26 November 2016

Review: Lost Stars

Lost Stars
by Lisa Selin Davis

Publisher: HMH Books
Publication Date: October 4, 2016

LOST STARS by Lisa Selin Davis is a coming of age novel that demonstrates the close bond between siblings and the profound influence that death has upon adolescents. Davis thoughtfully incorporates a multitude of references to 80's music and pop culture into the plot, using song lyrics to highlight protagonist Carrie’s development throughout the novel. While this novel may seem cliched at first (the ever-present love interest, tyrannical father, absent mother, and teenage angst tropes are all featured in this novel), the story ultimately centers around Carrie’s attempts to cope with her elder sister’s death. I found this novel to be engaging and thoughtfully written, and thought that the well-placed astronomy metaphors were distinct without being the focus of the story.

Review: Level Grind

Level Grind
by Annie Bellet

Publisher: Saga Press
Publication Date: October 4, 2016

In the fantasy book, Level Grind, by Annie Bellet, Jade Crow, a 50 year old sorceress, is running from her ex boyfriend, Samir, who is trying to eat her heart to gain her power. Jade runs a comic book shop with her friend Harper, a shifter who can turn into an animal. She and two other shifters help out Jade throughout the book, and they also have the assistance of Alek, another shifter who works for what shifters consider to be gods. This book is comprised of four novellas (Justice Calling, Murder of Crows, Pack of Lies, and Hunting Season), which form a chronological story. In each of the four stories, there is a main antagonist who is trying to accomplish something evil, while the threat of Samir lurks in the background. Even in the last story, Samir is not the bad guy that Jade and her friends are trying to stop.

I felt that more should have been added to some of the stories. Something bad happens, they find out why, they try to stop it and end eventually succeed, all while Jade is trying to strengthen her magic . The stories are fairly straightforward, and I think it would have been better if there was more of a plot twist per story.  At the end of each story, many of its key points are concluded, leaving not very much room for an effective cliffhanger. I think that the romance in this book does not contribute much to the story, or the development of the characters. I like that this book is fast paced at each climax and that there are small bits of detective work done to figure out what is going on for both the characters and the reader. The reader can try to figure out what is happening before the story reveals it. There are also many references to TV shows, games, comics, movies, and video games that you will only understand if you know about the specific content.

While I enjoyed reading this book, I am not sure if I would read the sequels. Nothing happens in the book that makes me want to instantly have and read the next book. I did not love nor hate this book, but I think it would have been more enjoyable if it was targeted to a more specific age.

Review: Spare and Found Parts

Spare and Found Parts
by Sarah Maria Griffin

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: October 4, 2016

Spare and Found Parts is about a girl named Nell Crane with a ticking heart who lives in a city devastated by an epidemic, and who decides to create a robot companion. The author's writing style is one that might be a little confusing at first, but then adds to the total effect of the book. I enjoyed the plot and how people are afraid of computers ever since some mysterious epidemic devastated the people on this island. I wish that the author would elaborate a bit more on what exactly happened, because I feel like it would add a lot to the total story. I also liked how she introduced different cool aspects, like secret societies, throughout the book, but I feel as if she sometimes used them as plot devices and could have used them more to improve the total story. If there were a second book, I probably would read it to see where the characters go and hopefully find out more about this novel's mysterious past. I think people who are fans of futuristic post-disaster books will enjoy this book because there are lots of cautionary notes about the dangers of technology.  

Review: Replica

by Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Date: October 4, 2016

Replica by Lauren Oliver tells the story of two different girls, intertwined by one word: clones (or shall I say replicas?). Half of the book follows Lyra, a girl who grew up in Haven Institutes, who escapes with another clone, 72, and sees the real world for the first time in her life. The other half follows Gemma, a regular girl whose life soon becomes entwined with Lyra's as she hopes to find out the truth behind what exactly goes on at Haven.

While I read this book, I really enjoyed how you can see the two different sides of the story, and how different characters experienced different versions of the same events. One thing that kind of bothered me though, was how practically entire conversations were repeated, just with slightly different commentary, which could have been avoided in order to make the book shorter and the plot more in-depth. I liked how the two sides complemented each other, and how there were equal parts of, science and romance. In the end, there was also a twist which was very well thought out, with the seeds of it even reaching back in both girls’ stories, which really helped bring the two stories together.

I would read the next book of this duology, to see exactly where Gemma and Lyra end up next in this not-so-far future tale! I would recommend this for science fiction lovers who hope to have a little romance in their next read!