Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

My own personal short 'n' sweet summary:
Crazy girl meets crazy town

My Thoughts:
This is going to be quite brief, because I completely loved this book and don't want to give too much away:
This novel is a perfect blend of horror and romance that is absolutely delicious.

Heads Will Roll - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Are You Hurting The One You Love? - Florence and the Machine
Sweet About Me - Gabriella Cilmi
Sweet - Lex Land

Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick

Is Alex dating one twin...or two?

My thoughts:

This book was off to a good start. I was very interested to know more about the freaky, creepy relationship between the twins, particularly Adina. I personally love

books with characters who have some sort of mental illness, and I was quite curious as to what Adina's problems were.

However, I really only liked this book while I was reading it, due to the ending, which I will discuss later. I feel like Fred was a pretty bland character. I think Alex as a narrator was unnecessary, and that the author could have written a much more interesting book if it had just been about the twins. Alex and Fred's relationship never went anywhere. Throughout the book, people keep telling Alex about how something Adina did caused Fred's ex to leave the school, yet we never find out what that was and Alex doesn't bother to investigate. I didn't find Alex and Evie's friendship problems particularly i

nteresting. I feel that since the book was written about the twins, it should have been narrated by one or both of them, or just in third person. Alex's story was distracting and unoriginal.

The main thing that I disliked about the book was the ending. I literally looked to see if there were torn out pages because it was truly that abrupt. The author leaves us with no answers. The enigmatic ex remains a mystery, and we never find out what is up with the twins' weird and seemingly incestual relationship, and nothing happens between Fred and Alex that makes that part of the story worth writing or reading.

Sometimes, ending a book with unanswered questions is okay and makes it all the more interesting, but the author has to give the readers enough to be satisfied. All in all, I think the writer needs to learn a little more about the craft so

she can create more dynamic characters and how to end a book mysteriously but not abruptly.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

A plane full of teenage beauty queens crashes on a desert island. Beauty Queens presents a satiric view of our consumerist society

My thoughts:

This is by far the best young adult book I have read all year. Beauty Queens presents us with a satire of our current consumption-driven lives. Libba Bray has created an absolutely hilarious story with completely endearing characters. One of these is a parody of Sara Palin named Ladybird Hope, who evidently does not fit under the “endearing” category. Beauty Queens also speaks to Bray’s versatility as an author; before this, she wrote the Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy, a trio of historical fantasies, and the Printz-Award- winning Going Bovine.

I also admire the way Bray dealt with some other contemporary issues such as sexuality and racism. This book is like Lost and America’s Next Top Model combined, making it a fast-paced romp through the jungle you’re sure to enjoy.

Matched by Ally Condie

Summary from Amazon- For Cassia, nothing is left to chance--not what she will eat, the job she will have, or the man she will marry. In Matched, the Society Officials have determined optimal outcomes for all aspects of daily life, thereby removing the "burden" of choice. When Cassia's best friend is identified as her ideal marriage Match it confirms her belief that Society knows best, until she plugs in her Match microchip and a different boy’s face flashes on the screen. This improbable mistake sets Cassia on a dangerous path to the unthinkable--rebelling against the predetermined life Society has in store for her. As author Ally Condie’s unique dystopian Society takes chilling measures to maintain the status quo,Matched reminds readers that freedom of choice is precious, and not without sacrifice.--Seira Wilson

My Thoughts:

When I first started reading Matched by Ally Condie, I couldn’t put the book down. She captured my attention with her beautiful words that contrasted sharply with the cold, strict world she was writing about, and I couldn’t get enough. However, as I read on, my feelings about the book became more mixed. I noticed a lot of similarities between Matched and other young adult novels I have read. For example, Cassia must choose between the boy who was chosen for her and the one she truly loves, just as Mary had to do in Carrie Ryan’s Forest of Hands and Teeth. In addition, the teens are assigned jobs in a manner similar to the method in City of Ember. I also found it ironic that though Cassia doesn’t do what the Society expects her to at the end, she does exactly what I expected her to do. Though I found Matched unoriginal in some ways, I still managed to enjoy it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Frenzy by Francesca Lia Block

Summary from Goodreads- Liv has a secret.

Something happened to her when she was thirteen. Something that changed everything. Liv knows she doesn’t belong anymore—not in her own skin, not in her family . . . not anywhere. The only time she truly feels like herself is when she’s with her boyfriend, Corey, and in the woods that surround her town.

But in the woods, a mysterious woman watches Liv. In the woods, a pack of wild boys lurks. In the woods, Liv learns about the curse that will haunt her forever. The curse that caused the frenzy four years ago. And that may cause it again, all too soon.

While Corey and Liv’s love binds them together, Liv’s dark secret threatens to tear them apart as she struggles to understand who—or what—she really is. And by the light of the full moon, the most dangerous secrets bare their claws.

^this summary makes the book sound way more exciting than it actually is

My Thoughts:
I was so looking forward to reading this book. I consider the Weetzie Bat books to be among my favorites, and have enjoyed everything Francesca Lia Block has put out since that time that I've been able to get my hands on,
until now.

In her most recent works (Blood Roses, Pretty Dead, etc.), the flowing, graceful, magical quality of Block's writing has all but disappeared. I was a bit concerned when Block decided to tackle the highly mainstream topics of vampires (Pretty Dead) and werewolves (The Frenzy) and it appears I was right to feel that way. I expected that her unique voice would make her stories about commonplace fantasy creatures interesting, but I did not discover anything new in either of these books. I also found Liv, the main character of The Frenzy, a bit bland. She did not change throughout the entire novel, something I would expect more from a debut novelist than a seasoned writer. The werewolf part of the story wasn't different enough from everything else on the subject to make me feel anything but disappointment. I'm not sure what the point of having her "family" in there was, because their desires affected none of Liv's decisions. The only thing, really, that I found remotely interesting was Liv's gay friend Pace's relationship with the mysterious Michael. It semi resolves itself at the end, but I would have liked to know much more about it, and would have preferred to read a book about that rather than just another werewolf book.
I miss the old Francesca Lia Block, the one who created quirky, eccentric characters and stories bursting with magic. Where has she gone?

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Ivy by Lauren Kunze with Rina Onur

A fun summer read about one girl's life among the Ivies, complete with boys and diabolical roommates.

My Thoughts:Lauren Kunze and Rina Onur may not have succeeded in making me want to go to Harvard, but they did succeed in crafting an entertaining story. The Ivy provided me with a delicious escape from my humdrum summer, despite the fact that it is about school. The characters were very different from one another, and each added their own unique edge to the story. I am pleased to have discovered this new series, and cannot wait for the next installment. If anyone else feels this way after reading The Ivy, try Alicia Thompson’s Psych Major Syndrome or J. Courtney Sullivan’s Commencement to tide you over.

here's a short & silly video of the writers talking about The Ivy

I find it particularly interesting that the actual writer (Lauren Kunze) doesn't like her own main character. This is also a collaboration I haven't heard about before; one person provides the ideas and the other puts them into words. So, the question becomes: who's doing the real creating?

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before by David Yoo

Nerdy kid + ex-girlfriend of popular jock = ?

My Thoughts:

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before by David Yoo is an entertaining, fast-paced story of first love that will resonate true with many readers. Yoo has managed to make Albert, the story’s socially awkward protagonist, into a loveable character we want to win. Yoo’s charm and wit are what make this love story unique, and I can certainly say I haven’t heard this one before. If you are looking for more heartfelt love stories, check out Elizabeth Scott’s books, particularly The Unwritten Rule.


Words Cannot Describe - Mirah

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Summary from Goodreads - While other teenage girls daydream about boys, Calla Tor imagines ripping out her enemies’ throats. And she wouldn’t have it any other way. Calla was born a warrior and on her eighteenth- birthday she’ll become the alpha female of the next generation of Guardian wolves. But Calla’s predestined path veers off course the moment she saves the life of a wayward hiker, a boy her own age. This human boy’s secret will turn the young pack's world upside down and forever alter the outcome of the centuries-old Witches' War that surrounds them all.

My Thoughts

Fans of Aprilynne Pike, Cassandra Clare, Holly Black, and Maggie Stievfaster alike will revel in the discovery of Andrea Cremer, author of Nightshade. Though I feared Nightshade was just another story of supernatural-being-falls-in-love-with-mortal, I gave it a shot anyway, and I’m certainly glad I did. Ms. Cremer sucked me into Calla’s dark world easily, and I felt very sorry for anyone who tried to get my attention while I was reading because I was so wrapped up in the story that I barely registered what was going on in my surroundings.

I liked that the structure of the werewolf society was explained so thoroughly because I feel that authors don’t always spend enough time on that in fantasy novels, and that takes away from my enjoyment of the book. I think Nightshade is a very unique werewolf story, and I was pleased that I didn’t notice any similarities between it and other supernatural novels I’ve read. Reading so much takes away from my enjoyment of a book because I can often predict how a story ends. Nightshade, however, kept me on my toes until the final page, though in the end my original prediction was correct. I look forward to reading more of Andrea Cremer’s work, and hope that everyone else is as impressed by her fresh, unique voice as I am.