Fans of the TV series Numb3rs will enjoy this clever, YA, mystery-adventure series with an 18-year-old heroine who is a mA second adventure with Digit
Fans of the TV series Numb3rs will enjoy this clever, YA, mystery-adventure series with an 18-year-old heroine who is a math genius.
Farrah ("Digit") Higgins has just begun her freshman year at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is delighted to be there, because she has finally found "her people." She can just be herself, utterly brilliant at math, and not pretend to be a so-called normal teenage girl, which is how she spent the past four years while attending a public high school.
Digit is also relieved to have escaped the traumatic adventures she experienced the spring of her senior year. She had a wonderful, relaxing, and very romantic summer with her handsome FBI boyfriend and first lover, John--who is almost as smart in his way as Digit and, unlike Digit, opted to graduate early from high school and complete university in a couple of years, so he is only about three years older than her. Digit is looking forward to John's first visit to her campus from his job in New York City--a much less significant position in terms of career advancement than he could have had if he had not opted for a lesser position in order to have plenty of time for his committed relationship with Digit, whom he loves very much. However, within minutes of John's arrival in Digit's dorm room, they have an argument which leads to Digit dumping him before he can, she assumes, dump her. She takes it as a major rejection when John says he wants them to have some breathing room from each other for a while because he believes that the intensity of their relationship will overshadow her fun and fancy-free time at university, and it won't be very good for his FBI career either.
The breakup definitely puts a crimp in Digit's collegiate happiness, and the last vestige of it is destroyed when she learns, the hard way, that her life of dangerous adventure has not come to an end. Her laptop has been under surveillance for months by both the CIA and the evil ecoterrorist, Jonas Furnis, who tried to kill her last spring. She discovers this privacy invastion after she thoughtlessly hacks into the Department of Defense’s database and two very bad things happen. First, the director of the CIA threatens her with a possible jail sentence for espionage and, second, her phenomenal hacking skills inspire Jonas Furnis to seek her out as a potential forced ally for his world-dominion aspirations.
This is the second book in the young-adult Digit series. The first book put major emphasis on the romance between Digit and John, to such an extent that, had it been written as an adult novel, it would have been classified by the publisher as "romantic suspense." This book has a very different focus. Because the romance with John is thrown overboard early on, the publisher is marketing this book as a "sassy, super smart thriller."
I personally very much enjoyed the lighthearted romance between Digit and John in Book 1, and I was quite disappointed to see it not only shoved to the side, but the author introducing a romantic-triangle as well, which acted to undercut everything the author did such a great job constructing in Book 1. By the way, the author implies in the acknowledgement section of her book that dumping John was her editor's idea. I respectfully disagree with the editor's suggestion. I liked this book in spite of throwing John overboard, not because of it.
Digit herself, though, continues to be a fascinating, enjoyable character. I personally love plots with brilliant, quirky geniuses, and almost always they are male. Having Digit be female is a terrific addition to this particular type of action-adventure mystery, and she is also a trailblazer among girl-power, YA heroines.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 4 stars Subcharacters: 4 stars Romantic-Triangle Plot: 3 stars Action-Mystery Plot: 4 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 4 stars
R-rated YA/NA girl-power, sports novel with romantic-triangle subplot
Sixteen-year-old Pepper Jones loves running, and she's fantastic at it, even thouR-rated YA/NA girl-power, sports novel with romantic-triangle subplot
Sixteen-year-old Pepper Jones loves running, and she's fantastic at it, even though she's only been running a little over two years. In fact, she's well on her way to achieving her goal to become a national cross-country champion this year, while still a junior in high school. The only thing complicating her life is her long-term crush on her best friend, seventeen-year-old senior, Jace Wilder. They've been neighbors since they were toddlers. Pepper's parents died in a car accident when she was a baby, and Jace's mother deserted him and his father when he was four. Pepper's grandmother, Bunny, became her guardian, and she became Jace's chidlcare provider, too, when he lost his mother. Pepper regarded Jace in a sisterly light until the summer Pepper was thirteen and Jace was fourteen, and she suddenly became aware of how gorgeous he had become--and the unsettling reality that girls were flocking around him, vying for his attention, many of them physically pawing him in the process.
Unfortunately for Pepper, the odds of her ever being more than a little sister to Jace are slim to none. He's never flirted with her or in any way indicated that he has any romantic interest in her. And at the end of the previous school year, she overheard Jace telling one of his friends that he could never date her, because she's like family to him. As a result, Pepper has done her best to hide her true feelings from Jace, not wanting to lose him as a friend. But it's a constant, painful struggle to accomplish that, because her heart is shredded anew every time she's forced to witness womanizing Jace accept the latest of an endless string of eager offers of sex from girls Pepper considers far more attractive and sophisticated than herself. He's so in demand, in fact, that he's recently begun enjoying the sexual favors of college girls from the nearby University of Colorado (UC), as well. Yet, in the midst of all this debauchery, it's evident to everyone who knows Jace--except Pepper--that he's never gotten emotionally involved on any level with any female other than Pepper.
In contrast to Jace, Pepper is practically a nun. She's never dated, other than a fellow member of her track team escorting her to the prom last year as "just friends," and she's never even been kissed. But suddenly, her lack of a love life might actually change, because Ryan Harding has come to town.
Ryan is a new student at Pepper's high school who is a star, cross-country runner like Pepper. He's moved to Colorado from California because his father is the new coach at UC, which Pepper hopes to attend after graduation. He's almost as handsome as Jace, and certainly as athletic and ripped. And where Jace is a talented football player courted by numerous top-drawer university football coaches, Ryan is a potentially world-class runner, equally pursued by athletic departments at prestigious universities all over the country. Ryan is also almost as fawned on by every girl in sight as Jace.
But there are major differences: Where Jace refuses to see Pepper as a romantic partner, Ryan admits what all the boys at school know--and have never said to Pepper's face because of Jace's over-protectiveness--that Pepper is a beautiful girl and ideal girlfriend material. In addition, where Jace is a classic "man whore," Ryan has only dated one girl in his life, and he was faithful to her for the entire three years of their relationship, up until just before Ryan's family moved across the country and Ryan ended the relationship. Also, unlike Jace, Ryan only drinks the occasional beer and does not get drunk or do drugs. Additionally, Ryan doesn't spend his time, as Jace does, hanging with the popular crowd at school, even though he is eagerly accepted in their ranks from the start. Instead, he chooses to socialize with Pepper's laid-back, track-team friends. Best of all, he shares Pepper's passion for running.
Pepper realizes her choice should be perfectly clear between these two boys: forget her unrequited crush on Jace and accept a relationship with a high-class guy, and she does try her best to carry out that decision. But unfortunately, as soon as Pepper begins dating Ryan, Jace suddenly starts acting like he's anything but Pepper's pseudo-brother, and more like he's--could it be?--jealous.
What I liked:
This author is clearly a very talented writer. Her writing is smooth, and her characterizations are vivid and three dimensional. Pepper is a dynamic, extremely sympathetic heroine. I enjoyed the use of first-person point of view, and I found the window into Pepper's running world fascinating. It is obvious the author knows that world very well but, more than that, she conveys it in such a way that, even if the reader knows nothing about running and could care less about it, Pepper's experience of it is exciting enough to inspire readers young and old to jump into a pair of running shoes and take off. The setting in Colorado also comes alive on the page and makes the reader long to visit that amazing, mountain-filled state.
What isn't suited to my own individual taste:
First, while listing what I didn't enjoy, I want to make clear that I am not grading this book down for not being entirely to my own personal taste (as you can see by the 5-star rating), because I don't consider that a literary crime. Many other readers may find the aspects of this book that did not suit me to be a perfect match for their reading interests.
First, I'm not myself a fan of YA romantic triangles because, as is the case in this book, sometimes the guy who ends up with the heroine is not who I had hoped she would choose. It is a testament to how great the rest of the book is and what a wonderful heroine Pepper is, though, that I found it impossible to put the book down, in spite of its romantic triangle. Just in case I didn't make it absolutely clear from what I said already, Pepper is one of the most terrific heroines in YA/NA I've encountered, whether in indie or mainstream YA/NA novels.
Second, I'm not a fan of R-rated YA/NA novels, which is what I consider this book to be, and I had many squeamish moments at the various bacchanalian activities portrayed onstage or mentioned as occurring offstage in this book. Pepper, herself, though, truly respects her own body as her vehicle for the passion of her life, her running, and as the book is in first-person point of view, the reader is not encouraged to see either drinking, drugging, or mindless sexual activity as a positive choice.
If you enjoyed this book's girl-power, sports plot, you might also want to read:
Cinderella Steals Home by Carly Syms (baseball) Cinderella in Cleats by Carly Syms (football) Cinderella in Skates by Carly Syms (hockey) Falling Hard (Roller Girls #1) by Megan Sparks (roller derby) Hooked by Liz Fichera (golf) Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally (softball) Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally (horse-racing jockey)
In particular, if you liked the platonic, "man-whore," best-friend subplot of this story combined with a girl-power, sports main plot, you'll love:
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally (football)
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 5 stars Subcharacters: 5 stars Setting: 5 stars Girl-Power Sports Plot: 5 stars Romantic-Triangle Plot: 3 stars Writing: 5 stars Overall: 5 stars ...more
YA mashup of lit fic, X-Men, and dystopian genres, with a romantic triangle thrown in for good measure
In a dystopian future, 17-year old Juliette hasYA mashup of lit fic, X-Men, and dystopian genres, with a romantic triangle thrown in for good measure
In a dystopian future, 17-year old Juliette has been in solitary confinement for 264 days because, like Rogue of the X-Men comics, her touch is lethal. As awful as her dungeon cell is, the world outside is not much better. It is a dystopian hellscape with an evil, totalitarian regime. Then one day her lonely imprisonment is broken when Adam, a boy she knew in her childhood, becomes her fellow prisoner.
The beginning of this novel reads like lyrical, purposely confusing, lit-fic prose, which serves the purpose of making it constantly clear to the reader that Juliette is mentally unstable due to her long time alone and her grief at a death she inadvertently caused.
As the book progresses, the author gives center stage to other goals in her story besides lovely prose. By toning down her lush use of language, she makes her unique, authorial voice unobtrusive enough that the romantic plot of Juliette's competing relationships with two very different love interests comes more sharply into focus. In addition, the author brings in a bit of action-adventure in the form of a war that is brewing between ragged bands of rebels and the totalitarian government.
It has sometimes been said that a true measure of a book's success is when public opinion about it is intense--readers either love it or hate it, with few being lukewarm. Using that as a yardstick, then this book is very successful indeed.
Since most YA dystopians these days inevitably follow in the wake of the blockbuster series, The Hunger Games, one might assume that the desire of fans of that genre might be for plenty of action in this or any YA dystopian, something this book does not particularly deliver. However, that landmark trilogy drastically changed its focus by book three, Mockingjay. Instead of frequent action sequences, a great deal of the story is spent on the mental breakdown of the heroine. Which means there is a powerful precedent for a more internal rather than external focus in a YA dystopian for any author/publisher hoping to cash in on the success of the Hunger Games trilogy.
In short, anyone who loved Mockingjay, will probably enjoy this book, and anyone who disliked Mockingjay will probably dislike this book.
Readers who are still thrilled with YA romantic triangles--which Hunger Games (and, of course, Twilight) contain--will be quite pleased with this book's particular triangle.
I'm not personally a fan of lit fic. I'm not particularly fond of romantic triangles, either. And there are few YA dystopians besides Hunger Games that I've actually been enthralled by. In spite of all that, I believe this book achieves its purpose of bringing freshness to the saturated YA dystopian market by combining several different popular YA themes within one book in order to create an entertaining fictional "mashup" that is bigger, and better, than the sum of its parts.
I rate this book as follows: Heroine: 4 stars Subcharacters: 4 stars Fantasy World-Building: 4 stars Writing: 4 stars Action-Adventure Plot: 4 stars Romantic Triangle Subplot: 3 stars Overall: 4 stars...more
Utterly delightful YA contemporary romantic comedy
Eighteen-year-old high school senior, Val Jensen, is callously dumped by her handsome, heartless boyUtterly delightful YA contemporary romantic comedy
Eighteen-year-old high school senior, Val Jensen, is callously dumped by her handsome, heartless boyfriend when she refuses to have sex with him after dating him for three months. Not only that, her ex smears her reputation by proclaiming to anyone who will listen that he dumped Val, not because she would not have sex with him, but because he did have sex with her, and she was a lousy lay. As if that were not bad enough, he instantly replaces Val with a popular, beautiful "Mean Girl" who has much lower sexual standards than Val.
Val reaches the breaking point when she encounters her ex lip-locking with her replacement in an obnoxious, carnal display in the lunch room. She races over to them, jumps on their table, and shouts out to the hundreds of thunderstruck students surrounding them that her ex is a liar who rejected Val because she is a proud virgin who refuses to have sex before marriage. Her bold stand is video-recorded by a fellow student, posted on YouTube, and goes viral on the Internet.
Val is tagged with the nickname "Virgin Val," and "V for Virgin" becomes her modern-day version of "The Scarlet Letter." In counterbalance to the relentless ridicule from her peers, Val has the loving support of her best friend, her adoptive mother, and a wonderful letter from her birth mother that she has read over and over again across the years. Her birth mother had Val at age 16, was unable to care for her, and urged Val in her letter to learn from her mistake and not repeat it. Val feels a sacred obligation to not let down her birth mother or herself.
Before the controversy from Val's YouTube fame can settle down, she comes to the attention of twenty-one-year-old high-school dropout and rock legend, Kyle Hamilton. Gorgeous, womanizing, charming and witty, Kyle is instantly and obviously attracted to Val. He is shocked to learn she is not only a virgin, but adamantly so. Kyle decides that Val's vow of abstinence is a challenge he can't refuse, and their very public battles fuel a media frenzy.
I am a huge fan of romantic comedy, both novels and movies, and this rollicking story has the potential to be both. It is highly visual and enormously entertaining. The battle of wits between Val and Kyle makes them one of the most compelling fictional couples I've ever had the privilege to encounter. The sexual chemistry between them is explosive, made all the more so because their relationship never gets beyond a few forbidden-fruit kisses.
If you love romantic comedy with an upbeat, happy ending, this book is for you.
Fans of YA romantic comedy by Janette Rallison will particularly enjoy this book.
I read the Kindle version of this book. It is beautifully laid out; the formatting is excellent, and the line edits are outstanding. It is better done, in fact, that the ebook editing from most big publishers.
Book One of YA paranormal romance/adventure series, the Wolf Springs Chronicles
Sixteen-year-old Katelyn McBride is used to city life in sunny CalifornBook One of YA paranormal romance/adventure series, the Wolf Springs Chronicles
Sixteen-year-old Katelyn McBride is used to city life in sunny California, and it is a second devastating blow on top of being tragically orphaned when she is forced to relocate to her grandfather's rustic home in the Ozark hills of Arkansas. Not only is the culture shock extreme because her grandfather lives in the middle of nowhere, but it is dangerous to go into the eerie woods surrounding his house at night--people have been murdered there.
I would classify this YA novel as a contemporary fantasy. It is also a coming-of-age novel with a paranormal twist. Fans of romantic triangles in YA paranormal plots will have plenty to appreciate here. Trick and Justin are both worthy contenders for Katelyn's love, though one of them is far more dark and dangerous than the other, and that may tip the scales in his favor in a contest to win the hearts of female readers.
There are elements of mystery, thriller, and action-adventure in the exciting main plot, and the secondary romance plots have lots of tension and conflict to ramp up an emotional roller-coaster ride for Katelyn. The authors do a great job creating a spooky atmosphere, and their basic writing skills are excellent.
Potential readers might want to know that this is one of those series where there is a major cliffhanger at the end of the book. If you don't like that type of ending, you might want to wait to start reading this series until it is complete.
Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Amazon's Vine review program.
This book has been pBook 1 in a new YA dystopian romance trilogy
Full disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Amazon's Vine review program.
This book has been pitched by the publisher as a cross between The Bachelor and The Hunger Games, and that certainly seems to be the case. Seventeen-year-old America Singer lives in a dystopian world with a caste system in which each level of society has a number from 1-8. America is Level 5, and the boy she is madly in love with, Aspen, is Level 6. Only the upper echelons are allowed to use any birth control other than abstinence, and this might be why sex before marriage is outlawed, though the reason for the law is not overtly explained in this book. The lower levels of the population are worked practically to death in servile, underpaid jobs, and they make so little money and have such large families (due to no birth control), that they don't have enough to eat. As a result, they often die young from the combined effects of exhaustion and malnutrition.
As I read all this at the beginning of the book, I thought this book would be about the people revolting against their horribly oppressive government. However, rather than being picked to fight to the death in a gladiator-style realty show featuring preteens and teenagers as in Hunger Games, America is selected as one of 35 attractive, young women from all levels of society to participate in a Bachelor-style reality show in which they vie to become the bride of the country's handsome, young Prince Maxon.
For readers who like romantic triangles in young adult (YA) fiction, this book definitely has one. In fact, the romantic triangle is at the core of the entire story.
For readers who are fans of reality shows like The Bachelor, this book's premise will be quite enjoyable.
For readers who like lots of violent action in YA dystopians, as occurs in Hunger Games, this book is not what you are looking for. But those who enjoyed Matched by Ally Condie will very likely greatly appreciate this story.
The writing itself is smooth and the characters convincingly drawn. Both of the heroine's romantic interests are attractive, sensitive and sexy, though neither is given a chance to be particularly heroic in the plot of this first book in the trilogy. However, the end of this book does create a setup for the next two books in the series that promises much more potential action and chances for the two male leads to shine. So there is great hope for fans of this series to have plenty of opportunities to root for either Team Aspen or Team Maxon, a pastime dear to the hearts of YA paranormal romance fans since The Twilight Saga entered the marketplace.
I rate the actual book, Haunted, at 5 stars. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the abridged audiobook, which I rateReview of abridged audiobook
I rate the actual book, Haunted, at 5 stars. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the abridged audiobook, which I rate at only 2 stars.
This is book 5 in the Mediator series, starring Susannah (Suze) Simon, a 16-year-old, high-school girl who encourages (and sometimes forces) recalcitrant ghosts to move on to the afterlife and stop bothering the living. Suze's powers include the ability to not only see ghosts but touch them. Which is a blessing when she can be hugged, and once or twice kissed, by the gorgeous ghost Jesse, who died in 1850 and haunts her bedroom in a restored, historic house in Carmel, California. Being touched by ghosts is not so great when they beat her up, hold a knife to her throat, or throw her off the roof of her home.
In this book, Cabot introduces a romantic triangle, when 17-year-old Paul Slater, who is also a mediator, and whom Suze met in Darkest Hour (The Mediator #4), enrolls in Suze's school. Paul is almost as gorgeous as Jesse, and he has the further advantage of being alive and intensely interested in becoming romantically involved with Suze--which Jesse seems sadly reluctant to do. The problem is, Paul is an amoral jerk who blackmails Suze into spending time with him based on the threat of exiling Jesse to the spiritual realms where Suze will never see him again.
As is the case in the previous four books of this series, Cabot has written an enthralling, action-filled, paranormal mystery novel with strong romantic subplots. Suze is a very strong, active, sympathetic heroine, and there is a great deal of humor based in Suze's self-deprecating, dry wit and her toe-to-toe repartee with multiple other characters, most especially her clueless stepbrothers, whom she dubs Dopey and Sleepy. The paranormal elements are well done, and Jesse is a wonderful love interest. Paul is a multi-layered antagonist who is both sexy and obnoxious, a fascinating combination.
Sadly, unlike the audio recordings of the other five books in this series, for some unfathomable reason, this one has been abridged. I do *not* recommend experiencing this book in this manner. The abridging makes the reader lose out on many important plot details. In addition, this is a different narrator than the one employed for the other five books, and she completely misinterprets Jesse, making his tone seductive when talking to Suze, which is never the case for gentlemanly Jesse, who is very protective of Suze's virtue. It's as if the narrator got Jesse confused with Paul.
Overall rating: Meg Cabot's original book (which is butchered in this abridged edition): 5 stars Audiobook abridging: 1 star Audiobook narration: 2 stars
Buy this as a Kindle edition or paperback instead. ...more