Vesper is a paranormal mystery, told through two very different and alternating points of view. One being a transcribed conversation between two peopl...moreVesper is a paranormal mystery, told through two very different and alternating points of view. One being a transcribed conversation between two people and the other through Emily's first person narrative. The result should seem confusing and disjointed but instead produces an addicting, heart pounding adventure, that had me furiously turning pages. Author Jeff Sampson manages to mix multiple genres effortlessly and still create a strong, and very complex main character.
I really enjoyed this novel from the murder-mystery, to the paranormal twist you may or may not see coming. I won't talk a lot about it because I was honestly surprised by it and I think it adds a great layer to the story if you don't know what's going on. There's also a little romance thrown in to, but its not the main focus of the story, which I found rather refreshing.
I liked the pacing of the novel since it builds up to both its reveals rather nicely. The backstory to both parts was also well done and gets explained with out being confusing or extremely unbelievable. Though as its the first in a series, there are other things that are left a mystery and only briefly touched on.
While I didn't always find Emily the easiest character to like, it definitely wasn't a deal breaker for me because it all gets explained later and I continued to root & sympathized with her throughout the novel. I also really appreciated her bravery, cleverness and determination. She never gives up trying to figure out what's going on with herself or digging into who might have killed the other Emily, even after it becomes very dangerous for her.
Their are some really interesting minor characters that I wish we could have spent more time with. If fact my only real complaint with the novel is how over crowded it was with supporting characters. Many just seemed to be used as filler while other smaller, but actually more important characters got very little development. I'm pretty sure this was actually done intentionally, but I did find it a bit frustrating.
The ending is left very open, I'm not sure I would call it a cliffhanger necessarily but its not all wrapped up either. While that may annoy some people, I found it quite fitting and very true to the narrative that was put in place. I think Vesper is a great start to what I'm sure will continue to be a very interesting and unique series.(less)
Thirteen Reasons Why is a gut wrenching story of teen suicide. Hannah Baker died 2 weeks ago and left behind a set of cassette tapes explaining why sh...moreThirteen Reasons Why is a gut wrenching story of teen suicide. Hannah Baker died 2 weeks ago and left behind a set of cassette tapes explaining why she took her own life. Clay Jensen just found those tapes on his doorstep and when he chooses to listen to what Hannah's last words, he will found out just where he fits into her story.
Alternating between Clay's thoughts as he listens to the tapes and Hannah's voice as she explains what happened to her, you get 2 sides to 1 story, but from very different angles. This is a story about how everything you do in life has consequences and whether or not you realize it, you effect others around you.
I could not put this book down, Hannah's voice drives the story to such an emotionally raw place, that you can feel what she does every time she speaks. The story moves very quickly and no word is wasted. While the ending may not be for everyone, I think its exactly what it should be...Hopeful (less)
I struggle with what to rate this because although I did like it, I also had a few problems with it. For starters I found Lisa to be an extremely hard...moreI struggle with what to rate this because although I did like it, I also had a few problems with it. For starters I found Lisa to be an extremely hard character to like, until about half way through the book. I understand that Lisa suffers from a very serious disease, and I did feel sympathetic towards her but also a bit angry, as she kept pushing people away. I also couldn't understand how Lisa's dad never realized that she was sick and needed help.
I did enjoyed the relationship between Lisa and her steed though and I liked how her affection for the horse brought out a strength in her that she hadn't possessed before. I also really liked how we got to see things from the Black Horse's POV. It certainly added a very unique perspective to the story.
Death was by far my favorite character, he's funny yet stoic. He's also the best of the horseman, but then again, I don't think enough time was spent with the other horseman. I did appreciate that War was portrayed as a women, since so often War is blamed on men. The novel was very short and often moved to quickly. I felt like I had just started to dig into it and then it was over.
At no time during the novel are eating disorders ever glamorized. Jackie Morse Kessler uses her own past experience with bulimia to help tell the story of Lisa and what she's physically and mentally going through. I find it extremely brave to share such a personal thing about yourself with complete strangers, and although Lisa is not based on Jackie, she is very loosely based on one of Jackie's friends.
I commend Kessler on her originality, but I think I expected more to the supernatural side of the story. I do think the novel's worth checking out though, especially if you've ever suffered from or know someone struggling with an eating disorder. (less)
The Secret Year tells the story of Julia Vernon and Colt Morrissey, 2 teens who spent a year in a secret relationship. The book opens with Julia's dea...moreThe Secret Year tells the story of Julia Vernon and Colt Morrissey, 2 teens who spent a year in a secret relationship. The book opens with Julia's death in a car accident and the funeral that follows. Not knowing how to deal with the lose of somebody none of his friends or family knew he was with, Colt starts to obsess over the memories of Julia, Things get worse for Colt after he gets the journal Julia kept about their relationship. Hoping to find answers Colt reads the journal constantly, but will he find what he's looking for?
I think the book was a little to short, its just under 200 pages and there's so much going on with Colt emotionally, that I wish it could have been longer. Also I wish we could have seen some of Colt and Julia's relationship before the accident, instead of getting all of it through Colt's memories and Julia's journal entries. Since everything is told from Colt's POV, I felt more emotionally connected to him because even when Colt is being a jerk, he still comes across as a likable guy dealing with a personal lose. As for Julia, she was hard for me to relate to. I thought she came across as selfish and shallow, I couldn't always understand why she kept doing the things she did. She would say one thing and then do something else, part of this might have to do with the fact that you only ever hear her voice through the journal. With that one exception, I found all the characters to be quite layered and the story to beautifully written. (less)