Posts Categorized: 4 star books

Red Rising: Review

Red Rising: Review

Oh, Red Rising. Where do I even start with you? There were many “What in the world?!?” moments throughout this reading (that’s a good thing). This is essentially “Dystopian, eugenic, Capture the Flag on Mars”. For real. I did a lot of creepy, evil smiling throughout. What can I say? This book served to further chill the cockles of my cold, dark heart, and I just loved it for that. This is a story for readers who, like me, are fascinated by these questions: What happens when your enemy becomes your friend? What happens when you become your enemy? I’ve kept this as free of plot points as possible. The less you know about what is going on and what is going to happen the better. I wouldn’t want to deny you a single one of those jaw dropping moments. I am absolutely horrified by the world of Red Rising… Read more »

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Ink is Thicker Than Water: review

Ink is Thicker Than Water: review

With her second novel in a year (busy girl!), Amy Spalding delivers on the expectations she set with her debut,  The Reece Malcolm List—which, you might recall, I adored. In Ink is Thicker than Water, Spalding succeeds again in creating teenage characters that feel honest and authentic. They sound like teenagers, they think like teenagers, and their problems are those that real teenagers have to navigate in their daily lives. There’s something infinitely relatable about her character that I find nostalgic; her books remind me what it like to be a teenager. I appreciated that the central conflict focused on Kellie’s family dynamics. While Kellie’s family is anything but the usual–straight-laced lawyerly dad whose approval she can never quite earn, hippie tattoo-shop-owning mother and stepfather, beautiful brainiac adopted sister–their problems are. Her sister, her confidante and parter, growing up and finding an identity outside of her role in their family…. Read more »

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The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4): review

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4): review

Ready for Adrian to set your heart on fire? Although The Fiery Heart is narrated in POVs alternating between Sydney’s and Adrian’s perspectives, this is really Adrian’s story. While Sydney continues to forge a path for herself as a gifted Alchemist, Adrian’s struggle to live up to his potential while dealing with the side effects of his spirit magic are the driving force of this book. (Or at least, that’s the part I was flipping through pages and excited by.) It’s apparent that the Bloodlines series has become something of a vehicle for the author to explore some serious subjects, including eating disorders, body image, prejudice, drinking, addiction, and even bipolar mania and depression; some of those are addressed with more complexity than others, but it’s interesting to see them dealt with within the framework of a paranormal series. Sydney, filtered through Adrian’s eyes, is very appealing. There’s a softness… Read more »

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Unfed: review

Unfed: review

In Undead, fifteen-year-old Bobby Brook and her mother moved back to Scotland from the US, where they’d lived for six years, following the death of Bobby’s father. Before the school year started, Bobby’s mother insisted that she go on a class trip to a ski lodge.  While Bobby was out in the wilds of Scotland with her classmates, there was a zombie outbreak, and all but a handful of the students fell victim to it.  The survivors—Smitty (the bad boy), Pete (the nerd), and Alice (the mean girl)—fought their way through a countryside teeming with zombies, forming a sort of weird, dysfunctional family, the center of which was Bobby and Smitty’s friendship/fledgling romance When last we saw Bobby and her friends, they were in a school bus, fleeing the disgusting zombie hordes, and that’s where we pick up at the beginning of Unfed: We’re in a school bus.  Which is… Read more »

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Untold: review

Untold: review

Title: Untold (The Lynburn Legacy #2)Author: Sarah Rees BrennanRating: 4 out of 5 starsRelease Date: September 24, 2013Publisher: Random HouseAge Group: YASource: Borrowed Sit down. I have a lot to say… There have been much debate over Sarah Rees Brennan’s second installment in her Lynburn Legacy trilogy. It had been so hyped up it almost jinxed itself. Untold has received giddy praise and somber criticism. So, which is it? Well, it’s kind of both.Untold tells the aftermath of Kami and Co. after having discovered that it was Rob Lynburn who had been doing the massacring around not-so-sleepy-town Sorry-in-the-Vale. Now, he’s recruiting to build an army. As is with most middle books, the basic premise is preparation. Kami needs to spread the word out to the people, to educate them and arm them of and against these evil magic doers. Plot-wise, the book suffered faintly — I say faintly because I am unyielding… Read more »

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Just One Year: review

Just One Year: review

Just One Day was one of my favorite books of 2013.  It follows a young American woman, Allyson, as she abandons her tour group on a senior class trip to embark on an impulsive, one-day-long romance in Paris with a worldly young Dutchman named Willem.  And when that day is over, Allyson picks up the pieces and spends the next year reassembling herself and growing into a strong, independent woman who fits into the big world that has always existed outside the safe confines of her upper middle-class existence. That book works largely because of Allyson.  She is such a gift of a narrator, and feels so incredibly real to me  She’s the kind of young woman I imagine my mother might once have been. And while I loved Allyson (maybe because I loved her), I felt deeply distrustful of Willem.  He is just so, so similar to who I… Read more »

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Fiona Wood on Girls, Sex, and Wildlife

Fiona Wood on Girls, Sex, and Wildlife

I don’t know about you, but I feel as though a vast majority of YA seems to portray teenagers as hypersmart, sophisticated creatures who are borderline perfect, or “carefully flawed” in exactly the right and tolerable way. As fun as that fiction can be, I always feel a certain amusement for characters like that, because how many of us actually were that spectacular at that age? I think part of the appeal of contemporary Aussie YA for me is that it consistently offers teenagers who act like teenagers; whether they’re snarly and vindictive or fumbly and sweet, a lot of them just seem very real. That’s certainly the case with the students in Wildlife by Fiona Wood. Sybilla and Lou are spending one school term doing an outdoor education program, where they find that surviving the wilderness is easy in comparison to surviving deceptive friends, tricky, needy boys, and their own… Read more »

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