Friday, April 29, 2011

Among The Betrayed by Margaret Peterson Haddix


Pages: 176
Publisher: Aladdin
Age Group: Middle Grade
Challenge: N/A
Release Date: June 28, 2002

Nina Idi is a shadow child, the illegal third born in her family. She lives in a society where families are only allowed two children. Nina has been betrayed by the boy she loved. She is falsely accused, arrested and thrown into prison by the Population Police. Nina knows she is innocent of the charges. She is enraged and confused.

Nina is now faced with a most difficult decision. She will have to coerce three of her fellow prisoners into admitting they are third children, and she will save herself; or be killed. Ultimately, what choice will Nina make? Who should Nina friendship, trust and love?

Stars: 4/5
Cover: B+

Plot:
As always, Haddix writes a thought-provoking, exciting novel that hooks you in on the very first page, and keeps your attention until the very last. I loved that she switched protagonists --- Haddix always keeps readers on their toes.

I read this book in one sitting and completely devoured it. There wasn't as much action in this book as there was in the first two, and it was more about Nina's internal conflict to either turn the three children in, and betray them.

I love how there's always lots of twists to the story line in Haddix's books, and this one was no exception. There are tons of moments where you're thinking to yourself, "I did NOT expect that to happen."

Characters:
As I said before, I love the fact that Haddix switched up the protagonists. It gives us an insight to the brain of a different "Shadow Child", which also helps us as readers really empathize with the third children.

Nina was a smart, resourseful teenager that was fun to read about. I was talking about this book with someone, and they brought up a point where it was a little weird that a big part of the story was Nina being betrayed by Jason, her boyfriend, when this book is geared towards a younger audience. It's not that big of a deal, but it did bring up a good point.

Writing:
I've always been a big fan of the way Margaret Peterson Haddix writes --- ever since fifth grade, when my teacher read Running Out Of Time to our class. I love the fact that all of her books have such unique premises, and that there hasn't been a book of hers that I've read and didn't enjoy.

She really knows how to create a fantastic fictional world that is realistic, scary, and probable.

Ending:
I've read the Shadow Children series a couple of times now, and then ending of Among The Betrayed still shocks me. I love the way the book ends, and I think it's set up perfectly for readers to dive right into the fourth book in the series.

Cover:
I do like the cover (I like all of the covers in this series). It's creepy and makes you want to know what the book is about. I like the fact that it shows the four main characters on the cover, and also how they are placed is how they are in the book --- the three young children together, and Nina not really a part of their group.

The Final Verdict:
As always, this series definitely doesn't disappoint.  You can read the Shadow Children series out of order (that's what I did back in fifth grade) and it will still make sense. So, if you didn't like the first two books, don't give up on this series yet. Try reading it from Nina's point of view.

FTC: Bought.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (18)

Shut Out by Kody Keplinger

Most school sports teams have rivalries with other schools. At Hamilton High, it’s a civil war: the football team versus the soccer team. And for her part, Lissa is sick of it. Her quarterback boyfriend, Randy, is always ditching her to go pick a fight with the soccer team or to prank their locker room. And on three separate occasions Randy’s car has been egged while he and Lissa were inside, making out. She is done competing with a bunch of sweaty boys for her own boyfriend’s attention.

Lissa decides to end the rivalry once and for all: She and the other players’ girlfriends go on a hookup strike. The boys won’t get any action from them until the football and soccer teams make peace. What they don’t count on is a new sort of rivalry: an impossible girls-against-boys showdown that hinges on who will cave to their libidos first. And Lissa never sees her own sexual tension with the leader of the boys, Cash Sterling, coming.

Release Date: September 5, 2011

I haven't read Kody's debut novel, The DUFF, but it is in my TBR pile, and I'm sure my friends Zoe will be forcing meto read it soon. ;)

I love, love, love the premise to this novel. It sounds really unique, fun, and enticing. Not to mention, how AWESOME is that cover?!?

I can't wait to read Shut Out.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins


Pages: 372
Publisher: Dutton
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: 350 Page Challenge
Release Date: December 2, 2o10

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

Stars: 5/5
Cover: A

Plot:
OH. MY. ANNA. 
This book just made its way into my list of favorites. It's one of those books that you love so much you just can't put it into words. After the first fifty pages, I read this book in one entire sitting.

Anna and the French Kiss had fantastic pacing, and always left me needing to read on at the end of chapters. 

Characters:
Can I just say that I absolutely fell in loooooove with the characters in this book? They were so realistic and lovable, and their emotions so relatable and vivid, that I couldn't help but want to dive into this book and be best friends with all of them.

(Also, Anna has a blonde streak in her bangs, just like I do. HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!?!)

Writing:
I don't really know what it was about this book that made me completely fall in love with it, but I'm sure a huge part of it was the way Stephanie Perkins writes. I've never been one of those girls that swoons over Paris, and wants to go there before she dies and meet some French boy, but HOLY MOLY. Perkins' beautiful descriptions of France made me want to do just that.

I love books where you picture yourself as the main character, and I was able to put myself in Anna's shoes. While reading, I got the butterflies, I almost cried, I laughed, and I found myself falling in love with the book.

Ending:
Wow. The ending left my breathless, and I really wish the book hadn't ended, because I would have loved to continue on with Anna and Etienne's story.

Cover:
I'll admit --- before I read the book, I didn't like the cover. I thought it was too girly, and it didn't make me want to read the book. I'm glad I did read the book though, because I started to fall in love with the cover. I think it portrays the book as a "fluff" read, with isn't exactly correct since there is a lot of depth to the story.

Lovely Line:
I mean, really. Who sends their kid to boarding school? It's so Hogwarts. Only mine doesn't have cute boy wizards or magic candy or flying lessons.

The Final Verdict:
Why are you still reading this?! GO. READ THIS BOOK. NOW.

FTC: Bought.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In My Mailbox (17)

Hey guys! I didn't get any young adult books this week --- only four adult murder mysteries/thrillers. I'll probably show them to you in my next week's IMM, but I just wanted to post this to let you guys know I haven't forgotten about you. :)

See you tomorrow! :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (17)

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

For budding costume designer Lola Nolan, the more outrageous, the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins move back into the house next door. 

When the family returns and Cricket—a gifted inventor and engineer—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.


Release Date: September 29, 2011


I just recently finished Anna and the French Kiss, Stephanie Perkins' debut novel, and I adored it. Basically, if that was her debut, I can't wait to see what she dishes out with Lola and the Boy Next Door


Upon reading the synopsis, they seem like fluff reads, but really, they have a lot more depth --- which I love.


September 29th should be a great day. :)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano


Pages: 358
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: Debut Author Challenge; 350 Page Challenge
Release Date: March 22, 2o11

What if you knew exactly when you would die? 

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

Plot:
I must admit, I really wanted to like this book. Sadly, though, it just wasn't all there for me. It took me a really long time to get into the book, and actually want to read it, that when I did start to be entranced by the story (near the end of the book) I couldn't fully enjoy it.

The plot was drawn out for most of the book, and there wasn't any mystery or anything really propelling me to read on.

That's not to say that I didn't absolutely love the premise of the story. I mean, come on, the human race dying off at ages 20 and 25? That's pretty cool. Unfortunately, I felt like Wither didn't live up to how cool I thought it would be.

Characters:
There was nothing entirely memorable about the characters. They didn't stand out to me, and I didn't really feel a connection to them at all, making it very difficult to emphasize with them.

Writing:
I wish, I wish, I WISH I had liked this book more. I think the writing could have made a big difference in this book, especially since it was in first person, and have made me feel more connected to the characters. It didn't, though, and I think that's where it was really lacking.

I will admit the way Lauren DeStefano presented the imagery was beautiful, and it painted a picture in my mind, which I love.

Ending:
The ending was very satisfying, and made me want to find out what happened next with Rhine, and even though I don't think I'll be reading on in the Chemical Garden trilogy, the author was successful in creating a nice cliff hanger.

Cover:
The entire set-up of this book is breath-taking. The model on the front of the book is gorgeous, and I love the colors used. The birdcage is a good metaphor for Rhine when she is taken, and I like the circles and lines connecting everything.

If you haven't seen the back cover to this book, look it up ASAP. The colors of it are some of the most beautiful shades of blues I have ever seen.

Lovely Line:
I smile. For a moment I think this is the way my father felt about my mother, and I could almost swear this marriage was real. A stranger passing by would think we had been together for years, that we planned to live the rest of our lives together. I always knew I was an excellent liar; I just didn't know I had it in me to fool myself.

The Final Verdict:
I didn't really like Wither, but many, many people I know do, so I'm not going to suggest for you to not read it. This is one of the books that you need to pick up yourself, and establish your own opinion on!

FTC: Borrowed from Zoe.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Invincible Summer Book Trailer!


This book is absolutely AMAZING, and the trailer makes me want to pick it up and read it again!

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz


Pages: 269
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: N/A
Release Date: April 19, 2011


Across four drama-drenched summers at his family's beach house, Chase tries to come to grips with his family's slow dissolution while also finding himself in a chaotic love triangle, pitted against his own brother in pursuit of the girl next door.
Invincible Summer is a gritty, sexy, page-turning read from a talented teen author that readers won't want to miss.


Stars: 5/5
Cover: A-


Plot:
I didn't really know what this book was about before reading it. All I knew was that Zoe loooooooves this book, and looooooves Hannah Moskowitz. So needless to say, I had very high expectations of Invincible Summer. Hannah Moskowitz met those expectations a thousand times over. 


I was expecting a light fluff read because of the cover, but this book proved to be anything but. It was gripping, dark in some ways, and extremely entertaining. I read it in nearly one sitting.


Invincible Summer held my attention the entire way through, and I loved how it was told by being divided up into four summers.


Characters:
There was a lot of character development throughout the book. I feel like all of the characters changed, but not necessarily all of them for the better.


Hannah Moskowitz made all of her characters relatable and realistic. I felt myself sympathizing with some part of all of them. 


I liked that Chase had a younger brother, Gideon, that was deaf. It was a nice, unique touch to the story, and I've never read a story with someone who was deaf in it.


Writing:
Hannah Moskowitz's writing has so much depth to it, and she writes a really intense,  gripping story that's hard to stop thinking about. She has a real talent for making people shed a tear with some parts of her story, and bent over, laughing, in other parts.


Ending:
The ending was heart-breaking and tear-wrenching. I never cry from reading a story, but Invincible Summer made me shed a tear or two. 


Cover:
As I'd mentioned above, I think the cover is a little misleading, because upon looking at it, you don't really think the story is going to have a ton of characters with a bunch of problems in it. I do think, though, that by having a cover like that, it makes the story have a bigger impact on you, because you're not expecting it.


Needless to say, the cover is beautiful, and it really draws you into the book.


Lovely Line:
"Primary language spoken at home." Noah makes a face. "What does this mean? Our primary language? Gideon's? That's sort of why we're here . . ."


"Um, it's under family, so I'm guessing ours?"


"Well . . . " Noah lowers his pen. The paperwork has defeated him. "What's our primary language?"


"English? ASL? Physical affection?"


"Food?" Noah says.


"Food's a good guess."


He picks up the pen. "I'm writing food, comma passive aggressive."


"Good call."
(Pages 106-107)


The Final Verdict:
Please, do yourself a huuuuge favor and go buy yourself a copy of this book now. I've had it sitting on my TBR shelf for a couple of months now, and I can't believe it took me so long to start it! I really hope that you don't do the same thing I did, and that you jump right into it.


FTC: Borrowed from Zoe.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Update!

Hey, guys!

I know I haven't posted ANYTHING all week, and trust me, I feel really bad about it.

I've been bombarded with school work and softball, and haven't really had much time to write reviews, let alone read.

This weekend, I'll be spending some time writing my reviews, and getting ahead on reading.

On Monday, I'll be back with a review of Wither by Lauren DeStefano, so look forward to that!

Thanks for sticking with me, and I'll see you guys on the 18th! :)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Cut by Patricia McCormick

Pages: 160
Publisher: Push
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenge: N/A
Release Date: February 1, 2oo2

Fifteen-year old Callie is so withdrawn that she's not speaking to anyone including her therapist at the residential treatment facility where her parents and doctor send her after discovering that she cuts herself. Her story unfolds primarily through dramatic monologues, gradually revealing the family turmoil that led to her self-destructive behavior. Her little brother, Sam, is ill he nearly died in her care. Since Sam's illness, Callie's mother has become so worried and fragile that she rarely leaves the house. Her father has responded to the psychological and financial stress of Sam's illness by disappearing into his work, and when that doesn't work, into his drinking. 

Callie's efforts to understand herself and her family illuminate her process of recovery honestly and with hope. Cut provides an insightful look at the psychology of cutting a form of self-abuse an estimated 2 million teenage girls inflict on themselves.

Stars: 3/5
Cover: B

Plot:
I wasn't completely hooked on this book, and it took me a while to get into it. It was a really short read, and the premise was good, but I felt the storyline fell a little flat.

Nothing super exciting happened until the very end of the book, and I felt some scenes dragged on too long to be appreciated.

I will admit that even though I didn't necessarily like the book, it did have the potential to really impact someone that gets into the novel.

Characters:
I didn't feel connected the characters, and I found them kind of irritating. Also, a lot of characters were introduced all at once, and I got confused as to who was who.

Writing:
I thought the writing was kind of bland, though it was unique in the way that it was sometimes told in second person when referring to the therapist.

Ending:
The ending was my favorite part of Cut. That was the time when Callie had really captured my attention, and I started to like her as a protagonist. The ending tied up the book nicely.

Cover:
I like the simplicity of the cover, and how it really represents what the book is about.

Lovely Line:
Twice a day we have Group. Group therapy, according to the brochure they give you at the admissions office, is the "keystone of the treatment philosophy here at Sick Minds. The real name of the place is Sea pines, even though there is no sea and there are no pines. My roommate, Sydney, who has a nickname for everything, calls it Sick Minds. Her nickname for me is S.T., for Silent Treatment.
(Page 4)

The Final Verdict:
I wouldn't recommend Cut to everyone, but if you want a really quick read, then this may just be the book for you.

FTC: Library.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Hunger by Michael Grant

Pages: 590
Publisher: Harper Teen
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenge: 350 Page Challenge
Release Date: May 26, 2009


IT'S BEEN THERE MONTHS SINCE EVERYONE UNDER THE AGE OF FIFTEEN BECAME TRAPPED IN THE BUBBLE KNOWN AS THE FAYZ. 


THREE MONTHS SINCE ALL THE ADULTS DISAPPEARED. 

GONE. 

Food ran out weeks ago. Everyone is starving, but no one wants to figure out a solution. And each day, more and more kids are evolving, developing supernatural abilities that set them apart from the kids without powers. 

Tension rises and chaos is descending upon the town. It's the normal kids against the mutants. Each kid is out for himself, and even the good ones turn murderous. 


But a larger problem looms. The Darkness, a sinister creature that has lived buried deep in the hills, begins calling to some of the teens in the FAYZ. Calling to them, guiding them, manipulating them. 

The Darkness has awakened. And it is hungry.

Stars: 4.5/5
Cover: A-

Plot:
Hunger was a huge book, but when it ended, I wished it would continue on longer. It was really fast-paced, and I couldn't help by being entranced by this book. I am abolutely in love with the Gone series, and this book is the prime example of why.

There were a lot of elements to this book --- there were many different characters, so in turn there was also many different story lines all weaving together. The longer the kids are in the FAYZ, the darker the books get, which I love. There are lots of kids making enemies, and the "Darkness" --- the creature that lives in the mine --- is getting more powerful, and getting into lots of peoples' minds.

Hunger is one of those books that, once it gets its claws in you --- you'll never escape it.

Characters:
There were a lot of characters in this book, and usually with books I'd get them mixed up and confused. But, that wasn't the case with Hunger --- Michael Grant was able to make the characters unique enough, and introduce them to me not so close together, that I knew exactly who each one was.

I loved how the different problems of all the characters weaved together, and they were all connected in some way.

Writing:
Michael Grant is one of my all-time favorite authors, and I practically WORSHIP him for writing this series. Yes, these books are that good. I stay up late reading this book, thinking, "okay, just one more chapter." But then, there's a cliffhanger, and of course I have to read on to find out what happens next!

Grant is a master at transporting us to Perdido Beach, and into the minds of his characters. This series is also very thought-provoking because while reading it, and oftentimes after, I wonder what I would do if I were in the positions of the characters.

I love books like that.

Ending:
The ending is AMAZING. I don't know how I did it when I read it when it came out, and then had to wait a year for the third book to come out. I like it because it gives you some hope that things might just be looking up for the kids in the FAYZ. But, in true Grant fashion, the ending of the book also leaves you with a little inkling of doubt that things are about to go from bad to worse.

Cover:
I love the covers to all of the books in this series, and how they all correspond with each other.

Lovely Line:
The morphine did not eliminate the pain. It merely threw a veil over it. It was still there, a terrible, ravening lion, roaring, awesome, overpowering. But barely held at bay.


Barely.


 . . . .


He had a while. How long, he couldn't guess. A short while, maybe, to stop Caine.


And kill Drake. Because now, for the first time in his life, Sam wanted to take a life.
(Page 537)

The Final Verdict:
Seriously, what are you waiting for? If you've read the first book in this series, and have Hunger sitting on your TBR pile, put down the book you're reading (unless it's The Devouring by Simon Holt --- that book is amazing, too) and READ. HUNGER. NOW.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

"Waiting On" Wednesday (16)

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

Release Date: April 26, 2011

When a virus makes everyone over the age of eighteen infertile, would-be parents are forced to pay teen girls to conceive and give birth to their children, making teens the most prized members of society.
Sixteen-year-old identical twins Melody and Harmony were separated at birth and had never met until the day Harmony shows up on Melody’s doorstep. Until now, the twins have followed completely opposite paths. Melody has scored an enviable conception contract with a couple called the Jaydens. While they are searching for the perfect partner for Melody to bump with, she is fighting her attraction to her best friend Zen, who is way too short for the job.
Harmony has spent her whole life in religious Goodside, preparing to be a wife and mother. She believes her calling is to bring Melody back to Goodside and convince her that “pregging” for profit is a sin. But Harmony has secrets of her own that she is running from.
When Melody is finally matched with the world-famous, genetically flawless Jondoe, both girls’ lives are changed forever. A case of mistaken identity takes them on a journey neither could have ever imagined, one that makes Melody and Harmony realize they have so much more than just DNA in common.

Does that not sound absolutely amazing? I can't wait to read this. :)

Monday, April 4, 2011

TBR: April

100 FOLLOWER GIVEAWAY WINNERS!!!!!!!

Okay, first of all, thank you guys SO much for entering in my giveaway. I had a great time hosting it, and I definitely plan on doing another giveaway in the near future.

Anyways . . . for the part you actually CARE about . . .

THE WINNERS ARE:


first place:
Farrah P.!!!!!!


second place:
Diana M.!!!!!!


Congrats to the winners, and thank you to everyone who entered! I will be emailing the winners shortly, and if there is no reply before next Monday, April 11, I will choose a new winner!

-Laura

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Gone by Michael Grant

Pages: 558
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age Group: Young Adult
Challenges: 350 Page Challenge
Release Date: July 1, 2008

In the blink of an eye. Everyone disappears. GONE.

Except for the young. Teens. Middle schoolers. Toddlers. But not one single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. Just as suddenly, there are no phones, no internet, no television. No way to get help. And no way to figure out what's happened.

Hunger threatens. Bullies rule. A sinister creature lurks. Animals are mutating. And the teens themselves are changing, developing new talents—unimaginable, dangerous, deadly powers—that grow stronger by the day.

It's a terrifying new world. Sides are being chosen, a fight is shaping up. Townies against rich kids. Bullies against the weak. Powerful against powerless. And time is running out: On your birthday, you disappear just like everyone else . . .

Stars: 5/5
Cover: A

Plot:
From the first sentence in this book, Michael Grant pulls you into this book, and completely captures your attention.

Even though this book is well over 500 pages long, there was so much action, and intense moments in the plot, that the story just flew by, and it turned out being an extremely fast read.

This is the third time I've read this book, and I've loved it even more each time. I just can't even express in words how much I love this series. It's one of my all-time favorites (yes, it's almost up there with Harry Potter).

Characters:
There were many different characters in this book, and I loved the variety of physical appearances and personalities that Grant gave them. When I have a lot of different characters thrown at me in a book, I tend to get them confused with one another. But in Gone, Michael Grant managed to not confuse me at all, and I really knew who each individual character was.

Sam was a really great hero/main character. I liked that he wasn't all gung-ho about being the leader, and I was shown the dark side, and of everyone looking to you to solve every one of their problems.

Writing:
Gone was such a unique, intense, and wonderful read. There are a lot of descriptions (but not so much that they take you out of the book), so you really get a feel for the strange world you're reading about. Grant really made this book incredibly realistic, and it felt like the things that were happening in the book were completely possible, and in fact, quite probable.

Ending:
The ending to Gone was one of those that leaves you with a little bit of hope that maybe things will start looking up, but also a little bit of doubt.

Cover:
I LOVE the covers to this entire series, mostly because I adore covers where the models actually look like the characters described. In this case, there are FOUR characters from the book in it.

Lovely Line:
"One minute the teacher was there, talking about the Civil War. And the next minute he was gone.


There.


Gone.


No 'poof.' No flash of light. No explosion."
(Page 1)

The Final Verdict:
I recommend this series to anyone and everyone who wants a read that completely takes them out of reality, and into a fantasy world that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.

FTC: Bought.

Friday, April 1, 2011