27 October 2016

Review: Kids of Appetite

Kids of Appetite
by David Arnold

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

David Arnold’s KIDS OF APPETITE is a novel about affection, disappointment, and opening up to the ones you love. When Victor Benuchii III finds a letter inside his dad's urn detailing where to spread his ashes, he feels it's his duty to carry out his father's last wishes. Vic ends up joining a group of kids genuinely eager to help him. The group seeks out each site, retracing Vic’s father’s past. As each of them open up to him, he uncovers tragedy and sacrifice. Soon he finds himself infatuated with Mad, a tough girl with a tragic upbringing living with an abusive uncle. When Baz, the leader of the group, is accused of murdering Mad’s uncle, Vic and his new friends formulate a plan to free him from custody and clear his name.

David Arnold draws vivid characters that come to life on the page. You will enjoy watching their relationships with each other deepen as you read. Vic's devotion to Mad is sweet and passionate; their relationship is the highlight of the book. Throughout the fluctuating plot, this simple love ties the book together and will leave you wanting more. The plot of this book is complicated yet easy to understand, and covers a wide variety of topics, including first love, murder, and acceptance. Once you pick up KIDS OF APPETITE you won't be able to put it down.

Review: Lucy and Linh

Lucy and Linh
by Alice Pung

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: September 6, 2016

Alice Pung’s novel, LUCY AND LINH, tells the story of Lucy Lam, who gets plucked out of her Catholic school and thrown into Laurinda Girls’ College: a fancy elite prep school for girls. At Laurinda, though Lucy feels out of place, she attracts the attention of the ruling clique, The Cabinet. The more time she spends with The Cabinet, however, the less true to herself Lucy feels. The story is told through Lucy’s letters to her best friend, Linh, and Pung does an excellent job of capturing Lucy’s honest voice and developing her character as Lucy discovers what is truly important. Lucy is a grounded and strong character, and I think she will appeal to most audiences. Overall, LUCY AND LINH is both surprisingly funny and meaningful at once, and I would recommend it for ages 12 and up.

Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning

A Shadow Bright and Burning
by Jessica Cluess

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: September 20, 2016

Henrietta Howel has the power to burst into flames. She has to hide this power, but when she is forced to reveal it to save her friends, she is not executed, but taken in to train as a sorcerer. She is taken to London and declared the chosen one, but is she really? As she plays her game of deception, she must also train with a group of male sorcerers, fight terrifying monsters, and save the city and the one she loves from destruction. I really enjoyed this book. I loved how the author took the basic “chosen one” book trope and put a spin on it. I also liked how there were some characters that you started off with one feeling towards them, and then ended with a completely different feeling about them. I really enjoyed the main character—Henrietta—because she wasn’t really your typical protagonist. She did a lot of sneaking around and at times seemed like she was playing the system, which only made her more of a badass character. I can’t wait for the next book in this series! I would recommend this book for fantasy lovers because it combines awesome magic with strange yet terrifying demon-monsters.

19 October 2016

Review: Black River Falls

Black River Falls
by Jeff Hirsch

Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: July 5, 2016

The book BLACK RIVER FALLS by Jeff Hirsch is, at its core, about the value of friends and family. It's about a boy named Cardinal, who lives in a town that was taken over by a virus, and quarantined. The virus leaves its victims alive, but takes away all their memories. Cardinal has not been caught by the virus, but chooses to stay to care for a group of orphaned kids. The book was interesting to me because it made me speculate on what could happen if everyone lost their memories, and the effect that it could have on a society. I also liked the books action-packed and fast paced mystery. The depth of the book was enjoyable, with multiple side plots to keep the reader interested. I would recommend the book to anyone who really likes being able to critically analyze a fiction book, as there wasn't anything gory or gruesome, just action.