Tag Archives: Young Adult

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: The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

“The Whole Thing Together” by Ann Brashares

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3-out-of-5-stars

Description: “Summer for Sasha and Ray means the sprawling old house on Long Island. Since they were children, they’ve shared almost everything—reading the same books, running down the same sandy footpaths to the beach, eating peaches from the same market, laughing around the same sun-soaked dining table. Even sleeping in the same bed, on the very same worn cotton sheets. But they’ve never met.

Sasha’s dad was once married to Ray’s mom, and together they had three daughters: Emma, the perfectionist; Mattie, the beauty; and Quinn, the favorite. But the marriage crumbled and the bitterness lingered. Now there are two new families—and neither one will give up the beach house that holds the memories, happy and sad, of summers past.

The choices we make come back to haunt us; the effect on our destinies ripples out of our control…or does it? This summer, the lives of Sasha, Ray, and their siblings intersect in ways none of them ever dreamed, in a novel about family relationships, keeping secrets, and most of all, love.”

Review: I really struggled to read this book, I found it slow, confusing and lacking dimension. All of the interesting aspects of the story are briefly mentioned and are glossed over. The story felt like it was rushed.

This story is about a variety of personalities, how they cope with life and how they manage to live together. Due to so many characters it was difficult to keep track of who is who (sorry Mattie and Emma) and to feel connected to any of them. The characters and story of Ray and Sasha are more developed but I found the whole romance to be disturbing. Even though Ray and Sasha are not biologically related the budding romance between them creeped me out.

I wish the author cut the number of characters in half and gave them more details and focus. The characters had a lot of potential for growth but due to the overwhelming number of characters, all with personal struggles, I found it difficult to get to know them. A lot is mentioned and hinted at in the book but not much is flushed out.

While I will be purchasing this book for the public library I work at due to the author’s name (teens will still want to read it) I do not think I will personally recommend it to anymore.

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

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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: The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand

3.5 out of 5 stars

Summary: Justin, Bobby and Gabe are amateur film makers who decide they are going to make the greatest zombie movie ever within a month. While they have the passion to create the movie they have to overcome many obstacles, such as borrowing $5,000 from a grandmother that expects interest, a house fire and a car accident. Will these 3 friends be able to pull off making the zombie movie of the century? Or more importantly, will they still be friends after it?

Review: Jeff Strand strikes again with a hilarious book that appeals to a vast audience. This book won’t win any awards or be declared a classic but it will make you laugh. The characters aren’t all that relatable and you don’t really connect with him but you can’t help but love the quirky characters. The plot line, while not believable, goes along at a good pace and keeps the reader guessing what crazy antic is going to happen next.  It’s nice to read a YA novel that isn’t full of epic adventures and love triangles.  This is a great book to get reluctant readers, especially boys, to pick up a book.

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

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Book Review: Dream a Little Dream – Kerstin Gier

Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier

2 out of 5 stars

Author: Kerstin Gier is a German author who writes Young Adult and Adult books. This is the second young adult series of hers to be translated to English. The first was The Gemstone Trilogy or Ruby Red Trilogy (depending on translation). If you haven’t read the first book in the series, “Ruby Red,” I highly recommend you do!

Summary: Fifteen year old Liv and her younger sister Mia have grown up traveling the world, bouncing from school to school. The girls are ready to settle down in the English countryside with their mother when they are informed that they will be moving to London with Ernest, their mother’s new boyfriend, and his twin children, Grayson and Florence. The girls are unhappy about the situation but have little choice. One night, after a terrible dinner with Ernest and the twins, Liv falls asleep and finds herself dreaming of a cemetery. During the dream, Liv bumps into Grayson who tries to banish her from the dream. Liv pretends to leave but secretly follows Grayson and his friends, Arthur, Jasper and Henry. She spies on them from a tree while they perform a sort of satanic ritual, calling upon the Lord of Shadows and Darkness. Liv accidentally falls out of the tree and right into the middle of their ceremony. Liv awakes from the dream and believes that is was just that, a meaningless dream. As Grayson’s friends start to talk to Liv and hint at aspects from the dream that they couldn’t possibly know she begins to question if the dream was real. She begins to experiment with this new strange dream state, where she finds that she is able to interact with others, especially Henry. Liv attends a party where the guys approach her to join their “game” and to help them finish it. The “game” isn’t really a game. Henry, Jasper, Arthur and Grayson, along with Arthur’s girlfriend Anabel conjured up a demon that could grant their wishes. They all made one wish with the demon, which came true, and then found they could actually interact in dreams. Anabel can no longer continue with the “game” because she is no longer a virgin, they need a virgin to participate and that’s where Liv comes in. The guys want Liv to participate in the “game,” to help them continue on because if they don’t they will lose what is held dearest to them. Liv now finds herself in the middle of playing a game with a demon. Liv desperately tries to figure out what is exactly is going on and how to put a stop to it before it is too late.

Review: I wasn’t blown away by this book, the characters are subpar and the storyline is missing a lot of key elements. I finished it and was slightly confused and still had a lot of unanswered questions. The characters didn’t really stand out from one another, I kept confusing Jasper and Arthur (never mind the smaller menial characters). Due to my lack of sympathy (and forgetting who was who), I didn’t really care what happened to them. I was fine with a demon coming along and causing mass destruction (that might have even made the book more fun!). Also, a lot of back story and deeper history was briefly mentioned or hinted at throughout the novel but it was never delved into. For example, Henry’s mother clearly has some rage issues, Anabel’s ex is dead, and Lottie is the gray sheep of her family. I wish the characters were fleshed out more, this way I could have connected with them and felt more for their plight.

 

The concept of being conscious and able to interact with others and their dreams was very interesting but it was never fully explained. I’m still unsure 1)where the demonic book came from (maybe Anabel’s cult mother?) 2)why this demon grants wishes and what he is getting in return (something about breaking a seal but again umm what does that mean?) 3)why they have the ability to access this strange dream state. Since I was never able to fully grasp the concepts within the book I was never able to immerse myself and enjoy the story. I was constantly questioning what was going on.

 

And finally my biggest issue…Liv just goes with the whole scenario! She keeps claiming that she doesn’t believe in demons but yet she quickly agrees to join the game and never questions how she is able to have these vivid lucid dreams. Liv has a lot of questions but they are not adequately answered. She never questions, second guesses or has a panic attack about the situation. If a group of guys pulled me away from a party to ask me if I was a virgin and if I wanted to join their demonic game I would be slightly terrified and might call the cops!

 

Everything was very much on the surface, no deeper details were given, and because of this I found it a quick (somewhat boring), confusing (and frustrating) book. The actual excitement doesn’t really start to develop until the last few chapters of the book. Overall, it was anticlimactic. This is the first book in a series, I am hoping that the next book gives more answers and that the characters are fleshed out more. But chances are I won’t be reading the second book to find out. Even though I wasn’t very satisfied with the story I can guarantee that there will be teens (especially ones who liked Ruby Red) that can’t wait to get their hands on this book.

 

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

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