I really don't know how/why it's getting 4 star reviews on Goodreads. The idea is beyond my understanding....moreThis. Book. Really, it should be 2.5 stars.
I really don't know how/why it's getting 4 star reviews on Goodreads. The idea is beyond my understanding. I really felt like I was being generous with 3 stars at times.
Let me start by saying that the flow of the plot held me back from loving this book. I was around 60% complete before something "good" started to happen. Something that made me go "oh, hey now" instead of mindlessly reading. Needless to say, it was super slow at times.
With that being said, I can mention the characters. Annabelle just annoyed me for some reason. I cannot exactly put my finger on it, but she did not impress me at all. In fact, she was a bit annoying. The idea behind Dream Boy is highly original, so I can say it's fresh. But I just wasn't buying the whole "let me love the boy from my (literal) dreams from day one" thing. Maybe I'm crazy, but if lover boy showed up to my school from my dreams, my first reaction would be WTFizzle just happened. It would NOT be hey boy, remember that dreamy kiss? Let's do it again. So Annabelle gets a big wah wah from me, and Martin/Josh gets a super wah wah wah (cue cheesy game show sounds). If you told me Martin/Josh was an alien, I would totally buy that based on how he acted. His speech patterns and way of explaining things were definitely weird. I was not impressed.
I was also not impressed with the setting. Dream Boy takes place in a small town somewhere, and it really could be Anywhere, USA. There was nothing descriptive or even tangible to hold on to. It felt under developed and lacking.
The one thing I did enjoy was the best friend, Will. The banter between Annabelle and Will was believable and I adored it. There should have been more. He was the character that kept me reading.
So, this is going to be another book that you will either love or dismiss. It's going to be up to the reader to form his/her own opinion. This girl, however, was unmoved.(less)
Ugh. So many questions left unanswered in this book. The thing that bothered me the most with this book is the plot. And any reader knows, that is the...moreUgh. So many questions left unanswered in this book. The thing that bothered me the most with this book is the plot. And any reader knows, that is the kiss of death for a book.
The moment I knew I was going to have issues with the plot was when I noticed the uneven pacing. The story started off solidly and had a nice quickness to it, then all of a sudden there are new characters and rushed scenes. Indie goes from newbie witch to master of her powers in literally one night. That was super annoying for me. She would practice her skills and fail miserably on day one, then wake up on day 2 able to do more than she practiced. Even for a book that requires me to suspend my belief, that was not believable.
Then there is the ending. Ugh. I absolutely hate it when books introduce new characters at the very end from nowhere. That is exactly what happened in Hexed. Granted, I knew something was up with the new BFF because that was a repeat of a previous plot element (not too original, I'm afraid), but I was deeply frustrated to see a name that I do not recall reading anywhere else in the book. At the end, instead of being left wondering what's going to happen next, I'm left wondering who the heck is this new character. Not exactly a masterful cliffhanger in my opinion.
Since I'm on a tangent, I might as well mention my other remaining grievances. First, the sudden shift in behavior between the supposed long-time bestie. I figured that was coming due to the underlying tones laid out in the book with that character's behavior, but there was no closure at all. It was as if she was just written off as ___ type of person and that was that. There were lots of other questions/situations that did not get resolved, but I don't want to bash the book completely. Some readers may really enjoy it, it just wasn't for me. One positive thing I can say is that this author does a nice job building the romantic tension between Indie and the wizard guy-- whatever his name was. That was fun to read.
You may want to give Hexed a try, but the rest of this series won't be for me. (less)
Well, A+ for creativity and a unique concept. The idea of forced sterilization has actually come up in conversation with my co-workers, so you know I...moreWell, A+ for creativity and a unique concept. The idea of forced sterilization has actually come up in conversation with my co-workers, so you know I was surprised to see it as a major plot driver in a YA novel.
While the idea behind the plot in this book is interesting, a lot of questions were not thoroughly thought out. For instance, what happens if a person is in college but has to leave to take care of a sick family member? If they don't go back to school or get a job, are they part of the class that gets sterilized? There were many what-ifs that should have been dealt with to make the plot more solid.
Also, like all good dystopians with a corrupt government, more detail to the alleged conspiracy needed to be given. That was such a huge part of the turning point in the novel, but it was glanced over. I felt like the action just ended within a few pages, which was disappointing.
Overall, I'm not a huge fan. I gave it a 3 because the idea was original but it was a weak story. (less)
Some books haunt you long after you finish reading them, and Undone is one of those books. When I finished the final page I didn't know what I felt. A...moreSome books haunt you long after you finish reading them, and Undone is one of those books. When I finished the final page I didn't know what I felt. Anger. Anguish. Everything in between. Such a powerful and tragic ending.
I had mixed feelings about this book as I read it, but I think my overall impression is that I liked it. It's one of those books that lingers. I had some issues with Jem's interactions throughout the book, but they didn't keep me from turning the pages. I don't want to spend time dissecting characters because it's heart breaking. Jem is broken and blinded by grief, and it has the worst implications for her (as you can imagine).
What really stuck with me is the range of emotions displayed in this book. Luckily, I have not had many experiences dealing with loss and grief. I cannot speak on the healing process because I am no expert, but what I felt was real. I felt grief and loss. I felt Jem's pain and anger. Undone made me think about so many teenagers faced with difficult (or humiliating) situations and how they choose to cope. The fact that suicide is a "solution" for so many is disheartening. The power of pain to keep you from seeing what is in front of you is also a big feature in this book. Poor Jem, unfortunately, could not see through her cloud of despair. The ending is still pretty awful in the most shocking of ways and for so many reasons.
I do recommend this one, but be forewarned: It's a heavy hitter. The ending is going to stay with you and drill into your soul, so be committed to finishing. I don't consider it a 5 star book Like Thirteen Reasons Why because there were definite flaws with characters and elements of plot believability, but if you can think of the characters like true high school kids it's going to strike a chord. (less)
It is so hard to find books that boys would want to read. Geoff Herbach did a great job of finding that male voice that will speak to many readers whe...moreIt is so hard to find books that boys would want to read. Geoff Herbach did a great job of finding that male voice that will speak to many readers when he wrote Gabe.
Gabe was very entertaining. I loved how layered he was. Gabe is overweight-- okay really overweight-- and hides behind his insecurities with humor and food. We hear that a lot about girls, but not so much about boys. Why would a boy be insecure? Eating your feelings, what? What male teenager is in tune with that? Gabe certainly isn't until he has an epiphany.
In one single moment he starts to realize what's wrong at his highschool and ultimately in his little world, and he gets mad. From that point on it's a pretty amusing story of finding oneself, breaking molds, learning to accept the harshest of life's lessons, and taking a stand. Gabe does all of these things with biting humor and great insight.
The writing style I did not care for, but I can see it being appealing to younger readers. Fat Boy does not unfold like a traditional story since it's being told "deposition style" to the police. For me, that got annoying because all I could tell of certain character interactions was from Gabe's words and actions. It made me feel like an outsider to the story. However, I stuck with it and kept going because I liked the story that Gabe had to tell.
I'm filing this one away as another good book for teenage boys. (less)
I absolutely loved Paul Griffin's Stay with Me, so when I saw Burning Blue on the Teen Read's 2014 list, I had to give it a try. I had super-high expe...moreI absolutely loved Paul Griffin's Stay with Me, so when I saw Burning Blue on the Teen Read's 2014 list, I had to give it a try. I had super-high expectations for this book based on what I've read before, and I was not disappointed.
Burning Blue is a cross between a contemporary and a mystery. It's not one or the other, but something perfectly blended. The narrator is a teenage boy with his own issues to hide from, which brings a perfect sub plot to the story. On one side you have the mystery behind Nicole's attack, and Jay's back story. But above all that, you have a story about overcoming misunderstandings and first impressions. (and much more)
Jay's voice is perfect. He's not your stereotypical jock. He's not a super-nerd. He's not overly popular, or an outcast. He floats between them all, hoping to be invisible. I think many readers will be able to relate to him on that level, even if his tech savvy habits are a bit hard to follow at times.
As with other books by Paul Griffin, always expect a twist and a finely executed ending; Burning Blue did not disappoint. The big reveal will blow you away (even if you figure it out about the same time as Jay does). It will make you think, that's for sure. (less)
Thin Space has been selected as a Teen Reads pick for 2014. Because of that, I placed it on my YA book club's reading list for next year s...more3.5 really.
Thin Space has been selected as a Teen Reads pick for 2014. Because of that, I placed it on my YA book club's reading list for next year so we can compete in Battle of the Books next spring. Like any good contest mediator, I want to make sure the questions the kids select for the story are accurate so I decided to read Thin Space. I didn't have a lot of expectations going into the book because it's not something I would typically read for myself, but I was pleasantly surprised.
I felt like it was an accurate glimpse into the life of a grieving family. Marsh's family is certainly grieving, and it's so apparent in the ways they interact with one another. Faced with a horrible tragedy of losing a child, I'm not sure how I would cope, but I would imagine I would find myself having the same struggles as Marsh's family. And if I felt solely responsible for my twin's death, I'd probably act like Marsh: a bit crazy, a bit despondent.
Marsh was an interesting character. It's obvious he has guilt over what happened with his twin brother. If you read carefully enough, you'll find some interesting clues to that story (or you might think they were editing mistakes like I did at first glance). I am not sure when I figured out the ending, but it was not a surprise when I got there. Even so, Thin Space was still an intense read that really made me ask questions about what I read well after the fact. I remember closing this book and going "wow". That's always a good sign in my book.
If you're looking for deep character growth and connections, you probably won't find it with Thin Space. What you do get, however, is one heck of a mystery with a knock-your-socks-off ending. (less)
I had no idea that Nantucket Red was a sequel. I never read Nantucket Blue, but even without the background I was fully able to understand Nantucket R...moreI had no idea that Nantucket Red was a sequel. I never read Nantucket Blue, but even without the background I was fully able to understand Nantucket Red.
I hate to be the Debby Downer and say that it was just a so-so read for me, but it's the honest truth. I group this one in my "beach reads" category. It wasn't deep and thought provoking. It was, however, easy to get lost in. I have a love-hate relationship with contemporary novels. I want to love them, but most of them seem so unrealistic to me. I had similar feelings with Nantucket Red-- mainly with the mom being okay with letting her barely out of high school daughter stay on an island all summer with no parental supervision. Maybe I'm just horribly old fashioned for my young number of years?
The characters were mostly enjoyable. I felt like Jules was a conceited snot and I did not like her at all. Cricket was likeable enough. She seemed as real as I was going to get in this book. She was not perfect, which lead to some believable unfortunate situations. I don't know the back story here, but it was pretty easy to get caught up with the drama between Cricket and Zack. I thought it was going to be a book about moving on and letting go, but it wasn't. Yes, there were some hints to that but there were other themes going on as well. (Acceptance, loss, finding oneself-- all heavy hitters here.) It would certainly be a coming of age story for Cricket, and a story of moving on for Ben (for shame, too, because he was smokin').
Anyhow, if you want a book to pass the hours away at the beach, Nantucket Red is a good read for you. I would have to say, though, to fully enjoy the book it seems that reading Nantucket Blue is a requirement. (less)
I don't even know where to begin with this book. The array of emotions I felt after finishing Mary Rose's diary ranged from utter sadness to anger. I...more I don't even know where to begin with this book. The array of emotions I felt after finishing Mary Rose's diary ranged from utter sadness to anger. I was sad because there is no cure for the illness that ultimately took her, but I was most upset because her story is too common.
This poor child was let down by everyone she knew, whether she realized it or not. I just cannot begin to imagine what her life was life. It's hard to review a book that is made up of diary entries. They aren't fabricated or altered; you're reading her history. I can't comment on character development, because people aren't characters. I'd like to say that certain relationships were touching and left me with goosebumps, but I'd be lying. Within Dear Nobody is a history with a list of sore spots for me.
First, let me start with the dirt bag mother. I am sorry to call her that without knowing her personally, but I know this type. I've worked with kids in similar home situations. But if you cannot respect yourself enough to leave an abusive and deadly relationship with a loser of a man, you are an idiot. It just floors me to know what this kid went through because of her mother's selfishness. I've seen it too many times! So Mary Rose's long list of problems begins with her mother and the lack of a strong, female role model. But I think what really got me was the Acknowledgement at the end, written by the mother. It did not match what Mary Rose wrote about. Do I think her mother loved her? Yes. Even the most apathetic mother loves their child to some degree. What gets me, though, is the number of times I read about the mother disappearing at night to be with her abusive boyfriend, or some other loser man. Or the mom not being around at all to feed her kids. Oh! My personal favorite-- the number of times she got high with her daughter. Yes, mother of the year material right there. But yet, in her Acknowledgement she looks like a saint. Of course, she has to point out that her daughter exaggerated some in her diary and that she knew she was loved. ** tangent-- IF Mary Rose exaggerated like her mother claimed, I'm going to point out the hole in that claim. Her biological father would not agree to the diary's publishing because he was worried of what was said about him.It took months of tracking him down to get him to agree to it. But that was only after reassuring him that nothing would be said about him in the book. To me, that says that this child was speaking the horrible ugly truth of her life. You can't hide or cover some things, and people don't want their shortcomings brought to light. So I don't think she exaggerated at all. I think she was perceptive and called her mom out on a lot of her BS. ** But if you read this book and the synopsis, you'll realize this child did not know love at all. She knew some horribly distorted idea of what love might be.
So this idea of love... How would Mary Rose know what love it? Her father was absent. The man she thought of as a father threw her mom on the bathroom floor when she was pregnant with a child, beat the crap out of Mary Rose, and eventually threw them out on the street. Then her mom shacks up with another psycho that threatens to cut their throats. They escape him but she keeps going back. It was an endless cycle. If this is the only vision of a loving relationship with a male that she knows, no wonder she runs into the arms of the first moocher she finds.
Enter Geoff. Ugh. Young love is so hard to understand. The boy is older, so he's mysterious. He has similar interests (partying and drugs). He's elusive, so that makes him poetic and dreamy. But really he takes advantage of her too. He uses her for money and drugs. He verbally abused her. It was her mother's relationship with men all over again, and you couldn't blame the child for being in it. She didn't know any better.
These things upset me about Dear Nobody. I really have a hard time getting beyond the mom and her role in her daughter's dysfunctional life. But what breaks my heart the most is how real this was. So many kids in America are dealing with what Mary Rose went through. She has given the voiceless a voice, and a painful one at that. The kids might not be living with cystic fibrosis, but they know what it's like to feel alone. They know first hand the ridicule of their peers. They can relate to feeling worthless, alone, and forgotten. The need to be loved by someone--even if that person is not good for them-- is alive in all their hearts. And I have to say, it absolutely breaks me to think of how many kids feel that kind of loneliness.
If you read Dear Nobody and you only take away one thing, please let it be that your words mean more than you will ever know. Don't ridicule and shame someone before understanding where they are coming from. Don't just assume you know, because you probably don't-- and being the one to step out could make all the difference in a life. (less)
Well, who doesn't like a book about a dysfunctional family? If you like reading about other people's brand of crazy, Revenge of the Girl with the Grea...moreWell, who doesn't like a book about a dysfunctional family? If you like reading about other people's brand of crazy, Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality is for you.
As I read this book, I kept thinking back to The Ugly Duckling. It may seem cliche, but that's exactly what's going on. Lexi is told she's ugly until she basically discovers wax and makeup. Then, BAM! Instant hottie.
Of course, there are other things going on at the same time to keep things interesting. Lexi discovers that, like herself, people aren't always what they seem-- and this has a wide range of complications for her.
I group Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality under "beach reads" because it's a perfect read for when you don't want to think too deeply. It's quick and light. The characters are pretty straight forward, and I wouldn't say they undergo any overly drastic changes or growth. The dialogue is believable, so you get a good dose of contemporary fiction here. Also, at times there are snippets of wit and humor that will make you smile and maybe laughed inwardly, but nothing that will make you throw sand at your bestie in the chair next to you so that you can share what's on the page. (less)
First, let me start by stating the obvious: this cover is beautiful! I have to say it is one of my favorites, and it perfectly captures Plus One.
I tho...moreFirst, let me start by stating the obvious: this cover is beautiful! I have to say it is one of my favorites, and it perfectly captures Plus One.
I thought Plus One had a very original concept at its core. I do believe this is the first dystopian that I have read that doesn't take place far into the future after society collapses. Instead, it's an alternate reality with a very modern setting. For the most part, it was believable-- but there were a few gaps I had a hard time navigating.
For starters, the romance between Day Boy and Sol baffled me. The progression I felt was too quick and depended on a memory far more than it should have. Sol was the first to profess her change of heart, which I admit, made me roll my eyes. I think the slow realization on Day Boy's behalf made his side of things more real for me. It might seem that I did not like their connection, but that's not true. It worked; it just needed a bit more developing.
There were also a lot of unanswered questions. I mean A LOT. Where did Gigi go? What happens to her? But most importantly, WHAT KIND OF ENDING WAS THAT?! Talk about an emotional cliffhanger. I do hope there is another book in the works because there are a lot of loose ends that need tending.
If you can't say anything else about Plus One, you will have to admit that the writing is phenomenal. Elizabeth Fama has a way with words. Even if the story does not suck you in from the start, you will find yourself continuing to read because the prose is flawless. It produces a picture in your mind. My heart raced, my emotions swelled, and I felt the despair Sol faced on so many pages. It was powerful stuff. (less)
Well, it's been well over 2 months since I read this one. I forgot to write a review right away, and then I got busy reading. So, here I am. Writing a...moreWell, it's been well over 2 months since I read this one. I forgot to write a review right away, and then I got busy reading. So, here I am. Writing a review several months later about a book that was enjoyable while I read it, but really unremarkable after the fact.
Sorry for the fans of Ann Brashares. I never read her other books, so I have nothing to compare her writing to. The writing, actually, wasn't bad at all. The Here and Now was a super fast read with a steady pace. It just didn't wow me. I think the market has been flooded with sci-fi/dystopian books lately. And since I've read so many of them, it's becoming increasingly harder to impress me. That's it in a nutshell.
So what can I say 2 months later? Not a whole lot, I'm afraid. I can say you will probably enjoy this one because there is a certain mystery behind Prenna for about half of the book. Then you're going to figure things out. From that point on you are seeing it through because you feel committed. It's not going to have some huge plot twist or shock factor. When you finish the last page, you'll think "ok" and move on. There won't be any deep pondering or wonderings of "what if".
The characters are likeable enough, but they don't dazzle. I never felt invested in them. In fact, the insta-love made me roll my eyes a good bit. I heard that this has been optioned for a movie. I'm going to take a leap here and say it's due to the success of her other novels as movies. As far as a book made for a movie, this is not one I would choose. (less)
Captivate has potential to end up being something pretty good. I admit, I picked it up based on the cover and because I thought it was going to be a...more
Captivate has potential to end up being something pretty good. I admit, I picked it up based on the cover and because I thought it was going to be a mermaid book. This is not a mermaid book. It's rather complicated, actually. For originality, Captivate gets a strong A. I like the idea of this utopian society living far removed from the troubles of the world-- even when it's deep beneath the ocean's surface. And like any good literary utopian society, there are plenty of troubles that develop over time to challenge the way of life. I was a bit troubled by the limited number of people within reproductive age in the city. Seems like things might get a bit icky over time. Maybe I read it incorrectly, but it came across as being slim pickings. Of course, there is a scientific explanation for the sterile female population, so it helps the buy in some. The characters are pretty interesting so far. Robbie is still mysterious (as is Marko). You get little glimpses into each of them along the way, but I never felt like the whole picture was presented. I can't say which is my favorite love interest so far. I may actually be pulling for Marko, despite the fact that he starts out super creepy. Robbie just seems too clean and blindly romantic for my taste. Our main protagonist, Miranda, did not leave much of an impression on me either unfortunately. I didn't think she was extremely strong or resourceful. She just kind of floated along with the plot. I did, however, love that she was a reader. So rock on, Miranda. I know I'll read the next book because I want to know what happens. There was a pretty great cliffhanger ending in Captivate. Whether this book blew me away or not is beside the point; it still did enough to make me curious.(less)