30 December 2016

Review: The Boomerang Effect

The Boomerang Effect
by Gordon Jack

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: November 8, 2016

THE BOOMERANG EFFECT by Gordon Jack is about a troubled teen named Lawrence Barry. He becomes addicted to weed so he can fit in with his friends. But after he does a prank, the school puts him in a mentorship program instead of expelling him. Someone starts vandalizing the school during Homecoming week and everyone thinks it's Lawrence. Lawrence and Spencer (his mentee) have to clear Lawrence's name. While all this is happening, Lawrence has to figure himself out. Overall, I thought this was a great book. It covered some pretty deep topics but stayed a light and funny book. I liked the writing style. The plot was well thought out and it kept me reading. It was a great debut book for Gordon Jack and I hope to read more of his books in the future.

Review: The Amateurs

The Amateurs
by Sara Shepard

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: November 1, 2016

THE AMATEURS by Sara Shepard is about Seneca Frazier, an amateur detective. She’s obsessed with a message board, Case Not Closed, dedicated to investigating unsolved cases. So when a friend from Case Not Closed, Maddox, offers Seneca a chance to stay in his guesthouse and work on a particularly gruesome murder committed in his affluent hometown of Dexby, Seneca jumps at the opportunity. In Dexby, Seneca connects with the murdered girl’s younger sister and two of Maddox’s friends.

The team gets to work interrogating suspects in a case the police deemed unsolvable. They soon find themselves unearthing the town’s darkest secrets. Behind the fa├žade, the well-off residents of Dexby are hiding drug problems, affairs, and a serial killer. To make matters worse, the murderer is alive and well, and he’s watching the sleuths’ every move.

THE AMATEURS is a fast-paced, engrossing novel. It’s full of romance, suspicion, and danger. The characters are believable, and readers will feel intensely invested in them. The plot twist at the end is shocking. Fans of PRETTY LITTLE LIARS will love another fun, fast read from Sara Shepard.

Review: The Sun Is Also A Star

The Sun Is Also A Star
by Nicola Yoon

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: November 1, 2016

THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR by Nicola Yoon is a gorgeously written young adult romance. Even though this isn’t the type of book I usually seek out, Yoon’s writing ability is incredible. The characters are flawed, funny, and completely believable. While the plot was far fetched at times, part of the magic of this book is that the characters themselves recognize the rare circumstances of the story and continually question the legitimacy of “love at first sight”. The novel focuses on the intertwining stories of two teenagers, Natasha and Daniel, in a twelve hour time period. Natasha is preparing to be deported and is fighting to remain in America, while Daniel is facing harsh parental pressure. While this story is first and foremost a romance, it offers many brief but powerful insights into more minor characters, touching on themes such as suicide, depression, and racism. Ultimately, the events that occur over the course of these twelve hours change the lives of almost everyone involved.


Review: The Diabolic

The Diabolic
by S. J. Kincaid

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 1, 2016

In the dystopian novel THE DIABOLIC, by S.J. Kincaid, Nemesis, a Diabolic, devoted her entire life to protecting Sidonia Impyrean (Donia) at any cost necessary; it was what she was created to do. As a result of Senator Impyrean, Sidonia’s father, committing a treacherous act against the empire, Sidonia is summoned to the Emperor's palace, the Chrysanthemum. Nemesis, realizing that Donia is in danger, poses as Sidonia and goes to the Chrysanthemum in her place to protect her, convincing everyone that she is Sidonia Impyrean. When the Emperor damages Nemesis in a way she could not predict, Nemesis plots to kill the Emperor with the help of his crazed nephew and heir, Tyrus Dometrean. Throughout the book, Tyrus helps Nemesis realize that she has human aspects in her when she thought she had none, and causes her to realize that it is possible for her to have emotions the way others do.

I enjoyed reading THE DIABOLIC, and I would give it a rating of seven out of ten stars. There was good character development for most of the main characters, and some of the main characters, such as Tyrus, have their background briefly explained later in the book where it has a greater effect. When Nemesis is collaborating with Tyrus, she forms a small bond with him. This connection evolves throughout their partnership and Nemesis realizes that she is forming a connection to someone other than Sidonia, which mortifies her. Still under the grip of the Emperor, she realizes that she may never see Sidonia again, failing her one purpose in life. This eventually makes her less reluctant to bond with Tyrus, and forms somewhat of a love triangle between her, Sidonia, and Tyrus. Nemesis’s love for Tyrus seems a little bit unnatural to me because Tyrus is the first person Nemesis allowed herself to attach to, not because he was the first person she was attracted to, but because he was the first person to attach to after Nemesis’s realization about Sidonia. When Nemesis first arrived in the Chrysanthemum, the Emperor commands her to tell one of her Servitors (human-like creatures unable to think) to skin herself alive, which has some vivid imagery of the gruesome flay. There is one character who seemingly dies, but then is revealed to be alive, but then dies for real in the presence of Nemesis shortly after they reunite. I did not like this story arc because while it does cause emotional trauma for Nemesis needed for the story, it does not do much for the reader. I have already experienced this character's death, and it has less of an impact the second time, even though Nemesis’s presence makes it much more sad. I think it would have been better to either have that character seemingly die, or only die the second time. There is also a point in the story where the Emperor destroys numerous entire planets. There is a sense of loss and grief in the following chapters, but in my opinion, there was an extreme disregard to the actuality of the loss. These people are sad and scared that they lost their homes and families, but very few people show it. To me, this book resembles a mixture of SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD and PATHFINDER. If there was a sequel to this book, I would want to read it. I would also want to read other books by S.J. Kincaid after reading this, but this book does not make me want to put her other books at the top of my list.

Review: The Romantics

The Romantics
by Leah Konen

Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: November 1, 2016

THE ROMANTICS by Leah Konen is a romantic comedy about high-school romance with a unique twist: Love itself is the narrator. Love tells the story of Gael Brennen, a high-school senior, as he struggles with heartbreak and relationships while his family is crumbling around him. Although I thought this book was cliche and very cheesy, I found myself not being able to put it down because of the striking characters and interesting plot twists. It was very clever to have the story be told from the perspective of Love as I have never heard of a book written that way. I enjoyed the references to famous movies and books throughout it and thought it was a very witty story overall.

Review: Ryan Quinn and the Rebel's Escape

Ryan Quinn and the Rebel's Escape
by Ron McGee

Publisher: HarperCollins

Publication Date: October 25, 2016

RYAN QUINN AND THE REBEL'S ESCAPE, by Ron McGee, is an action-packed thriller with tons of plot twists. The main character is a boy named Ryan Quinn who finds out his parents are part of an organization called the Emergency Rescue Committee. The ERC is an organization dating back to World War II; their charge, to save righteous people in danger. When, on a mission, his dad vanishes and his mother gets taken, Ryan has to figure out what's going on and save his parents from imminent death. I highly recommend reading this book if you are into constant action and a fast paced page turner. This is Ron Mcgee's novel writing debut and I think he started with a bang. I finished this book in one day; I couldn't bring myself to put it down!!


Review: Pushing Perfect

Pushing Perfect
by Michelle Falkoff

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: October 25, 2016

In PUSHING PERFECT by Michelle Falkoff, Kara has strived to be perfect her entire life. She’s gotten straight A’s, been a star student, and met her parents’ absurdly high expectations time and time again. Her ultimate goal is to be accepted to Harvard University where she can finally be free of her parents’ suffocating pressure. The only roadblock in her way is the SATs. It’s the one thing that terrifies her the most. So when a new friend mentions an illicit drug, Novalert, Kara thinks it might be the perfect thing to calm her mind on test day.

Her decision to buy and take Novalert sets in motion a chain of events that will threaten her future and expose her darkest secrets. A Blocked Sender gets their hands on a picture of Kara handing over money for the drugs and Kara soon realizes that she can’t trust anyone, not even the people she thinks are her friends. She must unravel a complicated web of lies, secrets, and blackmail.

This fast-paced, unpredictable novel will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Michelle Falkoff’s characters are realistic and likable, and you will find yourself invested in Kara’s story. Full of suspense and mystery, Pushing Perfect is a page-turner. Readers will be shocked by the plot-twist at the end!  

29 December 2016

Review: Saving Red

Saving Red 
by Sonya Sones 

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: October 18, 2016

SAVING RED tells the story of fourteen-year-old Molly Rosenberg’s relationship with Red, a homeless teenager Molly meets in Santa Monica, California. Though their friendship begins with Molly desperately trying to complete her school’s community service requirement, the two girls quickly grow to find comfort and support in one another. Molly and Red balanced each other out very well, with Red’s outgoing spirit and Molly’s more reserved nature. One of the most exciting things about this novel was that it was written in verse, which gave it a nice flow and created a feeling of clarity and honesty in Molly’s voice as a main character. I would recommend Saving Red to anybody who is interested in reading a novel in verse, but might be afraid to try – this book would be the perfect place to start.

28 December 2016

Review: Iron Cast

Iron Cast
by Destiny Soria

Publisher: Abrams/ Amulet
Publication Date: October 11, 2016

Nightclubs. Jazz. Flappers. And magic? IRON CAST artfully combines all of the above, following two best friends employed by Boston’s most notorious gangster, Johnny Dervish. On the surface, Ada and Corrinne could not be more different: multiracial Ada is the first in her family to be born in America, while Corrine is an heiress with nothing to lose. However, both are “hemopaths”, born with the ability to create magical illusions: Ada through music and Corinne through her voice. They perform in the Cast Iron nightclub by night and con rich folks by day for mob boss Dervish, but their entire existence is threatened when Ada is trapped by those who would use her powers for far more sinister means. Sora’s world of magic, mobsters, and the glamorous forbidden nightclubs of the 1920’s combines the forbidden decadence of the Prohibition Era that has captivated audience for decades with fresh, complex characters and an exciting plot. Her writing itself is enthrallingly descriptive and tempered with just the right amount of darkness to keep readers on the edge of their seats. The action-packed plot also incorporates social issues of the time, such as racial equality and women’s rights, in a way that is informative without disrupting the flow of the novel. I highly recommend this book to fans of all genres.

Review: Every Hidden Thing

Every Hidden Thing
by Kenneth Oppel

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: October 11, 2016

EVERY HIDDEN THING by Kenneth Oppel is a compelling story that is quite similar to Romeo and Juliet. There are two rival families, the Bolts and the Cartlands, who are attempting to be the first to discover a massive set of dinosaur bones, and the two teenagers of the respective families, Samuel and Rachel, are brought together. Although this is very different than books that I usually read, as I am into mainly action and adventure books, the romance does not take up the entire story, and there is still plenty of suspense to keep me interested. I enjoyed the book largely due to this mix of action and romance, and I feel as if other people would enjoy it too. Overall, I had a great experience reading this book and would definitely recommend it to others.