Okay, I know, like, 99 percent of you didn’t actually go and read my other post. But basically, the same things I thought about the first book hold true for the second. There were a lot of really cool concepts, a pitch-perfect writing style, and some awesome characters (Rose! Chorley!), but there were also some characters I never grew to like. And it’s a bit difficult to really like a book when the main character grates on your nerves in every. single. scene she’s in (I’m looking at you, LAURA). And I wasn’t ever convinced by Laura and Sandy’s romance. She had about a million times more chemistry with her sandman, Nown, than she does with poor Sandy.
But that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the book. Because I did. I also ended up liking it better than the first one—mostly because it was much more exciting and faster paced. The first book is all about setting the scene, and this one is where everything comes together. I would almost say to skip the first book and start with this one, but alas, I feel like you’d miss some important backstory if you did that.
One of the things I loved about this book was the brilliant insight Knox gives you into her characters. You feel like you really know them—what’s in their souls—not just what they do and what they say. I was in awe, quite frankly. I was also amazed by the way all the pieces of the story come together. I wasn’t expecting it to work out like it did, but I was seriously impressed, and by the end I was like, “Oh. Oh. Oooooohhh. Now I get it.” It kinda makes me want to reread both books so I can go back and find all the clues Knox gave us along the way.
Overall, while having the same likes and dislikes with this one as with the first book, I ended up liking this one more because, well, I didn’t get bored like I did with the first. And probably, I would’ve ended up liking this book a lot if only Rose had been the main character instead of Laura. Dang Laura.
In some ways, this book reminds me of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Not in the details, but in the general themes of female friendshipIn some ways, this book reminds me of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Not in the details, but in the general themes of female friendship, first loves, and life-shaping summers. And I was totally fine with that similarity. After all, I enjoyed the Sisterhood series plenty (at least, the three books of it that I read). But I think I actually ended up liking “Peaches” a bit more.
In so many YAs, friendship takes a backseat to the romantic storyline, and the YAs that do have strong friendships often center around girls who have been friends for years. So I found it refreshing that Birdie, Leeda, and Murphy don’t particularly like each other at the start of the book, but as they spend more time in the orchard together, their friendship tentatively but steadily grows. And can I just get an amen for solid female friendships that don’t fall by the wayside the second a cute boy comes along? Seriously.
Birdie, Leeda, and Murphy couldn’t be more different from each other, but I loved that after the initial rocky start, the three girls learn to see each other for who they really are and accept each other, flaws and all. Each girl struggles with different things, but it was easy for me to find something in each girl to relate to. Even Murphy, with whom I don’t have much in common, held an equal part of my heart as Birdie and Leeda did.
I don’t know what it is about Jodi Lynn Anderson’s writing style, but from the get go, the book was consummately readable. Have you ever read a book where the way it was written just felt like coming home? That how this book was for me. Pretty much from the first page, I clicked with Anderson’s storytelling style, and it made the book feel so comfortable, you know? There wasn’t anything showy or flashy about the writing—it was just subtle and relaxed and somehow captured summer for me.
Overall, a great summer read about friendship and growing up. I fully intend on reading the rest of the series, because although “Peaches” ends with some closure, I can’t help wanting to spend more time with Birdie, Leeda, and Murphy.
Better than some Julie Anne Long books, definitely not as good as others...just solidly mediocre. It definitely had potential, but Cynthia stayed twoBetter than some Julie Anne Long books, definitely not as good as others...just solidly mediocre. It definitely had potential, but Cynthia stayed two dimensional the whole book--the reader never really gets to know her....more
It was alright. Like, I didn't dislike it or anything, it's just that neither main character fully won me over. I felt like we don't really get to knoIt was alright. Like, I didn't dislike it or anything, it's just that neither main character fully won me over. I felt like we don't really get to know Anna very well, and Cam just takes waaaaay too long to grow up and get a grip for my taste. But I did like the parts that dealt with Cam's relationship with his brothers and with Seth. I'm kinda interested in reading the next two books to see what happens with them, but I can't quite decide if it's worth it. ...more
Sadly (at least for me—it’s probably “happily” for you stalwart readers who’ve slogged through all my IbbotsoOriginally posted at Book Light Graveyard
Sadly (at least for me—it’s probably “happily” for you stalwart readers who’ve slogged through all my Ibbotson fangirling), this is my last Eva Ibbotson review. I’ve finally made it through all her books (at least, all her non-children’s ones). But really, since all good things must come to an end and all that, I’m really glad that A Company of Swans was my last Ibbotson book. It was such a perfect way to finish off.
Because this book was about ballet, and I’m secretly totally in love with ballet. It’s just so beautiful and graceful and really, really impressive. And Ibbotson describes ballet perfectly—she captures the grace and the passion, the etherealness and the hard work. I felt like I was touring with the company and watching the performances, all through the deftness of the author’s description.
As with Ibbotson’s other books, she gets the characterization down perfectly. She uses a light and humorous hand when it comes to developing her characters, but by the end, you feel like you know them. And more than that, like you want to be their friend. Harriet and Rom are one of my favorite Ibbotson couples—their romance is just sappy and dramatic enough to make you sigh without crossing the line into ridiculousness. And for once, Ibbotson manages to have some characters without redeeming qualities! Usually, her characters, no matter how grouchy or misguided, have some element of goodness to them—even if it’s buried deep down—but Harriet’s father and aunt were completely horrid. As much as it caught me off guard to find that in an Ibbotson book, it was honestly also a little refreshing.
It was also totally awesome that this book takes place in Brazil. Ibbotson is a master at capturing scenery—but typically her books take place in Austria or England. So it was fun to see her successfully tackle the lush tropics of Brazil.
I think what stands out to me overall about Ibbotson’s books—this one included—is their sense of optimism. And not only optimism about the big things—that everything will work out in the end—but about the small things as well. That there’s joy to be found in the simple and mundane, and that with the right perspective the everyday things can bring more happiness and contentment than grand gestures or big events. It's a lesson worth learning, and Ibbotson teaches it subtly yet powerfully.
Overall, as with all of Ibbotson’s books, I recommend this one whole heartedly. I have a terrible time trying to pick a favorite Ibbotson book, but this one is definitely in the running. I’ll be re-reading it for sure.
This book has sat on the bookshelf at my parents’ house for I don’t know how long, and I always thought about picking it up, but the cover inevitablyThis book has sat on the bookshelf at my parents’ house for I don’t know how long, and I always thought about picking it up, but the cover inevitably turned me off. So when “Sabriel” came up as the book club selection for this month, I was pretty excited since it gave me a reason to finally buckle down and read it. And now I’ve been reminded for roughly the thousandth time that I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
One of the first things that drew me into the story was the world building. It’s just really well done. See, the country’s divided into two parts: Ancelstierre, which in my mind is like a 1930s England, and the Old Kingdom, which is across the Wall and has the typical fantasy Middle Ages-y feel. So the combination of those two places already had me fascinated, and when you add to that dead creatures that don't stay dead and a necromancer who puts the dead to rest rather than bringing them back to life, I was hooked. And really, those things are just the tip of the iceberg of the world building the author does. Because there are also all these other aspects, like Charter Magic and Free Magic and the world of the dead, that I just don’t have time to go into.
Sabriel as a main character is truly awesome. She’s not sure what’s going on half the time, but she soldiers on anyway and faces challenges and freaky dead creatures with a courage, determination, and levelheadedness not often found in YA. And I loved that even after she meets Touchstone, a royal guard with a secret, Sabriel remains focused and clear-headed. She doesn’t get sappy or dreamy or whatnot—she keeps her eye on her goal.
Actually, in retrospect, I’m not sure if I’m convinced Touchstone is a strong enough character to be Sabriel’s match. I understand why he’s a bit unsure of himself, but I definitely felt like Sabriel was his superior rather than him being her equal. Plus, I didn’t feel like there was enough emotion written into the book for me to really understand Sabriel and Touchstone’s relationship. I kinda want to just blame that on the fact that the book’s written by a male author, but that’s probably not entirely fair. Either way, though, I could've done with a few more feelings to go along with all the action. Though I guess the way its written makes it a more bracing story than it would've been with teenage emotions and hormones tempering the action.
Besides the whole Touchstone issue, my only other problem with the book is the ending. There was absolutely no post-climax resolution. There wasn’t any time for me to catch my breath. It just went from a super suspenseful scene directly into a short epilogue. And I could understand that method if it was supposed to be a cliffhanger for the next book, but I’m under the impression that the second book changes main characters and has a different focus than “Sabriel.” So I was left feeling like the resolution was a bit lacking.
And before I finish up this review, I just have to say, MOGGET. I’m a cat person, so maybe I’m a little biased, but he’s seriously the best.
Overall, a well-written fantasy that kept me turning the pages. There were a few things I wish were done differently, but generally I liked it a lot and will most likely be reading the rest of the series....more
I’ve wanted to read this book ever since I read “Revolution” by this same author. I thought she was a talented writer and storyteller and wanted to seI’ve wanted to read this book ever since I read “Revolution” by this same author. I thought she was a talented writer and storyteller and wanted to see what else she could do—the fact that this book was a Printz Honor Book only made me more intrigued.
And I was pretty happy with what I got.
It takes place in 1906 in the Adirondacks (aka northeastern New York), in a small rural town—a setting which was simultaneously fascinating and depressing to read about. Fascinating because I’ve never read anything with that setting, so everything was fresh and new to me. Depressing because Mattie and a lot of her neighbors live in poverty, so watching them struggle just to lead a basic existence was pretty rough for me. The setting proved to be such a great narrative tool, though, because while you want Mattie to be able to leave and live a bigger life, at the same time you can totally understand why it doesn’t seem possible for her to do so.
Mattie herself was easy to sympathize with, maybe because she loves books and words so much. She’s one of those characters that you can’t help but root for as she tries to balance her sense of responsibility for her family with her own desires and dreams. There is a bit of a romance in the story, but it’s not your typical YA type—it’s a little more bittersweet. Oh, and can I just say hallelujah for a YA with a completely platonic male friend?
The only thing that bugged me about the book was the way it skipped back and forth between the past and the present. It wasn’t done in an especially clear way, so when I got to a new chapter I was constantly confused about which time I was in. I think the problem was that the two time periods were only four or so months apart, so there wasn’t that much to delineate them.
Overall, a perfectly lovely book. I did feel like there were a few unresolved issues and that the author took the easy way out with some things, but still, it’s definitely a book worth reading.
This second book was definitely better paced than the first. I stayed up way too late finishing it because I wanted to know what was going to happen.This second book was definitely better paced than the first. I stayed up way too late finishing it because I wanted to know what was going to happen. The one thing that I've especially been appreciating about this series is that the romance (or what I assume is going to turn into a romance) takes time to develop. I hate in YA trilogies when all the romance is sorted out in the first book, leaving it to drag on pointlessly in the second two books. Thankfully, that's not the case here. (Though if Chloe and Derek don't turn out to be a thing, I'm going to be annoyed.) And I like that you can tell this trilogy was meant to be a series from the beginning--none of that thing where the author writes a book and it's successful so they tack two more books onto the end. ...more
You guys. I just really liked this book. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that it was the best book I’ve read within the last few months. Which iYou guys. I just really liked this book. In fact, I’d even go so far as to say that it was the best book I’ve read within the last few months. Which is not to say it was perfect, because I had a few issues with it, but I just got so sucked into this book and had no desire to put it down.
Meg has got issues, that’s for sure, what with her drinking, drug use, low-cut shirts, authority issues, illegal activities, panic attacks, and blue hair. And yet, for whatever reason, I immediately connected with her. I think it’s something in the way she’s so honest with herself and with others—she doesn’t BS her way around or usually let others get away with it either. Plus, she’s got this smart-aleck mouth that I can’t help but admire.
John’s got his share of issues as well, although it took longer for them to become obvious. He’s got his anger management problem, and his bridge obsession, and his tendencies towards jealousy and pettiness. But I liked him too, for the most part. He does one thing at the end that really pissed me off, and he never totally worked his way back into my good graces after that, but I just try to pretend like that part didn’t happen so I can go on liking him.
Honestly, considering both Meg’s and John’s issues, I’m a little worried about the future of their relationship. They both have this tendency to poke at each other’s sore spots and lash out without thinking. But I really want it to work out for them. And since they’re fictional, I have every hope that it does.
I was a little disappointed in the very end, though. I feel like the resolution fell slightly flat. The rest of the book was full of tension and drama and barely restrained passion, so I felt like the final resolution was too quick and calm and easy in comparison. It just didn’t seem to fit Meg and John, I guess. I did like, however, that it was Meg who puts things back together in the end. Not a girl to wait around for others to do things is our Meg. Yet another reason I loved her.
Overall, like I said at the beginning, I was a total sucker for this book. I’ve been in the mood for teen drama lately, and this book definitely fit the bill. But what I like about it was that it wasn't just drama for drama’s sake—there was unexpected substance and sincerity to the story and the characters too.