31 January 2017

Review: The Edge of Everything

The Edge of Everything
by Jeff Giles

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: January 31, 2017

In THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING by Jeff Giles, Zoe, a 17 year old who just lost her father, meets X, who comes from the Lowlands, a hellish afterlife. X is a super-powered bounty hunter who is assigned to capture Stan. Stan is attacking Zoe and her brother when X intervenes. Zoe and X fall in love but are separated when X has to return to the Lowlands, although he tries to escape and does what he can to reunite with her. The whole story is based off of the relationship of Zoe and X, but there are a few subplots that diverge the story and make it much more interesting.

While I really liked the book, it is written in the 3rd person, which causes some of the conversations to be a bit confusing, but it makes some parts seem more ominous. It also helps see things from an objective view, although sometimes I found it distracting me from the story. This book has a good mix of action, love, adventure, and fantasy: the supernatural boyfriend is a bounty hunter from hell and tries to escape into the real world. This book is very gripping and suspenseful. It has a satisfying ending which leaves room for a sequel, but also could be an ending to the story. There is a cliffhanger at the end, but not one big enough to suggest a sequel is definitely coming. I really liked this book and would want to read the sequel if there will be one.

Review: The Careful Undressing of Love

The Careful Undressing of Love
by Corey Ann Haydu

Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Corey Ann Haydu’s THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE is a haunting and dream-like experience. The plot centers around Lorna, a “Devonairre” girl. In Haydu’s Brooklyn, there’s a little street named Devonnaire, and if you live there for more than a year...any boy you love will die. That’s what all Devonnaire residents have been told, at least.

Haydu’s novel is one that, even putting plot aside, I’d definitely recommend for the writing style alone. Reading THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE genuinely feels like a hazy, almost hypnotic experience. Really, it’s hard to describe! Just pick it up, check out the first few pages—you’ll see what I mean. If you’re into atypical writing styles and inquiries into what love is, you should absolutely move THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE to the top of your TBR list!

24 January 2017

Review: The You I've Never Known

The You I've Never Known
by Ellen Hopkins

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: January 24, 2017

THE YOU I'VE NEVER KNOWN by Ellen Hopkins is a narrative told in both poetry and prose that is primarily centered on truth and self-expression. Ariel Pearson lives under the authoritative, sometimes abusive rule of her father. Throughout the novel, Ariel struggles to define her sexuality and individuality, telling her story through poetry symbolic of whomever influences her life the most at a certain moment. Although the metaphors are sometimes a bit cliched, I personally really enjoyed the poetry format. Additionally, the story of Maya McCabe, an impregnated teenager seeking comfort and reassurance in the arms of an older man, occasionally enters the story, though her role is unclear until the end of the book. This book was insightfully written and had enough light moments to keep the overall mood from being too dark. That being said, I would caution readers that there are references to sex, drugs, and violence in this novel, though they primarily take place off-screen.

Review: Allegedly

by Tiffany D. Jackson

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 24, 2017

When Mary B. Addison is nine years old, she is arrested for an unthinkable crime: the murder of a three-month-old baby. Her horrific act of cruelty shocks even the most weathered detectives and child development experts. Her crime makes headlines all over the world and inspires dozens of books. She is sentenced to juvenile hall and later, a group home. But did she really do it?
Five years after baby Alyssa’s death, Mary is about to become a mother herself. When the state attempts to force Mary to sign over her parental rights, she knows she must fight back.

ALLEGEDLY is a gripping novel that explores issues of race, mental health, and the criminal justice system. Mary’s relationship with her boyfriend and her love for her unborn child is incredibly real and touching. The author succeeds in creating characters that come alive. Readers will be unable to put it down.

19 January 2017

Review: As Red As Blood

As Red As Blood
by Salla Simukka

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

AS RED AS BLOOD by Salla Simukka is about a girl named Lumikki. She finds herself caught up in criminal activities when she finds a ton of money in the school's darkroom. She finds herself getting pursued by criminals who want her dead. She has to get to the bottom of the mystery while keeping herself alive. I really enjoyed the book; the constant action kept the pages turning. It had a fast plot with plot twists at every turn. I really enjoyed the writing style. I can't wait for the next book.

Review: History Is All You Left Me

History Is All You Left Me
by Adam Silvera

Publisher: Soho Teen
Publication Date: January 17, 2017

HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME by Adam Silvera is an unexpected journey of finding love then losing it, and destroying yourself and those around you to find it again. Griffin’s life is shattered when he finds his best friend and first love, Theo, is dead. In an attempt to rediscover himself he forms a strange bond with Jackson, Theo’s boyfriend, and begins sorting through his past with Theo, relaying their story. The reader watches Griffin mourn and strike out, all the while his controlling OCD slowly worsening.

The reader might get a little confused transitioning between past and present, but it's an important aspect to this novel. The reader sees Theo live and change with Griffin, only to switch back to the present and watch Griffin push away comfort and condolences, shutting himself away from those that still love him. This book makes the reader feel with Griffin, frustration, sadness, and helplessness.

17 January 2017

Review: Carve the Mark

Carve the Mark
by Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: January 17, 2017

In Veronica Roth’s new book, CARVE THE MARK, Roth combines fantastic space travel and beautiful new planets, with magical powers with a dark twist. Akos is a teenage boy living in a world where a magical light path called the "current" gives everyone incredible gifts. He lives with his mom, one of the planet's oracles, and his family in the harsh cold city of Hessa. Life isn’t that bad until he is kidnapped by a dangerous group of men who belong to the Shoet people, a deadly group of people obsessed with killing and conquering, and is forced to serve them.
Cyra is one of the Shoet. She lives with her brother, the leader of the Shoet, and is forced to use her deadly current gift to cause pain and suffering to those who defy them. But one day she decides to stop.
CARVE THE MARK follows the story of these two people, who are fighting for peace in a world obsessed with death and suffering.

I really enjoyed this book. Veronica Roth’s writing style really makes you fear for the characters and wonder what will happen next. By using oracles, she makes it so she is actually telling how the book will end; but at the same time, she makes us wonder how exactly she will do that. I loved the contrast of the nice and caring civilization fighting against this other brutal and cruel one; Roth is able to show us what each group thinks of each other and the differences and similarities between them. This book is all about defying boundaries and escaping your future. In the novel, she shows us that everything is not what it seems, and even if it seems to be set in stone, you will always be able to change it.
Although there are some violent scenes in the novel, it still is a fun read!  I loved this book and I can’t wait for the second novel!

10 January 2017

Review: A List of Cages

A List of Cages
by Robin Roe

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: January 10, 2017

A LIST OF CAGES by Robin Roe captures the beautiful friendship and brotherhood of high-school senior, Adam, and freshman, Julian. Previously foster brothers, the two boys rekindle their relationship when Adam begins helping out their school’s psychologist. As the friendship progresses, Adam begins to see that there is more to Julian’s new life at home than what he’s told.

Readers should know that this book covers heavy topics (a main character is physically and emotionally abused), but Roe’s story and characters manage to remain focused on the good in the world. I would give A LIST OF CAGES ten thousand stars. (Read it to find out what that means!)

09 January 2017

Review: Death on the River of Doubt

Death on the River of Doubt
by Samantha Seiple

Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: January 3, 2017

DEATH ON THE RIVER OF DOUBT by Samantha Seiple talks about a scary and somewhat unknown story about the near-death experience of Theodore Roosevelt, one of America's finest Presidents. He was on an expedition in the Amazon, when he was injured, and his group struggles to find food. They face multiple roadblocks and challenges in an attempt to get Roosevelt back to safety. I thoroughly enjoyed the book's action and how the story is kept exciting despite it being nonfiction. I personally was interested in this book because of my interest in history, and was curious as to what happened during this expedition. I would recommend the book to most people, despite the small amounts of violence, because other than that it did not strike me as inappropriate at all.

Review: Love and First Sight

Love and First Sight
by Josh Sundquist

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: January 3, 2017

LOVE AND FIRST SIGHT by Josh Sundquist is a romantic comedy about 16 year old Will Porter who was born blind. When he starts at his first mainstream high school, he struggles to fit in and at the same time falls in love with a girl, Cecily. When he decides to have a surgery to potentially give him eyesight for the first time, he sees the world for the first time. Along with the author's captivating writing style, this story was very fresh and a nice change from the stereotypical high school rom-com book because of the author making the decision to make the main character blind.

03 January 2017

Review: Avalanche

by Melinda Braun

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: November 29, 2016

AVALANCHE by Melinda Braun was an intriguing and exciting book about a boy named Matt and his best friend who go on a skiing trip in the Rocky Mountains. All seems fairly normal until an avalanche hits them, and they are stranded. The book covers Matt's journey and fight against the elements for survival. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and its unique and realistic suspense. The tragedies that occur and the triumphs that happen leave the reader without a chance to predict what will happen next. I would recommend this book to slightly older people because of the darker plot, and the use of some poor language. However, the book kept me excited the whole time, and its realism kept me on edge throughout.

Review: Fate of Flames

Fate of Flames
by Sarah Raughley

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: November 22, 2016

When I first started reading FATE OF FLAMES, I was skeptical. When looking at it, the cover and (to be perfectly honest) the name just screamed, “HEY! YOU! THIS IS ONE OF THOSE NOT VERY GOOD PERCY JACKSON-ESQUE BOOKS.” But when I started reading the book, I found that I couldn’t stop.

With its great characters, amazing concept, and excellent writing, the author, Sarah Raughley, creates a whole new (but scarily realistic) world filled to the brim with monsters, magic, and just the right amount of butt-kicking action.

Another thing that I found so attractive about the book is its realism, because it truly brings to light how transitioning from a normal life to killing monsters with magical powers would not only not be instant, but also in some aspects psychologically difficult.

This can be seen in all the “Effigies” in the book, with (to not mention any names) one running from the action, to others who have been alluded to have become alcoholics. Others like the main character, Maia, are at first terrified of fighting against Phantoms, the monsters that leave trails of destruction, wherever they appear.

In summary, this book left me hungering for more, which luckily seems to be coming with FATE OF FLAMES being only the first book in the Effigies series. So without further ado, I wholeheartedly recommend you read FATE OF FLAMES by Sarah Raughley.

Review: Scythe

by Neal Shusterman

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 22, 2016

Citra and Rowan live in a world that has conquered hungry, disease, war, poverty and, most importantly, death. Humans are immortal. However, with the population constantly rising, Scythes are the only ones allowed and obligated to take lives. After mysterious encounters with a scythe, Citra and Rowan become a scythe’s apprentice-a job neither of them wants. But after their mentor’s mysterious death, Citra and Rowan are pitted against one another and must learn to become effective killers to stay alive.

Don’t be fooled, SCYTHE is not your classic YA dystopian novel. This book is an action-packed, thought-stimulating and intriguing story with a small--and I mean very small--dash of romance. Shusterman tackles the notion of mortality, immortality and suicide with surprising grace and has his audience contemplating whether or not they actually want to live forever. The characters themselves are relatable and complex, especially Citra and Rowan. These two characters connect tremendously to YA readers because, despite being confused teenagers, they are forced to make life-altering decisions and grow up early. Teenagers in high school can relate to that sort of pressure with college applications looming over their heads. Overall, SCYTHE is the perfect read for both boys and girls looking for an out of the box dystopian.

Review: Boy Robot

Boy Robot
by Simon Curtis

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: November 15, 2016

Although the main characters are robots with special powers, BOY ROBOT is really a book about finding one’s identity. It’s a book packed with drama and action but, more importantly, it forces the reader to think about powerful ideas such as self identity, trust, and what it truly means to be human. One will not forget the relatability of the main character, Isaak, nor the conflicts that he faces as the book progresses; plus, did I mention that the action and sci-fi sequences were, for lack of a better word, AWESOME.

The author’s writing style was enjoyable, with the viewpoint of the book changing between its interesting cast of characters every couple of chapters. This left me hungry for more, and completely surprised that this is Simon Curtis’ first novel. I would highly recommend BOY ROBOT to any lovers of sci-fi, or to anyone who just wants a great book to read.

Review: Dead Girls Society

Dead Girls Society
by Michelle Krys

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: November 8, 2016

Michelle Krys, author of HEXED and CHARMED, writes a heart-pounding mystery-thriller that’s a combination of “The Breakfast Club” and “Panic” in her most recent release, DEAD GIRLS SOCIETY. Hope Callahan is sick, with a condition called cystic fibrosis— which has forced her to drop out of school and all things social; she instead spends her days getting treatments from her mom, and watching reruns on TV. So when she’s invited by the mysterious Society to an abandoned warehouse, she decides to finally take a risk and break free of her sterile confines. From there… things get complicated. DEAD GIRLS SOCIETY manages to capture high school life amidst its faced-paced action and intriguing mystery, whilst never skimping on its characters. Personally, I can’t read a novel if I don’t root for at least one character, and I managed to root for nearly every character in this book. Each person has their own motives and reasons behind every choice they make, and practically everyone isn’t who you initially think they are. If you like Mystery-Thrillers with a bit of YA-Romance, and real, genuine characters— be sure to pick up DEAD GIRLS SOCIETY.