Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How to Save a Life by Sara Zarr


After the death of her father, Jill's mother decides to adopt a baby.

My thoughts:
1. The cover is not incredibly relevant to the book and looks kind of corny, in my opinion.
2. "How to Save a Life" is a cheesy title that many people will associate with the song by the Fray. To be honest, every time I looked at or picked up the book, all I could hear was that song.
3. The only book of Sara Zarr's that's really worth reading is Story of a Girl. I've read all of her other books in the hope that one might be as good as that one, but to no avail.
4. What kind of names are Jill and Mandy? Have you ever met a teenager in 2000s with the name Jill? I guess Mandy is appropriate because the character is kind of odd and ditzy, but really? Or maybe I have a subconscious personal vendetta against the name Mandy...

Also try:
Other books by Sara Zarr
Someone Like You by Sara Dessen (also a book about teenage pregnancy, but much better/more interesting.)

How to Save a Life - The Fray (haha)

The Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okafor-Mbachu

A fascinating futuristic fantasy set in Africa...

My thoughts:
I am actually going to keep my thoughts to myself on this one, because it is so unique and different and special that I don't want to spoil anything. This book will be unlike any young adult dystopian/futuristic novel you have ever read.

Also try:
Not sure what to write for this one, because there are no other books like it.

Shadowy whispers and the earth's heartbeat

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

The sequel to the acclaimed If I Stay, written from Adam's point of view.

My thoughts:
I absolutely loved this book. I actually thought it was better than the first book, which rarely happens. I liked Adam's narration better than Mia's, maybe because the first book was her just watching everybody after her accident. I felt that Adam's feelings about Mia and his withdrawal from the band was very realistic, and I really liked getting to see how much things had changed between the first books. I was also glad to learn what happened to Mia after she woke up. I was also thrilled when the author talked about a (real!) conductor from Venezuela who started a program that would take kids off the streets and into orchestra, because I learned about him earlier this year. Where She Went is a perfect book for musicians of all kinds.

Our Hearts Are Wrong - Jessica Lea Mayfield
Reason Why - Rachael Yamagata
Oh No - KaiserCartel
World Spins Madly On - The Weepies
Chemistry - Kimya Dawson
When I'm Alone - Lissie
The Man Who Can't Be Moved - The Script

Friday, August 19, 2011

Entwined by Heather Dixon

Princess Azalea and her eleven sisters discover a magic passage in their bedroom.

My thoughts:
I'd say this book was cute, but not too much else. Though it is marketed as a young adult novel, it seems more appropriate for preteens or little girls who have the kind of wonderful parents who read aloud to them.

Also try:
Wildwood Dancing (a more grown-up version of Entwined) and its sequel, Cybele's Secret by Juliette Marillier

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You Against Me by Jenny Downham


When Mikey's sister is sexually assaulted by Ellie's brother, he vows to get revenge. But as he gets to know Ellie, everything changes...

My thoughts:
Truth be told, I was not such a big fan of Before I Die, Downham's debut that got so much attention. However, this book sounded really good so I gave it a chance anyway, and I am quite glad I did. For this book, I recommend setting a block of time aside for yourself to read it, as there are really no good stopping points because the mixture of romance and revenge always has you on the edge of your seat. Good going, Jenny Downham!

Be Be Your Love - Rachael Yamagata

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Mythological creatures roam free in an altered post-Katrina New Orleans.

My thoughts:
This book was pretty good. I'll definitely read the sequel, A BEAUTIFUL EVIL, set to release in February 2012. The way the author handled the mythology was combined with the re-imagining of post-Katrina New Orleans was very interesting.

Also try:
Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Runs in the Family - Amanda Palmer

The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith

In a desolate parallel world filled with violence, no one can be trusted...

My thoughts:
This was an intense book. I was very impressed with it. First of all, it is a young adult thriller, which there are not too many of, and secondly, it was a WELL WRITTEN thriller. I can probably count on one hand the amount of times that happens.
Admittedly, this book was a tad too violent for me. However, it was still quite excellent. It was really interesting to see how Jack's mind started kind of deteriorating after he was kidnapped, sometimes speaking in first person, and sometimes speaking about himself in third. I also thought the difference between Jack and Conner's reactions to Marbury was intriguing as well. While Jack couldn't stop himself from going back, Conner stayed true to his original desire to destroy the glasses. Great book.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

If I Stay is a book about loss, love, and music.

My thoughts:
I really only read this book because of all the hype about it and its recently-released sequel, Where She Went. This book was indeed quite good, and I simply cannot understand why one version of the cover shows a quote stating "Fans of Twilight will love this book." A) it's not supernatural, B) More importantly, this book is better than Twilight in every single freaking way, most noticeably in the quality of writing, and C) Adam is sooooooooooo much better than Edward.

Also, this is not about the book specifically, but as a musician I think it should be addressed: I for one am sick of reading books about musicians who aspire to go to Julliard. I'm sure it's a great school, but there are many other music schools that are just as good or better than Julliard, such as Berklee College of Music in Boston and the Oberlin Conservatory. I suppose authors use it because it's more widely known, but still, BE ORIGINAL.

However, I do have to say I loved all of the musical metaphors, and how Adam told Mia to "play him like a cello" and then played her like a guitar. Most romantic scene in a book ever.

*possible spoiler alert* I do not think Mia will stay with Adam. I really, really want her to, but I don't think she will. I think she'll live and play cello again, but I think she'll go to Julliard instead of staying with him.

Other than that, pretty good book.

UP SOON -------------------> Where She Went, the sequel, written from Adam's very hot perspective...

Also try:
The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
NOTE: includes loss, a lot of love, and clarinet

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor


My own personal short 'n' sweet summary:
Angel + Devil = TROUBLE

A few thoughts:

1. Laini Taylor is probably the coolest person ever. I mean, come on; she's got pink hair:

2. Sometimes, when you read a book as good as Lips Touch, you are disappointed when you read something else by the same author. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is not that something else.

3. Laini Taylor uses the best names: Kazimir, Akiva, Karou...don't even get me started. And I'm pretty sure she makes them up, too.

4. This is the first urban fantasy I've read that doesn't take place in New York, so major props to Laini Taylor for that. She has also helped me decide where I want to study abroad in college: Prague all the way.

5. With Taylor's wonderfully vivid descriptions, I think anyone could read aloud from this book and go all Silvertongue (yay for Inkheart references) and bring a chimaera right out of the story!

Basically, READ IT.
Or don't, I guess, and get one of Karou's crescent-shaped knives in your face.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

A brother and sister turn traditional ideas of forbidden love upside down in this novel.

My thoughts:
Between the beautiful prose and, shall we say, unusual romance, this edgy book is not to be missed! The definition of a page-turner!

Jar of Hearts - Christina Perri

Also try:
Her and Me and You by Lauren Strasnick