16/30 Book Review: The Starbound Trilogy


brokenstarsStarbound Trilogy:
These Broken Stars
This Shattered World
Their Fractured Light

Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

First Book Plot Summary

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

Expectations

I waited much longer Continue reading

13/30 Book Review: Faking Normal


Faking Normal
Courtney Stevens
YA contemporary

Summary

Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer by her backyard pool. Instead, she hides in her closet, counts the slats in the air vent, and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does—and deal with the trauma.

When Bodee Lennox—“the Kool-Aid Kid”—moves in with the Littrells after a family tragedy, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in this quiet, awkward boy who has secrets of his own. As their friendship grows, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her summon the courage to find her voice and speak up about the rape that has changed the course of her life.

Find Your Brave

When I met Courtney Stevens at SEYA Fest this year, she signed a note for me that said Continue reading

9/30 Book Review: The Female of the Species


The Female of the Species
Mindy McGinnis
YA
[read on audio]

Summary via Publisher’s Weekly

Three high school seniors come together in McGinnis’s harrowing rumination on the nature of violence and the power of friendship in a small town. Three years ago, Alex Craft’s older sister, Anna, was raped and murdered, but there wasn’t enough evidence to convict the killer. Someone took matters into his or her own hands and killed the perpetrator, and McGinnis (A Madness So Discreet) doesn’t make it hard to guess who. Once a girl on the periphery, Alex attracts the attention of jock Jack Fisher, who’s more than just a guy who can put a ball through a net. Despite differing personalities, Alex and Peekay—shorthand for preacher’s kid, though her real name is Claire—bond while volunteering at the local animal shelter, with Peekay in awe of Alex’s stoicism.

So Many Thoughts!

The Female of the Species is another book that I read after SEYA Fest ’17 (I just reviewed another one). In fact, I started the audio of this one on the trip back. I have a lot to say about this book, much of it wound up in relatively incoherent feelings, but I’ll try to put this into some semblance of order. Continue reading

4/30 Book Review: None of the Above


None of the Above
I.W. Gregorio
YA contemporary
[read on audio]

Summary

[summary from publisher]
When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She’s a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she’s madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she’s decided that she’s ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin’s first time isn’t the perfect moment she’s planned—something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy “parts.”

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin’s entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

What I Like

Exposure to Intersexuality

When heard about None of the Above (generally in tiny snippets on Twitter), I had no idea what it was about. Like many people, I assumed “intersex” has something to do with being transgender. It wasn’t until I heard Gregorio speak at SEYA Fest 2017 that I heard an explanation of intersex. As soon as I heard the explanation–and Gregorio’s personal passion about the topic–I knew I had to read it.
Continue reading

3/30 Book Review: Nemesis


nemesisNemesis (Project Nemesis #1)
Brendan Reichs
YA thriller

Real Plot Summary

It’s been happening since Min was eight. Every two years, on her birthday, a strange man finds her and murders her in cold blood. But hours later, she wakes up in a clearing just outside her tiny Idaho hometown—alone, unhurt, and with all evidence of the horrifying crime erased.

Across the valley, Noah just wants to be like everyone else. But he’s not. Nightmares of murder and death plague him, though he does his best to hide the signs. But when the world around him begins to spiral toward panic and destruction, Noah discovers that people have been lying to him his whole life. Everything changes in an eye blink.

For the planet has a bigger problem. The Anvil, an enormous asteroid threatening all life on Earth, leaves little room for two troubled teens. Yet on her sixteenth birthday, as she cowers in her bedroom, hoping not to die for the fifth time, Min has had enough. She vows to discover what is happening in Fire Lake and uncovers a lifetime of lies: a vast conspiracy involving the sixty-four students of her sophomore class, one that may be even more sinister than the murders.

–from the publisher

Thoughts

Nemesis is a textbook thriller. Page-turner from start to finish. Just enough character development to support the plot, no more. Plenty of secrets, with twists spaced evenly throughout.

Continue reading

1/30 Book Review: And I Darken


andidarken

(Did you miss the 30/30 announcement?)

And I Darken

Kiersten White

YA Historical Fiction(ish)

Apparently this is a gender-bent Vlad the Impaler retelling. I just grabbed the ebook from my library on a whim and had no idea until after I finished. Although I did wonder about the Dracul family name!

Not having a clue what was going on did not hinder my enjoyment of this tale one bit.

Plot Stuff

Lada is a fierce girl burdened with a sensitive younger brother (Radu) and a father who doesn’t notice her. Follow Lada and Radu through the complex politics of the Ottoman Empire and (equally complex) growing up.

(As I’ve noted before, I don’t like much detail in synopses.)

What I Loved

Complex Characterization

Lada and Radu, in particular, are written with exquisite care. Lada is a fierce and wonderful girl/woman, but White doesn’t neglect softer feelings as well. Lada does care about people in her own way. I’m particularly fond of her response to Radu–she flip flops between despising him and being fiercely protective, just the way most older siblings do. Authors seldom balance their “strong female characters” in a way that I can tolerate, much less admire, so I really, really appreciated Lada. Continue reading

ARC Review: The Takedown


thetakedownThe Takedown by Corrie Wang

Note: advanced copy received from publisher through NetGalley. (I don’t think that influences my review, but it’s fair to know.)

Summary

Kyla Cheng is a straight A senior at a fancy school in NYC. She’s one of four popular girls, her applications to the Ivy League schools are nearly ready, the hottest boy at school is her very close “just friend,” and her biggest problem is that her mom doesn’t seem to like her much now. Until a much bigger problem: a viral video of her having sex with a teacher. The video is fake, but Kyla has trouble convincing people of that. The only solution is to find the original file and delete. But Kyla’s hater is completely anonymous.

Initial Thoughts

Continue reading

Book Review: Take the Key and Lock Her Up


511-hbczuwl-_sy344_bo1204203200_Title: Take the Key and Lock Her Up

Series: Embassy Row #3

Author: Ally Carter

See my reviews of Book 1 & Book 2

I’ve long been an Ally Carter fan, but I struggled more with this trilogy than any of her other books. As I documented in my previous reviews, I think that had a lot to do with growing out of her target age range.

Thankfully, Take the Key and Lock Her Up was a really good conclusion to the trilogy.

NOTE: Spoilers for the first two books will start immediately. Read at your own risk. Please keep the comments a safe section. I’m available via Twitter or email for spoilery discussions.

Plot Summary

Grace Blakely just discovered that she is the descendant of a long-lost princess. Now she, her brother, a hot Russian, and the Scarred Man are on the run. People are trying to kill her and she doesn’t know who to trust. Also, she might be crazy. Continue reading

Book Review: Everything, Everything


cover of book everything, everythingWhat I Knew Going In

Nothing, nothing. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon has been pretty hyped. It was promoted a lot & loads of bookish people were talking about it & it was a very popular debut novel. I somehow managed to tune out most of the hype and literally only knew the title and author’s name. It was an e-book deal for $1.99, so I grabbed it, knowing that a better deal would never come along.

What It’s About

Madeline Whittier (Maddy) has SCID, a genetic disorder that means she basically has no immune system. Because of that, she lives in a completely sterile environment with just her mother and nurse. She reads a lot, plays silly games with her mom, and studies online. It’s a pretty happy life until a family with a teenage son moves in next door.

What I Thought

I was hooked really early in this book. Because I didn’t know anything about the plot, I had a lot of fun learning about Maddy’s disease and life. From a purely intellectual standpoint, I found the premise fascinating. I don’t see many YA books about something like SCID. And Maddy is a reader! The book is full of literary references, funny charts and drawings, and philosophical musings.

I think that Everything, Everything aspires to be the next TFIOS. It’s a beautifully tragic love story about a really sick girl, full of metaphor and smart conversations and really hard stuff.

But this book is not TFIOS. Continue reading

The A-Z Book Challenge!


Thanks to Nerdish Mum for tagging me in this fun challenge!

Author you’ve read the most books from

This was harder to determine than I thought it would be. I’m pretty sure the answer is Lois Gladys Leppard, author of the Mandie series. I’ve read at least 25 of her books, possibly 30.

Best sequel ever

Tentatively The Kestrel, the middle book in Lloyd Alexander’s Westmark trilogy (Which is, despite the name of my blog, my favorite Alexander series). It is full of intrigue and politics and ethics and is much darker than a children’s book seems like it should be. (Wikipedia informs me that it is a fantasy novel, but it was shelved with children’s fiction in my library.)

Currently reading

Continue reading