This book was given to me in .pdf format by the author in exchange for a fair review.
This is a decent, quick read. While I liked it well enough, teen...moreThis book was given to me in .pdf format by the author in exchange for a fair review.
This is a decent, quick read. While I liked it well enough, teens and young adults will probably get a lot more enjoyment out of it than I did... and people who are totally into the zombie apocalypse, of course. I'm not. I love me a good 'end of the world is nigh' book, but zombies don't do it for me.
What I really liked: The two main characters were believable. They both had strength with vulnerability, fear with courage, grief with determination to push forward. They were plausible, well-rounded characters. The was their relationship developed felt reasonably organic. I hate it when books that feature teens or young adults portray them as being SO in LOVE right away that they just CAN'T live without each other and every thought that the reader is subjected to is about that love and the fear of loss. There was none of that here. They were companions of convenience who each thought they'd probably be okay without the other but being together was easier. Then their friendship and reliance on each other developed. DEVELOPED, meaning they didn't just jump into bed with each other... and they weren't all angsty about their lack of play!
What I liked: The fear of judgement and playing feelings close to the vest displayed by both main characters. Whether it's a mental illness or having abandoned a love one, nobody wants the person they are trying to rely on know how screwed up they are. This felt real.
What I didn't care for: The zombies were basically exactly what anyone who watched Zombieland or read The Zombie Survival Guide would expect. In other words, all the ninnies who actually have 'Zombie Apocalypse Survival Teams' would have no surprises. At times this made it seem like I was reading a 'how to' manual and pulled me out of the story.
What annoyed me lots:There were inconsistencies that kept pulling me out of the story. The zombies follow where humans went more or less mindlessly, yet they are climbing all over catwalks that haven't had humans on them in decades. The grocery store has booze and prescription drugs, but not antibiotics, peroxide, neosporin, or other first aid supplies that can help with injuries and infection. Even if the place was looted, that doesn't make logical sense to me. Also, I kept feeling like pieces of the river were missing. There were absent bridges, lack of current in places that should be difficult to row, etc. I'm willing to let that stuff go since most of the people who read this won't be as familiar with the area as I am so it won't bug them. But it had me questioning my memory, looking at the river a lot on my drive to work, and checking maps... which for me distracted from the plot. Missing bits aren't usually an issue for me. After all, I don't need to know every single detail of a journey. But from my point of view the parts that were missing added to the overall inconsistency in zombie behavior.
Overall, I liked this book well enough. If I had a hard copy I'd donate it to the school and the teens would like it even more than I and I would feel comfortable letting them read it.
Side note: The cover art was kind of chitzy. Would it have been that hard to find a stock picture of the Portland skyline to have in front of the girl? It would add to the whole, "Hey! This is set in my area! I think I'll read it!" feeling that prompts people to buy local authors. (less)
This book was given to me in .pdf format by the author in exchange for a fair review.
This is a quick read which takes up right where Until the End en...moreThis book was given to me in .pdf format by the author in exchange for a fair review.
This is a quick read which takes up right where Until the End ended. Like the first one, teens, young adults, and people who are totally into the zombie apocalypse will probably get a lot more enjoyment out of it than I did. I'm just not that into zombies.
What I really liked: I enjoyed the addition of Syd. He was believable in his overprotectiveness and surliness. The tension of three people in such close quarters was palpable.
What I liked: A couple of the new characters filled out the cast well and added to the growth of the primary characters.
What I didn't care for: I said this in the review for the first book, but it still applies. The zombies were basically exactly what anyone who watched Zombieland or read The Zombie Survival Guide would expect. In other words, all the ninnies who actually have 'Zombie Apocalypse Survival Teams' will have no surprises. At times this made it seem like I was reading a 'how to' manual and pulled me out of the story.
What annoyed me lots: Again there were inconsistencies that kept pulling me out of the story. Also, I find it completely implausible that an older man who lives in the valley and is the least bit outdoorsy would not have heard of places referenced in the book. It's a tiny detail that won't matter to people who aren't from here, but it pulled me out of the story.
Overall, I liked this book better than the first. It felt more like a complete book than the first one. (less)
This book was okay. I'd rate it maybe 3.5 stars but something makes me want to round down where I'd normally round up.
Some of these kids acted in bel...moreThis book was okay. I'd rate it maybe 3.5 stars but something makes me want to round down where I'd normally round up.
Some of these kids acted in believable ways and the relationships and interactions rang true and elicited a bit of emotion from me. But most felt too similar to each other, or they were stereotypes. The jock was a jock. His buddy the d*ck stayed a d*ck. The pre-teen who wanted to be one of the cool kids was never anything else. And of course the boy scout was always a boy scout. There wasn't really any dimension or development in most of the characters.
Here's my number one issue: This book was told from the perspective of a teen boy, a junior in high school, who is painted as this great writer. That should have led to some interesting prose. Instead, his voice was closer to a middle schooler-- not even a particularly bright middle schooler. It was frustrating to me. I had to keep reminding myself of everyone's ages.
My other issue is that EVERYTHING went wrong on the outside. Really, Did we need a super-tsunami, giant hailstorm, mega-quake, AND chemical warfare test spill at NORAD down the street? And all of this stuff happened the first day. It didn't take any time at all for the tsunami to cause weather changes, or for the weather to cause the earthquake. And somehow this shopping center is more structurally sound than the NORAD facility... it's just all too much.
But I didn't hate it. If I treated the book like the main character and his brother were closer in age and neither was older than a freshman I could get into it and suspend disbelief enough to care a little about the two main characters at least. I think the 11-13 age group might like this book, except that some of the content might not be too appropriate. But maybe I'm just overprotective.
Oh! The other weird thing was that near the end of the book two new characters are introduced and the author keeps using their names interchangeably. I seriously flipped back and forth four or five times before I figured out that the character names were wrong. (view spoiler)[A character got shot and another was sick but the author kept going back and forth on which one was dead (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
1.5 rounded up to 2 because I liked the fact that the Dystopia was due to a State religion. A lot of the complaints about this book are that the autho...more1.5 rounded up to 2 because I liked the fact that the Dystopia was due to a State religion. A lot of the complaints about this book are that the author doesn't tell us how the world got to that point. That was the one thing that I didn't have an issue with. I can look at how little separation of church and state matters to many of our current politicians... how legislative decisions are made based on supposed Christian morality (except the whole 'love your neighbor' and 'care for the meek and the widow' bit... that part of Christianity is conveniently forgotten in the writing of laws) and I can absolutely see how we could get to the point the government is at in this novel. I liked that premise well enough to finish this book and generously round up to two stars.
But man oh man I loathed the main character. Seriously, how did such a whiny little snot survive to be part of the novel to begin with? I would have expected her to die during the war that is alluded to, or to have been arrested long before the opening of the book. I can't imagine she was EVER the kind of person to inspire the kind of devotion the male love interest has for her. Why do YA authors keep writing these weak, miserable, whiny heroines? I'm sure Kristen Stewart will play her if they make a movie.
Mom had me out of wedlock so I'm put in reform school. I screw a few people over in my escape attempt. I'm rescued by my childhood sweetheart who 'sold out' by being DRAFTED (because that is so much within his control). I treat him like crap. I put us in a dangerous situation, he rescues me, I treat him like crap. Wash. Repeat. Wash. Repeat 5-6 more times. Wait! Maybe my government is the problem, not the guy who keeps rescuing me. The end. (less)
I really need to be less of a completest. You are not required to read a whole series just because you re...moreAll I can say is, "At least it's over with."
I really need to be less of a completest. You are not required to read a whole series just because you read the first book.
There are so many plot holes in this story. And while everybody conveniently lives happily ever after, how they got there is either unexplained or implausible. Please don't mistake omission of information for subtlety.
When I'm done with the current pile of teen schlock I have checked out I'm going back to grown-up books for awhile. Maybe in a few years YA authors will figure out that teens care about more than romance and descriptions of pretty clothes. (less)
I liked this book a tiny bit better than Matched, but not enough to give it another star. Since this story is told from Ky's point of view as much as...moreI liked this book a tiny bit better than Matched, but not enough to give it another star. Since this story is told from Ky's point of view as much as Cassia's, it isn't a complete yawn-fest of waiting for Cassia to stop whining about how much she misses Ky. Ky actually occasionally focuses on other things, like helping others, putting together his past, and... you know... trying to LIVE. He wants to find her, but doesn't immediately go for everything she suggests/insists upon/wants.
Crossed follows Cassia and Ky in their search for The Rebellion. It opens with Cassia's parents somehow being totally fine with her going to a slave camp in order to be closer to where she thinks Ky has been sent, even though they've seen first-hand how their government treats people in those outlying towns and camps. They set out from different places with no way of communicating with each other but somehow end up crossing paths. Of course they pick up a couple of loyal-ish sidekicks along the way-- characters introduced to allow Condie to avoid spending much time developing the ones already present.
An acquaintance asked, "But Clack! You loved The Hunger Games, and IT was a love triangle in a dystopic world too. HOW can you hate Matched so much?!?" Here's the difference: Katniss had two boys interested in her. She didn't really care. That's not a love triangle. She thought about other stuff and rarely focused on the boys at all. Hunger Games is Dystopic Fiction with teen primary characters. On the other hand, Cassia has two boys interested in her but
OMG! She just LOVES them both SO MUCH and it's SO hard to decide and OMG now that she's decided she just can't POSSIBLY live without him and if she doesn't find him and live happily ever after she'll just DIE!
Matched is a teen love triangle against a dystopic backdrop. There's a difference folks. (less)
It makes me sad that there are people reading this who think that Condie is a creative genius. What I read was a teen love triangle, not even a partic...moreIt makes me sad that there are people reading this who think that Condie is a creative genius. What I read was a teen love triangle, not even a particularly interesting one, that took place in the city down the road from the town in The Giver. No, Lois Lowry didn't talk about that city, but since all of the elements that made the community in The Giver so unique and interesting are present in Condie's city, it's easy to imagine that they are the same world. Even so, I might be okay with the blatant rip-offs if Condie had added anything interesting. But her additions were so luke-warm that my eyes glazed over time and time again.
Maybe I'm just too old. I read teen fiction all of the time because I select books for the library at work. Dystopic fiction is one of my favorite genres. But still this book was just 'eh' for me. The characters weren't interesting. Strike that; Cassia's grandpa was the only character who was the least bit interesting (view spoiler)[and he died early on (hide spoiler)]. The love interests Ky and Xander were interesting enough for teen romance love interests, which are not expected to have any dimension or be developed. Their interest in Cassia didn't make sense though. As a main character Cassia was just 'bleh'. She was supposed to be this super smart girl who was the best of the best at the job she was being trained for, but she was incapable of rational decision-making. She was supposed to be SO worthy of affection but when given the opportunity she just uses people.
Not exactly a role-model.
I know I've said this before, but teen love triangles against a dystopic backdrop do NOT "Dystopic Fiction" make. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Kristen Stewart has too much personality to play Mary, the lead in Forest of Hands and Teeth.
Selfish girl lives in a village surrounded by zombies, w...moreKristen Stewart has too much personality to play Mary, the lead in Forest of Hands and Teeth.
Selfish girl lives in a village surrounded by zombies, which are kept out by a CHAIN LINK FENCE. Girl really wants to see the beach and doesn't care if pursuing her dream endangers or kills everyone else, even those she says she loves. This "love" she speaks of? We never see evidence of it.
I would have liked to know more about the Sisterhood, the other villages, the "fast ones", and the village designers. I would have liked to know less about Mary (like, way less... like, she could have been left out... instead of her, we could have just let a narrator tell us what he sees looking in on the situation from the sky) and her love interests (yes interestS... it wouldn't be written for teens without a love triangle.)
This book is Lord of the Flies with a splash of Ender's Game and a twist of Stepford Wives set in a boarding school... sadly though, not even close to...moreThis book is Lord of the Flies with a splash of Ender's Game and a twist of Stepford Wives set in a boarding school... sadly though, not even close to as good as any of the classics listed.
I wanted to like this book but just didn't. There was nothing plausible or interesting about it. (less)
Usually when I finish a YA book I either take it to my son with a "Read this now! It's amazing!" (Yes. I'm THAT enthusiastic.) or I tell him I didn't...moreUsually when I finish a YA book I either take it to my son with a "Read this now! It's amazing!" (Yes. I'm THAT enthusiastic.) or I tell him I didn't like it but if he wants to read it he can fnd it in the donation box.
Ship Breakers was different. I finished it and wasn't sure what to do. I took it to him and said, "This book is okay. It's maybe worth reading... sometime... if you're bored... It's not NOT worth reading anyway." It isn't quite donation box material because there's some good stuff in the first 90 pages or so. But I certainly can't recommend it with any enthusiasm.
What gave this book stars:
The world of the future was plausible and interesting (though a tad preachy about global warming). The polar caps have melted and the coastal cities of today are underwater. Fossil fuels are used up so air travel has ceased and land vehicle travel is rare. Overland travel is now via mag-train, and the main travel is clipper ship. The descriptions of the clipper ships are fantastic. I want one NOW (she says in a very Veruca Salt tone).
The power in the world is held by corporations, which are run by mob-like families. The families have dynasties and in-fighting and really interact in ways not dissimilar to the poor.
The poor (In MOST of this book, anyway. We discover later that there are poorer in the cities) are the Ship Breakers who live in huts on the coastlines. They are salvagers. They tear apart today's ships to get metals and oil which are sold to the corporations to be recycled. This society has crew loyalties which are stronger than family loyalties. If you aren't small enough to climb around in ducts, or big enough to haul steel you're probably going to have to start selling your organs... unless you get a Lucky Strike. Everyone is hoping for a Lucky Strike; everyone wants to find something they can sell privately to get out of this life, to not have to risk their life every day.
Why this book lost stars:
I didn't particularly like the main character. He just wasn't interesting. I understand that I was supposed to like him because of the way he stood out against the rest of the world in the way he made decisions, but it didn't work for me. There was rarely anything interesting going on in his head, just the conflict between making money and doing the right thing... the same conflict and his rationalizations over and over. There were several supporting characters who seemed more interesting. I would have rather been in their heads or had multiple points of view.
The conflict between the main character and the primary bad guy didn't make much sense. I don't believe that the boy would have continued to go anywhere near him after the first couple of beatings. The main character has other people who are described as caring about him. I don't believe that they would have allowed the kid to keep going back.
Finally, at several points I felt the author's attempts to be PC pulled me right out of the story. I kept hearing the tune to "Jesus Loves the Little Children" going through my head.
Paolo loves the little children All the children on his crew Red and yellow, black and white They all die with equal fright Paolo loves the little children of his world!
To conclude, my opinion of this book was "eh".(less)
This is a sweet book about a young girl learning to step out of the box she was born into. Winnie is the daughter of the wealthiest family in town and...moreThis is a sweet book about a young girl learning to step out of the box she was born into. Winnie is the daughter of the wealthiest family in town and her family is very overprotective. She lives next to a wood which is owned by her family but is never allowed to leave the protection of the yard. When she finally gets up the courage to break the rule and goes out of the yard to chase what she thinks might be fairy music, she opens her world to much much more.
This book was written for the 8-10 crowd so definitely there wasn't enough plot or character depth to keep me interested, but it was appropriate for the age group. What I DIDN'T feel was appropriate for the age group was the interaction between Jessie and Winnie. Jessie is a man who has decades of experience, in the body of a 17 year old. Winnie is a 10 year old girl who has led a sheltered life. Yet Jessie asks Winnie to drink the water when she gets a couple of years older so they can get married and live happily ever after forever. Does anyone else see the problem with this? He's a fricking pedophile. Pedophilia disguised as children's fantasy is not fantastic. (less)
Oi... This was not a pleasant book. But it was very good. It is written in first person and takes the form of a letter that the narrator is writing fo...moreOi... This was not a pleasant book. But it was very good. It is written in first person and takes the form of a letter that the narrator is writing for his youngest sister so that she can later understand the level of abuse they all suffered at the hands of their mother. Werlin described the incidents as they really would have been seen and interpreted by a boy of 13-14.
Anyone who has been through childhood abuse will identify with Matthew and the walking on eggshells and constant gauging the mood of the abuser. They will understand his hope for a hero, and his fear of his hope. Readers will feel his frustration at the way adults don't really listen or take seriously the abuse until it's almost too late. Hopefully they'll understand why so many abused and neglected kids, particularly those with siblings to look after, don't tell anyone.... and don't just leave.(less)
I'm not sure whether I liked this book or hated it. Banks did a great job making Bone's narration sound authentic. But I got tired of hearing it. Bond...moreI'm not sure whether I liked this book or hated it. Banks did a great job making Bone's narration sound authentic. But I got tired of hearing it. Bond's reactions to his upbringing was realistic. But since we don't find out about it until halfway in, the first half felt contrived and the situations Bone put himself in felt forced. That Bone was able to get on an international flight without a passport was ridiculous, though since it was 1995, it was slightly (VERY slightly) more plausible than it would be today.
I'm torn on whether this one belongs in the library at work (a secure dual diagnosis facility for teens). On the one hand it would be good to see a book in which pot is actually treated like an addictive drug. In fact, Bone uses many of the same arguments and rationalizations that the work kids use. It's also good that this is a younger teen, since so many books that deal with these issues have older main characters that younger teens (who DO have the save issues) get left out. Bone's inability to talk honestly with his mom (or anyone, for that matter) about abuses or her neglect is a theme I read about in client papers frequently. The dream of finding the absent parent is also. So there is a lot that the kids at work could relate to in this.... and maybe through Bone they could address some of their own thinking errors.
But man oh man the TRIGGERS. The drug use, the abuse, the neglect, the running away, the ganja Rasta culture... and the fact that while Bone does start to make better choices, he is still led by the advice of a drug dealer and never starts looking for answers within himself. At the end of the book he is still looking for a magical wand (change of scenery) to make his life better. This would definitely be a book to be read only with therapist permission.(less)
This book seemed geared for the middle school audience, but I still enjoyed it. It was a fun, quick read on a rainy day.
The world that Falls created...moreThis book seemed geared for the middle school audience, but I still enjoyed it. It was a fun, quick read on a rainy day.
The world that Falls created is intriguing... I kind of want to start a homestead of my own. Kids are pretty universally interested in marine life, even if they don't particularly enjoy the water. I'm pretty sure that the descriptions of the underwater farms and other parts of The Deep will fascinate younger readers.
The story was predictable in parts, but then again, I'm not the target audience. The only character that didn't read flat to me was the main boy, Ty. But I don't think that is unusual for first person narratives.
All in all, this book is worth reading for ages 10-15 or 16. There's nothing here inappropriate for younger readers, and the writing style and vocabulary are simple. Once my son is done I'll probably pass it along to my 10 year old niece. I also expect to read the sequel.(less)