Wow. I'm stil reeling after reading this one. I went into this book with zero expectation and I'm reall...moreCross posted at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
Wow. I'm stil reeling after reading this one. I went into this book with zero expectation and I'm really glad I did because it was great. I loved the crazy, amazing road trip Harrington takes us on throughout the book. This review was a little difficult to write as this book hits close to home a little bit.
The Good: Firstly, the achingly beautiful and haunting words of Harper feel so weirdly familiar to me. See, I too, have had a dearly loved one commit suicide and there is absolutely nothing anyone can say or do that makes it feel any better those first few years. Seeing and feeling Harper's palpable pain was excruciating for a bit because it reopened all the wounds I've managed to push deep inside of me about my own loss. Poor, poor Harper. What makes it even worse (or maybe better?) is that Harper and I...we could be interchangeable in some instances. From the way she thinks to the way she talks, it's almost like a walking replica of me. Talk about weird. Now lets get to the story. I thought it was genius really. Harper's need to find closure for her sister's death ultimately leads her to California, but it also allows her to find out more about herself than she was ever willing to do before. The road trip was a great catalyst for all things to fall into place and I loved that aspect of it. I absolutely LOVED Laney and Jake. They were extraordinary secondary characters. Laney reminds me of my best friend in high school. But it seems to me like Laney and Harper would stay friends forever. Laney is the type of friend every girl should want in a sense. She's the unwavering-I'll-always-be-there-for-you type of friends. And Jake. Oh my gosh, Jake. I pretty much adore him. He has this tough, bad boy exterior but he absolutely melts the heart. Even though you know he's hiding something from the very beginning, you can't help but forgive him for whatever it was that he did because he's just so genuine and it's so evident that he adores Harper. The romance between them was so REAL and TANGIBLE. No insta-love, in fact...there was insta-hate before they gradually and slowly fell for each other. It was honestly, one of the most perfectly paced relationships I've seen in a novel. Now onto the most crucial part of any novel--the writing. It was amazing. I was so impressed with Harrington's writing that she immediately landed herself a spot on my favorite authors list not to mention my list of authors I admire. I think one of my favorite parts of this novel was the amazing dialogue. It was just written so well, believable and just beautiful. This novel is as funny and witty as it is sad and harrowing. June is this...idea that plagues everyone in the novel and it's not until people really face who she was or what she was about that they come to terms with her loss. I haven't mentioned it yet, but this book is chock full of great music. Like almost the entire subtext of this novel is based around music and it's really awesome. The author has great taste in music. She even includes a soundtrack list at the end that's pretty damn awesome. I also really appreciated and enjoyed the road trip aspect of the novel. I really haven't read many well done road trip novels lately, so it was nice to finally read one that I have such high praise for. Really, I enjoyed this book so so much. I cannot wait to read more by Hannah Harrington.
The Bad: My few problems with the novel are really insignficant when compared to the whole but they are worth mentioning. First of all-- 16, 17 and 18 year old on a road trip. At the basic level, it's believable. I know there are some parents out there who may be lenient enough to let if fly but the majority of parent-no way. It kind of baffled me how Harper's parents (especially her mom) didn't go off the deep end when she found out she'd left. I mean...she's 16. Legally, she could have called the police and had her found. Not saying that would have been the right thing to do, but it would have made sense. It made less sense that after losing one daughter she would let her other one go off on a road trip across the country with supposedly just her friend. Along those same veins...are all three of them rich? They seemed to spend money and/or have money available to them at any and all times. This didn't seem all that realistic to me. I mean, the first thing teenagers would find on a "real" road trip was just how much under planning went into everything and the lack of money. But hey...what do I know? Lastly, there were several points in the book, I was like...mmm...why are they doing this? How is this relevant to the plot line in any way? An impromptu protest which nothing really happens and a random concert at a detour stop...why? Just because? Filler storyline? I was confused about that.
Overall, I loved this novel. I couldn't give it 5/5 or an A+ was because of the above mentioned items but it came pretty darn close. It's one that I will be recommending. I would say this book will fall into many categories and be enjoyed by a variety of fans including Contemporary YA, Road Trip novels, novels about death and grieving.
**I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own(less)
Okay, I'll admit up front that I was skeptical before I started this novel. More vampires. Can...moreOriginally published at my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
Okay, I'll admit up front that I was skeptical before I started this novel. More vampires. Can anyone blame me when I say that with the saturated YA books out there, vampire books are a little overdone? Also... extremely pretty girl with an exceptionally well done cover? Also overdone in the YA world. So needless to say I was expecting to feel disappointed or let down by this novel. But you know what? I was pleasantly surprised. I actually found myself really enjoying this novel.
The Good: The first twenty page or so were a bit rocky, I was a little rocky but it was smooth sailing after that. Once I really go to know Savannah, I felt she was endearing and different than a lot of the protagonists out there. She kind of reminded me a bit of Clara from Unearthly in the fact that she discovers her deep, dark secret early on in the novel. The rest of the book is about her trying to come to terms with it. I think this allowed for her internal struggle to develop her character and in return strengthened her interactions with everyone else in the novel. The writing was well done and I enjoyed many of the secondary characters. One thing I LOVED about this novel was that Darnell didn't immediately entertain the romance between Savannah and Tristan ( I also happen to ADORE those names) like so many YA novel do. It seems like so much anymore, the love interests end up together lickety split and I liked the growing friendship and eventual romance that happens between them. There was a total Romeo and Juliet type of feeling to the novel and I liked that. The warring supernatural families was a cool idea and I think it played into the plot and characters very well. It was a great way to introduce tension for the next books. I liked Nanna and Savannah's mom (although they could have been more played up as well) and I think they will have a bigger role in the coming books.
The Bad: As much as I enjoyed the novel, there were a few things that bugged me throughout. Firstly, there were times where I felt Savannah was a little whiny, a little TOO submissive for my tastes. I kept wanting her to stand her ground, I think that would have made her character even more well rounded. I also disliked her father. I'm pretty sure that's how the author wanted us to feel about him but I just didn't like it. I also wish Darnell would have included Savannah's immediate friends a little more. They kind of faded in and out and there were times where I was like... okay, I understand she's distancing herself but there's no way her friends could NOT know that she was a manager for the Charmers or dating a new guy. Even if Savannah didn't tell them herself, it's high school...they would have found out regardless. I also felt the world-building could have been done a bit better. There was SO much to work with, there could have been some MASSIVE world building. Overall, I would say that I was very impressed by this novel and I would recommend it to other YA lovers and I give it a B+ **I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com(less)
I haven't taken a trip down fantasy lane in a while, so this book was a bit of a refresher for me....moreOriginally posted on my blog Chasing Empty Pavements
I haven't taken a trip down fantasy lane in a while, so this book was a bit of a refresher for me. Although this was a fantasy novel, I found that it spoke to me as almost a commentary on human nature. It's in our nature to blame certain people or groups of people for unexplained things like disease and sickness. I think this book is a perfect example of how a hundred years from now, kids who read this book will be able to look back at the time period and see how the novel related to the era.
I really liked Avry. I thought she was a very toned down version of Katniss from Hunger Games or Lena from Delirium. She had that "bad-assery" nature about her but she's much more nurturing and sweet than they are. I was annoyed and perturbed by Kerrick (as I think Snyder wanted me to be) but I loved Belen. Total sweetheart. He is funny too. Snyder did pretty well with the world-building and I felt like I was in the Nine Mountains or Fifteen Realms with the characters in the book. There's also MAGIC! Yay! I haven't read a book with actual magic for a while and I was pleasantly surprised to welcome its return back into my life. The adventure and journey are palpable and it's easy to see how tight the bond becomes between Avry and some of the characters.
My main complaint about this novel is the rollercoaster feel of it. It really falls into peaks and valleys as far as my interest goes. I found myself setting it down for a while and not picking it back up because my interest had waned and then picking it back up and reading steadily until I hit another low point and then I'd set it down for another while. The consistency was a bit of an issue for me, but nothing that totally hindered my ability to read and finish the novel.
Overall, I thought this was a pleasant refresher from my contemporary and dystopian novel rut I've been in and I've heard great things about Maria Snyder's Poison Study series is amazing, so I might have to check that out!
**I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.(less)