies this has short stories of varying qualities. The following stories were my favorites from this anthology:
-Midnights – Rainbow Rowell – Rowell is one of my all-time favorite authors and she always manages to make me all fluffy inside. Midnights is no different and is an absolutely wonderful short-story about two friends, Noel and Mags. I loved the relationship between these two characters and I could really sense the history between them. I’d love to see more of these two characters in one of Rowell’s future novels!
-It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins – Of course, Perkins writes such an adorable romance with such subt, yet important details. This story was nearly perfect and is one of my all-time favorites in the anthology.
-Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan – YAY, a Hanukkah / Christmas story! This story has a gay Jewish main character and is just all kinds of awesome. This story really has all the humor and passion that’s in all of Levithan’s full-length novels.
-Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White – I’m not a fan of White’s novels, but this one was surprisingly good. The heroine was wonderfully snarky and I became so hungry just reading about the various foods the characters make.
-The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor – This story was so lyrical and beautiful in such a way that is unique to Taylor’s books. Everything about this one was exquisite....more
Check out Scott Reads It for reviews, giveaways & more! Savage Drift is the 3rd and final book in The Monument 14 Trilogy and it's always interestiCheck out Scott Reads It for reviews, giveaways & more! Savage Drift is the 3rd and final book in The Monument 14 Trilogy and it's always interesting to see how series conclusions pan out. Savage Drift maintains the same spirit as the previous books in this series, but I found that I quickly became annoyed with the characters. To complicate matters even more, I wasn't a huge fan of this novel's conclusion and it felt like it was extremely lacking.
The characters in Savage Drift are still the lovable characters that we met back in the Greenway, but something feels so different about them. These characters have grown for better or worse and their lives are forever changed because of the chemical exposure.
I truly wish Dean would have given up his protector charade because it really started to bother me. I truly didn't think that Astrid didn't need to be constantly protected and the testosterone contest that Jake and Dean were constantly competing in was a shame to watch. I didn't expect any better from Jake, but after seeing Dean mature so much in Monument 14 & Sky On Fire, it was truly upsetting. I also wanted to see Astrid tell off these boys in this book because she doesn't need a man to protect her.
Josie's story never really interested me and I missed seeing her interact with the other Monument, CO kids. Her story didn't progress fast enough and it felt like it was slightly repetitive, I just wanted Laybourne to move on from her story.
Though the Monument kids really went through an ordeal, I really didn't like the way this series was concluded. The 1st two books in this series were extremely realistic and gritty so it's a shame that Savage Drift ends on a weak, unrealistic note. The finale to this series feels like it wasn't drawn out well and it was too much of a "happily ever after" for me to be content with it. As much as I would like for everything to be happy and dandy for the Monument kids, "a happily ever after" feels so wrong and untrue to the spirit of this series. I felt cheated after reading the final pages of Savage Drift and I know that there were much better ways to end this series.
The Monument 14 series had it's ups and downs and Savage Drift truly feels like a step backward. I really felt like Sky On Fire was an improvement over Monument 14 and it's a shame that Savage Drift couldn't successfully conclude this series. I feel hesitant about recommending this series to dystopian fans after being so disappointed by this series's conclusion. ...more
Few books have left a greater impression than The Boy In The Striped Pajamas did and years after reading it, I still get goosebumps thinking about it. I decided I would read Stay Where You Are & Then Leave because I was eager to see how John Boyne would tackle World War One. Though Boyne's latest novel isn't as memorable or unique as The Boy In The Striped Pajamas, it still has a lot going for it.
Alfie's character is beaming with innocence and he doesn't fully understand what World War I is about. All Alfie knows is that his father has volunteered for the war and that he is on a "secret mission" according to his mother. Alfie presumes that his father is dead and so, he struggles to help his mother support their war-torn family. Alfie starts to skip school and shine strangers' shoes at the train station to provide his mother with some extra money. While working at the station, Alfie finds out that his father is possibly alive and could be at a hospital. Alfie believes that it's his duty to save his father from shell-shock and the hospital's clutches.
I love the way how John Boyne tackles tough issues such as an absentee parent and war from the perspective of a child. We often forget how psychologically damaging the effects of war are on those who are at home, those who wait for some news that their loved ones are alive. Alfie's story is brutal, uplifting, and extremely poignant, this is one of the better war novels for younger children.
Though Stay Where You Are & Then Leave has a fresh perspective on WWI, I can't help but feel as if it feels slightly stale. Boyne brings nothing new to the table when discussing the daily life of WWI and this take feels like it lacked originality. I'm far from an expert on WWI, but all the information in SWYA&L is so basic and doesn't feel well-researched. This novel is a great introduction to the 1st World War for kids, but I think older readers wouldn't find much merit in this book.
Stay Where You Are & Then Leave has an extremely slow beginning, in which readers learn a bit about Alfie's past and his connection to his father. It takes way too long for Boyne to introduce the main conflict of the novel, in which Alfie attempts to locate his father, due to the huge emphasis on the various ways the war has damaged Alfie's family. Some younger readers will have trouble pushing through the first half of the novel, but the 2nd half of the novel makes the sluggish beginning feel worthwhile.
Readers' impressions on this book will largely vary based on their feelings toward our main character, Alfie. While I admired his strength and determination, his character paled in comparison to Bruno's character from The Boy With The Striped Pajamas. I really wanted to fall for Alfie's character, but I felt like much of his story was intentionally written to pull on readers' heartstrings. His story felt a bit forced at times and I didn't realize feel a cavalcade of emotion like I felt I should've. I truly can't read a book and feel touched enough to cry when I feel like the author merely inserts sentimental moments just so readers will shed tears.
Stay Where You Are & Then Leave by John Boyne is far from perfect, but it is a solid novel about WWI for children. Even though the story could have been edited better, this novel will capture the hearts of young readers. I expected more from Stay Where You Are & Then Leave, but for the most part, it was an effective war tale....more
Check out Scott Reads It! Red Rising is being marketed as "The Hunger Games" meets "Ender's Game", but truthfully the similarities between Red Risi Check out Scott Reads It! Red Rising is being marketed as "The Hunger Games" meets "Ender's Game", but truthfully the similarities between Red Rising and those books are few and far between. Red Rising is wonderfully brutal and original, it's truly unlike anything I've ever read before. This is an underdog story with an action-packed plot, incredible world-building, and a writing style that will hook readers in.
It doesn't matter whether you love or hate Darrow, it's impossible not to admire the way Brown developed his character. From the 1st few pages, Brown makes it extremely easy for readers to sympathize with his character. Despite the fact that Darrow is our "hero" of the novel, readers shouldn't write him off as the good guy in the story. I love how so many of the characters in Red Rising can't simply be defined as the good guy or the bad guy, even Darrow blurs these distinct lines several times in the book.
Summarizing Red Rising is no simple task and so, I'm not going to even attempt to do it because there's no way I can do this book justice. The only thing I will say is that Darrow is part of the Red, the lowest caste in The Society, and he is given an opportunity to rebel against his government. I've never read such a brutal book before in my life, Red Rising even makes A Game Of Thrones look tame. There is so much violence and bloodshed, but Pierce Brown never makes the gore seem gratuitous. Each battle, each murder has it's own purpose in the plot and readers should beware of getting too attached to characters because Brown is absolutely brutal with his characters.
Pierce Brown is an incredibly talented author and there's no denying it. I never thought I would be so interested in military strategy until I began to read Red Rising. Brown certainly has a way with words and he does an excellent job of filling readers with hope that Darrow will emerge victorious, despite the fact that the odds are not in his favor. Pierce Brown is certainly a promising writer and he has written some of the best action scenes I've read in years. I have a feeling that Pierce Brown has written the next big thing.
I was immediately drawn into the world of Red Rising and it was quite a journey. I was completely and utterly addicted to Red Rising, I wanted to know everything about The Society. There is so much Brown can showcase in the Society and I really want to learn so much more about this corrupt gov't. I loved the way Brown gradually introduced readers to The Society without using the infamous info-dumps. There were a few parts where I briefly found the plot tedious, but other than that, I really enjoyed Red Rising.
Red Rising is one of the few novels that actually live up the hype and in some aspects, the hype didn't do it justice. I'm extremely curious to see where Pierce Brown takes Darrow next in the sequel, but I have a feeling that Brown won't let me down. Just when I thought the dystopian genre had lost steam, Red Rising arrived on the scene and left me astounded. ...more
Check out Scott Reads It for reviews, giveaways & more! Guy In Real Life was one of my most anticipated books of 2013 by far because this book lookCheck out Scott Reads It for reviews, giveaways & more! Guy In Real Life was one of my most anticipated books of 2013 by far because this book looked as if it had been written just for me. A contemporary romance in the vein of Rainbow Rowell and John Green? An epic 8-bit cover and a plot revolving MMOs and videogaming? Guy In Real Life seemed almost too good to be true, it had almost everything I could want in a YA novel. Guy In Real Life doesn't live up to it's amazing premise and description, I really felt like this book left me feeling disappointed and a bit angry.
Lesh is a very different kind of protagonist, his character is extremely innovative and I've never seen anything quite like it. Lesh is a bit Goth, he's into heavy metal music, he loves to play MMOs, and he is a bit unsure about his sexuality. It's truly refreshing to read from the perspective of a character who isn't the same cardboard character that readers commonly find in YA novels. Though Lesh didn't intend to be creepy at times, I was frightened by many of his actions and couldn't comprehend the reasoning behind his actions. Even though I found Lesh a bit frightening, he was an interesting character to read about.
Svetlana is Lesh's romantic interest in Guy In Real Life and he is absolutely smitten with her at first sight. She's an unusual protagonist, but I couldn't really fathom why Lesh was so obsessed with her. I liked her character, but she didn't seem quite as wonderful as Lesh made her out to be and at times she was a bit dull. I couldn't really understand what he saw in her and why he was so persistent on becoming friends with her.
Lesh and Svetlana are brought together in the school cafeteria and they form this awkward, unconventional friendship. Lesh falls head over heels for the artistic Svetlana and he creates an online avatar in a MMO that looks almost exactly like her. Lesh steals Svetlana's identity and falsely claims to be her because he wants to be her in real life. I have no problem with transgender individuals, but stealing someone's identity is no laughing matter and I was perturbed by the way this federal crime was handled in this book. The fact that Lesh wants to be a teenage girl is really never addressed and is thrown under the bus for scenes where Lesh plays as his Svetlana avatar in the MMO. The scenes where he plays as Svetlana in the MMO were interesting, but I really thought addressing his sexuality and his uncertainty regarding it would have been far more worthwhile.
I don't know what to think of the romance in Guy In Real Life because it well done, but it made me feel uncomfortable. Falling in love with the guy who is virtually impersonating you is a big no-no in my mind and I didn't feel comfortable reading about Lesh and Svetlana fall in love. Obviously Svetlana doesn't know that Lesh is impersonating her when they fall in love, but it still made me feel so weird and repulsed. When Svetlana does eventually find out, I felt like this issue wasn't given proper closure and the ending of Guy In Real Life felt like it was a cop-out. I was never really given any finality on so many issues and the ending left a lot to be desired. I know Brezenoff isn't promoting virtual identity theft, but I expected him to handle the matter in a more appropriate way. The way he rushed the ending, didn't give Guy In Real Life the proper, realistic ending it deserved.
Guy In Real Life wasn't quite what I expected and this book did catch me off guard. I'm not sure if I would recommend it because of the flimsy way important issues like sexuality and virtual identity theft were handled. This wasn't the geeky romance story I expected, but I do appreciate Brezenoff's bold effort to push the limit of YA novels. I have a feeling that many readers will be turned off to the plot and romance of Guy In Real Life because of Lesh's taboo actions. ...more