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Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Shadow Girl

     While cupcakes are delicious, these days with cupcake shops on every corner and gourmet cupcakes are almost more common than simple ones, I can't help but feel they are over done.
     Recently, I read The Shadow Girl by Jennifer Archer and I have to say, I was just like one of those gourmet cupcakes. The inside cover was very interesting, like a beautiful frosting maybe even a promising ganache, but like most cupcakes it just wasn't what it promised.
     The Shadow Girl is about a seventeen year old named Lily. Her father's death unveils secrets about her and the mysterious 'shadow girl' named Ivy who only she can hear.  She investigates her family’s past with the help of the boy next door and the hot new guy in town. Although some of the ideas are outside what most YA Lit is doing right now, there are a lot of classic side plots, that are a bit over used. I think people who liked The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson might like The Shadow Girl. 
     I would give this book a 2.

Friday, October 19, 2012


by Marissa Meyer

I think I'm on a trend of reading a galley, then writing a review months later, when the galley is a published book. Let's break this trend. But not today.
I admit, I was initially attracted to Cinder by that classy cover. I mean, who really doesn't judge a book by its cover at all?

Cinder, living in the far, far future, is a gifted mechanic and a cyborg, living in New Beijing. Naturally, her father is dead and her stepmother abuses her, as well as being a second-class citizen. A fatal, mysterious illness is spreading everywhere, and her sister has caught it. There's political tension between Earth's inhabitants, led by Prince Kai, and the people living on the moon, who hold the cure to the sickness. Naturally, Cinder holds many secrets, most of which she doesn't know herself, that lead her to be the key to Earth's fate.

My absolute favorite part about this book is Cinder herself. It's been a while since I read a proper, good book about a strong female heroine who, against all odds, (might) save the day. Note: I said might. I will return to that later. Not only is Cinder a strong heroine, she doesn't get too deep into romantic shenanigans, she's a stellar mechanic (which attracts the prince - who says looks is more important than brain?), and she's a cyborg (facing all the odds - cyborgs are second-class citizens in this setting. I should clarify that cyborg, in this book, is not equivalent with robot. Cyborg's meaning is more along the lines of "altered human". Cinder was once human, but she had injuries that forced her to take robotic parts).
The setting was awesome. The villains, the people from the moon, were EXTREMELY awesome. They were evil in the best way - with motivation and cunning and power.

I only had two problems with the book. It's not really clear why cyborgs were so strongly discriminated against. I mean, I understand why, I just have a hard time picturing it. I can see, in our world, discrimination against the handicapped - we don't exactly think about them the same way as non-handicapped people - but not in such a bad way, and we don't fear them or anything. If Meyer had spent more time explaining this, I think I would have been happier.
Then, there was the inconclusive ending. The book pretty much ends with "Oh hey, I just found out what my quest is. Let's go do it --NOW WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL--". It was such an abrupt ending, such an obvious cliffhanger, I feel like the entire book is just a promotion for the next book. Ugh, I hate it when books do that! That said, I'm definitely going to read the next book.

I dub this book a 3.9, and in terms of food, it's some exotic, futuristic food that I can't think of. Something steampunk-ish, or sleek and gray, like our tall glass skyscrapers in Boston. It's a food that doesn't exist yet!

Marissa Meyer's website:
Oh, wow, this is her first novel. Now my respect for Meyer has gone up one level on the echeladder!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Million Suns

By Beth Revis.
Unfortunately, I started this review back in February, and then kept forgetting to write it. So the details of A Million Suns aren't exactly clear in my mind. But the awesomeness has stuck!

Wow. A Million Suns comes as the sequel to Across the Universe and it blows Across the Universe out of the water. Elder is struggling with the repercussions of taking the ship's population off of the drug Phydus, Amy is coping with the thought of a life spent on the ship and dealing with exactly what feelings she has for Elder, and the general population of the ship is crumbling in discipline. Beth Revis throws lots of surprises into the book, and the ending is so thrilling, so absolutely amazing that I am SO EXCITED for the next book. I'm not going to give the ending away, but it is a big surprise and will have you jumping up an down.
Okay, on to some of the specifics. I adore the questions that the book raises about leadership, how we choose our leaders, and what exactly their role should be compared to that of everyone else. After all, Elder has been groomed for a life of leading Godspeed. But now that the ship's population isn't drugged anymore, they want a say in how the ship is run. The chaos in the ship is a miniature of the chaos that occurs in countries when their leadership collapses. Revis really develops Elder as a complex character, which I loved.
Amy, on the other hand, could use some more development. Most of her character is consumed with anxiety over the attack by Luther and friends in Across the Universe. And while it is completely understandable that she would be traumatized by this, I wanted her to do a little more.
As with Across the Universe, there are a few holes. The main characters discover a lot of secrets about the ship, which are all very exciting, but the big question is why wouldn't they have explored some of these areas earlier? After all, we already see Elder beginning to push boundaries in Across the Universe. So why wouldn't he do something as simple as, say, peek through a few more doors or look out the window? Sometimes the characters are a little too dense about what's going on around them.

Overall, though, A Million Suns was even better than Across the Universe. Thinking back, I would probably lower the rating for Across the Universe to a 3.7, and give A Million Suns a 4.1. For food, A Million Suns is these wonderful peanut butter cookies with peanut butter and milk chocolate chips.  Delicious! Now all that's left to do is count down the days until the January 15th release date for Shades of Earth, the conclusion to the trilogy. Yippee!

Here's Beth Revis's website:
And the Across the Universe website:

Monday, October 8, 2012

See You at Harry's

By Jo Knowles

Fern is your average 12 year old girl. Just starting to ride the upper school bus with her older brother Holden, she's ready for big things. At home, her out of high school sister has to work at their parent's diner, Harry's, as well as watching their baby brother Charlie.

When the book starts, Fern is describing her best day ever, setting up her relationship with her family and how she feels around them. It's a truly touching moment. Then, the story begins as the family is driving to the restaurant to see a surprise from the dad. At the diner, surprise! They're making a comercial while wearing stupid shirts, all to raise popularity. Then they get their big break. "See you at Hawee's!" A line shouted by Charlie at the end. Then business is booming. So, the reader watches Fern struggle with her family, homework, school, friends, helping Holden, watching Charlie and deal with life.

But then the unthinkable happens.

This book was a really good read, all the characters are very relatable and easy to love. You really get to connect with them, look into their lives. Then, when the unthinkable happens, you totally live through it with them. I was just bawling for an hour while reading.

It gets a really high 4 rating. It wasn't the best I've ever read, but I really like it. As for food, is there any food that makes you sad for whatever reason? If so, take that and multiply the sadness by 10, then you got it.

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