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

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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.

4 stars · fiction · romance · science fiction · series · young adult

The Candidates by Inara Scott

The Candidates

Author: Inara Scott

Pages: [hardcover] 293

Delcroix Academy #1

Memorable Quote: I blinked and tried to focus on what he had just said. My heart slowed abruptly. Apparently he hadn’t pulled me aside to ask me to be his one true love.

Favorite Characters:
Hennie & Jack

Summary:

Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that’s not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia’s mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just…happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, believing this way she can suppress her powers and keep them hidden.

But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia’s days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats’ kids and child geniuses–not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. So why are they treating Dancia like she’s special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome.

And then there’s her mysterious new friend Jack, who can’t stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what. But Dancia isn’t convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her “gift” than they’re letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it…But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.

Review:

I’ve heard mixed reviews about this book, ranging from gushing recommendations to people telling me to never pick it up. Of course I had to read it and decide for myself, although I was marginally disappointed. It was an alright read, though not as good as the summary and amazing cover made it seem like it would be.

Dancia was an okay character, who was easily overshadowed by more minor roles. Her two friends, Ester and Hennie, each have something interesting about them that really drew my attention, whereas Dancia really only has her powers to set her apart, and nothing more definitely than that. Jack had to be my favorite character, because I loved seeing his reactions to everything throughout the book, seeing how he changed with what was happening. He really held it together for me.

The plot was generally pleasing, with enough mysteriousness to keep me hooked and I wanted to know how different things were going to turn out. It did lag a bit in parts, and I’m just hoping that in the sequel, now that most of the things I’ve been looking forward to have been cleared up, there can be more action, more interest. The last few scenes in the book were some of the best, I think. Hopefully that means the next will be a continuation of that.

I give The Candidates 3.5/5 stars. It was an okay read that I probably won’t pick up again, but I’ll continue with the series to see how it will go. Hopefully I’ll start to like it more, but only time will tell.

3 stars · fiction · paranormal · series · young adult

Past Midnight by Mara Purnhagen

Past Midnight

Author: Mara Purnhagen

Pages [paperback]: 216

Memorable Quote:

Favorite Character: Charlotte 

Summary:

Let me set the record straight. My name is Charlotte Silver and I’m not one of those paranormal-obsessed freaks you see on TV…no, those would be my parents, who have their own ghost-hunting reality show. And while I’m usually roped into the behind-the-scenes work, it turns out that I haven’t gone unnoticed. Something happened on my parents’ research trip in Charleston—and now I’m being stalked by some truly frightening other beings. Trying to fit into a new school and keeping my parents’ creepy occupation a secret from my friends—and potential boyfriends—is hard enough without having angry spirits whispering in my ear.

All I ever wanted was to be normal, but with ghosts of my past and present colliding, now I just want to make it out of high school alive….

Review:

 This book was a quick, fun read that I enjoyed although it held no lasting impressions. I didn’t know what to make of it at first, though I loved how Charlotte’s parents aren’t your typical ‘Ghost Hunters’. They strive to disprove any spiritual phenomenon possible, and make a career off of that alone. But when things start actually getting ghostly, they need to face something they’ve never prepared to come against.

Charlotte was an okay character, a typical teenager who is embarrassed of her parents and wants nothing more or less than a normal life. She tries to make friends while keeping them in the dark about her parents’ true profession. I personally couldn’t understand why she was so paranoid of people knowing this, as no one I know would be exceptionally bothered by it, or ready to tease someone about it, and the examples she gave seemed . . . lacking. Some of the decisions she made seemed to make no sense; she’d be terrified of the ‘ghosts’ one moment, then ready to openly engage them the next.

The book was a little slow, with some of the big revelations and secrets predictable, or less shocking than they should have been. Some things seemed to fit together perfectly, while others seemed to miss a little . . . pizazz.

All in all, it was a good read, though not impressive. I probably won’t pick it up again, but I recommend it if you’re into paranomal YA titles or looking for an easy read to get through the day. I give Past Midnight 3/5 stars.

5 stars · action · classic · Fantasy · fiction · series · young adult

Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

 
Peter and the Shadow Thieves

Authors: Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson

Peter and the Starcatchers #2
Book 1: Peter and the Starcatchers
Book 3: Peter and the Secret of Rundoon

Pages [hardcover]: 576

Memorable Quote: The boys had asked why, if it acted slowly, was it called quicksand. The Mollusks had replied that, as far as they were concerned, most English names for things were silly. The word that they used for quicksand was a deep grunt that translated roughly to “uh-oh”.

Favorite Characters: Peter & Tink

Summary:

The sequel to Peter and the Starcatchers grabs you by the collar and pins you against a wall. In this exciting novel, Peter abandons the calm of Mollusk Island to pursue a dangerous mission in the dark, distant streets of London. With Tinker Bell as his companion, Peter searches through the unfriendly great city even as the slithering man/beast called Lord Ombra hovers nearby, plotting to unleash his dreaded powers.

Review:

I really loved the first book in this series, Peter and the Starcatchers, as well as the classic it is based on, Peter Pan. This sequel was not a disappointment, continuing the magical fun with Peter hiding on a ship bound for England, determined to save Molly from a horrible fate, a jealous pixie-excuse me, bird-girl-named Tink, and a band of orphaned boys who loyally follow Peter, but are steadily growing older, as he remains young.

This book wasn’t as fast paced as the first, or as gripping, though it didn’t lack for that. It was sort of expected, and not entirely worrisome. I loved reading about Peter, who is an awesome character in these books, trying to figure out his relationship with Molly, the boys, and himself. He knows he can never live like a normal person, but that doesn’t keep him from wanting to.

The evil characters keep getting better and better. Lord Ombra was the epitome of creepy, slinking around and making me cringe every time he came near someone else. Even though he was awesome, I would not want to run into that guy. A familiar foe returns in Shadow Thieves and plots against the flying boy and his friends.

There was never a dull moment, never a time when I questioned why on earth I was reading this book. I’m just thankful it was labeled as young adult in my library, as I wasn’t sure if it would slip away into the children’s shelves. There are several things that bring the level up-deaths and things like that-but I think that anyone could really enjoy it, if they love a good, adventurous fairy tale, and have the mind of a child in their hearts.

I give Peter and the Shadow Thieves 5/5 stars. I’ve already rented the 3rd installment from the library-that’s how excited I was to continue this series. I can’t wait to see what these authors come up with next!

4 stars · fiction · romance · young adult

The Spell Book of Listen Taylor by Jaclyn Moriarty

The Spell Book of Listen Taylor

Author: Jaclyn Moriarty

Pages [hardcover]: 479

Opening Lines: After midnight, the apartment waited, still in the moonlight and the heat. A moth touched its wing to the front porch light, and the apartment cleared its throat sharply.

Memorable Quote: When she got back from taking Cassie to school Fancy knew that she ought to be working on her wilderness romance. She had promised thirty thousand words to her editor by tomorrow, and she had only written eleven. Specifically:
His rhinoceros smelled like a poppadom: sweaty, salty, strange and strong.
Her editor would cut that line.

Favorite Characters: The Canadian next door & Cassie

Summary:

The Zing family lives in a world of misguided spell books, singular poetry, and state-of-the-art surveillance equipment. They use these things to protect the Zing Family Secret one so huge it draws the family to the garden shed for meetings every Friday night.

Into their world comes socially isolated middle grader Listen Taylor, whose father is dating a Zing. Enter Cath Murphy, a young teacher at the elementary school that Cassie Zing attends, suffering from a broken heart. How will the worlds of these two young woman connect? Only the reader can know!

Review:

This book definitely caught me by surprise. I picked it up randomly, expecting to enjoy it because I’ve read a few other books by Jaclyn Moriarty and loved them; they each had their own writing style and unique way of drawing me into the story. The Spell Book of Listen Taylor was no different in that respect. It was told through a variety of characters who all had their own specific quirks and personalities that came through in the text.

I’d like to get what I disliked about the book out of the way so I can get to the good things. First off, I have no idea why this novel is marketed as a young adult book. I read somewhere that it was originally published as adult fiction, but that changed somewhere along the way. But most of the main characters-and this book follows many different characters-are adults, around 30. Only one is YA aged-Listen is 12. So much of the writing centers around ‘adult’ subjects-affairs, marriage, commitment-that doesn’t apply to someone my own age, though that doesn’t mean it’s automatically not interesting. Even though I haven’t exactly experienced these things, I could still get into the book and want the best for the characters.

Another thing is that it is long, and needlessly so. Sure, I liked reading all the little things that added together to make an incredible book, but the journey seemed to take longer than necessary. I’ve read books of this length before, and they’re usually packed with action. While I enjoyed the flashbacks, back stories, side plots, and tiny things that connected the characters, something seemed off about it. Perhaps less would be more, even though I ended up liking the excess.

Yes, I did like The Spell Book of Listen Taylor. At some points it was so ridiculously funny I wanted to burst out laughing, even when I was in a public place, where such a thing would be incredibly awkward. This is one of the most twisty, anything-goes, hilarious books I’ve read in a while. It’s not perfect, but I’m alright with that.

The characters were fantastic, from little Cassie to Mrs. Zing. They all had their flaws, some prominently displayed, some hidden. All needed to work out their own problems, and find their own happiness. I keep flipping the pages so I could figure out what would happen next with Listen’s spell book, and what exactly the Zing Family Secret was. I loved coming along for the ride, and I can’t wait to read more by Jaclyn Moriarty. I give The Spell Book of Listen Taylor 4/5 stars.