Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

shatter-me

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: October 2, 2012 (originally November 2011)
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 338
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Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

MY THOUGHTS

3 stars

I’m not really sure what to say about Shatter Me. I’ve been looking forward to reading it because I’m probably the only person at this point who hasn’t picked up this trilogy… and the male love interests sounded really interesting. But after reading this first installment, I’m feeling a little bit let down.

My main issue with Shatter Me is that I felt like there was no plot. The story for me didn’t begin until 30 pages from the end of the book and I felt like the first 300 pages were just 300 pages of nothing. I couldn’t even tell you what happened because I feel like nothing did. This book follows Juliette, a girl who has a fatal touch. She’s been imprisoned for over 250 days in a dark cell but one day she’s brought out of her cell in order to aid The Reestablishment in their mission… something which Juliette doesn’t want to do. But even though the novel had a really great concept, I don’t think it was executed to its full potential. Juliette spends most of the book either locked up in different locations like a prisoner or on the run from different people who are after her. The plot doesn’t really progress and by the end of the book I felt like I was still kind of at the beginning.

What this book does focus on are the relationships between the characters and the romance. But I wasn’t a fan of the romance in this book, nor the developing love triangle. Even though Adam seems like a great guy, I never really warmed to him and was always suspicious of him. I felt like the romance developed slightly too quickly and it was just a bit uncomfortable for me to read. Warner was an intriguing character to me but I also felt like he was a bit of a creep. Overall, none of the characters really did it for me.

I did like the world in the book. The novel has an apocalyptic setting that I found really interesting. It was interesting to read about how the weather and ecosystems are failing due to human activities, and how the people live with barely any food and are concentrated in small communities that are governed by soldiers and The Reestablishment. What I was a little bit underwhelmed by was The Reestablishment itself. I thought the book lacked description and I didn’t think The Reestablishment was very well conceptualised. I had a rough idea of who they were and what they did but I thought the world building in this respect was weak.

Having said that, I enjoyed the writing style. It was easy to read and I sped through the book in two sittings. It made me want to keep reading and I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of the trilogy. Hopefully the next two books address some of the plot and world building issues that I had.

Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

the-raven-boys

Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: September 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 416
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“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

The Raven Boys is the first book in Maggie Stiefvater’s paranormal series, The Raven Cycle. I’ve previously read the Shiver trilogy, which I really liked, and I think The Raven Boys, as a first book, was just as good, if not better. It was creepy and atmospheric, with lots of interesting and unique characters.

The Raven Boys, for me, was very much a character-driven book. It has a whole cast of very intriguing characters that draw you in and make you want to know more. Our main protagonist, Blue, comes from a family of psychics but she’s the only one who doesn’t have psychic abilities. Instead, she’s almost like a battery that enhances the spiritual energy around her and makes it louder. She becomes involved with a group of Raven boys from a nearby private high school, who are involved in a search for magical ley lines and a lost Welsh King.

The leader of the Raven boys is a boy called Gansey, who I found to be the most interesting of all the characters. He’s a very genuine character who everybody else seems to see as a little pretentious. But he’s definitely not your typical rich and perfect male protagonist. His character is complex and misunderstood and I loved him so much because of it. Adam is the scholarship student from an abusive family. He doesn’t quite fit in with the others and is always aware of his poor background. I really liked his character from the start but he started to get on my nerves as I progressed through the book. He became very resentful of others for what they had and his jealous nature started to come through, which annoyed me a lot. There’s also a weird love triangle involving Adam, and I really did not like it… We also have Ronan, who’s hiding some secrets and is a little bit rough around the edges, and Noah, the mysterious and quiet friend who comes and goes and isn’t always around.

There are a whole host of other characters, including all the psychics that Blue lives with. I found some of the side characters to be very creepy and I was suspicious of them all the time. They gave me this uncomfortable feeling that I couldn’t shake and some of their actions left me feeling pretty creeped out. The mysterious and magical tone of the book also added to the slight creepiness of the book. It was so atmospheric and dark that it did make me feel uncomfortable a lot of the time. I didn’t find the world and the setting to be particularly scary but the writing and the atmosphere of the story left me a little bit anxious. There are also ghosts in this book, and I have pretty low tolerance for ghosts.

While I really liked the plot, there wasn’t very much going on in this book. It’s very slow-paced at the beginning and the action doesn’t pick up until the second half of the book. I found the magic and the ley lines to be very hard to follow at the beginning and I felt confused until later in the book. We’re not given very many explanations, so I had to just accept what was happening and go with the flow. The last 50-100 pages of the book were more fast-paced and there was a lot more happening. However, by the time I reached the end of the book, I still didn’t feel like I completely understood what had happened. Some characters made choices and did things that I didn’t understand (and I didn’t know what the consequences of those action would be either). I just still felt confused after finishing the book, but I can forgive that since it’s the first book in a series.

The writing was beautiful and I didn’t find it hard to get into. I think having read Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver trilogy, I was already familiar with her unique writing style so I didn’t need a lot of time to adjust. At the beginning, the writing also reminded me of the writing in A Little Life. It was very descriptive with little dialogue, and it really set the tone and atmosphere of the book. I also enjoyed the multiple perspectives that we got and I liked being able to see through each characters’ eyes. Like I mentioned, the pace of the book was a little bit uneven, with it being very slow at the beginning and fast at the end. But even though the book was mostly slow-paced, it wasn’t slow for me to read. I flew through the book really quickly because it was so engaging.

Even though this book left me feeling a little bit unsatisfied because of all the unanswered questions, I still really enjoyed the characters and the story. The confusion that I feel makes me even more excited to jump straight into The Dream Thieves.

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

shadow-and-bone

Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Release date: June 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0805094598
Pages: 368
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Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

MY THOUGHTS

35 stars

Shadow and Bone is the first book in the Grisha trilogy and it was a respectable beginning to the trilogy. It has a fascinating world and some interesting characters but I thought that the book needed a bit more development overall.

Let’s start with the world. I really loved the Russian-inspired setting of the Grisha world but I felt that we were just thrown into the world from the beginning, with very little explanation. There were lots of foreign terms being thrown at me and I had no idea what they meant. The book does contain a very nice looking map, but doesn’t include a glossary (at least my US hardcover edition doesn’t) to help me understand what all the terms meant. There were also a lot of terms in the book, so even when a small explanation or description was given, I had a bit of a hard time keeping track of what everything was until about halfway through the book.

Having said that, I didn’t find it difficult to picture the world. There was enough description for me to form a vivid image of the setting and the different places that the book travelled to. I could easily imagine the darkness and despair of the Fold and the glamour and luxury of the palace. I also really enjoyed the distinct classes of the Grisha and thought that it was an interesting concept, but I do wish that we had learnt more about how their powers manifest or how they choose which kind of Grisha to be.

I enjoyed the characters in the book but I thought that the main characters were not as interesting as the side characters. Alina, as a main character, was boring and I felt very indifferent about her. She’s the classic YA special snowflake who has the power to save the world from destruction, and feels all of society’s pressures upon her shoulders. But for me, she’s a special snowflake who isn’t very special at all. My problem with Alina is that she was kind of stagnant in her character development. She never really learns to use or develop her power, and she pretty much lets everybody else in the book influence her behaviour or make decisions for her. I just wanted her to own her role and not just wander about in self-doubt and indecision.

I liked her leading men a little bit more. I thought that the Darkling was a really interesting character and I loved the concept of him being a living amplifier of Grisha powers. He was dark, enigmatic and powerful, and I think I was drawn to him because he was so mysterious. But I also felt that his character was a little bit underdeveloped. There’s lots and lots of mention about how he is the most powerful Grisha in the world but I couldn’t really see what made the Darkling so special. From what I gathered, his only powers are summoning darkness and amplifying the other Grishas’ powers. I honestly have no idea why that makes him special, aside from the uniqueness of what he can summon.

Mal was a character that I disliked at the beginning of the book but ended up really liking by the end. Initially, he came across as an uncaring player but eventually turned out to be a gentle and caring friend. Even though it was a little bit frustrating that Alina was constantly pining over Mal, I really liked the two of them together. I also really liked the Darkling and Alina together, and thought it was interesting that their powers are polar opposites. At this point, I don’t really have a preferred ship. I loved Alina and the Darkling but I also enjoyed Alina and Mal together.

My biggest issue with Shadow and Bone was its plot and the development of its story arc. This is a slow-paced book (which I have nothing against) that contains bursts of action at the beginning and end, and long periods of inaction in between. We start off with the conflict in the Fold that reveals Alina’s Grisha powers and I loved the action and the excitement of this first section. However, there’s really nothing that happens for the next 200 pages until we reach the climax of the novel. The whole middle section was dedicated to world building and developing the romance, and I just needed some more action to fully engage me.

There were a couple of twists in the book but I found them to be mostly predictable. I was expecting the twist about the Darkling, simply because I’ve heard most people talk about the Darkling in a certain light. I definitely wasn’t surprised at all when his history was revealed. I also wasn’t surprised by what happened at the end of the book – I had subconsciously expected it to happen.

Overall, I thought Shadow and Bone was kind of average. I really enjoyed the world but I felt that we didn’t get to see everything that it had to offer. There’s definitely potential to develop the world further. The characters were a little bit lacklustre and boring, and the plot was predictable and didn’t offer me any sense of surprise or intensity. It was my no means a bad book and I think I can still recommend it to fantasy readers.

Review: Every Day by David Levithan

every-day

Publisher: Text Publishing
Original release date: August 28, 2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1921922958
Pages: 324
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Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

Every morning, A wakes in a different person’s body, a different person’s life. There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

And then A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because A has found someone he wants to be with—day in, day out, day after day.

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

This book was spectacular. This was my first David Levithan book but I loved it so much that I rushed out today to pick up some more of his books.

This novel was so engrossing that I didn’t want to put it down. I flew through it in a couple of hours. It features a lot of unique and interesting characters and also tackles many issues that we see in society today, including mental illness, drug and alcohol use/abuse, grief, and LGBT issues. Even though the book addresses all of these things, everything just fit together so seamlessly into a beautiful story. The writing in this book was beautiful. David Levithan makes use of differing sentence lengths and chapter lengths so wonderfully and with such great impact. The book felt deep and poetic but was very easy to read.

The book doesn’t try to explain why A wakes up in a different body each day, and I really appreciated that. I liked that Every Day wasn’t that type of book, and that we didn’t get all the answers, because the story isn’t about that. The story is about humanity and belonging, and what it means to be connected with other people. What David Levithan gave us was incredibly moving and heartbreaking, and I was thoroughly satisfied with how everything played out. Everything in this book just worked. We jump into the A and Rhiannon story from the very first chapter, and even though it was a little bit insta-lovey, it all just felt right. Nothing in this book felt far-fetched. My one minor criticism about the plot was that the ending felt slightly rushed, but I also think it ended in a way that leaves the door open for a sequel.

In this book, we not only get to see A’s story, but also the stories of the people A wakes up as. They were all such interesting and diverse characters, and even though we only get small glimpses of them, I was able to connect with every single one of them. What was really interesting was that A was able to retain his own personality even when in the bodies of different people. He refers to them in third person, so we can see a disconnection between A and whoever he is for the day. A has such as strong and likeable voice that I was really able to connect with him, despite him being a different person each day. Even though we don’t know what A is, we know who he is. And I thought that made this book very special.


UPCOMING COMPANION NOVEL

another-day

Another Day is a companion to Every Day that will be released at the end of August, 2015. This isn’t a sequel, but a companion novel. So it will be about the same events in Every Day but from Rhiannon’s point of view.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. Before reading Every Day, I was excited that there was a companion being released. But having now read Every Day, I feel like that book works so well as a standalone. Also, Rhiannon is a bit of a weak character, with not much self-esteem, and I don’t know how much I would connect with her and enjoy reading from her perspective.

I’ve also heard that Another Day ends in the exact same place as Every Day and I don’t think I can go through that twice. If there was a sequel, I would be more excited about picking it up. But at the same time, Every Day was so great that I don’t want future books to ruin it for me.

Review: My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

my-life-next-door

Publisher: Dial Books
Release date: June 14, 2012
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 0803736991
Pages: 394
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The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

I absolutely loved this book. Both of Huntley Fitzpatrick’s books have been home runs for me.

If you’re looking for a book with a great summer romance, this is the one for you. It has a fabulous cast of characters and a really enjoyable plot. While it wasn’t the most unique and original plot I’ve ever read, it was very realistic and relatable… and I don’t think you can ask for more than that from a contemporary novel. I loved the way the story flowed. It was just so easy to read. The pace of the book was just right, not too slow and not too fast, which made it very comfortable to read. It did pick up in pace a little bit towards the end, and it became a real page-turner. I could not put it down. I really liked how the book ended, but I did want just one or two more chapters at the end to wrap up Sam and Jase’s story. But there is a companion novel coming out in mid-August and I guess we’ll be seeing more of them in that book.

loved the characters in the book. Samantha was so easy to relate to, and I loved her voice. She was funny and it was just a lot of fun reading from her perspective. I did find her family and friends to be quite pretentious (which I think was the point), and I felt uncomfortable for her, which is something Huntley Fitzpatrick does so well. Her writing makes me empathise with her characters, and I really feel whatever they feel. There wasn’t a lot of character development, but I don’t think Sam needed a lot of development anyway. She just needed to stand up for who she wanted to be, and she did that, which was enough for me. I loved Sam’s relationship with Jase. It didn’t feel insta-lovey to me, and they came together in such a natural way. At times, there was some awkwardness but that made their whole relationship feel so real. They were adorable together, and became one of my favourite YA contemporary couples.

Jase is perfect. I said this about Cass from What I Thought Was True, also by Huntley Fitzpatrick, but Jase is even more perfect than Cass. Jase is just the ultimate good guy and I love that he’s just a nice and caring person. He’s got a great temperament and he doesn’t do stupid things. Best of all, he’s just in love with being in love. He’s great at fixing things, great with all of his younger siblings, and he’s also an animal lover. His bedroom is a zoo, with all different types of animals in cages and tanks. I loved this quote from the scene when Sam first visits his room and realises she’s interested in him:

“Maybe Jase Garrett is some sort of snake charmer. That would explain the animals. I look around again. Oh God, there is a snake.”

(The snake is called Voldemort by the way, which is just perfect). Jase also has the most adorable siblings. He’s the third of 8 kids and all of his siblings were fun and wonderful to read about. His 4 year old brother, George, is a genius who just spits out facts about the world and reads National Geographic Kids. George was probably my favourite of all of the Garretts (besides Jase). Patsy, the baby, is always being breast-fed and her first word was ‘boob’. I found myself wanting to be a part of all the chaos and fun.

There were some characters who I wasn’t sure about, and Tim was one of them. I did not like him at all at the beginning of the book but he grew on me. I don’t think we saw enough of him for me to completely change my mind about him. I feel like there was this gap in the middle that we didn’t see, where his character just developed really quickly. But the new companion novel, The Boy Most Likely To, is about Tim so I guess we’ll see a lot more of him and how he develops further.

I’m mostly just excited to read more about Sam and Jase.

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

throne-of-glass

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Release date: August 2, 2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 140883233X
Pages: 404
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Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly. Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake. She got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament – fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

MY THOUGHTS

4 stars

I will be attending a Sarah J. Maas event in Sydney later this year so I decided it was finally time for me to read Throne of Glass.

There is so much hype about this series and initially I wasn’t overly impressed by it, but I did like the characters and the plot. I was a bit disappointed with the first part of the book. It felt kind of slow to me and I had a hard time really getting into it. It picked up when the competition actually began and it got more interesting from there. I thought the plot was great and there was this mysterious element running throughout the book, which kept me guessing and kept me intrigued. I was expecting the tasks in the tournament to be a little more exciting but they seemed to be logical tasks for the Champions to be undertaking considering the position they were competing for. I wouldn’t say that anything in the book really surprised or shocked me, but there wasn’t anything that was predictable either. For me, the final battle in the tournament was really long and confusing, and I had a hard time figuring out what was really happening. But I think that might have been the point… since Celaena probably wasn’t sure what was happening either. I’m happy that some of the questions that arose during that scene were answered in the subsequent chapters.

I really loved the characters in the book. Celaena is a strong and kickass female protagonist, who is independent and doesn’t really need anyone. I loved her from the very first page; her strength and abilities are revealed almost straight away and you just can’t help but love her and want to be her. I also really liked Dorian and Chaol by themselves, but also as Celaena’s love interests. I think I might be Team Dorian because Dorian is so sweet and funny, and the things he does for and with Celaena are just adorable. But I can also see Chaol being really good for Celaena and I like their relationship together too. I don’t know. I’ll see what the next book brings.

What I liked most about Sarah J. Maas’s writing is that she’s able to bring out so many emotions in me. I love the characters that I love but I also really hate the characters that I’m supposed to hate. I thought the writing flowed so well and I just loved the dialogue. There were a couple of chapters that I felt were dedicated solely to developing the romance between Celaena and Dorian, or Celaena and Chaol. I didn’t feel like these chapters added anything to the plot and sometimes they felt out of place. But I did like reading about these interactions, particularly scenes with Celaena and Dorian. What I also liked was that the book didn’t really end on a cliffhanger. While I’m still excited to read about what happens in the next chapter of Celaena’s life, I feel like the book had a proper ending and answered a lot of the questions that I had about the story.

This series definitely has great potential. Throne of Glass was a great first instalment to the series. I’m excited to learn more about the magic system and see how our characters develop in the next few books.

Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

aristotle-and-dante-discover-the-secrets-of-the-universe

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release date: 2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 1442408936
Pages: 359
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Dante can swim. Ari can’t. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari’s features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But against all odds, when Ari and Dante meet, they develop a special bond that will teach them the most important truths of their lives, and help define the people they want to be. But there are big hurdles in their way, and only by believing in each other―and the power of their friendship―can Ari and Dante emerge stronger on the other side.

my thoughts

5 stars

I’m so mad at myself that I didn’t pick up this book sooner. This is definitely a coming of age, LGBT book that everybody needs to read.

This book tackles some very important issues about sexuality and being comfortable with and unashamed of who you are. This felt like a true coming of age story. It didn’t have much of a plot and just felt more like a teenage boy living his life and discovering himself and the importance of family and friendship. The writing in this book really drew me in and I couldn’t put the book down. This was definitely a page-turner. The writing flowed so well and had short chapters that made it a very fast read. The lengths of the chapters differed throughout the book, ranging from a single paragraph to about 10 pages, and I thought that really added to the story and made it even more powerful. The writing in this book really reminded me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. If you enjoyed that book, I’d definitely recommend this one.

I thought the characters in this book were perfect. I really connected with both Aristotle and Dante and I thought their friendship was so beautiful. In fact, I thought all of the relationships in this book were beautiful and inspiring. I loved how their parents interacted with them and loved them so unconditionally. That really brought tears to my eyes. I didn’t realise how much this book affected me until I started crying… but I cried not from the injustices in the book, but from the happiness.

I really do think this is a must-read book for all teens, regardless of whether you’re gay or straight. I think everybody could benefit from reading about Aristotle and Dante.

Review: Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

between-the-lines

Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Release date: June 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN13: 9781743310922
Pages: 352
Goodreads || Book Depository (US cover) || Allen & Unwin

What happens when happily ever after… isn’t?

Delilah hates school as much as she loves books. In fact, there’s one book in particular she can’t get enough of. If anyone knew how many times she has read and re-read the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially the popular kids, she’d be sent to social Siberia… forever.

To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there’s a handsome (well, okay, hot) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there’s something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they’re from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

MY THOUGHTS

35 stars

This was a fun story that was quick and easy to read. Between the Lines is the first Jodi Picoult book I’ve ever read, and it’s co-written with her daughter, Samantha van Leer. It is a fun book with pages of illustrations and coloured text.

Even though this book is marketed as a YA novel, it felt a little bit juvenile to me. I’m not sure if it’s because of the fairytale aspect of the book…but this felt more middle grade than young adult. But because of how young it felt to me, it was very easy and fast to read. It had an enjoyable story, though there were bits that I didn’t think were believable (especially how Oliver escapes from the fairytale in the end) and there were some things that I couldn’t grasp the logic of.

I liked the format of the book and how it was split into Oliver chapters, Delilah chapters, and pages from the fairytale. It was nice to be able to see things that unfolded from each of their perspectives. I thought Oliver’s chapters were particularly interesting because we get to know more about the fairytale world and what happens to their story when the book is closed. I loved the illustrations that were included, though I did wish that some of them were more relevant to the fairytale that was unfolding at the time.

Overall, I think this would be a really great and enjoyable book for a younger audience.

Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

me-before-you

Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin)
Release date: January 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 0718157834
Pages: 480
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Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

There is a trigger warning for suicide in this book. Also if your life is affected in any way by quadriplegia, you may or may not want to read this book. I’d suggest looking at some other reviews first before jumping into this book.

I was so deeply affected by this book. I laughed and I cried so hard… this book really caught me by surprise. It was completely different to what I had expected when I first picked it up. Based on the cover and a quick skim through the summary on the back, I thought it would be some fluffy contemporary romance, but it couldn’t have been more different. I don’t think I realised how much I loved this book and how moved I was by it until I’d reached the end and had tears pouring down my face.

There were definitely some parts of the novel that felt slow but each event that happened had a purpose. The writing was easy to read and without a lot of medical jargon, but still allowing us to feel the full impact of the story. I loved the use of first person perspective because it really allowed me to get into the head of Lou. There were some strange changes in perspective in the book. There were some characters who had a chapter written from their point of view. These chapters really threw me off and I didn’t like them at all. But aside from that, I have absolutely no complaints about the writing or the plot.

The characters in this book were really relatable (and mostly likeable). I loved Will and Lou as the main characters and I loved their relationship together. I liked how their relationship developed and grew into such a comfortable one. I also loved the character development in this novel. I thought that was one of the key successes of the book. But in addition to Will and Lou, we also get to see the struggles that the other characters go through, which made them and their lives so realistic to me.

I haven’t read very many books about physical disabilities, but Me Before You is definitely one that I will remember for a very long time. I’ve recently heard that a sequel to this book, After You, will be released in September 2015. I’m not completely sure that I’ll be picking that up (at least not straight away), just because Me Before You ended in such a hopeful and strangely liberating way.