Fire With Fire picks upjust a few weeks after the events of Burn for Burn. The main characters have seemingly moved on, however it's not long before t...moreFire With Fire picks upjust a few weeks after the events of Burn for Burn. The main characters have seemingly moved on, however it's not long before the girls find themselves working together to once again take down Reeve Tabatsky. Some people never change. . . or do they ?
While the first book introduced world of Jar Island, this book shifts focus on the community and culture of Jar Island. We get a feel for the traditions , events and celebrations of this small town. This level of world building within a contemporary setting is admirable.
I found that Fire with Fire uses more vignettes and flashbacks to give readers insight into the girls past and present. There are a lot of moving parts in this story that make the characters and story come together.
What I really enjoy about this series, as I mentioned in my earlier review, is the ambiguity of the characters. I was constantly going back and forth about my feeling about Reeve Tabatsky . In the first book it is accepted that he is the typical jerk jock, but in the book I had no idea what to think. Is he the good guy ? Is he the bad guy ? Are we supposed to be empathetic for Reeve ?
There are also a lot of great moments in the book that touch on the nostalgia about high school and coming of age. I think a lot of people can relate to how the characters talk about the future, college and senior year. It all felt very genuine and made the characters come off the page.
If you pay close attention you'll notice that there is something eerie going on in the background of this series that I think Han and Vivian plotted ingeniously in this book. Once you see it it can't be unseen. I think it comes across more in the audiobook than it would in print, but I do I wonder when/if readers are supposed to catch it ? Kat had figured it out early on in the first book.
The three narrators on this audiobook bring the cast of characters to life. This is a great example of how three POVS can work together to tell a cohesive story without getting repetitive. Each of the actresses voices are very distinct, but they have this great way of imitating each other that makes the switching POV seamless.
Madeleine Maby who voices Kat stole the show. She hits all of Kat's humor and confidence and delivers a chilling emotional monologue. Rebbekah Ross's (Mary) narration had an echo-y quality in the first book and that they scaled it back on this one. Ross' acting was spot on when it came to performing her co-narrators voices. Joy Osmanski (Lilia) also has this great scene where she has to voice two drunk moms, it could have been over the top, but it was subtle and funny.
While the story burns slow, Fire With Fire's lively narration and rich sense of story makes it the perfect audio book to get caught up in during a long car trip. I did see one of the endings of this book coming, but the other threw me for a loop so a plus if you love a good plot twist.(less)
This was my first foray into the world of the young adult e-novellas. When short story imprints like Harper Teen Impulse came out I never thought I wo...moreThis was my first foray into the world of the young adult e-novellas. When short story imprints like Harper Teen Impulse came out I never thought I would pay for one, but I found myself snapping them up when I saw them on my local library's Overdrive. I chose this one because it is one of the few that isn't part of an established series. At just over 50 pages, it tells the story of a future where all human imperfections have been cured, but not forgotten. In a course called Scarcity every student must live two weeks with an ailment from before the world was perfect. Keiran Black decides to do something people haven't done in years...sleep. An interesting concept, it was an enjoyable read and I think the length was perfect. Sometimes YA short stories seem like scenes that could be working towards book, but Westerfeld tells a complete story. I think too much of it would have been overkill. I'd really like to see more of these standalone novellas, they are perfect for when you have an hour to spare.(less)
I picked up these audio CDs at the library at random to listen to in the car and ended up really enjoying this story. 15-year-old D.J Schwenk, has be...more I picked up these audio CDs at the library at random to listen to in the car and ended up really enjoying this story. 15-year-old D.J Schwenk, has been pulling the weight of her family's dairy farm while her father is sick and the last thing she needs is more work. Then she gets asked to help train the rival team's lazy quarterback and show him the value of hard work. Not really a traditional sprorts story, but a story about family, loyalty and growing up. D.J is this wonderfully full developed and faceted protagonist as she tries to figure out how to be both a teenager and a caregiver for her family. This novel has a lot energy as we explore football life in this small Wisconsin town.The audiobook narrator does a midwest accent that fits the story, but can be grating until you get used to it. This book is great for fans of Miranda Kenneally's Catching Jordan--incidentally she is the first person I heard about this book from. I learned this is the first in a 3 part series, and will pick up the others when I need a good read.(less)
Wow. Just Wow. Code Name Verity is one of those books that everyone raves about and you know what ? They have good reason to. Code Name Verity is an a...moreWow. Just Wow. Code Name Verity is one of those books that everyone raves about and you know what ? They have good reason to. Code Name Verity is an amazing story and the audio book version does this novel so much justice, I can't recommend it enough. Between this and Out of The Easy, I just may have a new thing for historical YAs.
So, I'm going to quote Heidi from Bunbury in The Stacks review and say it seems like "The first rule of Code Name Verity is you don’t talk about Code Name Verity." And I think that is a great sentiment because you don't want to ruin the experience of the story for anyone, so I won't really reveal to much about this novel.
The titular Verity, is a British spy sent into German occupied France during World War II, when she is captured by the Getsapo (Nazi police). Held as a prisoner in what was once a French hotel the story opens up as she begins her written confessions.
The narrative in this story is interesting because it is all told in written confessions. We only get as much as her captors allow her to write or when they allow her to write. But Verity isn't telling her story in these confessions; she is divulging the secrets through the story of her best friend Maddie. So while technically this is a first person novel, this convention turns it into a kind of third person.
I highly suggest the audiobook for this novel as it really adds to the story. Because this story is a confession you feel like you are actually hearing a recording of the confessions. There is even a section where Verity is so exhausted she starts writing song lyrics and the narrator starts singing and it just adds so much depth.
Also, because this book is focused on the European side of the war, there are a lot of German and French proper nouns and I liked not having to trip over them in print form. I mean I doubt I'd have known how to pronounce Hauptsturmführer without the audiobook to help me out.
Verity and Maddie's story feels so real. Wein points out in the author note that while much of the story is based on history all the places and people are fake. I think part of the reason so many readers connect with is because women like Verity very well could have existed. During World War II there really was a Women's Auxiliary Air Force where women helped in the war effort. I'd actually be interested in Wein doing a book detailing where fiction and history diverge.
In the YA sphere specifically there is so much talk of "strong female characters" and I'm not usually fond of this phrasing, but I have to say Code Name Verity has some very strong female characters. I don't think they are strong because they fly planes as well as the boys or get to interrogate like the boys or get to enlist like the boys ; it's because they do something.This book is full of female characters who do things, not to show up the boys or be strong but because it's the right thing to do. But Wein doesn't sugarcoat it either, they do face their share of discrimination and harassment.
As an American I don't know much of the European version of WWII, so I was really drawn into this world of Europe in the crush of World War II. One of the parts of the novel that stood out to me is when a few characters begin to think about where the safest place in the world would be because all the Europeans were living in fear; fear of bombs being dropped on their heads, fear of their own classmates being spies, fear of the Gestapo. They even black out all the signs in England so enemies can't see where they are. There is even an anecdote of how in Ireland they made a big sign that says THIS IS IRELAND, so no German pilot would accidentally drop bombs thinking it was England.
A beautiful story of friendship and war that creates a powerful and flawless audiobook. (less)
I chose this audiobook for two reasons; 1.) I think the narrator, Cassandra Campbell, is amazing and 2.) I wanted to read more adult "literary-ish" no...moreI chose this audiobook for two reasons; 1.) I think the narrator, Cassandra Campbell, is amazing and 2.) I wanted to read more adult "literary-ish" novels.
The Gravity of Birds is told in somewhat converging timelines; starting in the 1960's when adolescent sisters, Alice and Natalie Kessler, meet the rich, young and burgeoning artist Thomas Bayber. Flash forward to 2007 where Bayber is a world renowned artist but in poor health. With one trick left, he sends his only friend (and biographer) Prof. Dennis Finch and expert art authenticator, Stephen Jameson, on a journey to find a lost painting...of the Kessler sisters. Along the way, the men uncover Bayber's history and family secrets that have been hidden for decades.
This novel has a lot of plot twists and reveals, so it can be hard to talk about without giving away too much. While I found most of these reveals predictable, a few still managed to catch me off guard.
When listening to an audiobook it is hard to linger appreciate the writing but, from the snippets I've seen from the print version, it's very obvious Guzeman has an excellent writing ability. This book focuses on art and she has this great way of describing the pieces so the reader can "see" them.
The dynamic characters bring a lot to a plot that could have easily been generic. Of all the characters, I found the somewhat socially unconscious art authenticator Stephen Jameson to be the most interesting. Learning about the process of art authentication and the things people can tell from something as small as an artist's signature got me interested in reading more books about art. This has left me wanting to check out The Art Forger by B.A Shapiro for my next art themed read !
Cassandra Campbell does a wonderful job with the narration which is no surprise as she has over 300 voice credits . All of her different voices just flow so well together.One of the things I like about her is the versatility in her voice. This novel has a majority male characters and Campbell creates these really authentic male voices, there were times when I forgot it was a woman's voice. But then on the flip side of it, she can do an array of teenage girl or little boy voices.
Reviewing this book as someone who primarily reads YA is difficult. Often, when YA readers talk about adult books we tend to focus on how the book has YA crossover appeal, but I don’t think this book is that kind of book. There aren't very many of the usual tropes and qualities of YA in this book, which made it refreshing for me.
I'm learning that one of the things I like about adult books is they have an wiser perspective. YA novels tend to function on the notion that the most important and finite moments in life happen to you when you are a teenager and then that’s it. While adult books tend to linger and show a span of a character's lifetime (Joyland, The Night Circus, Water for Elephants), which puts everything, including the characters adolescent in perspective. As a post-college reader this was a nice change.