Super well written and engrossing, but definitely not for me. If you like horror and serial killers and violence, this book will captivate you. I like...moreSuper well written and engrossing, but definitely not for me. If you like horror and serial killers and violence, this book will captivate you. I like to keep things on a little lighter note, so it wasn't for me.(less)
I think I'm too old for this book. It's the literary version of It's not you; it's me.
The writing is good, the premise is fun and flirty (who...more2.5 stars
I think I'm too old for this book. It's the literary version of It's not you; it's me.
The writing is good, the premise is fun and flirty (who doesn't love road trip books, especially road trip books about a mediocre girl band and their sweet-boy groupie?), and the guy voice of the narrator feels authentic, which we all know can be hard to accomplish. This is a GOOD book, a well-written book, and there's a segment of YA readers that will love and relate to it, but it just wasn't for me.
Contemporary YA is hit and miss for me, having left my teenage years behind, and the thumb-our-noses-at-society attitude didn't work for me in this case. That being said, I am not the target audience of the book, and I know teens who love quirky, bittersweet coming-of-age stories will be enchanted by The Disenchantments.
And I have to say it: I didn't like Bev. Colby, go find a sweet girl in Paris instead.(less)
Let me say this: Andrea Cremer can write. Her books ooze with imagery and pretty phrases and that I-must-consume-this-book feeling (especially Nightsh...moreLet me say this: Andrea Cremer can write. Her books ooze with imagery and pretty phrases and that I-must-consume-this-book feeling (especially Nightshade). She even adds some decent mythology to the mix in Wolfsbane, something I thought was blatantly lacking in Nightshade.
So why the two stars? This series just isn't for me. I've never liked Calla. She's never seemed like an alpha to me (I mean, I've been TOLD for 800 pages that she's an alpha, but it's been rare that I've SEEN it) and I've never felt connected with her character. Shay is the biggest snoozer of a male lead I've read about for two years running, and the love triangle is strangling this series. When done with grace and charm and chemistry, a love triangle can keep me feverishly tearing through the pages. But in this series, Calla's indecisiveness and lust for both boys--and first Ren's and now Shay's pushy ways--make this love triangle irritating. Frequent scene: Calla and Shay making out, Calla thinks of Ren, wants Ren instead, pushes Shay away, Shay pushes Calla for more. Repeat, repeat, repeat.
(And it has to be said: What did Cremer DO to Ren's character??? Of course circumstances can drive people to make choices they wouldn't have made otherwise, but a character needs to stay true to what's already been created for him. The Ren depicted in Wolfsbane is NOT the Ren we met in Nightshade.)
Although not as compulsively readable as Nightshade, Wolfsbane does expand the mythology (albeit with a ton of infodump conversations). Unlike other authors, Cremer acknowledges the holes in her mythology and offers some patches (why Keepers can't weave, how the mother determines the essence of the child, etc.) although some of the patches are a bit TOO convenient. However, after the bare mythology in Nightshade, the expansion of the world is welcomed.
The writing's good. The mythology's gotten better. But until I can actually LIKE these characters--their personalities and choices--I can't give above two stars.
What this story lacks is DEPTH. This book is a quick read (I read it in just over an hour) which hinders the story. It just needs MORE...more chara...more2.5
What this story lacks is DEPTH. This book is a quick read (I read it in just over an hour) which hinders the story. It just needs MORE...more character development, more plot development, more complexity. The writing felt a bit amateurish at times, and several phrases were overused.
The premise has a lot of potential, but the writing needs to delve deeper and increase the complexity and further explore what's been created.
If you're looking for a moving story about abuse, I'd recommend Cindy C. Bennett's book Heart on a Chain. It had me crying and swooning all at once.(less)
There is a segment of YA readers that will LOVE Saving June. This novel deals with suicide and grief, and certain YA readers will relate to t...more2.5 stars
There is a segment of YA readers that will LOVE Saving June. This novel deals with suicide and grief, and certain YA readers will relate to this tale on such an emotional level that this will be a full five-star read.
However, for me, I could not connect with Harper as a character. She had so much angst and rebellion, and I couldn't relate to her feelings and struggles. All teens face their own share of crushing problems, but my reaction to these struggles was so different from Harper's rebellion. For me, she didn't feel relatable or (sad to say) particularly likeable. Even worse for someone like me who likes a dose of romance in their YA, I had this same reaction to Jake.
I recognize, though, that many readers will have vastly different feelings for Harper and the events of this book, and they will share in her grief and cry along with her. The pieces are in place for this to be a stirring tale for that particular reader...there's tragedy, a road trip (can I just say how much I love road trips in books?), lots of music, and some thoughts on living and death. While it didn't work for me, I know this tale will resonate for other readers.
It's definitely the book version of "it's me, not you" for Saving June. (less)
Pretty much the entire plot of this book revolves around sex. Oh, and lying to your parents in a major way for an extended period of time. Add a lot o...morePretty much the entire plot of this book revolves around sex. Oh, and lying to your parents in a major way for an extended period of time. Add a lot of heavy drinking and partying into the mix, and that's this book.
The circumstances and the behavior of the adults and teens are just too unbelievable. I felt like I was reading about a wild sorority house in college instead of a bunch of 16-year-olds. (Yeah, I'm supposed to believe these high schoolers fool their parents into letting them live alone without adult supervision and daddy bankrolls it by giving our protag $1000 a month...and when our protag confesses to her mom, her mom doesn't care because she's too petty to talk to her ex-husband???)
And I'm sorry, but kids who skip school and get drunk on school nights and don't study do not get full rides into Columbia and NYU. Can we please be a little realistic here?
There's a lot more to teens than sex and getting drunk.(less)
A.J. Whitten's The Cellar is supposed to be a mix of zombies and Romeo and Juliet. I could have done with more Romeo and Juliet and less zombies. The...moreA.J. Whitten's The Cellar is supposed to be a mix of zombies and Romeo and Juliet. I could have done with more Romeo and Juliet and less zombies. The horror in this book isn't very "I'm going to have nightmares for weeks because of this"--it felt more just gratuitous. However, for the segment of young adult readers who enjoy horror lite with a smattering of Twilight, this will be enjoyable.
Personally, I would have liked if this story stayed with a third-person narrative. The switch between first-person and third-person narration felt jumpy and interrupted the flow of the novel.
Additionally, the dialogue felt forced--like it was trying too hard to sound like teenagers (which is strange since the author's teenage daughter helped her write this). It was like the author felt that if she said Facebook and Hollister enough, the writing would seem more young adult. To me, it just felt unauthentic. I mean, I think I was in junior high the last time I heard someone say something and then end it with "not", and this book did it more than once.
However, The Cellar does offer some unique twists to today's tired young adult storyline. Although it's another "love at first glance from across the school hallway" story, the hot stalker guy...really truly is a baddie. Usually, it turns out he's misunderstood and trying to overcome the evil of his species, but Adrien really truly is a baddie. When he left Meredith in the cellar near the end, I knew he hadn't really reformed. You can expound about how his love for Heather redeemed him at the very end, but when he didn't save Meredith and wanted to FEED MEREDITH TO HER SISTER, he was every bit the selfish, creepy, obsessive baddie we met on his first day of school. He tells Heather not to judge him and to see him for what he wants to be, but then he didn't even free her sister. Yep, I'm going to judge him right there.
And can we please stop telling 16-year-olds that it's okay to be engaged and obsessive about marriage...as a junior in high school??? What was Heather thinking? (And wouldn't it be so gross to kiss a zombie? I mean, he eats people with that mouth. I couldn't stop thinking that every time he drew close to her.)
So, fans of horror have a nice, sanitized young adult horror novel that will appeal to many teens. There's nothing in this book to give you crazy nightmares--just a lot of zombies eating people again...and again...and again, but it just feels so detached that it's not even scary.
And Meredith? Points for NOT falling for the creepy guy. That's my favorite part of this book.(less)
I couldn't feel connected to this story, so I ended up skimming the last half. For me, it had a really gritty feel, similar to Melissa Marr's Wicked L...moreI couldn't feel connected to this story, so I ended up skimming the last half. For me, it had a really gritty feel, similar to Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series. If you're a fan of that series, perhaps you'll enjoy this.(less)
That was a whole lotta lust. (But the marketing department gets five stars!)
I admit it--this book was addictive. I read it in one sitting, finishing a...moreThat was a whole lotta lust. (But the marketing department gets five stars!)
I admit it--this book was addictive. I read it in one sitting, finishing at 2:00 a.m., so if you like to be consumed by a book and have that "I cannot put this down" feeling, read this (but that does not mean it was satisfying). Two stars for being crazy addictive! However, my recommendation of this book ends there. (Although the marketing team for this book is worth a full five stars. I saw this book EVERYWHERE. Posters at every bookstore, buzz on every blog, pretty displays at Target even. They really managed to make this feel like the next big thing, so props to the marketing geniuses for an amazing campaign!)
This book was just a whole lotta lust. I can tolerate and even adore "love at first sight" books when done properly. However, this book just came off as three teenagers with crazy, raging hormones who need to touch and gaze and lust after each other EVERY MOMENT OF THE BOOK. Calla and Shay's "connection"? I just never felt it. They just seemed to lust and pine after each other for page after page. I'm not quite sure why some "I've just met you but I love you with every infinitesimal particle of my being" books work better than others (maybe it has to do with establishing a somewhat relatable, electrifying connection), but this one really fell flat for me. I seriously thought, "Oh no, here they go lusting after each other again." I liked the opening for its suspense and really thought it got things going (so I give the author credit for a great hook) but underdeveloped characters and a contrived plot made this book very unsatisfying. And why do even werewolves need to be drinking blood these days?
And Shay? He's got to be one of the most boring, most "I couldn't care less about you" characters I've read about all year. He lost major points when he seemed to disparage girls whose favorite book is Pride and Prejudice and love Jane Austen. Excuse me, it's not unoriginal--it's just good taste. He was a one-dimensional character with no charisma--no spark--to make me care. I never connected with him and Calla or felt the depth of his supposed love for her. It just really felt like lust, lust, and more lust. The dialogue was weak and contrived, and the whole world felt like it wasn't really fleshed out--it wasn't really developed like it could have been. Calla was supposed to be this super tough alpha female, but she felt weak and indecisive. She melts and goes crazy with every touch from Ren or Shay and pretty much acts that way (or as a temper tantrum toddler) for most of the book.
The book is addictive. It has a pretty cover. That's about it. Others may find it satisfying or the relationships riveting, but it was not for me. I read it last week, and I've already forgotten what happened.(less)
I was so excited to read Falling Under after I won a copy on Goodreads First Reads. The concept of meeting a mysterious, "devastatingly handsome" guy...moreI was so excited to read Falling Under after I won a copy on Goodreads First Reads. The concept of meeting a mysterious, "devastatingly handsome" guy from your dreams sounded captivating, but Falling Under was too much of the worn-thin "I'm a jerk to you but you love me anyway" romance, and the parts that were original were too dark for me. I'd recommend Falling Under to those that love the darker side of paranormal fiction (not me).
Theia, Theia, Theia. The author tells us things about her, but Theia's actions show us a completely different story. She puts herself in danger. Again. And again. She's supposed to be this incredible musician and smart and rational, but she makes so many TSTL choices that I gave up. Haden even tells her why he's there--and it involves Theia in a horrible way--and yet she still comes back for more. WHY??? Why can't we ever get a heroine who tells these kinds of guys where they can go? Read the back cover--Theia doesn't want to resist Haden, even if it costs her her soul. Ugh.
And Haden? My tolerance of the "I'm hot so you love me even though I'm a jerk and treat you abysmally" guy must be all used up. (Again, this theme in young adult fiction is getting REALLY old.) The whole "hot/cold" guy thing has been done before and done a lot better. Haden became more tolerable as the book went on, but I wanted to infuse some rationality into Theia for 3/4 of the book for making STUPID, STUPID choices involving Haden. Why couldn't Theia go for a charismatic, thoughtful guy like Gabe?
Falling Under is dark. It has the TSTL heroine, the jerk bad boy, and the idiot parent that we see in so many books these days. It wasn't for me, but if you like dark paranormal fiction with a smattering of Twilight, you may like it.