5 stars · fiction · young adult

Audacious by Gabrielle Prendergast

Audacious

author : gabrielle predergast

pages : [hardcover] 288

favorite character : raphaelle

what’s special about this book : it’s written completely in verse and told very beautifully

summary :

Sixteen year old Raphaelle is that girl who says the wrong thing, who crosses the wrong person, who has the wrong hair, the wrong body, the wrong attitude, the totally wrong clothes. She can’t do anything right, except draw, but she draws the wrong pictures. When her father moves the family to a small prairie city, Raphaelle wants to leave behind the misfit rebel, the outcast, the vengeful trouble-maker she was. Reborn as “Ella,” she plans fit in at her new school, while her perfect younger sister goes to the Catholic girls’ school and her emotionally fragile mother looks for a job.

But Ella might just be a different kind of misfit. She’s drawn to a brooding boy in her art class, Samir, and expresses her confused feelings in an explicit artwork. When a classmate texts a photo of Ella’s art to a younger friend, the horrendous fallout spreads though Ella’s life like an uncontrollable disease. Ella is expelled from school and faces pornography charges, her mother is hospitalized, her sister fails all her classes, and her distant father finally notices something is wrong.

review :

I love novels in verse and Audacious stands out in its own right because of Raphaelle, our wonderful leading lady. Every character in this book has his or her own flaws, including Raphaelle. She wants to fit in. She wants to get over the past. She wants to ignore everything that’s wrong with her family so that she can focus on fixing herself instead. Sometimes she makes the wrong choices. Sometimes things turn out horribly for her. But she’s real, and fun to read, and I couldn’t wait to read on and see what else was going to happen with her.

I do think that this book tried to take on a lot of issues all at once and maybe it got stretched a little too thin in places. That’s about the only complaint that I can think of because, otherwise, it was so beautifully written and captivating that I didn’t care much about how long it dwelt on a particular plot point or feature.

I read the summary a while ago, just before I got the book, and didn’t reread it beforehand. That gave Ella’s story a little more suspense because I genuinely couldn’t tell where the plot might have been going. Ella is trying to figure herself out and I liked how I as the reader was also trying to do the same thing, looking through her thoughts and actions and trying to determine what had happened to her in the past and why she acts and thinks rebelliously when at the same time some part of her just wants to blend into the background and be normal. I feel like everybody has these two warring sides within them, though in Ella it’s more obvious a problem than it is for most people.

There were so many great characters in this book-Samir and his sister, Ella’s art teacher and her disabled daughter, Ella’s entire family-that I can still remember clearly and who all had an impact on Ella’s way of thinking. She changed because of or in spite of people and I think I learned something along with her.

This is a quick read even though it contains several issues within it. I’d recommend it to anyone, including people who love verse novels or who are looking for a quick, insightful read.

5/5 stars

If you like this book, you might also like Glimpse or Perfect

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5 stars · fiction · young adult

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls

Author : patrick ness

pages : [hardcover] 215

memorable quote You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.

favorite characters : conor & the monster

summary :

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

review :

I love Patrick Ness’ writing style so much! I read the Chaos Walking trilogy a while ago and that was and still is one of my all-time favorite things to read, both because of the great characters and the way the author has with words. He definitely holds onto that skill in A Monster Calls and uses it to draw the reader in from the first page.

First of all I loved the beautiful way that the book was set up. There are illustrations scattered throughout the book, all dark and dreary and depicting the monster that comes to visit Conor. Sometimes they frame the text and they really drew me into his story so that I could see what he was while he was speaking about it. Conor is mostly just the average kid though Ness makes even that seem special. Everything about this book is so realistic which is part of how horrifying it truly is. All of this realism is faced with the monster and the reader is guessing along with Conor as to whether or not the monster is really there or is just in his imagination.

A Monster Calls deals with very tough issues in a beautiful and powerful way. I didn’t know much about this book before I picked it up, only that I’d heard great things about it and already had a love for Ness’ work. What I didn’t expect was to become so emotionally connected with these characters that I felt like I was going through this horrible time alongside Conor. I really have to applaud the author for the way he conveyed this story without making it overdone or feel false. By the time the monster was demanding for Conor to tell his story of the truth the book brought me to tears.

I really recommend this book to everyone looking for a quick and wonderful read you will never forget.

book trailer :

If you like this book, you might also like Deadline or The Knife of Never Letting Go

3 stars · fiction · romance · young adult

Towering by Alex Flinn

Towering

Author : Alex Flinn [also wrote: A Kiss in Time, Beastly, and Cloaked]

pages : [hardcover] 293

favorite characters : rachel & wyatt

summary :

At first, I merely saw his face, his hands on the window ledge. Then, his whole body as he swung himself through the window. Only I could not see what he swung on.
Until, one day, I told my dream self to look down. And it was then that I saw. He had climbed on a rope. I knew without asking that the rope had been one of my own tying.

Rachel is trapped in a tower, held hostage by a woman she’s always called Mama. Her golden hair is growing rapidly, and to pass the time, she watches the snow fall and sings songs from her childhood, hoping someone, anyone, will hear her.

Wyatt needs time to reflect or, better yet, forget about what happened to his best friend, Tyler. That’s why he’s been shipped off to the Adirondacks in the dead of winter to live with the oldest lady in town. Either that, or no one he knows ever wants to see him again.

Dani disappeared seventeen years ago without a trace, but she left behind a journal that’s never been read, not even by her overbearing mother…until now.

A #1 New York Times bestselling author, Alex Flinn knows her fairy tales, and Towering is her most mind-bending interpretation yet. Dark and mysterious, this reimagining of Rapunzel will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering where Alex will take them next!

review :

I’ve loved all of Alex Flinn’s fairy tale retellings and when I heard she was doing one based on the tale of Rapunzel I was overjoyed. I love Disney’s Tangled and wanted to see what one of the most well-known names out there in modern fairy tales could do with the story. I was excited for the creativity, how the girl would react to being saved, what the evil villain would be like . . Towering was nothing like what I expected and not really in the best of ways.

First of all, and a little thing too that probably only annoyed me, I was kind of hoping for a more romantic, fairy tale name for the heroine rather than Rachel. Second, in the book she mentions that she can clearly see a lake from her tower and can see people there in the summer, etc. The town that this story is set in is one where everybody knows everybody else and there’s practically nothing to do. Don’t tell me that no bored group of teenagers wouldn’t go and investigate a tower that they can see out in the woods, even if it does seem abandoned. It kind of seems impossible that no one but Wyatt could have ever found it.

I didn’t really feel the entire evil plot going on, either. It was an interesting take on things but just didn’t work for me. It seemed too little and insignificant, contained in that small town. At times it just felt . . off.

I did like how Wyatt was with Rachel, being so kind and gentle and allowing her to experience things that she’d never had before because she’d been kept up in that tower because of Mama. I loved hearing about his past and what had brought him to stay in that place, so far away from home and everything he’d ever known. That said, I do hope that I enjoy Alex Flinn’s next book more than I did this one. I’d recommend checking out another of her tales before trying Towering.

3/5 stars

If you like this, you might want to try Sisters Red or Tiger Lily

5 stars · dystopia · fiction · romance · science fiction · series · young adult

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me

Shatter Me #2
Book 1 : Shatter Me

author tahereh mafi

pages : [hardcover] 461

memorable quote “Books are easily destroyed. But words will live as long as people can remember them.”

favorite characters : adam & kenji

summary :

tick
tick
tick
tick
tick
it’s almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.

review :

I have waited so long to read this book! I read Shatter Me last year and it gripped me immediately; I loved the colorful and embellished writing style and couldn’t wait to read more about Juliette and Adam. At the end of book one there are so many exciting revelations that set up the sequel to be much different from what I ever could have imagined it to be when I first started reading. There were so many new, interesting characters to learn about as well as a new villain and, of course, Warner returns.

I love how the writing style has evolved as Juliette changes and grows stronger. It’s less centrally focused as she comes out of her shell and less whimsical as she’s forced to face reality for maybe the first time in her life. She’s found people who might come to accept her if she gives them the chance. I think it’s really brilliant, how Tahereh Mafi manages to pull this off so smoothly and seamlessly and doesn’t interrupt the flow of the plot at all. Unravel Me is more fast-paced than the first book. Now that everything has been set up it’s time for action and I can’t wait to see how that climaxes in the next and final book in the trilogy.

I’ve always had a thing for characters with superpowers, even more so when they’re flawed and the reader really gets to see the changes the character has to make throughout the book. As a rather shy person myself, it’s awesome having a leading lady like Juliette who is often afraid to speak for herself or offer up information even if it’s being asked for or she feels ridiculous for not speaking up. I think that having a person like her as a role model is great; even if she isn’t perfect, it’s easy to see how she’s testing the surface and making her way now as her own person.

I’d recommend this series to anyone! I love the characters so much . . even if the only complaint I have is the whole thing between Warner and Juliette, that I didn’t warm up to until near the end of the book. Other than that this book was as great and gripping as I’d hoped it would be and now I can’t wait to read more!!

5/5 stars

If you love this book, try reading Paranormalcy or The Darkest Minds!

 

5 stars · fiction · young adult

Pretty Girl-13 by Liz Coley

Pretty Girl-13

author : liz coley

pages : [hardcover] 344

favorite characters : abraim & angie

summary :

Reminiscent of the Elizabeth Smart case, Pretty Girl-13 is a disturbing and powerful psychological mystery about a girl who must piece together the story of her kidnapping and captivity.

Angie Chapman was thirteen years old when she ventured into the woods alone on a Girl Scouts camping trip. Now she’s returned home…only to find that it’s three years later and she’s sixteen-or at least that’s what everyone tells her.

What happened to the past three years of her life?

Angie doesn’t know.

But there are people who do — people who could tell Angie every detail of her forgotten time, if only they weren’t locked inside her mind. With a tremendous amount of courage, Angie embarks on a journey to discover the fragments of her personality, otherwise known as her “alters.” As she unearths more and more about her past, she discovers a terrifying secret and must decide: When you remember things you wish you could forget, do you destroy the parts of yourself that are responsible?

Liz Coley’s alarming and fascinating psychological mystery is a disturbing – and ultimately empowering page-turner about accepting our whole selves, and the healing power of courage, hope, and love.

review :

I found this book so intriguing mostly because of the psychological aspect presented in the summary. And it was so much more! Usually books involving amnesia can feel a little overdone but in Pretty Girl-13 Angie needs to piece her memories together because she has DID, dissociative identity disorder. Her “alters” are the parts of her that experienced the past three years of her life and, even though terrible things happened to her then, she needs to put together the past or risk letting her kidnapper go free.

There were so many different pieces of the plot happening simultaneously that there was never a dull moment! Angie is struggling within herself as well as the new memories she’s dredged up. While that’s happening she’s trying to become comfortable in normal life again, in a town that knows she’s been gone and has only just returned.

Angie is a great main character. She’s strong and resilient; she’s kept herself alive throughout that terrible ordeal and now is finding the strength to continue her life. Some parts of the novel are hard to read, especially as Angie’s past is uncovered, but I think that it’ll be important for as many people to read this book as possible. It’s powerful and moving, more than I expected, and the message really lingers. There are horrible people in the world but there are also ways to make sure that they won’t hurt anyone else anymore. Angie chooses not to let her past define her; I think that’s one of her best attributes.

5/5 stars

If you liked this book, you should try reading Held.

5 stars · fiction · romance · series · young adult

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder

author : marissa meyer

pages : [hardcover] 387

favorite characters :  cinder & peony

memorable quote I’m sure I’ll feel much more grateful when I find a guy who thinks complex wiring in a girl is a turn-on.

summary :

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

review :

I’ve book looking forward to reading this book for so long! I’ve always had a soft spot for retold fairy tales and I’ve heard nothing but good things about Cinder. As soon as I started reading it I was immediately hooked by the story and the wonderfully developed characters. So addicted that I read the entire thing in a day!

Cinder is definitely a strong character who I immediately came to love. She’s faced hardship throughout her entire life-well, the part that she can remember-not only because her stepmother dislikes her but because everyone has a prejudice against cyborgs. So much so that cyborgs are singled out to test the antidotes for the plague . . and none have survived. I love how Cinder continued to fight for herself and for what she wanted, even when it seemed like the entire world was against her.

There are so many things going on in this book! Handsome Prince Kai, cyborg problems, the plague rising, people on the moon threatening war with the entire Earth. It’s crazy, how many things are including and how wonderfully they all go together so that no part of it sounds absurd and the reader and is still left cheering Cinder on.

I really can’t wait to read Scarlet. I went into this book thinking that it would be fully concluded and that Scarlet was only a companion book but I was wrong; Cinder ends in a way that immediately leaves you clamoring for more. With an ending like that, I’m definitely picking up the next book as soon as I can.

I give Cinder 5/5 stars and recommend it to all fairy tale lovers and people looking for a great, quick read.

action · Fantasy · fiction · romance · series

Every Which Way But Dead by Kim Harrison

 

Every Which Way But Dead

Author: Kim Harrison

Pages [paperback]: 501

The Hollows #3
Book 1: Dead Witch Walking
Book 2: The Good, the Bad, and the Undead

Memorable Quote:
Join us next time for Days of the Undead when Rachel learns her long lost brother is really a crown prince from outer space.

Favorite Characters: Jenks & Ceri

Summary:

There’s no witch in Cincinnati tougher, sexier, or more screwed up than bounty hunter Rachel Morgan, who’s already put her love life and soul in dire jeopardy through her determined efforts to bring criminal night creatures to justice.

Between “runs,” she has her hands full fending off the attentions of her blood-drinking partner, keeping a deadly secret from her backup, and resisting a hot new vamp suitor.

Rachel must also take a stand in the war that’s raging in the city’s underworld, since she helped put away its former vampire kingpin–and made a deal with a powerful demon to do so that could cost her an eternity of pain, torment, and degradation.

And now her dark “master” is coming to collect his due.

Review:

I’ve quickly fallen in love with the Hollows series, and am already trying to get my hands on book four. Every Which Way But Dead picks up a few months after book two ended, with Rachel stuck as a demon’s familiar and a new, powerful threat in town ready to take over while Piscary’s in jail.

A few new characters were introduced in this book, both allies and enemies, and they were all as equally brilliant as the returning faces I was happy to see. And, a few people who mildly annoyed me from before had the good sense to stay out of the plot, making it even better. I finished the book in a few days, because each chapter flowed seamlessly into the next, and kept me rooting for Rachel and wanting to know where the plot would twist next. Because everything I didn’t expect seemed to happen.

I like it when a book can take me by surprise, still make sense, and really stick with me. Some books I read, the characters’ names slip out of my head as soon as I set it down. Not so for this series, and I don’t see it happening anytime soon. I don’t want to anticipate too much and disappoint myself, but I think I’ll definitely read these books through to the end. Which I hope is a long time coming.

SUPERNATURALLY THRILLING. 5/5 stars