Thursday, March 20, 2014

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Title: Looking for Alaska

Author: John Green

Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group

Date Published: March 28, 2005

Genre: YA fiction, romance, realistic fiction

Pages: 272 (hardback--Barnes and Noble Special edition)

Age Range: 17+ (for mature content and language)


First drink
First prank
First friend
First girl
Last words

Miles "Pudge" Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the "Great Perhaps."
Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to-face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.


The book is good in the beginning, though it is rather slow moving because of John Green's descriptive writing style. I loved John Green's, The Fault In Our Stars so I thought this book would be just as fantastic. The characters are interesting, but immature while trying to act mature. The writing is good, slow, as I said before, because of the style of writing.

This is a mature novel. I haven't read such an inappropriate book before. It actually shocked me. I want to know how this is even categorized as a young adult novel. I understand how on a lot of points, but usually books with this kind of content is categorized as "new adult."

Smoking, drinking, and getting back at other students (pranking) seems to be the main focus for these teens. Though each teen has something they're going through, some sort of emotional suffering. I found all the characters interesting enough to keep turning the pages and find out the book's ending. John Green added his own personal experiences to this novel--if you get the Barnes and Noble edition of this book you can read his interview--which I liked. I always enjoy it when an author puts some of their own experiences and thoughts into their books.

There are sex references, drug references, the possibility of suicide (you are unsure if one of the characters committed suicide or if the death was an accident), and mature content that I wish not to go into.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Gone by Michael Grant

Title: Gone

Series: Gone series #1

Author: Michael Grant

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Date Published: June 24, 2008

Pages: 576 (hardback)

Genre: YA fiction, sci-fi, paranormal

Age Range: 16+ (for language, mature content, and over-all issues)


In the blink of an eye everyone disappears. Gone. Except for the young. Middle schoolers. Teens. Toddlers. But not a single adult. No teachers, no cops, no doctors, no parents. And just as suddenly, there are no phones, no Internet, no television. No way to get figure out what's happened. And no way to get help. Cut off from the rest of the world.

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. Townes against rich kids, bullies against the weak. Powerful against the powerless. And the time is running out: on your birthday, you will disappear- just like everyone else.


The plot itself was so interesting that I had to read this book. Sure, I've read other "no adults around"  books, but this one was calling to me. I am torn. I really am. I read this book three times. Not because I love it, but because I'm so confused.

First, I cannot stand the jumpy narration. It switches randomly from between around eight different kids. One minute I'm reading from Lana's point of view. Suddenly - and randomly- I'm reading from Drake's point of view. I got lost more than once because of this.

Next, I have a few major problems with the book. They range from calling an autistic kid "unloving"  and "retarded", to a twelve-year-old being "owned by someone" because of blackmail, to a pill-popping, mentally unstable girl running a day care (I know the situations called for her to step up. But no! Just no.)

The plot itself was interesting. Two thumbs way up for creativity. But there is such a thing as too much creativity... The characters range from babies, to sadistic killers. Everyone under fifteen. The characters were okay until we meet a sadistic killer who will kill babies. Again, no. Just no.

The book has Olson good points to highlight. Power corrupts. Teen parenting is a big no-no. History repeats itself. But the lessons get lost in the over-all lesson (which I can't find. I'm still lost.).
This is book one in the Gone series and I will not be reading the others. They really bother me and I like being normal after I read books thank you very much.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Touching The Surface by Kimberly Sabatini

Title: Touching The Surface

Author: Kimberly Sabatini

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Date Published: October 1, 2013

Pages: 352 (paperback)

Genre: YA fiction, fantasy, paranormal

Age Range: 12+


When Elliot finds herself dead for the third time, she knows she must have messed up, big-time. She doesn’t remember how she landed in the afterlife again, but she knows this is her last chance to get things right.

Elliot just wants to move on, but first she will be forced to face her past and delve into the painful memories she’d rather keep buried. Memories of people she’s hurt, people she’s betrayed…and people she’s killed.

As she pieces together the secrets and mistakes of her past, Elliot must find a way to earn the forgiveness of the person she’s hurt most, and reveal the truth about herself to the two boys she loves…even if it means losing them both forever.


The book is rather slow in the beginning because you don't completely understand what's happening, you only understand the words on the page. But the story does pick up once Trevor comes into the picture. And when you find out Elliot's dark secret.

The book jumps back and forth between the past and the present, keeping you relatively interested in every chapter. The writing is good, simple, and fast. Though sadly the only exciting parts are when Elliot Delves into her past.

The characters are interesting, especially Trevor--who you can't seem to get enough of as you read through this book. The interactions between Elliot and Oliver are strange. You don't understand their connection, their strange bond, not even when you find out how their past lives are intertwined. And a few other characters are weird and are not really relatable.

The ending was good, keeping you content and willing for the book to end without so many questions. Though you do wish that the Delves don't end, you want to read more about Trevor and Elliot's connection/relationship.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched

Series: Matched Trilogy #1

Author: Ally Condie

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Date Published:November 30, 2010

Pages: 384 (hardback)

Genre: YA fiction, dystopian, romance

Age Range: 13+


In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices. It's hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend's face appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one...  Until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path no one has ever dared to follow- between perfection and passion. But in a perfect world, can there be a perfect way out?


The book did not disappoint me. It was very good. The plot was very good--not perfect--but very well done, the three main characters were very likable and easy to relate to, and the writing was beautifully done.

The plot was very interesting, partly because of the placing of the story. Ally Condie came up with a new world, a new future, for Matched and it is such an interesting world that it is super easy to lose yourself in it. The plot, while interesting, was slightly weak and cliché. Here's to hoping she'll fix that in Reached.

The main characters weren't as developed as I'd like. I felt that we knew the protagonist, Cassia, very well, but I lost Ky and Xander. That being said, what I do know of their personalities, I like. I love Xander, he's one of those people you can't help but love. Ky is a mystery and I look forward to learning more about him. And Cassia... She's strong and independent.

The writing was beautiful. It flowed smoothly and it was simple. I usually don't like simplistic writing styles, in Matched, however, it worked wonderfully. Cassia's thoughts and feelings are in such turmoil that it helps to have a simple writing pattern to clear things up.

All in all, Matched was very good. Fingers crossed that Reached can keep it up.

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Title: The Summer I Turned Pretty

Series: The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy #1

Author: Jenny Han

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers

Date Published: April 6, 2010

Genre: YA fiction, romance, contemporary

Pages: 304 (paperback)

Age Range: 13+


Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer — they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.


The Summer I Turned Pretty is one of those books that will keep your heart pounding and quickly turning the pages. Yes, this is another one of those summer books that are always meant to be read by the pool-side while you bask in the sun. But this book will definitely keep you turning the pages. You might get so engrossed in the book that you might be red from sunburn once you finally snap out of the book.

Jenny Han’s writing is easy and quick, helping you get through the book much faster, or to the part that you’ve been impatiently waiting for. The story that she’s created for these characters is great. I love how she didn’t just focus on the three main characters, but the whole family. The personalities for each character are great as well.

And, of course, what’s a summer read without cute boys? Jenny Han added two to this book (Conrad and Jeremiah), creating an interesting love triangle between the two brothers and their friend (and main character), Belly. Though this book isn’t completely wrapped around in the romance between these three characters. It is also wrapped around a secret that the two brothers are keeping from her. A secret that will change everything in their two families.

This book is on my Top 5. I have recommended it to multiple people and now I’m telling you, “Go. Get. A. Copy!”

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ascend by Amanda Hocking

Title: Ascend

Series: Trylle Trilogy #3

Author: Amanda Hocking

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Date Published: April 24, 2012

Pages: 336 (paperback)

Genre: YA fiction, fantasy, romance

Age Range: 13+


Wendy Everly is facing an impossible choice. The only way to save the Trylle from their deadliest enemy is by sacrificing herself.  If she doesn’t surrender to the Vittra, her people will be thrust into a brutal war against an unbeatable foe.  But how can Wendy leave all her friends behind…even if it’s the only way to save them?

The stakes have never been higher, because her kingdom isn’t the only thing she stands to lose. After falling for both Finn and Loki, she’s about to make the ultimate choice…who to love forever. One guy has finally proven to be the love of her life—and now all their lives might be coming to an end. 
Everything has been leading to this moment.  The future of her entire world rests in her hands—if she’s ready to fight for it.


This series just keeps getting better and better. The plot gets more intense, keeping you on-edge and itching to read more. The characters are great! You really get to know Loki and Tove better in this book--there are even a few tense scenes between the characters. And also a few between Loki and Finn.

This is the best book in the whole series! I don't want to give too much away and spoil the book for you, so I'll just keep it simple. The writing is great. The plot is amazing. The characters, amazing as well; witty and funny and serious. There is one scene between Loki and Wendy that is sexual. 

Torn by Amanda Hocking

Title: Torn

Series: Trylle Trilogy #2

Author: Amanda Hocking

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Date Published: February 28, 2012

Pages: 336 (paperback)

Genre: YA fiction, fantasy, romance

Age Range: 12+


When Wendy Everly first discovers the truth about herself—that she’s a changeling switched at birth—she knows her life will never be the same. Now she’s about to learn that there’s more to the story…

She shares a closer connection to her Vittra rivals than she ever imagined—and they’ll stop at nothing to lure her to their side. With the threat of war looming, her only hope of saving the Trylle is to master her magical powers—and marry an equally powerful royal. But that means walking away from Finn, her handsome bodyguard who’s strictly off limits…and Loki, a Vittra prince with whom she shares a growing attraction.

Torn between her heart and her people, between love and duty, Wendy must decide her fate. If she makes the wrong choice, she could lose everything, and everybody, she’s ever wanted…in both worlds.


This series gets even better as it goes on, grabbing you and keeping you interested till the end, and then leaving you wanting more. Amanda Hocking's writing is simple, with amazing examples to describe things. The characters she's created for this series are also great, making you really connect with them, therefore, sucking you into the story. You really feel like you're in their world. 

The plot is amazing, a real page-turner. This series really makes you want to read as fast as possible to know what will happen next. I stayed up really late to read this book, always telling myself "oh I'll just read one more chapter" but it was nearly impossible to put the book down. 

The relationship between Wendy and Finn is tensing, and now Tove is even more wrapped up in the story. Also, a new character is introduced. One that will have you completely mesmerized. Loki. A Vittra prince who is completely fascinated with Wendy.

I love all the little details Amanda puts into these book. If you go to her website, you can look at Elora's paintings, look at a lay-out of the castle, read about the five tribes, and more. You can watch the book trailers for the series if you click on Book Trailers above.

The plot continues in the finale book in the Trylle Trilogy, ending in Ascend.