Showing posts with label Young adult book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Young adult book review. Show all posts

May 9, 2014

Between Worlds by Yolande Krueger

In this world, there is no make-believe. Just because you haven’t seen something doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

Olive was adopted by two sisters. Once they figured out that they couldn’t have children of their own, they decided to adopt a child and live their lives together. Her mothers are witches. They make potions and cast magic spells.
Olive cannot yet cast spells, but she does make potions.

Olive works at the only coffee shop in town. It is an eccentric place. They name their muffins and drinks after the effects they have on you. If you want coffee for comfort or for warmth, you would order the drinks named, simply, Comfort or Warmth.
She practiced her alchemy skills with the drinks and food options available at The Black Brew. They would tell people that the effects of the food and drinks were magic.

Between Worlds is a coming of age story for a young witch. She doesn’t know the extent of her abilities, but throughout the book, she begins to realize what she is capable of.

It is also a love story between an unlikely couple – a witch and a giant. Olive’s life changed completely once she met Dah-Vid. She really started to realize her true potential, even if she didn’t know how to completely control her powers.

The characters in this book were all around likable. Plus there was a great supporting character that was a dog. That always makes the story a little more fun to read.

It is a pretty light and fun read. There was more conflict towards the end, but leading up to that, it was nice to just read the story about a young witch and her dog.

It was written well. The conversations flowed nicely and felt natural for the most part.

It did end a little abruptly for me. I would have liked for it to explore the outcome of the portal drama. The book was still moving a steady pace towards the end, so it could have gone on a bit longer.

If you are looking for a cute YA/fantasy/paranormal book, you should go ahead and pick this one up.

3/5 stars

May 6, 2014

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

This is an interesting book in many ways.

First of all, it has been banned from some school libraries due to its controversial topics.  I can't turn down the opportunity to read a controversial book. 

Second, it is written for a young audience crowd that could be as young as seven, but it is written in a way that it can be enjoyed by readers of every age. As you are reading, you can sense some of it is simplified for a younger audience, but it doesn’t lose the meaning behind it, and it doesn’t seem elementary. There are a lot of sexual references as well as profanity.

Third, it is actually based on the experiences of the author. Most of the tragic incidents are true, but according to the interview at the end of the book, a lot of the book is fictional as well. It was neat to see how Alexie could separate himself from Junior to make it into a fictional book.

Junior is a young Indian boy living on a reservation. He doesn’t look exactly like the rest of the people around him. He had a few birth defects that made his head large and his eyes uneven. He is picked on all the time, and gets called names and beat up just for being himself.

Dealing with alcoholic parents, a best friend with anger issues, and the every day trials of living on the reservation, he decides that he needs a change.

He makes a brave decision one day that he wants to go to school outside of the reservation. The school he wants to go to has a predominately white population. He knows that it will not be an easy transition, and he is most likely going to be picked on. But, he would receive that same treatment if he stayed at his current school.
The book then transitioned into a story of an outcast Indian boy dealing with living in a world full of racism while trying to make a name for himself.

I really liked how Alexie was able to tackle really rough topics but present it in a way that wasn’t outright depressing. This book touches on alcoholism, bullying, poverty, homosexuality, and violence.
I think this would be a good book for younger audiences. It can introduce them to tough subjects, and could spark questions and discussions on the issues.

5/5 Stars

Memorable Quotes: “So I draw because I want to talk to the world. And I want the world to pay attention to me.”

“We were supposed to be happy with our limitations. But there was no way Penelope and I were going to sit still. Nope, we both wanted to fly.”

May 1, 2014

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This is one of the most talked about young adult books that are around right now. I just knew that I had to end Young Adult April with it because I seem to be the only person left that has not read it.
I knew the basic premise of the book from hearing about it around the internet, but I didn’t know all of the little details.
I knew that there was a young love story line, and I knew that it was really sad, but I didn’t know why.

The main protagonist, and the character that dictates the novel’s point of view has cancer. More than just that, her lungs are not very strong and they often fill with fluid that has to be drained. Because of this, she has to walk around with an oxygen tank everywhere she goes. This is not very appealing to people that do not understand her relationship, so she has not gotten much attention from the boys.

Then Augustus comes into her life and everything changes. It is almost as though she has something, or someone, to fight for and live for. He understands her and her situation because he also had cancer. He lost a leg from it and has to wear a prosthetic. Even though he is an attractive boy, the fake leg turns off many people.

So, Hazel and Augustus are perfect for each other. They understand each other, and their personalities complement the each other’s perfectly. They even get the other one to read their favorite books. It is a sweet modern day teenage love story, but those can never end easily.

I really liked Hazel. Her attitude was so sarcastic and sassy that it was funny to read at times. It made the book really enjoyable.
Augustus was a sweet and charming young man. He had a way with words that allowed him to charm everyone around him.
They were both extremely likable characters and very quirky in their own ways.

I was really surprised by how short this book was. It made everything feel a bit rushed. There was not really any time for their relationship to form; yet all of a sudden they were in love. It is obviously playing on love at first sight, but even with that, it still felt really rushed. I feel like there could have been more time to develop the story.
Even though I knew what was going to happen in the end, I was not prepared to read it.

And yes, I did cry a little.

4/5 Stars. I wish it would have been a little longer.

Memorable Quotes: "Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book."

"'Always' was a promise! How can you just break the promise?"

"'That's the thing about pain,' Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. 'It demands to be felt.'"

"I will not tell you our love story, because -- like all real love stories -- it will die with us, as it should."

"'Gus, my love, I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.'"

April 30, 2014

Pop Kids by Davey Havok

Being a huge AFI fan, I could not pass up reading Davey’s first book. I don’t really know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t this.

Told from the point of view of Score Massi, Pop Kids tells the sex-driven story of a group of kids and their underground parties in a rural California town.
Obsessed with Pop Culture and looking perfect, Score is a protagonist unlike any other that I have ever read about.

The characters were all pretty likable when they were supposed to be. They all complemented to story well, and even if one was taken out, I feel as though the story wouldn’t have been the same. They all added to the novel, which you don’t always see.
I enjoyed how each character was well developed. I feel like I know a lot about all of them. You start seeing all of the Filmgreats as your friends as you read the book.

I was really pleasantly surprised with how well this book was written. I haven’t read any other fiction novels written by vocalists/songwriters so I thought maybe it would have a bit of a weird pace. But, that did not happen at all. It had a great flow, the chapters were short, and Davey did a great job at keeping my attention the whole way through.

In typical Davey form, there was a lot of attention paid to minor details, which just enhanced the experience. I could tell he wrote it because it was written almost how he talks. It made it even more entertaining for me.

One criticism I have was the ending. It was just really confusing. Score had an interesting way of presenting his thoughts throughout the novel, but the last few pages just didn’t really connect. I couldn’t figure out what was going on or what he was feeling. That being said, I believe that there is going to be a second book, so I hope the ending gets explained a little bit.

There is a lot of slang thrown around, and most people in the book go by two different names. It is hard to put together at the beginning, but it makes more sense as it goes along.

I was very unprepared for this book to be dominated by such a sexual storyline. I was not expecting it. But, even though it was driven by sex, it was not a raunchy book. It had a lot of background storylines going on as well that made the whole book tie together neatly.

4/5. If would be a 5 had the ending made a little more sense.

and I just have to add the image from the back of the book 

Accused: A Retaliation Novel #2 by Yasmin Shiraz

Trigger Warning: This book contains a rape storyline

April 13, 2014

Perfect by Ellen Hopkins

Let me start by saying this, I did not know that this book was related to her book Impulse.
Impulse is one of my favorite books, and it is also one of the only ones to make me cry.
So when I figured out that this book was related to Impulse, I felt the impending doom of the situation that originally made me cry. (Conner)

Then… it happened and it broke my heart all over again. She is good at pulling on your heartstrings, that Ellen Hopkins. That’s for sure.

Perfect is about 4 teenagers striving to prove themselves on some level.

Andre – He is a dancer. He loves dancing, and he is really good at it. His parents have other plans for him. He is supposed to go to a good school and get a high paying job. He worries that people will think he is gay if they know of his hobby.

Kendra – She is a model, and she wants to be perfect. She wants the perfect face and the perfect body no matter the cost. She plans on using plastic surgery and not eating as her paths to success. She isn’t healthy. But, if she believes she is perfect, she is okay with that.

Sean – The jock of the group. He is a highly skilled baseball player, and he will do whatever it takes to get even better. The reader gets to see his downward spiral with his use of enhancement drugs as it takes him from a normal teenager to a rage filled monster.

Cara – After dealing with her brother’s failed suicide attempt, her parents expect her to be the perfect one. Once she starts to question her sexuality, she fears that she will not be what everyone wants her to be. Will being happy with Dani be enough for her?

Just like every Hopkins book I have read, this is a really great book telling the story of growing up and finding who you are. It is hardly ever easy, and her books give real insights to what many teenagers face today. Perfect is no different.

I really enjoyed it. All of the characters are different in their own ways, but all of their stories are intertwined.
The character development was great. They all grow and develop while learning more about what life expects from them.

5/5 If you are generally a fan of Ellen Hopkins, or if you are looking for a great YA author, this is a good place to start and a great read.