Ehhh, not too good. It was trying to be all deep and "what would you do if the world was about to end" but there was NO character growth. The most int...moreEhhh, not too good. It was trying to be all deep and "what would you do if the world was about to end" but there was NO character growth. The most interesting of the 3 was probably Zan, but I would have loved to have had more time with her family. Really I would have loved to see the family dynamics of all of them. Sienna was boring and Caden was just uncomfortable.
If you want an emotional look at what would happen if an asteroid/planet was about to hit the earth I recommend Lars Von Trier's Melancholia. (less)
I absolutely loved the premise of The Raven Boys, but I had a hard time getting started with this novel. The beginning felt very slow, largely due to...moreI absolutely loved the premise of The Raven Boys, but I had a hard time getting started with this novel. The beginning felt very slow, largely due to the story being told from two separate perspectives (Blue and Gansey have alternating point of view chapters for a while). However once Blue and Gansey meet and join forces the story takes a major turn. I flew through the second half of this book and became completely immersed in the story and characters.
The Raven Boys is a bit of a slow burn to start off. I think this is due to the fact that the marketing materials presented the book like it was going to be all about Blue and her family, but in reality Gansey is the main character for much of the novel. I went into The Raven Boys expecting a story about a girl living with her psychic family, but instead I got a story about a group of boys trying to find a magical energy line. This isn't bad necessarily, but it wasn't what I was expecting so I was put off at first.
The biggest strength of The Raven Boys is the characters. Each character feels supported and full. Everyone has a unique backstory that shapes their world view. I really enjoyed reading how each character grows during the course of the book, in particular Blue, Gansey, and Ronan. I also really enjoyed Blue's family and I really hope that we'll learn more about them in future books.
I'd say the pacing of the book is the biggest weakness. It was slow and confusing at the beginning, and fast and confusing at the end. I feel like this is a book I needed to re-read immediately after finishing because I felt like I missed something. The world building in The Raven Boys sometimes felt too big for the book and that the ideas of the magic and mythology were difficult to get on paper.
Overall the Raven Boys is an interesting, if sometimes confusing, start to a series. While the world building and pacing were shaky at times the fantastically developed characters will definitely bring me back for book two. (less)
The Diviners by Libba Bray is a dense book. This is by far one of the most historically rich young adult books I have ever read. The amount of effort...moreThe Diviners by Libba Bray is a dense book. This is by far one of the most historically rich young adult books I have ever read. The amount of effort and research Bray put into The Diviners is immediately apparent. Not only do we get the more surface historical elements such as bobbed hair and flappers and speakeasies, but we also get the political, social, and economic climate of the time period in a masterfully subtle way. I think that is the greatest strength of The Diviners. The historical elements are fully integrated into the story in a beautifully seamless way.
Besides the awesome historical element, I really enjoyed the occult aspect to The Diviners. I loved "The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies" as well as the various rituals and ghosty things that happen. I think there's a wonderful blend of fact and fiction that creates a really interesting story. I think some people may be initially turned off by the occult elements, but I think if you just remember that this is 100% fictional it will be ok. (I personally love creepy Halloween stuff so that was a huge selling point for me).
Now let's just take a minute to discuss Naughty John. That is one CREEPY mofo. Seriously, Naughty John is one of the best villains I have ever read. I would say he is on par with Stephen King's ghostly bad guys, which are really about as good as you can get. I think a lot villains in YA are watered down but not Naughty John. He's a great villain and I'm really excited when YA authors take their villain out of the box the way Bray did.
The other characters were also wonderful. I really liked Evie, even if she started off rather shallow, I think there will be a lot of growth with her character. I also really liked Theta and Mable, Evie's two friends. I liked their friendship a lot. I've said it before, but I love YA that has girls being friends with other girls. I think it's really important to include in YA and I think The Diviners does a great job.
My only real complaint about The Diviners is the sheer density of the book. Not only is it almost 600 pages, but the story is so full of background and historical elements that it can be a little daunting. This really isn't a negative, more of an observation that The Diviners was a slow burn for me.
Overall The Diviners is an impressive YA novel and really stands above a lot of historical fiction (YA or not). The excellent paranormal mystery woven into one of the most comprehensive historical novels that I've ever read makes The Diviners by Libba Bray an achievement for the YA genre. (less)
Butter is the story of an obese boy looking for acceptance and normalcy. It's a story about how tough high school can be if you aren't perceived as o...more Butter is the story of an obese boy looking for acceptance and normalcy. It's a story about how tough high school can be if you aren't perceived as one of the perfect popular crowd.
I could completely relate to Butter and his struggle with depression, self loathing, and his addiction to food. I think that people try and self medicate in a lot of different ways, and for a lot of people food is their security blanket. It's what they turn to when they are sad, lonely, bored, or scared. Butter just wants acceptance, I think he's afraid to allow himself to be happy. He eats to create a literal barrier between himself and other people because he's afraid to let people in. His weight stops people from trying and he doesn't have to worry that they might get to know him and not like him for who he his, not just his appearance.
I've read some reviews that say that Butter's classmate's reaction to his suicide plan as unrealistic. Well, I disagree. Maybe I have less faith in today's youth but it wasn't long ago that I was in high school and I could totally see my classmates egging people on. I was an outcast too, and I could completely see someone doing anything to get the popular crowd's attention, and in turn the popular crowd taking full advantage of that.
Butter is an extremely difficult book to read, and I think it will strike a deep chord with any person who as ever felt desperate to fit in. It is equal parts heart warming and breaking, but handles some extremely sensitive topics with care and grace. (less)
I CAN'T WAIT! I am so excited, Ten sounds like such an awesome book! It really reminds me of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (originally ti...moreI CAN'T WAIT! I am so excited, Ten sounds like such an awesome book! It really reminds me of Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (originally titled Ten Little Indians). This is one of my all time favorite books EVER, so I really think Ten is going to be SO COOL. I loved Possess, McNeil's first book, so I'm sure her sophomore book will be just as awesome.!(less)