3 stars · Fantasy · young adult

Conceal, Don’t Feel: I should have let this one go

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Conceal, Don’t Feel

Disney Twisted Tales #7

author : jen calonita

pages : [hardcover] 312

favorite character : elsa

summary :

What if Anna and Elsa never knew each other?
When a magical accident erases Anna and Elsa’s memories not only of magic, but of each other the sisters are separated for protection. But when Elsa unexpectedly finds herself as a young queen mysterious magic begins to happen and questions of her past start to form. Will the sisters ever be reunited?

review :

Do you want to build a–

Alright, alright, I’ll try to contain myself and not just turn this review into a gigantic sing-a-long. I’m sure we are all familiar with Disney’s Frozen. I’ll just have to let it go.

Disney has this interesting series of Disney Twisted Tales which I don’t think enough people are speaking about. They’re basically written retellings of Disney movies in what-if scenarios. In Conceal, Don’t Feel the what-if is obvious from the very beginning: What if Elsa and Anna grew up separately? What if they didn’t know they were sisters?

Because one of the most important themes in Frozen revolves around familial love and mending a sisterly relationship, I was incredibly curious to see how this new situation would be handled. The book has all the same components that appear in the movie, but they fall into place in different ways. Anna grows up on the outskirts of Arendelle where she encounters a certain ice harvester. Elsa grows up alone and afraid of her growing powers in the palace, meeting a certain ambitious prince with plans of his own. There’s magic at play, lives are at stake, and the kingdom is on the verge of collapse.

I really liked how magic was much more prominent in this novel than it is in the movie (the first one, we know the entire sequel remedies a lot of this). Although the whole troll magic system still isn’t really explained, it plays a huge role in Conceal, Don’t Feel. Honestly, I don’t really like the trolls, but I loved how this book gave them a more pressing need for existing within the context of the story.

That being said, I didn’t really enjoy this journey. Because magic existed at the forefront of this retelling, sometimes the plot suffered from that. There were so many events that happened only because one main character or another had a feeling they needed to be somewhere–basically the magic was leading all of them around. I wanted the characters to have more agency! Where is feisty, funny Anna? Where is regal, commanding Elsa? They seemed to pale in comparison to the forces moving them around, which was a real disappointment.

The writing fell flat for me as well. This book is on the bridge between middle grade and YA and it definitely felt like the writing style suffered from trying to appeal to both audiences. Dialogue was stiff. Scenes dragged. And this is a fairly short book. I really wanted to like it, because I had a lot of fun reading another one of the Disney Twisted Tales, the one based on Aladdin. This just didn’t do it for me.

If you’re looking for a quick Disney read, filled with references to one of the most beloved contemporary Disney movies, go for Conceal, Don’t Feel. Just don’t let those expectations get too high.

3/5 stars

 

3 stars · science fiction · young adult

Aurora Rising: a solid, sci-fi novel

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Aurora Rising

The Aurora Cycle #1

authors : jay kristoff and amie kaufman

other books by these authors:
gemina

pages : [hardcover] 473

memorable quote :

Who am I to deny gravity, Aurora? When you shine brighter than any constellation in the sky?

favorite character : ty

summary:

From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

review :

AURORA RISING, while not completely out of this world, manages to have some (inter)stellar scenes and a neat hook that really makes me excited for book two.

This YA sci-fi novel opens with a group of teens, in space, forced to work together for the good of all humanity—and, at least 6/7 of them actually signed up for that because they’ve been training as part of a space police peace program. One is not like the others. One is the reason they’re all brought together, and the reason there’s a good chance not all of them are going to survive this mess. But what’s the fun of outer space without a little danger or certain death?

The book is told in multiple points of view, and whenever it’s that character’s POV, it becomes first person from their perspective. This was confusing particularly in the beginning of the book, because many of the characters have similar personalities. They all have the same snarky sense of humor. I’m certainly all for books that have more than one character who can make witty quips with terrible timing, but when everyone is doing it, that doesn’t help distinguish between voices. I wish we’d been eased a little more into these people before we switched POV so often.

Really, it isn’t just the confusing POV that makes AURORA RISING start out very slow. The first third of the book feels like a generic science fiction premise—and as someone who doesn’t overread the genre and hasn’t watched many of the most recent space movies, that’s saying a lot. AURORA RISING really comes into its own in the back half of the book—it finds its rhythm, just like the crew does with one another. Kind of. Sort of. Not really. They’re always a mess and that’s precisely what I like about them.

This is one of the rare books where I think the sequel will be better than the first book, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. AURORA RISING takes a lot of familiar pieces of science fiction and gives them a subtle spin so that you almost think you can see what’s coming, and then at the same time feel like you have no idea what the hell is going on (because you probably don’t).

Also it succeeds in making me terrified of everything. Thank you.

AURORA RISING could be better, and will be—probably—as the series continues.

3/5 stars

 

 

3 stars · fiction · young adult

A Match Made in Mehendi: an ok, light contemporary read

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A Match Made in Mehendi

author : nandini bajpai

pages : [hardcover[ 320

favorite character : simi

summary :

Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers-with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.”

But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course.

But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

review :

Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book at Book Con.

A Match Made in Mehendi is a cute, light read following Simi, who isn’t quite sure that she wants to join the family matchmaking business because she dreams of becoming an artist. As a way to sort of test her interest and also gauge if she’s any good at matchmaking, she works with her friends to design an app that uses all of her family’s techniques to pair individuals. The dating app only works at her school and Simi personally has a hand in every match that occurs.

I can truly say that I’ve never read anything like this! A Match Made in Mehendi has modern high school drama with the technology components, while also doing a callback to the past with Simi’s more ‘traditional’ family business–old school, meeting prospective matches in person, and everything is written out on paper (Simi struggles with those filing cabinets and I sympathize). There’s a blending of generational differences, a blending of cultures–and Simi is struggling to find her way through it all, so it’s as relatable as any coming-of-age story.

However, it takes a lot for me to fall in love with contemporary novels, and I don’t think the characters were unique enough in this one for me to ever consider it for a reread. Simi is someone I think a lot of teens will see themselves in, but the cast around her falls flat as they really only exist to support her and don’t stand well on their own. At times, things happen to other characters seemingly only so we can get Simi’s reaction, and then we never see the follow-through or consequences. The plot threads are dropped, and while it was interesting that there were so many in a relatively short book, it would have been better to have them condensed so that nothing would end up getting left behind after a few chapters.

The writing in this book was very simplistic, so I think it would appeal most to the younger spectrum of YA readers. There were never any really biting bits of dialogue, or paragraphs that jumped out as particularly meaningful. The text said what was happening, and who was saying what, but never explored Simi’s emotions any more deeply than that. Disappointing, when we get the entire book from her perspective.

However, unlike so many YA novels coming out right now, this was a fun book to read and pretty happy overall. Yes, there are deeper themes explored, such as bullying, but they’re done nicely in a way that isn’t quite as depressing or melodramatic as other current contemporary novels. Simi goes through a lot but never really lets it get her down, and it’s refreshing to have such a positive main character.

So, if you’re looking for a light, fluffy read–overall, this might be the one for you.

3/5 stars

 

 

3 stars · Fantasy · young adult

King of Scars: so this is a story all about how . . . I was disappointed

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King of Scars

Nikolai Duology #1

other books in this universe:

Shadow and Bone | Six of Crows

pages : [hardcover] 528

memorable quote :

The monster is me and I am the monster.

summary :

Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

review :

Ohhhhhhhhhh boy.

King of Scars is possibly the most highly anticipated book in the YA fantasy realm in . . known memory? The Grishaverse is truly a force of its own and fans, including me, were very eager for this spinoff duology about Nikolai Lantsov. That charming, handsome king.

Right. Well.

This book read like a sequel, even though it’s book one. It felt like it suffered from second-book syndrome, without at least giving us the lovely, beautiful, content of the first book that we wanted. Here are a few non-spoilery points I’d like to make:

1. Why wasn’t there more Nikolai in a . . book pitched as his story?

2. Nina’s POV could have been a completely different book, BUT I’m not sure that it could have stood on its own. (And I love Nina. I LOVE HER. I would do anything for her. But what is happening. Okay.)

3. You can’t set a book in an already established universe and break all of the rules of that universe for . . . No discernible purpose as yet to be seen.

4. Oh no there are so many things to rant about but I have voWED TO REVIEW WITH NO SPOILERS.

There were also great points in this book. It was so fun to see characters again from the original series that I absolutely loved. It was great to have a lot of the action be entrenched in strategy and political intrigue–when we’re talking kings and kingdoms, it’s interesting to see how the characters interact, one-up, and try to trick each other. There were great pieces of backstory that made me happy.

There was just . . . So much potential. I can see in this book what I wanted out of it, and what I didn’t get. But I think what upsets me most is that I’m not excited for the next book. This one, King of Scars, has amazing, emotional scenes that I’ll definitely want to read over and over again. But the setup for book two?

Oh nooooooooooooo.

Maybe I should petition for a Nina spinoff series instead.

3/5 stars

 

3 stars · Fantasy · young adult

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake: slow start for the first in a series

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Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns #1

author : kendare blake

pages : [hardcover] 398

summary :

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

review :

Three Dark Crowns is a book that’s been on my radar for a while. I’ve loved Kendare Blake’s books in the past, so I knew the writing would be solid and the plot summary intrigued me. Somehow it all sort of fell apart in the execution.

While this is the first book of a series, it sort of read like a very long, overextended prologue. Basically setting up the characters for the real action and political intrigue, Three Dark Crowns offers us . . . not much of real substance. We are already aware of the driving force of the novel: there are triplets who must kill each other and the surviving girl will become the next queen. We know that intensity will begin at this ceremony after their birthday. Except that ceremony doesn’t take place until the very, very end of this book.

Why do we linger so much on the characters beforehand? I’m not sure, because there isn’t much that couldn’t have been explained in a few clever flashbacks. The relationships between the characters as well as their adoptive families are in no way unexpected or overly complex. Mostly it’s them meandering around thinking about the future and complaining about things that they can’t currently do, while I was left wondering why I couldn’t be taken to a point in the plot closer to when they could do them.

Maybe this slow pacing is what made it impossible for the plot twists to work: there was nothing surprising about this book. The grand reveal was something that felt obvious after the opening chapters, and left me disappointed that I was right when I had been hoping I was being misled.

Still, the writing is excellent. It makes me think that maybe book two will be great, now that everything is finally set into its place. I’ll probably read the sequel eventually, and hope that the series keeps improving upon itself.

3/5 stars

3 stars · Fantasy · middle grade

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes: a slow-paced fairy tale

 

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Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes

Peter Nimble #1

author : jonathan auxier

pages : [hardcover] 400

memorable quote :

“A boy your age should know better than to consider anything impossible.”

summary :

Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is the utterly beguiling tale of a ten-year-old blind orphan who has been schooled in a life of thievery. One fateful afternoon, he steals a box from a mysterious traveling haberdasher—a box that contains three pairs of magical eyes. When he tries the first pair, he is instantly transported to a hidden island where he is presented with a special quest: to travel to the dangerous Vanished Kingdom and rescue a people in need. Along with his loyal sidekick—a knight who has been turned into an unfortunate combination of horse and cat—and the magic eyes, he embarks on an unforgettable, swashbuckling adventure to discover his true destiny.

review :

There’s one thing I love as much as fairy tales and fairy tale retellings: books that have completely unique plots that are told with a fairy tale voice. That fantastical tone where magical things can happen and they’re just matter-of-fact, because of course these wondrous plots are just seen as normal in a fairy tale world. The writing in Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes is amazing and beautiful, so I definitely want to read more by this author.

That said, the plot of the book does drag a bit in the middle. It seems so very long when it doesn’t really need to be, like everything is being over-explained. It draws you out of the story, away from what the characters are going through, and certainly puts a damper on those magical twists and turns when you know how the plot is going to go and it keeps getting put off and off and off.

The characters were a little flimsy, sometimes flipping opinions or allegiances too easily, but for the most part this can be explained away by the fairytale vibe. After all, characters in those stories are really more caricatures used to teach lessons–as happens in Peter Nimble.

One thing I absolutely loved about the book was that it was an adventure story, about friendship and found family and accepting yourself. It was also great to see a story where the main character is blind and that isn’t the entirety of the plot. The other characters don’t feel sorry for Peter because he’s blind; he doesn’t feel sorry for himself, either. I love that we’re shown how strong, cunning, and capable he is and his blindness is almost an afterthought. It certainly doesn’t stop Peter from trying to save the day.

So this is a book that I’m torn on. It’s an important book, and fun at times, but the pacing left a lot to be deserved and definitely detracts from the entertainment of it.

3/5 stars

 

 

 

3 stars · dystopia · young adult

Dry by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman: drink your water, kids

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Dry

authors : neal shusterman & jarrod shusterman

other books by neal shusterman :

unwind scythe challenger deep

pages : [hardcover] 390

memorable quote :

Sometimes you have to be the monster to survive.

summary :

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

review :

I received an ARC of this book at BookCon in 2018. This in no way influenced my review or opinion.

Dry shows a reality that doesn’t seem so impossible. After terrible droughts and spreading wildfires, the entire water supply to Southern California is shut off without warning. The story is told in multiple points of view, all of them teenagers experiencing this crisis. The plot mostly follows a series of dangerous misadventures that occur because everyone is dumb and keeps forgetting that they need all of this water to survive.

This story is incredibly realistic, because I don’t think any of us are prepared to deal with a sudden crisis that might occur on this sort of scale. It’s scary, with all of the fires that have occurred in California just recently. And it kind of emphasizes how idiotic humanity can be–in saving themselves, in caring for one another, and in looking after the environment.

The problem is, most of the force behind the plot occurs through dramatic misunderstandings or really stupid mistakes. Most of the time when there was a shift in the plot, it was a combination of the two. Which made their quest for water sort of . . . boring. Obviously the overall motivation for the characters is survival, but they’re cookie-cutter stereotypes beyond that. I really didn’t care for most of them, which means I didn’t care if they lived or died. Hypothetically it’s fine if there are a few characters you could do without . . . but in a survival story where you’re supposed to be rooting for the main characters, on the edge of your seat, I felt next to nothing.

The characters aren’t exactly good people. They’re all flawed and as such, pretty realistic, which can be appreciated. But it’s very odd that, even with multiple first person points of view, I feel like I never got to know any of them. Like their personalities were trapped somewhere beyond a gigantic wall (which probably also had all of the water on the other side of it as well).

I did really enjoy the first bit of the book, as well as the last hundred or so pages. Perhaps if there had been more intrigue with the characters, instead of a rather repetitive middle portion, it would have better kept my interest. It took me months to get through this book.

One of my favorite parts, though, was the little snapshots that occur sometimes between different points of view. This lets readers see what’s happening with the outside world, or in other parts of California, or with other minor characters who’ve been referenced in the text. I loved that it gave a better picture of the crisis and more context for the dangers that were out there. Also, they showed what was happening at Disneyland in this end-of-the-world type situation, and I was very excited because I just love Disney so much.

Still, if you’re looking for a survival story, this one is pretty run of the mill. There aren’t any characters here for you to fall in love with. The concept is pretty unique, and interesting, and realistic, but the plot is nothing groundbreaking. I’d say pick up a different one of Shusterman’s books and leave this one on the shelf.

How I felt while reading this book:

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How I felt after reading this book:

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3/5 stars

 

 

3 stars · books to movies · young adult

Books to movies review: Dumplin’ (except I didn’t read the book)

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Well, for the sake of full disclosure, I read about 50 pages of Dumplin’. Then the ereader app I was using logged me out and I lost my password so I hadn’t found myself another way to read the rest of the book before I got to watching the newest Netflix film . . .

DUMPLIN‘.

I was very excited.

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If you haven’t heard, Dumplin‘ is about a plus-sized girl who enters a beauty pageant (run by her mother) to prove that girls of all sizes should be included in what is culturally considered beautiful. There’s also so much Dolly Parton music and I just love Dolly Parton so much so this is wonderful okay.

The movie has great, important themes, about body confidence and plus-sized representation, about loving yourself and about recognizing that every type of person is deserving of love.

I want to talk about the few sour notes first. (None of which involve Dolly Parton’s music, which is pitch perfect and will never be criticized on this blog.)

Willowdean, “Will”, “Dumplin'”, our main character, really dislikes herself. Almost all of her character revolves not just around her appearance but her own perception of her appearance. She sometimes makes the wrong assumptions about what others think about her, which leads to her doing some not very kind things. For which there are no repercussions.

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My question was, if everyone else in the film is made to consider their past actions and change their view, and if Willowdean has some soul-searching to do as well, there should have been at least more of an apology from her. Because it seems like through her character arc she comes to improve herself, but not necessarily apologize for the mistakes she’s made along the way.

There were a few clunky pieces of the script, that I think comes from adapting something from a novel. Not having read the book, there were times when characters would appear or lines of dialogue would come up, and I’d think to myself that it sounds like that should be something significant. Something I should care about. Except they haven’t taken the time in the context of the movie to develop it properly so I have no idea where these things are coming from.

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Overall though, it’s a very fun movie, and I think that I’ll end up watching it again. The tone of it is a fun, bright comedy, the sort you always want to put on in the summer after a long day out in the sun. Some of the jokes made me laugh out loud. Millie is possibly the best character I’ve seen in a while. I love her so much and she’s so strong and nice and no one is ever allowed to hurt her.

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It’s also a beautiful movie visually. I love the costume choices and the lighting used throughout just helps to emphasize the cheery, teen romcom-y atmosphere. I have no idea what the budget was for this movie, but it seems to be proof that you don’t need big sets to make scenes that really land.

Also, I just have to say that I love watching movies that discuss mother/daughter relationships. The whole typical embarrassing mom, as they try to come to understand each other. Sure, not everyone’s mom is Jennifer Aniston (I was very surprised to see her cast in this movie and very pleased with how she played her role). Dumplin’ does what many teen movies don’t: it makes parents into actual characters, not just cardboard stereotypes that never seem to care where their children are at all hours of the night. Willowdean and her mother have their differences. At times, Will is so incredibly mean to her mother, and her mother doesn’t seem to understand anything Will is going through. But I loved that their relationship had such an emphasis in the plot.

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Overall, I say give this a watch. It’s not long nor is it complicated. It’s fun, funny, and leaves you with a good feeling and Dolly Parton’s music ringing in your head. Actually, I think I’m going to have to go and check out that soundtrack . . .

3.5/5 stars

 

 

 

 

3 stars · graphic novel · young adult

The Woods Vol 2: The Swarm

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the woods, vol 2: the swarm

author : james tynion iv

illustrator : josan gonzalez

pages : [paperback] 112

summary :

An entire high school has been transported to an alien world and must now survive together or die individually.

On October 16, 2013, 437 students, 52 teachers, and 24 additional staff from Bay Point Preparatory High School in suburban Milwaukee, WI vanished without a trace. Countless light years away, far outside the bounds of the charted universe, 513 people find themselves in the middle of an ancient, primordial wilderness. Where are they? Why are they there? The answers will prove stranger than anyone could possibly imagine. Catch a glimpse of Bay Point Preparatory High School before the fateful events of October 16, 2013 in this new story arc. On opening night of the school’s rendition of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the lives of the students and faculty crossed paths in an almost premonitory way, seeding the various horrors to come. Collects The Woods #5-8.

review :

Volume Two of The Woods picks up just where we left off in the first volume. Space mystery, general teenage angst, the possibility that all will end in death and destruction and more death.

I really liked how this volume expanded on the world we’ve been shown. Or should I say planet. There is more of an explanation of the relationships between the characters. More backstory. More intrigue. Well, to an extent. For as amazing, expansive, and creative as the world at large is presented here, the characters fail to feel compelling or gripping. Even when their lives are in danger (actually, they’re always in danger) the reader doesn’t feel much more over a dry interest in seeing what new thing might come to terrorize everyone.

As in volume one, what keeps me coming back to this series despite its faults is the incredible artwork and the unique concept.

3/5 stars

 

3 stars · reread review · young adult

Reread Review: Every Day by David Levithan

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every day

author : david levithan

pages : [hardcover] 322

memorable quote :

I wake up thinking of yesterday. The joy is in remembering; the pain is in knowing it was yesterday.

summary :

I wake up.

Immediately, I have to figure out who I am. It’s not just the body – opening my eyes and discovering whether the skin on my arm is light or dark, whether my hair is long or short, whether I’m fat or thin, boy or girl, scarred or smooth. The body is the easiest thing to adjust to, if you’re used to waking up in a new one each morning. It’s the life, the context of the body, that can be hard to grasp.

Every day I am someone else. I am myself – I know I am myself – but I am also someone else.

It has always been like this.

original rating, december 2012 : 5 stars

december 2017 rating : 3 stars

I remember the love that I had for this book. I remember being unable to put it down, until to get this remarkable concept out of my head.

I have fallen out of love with this book.

I still love the premise. The concept is the driving force of this book and David Levithan does a fantastic job with it. The diversity presented within this book is astounding.

It just isn’t a very good love story.

I realize that it needs to be insta-love; A only spends one day in each body so in order for them to form a connection with anyone it needs to be a little instantaneous. But it was also slightly . . . weird. As in, A kept pressuring the love interest to be with them and kiss them and all when she’d repeatedly said she has no interest in them and has a boyfriend.

It made things jarring and less fun and less . . . good.

I still think everyone should give this book a try, if only for the intriguing concept and the diversity spread throughout. It’s worthwhile. It’s just no longer a favorite, and I’m not sure I’ll ever read it again.