Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

Blue Lily, Lily Blue

The Raven Cycle #3
Book 1: The Raven Boys
Book 2: The Dream Thieves

author : maggie stiefvater

pages : [hardcover] 391

favorite character : noah

memorable quote “You can be just friends with people, you know,” Orla said. “I think it’s crazy how you’re in love with all those raven boys.”

summary :

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

review :

Even though I haven’t always loved Maggie Stiefvater’s books, I’m continuing to love this series! Blue Lily, Lily Blue deals with some of the crazy (awesome) things that ended the previous book in this series. Originally I thought this was meant to be the ending, until I realized that there was going to be a fourth book. Don’t expect any loose ends to be tied up in this installment! Instead, the mystery deepens. So much that I NEED to know what’s going to happen next!

While Blue is undoubtedly the least interesting character to me in these books (which is disappointing because they suffer from a distinct lack of female characters and so far she’s just been worried about love interests) the boys hold up and became even more lovable to me. I don’t understand why Ronan, Noah, and even Gansey have already developed and grown as characters. Blue shows a little more potential in this third book, with me hoping that she’ll become a greater part of finding this ancient king when we finally get to the last book of the series.

She’s been my favorite complaint thus far; the rest, I love. I love the intense scenes where I have no idea if my favorite characters are going to live or die. I love the magic that occurs in this world and how it works. I love that I can never fully anticipate what’s going to happen next and how that keeps me hooked until the very last page.

I’ll definitely be recommending these books, though I can’t wait to see how this is all going to be wrapped up in the conclusion coming out later this year. Fingers crossed that it’ll be something unforgettable!

4/5 stars

Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella

Finding Audrey

author : sophie kinsella

pages : [hardcover] 288

favorite character : felix

summary :

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.

An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.

review :

I didn’t know much about this novel before I dove into it, other than realizing I haven’t read many books that deal with anxiety. Because I have anxiety myself, and know that it is a different experience for any person with it, I wanted to hear Audrey’s story. She wasn’t always filled with uncontrollable anxiety; something (we never quite find out what, which isn’t satisfying) happened at school and she’s spiraled downward ever since.

Unfortunately, I just wasn’t captivated by this book.

I think this book was meant to be part comedy and honestly the humor wasn’t for me. In the first half of the book, much of the plot was overtaken (and kept referring back to) an incident between Audrey’s mother and brother, Frank. I found it kind of alarming, not funny, and think maybe it was something they should have been a little concerned about. Throughout the novel Audrey’s mother is obsessive, controlling every minuscule aspect of Frank’s life . . . while she seems to leave Audrey untouched. I don’t know if I was supposed to find the obsession enjoyable to read about but I think it was a really unnecessary portion of the story.

For a girl who’s afraid to even leave her house and look her family in the eye, Audrey finds it surprisingly easy to get herself a boyfriend. And, as any sibling would know, dating a brother or sister’s friend would be slightly awkward. Frank is surprisingly okay with the fact that his friend suddenly doesn’t want to hang out with him anymore–only Audrey. And never mentions anything about it. Even understanding her anxiety, I think he would have brought SOMETHING up to her. The relationships in this novel weren’t just exaggerated to try to make something funny or cute (and I have to admit, there were a few adorable moments between Audrey and Linus), they were completely twisted out of proportion.

I don’t think that I’ll end up recommending this novel. The characters weren’t particularly gripping and the plot, revolving around Audrey finding herself again, was mediocre. I do give this book a star for the few cute scenes between Audrey and Linus and another star for accurately portraying a kind of anxiety.

2/5 stars

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Magonia

author : maria dahvana headley

pages : [hardcover] 320

memorable quote : I read stuff. Books are not my only friends, but we’re friendly. So there.

favorite character : jason

summary :

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in this fantasy about a girl caught between two worlds… two races…and two destinies.

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

review :

 I started off enjoying this book a lot, eager to see where it would go, and ended up unimpressed and disappointed.

I’ve been looking forward to reading Magonia for a long time. While I’ve heard mixed things about it, things sounds like something unique and fascinating that would be right up my alley. I kind of love the idea of a girl who doesn’t fit in suddenly realizing that she’s a part of something more magical–as common as that idea is getting to be these days. But this was such a cool take on that–something that reminded me a lot of the Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld, books I absolutely loved which also involved airships. Unfortunately, as soon as Aza took to the skies (which occurred during a heart-wrenchingly awesome scene that unfortunately signaled the downward spiral of my interest) things got . . annoying.

Still, there were some aspects that I liked. I really appreciated Headley’s attempt to draw readers into the possibility of this world which apparently lives atop our own, unnoticed by the ‘drowners’ who live on Earth. At first I thought it was cool that these airships kept themselves hidden by self-made thunderstorms, so the people below would only see a massive storm and dark clouds in the skies. But then at other times in the book, little ships are sailing along without this kind of major protection, unexplained. Is it some kind of magic that keeps the ships hidden? Either there’s a plot hole here or I wasn’t paying attention when something was covered by some explanation.

Of course, there has to be a boy in the sky. I rolled my eyes a little at the inevitable start of a love triangle, particularly because Jason was so perfectly sweet and nerdy with Aza so I didn’t think she’d find some air-man as cute with her as that. Because Aza is a super smart girl. She knows weird facts, either from her own research or Jason telling her these things. She’s had a lot of growing up to do, unfortunately, by constantly living with the knowledge that she would soon die. Yet as soon as she can breathe properly, she starts making these frustratingly stupid decisions–even when things are so glaringly obvious that I don’t think it can be said there are any plot twists in the second part of this book–that I wanted to give up on her.

Although I think the concept of this book is awesome, I’m going to have to say I won’t be recommending this one. There are better YA books out there with more satisfying characters and endings.

2/5 stars

Schizo by Nic Sheff

Schizo

author : nic sheff

pages :  [hardcover] 272

favorite characters : janey, miles

summary :

The fascinating, shocking, and ultimately quite hopeful story of one teen’s downward spiral into mental illness by the bestselling author of Tweak.

Miles is the ultimate unreliable narrator—a teen recovering from a schizophrenic breakdown who believes he is getting better . . . when in reality he is growing worse.

Driven to the point of obsession to find his missing younger brother, Teddy, and wrapped up in a romance that may or may not be the real thing, Miles is forever chasing shadows. As Miles feels his world closing around him, he struggles to keep it open, but what you think you know about his world is actually a blur of gray, and the sharp focus of reality proves startling.

Written by the New York Times bestselling author of Tweak, Schizo is the fascinating, and ultimately quite hopeful, story of one teen’s downward spiral into mental illness as he chases the clues to a missing brother. Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and It’s Kind of a Funny Story.

review :

A good, quick read that speaks deeply about mental illness and how today’s teens deal with it but not one of my favorites.

Maybe I would have enjoyed this book far more if I hadn’t just read Made You Up by Francesca Zappia—another YA novel about schizophrenia that I LOVED. Obviously every person who suffers from mental illness is different and I’m glad that there are more characters in YA now who live with these diseases, but these two books shared so many similarities that it was hard for me not to find big plot points in Schizo more predictable than I might have if I hadn’t read similar books so close to one another.

Miles is an interesting character. He knows that he suffers from schizophrenia but blames himself for terrible things that happen during his outbreaks and has himself now on a self-destructive path because of the guilt he harbors. This fluctuates throughout the novel as like everyone Miles has his ups and downs, though because of his illness his tend to be more extreme and dangerous to himself and others. I also maybe judged him a little because he seems to chain smoke cigarettes and, y’know, today you see a lot less people doing that kind of thing because we kind of know the consequences of that.

Even so, I didn’t really feel connected to him, perhaps because the writing style for this didn’t really work for me. Almost every chapter ended with Miles’ thoughts spiraling in on themselves and the way they were crafted, repetitively, was a fascinating insight into his thoughts but also not very interesting to read over and over again.

Overall I think that there are many who will enjoy this book and it’s something important to have in the YA genre when there aren’t many books that seriously deal with mental illness as a main portion of the book.  While I did like the other book that I read more, I think I would have liked Schizo even better if I’d spaced these reads further apart.

3/5 stars

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The Dream Thieves

The Raven Cycle #2

author : maggie stiefvater

pages : [hardcover] 439

memorable quote In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them.
Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness.
Her raven boys.

favorite character : noah

summary :

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps form others. Some he keeps from himself.

One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams.

And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

Of The Raven Boys, Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Maggie Stiefvater’s can’t-put-it-down paranormal adventure will leave you clamoring for book two.” Now the second book is here, with the same wild imagination, dark romance, and heart-stopping twists that only Maggie Stiefvater can conjure.

review :

I was super excited to read The Dream Thieves because I absolutely loved the first book! Unfortunately up until I started to read these books I was never a big fan of Maggie Stiefvater. This series, somehow, is the one for me. I love most of the characters, can never predict what’s going to happen next, and definitely want more.

The last book left me wanting to know more about the raven boys and I’m glad that more was told about Ronan and even Adam’s motivations. I still want more about Noah. I want to know what he was like in the past, because I’m sure that he was much different than how he is now! He’s my favorite of the boys, mostly because he manages to be a good balance of extremely cute and mysterious. Gansey has been growing on me a lot. And Blue . . . She’s the one that frustrates me. I wish that her role in the books was more than the prophecy of her killing her true love if she kisses him. I mean, all of these boys get cool backstories and motivations and, well, lives . . . And she’s left with romance. Blue, they tease you about being a crazy feminist (I’m not even going to go there) but you aren’t exactly helping yourself out.

I loved the plot twists in this book, though there were a few involving the mysterious Grey Man that I thought were a little odd, convenient, and forced. I’m still super excited to see what’s going to happen in book three (and slightly confused because I thought this was a trilogy and apparently book four is coming out sometime next year). Again, the ones with Ronan were my favorite twists because I wanted to know more about him and there were some developments, and new villains, I never saw coming.

These are the Maggie Stiefvater books I’d recommend as of now. While I still am not a fan of her other work, the magical mayhem in this Raven Cycle is perfect for me.

4/5 stars

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Kayla:

Because I was FINALLY able to get my hands on books two and three in the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, I just reread book one, The Raven Boys! I still enjoyed it just as much–and I think this series might stand as the only one by Stiefvater that I’ll keep liking!

Originally posted on Caught Between the Pages:

The Raven Boys
The Raven Cycle #1

author : maggie stiefvater [also wrote: the scorpio races; shiver]

pages : 409

memorable quote “My words are unerring tools of
destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”

favorite characters : ronan & adam

summary :

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy…

View original 447 more words

Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

Let’s Get Lost

author : adi alsaid

pages : [hardcover] 352

favorite character : hudson

memorable quote Funny, how it took a little bit of pain to remember that certain parts of yourself were alive.

summary :

Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There’s HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way.

review :

I really, really enjoyed reading this book and I’m definitely going to recommend it to others.

First of all, I loved the way that it was split up into five sections, one for each other the characters. Four of them are only connected by Leila, who meets them on her quest to see the Northern Lights. She has quite a long way to drive as she starts at the very bottom of the United States and works her way upward, with no timeline in mind–only that she’ll continue to go North. This leaves as much time as she wants at any pit stop Leila makes and allows her to make some awesome and unusual friends along the way.

My favorite story had to be Hudson’s because I think it was the one that I currently relate to the most. Planning for the future, with the pressure of big events looming on the horizon, and not really knowing what you want to do with your life. His life seemed interesting, and was fun to read about. I loved the treasure hunt he took Leila on–something that you wouldn’t expect, nothing like what you would picture when you hear those words.

Alsaid’s other characters are just as interesting, though they didn’t captivate me as much. In the middle of the book I was lost for a short while, wondering at Leila’s motivations because despite the fact that she is the only one continuously present, she is the one you know least about. A lot was cleared up for me in the end, with a conclusion that I never would have expected and that I think a lot of people will enjoy.

I haven’t enjoyed many of the books I’ve been reading lately so I was really glad to have this one, which made me feel so much. The romance had me giddy, the suspense had me on the edge of my seat, and the grief had my heart aching. I’ll be recommending this one, always.

4/5 stars