Tag Archives: review

Review: Torched by Andrea Lynn Colt

TorchedTitle: Torched

Author: Andrea Lynn Colt

Published: September 2012

Source: e-book (Kindle)

Interests: mystery, romance

Summary (from Goodreads): Cheerleader Rose Whitfield’s senior year goes up in smoke when she’s framed for arson. Sure that the culprit is her neighbor Paxton, with whom she’s been feuding since middle school, she sets out to clear her name and take Paxton down hard–not necessarily in that order.

Review: I finished Torched in one day, which is saying a lot. I haven’t read a complete book in one day–a work day–since before I had my son. I could not put it down; I had to know who framed Rose.

I’ll be honest when I read the summary that Rose was a cheerleader who was feuding with her neighbor, I wasn’t sure I was going to like the book. I assumed it would be a predictable storyline with much to be desired. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I was thrown off by all the red herrings that Rose encounters but did finally figure out who the culprit was before being told.

The cast of characters are well developed and each have a distinct voice. Rose is a strong-willed, smart girl whose shenanigans have hurt more people than she intended. She proudly defies the cheerleader stereotype. However, I think a lot of teenage girls can relate to the problems (not the arson part) Rose faces. Her friends, boyfriend and parents each come with their own challenges that Rose must overcome.

While there were times I wanted to throw the book across the room–due to the horrible things that happen–I also didn’t want the book to end. Speaking of endings (don’t worry I’m not giving anything away), I did like the way ended but I wanted to know more about what happens next. Of course, that’s how you know the author did an excellent job of developing the characters, when you want to see where they go in life.

If you’d like to read an excerpt of Torch head over to Colt’s website.

I’m looking forward to Colt’s next book, Wavecrossed, that comes out this spring.

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Student Review by Tyani J.: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

DeliriumTitle: Delirium

Author: Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: February 2012

Series: Delirium #1

Interest: dystopia, love

Tyani’s Summary: Lena anxiously awaits her 18th birthday when she will receive the government mandated cure for one of the deadliest infections known to man; Love. She looks forward to her picture-perfect life until 3 months before her birthday when she falls in love. She soon realizes that love won’t kill her but not having it just might.

Tyani’s Review: Delirium  was absolutely phenomenal. Lately I’ve been into the “dystopian society” kind of books like The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Matched, and Uglies, but Delirium was definitely one of the best I’ve read so far. I have to admit, at first the idea of a society without love kind of angered me, I didn’t understand why love was so dangerous, but that is the whole point of Oliver’s book. Lena has the same discernment that love is not a disease. I loved how well put together Lauren Oliver’s society was. It was very well thought out, with rules and regulations from “The Book of Shhh” put at the beginning of each chapter. It allows the reader to be fully immersed into the book as if you were really a citizen of this fictional society.  Her descriptions and metaphors are very intricately thought out and masterfully written. One of my personal favorites was when she first sees Alex and she describes her vision as if Lena was looking through the lens of her camera.

There were just a couple things I didn’t quite enjoy about the book, starting with the fact that you don’t really get to connect with any other characters besides the main character Lena. As you read the book, you are following the story of this young girl Lena but Lauren Oliver fails to go more in depth about really any other characters. I wish I could have gotten to know both Alex and her best friend Hannah better and I’m hoping to do so in the sequel Pandemonium. There were also a few other parts including kissing, hugging and other violence between Lena and Alex, but most scenes shared between both characters are relatively short considering their relationship is forbidden.

Delirium is ended with one of the worst cliffhangers I’ve ever read. Not “worst” as in badly written, but “worst” in the sense that I cannot wait to read the sequel Pandemonium. I’m excited to see how her relationship with Alex continues and how Lena will have the opportunity to develop into her “true self”. Also, there were many decisions left without knowing the consequence so I’m excited to see the outcome of those.

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Review: Matched Series

Matched ReachedCrossed

I finished the Matched series awhile ago, but I’ve put off reviewing the books because I’m still not quite sure how I feel about them, which is why I’ve decided to review them as a series instead of individually.  Overall I enjoyed the series otherwise I wouldn’t have finished them. However, I had some issues with the way the characters were developed. I don’t want to give too much away, but I found the love interests difficult to believe. I felt sorry for Zander in each book which made me not really like or relate to Cassia. I enjoy dystopian novels which is why I like the premis of the series. Most of all, I liked that Condie used poetry as the basis of the rebellion. Even though I didn’t love this series I would recommend it to others.

Check out the book trailers and leave a comment on what you thought about the series or the book trailers:

 

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Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by The Housework Can Wait and Never Too Fond of Books.

It’s the nature of book blogging to focus mainly on new releases, but there are thousands of great books out there that haven’t seen the “New Releases” shelf in years. We hope to be able to bring attention to some older titles that may not be at the top of the current bestseller list, but still deserve a spot in your To-Be-Read pile.

Go Ask AliceTitle: Go Ask Alice

Author: Beatrice Sparks as “Anonymous”

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Published: 1971

Pages: 213

Genre: realistic-fiction, diary

Topics: identity struggle, drug use, friendship

 

 

Summary from Goodreads:

January 24th 
After you’ve had it, there isn’t even life without drugs….

It started when she was served a soft drink laced with LSD in a dangerous party game. Within months, she was hooked, trapped in a downward spiral that took her from her comfortable home and loving family to the mean streets of an unforgiving city. It was a journey that would rob her of her innocence, her youth — and ultimately her life.

Read her diary. 
Enter her world.

 

Go Ask Alice is one of those books that will stick with you forever. I read it several years ago and still remember how disturbing yet eye-opening it is. Even though it was published in the 70s, the subject matter is still very much relevant today.

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Review: Looking for Alaska

Title: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Release Date: March 3, 2005
Published: Dec. 2006

Pages: 160 (Hardcover)

Genre: realistic, contemporary, YA

Audience: 16+

Source: District book give-away

Summary from Goodreads:

Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. Then he heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.

After. Nothing is ever the same.

Overall Impression: This book has sat on my shelf for two years and I can’t believe that I allowed that to happen. I fell in love with this book. John Green is quickly turning into my favorite author. However, I must warn my students that Green is not for everybody. Looking for Alaska deals with some mature issues and some of the language could be deemed offensive. I highly recommend this book along with a few other Green titles that I will share at a later date.

What I liked: Everything! To begin with, the structure is unique. The chapters are broken down into a countdown of days. The very first page pulls you in and after that the book never lets you go. In addition, the characters are intelligent teenagers. It’s a nice to see teenagers portrayed as witty and smart, young adults. The quirkiness of the characters is what makes them so appealing (Pudge with his last lines and Alaska with her books).  I liked that the story was reminiscent of A Separate Peace and Catcher in the Rye  but with a whole new, modern twist. I don’t want to put in spoilers so I’m speaking vaguely but you will laugh out loud and cry. This is a book you won’t want to put down, yet you will dread the day you finish it.

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Review: Hokey Pokey

Title: Hokey Pokey

Author: Jerry Spinelli

Publisher: Random House

Release Date: January 8, 2013

Pages: 261 (Paperback)

Genre: fiction, MG

Audience: 10+

Source: ARC, NCTE

Summary from Goodreads:

“Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen—and by a girl, no less—his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos. Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something is about to change. And even more troubling he alone hears a faint train whistle. But that’s impossible: every kid knows there no trains in Hokey Pokey, only tracks.

Master storyteller Jerry Spinelli has written a dizzingly inventive fable of growing up and letting go, of leaving childhood and its imagination play behind for the more dazzling adventures of adolescence, and of learning to accept not only the sunny part of day, but the unwelcome arrival of night, as well.”

What I liked:

The description of Hokey Pokey was brilliant. The tattoos and roaming bikes made me chuckle. I liked the optimistic view point of a children’s world rather than the pessimistic view point most texts offer (such as Lord of the Flies). The self-sufficiency of the Kids did bring me back to my childhood (cartoons, riding bikes, etc). Spinilli’s imagery made Hokey Pokey come alive.

What I didn’t like:

Spinelli didn’t make me care about the characters before the action started taking place. Jack seemed more like a bully than leader which made it difficult to to feel empathy for him. I also didn’t like the ending. I’m not going to give anything away, but it just didn’t work for me.

Overall Impression: When I saw that Jerry Spinelli put out another book I couldn’t wait to devour it just like I did with StarGirl and Milkweed. However, I was highly disappointed. While I finished the book in one sitting (on the flight back from NCTE in Las Vegas), I couldn’t really appreciate it. The concept of the book was beautiful, a never-never land of sorts but the execution wasn’t for me.  The overall disappointing factor was the ending.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to a much younger audience with some reservations.

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