When I first started to read The Here and Now I thought it was such an amazing story! I was sucked right in and I was under the impression that this wWhen I first started to read The Here and Now I thought it was such an amazing story! I was sucked right in and I was under the impression that this was going to be a fantastic book that I would recommend to all of my friends. There is this feeling that readers get though, when books are really good, this excitement in the pit of your belly and this feeling of longing whenever you don’t have the book in your hands. I didn’t get it. This confused me because on the surface I thought I liked the book. Then I finished it…and I could not figure out how I felt. There was no “wow that was good!” or “I’ve got to tell my friend about this!” there was just, “okay….so now I’m done.” The more I thought about the book the more I realized it wasn’t the amazing book that I thought it was. While there were a few things that I enjoyed (I’ll get to that later) a lot of it rubbed me the wrong way. First the “future” that Prenna and the others come from is less than 100 years in the future and yet, somehow, the entire world dissolves. Somehow they’ve developed the technology to send a whole lot of people back in time, but they can’t develop technology to fix what’s gone wrong. I definitely felt like Brashares was trying to say that all technology was bad. She certainly went as far as saying that big companies and corporate America were evil and would be the downfall of the world. She went as far as to say even those who were environmentalists and cared about the environment and who tried to do something to change the future and preserve the world for future generations aren’t doing enough. Basically humans aren’t doing enough. This is a book with a heavy agenda. What bothered me was that it was such an important topic in the book and yet it was not mentioned in the description. I had no idea what I was getting myself into before reading. Another thing that really bothered me was that for the first chunk of the book anytime the future was mentioned and the destruction that had fallen upon it, global warming wasn’t actually said. Those words weren’t used. I felt like it was trying to be disguised and that really rubbed me the wrong way. I felt like I was being deceived. If you are going to write a book about a topic, especially a politically charged topic, I think it’s important to be upfront about it. Let me know that this is what you are going to talk about otherwise I feel like something shady is going on. This book was basically just a young adult version of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. The character of Ethan wasn’t developed at all. I understand that I was reading the book through Prenna’s eyes and so I would only get to know what she knows…but surely if she’s been best friends with this kid she would know a little more about him. There are several ways for Brashares to add in information about his past without info dumping. She could have woven something in there. This leads me to Prenna and her society. Uh…what? There are mentions of characters that are villain like to her. There wasn’t enough on these characters to make them ominous or scary. There wasn’t enough about them to make me feel nervous. Prenna is punished and taken to a secret location…one that Ethan very easily finds, and nothing happens there. She’s dropped there and then rescued and the plot moves on effortlessly as if the whole thing never happened. There was no urgency in the book. There was a specific date when an event that would change the course of the world forever and what do the characters do? They take a swim, go to dinner, and play some card games. It was painful. The Madonna song, 4 Minutes, kept playing through my head during this. They’ve got about 4 (give or take a day) days to save the entire planet and what do they do? They chillax. Then their plan to save the woman that they need too is just ridiculous. She obviously knows Ethan, so why not just send Ethan in there? Why not just have Ethan call her and take her out for her birthday? There are endless situations that could have worked better and made more sense than the plan that was ultimately played out. The only thing that I like about the book now that I am finished with it is the fact that one person can make a difference. Prenna and Ethan have to save one woman from being murdered because if she is then the entire world is going to crash and burn. I liked that. Every person matters. Overall this book is not one that I would recommend to anyone.
When I first read the summary for Don’t Even Think About It I was really excited. This sounded like a really great story that would be interesting toWhen I first read the summary for Don’t Even Think About It I was really excited. This sounded like a really great story that would be interesting to read. The book started off with a lot of promise and I read about a third of the book before I knew it. At that point though things slowed down for me. Where was the plot! What was the point of this? The book led up to nothing. It was a lukewarm attempt to write a really cool story. My first major issue with this book is there was no climax. The book built to nothing and so ended as nothing. It was disappointing. What was the point of reading it if I couldn’t get anything out of it? There was maybe a baby peak at the end of the book and that was it. The build was barely was hardly a baby hill worth of a climb. There should have been a larger built. There should have been something that became dire to the characters. There was so much potential and the plot just didn’t rise to the occasion. My second major issue was the lack of character growth. I really enjoyed how this was told as a collective, but with the collective thought came the potential for growth. The only character that had a solid story arc was Cooper. He was the only character in the story that had a life altering experience. He was the one that pointed out that everyone is a liar. He was the one who went through a trial. This would have been fine, if Cooper was the main character, but he wasn’t. They all were the main characters and so it was disappointing to not see everyone go through that. Mackenzie had no growth whatsoever. Her character was annoying and needed to learn a lot about herself, but it was only through Cooper and his admission that she even learned anything about herself. The character of Pi was confusing and half-baked. This story was definitely not a journey of self-discovery that many YA’s are and that this story, with the initial premise that it had, had the potential to be. It had so much potential, but it all fell flat. ...more
Byron in my head, and his relationship with his best friend, Mark. After Mark’s parents died when he a child he went to live with Bryon and his motherByron in my head, and his relationship with his best friend, Mark. After Mark’s parents died when he a child he went to live with Bryon and his mother. Growing up like brothers Bryon and Mark spend their time walking around town, hustling at pool to get money, and occasionally getting into fights with others. While this story has similarities to The Outsiders I was very happy to find that they were completely separate stories. Yes, Ponyboy has appearances in this book, but this isn’t his story. It was an added treat to see him in the book, but I enjoyed getting to know Bryon. There are several conflicts in this story. One. Bryan vs. Mark. These two characters have been close their whole lives. Friends since childhood and like brothers for almost as long they do everything together. The story is a coming of age tale about Bryan though. The two begin to drift in the middle of the story. Bryan begins to see the world in a different light while Mark remains the same. After an unfortunate incident involving the death of one of their friends, Bryon starts to question whether or not fighting is worth it and begins to change his lifestyle, get a job, and go steady with Cathy. This creates a rift between the two friends. I really liked the relationship development between these two characters. It was a natural and realistic development between the two of them. As people learn and grow they will have natural swings in their relationship, especially if they are almost like siblings. As the story progresses there are many more ups and downs for these two boys. Their relationship at the end of the book surprised me, but, once again, I thought it was a good twist and ending. Two. Bryan vs. Cathy. I loved these two characters together. I thought that Cathy was a good influence on Bryan. I loved that he was able to see a nicer family dynamic after seeing Angela’s family dynamic. Cathy and her family were able to take part in Bryan’s kickoff to a different person. It was perfect that they got together around the same time that Bryan’s friend died. Instead of easily running back to Angela Shepherd for comfort and continuing with the same lifestyle that he had before. There would have been no growth. There would have been no self-discovery. I didn’t like the end of their relationship, however I liked that Bryon was able to continue on with his growth. Three. Bryan vs. Bryan. I’ve already said eight million times that this is a story about Bryan’s personal growth. There is such a heavy internal battle going on in Bryan’s brain throughout the book. Bryan was content how his life was at the beginning of the book and then through a series of events he begins to question everything he thought was all right. He sees a person reacting to drugs on two fronts, both taking the drugs and selling the drugs. He falls in love for the first time and sees a different family dynamic than what he is used to. He decides to take more responsibility with his life and gets a job. There are countless more things that he has to make choices about through the novel, but the biggest one was at the end. The discovery of a secret his friend has been keeping. I admire his strength to call the authorities, and at the same time it left me torn. Through his eyes, Hinton was able to make me feel the same feelings that Bryan felt after he made the decision. That Was Then, This is Now was a true coming of age tale that has been speaking to readers for decades and will continue to speak to people for years to come. The tale of Bryan Douglas is relatable and authentic. Recommend this book to readers of The Outsiders is anyone who wants a strong tale of friendship and personal growth.
The Will and the Forest was one action packed book. It took until about halfway through for the ball to get rolling, but once it did it never stopped.The Will and the Forest was one action packed book. It took until about halfway through for the ball to get rolling, but once it did it never stopped. One of the things that I love about reading is the chance to read about adventures and this was definitely one of those books. What I Liked: The writing. Demar has a very strong writing ability. His sentences were tight and put together. Everything made sense and there wasn’t anything in there that didn’t make sense. The diction was strong and matched perfectly to the world that was created. The way that the characters spoke was unique to each character and accurate. It’s easy for an author to say that a character has an accent or speaks a certain way, but it’s a little harder to actually show how they are speaking and enable the reader to image exactly how they sound just by the words on the pages. The world building. I felt like this was strong world building. The myths, the locations, the histories all of them felt natural in the story. What I loved even more about this was there was no info dumping. Everything the reader needed to know came in a natural course and wasn’t shoved down the readers throats every other paragraph. It kind of reminded me of Lord of the Rings. No there isn’t a ring that needs to be destroyed with only one mountain that can do it. But there is a Gandolf character. And a Frodo. And I can argue that there is even an Aragorn. I’ll let you guys figure out how is who. It’s not fun if I give it away for you. But I feel like Tolkien is one of the best examples of a fantasy adventure epic and if I can pick out elements of that in a book then it’s on the right path. There is more going on than there appears. There is A LOT going on in this book. There are several different stories all going on at once. It’s going to be interesting to see how it continues on.
What I Didn’t Like: There is more going on than there appears. While on one hand this was something I liked. Plot wise. Character wise it was a little much for me. There were so many characters we kept flipping through all at once that it got confusing at times. I almost had to do what Stephen King does and write out a character list to keep everyone straight. I think the story could have been a little tighter without flipping through so many different characters. I couldn’t tell what age group this is for. Age group is really important for marketing of the book. The book was pitched to me as Young Adult Fantasy…and it wasn’t. Because of the way the characters were introduced to me, Herbert because the main character. The problem with that is he is only 11. It can’t be a young adult book with an 11 year old as the main character. This is part of the reason why it took me so long to become invested in the book. As I already said it took until about half way through for things to really get rolling. A big part of that was because I couldn’t connect to Herbert. That being said, this book also isn’t really a middle grade either. While Herbert’s story is a perfect example of middle grade the inclusion of the older characters takes it out of that. There are also a few instances where words I wouldn’t have deemed appropriate for children were used. In the story these words seemed natural coming from the mouths or minds of the children, but I am pretty sure a large majority of parents would frown at their children using the word “pisser” in normal conversations. So my biggest complaint about this book is that the age group is really unclear. You have the story of the three boys making it middle grade. Then the story of the pirates and Ashlund making it young adult. It’s meshing together two things that don’t naturally go together in my opinion. They may be just a few years apart from each other, but younger kids and teenagers have completely different growing lessons. Herbert’s really focuses on getting beat up. Ashlund’s focuses on finding her own place in the world and mapping out independence. Separate those stories would be wonderful. Shoved together it’s just a little hard to read. Did I Like It? There are gorgeous pictures throughout the book. On one hand I really enjoyed this book and I think it enhanced the story. On the other hand it made it really kiddish. So…this part I am torn on.
Over all I really did enjoy this book. I would definitely recommend it to other people to read and discover for themselves. I’ll be looking forward to reading the second.
Bright Before Sunrise takes place in less than a day, which also happens to be the amount of time it took me to read the book. It’s told from two diffBright Before Sunrise takes place in less than a day, which also happens to be the amount of time it took me to read the book. It’s told from two different points of view, a senior boy named Jonah and a junior girl named Brighton. I really enjoyed getting to see both of the narrations. The reader is able to see things about both of the characters before the other does. We get to know about their pasts, their inner thoughts, and most importantly we get to see the misconceptions both of them have about each other.
What I Liked
Different points of view. Having different narrators is a tricky thing to do and writing it successfully is really hard. Schmidt was able to do this very well and it added so much to the story. It is a natural and everyday part of life for people to immediately form misconceptions about others without fully knowing them. I thought that it was fantastic that Jonah assumes that Brighton’s parents are divorced, and that Carly thought that Jonah was cheating, and that Brighton thought he was a lost cause. These are completely normal assumptions that these characters would have had in real life. It was frustrating at a reader to know that Jonah hadn’t been cheating and heartbreaking that Brighton’s father was dead. Schmidt was able to make the different narrations work to her advantage and make this book very realistic in those plot points. Honesty is a big issue in this book as pointed out above. I liked that by the end of the novel not only were Brighton and Jonah being honest with each other and those around them, but also they were being honest to themselves. It was such a great moment to finally have Jonah admit why he keeps his two lives separate. The dynamic of Brighton’s family was also really well done. Her father died five years prior to the start of the book and the portrayal of a grieving family was spot on.
What I Didn’t Like
While I loved Brighton’s family I disliked Jonah’s family. It is really hard to believe that Jonah’s mother could change so much. He mentions that his mother used to make nachos and dress in sweatpants and not care what she looked like. Jonah deeply misses those times in his life because since becoming pregnant with his therapists baby she has completely changed. Jonah’s stepfather has a lot of money and suddenly her entire personality changes. She cares about her appearance and through what we were able to see of her, she seems selfish and self-centered. I would like to have believed there would be part of her that would have remained the same as she was before and because she was so different the only conclusion that I can come up with is that she was faking everything until she met her new husband. It just wasn’t a character that I was fond of. The same thing rings true for Jonah’s stepfather. Throughout the entire story we see him treated Jonah poorly and like he was just a thug kid who was not looking out for his sister at all. Then at the end of the book the reader learns that the stepfather is actually a good person. It was like whiplash almost making Jonah into an unreliable narrator. The only thing that saves Jonah’s narration and allowed me to know that he was reliable was his revelation to Carly at the end of the book. This book reminds me slightly of Romeo and Juliet in that the romance or potential for romance happens very quickly. In twelve hours Jonas endures a break up, heartbreak over it, the realization that he doesn’t care anymore, and the revelation that he has feelings for a girl he used to despise. I understand that some people have love at first sight, but it was sad for me to see this happen so quickly. There were some aspects of the book that were so realistic and then there was this.
Overall this book was okay. It definitely was not my favorite book, but that was more because of a lack of personal connection on my part than the author’s fault. The writing was very good and I like Schmidt’s style. This is a book that fans of contemporary should pick up and read to form their own opinions on it.
Having just come off a reading slump I was really excited to receive Crewel by Gennifer Albin from my friend for Christmas. I had heard good things abHaving just come off a reading slump I was really excited to receive Crewel by Gennifer Albin from my friend for Christmas. I had heard good things about it from my friend since it came out, but other than “It’s amazing,” I had no idea what the book was about. I love jumping into new books having no clue what the plot is or anything about the world. The general basis of the book is simple. It’s about a world where people called Spinsters literally weave their world. Not figuratively weaving their worlds either, but literally using looms and threads of life and time to create their world and everything in it. Um. Amazing! I love that so much. Crewel is filled with beautiful language and one of the things that I loved about it was that she wasn’t afraid of having little dialogue. This book had pages of just narration from our protagonist, Adelice. This didn’t take away from the story at all or reduce the need for other characters. It was perfect. While reading there were several characters whose development I thought was flawed. Their personalities seemed to shift in the story and it was confusing to read. This was remedied at the end of the novel when some characters full personalities and backgrounds came into view. I do however wish that Adelice’s friend Pryana would have been developed a little better. The pacing of the book was very strange at first. It seemed to me that it developed rather slowly, however I was completely drawn in from the first page. I had reached 200 pages in before I knew it. My only complaint is that there was a lack of serious action. The ending of the book drew me in even more and I know that I will continue on with this series. It is definitely worth checking out!
The conclusion to the Divergent Trilogy released a couple months ago and like most other readers out there I was so excited for it. It took me a few dThe conclusion to the Divergent Trilogy released a couple months ago and like most other readers out there I was so excited for it. It took me a few days to get through the book and sadly, even though I really want to say that I loved it and that it was a fulfilling conclusions….it wasn’t.
Why I didn’t like it:
It is my belief that the final book in a series should be used to wrap up the series. Give us the action that we’ve been building up to, let us see how it all comes to a climax, and then give us a satisfying end. I don’t think there should be tons of new information. Allegiant was not a book that did that. It was a long book (over 500 pages) and included way too much new information for my liking. There was also a lot of science talk and trying to give us specific reasons as to why things are. I was not a fan of the reason for the factions or how their entire city, Chicago, came to be how it was portrayed in the book. As readers we knew at the end of the second book that something big was coming in the third. We knew that something NEW was coming too, so I don’t know why I was so surprised when we were suddenly being shot at with tons of new information. Maybe it was because I felt like the book was one big info dump.
The two points of views in the book were interesting and I loved getting to see what Tobias was thinking, however the tone and the narration of the two were the exact same. Several times while reading the book I had to go back and see whose chapter I was in because I could not tell who was talking. There should have been some sort of shift between their narrations. They are two different people who have different thoughts and different tones. There was no reason why I should have been so confused on who was narrating at any given moment. The tones alone should have told me who it was.
The conclusion to the war between the Allegiant and those loyal to Evelyn and the factionless seemed unrealistic to me. All this fighting and leading up to this conflict, all the changes that had been made in Chicago I felt like it was all for nothing.
What I did like: The ending to Tris’s narration. This plot point was actually ruined for me before I started reading the book and so I will never know if this was something I actually liked or whether or not I just had hundreds of pages to get myself ready for the inevitable conclusion. As someone whose favorite film is Gladiator because of it’s ending, it’s safe to say that I may have been biased in my like for this ending.
Allegiant is one of those books that I want to love so badly. When I read Divergent It was one of the best books that I had ever read. Insurgent didn’t quite live up to the very book, but it was still enjoyable. I just really wish she would have taken more time with this one and not info dumped as much, and that she would have given Tobias a separate identity and narration tone instead of sounding just like Tris.
When I read The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa it instantly became one of my favorite books. It's a book I compare all other books to. Is the story asWhen I read The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa it instantly became one of my favorite books. It's a book I compare all other books to. Is the story as solid as The Immortal Rules? Is the main character as strong as Allie? Is the author as great at world building as Julie Kagawa? The Eternity Cure, the follow up to The Immortal Rules, definitely does not disappoint. I finished with the book before I even realize I got started. I sped through is so fast one minute I look at the clock and it was 10pm and the next second it's well into the next day. The Eternity Cure is an action packed adventure that follows our favorite vampire Allie as she teams up with our not so favorite vampire Jackal. I loved this twist. It was surprising and not expected, but such a great addition to the story. Fantastic stories are ones where the reader is able to see the character growth and with the addition of Jackal into the story the reader is able to see not one, but two character growing beyond what we have already seen from them. Allie has to learn to trust other people, something she is very bad at. The biggest change of the book was Jackal though. Hurray to Julie Kagawa for including him. I believe through Jackal we honestly get to see the twist and turns of humanity in vampires. Sure we all know that Allie is the most human like of the vampires, but it was great to get to see that on a "true vampire" one who starts off not caring at all for humans besides the taste of their blood. I loved the serious and realistic vibe of the book. Everything made sense and even though there are vampires and rabids running around it was all written and explained as if it could happen tomorrow. That's one of the things I love about Julie Kagawa and especially this series. Her writing is so seamless and so spectacular the events that take place in the Eternity curse could happen in our future. There are constant references in this novel to events of the past. To things that had happened years before, but that are essential to the storyline so that we know how the world because what it is and how the societal structures were set up ad why. She gives us each bit of information as we need it and each time it is enough. The reader is never given too much to the point where we are bogged down by it, which is a fantastic quality. There is only one thing that I was iffy about. I feel as though the constant boy drama and back and forth slightly brings Allie down. What I loved about the first book was that Allie was such a kick butt girl and didn't let anything stop her. I loved that even though she was figuring everything out and obviously had her weaknesses because of it she was still a great heroine. I don't believe at all that Allie was weak in this book, I did however find her issues with a certain boy in particular a little much at times. Overall I thought this book was spectacular and I am anxiously awaiting the third installment!