Tag Archives: teen

Book Review: Someone Elses Summer by Rachel Bateman

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3-out-of-5-stars

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

Description: “Anna’s always idolized her older sister, Storm. So when Storm dies in a tragic car accident on the night of her high school graduation, Anna is completely lost and her family is torn apart. That is, until she finds Storm’s summer bucket list and decides to honor her sister by having the best summer ever—which includes taking an epic road trip to the coast from her sleepy Iowa town. Setting out to do everything on Storm’s list along with her sisters best friend Cameron—the boy next door—who knew that Storm’s dream summer would eventually lead to Anna’s own self-discovery?”

Review: I’m not sure that “epic” is the word I would use to describe this road trip, maybe played out? I really liked the idea of Anna taking over her deceased sister’s bucket list. The road trip was light and entertaining but unoriginal. I felt like this book didn’t have an aspect that makes it stand out from other YA coming of age/road trip books. Anna and Cameron fall in love (obviously) but I never felt connected to their characters and quite frankly I didn’t really like Cameron. The characters weren’t really fleshed out. For example, we keep hearing how Piper is Anna’s best friends but all of their conversations and interactions are superficial. I wish there was more character development to help me become vested in the story. I honestly think my favorite character was Storm, who you never actually meet in the book but only hear about. Storm seemed to be the most dynamic character of the bunch. While I enjoyed the beginning half of the book I quickly grew uninterested. Overall, this book is a standard coming of age story that many teenage girls will enjoy.

 

*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

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Book Review: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

Beauty and the Beast: Lost in a Book by Jennifer Donnelly

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2-out-of-5-stars

Description: “An original addition to the beloved Beauty and the Beast fairy tale, “Lost in a Book” follows the lonely, bookish Belle as she finds an enchanted book in the Beast’s library called Nevermore that carries her into a glittering new world. There, Belle is befriended by a mysterious countess who offers her the life she’s always dreamed of.

But Nevermore is not what it seems, and the more time Belle spends there, the harder it is to leave. Good stories take hold of us and never let us go, and once Belle becomes lost in this book, she may never find her way out again.”

Review: There might be some burning pitchforks after me after this review but here it goes! There was a lot of hype surrounding this book and I became very excited when I heard about it (I even went to 2 stores to purchase it only to find out that it was sold it!). I was a huge Beauty and the Beast fan growing up and cannot wait for the movie! I must say that I had high expectations for this book, a lot of friends told me it was amazing, and maybe that is why I was so let down.

I found the story to be overplayed (love vs death, enchanted book, etc); to me it came off like a typical girl getting sucked into a fantasy world, blinded by beauty and is too dumb to realize what is happening. Belle is supposed to be a book smart character but does not see or listen to the warnings she is given in Nevermore. I became frustrated that she would fall for Death’s trickery so easily, I felt that she should have seen what was coming. Even until the middle of the book I was still holding out hope that Belle’s wits would persevere (not so much).

The story unfolds quickly, almost too quickly in my opinion. Due to the fast pace it was hard to feel a connection with the characters. I wish the book slowed down and built up more anticipation. Also, the character of Beast was lacking, he is not present for the majority of the story and I felt like he could have had a lot more depth than what was shown. It was hard to figure out why Belle was so drawn to Nevermore when she constantly spoke about her love for the servants and even her blossoming friendship with the Beast. Overall I felt like this story was rushed and not fully developed. I wanted to like it but just couldn’t get into it. This book is a quick read, I was able to binge read it in 2 days.

Even though I was not the biggest fan of “Lost in a Book” I do have several friends that adore it! They enjoyed it because it was not a retelling per se but still keeps the original characters present. Jennifer Donnelly is a great author and I did like how it wasn’t your typically retelling. There will be many Jennifer Donnelly and Beauty in the Beast fans that will find a treasure in this book!

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Book Review: You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour

You Know Me Well by David Levithan & Nina LaCour

Description: Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other — and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

Told in alternating points of view by Nina LaCour, the award-winning author of Hold Still and The Disenchantments, and David Levithan, the best-selling author of Every Day and co-author of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist (with Rachel Cohn) and Will Grayson, Will Grayson (with John Green), You Know Me Well is a deeply honest story about navigating the joys and heartaches of first love, one truth at a time.”

Review: This is a great coming of age novel, not only for the LGBT community, but for all teens. There are love obstacles in this book (like most YA novels) but they aren’t overdone or blown out of proportion. I felt the teenage angst was appropriately portrayed. While I no longer feel it, I was able to enjoy the melodrama and it took me back to the feelings I had as a teenager. This novel poetically describes the struggles of trying to be yourself and find out who that is. The only issue I had was that at times it was hard to figure out who was speaking, I personally prefer when the character speaking is clearly stated. Don’t let the fact that this story has a LGBT element stop you from reading and recommending it, people from all walks of life can enjoy the beauty of this book! I would recommend it to adults and teens who connect with the LGBT community, who are struggling with their own identity and who enjoy realistic YA fiction.

*please note that I received an advanced copy of the book from NetGalley

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Book Review: I Was Here – Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

3 out of 5 stars

Cody and Meg were the best of friends but Cody is taken by complete surprise when Meg commits suicide. Cody never saw any signs even though Meg’s suicide note declares that she has been thinking of death for a while. Cody visits Meg’s college and her Seattle hangouts in hopes of finding answers. Along the way Cody meets Meg’s roommates and her brief love interest, Ben. Cody goes on a quest to open encrypted computer files and to understand why Meg commits suicide. Cody is taken down a path that she never imagined Meg taking.

If I was handed this book and did not know who the author was I would have referred to it as “average” plot and writing; nothing exciting or out of the world about it but not a horrible read either. Unfortunately for Gayle Forman her name makes you believe that you are going to get something special, something that really reaches out and speaks to you, this is not one of those books. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book! I found it to be a quick read, interesting enough and a lot of the descriptions of suicide and the aftermath it causes were spot on. What this book was missing was that extra special something that I was hoping for (and expected out of Gayle Forman). Also, I may or may not have thrown this book when Ben confesses his love for Cody UGH UGH UGH!! The love story portion was a huge turn off for me (and other readers as well),  the book could have stood perfectly fine without a love interest and if anything it adds an unnecessary superficial element. Although I did not find the romantic element beneficial I did enjoy several elements of this book. Forman does not glorify or vilify the act of suicide; Suicide is a very difficult subject and I believe the aftermath of it is shown clearly in this book. I also really enjoyed the “Author’s Note” at the end of the book where Forman talks about the inspiration for this book and even discusses the thin line between being suicidal and thinking about death. I might have even enjoyed the brief “Author’s Note” more than the actual book. Even though I was not personally blown away by this book I can see many teens enjoying it and relying upon it. I love the fact that a very popular teen author wrote about such a sensitive subject, one that sometimes gets over looked or examined in the wrong way. Teens will grab this book because it is written by Gayle Forman but I believe in the end they will come away with a better knowledge and understanding of what it means to truly think about or commit suicide. I would recommend this book to some more mature teens that would be able to fully grasp and understand the subject matter in this book.

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Book Review: We Were Liars – E. Lockhart

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

3 out of 5 stars

This young adult novel is about a dysfunctional, yet privileged, family and four friends (the Liars) who spend every summer on their grandfather’s private island. One summer Cadence Sinclair Eastman, the eldest of the Liars, suffers a tragic accident and is unable to remember the events surrounding it. While recovering Cadence reaches out to the Liars (Johnny, Mirren and Gat) but none answer her emails. When Cadence returns to the island and the Liars she begins to remember what happened that fateful summer and the tragic events surrounding her accident.

There has been a lot of hype surrounding this book, not only in the YA community but also in Adult. While I did enjoy the book I was not overly impressed, this could have been because it has been talked up so much. After reading the book I found that I wanted to know more; more about the family dynamics and issues, more about the Liars personal lives and most of all more about the accident. I felt as if only the surface was scratched and that it would have benefited with more depth. There was a lot of lead up and hinting about the accident but the actual revelation was anticlimactic. With all of that being said, there is definitely a place for this book in YA. I believe readers who want a quick mystery will really enjoy this book, the content is interesting but not hard to follow.

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