War Storm – Review

War Storm – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication date: May 15, 2018

Pages: 662

Price: $24.99 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

Victory comes at a price.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

First Sentence

“We drown in silence for a long moment.”

Review

Going to be real here, War Storm was my least favorite novel out of the series, and here’s why:

-Does not need to be 600 pages! 

I know that a lot happened in this novel, and I know that most concluding novels are a bit longer but War Storm really did not need to be this long. I thought there were many parts that were pointless and there was a lot of pondering in this book, which was weird considering I liked all the previous books for their great lack of pondering! Many scenes could of been cut shorter or cut out completely because they had nothing to do with the main storyline.

-Too much political talk

There were lots of meeting where the Scarlet Guard would decide the fate of Norta after Maven’s defeat but it was so long and confusing for me to read since I really don’t know anything about politics or war. Maybe to someone who is well informed on these topics would not find it as long and boring as I did, but this is a young adult novel and I doubt many teens are well informed on those subjects. This was another reason why I thought the book was too long, for example there was this scene where they were just fighting about the fate of the country, and one of those scenes would of been good, but there was at least five of them… after a while, it got pretty old.

-Weird endgame

At the time, I had no idea Broken Throne was going to come out, so I figured War Storm would be the last we’d ever get for this series. I knew the end would leave many things unresolved or unfinished because Aveyard just seems like the type to keep us really open for interpretation but I had no idea how far she’d actually go! I was so shook at the ending… we don’t even know if Marecal exists after all of this! Thankfully Broken Throne cleared the air for us!

I give War Storm 4 out of 5 stars!

 

 

King’s Cage – Review

King’s Cage – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication date: February 7th, 2017

Pages: 544

Price: $23.77 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

When the Lightning Girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

First Sentence 

“I rise to my feet when he lets me.”

Review

Honestly, pretty sure this is my favorite book out of all the series. Now, I KNOW I also said that for Glass Sword, but I forgot how awesome King’s Cage was! Beware, I might be spoiling a bit in the upcoming paragraphs.

First off, Mare and Cal’s relationship goes through a lot of turmoil in this one. Mare being taken in as a prisoner and Cal’s indecisiveness towards the crown or the people, takes a big toll on them both. It was really hard to read because compared to most YA relationships they were pretty chill and not so uptight with each other which made it so much more chill to read and way less cringy than other books. I think a lot of this goes to Victoria Aveyard’s writing style but also the fact that both of their characters are very mature and responsible compared to most YA relationships.

Mare also goes through so much in this novel, her character really takes a crash. Her prisoner status has made her more vulnerable and sensitive so the downfall of her character is really evident to anyone who reads this one. Although she has Cal, Kilorn, and her family to help her get through it. We do see so much more of the Barrows in this novel, Mare enventually goes and lives with them again and we get to really know Bree and Tramy, – and their relationship with Mare – which weren’t as developed in the first two novels.

“Those who know what it’s like in the dark will do anything to stay in the light.”
― Victoria Aveyard, King’s Cage

My favorite scene in this book would of had to have been when the Scarlet Guard went out to save Mare. The battle scenes sounded so dramatic and epic… it was awesome! The little mind game that got played on Mare and Cal to fight each other was mighty intense. There was no battle this crazy in RQ or GS!

Once again, Victoria Aveyard does an amazing job at explaining everything poetically, throughly but with no dwelling, there’s never too much detail, but there’s always enough to picture it in my head. Some novels will spend half a page describing the light of a table lamp on a ceiling… like you could of just wrote less about that lamp and I would of still been able to picture it, and you’d have saved some paper!

Final Review/Recommendation 

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King’s Cage is definitely my favorite novel out of the Red Queen series. It never had a dull moment, was full of crazy twists and was really well written for a YA novel.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who has enjoyed Red Queen and Glass Sword or to someone who’d like to pick up an intense Fantasy/Dystopian/Romance series!

“As you enter, you pray to leave. As you leave, you pray to never return.”
― Victoria Aveyard, King’s Cage
Glass Sword – Review

Glass Sword – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication Date: February 9, 2016

Pages: 444

Price: $17.12 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis 

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

First Sentence 

“I flinch.”

Review 

Red Queen was super wild, so I originally thought that in Glass Sword, things would calm down… but JEEZ I was mistaken! Things are getting even more intense!

In this novel, Mare and Cal’s relationship reaches new heights, Cal is skeptical because Mare did betray him and his crown, but he also know that Mare is the only one who saw what truly happened to the former king. Their growing friendship and trust was really interesting to watch develop. Same as seeing for the first time who Maven truly is. He was so docile and friendly during the first novel, its so crazy to think that was all an act!

I like this book much more than I liked the first one, mainly because it goes straight to action, whereas in RQ, there was a lot of explanations and introductions, GS starts right in battle, Mare and Cal have escaped and are currently fleeing with the Scarlet Guard. As soon as you flip to the first page, you are already on the edge of your seat.

“Fire and lightning raised Maven up, and fire and lightning will bring him down.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Glass Sword

Retelling everything that I liked from this book would take me all day, but the one thing that I did not like, was the loss of one of my favorite characters… I won’t spoil, but that loss got some tears out of me. Sacrificial deaths always get the best of me like they really did not need to do that but they did it anyway…. ouf!

Final Review/Recommendation

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I think Glass Sword was even better that Red Queen, so much happened, yet it wasn’t to overwhelming. We get to see the real faces of some of the characters and we get to know new faces too! I think that this series is off to a really good start.

I’d recommend this book to someone who read and enjoyed Red Queen, obviously, and to someone who likes dystopian YA, because these books might just make it on my fav YA dystopian series!

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“If I am a sword, I am a sword made of glass, and I feel myself beginning to shatter.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Glass Sword

Red Queen – Review

Red Queen – Review

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Author: Victoria Aveyard

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publication date: February 10, 2015

Pages: 383

Price: $20.62 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis 

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver. The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change. That is until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power. Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime. But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

First Sentence 

“I hate First Friday.”

Review

I’m always quite hesitant when picking out a new series to read. I’m the kind of person who goes all in or not at all. So when I first heard of Red Queen I wanted to read it, but at the same time I wasn’t sure I’d want to read all the books that followed it because at the time, we had just gotten news of War Storm’s upcoming release.

I’m happy I chose to pick up this series because it was actually rather enjoyable. I immediately fell in love with Mare, Cal, Gisa, and Kilorn. They were such fun and unique characters! I got really easily attached lol.

“I’m an accident. I’m a lie. And my life depends on maintaining the illusion.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

I also enjoyed this futuristic setting thats taken a turn for the worse sorta vibe going on because we know that the story takes place in the future but there’s not really dates or times so it remains something to ponder on. The discrimination between reds and silvers was also something I could make ties to with this day and age (colour of blood/colour of skin yanno?) and the silver abilities made things so cool! I loved how they all had a different power depending on their house! Overall, I love all the ideas in this book!

There was a couple times where I was really confused with the book, though I’m pretty sure its because I read it in French and my French is terrible. Other than that I have no complaints with this story. It was flowy and interesting and really enjoyable!

“The truth is what I make it. I could set this world on fire and call it rain.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

But I must address the GIANT plot twist at the end of the book because OMG that BETRAYAL! I was so shocked and was totally not expecting anything like that! I was pissed but a the same time I could not WAIT to pick up the sequel.

Final Review/Recommendation 

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I really enjoyed Red Queen. I’m happy to have started this series and I am going to follow through with the rest of the books from the series! I’d recommend this novel to anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games or would like to pick up a new and fun dystopian series!

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“Anyone can betray anyone.”
― Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

 

Summer Bird Blue – Review

Summer Bird Blue – Review

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Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: September 11th, 2018

Pages: 375

Price: $25.99 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online 


Synopsis

Rumi Seto spends a lot of time worrying she doesn’t have the answers to everything. What to eat, where to go, whom to love. But there is one thing she is absolutely sure of—she wants to spend the rest of her life writing music with her younger sister, Lea.

Then Lea dies in a car accident, and her mother sends her away to live with her aunt in Hawaii while she deals with her own grief. Now thousands of miles from home, Rumi struggles to navigate the loss of her sister, being abandoned by her mother, and the absence of music in her life. With the help of the “boys next door”—a teenage surfer named Kai, who smiles too much and doesn’t take anything seriously, and an eighty-year-old named George Watanabe, who succumbed to his own grief years ago—Rumi attempts to find her way back to her music, to write the song she and Lea never had the chance to finish.

First Sentence 

“Summer.”

Review 

Yikes. I picked up this book at my local public library because I wanted some stupid summer themed books to read during my road trips and in my hammock, and Summer Bird Blue seemed like the perfect choice, but it was actually much different than I anticipated.

This book had absolutely zero plot. Nothing. Nada. I have no idea what the actual point of this story was other than the fact that Rumi is grieving her sisters death and is going to live with her aunt in Hawaii. Like other than that she’s just sitting around on the island for most of the days grieving her sister, which was really boring to read.

The idea of the book was good, not man YA books really hit you with a close loss like Summer Bird Blue, but the book is just repetitive and annoying. Like we GET that life without Lea is going to be terrible and is going to be hard but repeating it in different ways in every chapter? It gets rough after a while!

There was also the fact that there were so many characters with no actual importance to the story at all and were only people for Rumi to say her sob story to. Like the hairdresser at the salon or all of Kai’s friends, did not accomplish or contribute anything, yet we head so much from them. Another example would be the drama between Kai and his borderline abusive dad who wants him to join the military. Kai gets into big fights with him about it and Rumi talks to him about it and they make it all a big deal like “wow Kai is going to defy his dad! Thats so good! Be your own person!” but then he proceeds to willingly join the military at the end of the novel…. so what was the point of any of that dialogue?

The ending was pretty loosely closed too, we never hear of Kai’s friends again, we have no idea if Rumi has figured out her orientation yet, she has a big moment with Kai and then it takes her about three weeks before she can talk to him again, their goodbye was terrible, we don’t really know what happened to Mr. Watanabe or his family, Rumi just decides one day to forgive her mom after going off through the whole novel that she’s the most terrible person on the planet, and when her mom shows up she just goes back home like its all no biggie and she hasn’t been throwing fits whenever her aunt brought up her mother before! I thought it was just this super quick slope to the ending when it took her 300 pages to get used to Hawaii and its almost as if the author ran out of time or something and had to end the story then and there because it left alot of unfinished and confusing stuff in its wake…

Maybe its because I’ve never actually had to deal with grief before, but this story seemed overly immature and agonizingly long! I try to be polite and respect stories like this because grief is something that many people must deal with, but I just feel like it was wrongly portrayed in this book. Rumi also changes the way she feels all the time. One second she likes Kai, the next she doesn’t, one second she’s coming to terms with her sisters death and the next she digs herself this big hole and tells herself that she will never be able to live normally without her sister. Very confusing.

Final Review/Recommendation 

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Nope. The whole point of this book was for her to finish the song she began to write with her sister before she died, Summer Bird Blue, but the song she writes seemed like it had nothing to do with any of the words she chose. I heard lots of amazing things on this book, but for some reason it just isn’t for me! I really tried to love it but I thought it drifted and dwelled on so many things and I just was not having it with this one. Writing a novel so bold like this one though is something to be reckoned with! I’ve also never read a book with a seemingly asexual character so pros to that!

I’d recommend this book to someone who wants a dramatic and coming of age story about grief, identity, and change!

Dark Horses – Review

Dark Horses – Review

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Author: Cecily Von Ziegesar

Publisher: Soho Teen

Publication Date: September 13, 2016

Pages: 336

Price: $11.45 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online 


Synopsis

Merritt Wenner has been self-destructing ever since the tragic deaths of her grandmother and her horse. After an epic all-night bender, she walks out of the SAT and disappears. Her parents, looking for a quick fix, ship her off to a residential equine-assisted therapy program.

At Good Fences, Merritt meets Red: a failed racehorse and a terror in the barn. Red has never bonded with anyone, but Merritt is not afraid of him, which makes all the difference. Soon they’re sneaking rides after curfew. Red’s owner, recognizing their potential, funds their launch into the hunter/jumper circuit.

Against the cutthroat backdrop of competitive riding, Merritt finds herself unexpectedly attracted to Red’s groom, Beatrice, and at the same time drawn to Carvin, a rival rider. But in Red’s mind, Merritt belongs to him alone. Anyone else poses a threat. And Merritt can’t imagine the lengths Red will go to keep her to himself.

First Sentence 

“I’m dying.”

Review

Surprisingly enough, reading is not the only hobby I have. I like to bike, take pictures, cross-stitch, sleep, but most of all; ride horses. I have been an equestrian for eleven years and I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. I’ve tried pretty much everything and I’ve just currently settled on eventing.

It was a random day at Chapters and I was browsing the cheapo section when I ran across Dark Horses, as someone who has read The Saddle Club and Heartland series to their completion during my elementary school days. I was really interested in a YA equestrian themed novel because it is something you NEVER see. i don’t know if maybe I’m looking in the wrong places or the usual equestrian just does not like to read, but I can’t find any books that aren’t for ten year olds on horses. It was in the sale rack on sale for five bucks and they had so many copies of that book so I knew that the book was obviously going to be crappy, but I bought it anyway because, you know, horses.

Right on the first page, I was already in awe at the writing of this book. The novel starts in the POV of Red, a horse. You’d think this would be a cool twist to your average horse crazed girl book, but no! This horse was talking like the girls at my high school, using slang and expressions and had so much attitude! Whose horse is this? Red also know the names of all the tack, judges the main character, Merritt, by the way she looks, and sings along to songs on the radio…. he even knows the artists of the songs. I’m sorry, the horse I ride is scared of fence gate, there is no way that horses think like this at all! Has the author ever been around horses or are we just winging this POV?

Good Fences, the equestrian therapy facility is a cool touch to the story and that is actually the meeting point of Merritt and Red. Although Merritt goes to Good Fences because she’s having a rough time in her life, as soon as she is seen jumping on Red at Good Fences, she’s taken off to like Florida to train to compete… I’m sorry, how does this make sense? If Merritt is in a therapeutic facility, I think it’s for a reason, and I don’t think you can just snatch someone who is having mental health and behavioural issues out of their program just because show season is about to start!

There are also so many parts of this story that they try to make important that really just aren’t, yet Red literally kills a stable hand half way through the book and thats like “not that big of a deal.” There was also a bit of homophobia if you ask me, because Carvin, Merritt’s rival during the shows, seems to show no interest in girls and Merritt talk all the time about how she thinks he’s gay, and how she can’t ask him out because he’s gay. Like how about you stop making assumptions and ask him! Geez!

This novel was much more mature than the other middle grade horse books I’ve read when I was nine, but it was quite cringy nonetheless and not all that fun to read. Also, the ending was absolute trash. I hated that ending, there was no closure and it sorta made it seems like the whole story did not matter and that I just wasted my whole time reading this story.

Final Review/Recommendation 

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Was a pretty rough novel. I don’t need to be a horse whisperer to know that no horse acts and thinks the way Red does. Good Fences just seemed like a means to an end, rather than an actual facility for Merritt to get better, the ending was ridiculous and I’d honestly much prefer if Carvin was never introduced because his character does absolutely nothing except make Merritt question if he’s gay every time she sees him. I would give the book one star, but I’m adding another one just because the author tried, I never see any equestrian YA books so she did a leap with this one. Even though her leap, in my personal opinion, sucked, at least I got to revive my nine year old self by reading a horsie book.

I have no idea who I’d recommend this book to… at first I thought a fellow equestrian, but the amount of times I’ve cringed at the inaccuracy was physically painful. Read this if you want to I guess… but I’m telling you now, I was able to buy this hardcover book brand-new for five bucks at Chapters for a reason.

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People Kill People – Review

People Kill People – Review

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Author: Ellen Hopkins

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Publication date: September 4th 2018

Pages: 431

Price: $25.99 CAD (hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

Someone will shoot. And someone will die.
#1 New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins tackles gun violence and white supremacy in this compelling and complex novel.
People kill people. Guns just make it easier.
A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression?
One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who?

First Sentence

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.”

Review

I landed upon this book while watching some random youtube review video that I usually watch aimlessly because I know I won’t read any of the books, but I was actually intrigued with People Kill People because of the books realism. It’s not often I see a book that is so direct with such sensitive and controversial subjects like gun laws in America. Although I do not live in the US, I am still very well informed on the gun laws they withhold thanks to media and the many research projects we do at school. I’m also constantly hearing about school shootings and protests going on down there.

What should be illegal is hate. For you. For me. For anyone different.
-Ellen Hopkins, People Kill People

We don’t have any hunters in my family and I don’t know anyone who owns a firearm. I’ve seen a gun once or twice, hidden in the belt of the schools police officer, but I don’t even think he carries it around all the time… the only time iv’e seen actual firearms are at museums, other than that, I’m relying merely on TV shows. I don’t know what it’s like to be constantly under the pressure of such dangerous weaponry, so, I thought that by picking up this book, I could put myself in the perspective of someone who sees guns all the time and, hopefully, understand what is going on next door much easier than before.

This novel is a mix of short stories split up through the book, and poems. I liked the mix because I could get a break from the heavy parts, and then we could go back to them after I’d had a chance to really think about them. Although, the amount of different short stories got sorta confusing. There were so many characters and I forgot their names and who did what and also they are all related somehow, which made it so much more confusing. Even at the end of the book, I wasn’t really sure who was who.

“Despite every claim otherwise, he’s a coward. And a coward with a gun is treacherous.”
― Ellen Hopkins, People Kill People

Once again, the realism of the stories and poems made it all the more interesting. I liked how we got to see the different point of views of each character, some of them minorities, part of white supremacy groups, in the police force, or as just someone who knows someone with a firearm. I just wished that maybe the stories weren’t as mixed with each other and the poems because I got confused, but other than that, a really great read!

Final Review/Recommendation 

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I’d recommend this book to anyone like myself who is uninformed and unexperienced with firearms a chance to be on the right side of the fight. This novel emphasizes the importance of restrictions and laws when it comes to such dangerous weaponry that, at the hands of the wrong people, can turn extremely fatal. I’d also recommend this book to someone who is interested in activism because a lot of inspiration can be found within these pages that could help you make a difference.

Maybe the people who support the current laws for guns should also check this one out… just so that they can experience a bit of what others have had to go through thanks to the feeble laws, and to see that, not all people have good intentions with guns. Guns are after all, meant to hurt of kill.

See, the absolute truth is people do kill people. A gun just makes it easier.

-Ellen Hopkins, People Kill People

Wintergirls – Review

Wintergirls – Review

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Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Publication date: March 19, 2009

Pages: 278

Price: $22.50 CAD (Hardcover) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis

“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame. 
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit. – Goodreads

First Sentence 

“So she tells me, the words dribbling out with the cranberry muffin crumbs, commas dunked in her coffee.”

Review

I think my favorite type of books are books that actually mean something. Not just an a random love story or end-of-the-world dystopia, a book that reflects on life from a different angle than the one everyone else seems to perceive. A novel with words that can change the way you see and think. Wintergirls, is not like any novel I have read in a long time, Laurie Halse Anderson continues to astonish me with her inquisitive and remorseful writing.

“This girl shivers and crawls under the covers with all her clothes on and falls into an overdue library book, a faerie story with rats and marrow and burning curses. The sentences build a fence around her, a Times Roman 10-point barricade, to keep the thorny voices in her head from getting too close.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

I read this book in one day and it was so… calming? The way Anderson writes makes me feel so calm and I read this on a drizzly rainy day and everything around me was so quiet and the book was so calming…. that day was so great omg. Anyway! In case you haven’t all ready caught on, Lia is struggling with an eating disorder and her friend, Cassie, who’d also been struggling with an eating disorder killed herself so now Lia must struggle and grieve on her own.

This novel was brutally insightful and thought provoking for me. Although I am not presented with the same exact issues as Lia, I know what it’s like to be in doubt of yourself and how hard it can be to be content with oneself. I feel like many people also struggle with self image issues so Lia’s story can find common ground with many of its readers.

The writing is beautiful. Once again, Laurie Halse Anderson has a special way with words like no other YA author I have read. I love the metaphors and descriptions and the comparisons that are somehow so accurate. I’m no author, so I really have no way to describe it but her writing is just so heartfelt and serene. She knows how to write some good books!

“Another page turns on the calendar, April now, not March.
………
I am spinning the silk threads of my story, weaving the fabric of my world…I spun out of control. Eating was hard. Breathing was hard. Living was hardest.
I wanted to swallow the bitter seeds of forgetfulness…Somehow, I dragged myself out of the dark and asked for help.
I spin and weave and knit my words and visions until a life starts to take shape.
There is no magic cure, no making it all go away forever. There are only small steps upward; an easier day, an unexpected laugh, a mirror that doesn’t matter anymore.
I am thawing.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

All in all, Wintergirls is a work of excellence. The plot was smooth and was not boring or too eventful and I found myself getting really invested in the characters. I also got a little teary eyed at the end of this one so you know it had to be good if its worth some tears!

“I believe that you’ve created a metaphorical universe in which you can express your darkest fears. In one aspect, yes, I believe in ghosts, but we create them. We haunt ourselves, and sometimes we do such a good job, we lose track of reality.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

Final Review/Recommendation 

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I give Wintergirls five out of five stars. Not only does this novel show you how secretive and quietly some people struggle, but it also shows to those who are or have been going through a rough time, that there’s a light at the other end of the tunnel, and they will overcome the rough times. I’d recommend this novel to anyone who wants a brutal story to read, to someone who would not be triggered by Lia’s issues, or to someone who has read Speak or Shout since Shout will make much more sense after reading this one and Speak is confrontational about mental illness such as Wintergirls, which makes for them both to be riveting and outspoken yet distinguishingly important reads.

“We held hands when we walked down the gingerbread path into the forest, blood dripping from our fingers. We danced with witches and kissed monsters. We turned us into wintergirls, when she tried to leave, I pulled her back into the snow because I was afraid to be alone.”
― Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

Let me know what you thought of Laurie Halse Anderson’s works! I’d love to hear what you think!

-Emma 🙂

The Darkest Minds – Review

The Darkest Minds – Review

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Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Publication date: January 2, 2018

Pages: 488

Price: $11.99 (CAD) at Indigo Books & Music Online


Synopsis 

Book one in the hit series that’s soon to be a major motion picture – now with a stunning new paperback look and exclusive bonus content!

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

But when the truth about Ruby’s abilities-the truth she’s hidden from everyone, even the camp authorities-comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. On the run, she joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp: Zu, a young girl haunted by her past; Chubs, a standoffish brainiac; and Liam, their fearless leader, who is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

While they journey to find the one safe haven left for kids like them-East River-they must evade their determined pursuers, including an organization that will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. But as they get closer to grasping the things they’ve dreamed of, Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living. -Goodreads

First Sentence

“When the White Noise went off, we were in the Garden, pulling weeds.”

Review

Being one of the most notoriously known YA dystopian series, I knew I’d have to eventually pick up The Darkest Minds, except I had no idea it would be this soon and this fast. I can tell you right now that I am writing this review after binging the whole series, which means my thoughts are a little blurry on this first novel, but I will still write this review nonetheless.

I stumbled upon these books in one of Emma Giordano’s YouTube videos… I honestly forget what it was about, but then I realized they were making these books into movies, and I knew I’d have to read them if they were that widespread in the YA community. I ended up watching the movie first because it was there and I did not buy any of the books yet, and I was bored, so I watched it! It wasn’t that bad, it pushed me to hurry and read the books so I could find out what happens next though lol.

It took me two weeks to read the series, I took out The Darkest Minds as an ebook from my library and then waited four days for the ridiculously inexpensive box set to come in from the mail and read Never Fade, In the Afterlight, and Through the Dark as fast as my eyes would let me. I’d bring them to work with me to read during lunch break! I was utterly hooked for those two weeks!

The Darkest Minds was a good read because it was similar to all the OG dystopian YA series I read when I first started this craze, but it still had differences and twists that were totally uncalled for. I got Hunger Games and Divergent feels while reading this one! Something that was different than Divergent though, was the characters. Bracken delineates her characters in the utmost meticulous detail. I felt like I was there with those characters, that I was friends with them, whereas in Divergent, we could not really make any ties to the characters because they were so closed off and secretive. The Darkest Minds was riveting straight from the get-go, because on page one there is automatically some drama and suspense, the first line of the book made me ask questions! I like books that start straight to the action like that, it helps me get invested in the book faster than if it were just a plain old “once upon a time” or something of the sorts.

“They were never scared of the kids who might die, or the empty spaces they would leave behind. They were afraid of us-the ones who lived.”
― Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds

At first, it was debatable as to if I liked Ruby’s character that much, I think it was just because we were firstly introduced to her in the camp so she was a little damaged and fragile, but when she’s hanging out with the gang later in Black Betty, I liked her character much better.

There were also times here and there where I thought the book took an unexpected dramatic turn for no reason, which made me loose a bit of interest in the novel itself because I was like “umm okay. Not that big of a deal there buddy, I think we can calm down a touch,” but other than that the only real problem I had was the length of the whole story… the novel was a total of 500-ish pages, and IT DID NOT NEED TO BE SO LONG! There were scenes that seemed to go absolutely nowhere and had no relevance to the main story line, we were dwelling on such small unimportant things, and it took them literally 250 pages to find the Slip Kid, they were mostly just driving around for 3/4 of the book – and I know that the drives in Black Betty are supposed to show the development of Ruby’s relationship with Liam, Chubs, and Zu, because she makes reference to it so many times in the following books, – and that made me loose a lot of interest as well because, I mean, they were just driving… like we had this super awesome action packed first quarter of the novel and now nothing is happening until they find East River…. I don’t know, I just thought it was a little tiring to read. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I feel like another thing I should quickly address is the freaking deal this box set was. I bought the four book box set off Indigo’s website for 29 dollars and yea they are just paperbacks but the quality of these paperbacks are outstanding. The spines don’t bend and the corners don’t fold and the book is super ploppy and I can’t remember the last time I had such nice paperbacks like this! You can also buy them individually for like ten bucks! Meanwhile, Casandra Clare is selling me 32$ hardcovers that you buy with an already cracked spine because it’s Cassandra Clare and it’s supposed to be worth it. I’m happy with my purchase of this box set even though it was in use for about a week… the books still look new even after I read them and the box set spells out “DARK” which is really spooky and neat!

“I’m a monster, you know. I’m one of the dangerous ones.
No you aren’t, he promised. Your one of us.”
― Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds

Final Review/Recommendation

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I give The Darkest Minds four out of five stars because I thought it lacked a bit plot-wise, there wasn’t much happening in the middle of the book that was really important, it was more like just a bunch of small events that were not really bringing us anywhere. Other than that, I thought this novel was really enjoyable and I loved the characters and the general idea of the book. It reminded me a lot of Red Queen, The Hunger Games, and The Divergent Series, so if you liked any of those series, this might be the next one for you!  The series is also really inexpensive so its perfect for a reader on a budget!

“The Darkest Minds tend to hide behind the most unlikely faces.”
― Alexandra Bracken, The Darkest Minds

Let me know what you thought of The Darkest Minds or my review!

Have an awesome day!

-Emma 🙂

 

A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld – Review

A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld – Review

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Author: Cassandra Clare

Illustrator: Cassandra Jean

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Publication date: November 1, 2016

Pages: 208

Price $20.00 USD (Hardcover) at Topatoco


Synopsis 

A very special anthology that’s a must for all fans of the Shadowhunter novels!

Featuring characters from Cassandra Clare’s international best-selling novels from the Shadowhunters world including The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices and The Dark Artifices, this anthology showcases beautifully illustrated portraits from Cassandra Jean – creator of The Shadowhunter Tarot – alongside never-before-known details from Cassandra Clare about all your favourite characters.

Review

Ah, Shadowhunters. The only YA out there that really matters…. Just kidding! But If you have been here before you must know that I am quite the fan of Cassandra Clare!

For once, this Cassandra Clare review will be very short! There isn’t much to say about this book because it actually is not a story at all but rather a sort of picture book with descriptions and secret facts about all of the characters in the Shadowhunter World. I never actually considered to buy this book, but that was before I saw all of the beautiful character artwork Cassandra Jean made for the book. Now I’m not really an arty girl but boy o boy do I love flowers and this book is full of them! A flower for each character! All the flowers had different meanings too and the flowers in some way reflected the characters personality! How neat!

While I was looking at pre-ordering Queen of Air and Darkness back in November, I had some money on amazon that I hadn’t spent and after adding QoAaD to my cart I still had ten bucks left. I couldn’t think of any other books I wanted that were just ten bucks but then I say this book being sold second hand for nine dollars. It was quite the steal, if I do say so myself, and I feel like quite the bargain hunter, even months later.

I use A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld as a prop behind some of my Shadowhunter-related reviews and its real handy for when I pick up another SH novel and I forget some characters, in a way, its sort of like a character dictionary!

Here are some photos of mine that have included A History of Notable Shadowhunters & Denizens of Downworld!

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Final Review/Recommendation 

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Super cute and super handy!  Not only does it give me info on all of my favorite characters but it also includes snazzy artwork and is a perfect prop. Like any other Cassandra Clare book, 5 out of 5 stars. A perfect gift for a SH fan or collector! I obviously recommend this book to someone who has read and enjoyed some or all of the Shadowhunter novels because it wouldn’t really make any sense to someone who hasn’t read the book lol.

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Have a good day!

-Emma 🙂