Eh. High two, low three stars. I'm so turned off by wise, witty teenagers who are nothing like real teenagers. (I'm a high school teacher; I know realEh. High two, low three stars. I'm so turned off by wise, witty teenagers who are nothing like real teenagers. (I'm a high school teacher; I know real teenagers.) This author isn't as insufferable as John Green, but she's trying really hard. The plot twists were like bright, glaring suns and were never a surprise. I was surprised to learn this wasn't the author's awkward debut. Oops....more
I read this on my Kindle, so I know exactly when it went from super-creepy to super-boring: Right at 60%. The first 60% of the book is riveting, horriI read this on my Kindle, so I know exactly when it went from super-creepy to super-boring: Right at 60%. The first 60% of the book is riveting, horrifying, heart-pounding, page turning. The last 40%? It's like Bick just gave up and started throwing words at the page. The pace becomes plodding and the story gets heavily weighed-down by useless characters and a completely stagnant plot. The town Alex ends up in is utterly impossible; this society could not have become so intricate in such a short period of time after "the Zap." I'm curious what happened to Tom and Ellie, but I don't think I can spend the time in another book trying to find out. I'm disappointed, because the first 60% of the book had such promise. So my three stars are for that part. Let us not speak of the terrible final 40% ever again....more
I know that I’m a ridiculous fangirl for Jenny B. Jones. I’m someone who hasn’t liked much Christian fiction in a long time, but she makes me love it.I know that I’m a ridiculous fangirl for Jenny B. Jones. I’m someone who hasn’t liked much Christian fiction in a long time, but she makes me love it. I gushed ridiculously over Save the Date and I feel just as strongly about this one.
Save the Date was told from the perspective of adults, Alex and Lucy. It chronicled their lives, feisty resistance of one another, and eventual falling in love. Alex’s brother Will’s death was a heavy shadow over the book, and Alex eventually found his own peace and resolution. There You’ll Find Me is the story of Finley Sinclair, Alex and Will’s teenaged sister. Her grief is experienced much differently. Maybe it’s because she’s so young. Maybe it’s because she’s a girl and shows her emotions more openly. Whatever it is, it seems to be rockier for Finley to overcome.
Finley’s in Ireland for a school exchange program. She’s got a big audition for the New York Conservatory coming up, and she’s in Ireland to re-trace Will’s steps and write a piece of music in tribute to him. But her troubles run deep and she’s in the midst of a major crisis of faith. She meets a mean girl at school, has her heart stolen by a Hollywood heartthrob, and encounters all sorts of Irish characters, not least of which is a crusty old woman in her waning days.
But don’t be fooled into thinking this is a bubble-headed story, typical in much contemporary YA romance. No, this is much more. Finley’s troubles seem all too real and are dealt with in an utterly realistic fashion. There are funny moments, because Jones is a funny woman, but this is a tear-jerker, too. A crisis of faith is no laughing matter, and Jones treats it with seriousness and respect.
I can’t say enough good things about Jenny B. Jones and her books. Anyone who’s been resisting Christian fiction, as I did for so long, should stop resisting and read this author....more
A difficult read for me, since dystopian is not high on my list of favorite genres. The relentless sadness and darkness are hard for me to handle andA difficult read for me, since dystopian is not high on my list of favorite genres. The relentless sadness and darkness are hard for me to handle and I find myself far more affected by the book's mood than I'd like. Still, it's very well-written, with good world building (though with lots of room for improvement) and character development. I'll read the next one....more
Emerson Cole is having a rough time of it. Her parents died in a terrible accident when she was 13, and now. . Review originally posted here at my blog.
Emerson Cole is having a rough time of it. Her parents died in a terrible accident when she was 13, and now, at 17, she lives in Ivy Springs, TN, with her doting older brother, Thomas, and his wife, Dru. Emerson has a secret that only her closest family know: she sees things that aren’t there. Not quite ghosts, not quite phantoms, these apparitions are connected to old buildings. Emerson sees a Southern belle, a Confederate soldier, a jazz trio. She can make them disappear by touching them, but they come back. Emerson was nearly driven crazy by these visions, and after a particularly harrowing incident in her high school cafeteria, she was institutionalized, tested, and heavily medicated.
She’s back in Ivy Springs and the visions are happening again, because Emerson has stopped taking her medication, wanting to feel like her old self again. Her brother calls in one more expert, a mysterious young man named Michael Weaver. He’s just a couple years older than Emerson and is from a group called the Hourglass. He believes Emerson’s stories and even seems to share her visions. And it’s not just that kind of connection the two have. Emerson and Michael are drawn to each other and feel an electric current when they’re together or touch. Michael wants to help Emerson, but also needs her help. He enlists her to use her gifts to prevent a death that never should have happened.
Hourglass weaves science fiction with traces of the kind of paranormal stories that are so popular in young adult fiction today. The story is interesting, but uncomfortably close to the plot of Twilight, and it's quite complicated and wandering at times. A lot happens, and there's an almost over-abundance of characters, and it’s hard to keep it all straight. The “science” seems a bit far-fetched, even for science fiction, and a willing suspension of disbelief is required. Lastly, I was a bit uncomfortable with the intensity of Emerson and Michael’s attraction to each other. Not only is there an almost crippling co-dependent need that Emerson feels for Michael, but the sexual undertones of their relationship are just shy of inappropriate. I’m no prude, but I do know what’s appropriate and not for teenagers, and this is a bit too much.
I look forward to the next book in the series and hope McEntire can tighten up the science and explain it all a little more clearly. She has an interesting thing going for her here, but it can get too big and run away from her if she’s not careful....more
I love the euphoric feeling I get when I read a book by a new-to-me author and love it completely and totally. I think IReview posted here at my blog.
I love the euphoric feeling I get when I read a book by a new-to-me author and love it completely and totally. I think I’ve found a new favorite and can’t wait to gobble up everything else that author has written. Sometimes the book I loved turns out to be a fluke, but other times, as in the case of Jenny B. Jones, my initial reaction was right and I’ve found a new bookish BFF. I loved Save the Date and was thrilled to learn that it was not Jenny’s first work!
So Not Happening is a different kind of story, but still just as engaging, funny, sweet, and thought-provoking, I was very happy to learn. I read it in a few days while sick on my couch with a terrible sinus infection and a wicked case of bronchitis, and it made me happy and kept my mind off how awful I was feeling! And isn’t that one of the best things about a good book?
Bella Kirkwood has it all. She lives in New York City and her father is a plastic surgeon to the rich and famous. She has a great best friend, a dreamy boyfriend, and an advice column for her ritzy all-girl school’s blog. But Bella’s world unravels after her parents divorce and her mother meets a man online. He lives in Oklahoma, which, to Bella, may as well be another planet. To Bella’s horror, her mother marries her online suitor and moves the two of them to Truman, Oklahoma.
Bella is a fish out of water. Her stepbrothers are weird, and it’s clear one of them hates her. The house is old and small and looks like it hasnt’ been updated since the 70s. Add to that the fact that Bella’s new stepfather seems to have a dark secret, and the kids of Truman High wouldn’t know Prada from Payless, and Bella is downright miserable.
But there’s hope. Bella meets some kids who seem nice, and she starts to fit in at her school. And despite making a huge mistake that costs her a lot of her reputation, there are a few kids who stick by her. She ends up on the school’s newspaper staff and has a hard time ignoring the fact that her hard-working and demanding editor, Luke, is pretty hot.
I’ve whined and complained for ages that there’s not any contemporary romance in YA that has a twist of a mystery. So imagine my happy surprise when I realized that’s exactly the path this book took. Bella and Luke work together to solve a mystery surrounding the football team, growing closer in the process. It’s like a cozy mystery for teens, and it thrilled me to bits.
Jenny B. Jones is an excellent story-teller and writer. Now knowing she can do mystery, too, just makes me like her even more. I can’t wait to devour the next two books in this series, and get everything else she’s ever written!...more
Mermaid books are becoming the new paranormal “it book,” so I was a little cautious about this one. I tend to avoid b. . Review posted here at my blog.
Mermaid books are becoming the new paranormal “it book,” so I was a little cautious about this one. I tend to avoid books in whatever genre’s currently the most popular. But I was pleasantly surprised and ended up really loving this book.
Lexi is a likable character. The poor girl has been living inside her own personal hell for two years, friendless and alone, keeping her secret of having to swim every night instead of sleep. She’s shunned at school, and her only family is her elderly grandmother. But at the beginning of her senior year, Lexi’s old friend Cole starts talking to her again. Lexi, Cole, and Sienna, Lexi’s ex-best friend are thrown together for a class project, and Sienna’s iciness to Lexi begins to melt a bit.
A romance blossoms between Lexi and Cole just at the moment Lexi notices a new guy in school. Erik is wildly attractive, and Lexi is startled to see that he shares her same clear blue eyes. She finds him unsettling, but is still drawn to him.
Somehow Mandy Hubbard makes this paranormal romance feel like a contemporary one. The siren aspect of Lexi’s life is what defines her at this point in her story, but it almost seems secondary to the love triangle that emerges, and to the patched-up friendship between Lexi and Sienna. There’s also danger, intrigue, and mystery thrown in. Hubbard throws out little clues along the way that for an avid mystery reader like me make the twist a little too obvious, but the process of getting there is still fun and interesting. The book’s climactic ending is heart-pounding and satisfying.
I appreciate how Lexi is drawn to both Cole and Erik, but asks herself mature, important questions about love. She isn’t content to fall into the arms of either boy just because he’s attractive and paying her attention. For Lexi, what’s beneath the surface matters more. She’s a mature, poised heroine, which only adds to her likability.
I’ve read Hubbard’s other two YA books, Prada & Prejudice and You Wish, and I think Ripple takes Hubbard’s writing and storytelling to a new level. Perhaps her true calling is to this gritty, edgy, but still ultimately hopeful and happy, sub-genre of YA....more