What's better than Arin? Seeing Arin as a child. A beautiful story about family and gives an insight to the Herran culture before the unpleasant stuff...moreWhat's better than Arin? Seeing Arin as a child. A beautiful story about family and gives an insight to the Herran culture before the unpleasant stuff happened. (less)
For a while I was stuck between a 2.5 rating and a 3 rating. Unfortunately, even though Maria Fredericks talks about series topics for the YA crowd, t...moreFor a while I was stuck between a 2.5 rating and a 3 rating. Unfortunately, even though Maria Fredericks talks about series topics for the YA crowd, the formulaic plot couldn't raise this book to a 3.
Plot: A young girl goes missing after a house party one night and she is found strangled and sexually assaulted the next day. I chose this book because it's the classic YA murder mystery, especially when it involves a strained relationship. The novel starts right in the action; our MC, Rain, receives a call early one morning from her ex-best friend's mother wondering if she knew Wendy's whereabouts. The novel progresses as Rain finds clues that leads her to believe that the culprit was a fellow classmate and she does whatever she can to bring justice to Wendy Greller. I really liked that Rain was a fragile creature with insecurities. This novel is as much about Rain's attempt to find herself as it is to find Wendy's killer. I also liked that Fredricks brings addresses the issue of victim-blaming and slut-shaming. These are very serious issues in the media and it was good to see it addressed for the high school crowd. Unfortunately, the mystery was too easy to solve and I felt like I was reading just to confirm my theory (it was confirmed). There were no new developments, just waiting for Rain to realize what you, the reader, had already realized.
Characters: Rain is a very interesting main character. She was born with a cleft palate which made her the target for most of her young life. As the book is fairly short (just 224 pages) and was not enough to get to know the characters. We meet Rain who has the most development, Taylor who is Rain's best friend, and Nico who is the prime suspect. I didn't make a connection with any of the characters, I barely made one with Rain. There are hints about Rain's personal life situation, but not enough to form a full picture.
Setting: The Girl in the Park takes place at an upper class New York high school. There isn't much to say about it. Rain moves mostly between her house and school, and I couldn't really make a clear image of what everyday life was for the residents. Many of characters allude to the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood and how there are outsiders, but I didn't get that. From anyone.
Short n Sweet: Maria Fredericks' The Girl in the Park is a stereotypical "party-girl-found-dead whodunnit with no surprises or loops. The characters are mostly one dimensional but Fredericks does make the issue of slut shaming a focus and how people are eager to blame the victim rather than the true culprit. (less)
When you're a princess and life hands you lemons, you GET THE HELL OUT OF DODGE. Princess Lia decides to take her life in her own hands and flees from...moreWhen you're a princess and life hands you lemons, you GET THE HELL OUT OF DODGE. Princess Lia decides to take her life in her own hands and flees from an arranged marriage to the prince of a neighboring kingdom. What she doesn't know is that the jilted prince and an assassin have followed her.
Plot: The Kiss of Deception is, naturally, about deception which is all in good fun. I spent the majority of the book guessing which male character was the assassin and which was the prince (and I'll admit-I guessed wrong). As the first in a series, Pearson's concern is to establish the world, characters and to introduce the series' overall conflict. The first half of the novel was slow and seemed to drag on quite a bit; thankfully, the novel picked up speed once identities were revealed (and people started dying).
Characters: The main character, Princess Lia, is a very strong female lead. I liked her, I liked her a lot. She was caring and she was strong. Actually, I liked all of the characters except the two male leads. The Assassin and The Prince were such cookie cutter characters that I couldn't even picture what they looked like. Within pages of meeting Princess Lia, both characters fall madly in love with her, and she in turn fell madly in love with one of the mystery men after a handful of conversations. YAWN. I found one of the male character's a lot more interesting than the other because he was more prevalent in the novel and so the reader was able to learn more about him as a character and not just a love-struck man.
Setting: In High Fantasy novels, the one thing that you absolutely cannot mess up is the world building. At first I wasn't really impressed by Pearson's world because the story took place mostly in one setting. It was only when the characters ventured out that I was able to learn more about the world and its history. There are random bits of text from the culture's holy scripture but I couldn't connect any of those readings with what I knew about the characters and world so they seemed a bit pointless to me.
Short n Sweet With all the hype of this novel, I knew I had to get my hands on this book. I found the world to be interesting and the female characters to be strong and really likable. The book fell short in my expectations with it's let's-fall-in-love-within-the-first-fifty-pages, but redeemed itself in the last half of the novel when the focus wasn't love, but shed more light on politics and secrets. I would read the sequel, but mostly out of curiosity. (less)