When I first picked up The End Games, I thought I was going to get a fast-paced survival story with zombies along the lines of the third season of The...moreWhen I first picked up The End Games, I thought I was going to get a fast-paced survival story with zombies along the lines of the third season of The Walking Dead. The End Games was more than that. It tells the story of a young boy's will to survive and the lengths he was willing to go through to protect his brother and reach the safe zone.
I have to be honest and say that I had a hard time reading this book. It wasn't that it was bad or anything, it was just so difficult. The book handles a lot of heavy themes like Patrick's mental and social issues, antagonists that may possibly be insane, and Michael's struggles to stabilize his state of mind. The End Games had themes similar to that of a psychological thriller, and I had to invest a lot into the story and really think because it was so easy to get confused if you didn't pay attention to some minor details.
The writing is really different from what we're used to in the world of YA. It's much more complex and literary, reminiscent of the writing used in well-loved contemporary classics. The main character in the book is a teenager, but the narration treats the reader like an adult. Michael still sticks to his teenage jargon and is known for shouting out internet lingo like the word 'newb' but there was just something about the writing that made it sound so grown up. The book doesn't scrimp on the gory details and harsh realities either. The unique writing style may have taken a while for me to get used to but I learned to appreciate and enjoy it.
I struggled with the narration a bit because the main character, Michael, had a lot of issues with himself that were dealt with so vividly and I felt like he brought me along for the ride. He didn't understand himself completely, making it hard for me to understand him. I really admired his strength and dedication to his brother Patrick though and I really felt his growth as the story progressed. Patrick, on the other hand, was so hard to bear with. He's just a five year old boy and most of his actions were understandable even though he ruins everything almost every time. He really annoyed me but since I guess that is what the author wanted, I think he's a really well-written character. The supporting characters and antagonists were also very well-rounded and entertaining, and I enjoyed their contributions to the book.
The world that T. Michael Martin created for The End Games was new to me, but I welcomed it with open arms. When I read a post-apocalyptic novel I have to believe in it completely and leave no holes for plot holes and doubts, and that's exactly what this book gave me. Unlike most dystopian books, the story doesn't take place years or centuries after the end but places us just a few weeks after the supposed 'end of the world'. I also loved the author's fresh new take on zombies and the living dead and how they came to be.
The End Games actually opens up right in the middle of the action and we're immediately thrown into this world of darkness and monsters. The plot was evenly paced and even though a lot of major details were kept a secret early on, they were gradually revealed throughout the book during the perfect times. There was never a time that I had a question that would go unanswered. There were a lot of instances where I thought that it was done and over, but another curveball gets thrown our way and the book kept me on my toes.
At the end of the day, the best aspect of this book is Michael's love for his little brother Patrick. It's the whole reason for this story, actually. The strength they gave each other and their trust in one another confounded me and left me with awe. The array of emotions I felt while reading this book was so real, so breathtaking, and so raw.
The End Games is a masterful debut with equal parts innocence and darkness about redemption, second chances, love, and finding yourself in the darkest situations.
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This isn't your ordinary zombie book. Reboot introduces us to a world where some people, people whose bodies can adapt to the mutation given by an epi...moreThis isn't your ordinary zombie book. Reboot introduces us to a world where some people, people whose bodies can adapt to the mutation given by an epidemic disease, rise from the dead and become stronger, faster, and less prone to human emotion. A government agency called HARC uses these living dead called the reboots to fight as soldiers and perform brutal tasks with no questions asked.
Wren rebooted after 178 minutes, making her the deadliest and most highly feared Reboot. The humans that patrol the HARC base are terrified of her and the lower reboots know to stay away. The only people who treated her like a person were Leb, one of the few humans at HARC who treated reboots with respect, and Ever, her 'under sixty' roommate and the closest Wren had to a friend. Wren was okay with the reputation of being a monster who enjoyed killing and found some truth in it until Callum came along. Callum is a 22 and one of the weakest reboots in the base. Wren usually chooses to train the reboot with the highest number, but something about Callum and his unabashed humane self intrigues her and chooses him to be her trainee, surprising the other reboots, the humans, and Wren herself.
Being Callum's trainer changes Wren and she starts to feel the human emotions she thought she would never feel again. She starts to break the rules she has followed for the past five years, and allows herself to show compassion towards others. These emotions make Wren start to wonder when she gets called to do private missions and Ever and the other under sixties start to act strange and less sane. When Callum refuses to kill a human during one of their field missions, the president of HARC orders her to get rid of him but she silently refuses to kill Callum and enlists Leb to help her and Callum escape to a place where reboots get to live free from HARC's influence.
Amy Tintera's writing as Wren echoed the voice of a true reboot: strong, assured, confident, and calculating. But it also had just the right amount of bits of emotion that sprawled across the pages, showing us the humane side of Wren that was bursting at the seams.Wren was convinced that she was the heartless and bloodthirst creature that everyone thought her to be and it was true during the first parts of the book but as the story gradually progresses, you'll see Wren finally coming into terms with why she enjoyed killing and why she kept her emotions bottled up. Callum was incredibly cute and very very human. It was hard to believe that he was a reboot. With that playful smile of his and that curious glint in his eyes, he was just what Wren needed in her life. Callum was an overactive ball of sunshine; always looking at the bright side of things and never backing down whenever Wren dismissed his playful advances.
Reboot was an incredible fast-paced and adrenaline filled book with kickass and endearing characters and unbelievable twists that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The action scenes were vividly set out for the reader and the romance was cute and sweet. Reboot lived up to the expectations of it's cleverly unique plot that plays with what being human truly means. It perfectly laid out the framework for a series that i'm sure will be more than amazing, showing us glimpses of Wren's tragic past that i'm sure will slowly be uncovered in the succeeding books, and leaving us with questions that are dying to be answered. My only complaint about the book is that it unnecessarily rushed through some major events during the last part of the book. Filled with just the right amount of humor and innocent romance that balances out the gore and harsh realities, Reboot is one of the best young adult debut novels of the year.
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I don't know how to describe the intense love-hate relationship I had with Nantucket Blue. The plot of the book was so simple, perfect for a quick summer read. The writing style was uncomplicated and the characters were ordinary However, there was something about this book that slowly captured my full attention.
Cricket Thompson is probably the most realistic young adult protagonist that I have ever come across. She had a lot of flaws; she was heavily reliant on other people and thought too much about the opinions of others, and she let other people walk all over her without defending herself. Cricket was overly attached to her friend Jules to the point that she refused to realize the way Jules was mistreating her and made excuses for Jules' actions to reassure herself. She was very stubborn and refused to face the hard truths in life.
The relationships portrayed in Nantucket Blue were also very believable. The bases of old relationships were clearly portrayed and the process of how new relationships were formed was very intricate and gave the readers a play-by-play of it all without being too over detailed. The 'friendship' between Cricket and Jules was complicated and messy and I think that they just used each other without knowing it. The romance in the book was predictable but still extremely cute and sweet, as how any summer romance should be.
What I liked is that even though Cricket denied her flaws so much, they were so evident in the book because of little tidbits that were seamlessly weaved into the story and the dialogue. It was so easy to get annoyed at Cricket because of the decisions she made but you can really see her growth as the story progresses. The Cricket Thompson who went to Nantucket to chase her summer dreams became a different person at the end of the summer, and that, I think, is what's important.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the supporting characters and the subplots in the book. Nantucket Blue isn't just a story about Cricket's summer, it is about the summer of an incredibly diverse set of people who eventually find themselves connected to one another. Strangers, old friends, and family members played a huge role in Nantucket Blue and helped Cricket discover her capabilities and self-confidence.
The beauty of Nantucket Blue, I think, is in the sheer simplicity of it. The book was written in a beautiful yet unpretentious and simple prose that somehow brought life to every word. A reader could easily visualize the things Cricket was seeing, showing us the true glory of Nantucket through words. The dialogue was, again, so simple, but was incredibly raw and transparent. Every kind of emotion and vulnerability was thrown at me through thoughts and expressions and body languages, and the entire experience was surreal
Leila Howland wrote a beautiful coming of age book that resonated with the allure of a masterful contemporary: bold, honest, real, and speaks to the heart. It did not end on a high part; the book sort of fell flat somewhere towards the ending and a lot of problems were unresolved, but it did not matter. It didn't matter because that's the way life really goes; love, death, drama, fear, and hope. There are some things that we cannot take back, but there is always hope. Cricket started to believe in herself and she started to hope, and she made me believe and hope along with her.(less)
Fiona McClean hates her family, has had to move to a new school and seems to be completely invisible to the boy she likes. So far so normal, right? Bu...moreFiona McClean hates her family, has had to move to a new school and seems to be completely invisible to the boy she likes. So far so normal, right? But Fiona really is invisible. She doesn't even know what colour her own hair is.
Born into a world where Cold War anti-radiation pills have caused genetic mutations, Fiona is forced to work for her mind-controlling mobster father as the world's most effective thief. When her father announces she must become a murdering assassin, Fiona and her telekinetic mother make a break for freedom. Running to a small Arizonian town, Fiona finds that playing at 'normal life' with a mother on the edge, a brother she can't trust, and a boy who drives her crazy is as impossible as escaping her father.
I entered Fiona McClean's world the way I would enter a classroom on the first day of school, expectant but slightly hesitant. I really wasn't sure how to react to the blurb because it had so much going on. Family problems? Mutants? Mafia? Heck, it was even advertised as The Godfather meets X-Men. It already packed a heavy punch, and if you roll it all up with the fact that this is a young adult book with high school and boys, you really just don't know what to expect.
Transparent started out slow, introducing us to the mafia syndicate world that Fiona was born into. The author writes in a precise way that slowly made me felt at ease about all the information about syndicates and pills that strengthen mutation that bombarded me at every flip of the page. It was all so easy to read and I soon found myself settling into the plot and the world that Fiona lived in.
Fiona wasn't an easy protagonist to like because she had all these faults about her. I mean, you can't expect her to be a sweet little Mary Sue considering the way that her father brought her up. She spent most of her life performing missions and stealing for a mafia syndicate, so she had all these walls and reservations, always feeling unease whenever someone shows the slightest kindness towards her. Her older brother Graham often abused her by flying her way up into the sky and dropping her to the ground, so the only person she truly trusted was her other brother Miles who had a useless mutation and was considered nothing in the eyes of their father.
When her mother took her to a small town in Arizona and enrolled her in high school, it was like her whole world and everything she was taught changed. Everyone stared at her and poised her as a threat to their peaceful town, but Brady and Bea, mutants like herself, came to her aide and became the first two real friends she ever had. Her world slowly opened up to kindness in the form of a family of mutants, the Navarro family, and Brady's brother Seth. I slowly learned to love Fiona as she went through all these changes and became so much stronger because of the people that she let into her life.
Seth. Can someone please find a pen and add him to my list of book boyfriends? Pretty please? This boy right here is the guy for me. I love Natalie Whipple for creating a character like Seth; someone who everyone relies on to fix things, but is so dreadfully broken himself. Seth and Brody have a really complicated family, and Seth took the reins by becoming the man of the house early on and grew up fast so that Brody didn't have to. Seth tutors math for the extra cash and lives for the subject because as long as you know the process, you'll always have a solution to the problem.
He's really rude to Fiona and is pretty blunt about things, but he has his reasons. Seth is broody, awkward, shy, blunt, geeky, courageous, hesitant, and a complete whirlwind of emotions. I'm guessing that some people will vote for Brody, but I'm Team Seth all the way. He's probably the best thing to happen to Fiona, and her to him. I'm going at a length here by saying that Fiona is basically Scott Summers and Seth is Jean Grey. Yep. Go away, Wolverine! (Yes, I know what happens to Jean and Scott's relationship. Yes, I still stand by my point.)
The plot seemed like a mess to be honest, but it started to clear out along the way and everything fell into it's perfect place. Natalie's writing was so easy to understand and flowed so perfectly, I didn't have to retrace my steps. Her skill for writing characters so incredibly real astounds me to the core and for that reason, I will continue to look forward to her future work. I loved every character in this book, major or not. Transparent in set in a world much like the X-Men universe, where mutants were common but feared upon for no reason. The difference being that Natalie Whipple took all of that and added just the right amount of reality and humanity into it. Each and every one of her characters had a story to them, and these stories are our stories.
And how do you wrap off a story like this, you ask? I'm not giving anything away. Let's just say that it tugged on the seams of my heart and warmed my soul. By the time I read the last sentence, I was smiling from ear to ear.
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