19 December 2017

Review: Three Sides of a Heart

Three Sides of a Heart: Stories About Love Triangles
edited by Natalie Parker

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: December 19, 2017

THREE SIDES OF A HEART, a short story anthology, has a variety of stories with one thing in common- they all incorporate the popular YA trope of the love triangle. It’s difficult to pin this book down because of the very divergent topics, genres and characters used in each story. Sci-fi, historical fiction, fantasy, magical realism; murderers, magicians, knights, zombie-fighting slaves, astronauts-- you name it, this book’s got it. Because of the diversity of types of stories, some I found interesting and others less so. 

One characteristic shared by each story is how unlike each love triangle is from the others. Many of the authors took great creative liberty, keeping the stories from becoming monotonous and producing some really inventive and delightful stories. One of them being Vega by Brenna Yovanoff which depicts the main character in love with a boy and a city. The characters in this short story are vibrant and original, each action they take prompts a reaction from the reader. The writing is beautiful and descriptive, exploring conflicted emotions and heartbreaking decisions with just 26 pages. Another story that I really enjoyed was Work in Progress by E. K. Johnston. It focuses on three people within three different realities, one on a spaceship, one during summer at a lake house, and one in medieval times. The reason this story struck me is that there is no “love” involved. The three characters simply are together, whether hiding in a space ship vent, sleeping in a bunk bed, or battling a dragon. The things they feel for each other are beyond physical affections or even saying the words “I love you”. Johnston does an amazing job of creating these feeling without flat out stating them- something not many authors attempt to do. Overall this short story anthology was fun and original, if you’d like to explore different genres and writing styles, this would be a great book to read. 

Review: Shadow Girl

Shadow Girl
by Liana Liu

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: December 19, 2017

SHADOW GIRL by Liana Liu is about a girl who just graduated college named Wei. She goes to a big mansion for one month over the summer to tutor a rich man's daughter (Ella). At first everything seems perfect. But Mei starts hearing strange noises and tensions start rising in the house. This novel is really a coming of age novel that is written perfectly. It's not just any dry coming of age book; there are many side plots but it isn't confusing. I enjoyed the writing style very much. The plot twists kept me reading way past the time I was supposed to be asleep. This was truly a good book.

01 December 2017

Review: Pretty

by Justin Sayre

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap
Publication Date: July 4, 2017

PRETTY by Justin Sayre discusses the meaning behind true beauty and true friendship. Sophie, the heroine of our story, struggles to balance her life at school as a popular, social girl and her life at home where she hides from her mother's alcohol addiction and abuse. Sophie is constantly being called “pretty”-- whether it's a compliment from a school friend or an insult from her mother-- but she doesn’t understand what the word means. Sophie’s social life becomes harder and harder to maintain. She has trouble interacting with her friends, her secrets increasingly drawing a rift between them. When her aunt comes to take care of her while her mother is away, Sophie begins to learn about her family’s past. Her aunt helps Sophie to express herself and do the things she loves. Sophie also realizes who her true friends are and is able to bridge the gap by opening up to them. With the help of her aunt and eventually her friends, Sophie is able to define herself: not as pretty, but as beautiful.

As a high school student, I read this and found it very enjoyable. Despite it being targeted towards a younger audience, I think it has a valuable message a person of any age can appreciate. The words used are simple and easy to understand but impactful, and the story is interesting and captivating. I recommend this book to kids in middle school but encourage older kids who are interested to enjoy this wonderful story as well.

28 November 2017

Review: R.I.P. Eliza Hart

R.I.P. Eliza Hart
by Alyssa Sheinmel

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: November 28, 2017

Do I have a thing for odd, broken ladies named Sokoloff? From my last reviewed book, GENUINE FRAUD, I went right to this one. R.I.P ELIZA HART is about two misunderstood and mentally “sick” girls, both of whom seem to hate the other. One of them is a “mean girl,” the other is a “freak.” It is a whodunit, except you find out at the end…Eliza Hart is not perfect in any way. 

This book was a bit sadder and a bit more beautiful than GENUINE FRAUD, although the slow reveal and deep twists were similar. I liked the tree burl thieves – I liked that their official “crime” was just maybe less of a true crime than you might expect. Mack and Sam are both, in my opinion, the most realistic characters, simply because we do not read from their perspective but we know how they feel. I liked Sam and Ellie’s transition between friendship and girlfriend/boyfriend-ship, it was paced well and very sweet.

16 November 2017

Review: I Never

I Never
by Laura Hopper

Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Love is an unknown idea for junior Janey King, so when she falls hard for a popular senior, she has to get it together and figure out what her goals are, while still staying on top of school, her newly divorced parents, and constant friend drama. I NEVER by Laura Hopper tells Janey's coming of age story as she navigates first love and all of its many obstacles. I really enjoyed how real this story was and how it made you feel like you were truly Janey King and going through your first love right alongside her. The writing was well put together and has a nice flow to the chapters making it easy to follow, but while still leaving mystery. Will Janey love being in love? Or will she dig herself into a hole she can’t get out of…

14 November 2017

Review: Runebinder

by Alex R. Kahler

Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: November 14, 2017

I really enjoyed reading RUNEBINDER, however while I completely recommend it, as it is a fantastic book, it is truly a dark novel. To give a little background, the world has rediscovered magic, but instead of creating a utopia, the world is plunged into something akin to hell, after "Howls," magical monsters created by draining a living human of their magic, are born into this world in the event known as “The Resurrection.” Now, three years later, Tenn struggles to survive, but between the Howls, and his own special powers, which often seem to have a mind of their own, can he get out of this alive? And if so, at what cost? But, once again, and I cannot stress this enough, the book really does have a very dark plot. So while I do highly recommend you read this book,  please be prepared for a gruesome moment or two, and a couple adult scenes. 

Review: No Saints in Kansas

No Saints in Kansas
by Amy Brashear

Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication Date: November 14, 2017

NO SAINTS IN KANSAS by Amy Brashear is narrated by 16 year old Carly Flemming who is new to the small town of Holcomb, Kansas. Winter is usually quiet in this small town, but after the horrible murder of the Clutter family (including Nancy Clutter whom Carly used to secretly tutor), Carly and her friends take it upon themselves to solve the mystery and find the killer, much to the disapproval of the sheriff and their protective parents. This suspenseful novel was impossible to put down, and was definitely a fun read. Carly’s character is easy to relate to and she takes the reader on quite a ride as she tries to solve the case.

07 November 2017

Review: Now Is Everything

Now Is Everything
by Amy Giles

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: November 7, 2017

NOW IS EVERYTHING by Amy Giles is a dark family drama that deals with abuse, love, and sisterhood. Protagonist Hadley is willing to do anything to protect her younger sister, Lila, from her violent father, but as the stakes increase, she senses she’s running out of time. I’m not going to say much more than that, because the book is, in some ways, a mystery. I enjoyed reading about Hadley and Lila’s relationship; it is incredibly genuine and heartbreaking how much they care about each other. Hadley also explores a forbidden romance with Charlie Simmons, who becomes her confidante and ally; I loved their relationship as well.

I generally lean towards dark material in my book choices, but the graphic violence in NOW IS EVERYTHING was a lot to handle even for me. Hadley is also suicidal at some points in the book, so readers should be conscious of this. Because of the suicidal themes, violence, and substance abuse, I would recommend this book for older teens.

Review: Millard Salter's Last Day

Millard Salter's Last Day
by Jacob M. Appel

Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: November 7, 2017

It’s psychiatrist Millard Salter’s 75th birthday, and he’s got big plans. He is going to hang himself. Not because he’s depressed or ill--simply because he feels that he is at an age where he has lived his life to the fullest and doesn’t want to face the frailty and isolation that comes hand in hand with old age. In MILLARD SALTER'S LAST DAY, Jacob M. Appel brings readers along on the whirlwind of an adventure that Millard’s final day turns into. While tying up the loose ends of his long life, Millard encounters a wild lynx, a myriad of cumbersome coworkers, a good for nothing son, and much more. Millard’s day culminates in an event that may just make him change his mind about how it will end.

I loved this book. The characters are very realistic and by the end of the book, I cared about them all. Taking place all in one day, MILLARD SALTER'S LAST DAY was incredibly hard to put down as it moved fast and kept me on the edge of my seat. While the author frequently went on rants unrelated to the storyline and added some unnecessary backstories, his ideas and thoughts about how a 75-year-old man would think and act on his last day is fascinating. All in all, this book is a thought-provoking coming of age novel as well as an ode to how valuable life is.

Review: This Mortal Coil

This Mortal Coil
by Emily Suvada

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: November 7, 2017

THIS MORTAL COIL by Emily Suvada explores a futuristic world in which gene hacking allows people to change their DNA. A global outbreak of a plague that kills most of the population leaves teenager Catarina Agatta alone with her father, Dr. Lachlan Agatta. After Lachlan is killed while creating a vaccine for the disease, Catarina is recruited to figure out how to release it.

This was the first science fiction novel I have read in a long time, and it reminded me why I love the genre. The intersection between coding and DNA in this book gives it a fresh premise and prompts thought about human nature and technology in our own world. Suvada found a balance between explaining the science-related aspects of the story so that it was realistic, while not getting bogged down with an overwhelming amount of detail. Though the book itself is fairly long, the story is filled with plot twists(!) and action to keep it moving. The title’s reference to HAMLET was also appreciated and added another layer to my reading of the novel. However, teens will enjoy THIS MORTAL COIL, regardless of their HAMLET knowledge. 

03 November 2017

Review: Dear Martin

Dear Martin
by Nic Stone

Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 17, 2017

DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone is a powerful, emotional story about the realities of entrenched racism in American society. The novel deals with themes of police brutality, privilege, and gang culture as protagonist Justyce McAllister struggles to come to terms with the ignorance in his community. I personally thought that this book was very eye-opening; the subject matter is incredibly relevant in today’s increasingly polarized society.

I was extremely emotionally invested in Justyce’s story; there were definitely some tear-jerking moments. I absolutely loved the character of Sarah Jane, Justyce’s outspoken, insanely intelligent debate partner who exemplifies allyship. This book felt extremely truthful and real, the writing was superb, and I honestly cannot think of a single friend I would not recommend this to. Derogatory racial slurs are used in this novel; there are also themes of violence and substance abuse, so I would recommend it for older teens.

31 October 2017

Review: Otherworld

by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: October 31, 2017

When Simon’s best friend, Kat, is diagnosed with “Locked-in” syndrome, Simon is horrified. Fortunately, there is an experimental technology that puts a patient's mind in a virtual world, free to do whatever they want while crippled in the real world. In order to communicate with Kat, Simon sends himself into the virtual world and tries to bring her mind back to her body. 

This book very quickly became one of my favorite books of all time. Most of the characters are well developed by the end of the novel, and most characters serve a purpose that is essential for the plot. One thing I really enjoyed about OTHERWORLD is that the romance (which seems almost mandatory in most new Science Fiction books) does not seem forced; Simon develops a romantic relationship with his best friend, not someone who he just met. To me, this book clearly draws inspiration from both READY PLAYER ONE and The Matrix. It raises questions such as “at what point is something artificial alive?”, and “is humanity becoming too dependent on technology?”. One of my favorite aspects of OTHERWORLD is that it has the potential to be realistic. The only unrealistic aspect is the advanced technology, but it is within reason that it is something humans can invent in the foreseeable future. OTHERWORLD is full of conspiracy theories that keep readers questioning what they think they know. 

The story ends with a cliffhanger, and I cannot wait until the next book comes out. This book reminded me of READY PLAYER ONE and The Matrix.

27 October 2017

Review: The Afterlife of Holly Chase

The Afterlife of Holly Chase
by Cynthia Hand

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: October 24, 2017

Holly Chase is dead. Kind of. For the past five years, she’s been stuck in a limbo working for Project Scrooge as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past. This year’s assignment is different from the rest, though. For one, he’s super cute…

THE AFTERLIFE OF HOLLY CHASE is a delightful twist on A CHRISTMAS CAROL. It’s the perfect fun and easy YA novel. Cynthia Hand has a distinctive style. Though her characters can sometimes border on clichés, she makes up for it with witty dialogue and plot twists. The novel will appeal to anyone who’s in the mood for some Christmas romance, humor, and ultimately heartbreak. 

24 October 2017

Review: Long Way Down

Long Way Down
by Jason Reynolds

Publisher: Atheneum
Publication Date: October 24, 2017

LONG WAY DOWN is the story of Will, a young boy whose brother was just shot down and killed. Following the rules of his neighborhood- Don’t Cry, Don’t Snitch, Get Revenge- he seeks his brother’s killer. But now in an elevator ride down to the street he begins to realize that sometimes bullets miss. And there is always someone else who knows the rules.

Told in lyrical verse, I really enjoyed this book. The author uses this method to give a new meaning to words that would otherwise be meaningless. The whole story is told in a bit longer than sixty seconds which creates a panicky feel to the story. Reynolds also uses slang of this particular neighborhood that adds to the realness of the story despite it being written in verse. The urgency of the situation is also magnified by the fact that the main character is only fifteen years old, a strange age for someone to be preparing to shoot someone down. But his stream of thoughts is accurate for someone of his age and connects more with the readers.

This book is perfect for contemporary book lovers looking for their next obsession. It is definitely one that will leave you thinking, both because of the situation itself and because of the double meaning ending. Throughout the book, you are constantly forced to stop and think both because of the words used and the imagery provoked. I would recommend this book for older readers because of the situation and some of the language used.

Review: Calling My Name

Calling My Name
by Liara Tamani

Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Publication Date: October 24, 2017

Taja Brown, an African American girl living in Houston, Texas, narrates CALLING MY NAME by Liara Tamani. Throughout this coming of age novel, Taja grapples with the expectations of her parents, her relationship with God, her sexuality, and her own personal aspirations.

Because the novel begins when Taja is in middle school and ends after she finishes high school, it felt as though I was growing up alongside her, instead of reading her stories as an outsider. Taja beautifully develops her narrative voice over the course of the story, which was a rewarding process for me to experience as a reader. This immediately personal relationship with the main character, along with Tamani’s subdued (while still powerful) writing style, makes CALLING MY NAME easy to connect to for any teenager. 

Readers who enjoyed the vignette-like structure and poetic language of Sandra Cisneros’s THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET will want to give CALLING MY NAME a try.  

Review: The Glass Spare

The Glass Spare
by Lauren DeStefano

Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: October 24, 2017

THE GLASS SPARE tells the story of Wil, a princess of Arrod with a dark secret. Kept hidden from the public eye to serve as a spy for her father, Wil is attacked and almost killed when she discovers that her touch turns living things to stone. And not regular stone, but gemstone. First, she finds it amazing and tests her limits but then tragedy strikes, sending her on the run. Her search for a cure now puts her in the path of a cursed prince who hopes to use her for his own goals. Now she must decide: help a kingdom at the brink of war save itself, or betray her family forever?

Paired with an entertaining steampunk-like world and great storytelling, this book was amazing. I love that the author found a way to make the book really feel alive. The dynamic between Wil and her three brothers was so entertaining and each one was unique; by the end of the book you will wish that you had brothers like them. The side characters all felt fully fleshed out with their wants and little quirks shown proud to the reader. The author does a great job at showing the different sides of the world, from rich castles to impoverished cities--you can really travel the world with this book. Honestly, my only complaint with this book is the length and how I wish it could have been longer. But, this does mean that there was not a dull moment throughout the whole novel.

If you are interested in reading a fantasy novel reminiscent of King Midas, you won’t be let down with this book. And of course, if you love strong friendship and romance, you won’t put down this novel!

17 October 2017

Review: A Line in the Dark

A Line in the Dark
by Malinda Lo

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 17, 2017

A LINE IN THE DARK by Malinda Lo is a suspenseful yet heartfelt novel that explores concepts of privilege, sexuality, and friendship. Protagonist Jess Wong has had unrequited feelings for her best friend, Angie Redmond, for as long as she can remember. When Angie starts dating Margot Adams, a wealthy girl from a nearby boarding school, Jess feels more alone than ever. The plot takes a dark turn when Margot’s best friend is murdered, and Jess, Angie, and Margot find themselves at the center of the investigation. Overall, I enjoyed this book; I found Jess to be a relatable, three-dimensional character, and I enjoyed hearing her narration. To add suspense to the murder, the book switches from first to third person halfway through the book, but I missed hearing Jess’s unique voice.

This book did an excellent job of shedding light on the power of storytelling and artwork, as Jess works on a series of comics that mirror her own journey throughout the novel. The one downside to A LINE IN THE DARK was the loose ends remaining at the end; the conclusion felt abrupt and I was left wanting more. Despite this, I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a fast-paced mystery novel with a compelling protagonist. 

10 October 2017

Review: All the Crooked Saints

All the Crooked Saints
by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: October 10, 2017

ALL THE CROOKED SAINTS by Maggie Stiefvater is a heartwarming story about overcoming your mistakes and accepting who you are. The story centers around the Soria family, a family with the unusual power to perform miracles. Pilgrims come from all over the United States to see the Saint of Bicho Raro, Daniel Soria. Daniel performs a miracle that exposes the darkness within a pilgrim and then the pilgrim performs the second miracle, expelling the darkness forever. The pilgrims must do the second miracle on their own; if a Soria helps a pilgrim in any way a very powerful, almost unbeatable darkness will fall on the Soria and anyone who tries to help will also experience the same darkness. The conflict arises when Daniel falls in love with a pilgrim and tries to help her, bringing the darkness on him. He flees into the desert to isolate himself and keep other Sorias from meeting the same fate. His two cousins, Joaquin and Beatriz, are compelled to help him and with the help of some pilgrims devise a plan to save Daniel.

This book has a great cast of characters. Each Soria family member and pilgrim is given a history and attitude. Some of the characters include: a fourteen foot radio host named Tony, a school teacher named Jennie who can only repeat back what is spoken to her, a pilgrim who is constantly rained on and wears a wedding dress with live butterflies stuck to it, a priest with the body of a man and the head of a wolf, and two twins made inseparable by the snake that twines them together. Each character has to overcome their own darkness in order to help Daniel overcome his. The story is also very inventive and creative; Stiefvater invents a convincing reality in which characters interact and live in the presence of miracles. I also really enjoyed the satisfying and exciting conclusion to the book. I would love to read other books by this author and recommend this book to readers of any age who like a character-driven, intricate, and creative story.

Review: Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down
by John Green

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young People
Publication Date: October 10, 2017

John Green has done what I thought was impossible: he has out-John Greened himself. This is TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN in a nutshell: an emotional tale riddled with obscure literary references that only someone who has read an entire library would understand, the quirky best friend(TM), and too many internal monologues to count ...and I loved every second of it. More than just a romance, or a look at teenage friendship, or a coming of age adventure, TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN is about personal struggles with mental health and the inescapability of one's own mind. Aza, the main character, tries to live her life and not be controlled by her "thought spirals", but is held back by the very thing only she has control of: herself.

This book was a bit different from some of Green's other books, in that it was less plot based and more based on the internal emotions of the main character, but I think that he was really able to convey true and raw depth of the characters, especially Aza. His own personal experiences with mental health are visible through Aza; her struggles don't seem fake or exaggerated and are grounded in the roots of John Green's own fight. This is not a book to read passively; it demands a deep connection from the reader to actively root for and against the characters, often at the same time. Following the publication of this book, there is likely to be a trend in YA focusing on mental health, as seen in the effect of Green's other books after their releases, yet I doubt any of them will be able to match the caliber and power of TURTLES ALL THE WAY DOWN. There were definitely some problems, don't get me wrong. The freedom of these 16 to 17 year olds to do whatever they wanted is highly implausible, and the lack of any actively responsible parental figures is a bit strange, but these are commonly overlooked in YA fiction, whether it be a misunderstanding of the lives of modern teens or the need to further the plot, but it doesn't have too much of a negative effect on the novel as a whole. I was really impressed at this book overall, and hope that John Green doesn't take as long to write his next one. 

Review: This Darkness Mine

This Darkness Mine
by Mindy McGinnis

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: October 10, 2017

The novel THIS DARKNESS MINE tells the story of Sasha Stone, the perfect straight-A student who plays first chair clarinet with her boyfriend on her side. At least she was until Isaac Harver comes around, the bad boy who seems to know all about her despite the fact that she has never talked to him before. Suddenly, Sasha learns of a twin sister she absorbed in the womb. She doesn’t think that it would explain the gaps of missing time in her schedule and the memories of things she never thought she would do, but would it? With the knowledge that her body might not be hers alone, Sasha must now figure out what she is willing to do to take her life back.

It has been a while since I have read a psychological thriller and this book made me wish that I have read more. I love the way that the author twisted seemingly normal things and made the reader question whether or not they were true. The main character’s mental state is one the reader must continue to question, adding to the mystery of the novel. All the layers the author added to this book were breathtaking as well, with the many different sides of characters to the main character herself. Most people always love the main character, but in this book, you will find yourself wondering how good she really is. This book is clearly well researched adding new information to things most people wouldn’t think twice about.

If you are looking for a psychological thriller with complex characters, this book might be perfect for you. With surprises at every corner and high stakes, this book is a fast-paced page turner perfect for fans. I would recommend this book for mature readers because of the language the author uses and some of the scenes featured, but if you are willing to look past that you will enjoy the book greatly. At the end, this book will leave you questioning who the real antagonist is: something dark and evil, or Sasha herself.

03 October 2017

Review: Satellite

by Nick Lake

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: October 3, 2017

SATELLITE by Nick Lake follows the narrative of 15-year-old Leo and his friends Orion and Libra as they make the transition from living in space to going ‘home’ to Earth for the first time. Having been born on a satellite that orbits Earth, the trio is forced to navigate the challenges of living on an unfamiliar planet that turns out to be much less welcoming than they’d hoped. 

While this book was emotionally compelling and had plenty of depth, it was written in ‘text-speak’ which replaces words like “you”, “see”, or “someone” with “u”, “c”, and “some1”. This is certainly unique, but it makes the book frustrating to read and made me feel like I was reading the text messages of a kid who hadn’t learned how to spell out full words yet. The author also uses lots of complicated space terms without ever explaining what they are, leaving the reader feeling out of the loop. However, SATELLITE’s concept was very interesting and it felt so much deeper than lots of other Sci-Fi books I’ve read. In all, this book has the potential to be something truly amazing for people that aren’t bothered by lack of complete words. I recommended this book for ages 14 and above due to inappropriate language.

Review: The Last Namsara

The Last Namsara
by Kristen Ciccarelli

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: October 3, 2017

THE LAST NAMSARA follows the story of Asha, a dragon slaying princess, disliked by her own people because of the crime she committed as a child that almost destroyed the kingdom. To make up for her mistake, she must kill dragons to protect her people. To top it all off, in order to unite the broken kingdom, she’s being forced to marry a man she hates: Jarek, the cruel commandant. However, the king gives her a choice: she can either marry Jarek or slay the most powerful dragon to gain her freedom. 

Ciccarelli nails it with this fantasy novel. It’s got the perfect amount of our favorite fantasy clichés (sword wielding princesses and fire breathing dragons) but mixes things up with an uncommon romance between a princess and her betrothed's slave. Complex characters, forbidden love, a compelling plot and beautiful writing make THE LAST NAMSARA the perfect fall fantasy read for fans of ERAGON and THRONE OF GLASS. 

02 October 2017

Review: Blood and Ink

Blood and Ink
by Stephen Davies

Publisher: Charlesbridge Teen
Publication Date: September 19, 2017

BLOOD AND INK by Stephen Davies is about a boy and girl named Ali and Kadi. Ali is a member of Al Qaeda and Kadi is a Muslim who lives in Timbuktu. When Ali helps occupy Timbuktu and discovers secret manuscripts, Kadi fights to keep them safe. The only thing is Kadi and Ali are in love with each other. I enjoyed reading this book. It was written from two points of view, Ali and Kadi's. I like that style of writing. The book was very fast paced and exciting. The only thing I didn't enjoy was that the book was about a very heavy topic, but it was written with a very light style of writing, which I think took away from the seriousness of the topic. Other than that there were many plot twists and you couldn't really guess the ending, which is a good thing. Overall, I really liked this book. I recommend this book to fans of fiction drawn from recent history.

Review: They Both Die at the End

They Both Die at the End
by Adam Silvera

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication Date: September 5, 2017

Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio know they are slated to die today. They don’t know how or exactly when, but sometime in the next 24 hours, they will meet their end. They resolve to make the best of their last day together and figure out just how much living they can fit in before they die.

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END is beautiful, funny, and ultimately devastating. The author, Adam Silvera, succeeds at creating characters that are incredibly real and complex. Mateo and Rufus’s personalities carry the novel, and you will come to adore both of them. One of the best things Silvera does is he explores the darkness of Mateo and Rufus’s fate but does not let it overtake the entire novel, as authors are sometimes tempted to do; he still makes plenty of room for witty humor and hints of romance. This book is a 384-page rollercoaster that will whisk you away to an alternate universe, make you fall in love with the characters, and then leave you sobbing—and it’s absolutely worth every minute. 

Review: Wonder Woman: Warbringer

Wonder Woman: Warbringer
by Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: August 29, 2017

WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER is about Diana Prince trying to save the lives of everyone she cares about, including a stranger, Alia, that crashed near Themyscira. Breaking every law of her home, Diana swims out to save her. It turns out that Alia is part of a line of “Warbringers,” who unintentionally cause turmoil, as well as war. Diana chooses to try to end the line of Warbringers by venturing into the World of Man, despite her place on Themyscira. 

I enjoyed reading WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER, and would highly recommend it. However, there were a few things I felt could have been done better. The story starts with Diana entering a race against her sisters, but Diana diverts from the race in order to save Alia. When we learn what the race meant to Diana, we learn that she is only seen as the queen’s daughter, not a fellow warrior. I could not help but feel a bit sad for Diana when she so easily abandoned her goal to view a shipwreck. I feel it would have been more appropriate to see how Diana does in the race, so we would get a better view of who she is and what she can do a bit earlier on in the story. At the end of the book, when Diana returns to Themyscira, we see a brief glance at the aftermath of Diana’s adventure. However, I really wished that they would have extended the aftermath a bit more. Throughout the book, Diana wonders how her actions would affect her family, and how they would treat her when she returned, but when she actually does return, she has little interaction with any Amazons. 

The story itself is very good and has a diverse cast with an excellent plot twist. While reading, I was trying to predict what the plot twist would be (the seemingly simple task made me certain that there would be one), but I was completely surprised by what it turned out to be. 

As a side note, I was a bit surprised that the author chose to call the inhabitants of Themyscira “Amazons,” and not “Amazonians”. While these terms have usually been exchanged without much explanation, I expected “Amazonians”. Those who are at least acquainted with the Wonder Woman comics or the recent Wonder Woman movie will easily be able to understand how the politics work on Themyscira. While one may think it is an adaption of the movie (due to its recent release), the book is completely its own canon, and not based on any comic book storyline that I am aware of.