Category: young adult

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Posted June 19, 2012 by Hillary in Book Reviews, young adult / 0 Comments

smoke and bone

From Goodreads:

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Review: This book is soooooo good! At first while you are reading it it builds up to the final climax and what a climax it is. It gives the story about Karou and how she goes to art classes and what she does with her everyday friends.

The plot is believable. I could connect with the characters and feel empathy toward them. I felt like I was walking down the street of Prague with Karou. I felt that I was her best friend and that she was sharing her life with me. At first it seems to be an ordinary life expect for the part where she works for otherworldly creatures.

Karou often wonders where she came from but no one will tell her. The reader is left wondering this also. It seems she has no parents as she was raised by a creature by the name of Brimstone. She tries to find out more about herself and what Brimstone does and what he needs with all of the teeth that he collects.

Then she meets an angel who is not like the traditional angel but rather a species from another world and she is left wondering more than ever who she is.

The reader knows no more than Karou does. It is not until the end of the book that we find out the whole truth. I cant say more than that as I don’t want to spoil the plot but when I read the last page I was like noooooooo I have to WAIT until the next book comes out?! It wont come out until November but this is one book I will be preordering.

This is a book that has something for everybody. Mystery, romance and intrigue and I am sure we all wonder where we come from and who we are at some point. So don’t miss out, read this book!

five-stars

The Fault in Our Stars

Posted March 27, 2012 by Hillary in Book Reviews, young adult / 0 Comments

the fault in our stars

From GoodReads:

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.
Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.
Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

My Review: I have heard many good things about this book. So I had to read it. I was afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the hype but I needn’t have worried. It was every bit as good as people made it out to be. Once I started reading I literally couldn’t put this book down. I devoured it in an afternoon. This is also one of the few books that have made me cry actual tears.

The characters were so believable that it was like it was two friends telling you their story. There was nothing in this book that  yanked you out of the story. The main characters were likeable and made you want everything to work out for them. While I don’t need characters to be likeable to enjoy a book I do need it to flow and show that there is a reason for behaviors. This book provided that. Even when a character was acting like a bitch the book gives details that make it seem that kind of behavior is only natural to them.

The romance in this story was sweet and even though it happened on a hurried time for how much time does two kids with terminal cancer really have?

This was my first YA cancer book so I really cant compare. It went through the range of emotions that tow kids with cancer has. I feel that it addressed all the issues that would be per taint with this. The fear that you cancer has returned. The fear that you will die before your time. The fear that you cant breathe. It does so in a way that is accessible for teens but it does not gloss over the realities of the cancer. And the realities are many and stark. Hazel is tethered to an oxygen tank and Augustus lost his leg. The book showed their limitations but also showed that even with that they are still teens going through relationships and face what normal teens face. It shows that life doesn’t stop just because you have cancer or on deaths door.

I was sad at the end of this book but in a good way. It showed what really happens and does not provide some miracle that is not in real life to give a better ending to the book. I was very glad of that. I felt if it ended any other way that it would have cheapened the book. Even though it made me cry it was the only way it could have ended and stayed true to the issues that it was addressing.

five-stars

Review: Ashfall

Posted January 16, 2012 by Hillary in Book Reviews, young adult / 0 Comments

a book review of ashfall
From GoodReads:
Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don’t know it’s there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.
Ashfall is the story of Alex, a teenage boy left alone for the weekend while his parents visit relatives. When the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts unexpectedly, Alex is determined to reach his parents. He must travel over a hundred miles in a landscape transformed by a foot of ash and the destruction of every modern convenience that he has ever known, and through a new world in which disaster has brought out both the best and worst in people desperate for food, water, and warmth. With a combination of nonstop action, a little romance, and very real science, this is a story that is difficult to stop reading and even more difficult to forget.
My Review: I have always wondered what would happen if we were to have some really bad event happen. In Ashfall we get just that. Alex who is used to all modern stuff must make do with out them when a super volcano erupts. The author does a superb job of imagining what this is like. He effortlessly blends storytelling and science together to create a book that will suck you right in.
It is especially gratifying to see the growth of Alex through out this book. He starts off being a cranky child that cant be bothered going with his family to visit his uncles farm to a almost adult like state of being able to help on a farm and doing adult like things. We see this growth very clearly in the book.
This book is heavy on both character and action plots. There is action so that you are never bored in the book.  There is enough character growth so that the plot is realistic.

five-stars

Review: When She Woke

Posted December 21, 2011 by Hillary in Book Reviews, young adult / 0 Comments

a book review when she woke

When She Woke is a dystopian retelling of a Scarlet Letter. In this world criminals are chromed (their skin turned a different color) according to their crimes. Hannah the main character in this book is charged with murder, because she had an abortion, and is chromed red. Life as a chrome is not easy and Hannah must navigate difficulties she never encountered before.
What impressed me most about this book is how strong Hannah is. Even though it added years to her sentence as a chrome she refused to name the person who performed her abortion. She also refused to name the father of her child to protect his job as he is famous and influential. You do not find many woman of this strength in books. She poses a good role model for doing what is right for you and having the strength and backbone to follow up on it. This book does not descend into preachy moral tones but instead present things as they happen as the logical next step in the life of Hannah.
This book if full of tension. I had to stop reading a few times because I was so afraid of what would happen to Hannah. I really felt connected to her and cared about her and what happened to her. The author did I good job at ratcheting up the tension. This book is horrifying in a way because it shows what can happen if political climate goes to far to the right. It shows a world where choice is taken away. Where people must live how other people say you must. While I was reading I kept thinking this could really happen. That made it all the more horrifying.
Every word seems to be crafted to mean something in this book. The prose was beautiful. It was like Hannah was your friend and she was telling you, the reader, what had happened to her. This book comes highly recommended.

five-stars

Review: How I stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend

Posted December 19, 2011 by Hillary in book review, young adult / 0 Comments

A book Review for how i stole Johnny Depp's Girlfriend
This has to be one of the weirdest books I have read recently. I mean this in a good way.
It starts with Zelda who claims to be 325 years old and an alien. She is under treatment with David’s dad who is a psychologist. He prefers to treat people in his home because he fells that a home setting is more beneficial for them. She makes a few escape attempts and then when David finds out that she is looking for her one true love who happens to be Johnny Depp he agrees to help her find him. Off they go on an adventure that includes police chase arson and more.
I saw this in the library and thought it looked interesting so I picked it up. The story is a fast paced and easy read. It is plot driven with not much character growth. About halfway through the book you do learn about Zelda and her home planet. I thought what world building there was was good. I would have liked more but as this book is geared toward a young teen audience I can see why it keeps the focus on the action. This would be a good book for teens who might not like to read heavier books and young teens that like action novels with a bit of sci-fi thrown in.

Review: Blood Red Road

Posted November 3, 2011 by Hillary in Book Reviews, young adult / 0 Comments

blood red road

From Goodreads:

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That’s fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba’s world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she’s a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.

 

My Review: I have been attempting to branch out from my usual fare of Literary Fiction. I head good reviews from several bloggers on this Young Adult book and when I saw it in the library decided to give it a try. I am glad I did..

This is a book that is fast paced so you will never get bored. It seems that from the very first page there is action. The world building is done through the plot. And what a world it is! It is set in a dystopian future where chaal (a drug) is used to control people and they have barbaric cage fights using humans and stuff. There is some points where I thought there was no way Saba (the main character) could get out of this one but yet she always did. I came to admire her strong independent spirit. I loved the characters in this book. It was easy to connect with them and imagine myself in their place.

The narration style is different than what one would be used to. It took me a few pages to get used to it but once I did it quickly fit in with the characters and the plot and only added to the story.

I would encourage everyone to read this book. This is one book that lives up to its hype.

four-stars

Review: Wolf Mark

Posted August 6, 2011 by Hillary in ARC, Book Reviews, middle-grade, sci-fi, young adult / 0 Comments

Review: Wolf MarkWolf Mark by Joseph Bruchac
Published by Lee & Low Books on 2011
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Mysteries & Detective Stories, Native American, Paranormal, People & Places, United States, Young Adult
Pages: 377
Goodreads

Luke King knows a lot of things. Like four different ways to disarm an enemy before the attacker can take a breath. Like every detail of every book he's ever read. And Luke knows enough-just enough-about what his father does as a black ops infiltrator to know which questions not to ask. Like why does his family move around so much? Luke just hopes that this time his family is settled for a while. He'll finally be able to have a normal life. He'll be able to ask the girl he likes to take a ride with him on his motorcycle. He'll hang out with his friends. He'll be invisible-just as he wants. But when his dad goes missing, Luke realizes that life will always be different for him. Suddenly he must avoid the kidnappers looking to use him as leverage against his father, while at the same time evading the attention of the school's mysterious elite clique of Russian hipsters, who seem much too interested in Luke's own personal secret. Faced with multiple challenges and his emerging paranormal identity, Luke must decide who to trust as he creates his own destiny.

This book was sent to me by the publisher

wolfmark

From Goodreads:

Luke King knows a lot of things. Like four different ways to disarm an enemy before the attacker can take a breath. Like every detail of every book he’s ever read. And Luke knows enough—just enough—about what his father does as a black ops infiltrator to know which questions not to ask. Like why does his family move around so much?
Luke just hopes that this time his family is settled for a while. He’ll finally be able to have a normal life. He’ll be able to ask the girl he likes to take a ride with him on his motorcycle. He’ll hang out with his friends. He’ll be invisible—just as he wants.
But when his dad goes missing, Luke realizes that life will always be different for him. Suddenly he must avoid the kidnappers looking to use him as leverage against his father, while at the same time evading the attention of the school’s mysterious elite clique of Russian hipsters, who seem much too interested in Luke’s own personal secret. Faced with multiple challenges and his emerging paranormal identity, Luke must decide who to trust as he creates his own destiny.

My review: I am now a fan of TU a new imprint of Lee and Low Books. I have liked all three of the books they have sent me. I never thought I would like young adult books but boy, was I wrong. I think I am going to seek out the genre a bit more.

Wolf Mark is has sci-fi elements which I love. It also has a little romance thrown in but with a young adult feel to it. It brought back to memory of my own high school days.

The characters all of them are well developed. I found myself rooting for Lucas and he races to save his father. It is hard to find a book whose secondary characters are  as well developed as they are in this book. I could find myself empathizing even what I thought to be the bad guys (even though they weren’t) and his best friend.

I also love the lore that was interposed in this book. I love mythology. And there was not short of it here. It explained in such a way that it was assessable to it target audience which is 12 and up. I myself learned quite a few things from this book. Such as what a grue is among other things.

I would recommend this book to any young adult who likes sci-fi and to any adult who likes sci-fi and young adult books.

Review: Tankborn

Posted July 1, 2011 by Hillary in Book Reviews, young adult / 0 Comments

FTC notice: This book was sent to me by the publisher

tankborn

In the beginning of this year I told myself I was going to break out of my literary fiction rut and try new genres. So far I have tried several different genres but have held back trying Young Adult. I cant give a good reason for my hesitation for this expect maybe I thought Young Adult did not have much to offer me. I was sadly mistaken. Young Adult has changed since I was a young adult. So when I found out I had won a prize from Arm Chair BEA I picked three young adult books as the prize and I loved it. This is the first I read of three.

Tankborn is the first Young Adult that I have tried outside the harry potter craze. It is about a girl who is  a GEN (genetically engineered non-human) who is given her Assignment. Before she leaves her nurture mother though she is given a strange package to carry into where the humans live.

Her best Friend is a nurturer tasked with the care of human babies. When they realize babies are being taken in the middle of the night they realize something more sinister is happening.

I could see where a young adult especially one who is in some way different (Like I was with a hearing aid when I was younger) could relate to this story. It showed that just because you are different does not mean you are even less important. Even though they are tankborn they are still important in the grand scheme of things.Likewise YA with disabilities have their place in society also.

I also liked that it was the characters that were flawed that had a hand in solving the issues in the book. That showed that people who are different can still be leaders and have strong role models.

The characters are fully realized to such an extent that the readers starts to care about what happens to them. I was rooting for the characters to come out victorious when they were fighting to save themselves and other people.

The story itself was an engrossing one. I found that I couldn’t put the book down because I wanted to know what happened next. The pace was faster than I find in lit fiction. Which is a good thing because I seem to find a lot of books to be dragging these days. Not this one though.

I really liked this book and would recommend it to a YA that has something different about them to show them that they too can find their place and overcome.

five-stars