Thursday, July 21, 2011

Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

Goodreads Description: "Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they?

When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie–a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance–mysteriously appears, she has one last request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years, and Sadie cannot rest without it. Lara, on the other hand, has a number of ongoing distractions. Her best friend and business partner has run off to Goa, her start-up company is floundering, and she’s just been dumped by the “perfect” man.

Sadie, however, could care less.

Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from each other along the way. Written with all the irrepressible charm and humor that have made Sophie Kinsella’s books beloved by millions, Twenties Girl is also a deeply moving testament to the transcendent bonds of friendship and family."

My Review: My review is probably a tad biased because I'm such a huge Sophie Kinsella fan, but oh well! Twenties Girl was---as all of Kinsella's books are---wonderful. Lara was a funny heroine (though not as funny as Becky Bloomwood!) with her desperation regarding Josh and her floundering attempts to save her lame business. Sadie was all sass and hilarity; she was highly obnoxious and opinionated, and this was why I loved her. Sadie's the friend everyone wishes they could have. Sadie and Lara's banter was awesome; it kept me laughing the whole time. I was also guessing as to where the necklace was the whole time. The mystery whodunit part of the book was spot-on; even when I figured out who had the necklace, I could not figure out, for the life of me, WHY they took it...and that's what made it a good mystery novel. The bits with Sadie and "Mr. American Frown" and Josh were what made it a good chick-lit novel. Of course, it wasn't nearly AS funny as it could have been; usually when I read Kinsella's novels, I laugh until I cry, and this time I merely smiled. But I'll admit it: at the end, when Sadie and Lara parted...I was sad. I would miss Sadie. You don'y get too many characters like her in books. And all of the twenties culture and little tidbits about life in the 1920s only made the book so much more glamorous and fun!

Cover: The cover is in true keeping with all of Kinsella's books (she never puts real people or real images on her covers). The picture doesn't show you this, but the back cover has a picture of a modern 21st century girl---juxtaposed with the flapper girl on the cover---wearing Sadie's necklace. So as far as Kinsella's covers goes, this one is charming and cute.

Overall Grade: A-

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Virals by Kathy Reichs

Goodreads Description: "Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage "sci-philes" who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer's scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends they're a pack. They are Virals."

My Review: This book was awesome. It was kind of like Maximum Ride (which I love): filled with action, evil science, a wisecracking heroine...oh, and kids who have animal-like senses. Only instead of turning into bird-kids, these kids get the senses and instincts of wolves---and they call themselves Virals. I liked the setting of this book; it was a really sleepy kind of Southern town, kind of mysterious and weird. It kind of reminded me of Martha's Vineyard in the summer, for some reason. And it was cool how the gang lived on an island. Normally I don't like too much science-y stuff in books, but the way Tory described it, it was actually interesting. And Tory herself was a really good heroine. She was tough, funny, and smart. She actually had a personality! (Wow, shocker, right?) There wasn't as much character-building for the kids in her group, but I'll admit that her sidekick, Hiram, was hilarious. Very sarcastic and realistic. This was one of those books that actually kept me guessing as to who the bad guy was, and what was the bad guy's main plan---as opposed to me figuring it out in the first ten pages. And the action sequences were awesome! Reichs is very descriptive; I could actually see the whole book pan out in my mind like a movie (which is a good thing). Oh, and I liked how Tory just ADMITTED she was pretty and didn't act like she wasn't, when she was; too many heroines do that and it's one of my pet peeves. For any fans of Maximum Ride, the TV show Bones, or action/adventure books, Virals should NOT be passed over.

Cover: The cover is not particularly amazing, but it is good for this book: girl running away from evil people in pursuit, in the jungle. That happens quite a few times, so it works. I do really like the way they wrote "Virals" however---all big and red and they have faint images of wolf jaws and eyes hidden in the letters, which is cool.

Overall Grade: A+

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Reality Check by Jen Calonita

Goodreads Description: "Sixteen-year-olds Charlie, Keiran, Brooke, and Hallie have just been signed up for their own reality television show. They can't even believe it. "You'll be The Hills meets The Secret Life of the American Teenager," the Armani-suited executive tells them, "and the hottest thing on our network." How could they say no?

But soon enough, cameras following them everywhere and interfering producers surreptitiously scripting their lives start to affect the four best friends' relationship. Brooke seems to want all the screen time. Keiran is abruptly written out of the show-and consequently the group's friendship-when she doesn't rate well. As soon as Charlie realizes what's going on, she figures out the perfect way to give the studio and her home audience a much-needed reality check.

Because friends don't let friends do reality shows."

My Review: This book was great! The plot was, yes, cliched and overdone (if you want a book that's somewhat similar to this book, read Watch Me [also known as Reality Chick] by Lauren Barnholdt), but the book was still fun to read anyways. I really loved the main character, Charlie; she wasn't one of those bland, personality-less heroines (*cough* Bella Swan *cough*) and she also wasn't one of those whiny heroines (you know: I'm so ugly, I'm such a loser, No one notices me, blah blah blah). She was fresh and funny and she seemed like a REAL kid, the kind you would want to know. There wasn't exactly much character development, however, especially for Charlie's friends, and I would have loved to see more of Keiran's story. It seemed very realistic and intriguing. Unfortunately, Calonita never really delved into the lives of ANY of the girls. On the other hand, it was VERY amusing seeing Team Brooke & Marleyna versus Team Charlie and Friends. Brooke was one of those characters you love to hate, and Marleyna was just plain annoying. There was never really a slow moment, though sometimes I thought the girls were kind of stupid not to realize who was tricking them earlier; I mean, it was kind of obvious. But anyway... I also liked how the book didn't focus on romance. Too many YA books do that now, and it makes NO SENSE. Romance is not 100% of peoples' lives. Reality Check focused more on friendship and drama, which was cool.

Cover: The cover is adorable! Cute Bratz-like dolls on the cover, each one realistically representing one of the girls (the dolls actually look like the characters). I love the symbolism---dolls = fake, etc---and honestly, the cover is just plain CUTE. Especially with the pink background and the glam-like words and the funny little tagline.

Overall Grade: A-

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

Goodreads Description: "Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?"

My Review: When I first saw this book, I did NOT think it was my type of book. The back made no sense to me, and even though I like dystopian books---which this was---I wasn't going to give this the time of day. Until...I did. (What can I say, I have no self-control.) And surprisingly? I really liked it a lot! Okay, so Todd's way of talking got on my nerves for the first few chapters, but eventually I got used to it, and I really began to like his character. Viola was super annoying when she was silent, but when she started talking, I loved her character right away. She and Todd were such a cool due; they were at odds most of the time, but Ness did a GREAT job of building up their relationship. He did a mediocre job of world-building---I still had a lot of questions, but I wasn't clueless either, so that was something. The Noise was something was so cool! I couldn't even begin to FATHOM how weird that would be! The plot was actually surprisingly really interesting, the way that all the women in Prentisstown were dead and vanished, and I was dying to know how and why they died, so THAT kept me reading as well. And the way it was displayed on the page was awesome. The adventure and action parts were really good and pretty exciting---and I found myself dying to know what happens next when I finished it, so I'm going to have to get the next book, The Ask and the Answer, very soon!

Cover: Not gonna lie, I'm not a fan of this cover. It's dull, it's dinghy, and it did not draw me in. The words are written in an icky font (and the name is kind of annoying anyway...) and it's just really unappealing, to me.

Overall Grade: B+

How to Say Goodbye In Robot by Natalie Standiford

Amazon Description: "Bea, the new girl in a school where most of the kids have known each other since kindergarten, befriends Jonah, an outcast deemed Ghost Boy after a cruel middle-school prank. She finds herself torn between normal highschool activities and spending time with Jonah, listening to the bizarre but engaging Night Light, a radio show haunted by some of Baltimore’s loneliest weirdos. Theirs is not a budding romance, but a tumultuous, hot-and-cold friendship; they love each other, but should never even think about a relationship. Credit is due to Standiford for the delicate portrayal of Jonah’s home life, which could have veered into soap-opera territory, especially with the reappearance of his long-thought-dead, mentally disabled twin brother. The heart of this novel is neither cold and metallic nor full of romance and delusion. Instead, it’s very human."

My Review: This book is not one of those typical romances or typical friendship books; in fact, there's nothing typical about it. I would call it an "indie read", but quite honestly, I can't describe what it really is. I can, however, say that it is REALLY good. It's raw and real. It doesn't sugarcoat anything. Bea's home life is spiraling out of control, and I really FELT Bea's helplessness mixed with her irritation and confusion. I really felt Jonah's heartbreak and volatile mood swing and euphoria and the intense love he had for his brother. Their shared love of late-night radio shows was just an awesome quirky little bonus to the book, giving it character and feeling. But what REALLY got me was Bea and Jonah's friendship. It wasn't the typical typical guy-and-girl-meet-become-friends-and-then-become-a-couple sort of friendship. They met and they became friends---BEST friends, the kind of friends where they connected emotionally in a way where no one else could connect to them. And they loved each other. Their love was stronger than just a crush or lust thing; it went deeper. They were never physically together, yet they still loved each other. And what happened at the end---I won't spoil it---made me cry. It honestly made me cry, as I thought about how Bea must have felt. THIS is the only book I have ever read that can accurately describe a guy and girl's friendship that is so deep that it defies all the expectations. It was just a lovely, quirky, unusual book, the kind you only stumble across once in a while.

Cover: I liked the nice pink cover of the book. The telephone was a nice, symbolic touch. The cover is simple and quirky, like the book. You see the pink cover and think, Oh, another girly book, but then the book defies your expectations---like Bea and Jonah's relationship did.

Overall Grade: A+

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

Amazon Description: "A thrilling tale of adventure, romance, and one girl's unyielding courage through the darkest of nightmares.

Epidemics, floods, droughts--for sixteen-year-old Lucy, the end of the world came and went, taking 99% of the population with it. As the weather continues to rage out of control, and Sweepers clean the streets of plague victims, Lucy survives alone in the wilds of Central Park. But when she's rescued from a pack of hunting dogs by a mysterious boy named Aidan, she reluctantly realizes she can't continue on her own. She joins his band of survivors, yet, a new danger awaits her: the Sweepers are looking for her. There's something special about Lucy, and they will stop at nothing to have her."

My Review: In my book, Ashes, Ashes is simply mediocre. There is nothing too spectacular about it. Lucy is a survivor---she survived six months alone in the Wilds---but she's not a particularly likable character, because there's nothing to her. Treggiari could have had an awesome book with this plot; the book had SO much potential. The back of the book says, "The world has ended...what comes next?" Before I read the book, that just gave me the shivers. I thought that this was going to be some epic dystopian tale, made all the more creepy because the world WE live in was destroyed...but no. There is BARELY any world building. Lucy briefly talks about what the world used to be like, but she doesn't go in depth. You have no idea what really happened to the whole world, or what's left of it. There isn't much action, either; the action that there IS is kind of...well, lame. I felt like Aidan was only there as her love interest---he may as well have had "Love Interest" tattooed on his head. The only interesting characters were Del and Sammy, and even Del was kind of predictable. The S'ans (the people who had gone through the plague and survived the virus, but now looked like creepy zombies) were really interesting to read about, too. Most of the characters were flat and emotionless. I would much rather have read more about the WORLD they lived in now---but Lucy just stayed in a stupid camp practically the whole time, and so it was pretty boring. The only time it got interesting was when Dr. Lessing came into the picture. I wanted to know more about what Dr. Lessing was up to, and why Lucy was central to her plot, and what was happening next. The book ends kind of awkwardly, but Treggiari writes it so that we're led to believe there will be a sequel. Here's hoping that the sequel will be way better than this one.

Cover: Okay, the cover is AWESOME. It's just cool and creepy and eerie, seeing New York City destroyed like that. The words are nice and bold, and the name is catchy. Points off for the fact that Lucy and Aidan never even go NEAR New York City, so the cover is pretty much fake and just used to attract attention...which it does well, I'll admit THAT.

Overall Grade: C+

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman

Goodreads Description: "Geena can’t wait to spend summer vacation with her two best girls: her friend Amber and her cousin Hero. All three are working at the Triple Shot Betty coffee shop together, but the moment Amber and Hero meet, the claws come out. They hate each other on sight. Geena’s dreams of a girl-bonding summer fl y out the window, and then threaten to disappear completely when a few cute (okay, drop-dead gorgeous) guys come along to woo the Bettys. But all is not what it seems, and in a story of mistaken identities, crazy summer high jinks, and enough romance to make Shakespeare proud, Geena and her friends learn that when Bettys unite, they can take on the most powerful force in their world: a hot guy."

My Review: J'adore this book! This book is the PERFECT summer read, the kind you read in a hammock with a glass of lemonade, or at the beach, or wherever! Geena is hilarious and relatable. Her character is down-to-earth and realistic; she's someone I would want for a friend. Her two best friends, Amber and Hero, are equally good characters. Amber is just plain awesome, all sassy and sarcastic, and her family problems make her more deep and interesting. And reading about childish, girlish Hero was just plain amusing! I love the setting the story is in---a quaint, quiet, wealthy vineyard town somewhere in California. It just seemed so cute and quaint! And the plot was awesome. At first I just thought it was a typical girls-guys-summer-romance-friendship sort of novel, but as the book went on, the plot became more of a wicked, girls-taking-revenge plot---all adventure and humor and fun. I liked the characters (ESPECIALLY Hero's dad, Uncle Leo; that guy was the funniest guy in the whole book, to me!), I liked the setting, and I liked the plot. The book seemed fluffy at first, but it got a little deeper---and a little more fun---all while retaining its lighthearted feeling. This is an awesome book!

Cover: The cover is adorable! It fits the book so well. I love the coffee cup (because the coffee shop where they work is almost like a character itself) and the background is pretty and fun, like the book. It's just a really cute cover.

Overall Grade: A+

Choker by Elizabeth Woods

Goodreads Description: "Sixteen-year-old Cara Lange has been a loner ever since she moved away from her best and only friend, Zoe, years ago. She eats lunch with the other girls from the track team, but they're not really her friends. Mostly she spends her time watching Ethan Gray from a distance, wishing he would finally notice her, and avoiding the popular girls who call her "Choker" after a humiliating incident in the cafeteria.

Then one day Cara comes home to find Zoe waiting for her. Zoe's on the run from problems at home, and Cara agrees to help her hide. With her best friend back, Cara's life changes overnight. Zoe gives her a new look and new confidence, and next thing she knows, she's getting invited to parties and flirting with Ethan. Best of all, she has her BFF there to confide in.

But just as quickly as Cara's life came together, it starts to unravel. A girl goes missing in her town, and everyone is a suspect—including Ethan. Worse still, Zoe starts behaving strangely, and Cara begins to wonder what exactly her friend does all day when she's at school. You're supposed to trust your best friend no matter what, but what if she turns into a total stranger?"

My Review: I absolutely hated this book. Woods had a terrible plot; it was so obvious who the killer was. A lot of people were totally shocked by the ending, but I saw it coming from a mile away. Cara was an awful character, very mope-y and weird, and Zoe was just creepy and annoying. The book WAS eerie and suspenseful, but it ultimately got boring and weird...maybe I guessed (correctly) so soon how it would end---or maybe it was just a bad book. The writing style was okay, merely mediocre, and it did nothing to pull me into the story. The beginning was boring and I had to force myself to keep reading until things picked up pace a while later into the book. And then, the end was AWFUL. It just...ended. I know not every book is going to have a happily-ever-after, but I don't like books when they just end in a really abrupt and weird. It makes me wonder, What was the point of this whole book? It just wasn't a good book, in my opinion.

Cover: The cover is nice and simplistic, but I don't think it relates to the story very well. Also, it's not very eye-catching at all.

Overall Grade: F

Friday, July 8, 2011

Stolen by Lucy Christopher

Goodreads Description: "Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don't exist - almost."

My Review: Honestly, this is one of the best books I have ever read IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Gemma was such a strong female character; I loved her! Throughout the whole time she was with Ty, she kept struggling to get away...when most heroines would have just succumbed to him. But no---Gemma fought and resisted, and for this, I love her. Ty was intriguing as well. He made me THINK so much! There were times when I would feel bad for him and would feel sympathy towards him...and then I would remember that he KIDNAPPED Gemma, and then I would despise him...and then I would go back to feeling bad for him... I was like a yo-yo, being pulled in two directions. Normally, I don't like novels set in desert-scenery, so it's a mark to how much I love this book, that I thought the descriptions of the Australian Outback were GORGEOUS. Christopher painted such a beautiful and vivid picture in my head that I had the mad urge to go on vacation to Australia this summer (which I obviously didn't). And I thought it was beyond interesting how Gemma's feelings went: she hated Ty for what he did, but she resentfully came to like him for the beauty of his simple, uncluttered life that he had shown her. The book drove me CRAZY, because I kept thinking: Does she truly love him? Or is it just Stockholm Syndrome? Maybe the fact that she loves him IS the syndrome? Or does she love him BECAUSE she has the syndrome? OR WHAT? The book really makes you THINK (a.k.a agonize!) over it. My only teensy problem with it was that it somewhat glamorized kidnapping---I mean, really, how many kidnapped people are as lucky to be kidnapped by someone as gentle as Ty?---but that was just a MINOR detail. Otherwise, I would encourage everyone in the universe to read this book. Oh, and the way this book was written---in letter format, from Gemma to Ty (who is called "you")---was a really original and brilliant idea that helped the book seem much more intimate.

Cover: The cover is AMAZING. The simplicity and elegance of it completely convey the story's tone, but the darker colors convey the mood of the book, and the emotions in it.

Overall Grade: A+

Gone by Michael Grant

Summary: The Gone series is a series of YA supernatural dystopian novels. The plot follows the lives of everyone under the age of 15 in a small town called Perdido Beach where one day, everyone over the age of fifteen vanishes---and Perdido Beach is physically blocked off from the rest of the world by a dome (similar to Stephen King's book Under The Dome). The book follows main characters Sam and Astrid---and their friends and foes---as the kids of Perdido Beach try to survive without adults, electricity, much food or water, gang wars...and strange supernatural phenomenons that are transforming some of the kids. The kids call life under the dome the FAYZ, and here in the FAYZ, all the normal rules are banished.

My Review: I absolutely LOVE this series! It's like a dystopian tale...but set in modern times. Because once the FAYZ is created, the rest of the world ceases to exist---at least for the kids---and outrageous things start happening: gang wars, cannibalism, fighting, electing governments, rebellions, anarchy...and then there is the supernatural element as well, in where some kids are gaining powers. This series (which goes Gone, Hunger, Lies, Plague, and two new ones are coming out soon) is hard-edged and fast-moving. It's like an action movie; I could picture everything in my head the whole time. It seriously made my jaw drop at some parts. Grant does an awesome job making us ponder humanity and human nature in this book. As soon as I finished one book, I would race to get the next one---and I read each book in less than a day. Yes, they were THAT good. The books got a tad confusing at times, because there were SO many characters, and they could get a bit horrifying (advice: if you get queasy easily, don't eat food before you read these books), but in the end, this series should NOT be missed by anyone!

Covers: The covers are kind of blah. I think they could have done better---they're just the main characters. I feel like they could have done more to portray the kind of book that's inside; these covers didn't do a very good job.

Overall Grade: A-

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto

Goodreads Description: "Three angels- Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human- are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.

Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong.

The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?"

My Review: I'm not a huge fan of paranormal romances, but surprisingly, I really liked this one. I think it's because this time the GIRL was the paranormal being and the guy was the unsuspecting human (versus the cliched plotline of human girl falling for some dark-and-mysterious paranormal boy...YAWN). I really liked Bethany's innocence and goodness. It bordered on annoying sometimes, but for the most part, it was cute. Xavier was the typical nice, loyal, and kind good-boy, and for that, I don't really have much to say about him, except that he was....nice, loyal, and kind. There was also the devious bad-boy demon character, as there usually is, and he was also so typical that I have nothing to comment on. Gabriel and Ivy were more interesting, with Gabriel being very amusing for me, just because of his stern personality. I liked Bethany's details about angels and how they were; with most paranormal romances concerning angels, you don't get to personally experience what it's like to BE the angel. It was a sweet little book (actually, it was rather LONG, to be honest) and it was filled with cliches, but as Adornetto's first book, I think she did a pretty good job (she was only seventeen when she published the book!). And I'm excited to read the second book, Hades, so there's something!

Cover: The cover is really pretty, all the romantic golden light and the dark silhouettes. It's a little TOO romantic for me (I'm not a fan of the overly mushy-gushy things in life), but it clearly captures the attention of readers. I do like how "Halo" was written, and, this is kind of weird, but I really like Bethany's wings. They look really cool.

Overall Grade: B-

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Goodreads Description: "For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life."

My Review: Much like how there was a bit of a vampire craze in paranormal romances after Twilight, there's been a LOT of fallen angel books. I don't really like much of them (having been put off by the paranormal romance mania), but I decided to give Hush, Hush a chance and read it. And read it, I did. The first time I read it, I rushed through it; I was OBSESSED with it. But when I read it for the second time, I liked it a lot less. Nora is SUCH an annoying character; I am so over female characters who are flat and boring and have no hobbies or emotions or interests, or ANYTHING, really. And Nora was just like that. Her best friend, Vee, was interesting and amusing, but she ultimately became really annoying. Patch was the only interesting one; I liked how he wasn't some tortured, poetry-reading, ruffled-shirt-wearing sort of being (yeah, you know who I'm talking about). He was more amusing. And the plot did pull me in, but there were times where it seemed like the book was plotless. There were also moments where I literally groaned over Nora's stupidity. (She acts REALLY embarassing sometimes.) I guess overall, the plot was semi-decent and---I will say this---of all the fallen angel books out there, this is one of the better ones.

Cover: The cover is AWESOME! I love how it's shaded in all these shades of gray with just tinges of red, and the image of Patch falling is really eerie and awesome looking as well. And the "hush, hush" font is cool. The cover is really attention-grabbing, despite the fact that it's gray. I also love how it's a picture of Patch on the cover, and not just some gorgeous girl with some red or black ball gown on, with mist surrounding her. That's what ALL paranormal romances seem to look like these days, for no reason at all.

Overall Grade: C+

serafina67 *urgently requires life* by Susie Day

Amazon Description: "Serafina doesn't have a boyfriend, doesn't have a best friend, and her parents fight all the time. But she does have a shiny new laptop (a present from her guilt-ridden and therefore overly generous dad). And with the shiny new laptop comes a shiny new identity: serafina67, blogging (and kissing) addict.

But in a year when the secrets turn serious, and friends and parents might not be what they seem, is spilling your whole life on the Internet such a bright idea? It might just lead to tears, trouble, hilarious online adventures and a fresh new take on writing---a novel told as a blog."

My Review: This book was, in my opinion, hilarious and fabulous. It's about the life of an average teenage girl in England who has some self-esteem issues and most likely has mild depression (but that in no way makes this book a gloomy read). I liked reading Sarah's blog; it was hilarious and modern. I'm a teen of the 21st century, so this was pretty fun for me to read. It got kind of confusing at times, because of the awful grammar and vocabulary Sarah used (on purpose, obviously), but I still made it through. The book made me laugh and it definitely made me sigh at the parts of her, as she calls it, "emo-flailiness" that I could relate to (can't we all?). Her emotions are real and raw and she speaks with a candid and funny tone. Her depressing moods occasionally got annoying, but that's what made up the whole character, so it was okay in the end. The end DID get a little confusing (probably because Sarah didn't know how to indent and start a new paragraph, so I was staring at a page of nonstop blithering words), but I managed to figure it all out. This book is great for anyone who's a fan of British chick-lit (as I am!) or anyone who really liked the TTYL books by Lauren Myracle.

Cover: The cover is simply, nothing fancy. I do like the daisy made out of characters, that's pretty great. The book doesn't look too eye-catching on the screen here, but the copy I have is a bright, obnoxious hot pink, so it would be sure to catch someone's eye in a store. Points off for the obnoxious color (well, for the copy I have, anyway).

Overall Grade: B-

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley

Goodreads Description: "When Emily Carson's parents die in a plane crash, she's left with nothing but her mother's last words scrawled in lipstick on a tray table: "Emily, please forgive me."
Now it's fall and Emily moves to New York City where she attracts the attention of two very different boys: the cute, popular Owen, and her quirky chemistry partner, Anthony. With the help of some surprising new friends, Emily must choose between the boy who helps her forget and the one who encourages her to remember, and ultimately heal."

My Review: I liked Lipstick Apology quite a lot. Emily was kind of an annoying character, and her mood swings (one minute she would be smiling and happy, and the next she would be screaming and smashing things) gave me whiplash---but I liked it. There are no set rules for grieving (much as some people would like to pretend there are) and there is no law that says, "If you're grieving, you must act ______ all the time, non-stop". I thought that Emily's mood swings were realistic. Obviously, she was a turmoil of emotions: sadness and shock and horror over her parents, confusion over being in a new place, slightly resentful happiness about making some new friends, loneliness over missing her old life... Why WOULDN'T she go bananas sometimes? And even though many of the characters were typical and two-dimensional, I personally thought it was okay, because some of the other characters---like Jolie's hair stylist (I can't remember his name at the moment)---made up for it with their vivid and interesting personalities. The plot was nothing amazing, but I thought it was an enjoyable book, getting to see how Emily grew as a person and learned to forgive people for their mistakes.

Cover: The cover is gorgeous. The girl is a bit weird-looking, with kind of fat, squirrel-y cheeks (but that could be just me thinking that...), but the colors on the cover and the New York City skyline are all beautiful.

Overall Grade: B+

Talent by Zoey Dean

Amazon Description: "It’s all about talent in LA: who has it, who doesn’t, who wants it, and who can find it first!

When thirteen-year-old Mac Armstrong witnesses newcomer Emily Mungler’s stellar lying-to-gain-entry performance during a movie premiere party at the Roosevelt in Hollywood, it dawns on her that her own talent is to discover it in others! So Mac and her BFFs set out to prove it by turning fresh-from- Cedartown-Iowa Emily into a box office bombshell. They’ll make deals, throw parties, crush on boys, all on the way to discovering that no matter how famous or important you are, friendship always comes first. Well, almost always."

My Review: This is one of those books that I just very randomly picked up at B&N (usually I go with specific books in mind)...and I ended up liking it a lot! At first, it seemed to be a bit of a copy of The Clique series---but I was pleasantly surprised, as the series went on. It was fun and lighthearted, with a more breezy and fresh feel to it. I had fun reading about the friendships and the fashion and the parties. Emily was a believable new girl, and I really enjoyed Mac's version of how to be the alpha. The Inner Circle was amusing and Ruby Goldman had me clenching my fists, she was THAT annoying (but she was the enemy, so it was okay). This book was, by no means, a deep and meaningful read, but it was a glossy little fun chick-lit book...a nice, easy way to pass some time.

Cover: I like the cover a lot! It was cute. The bright colors grabbed my attention and the palm trees and billboard really connected to the California/Hollywood theme. The word "talent" was nice and big and bold, and the models were all super-cute.

Overall Grade: A-

(Talent is part of a trilogy)

The School for Dangerous Girls by Eliot Schrefer

Booklist Description: "Angela Cardenas discovers that blindfolds are not the only odd things about Hidden Oak boarding school. Supposedly a last-stop chance for rehabilitating “dangerous” girls, the school has an agenda that is not necessarily what it advertises. After having their possessions and clothing taken from them and uniforms issued, the freshmen spend the first month isolated from the rest of campus. As the month draws to a close, girls start to disappear one by one. Those who are redeemable are sorted into the gold thread; the others, Angela later learns, are sorted into the purple thread and are living a “Lord of the Flies” existence with little adult intervention. In an effort to save her friends, Angela decides to be really bad in hopes of getting moved to purple thread. Teens might behave dangerously themselves to get their hands on this page-turner with its commentary on education."

My Review: I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, I found it kind of weird---and not in a good way. Schrefer writes about a school with something more sinister than just the girls themselves going on...yet Angela's narrative is oddly flat and emotionless. She TALKS about having emotions, but she never really displays them; she has a face of impassiveness the whole time. The book is also very random. I never knew what was coming next, and not really in a good way. I was just kind of along for a strange, bumpy, and slightly uncoordinated ride, which made me a little irritated, because I don't like too much randomness in a book. However...on the other hand...the book DID keep me turning the pages in interest (a slightly irritated interest, but oh well...) and the cruelty and neglect of the "dangerous girls" was very realistically and creepily displayed by Schrefer. I found myself shivering at parts, wondering what I would do if I was stuck in a hellhole like that. The book also made me VERY curious to see how the book ended; it definitely raised some questions in mind, about the book and about the education system in general, so it was good in that aspect. All in all, a strange---yet strangely-compelling---read.

Cover: The cover is not much to look at. It's a basic portrait of a schoolgirl's torso---and not even a very dangerous-looking schoolgirl at that. The colors are dull and dinghy, and the font of the book is oddly gothic (at odds with the cold and realistic and modern tone of the book). The name of the book also irritates me---it's not very creative at all.

Overall Grade: C-

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Booklist Description: "After a childhood spent assisting her father, one of the world’s most talented art thieves, Katarina Bishop tries to leave the family business behind when she forges her way into a New England boarding school. She quickly discovers, though, that her past is inescapable. Her father has been accused of stealing already stolen masterpieces from a dangerous Italian billionaire. Certain that her father is innocent, Kat resolves to find the missing paintings and return them to their unsavory owner, who has given her a two-week deadline. Carter, the author of the Gallagher Girls series, skillfully maintains suspense as Kat assembles a team of teen accomplices, travels across Europe, and plots an impossible art heist to save her dad. This is a thoroughly enjoyable, cinema-ready adventure, and the details of thieving tools and techniques, lavish settings, and cast of eccentric characters, including possible spies and love interests, all add texture and depth to the action."

My Review: I wasn't a fan of this book. It showed a LOT of promise. The plot was new and exciting; it was something that not a lot of YA novels (for girls, anyway) have done. It should have been thrilling and Dan Brown-esq. Instead, I was more bored than anything. Carter wrote in a very flat and emotionless tone, so much that even when action was happening, I only noticed about ten minutes later. I also didn't like the main character, Kat, at all. I felt no sympathy for her or empathy---or any emotions, really. She seemed flat and my feelings for her were flat as well. Many of the events that happened seemed irrelevant and strangely-misplaced in the book, so much that at times I found myself wondering, WHAT is going on? Why are they here, why are they doing this? (And believe me, I can keep up with quite a lot of difficult and boring books.) Carter also wrote about a lot of things that (regarding heists and robberies and con artists, etc), for some strange reason, she thought we would know beforehand, so she didn't explain them at all. The characters were all very flat as well, with the exception being Kat's cousin Gabrielle. There was also an awkward attempt at romance that made me cringe in horror, but I won't even delve too deeply into that. In short, I had very high expectations of Heist Society, and it had star potential---but to me, it fell flat. VERY flat.

Cover: The cover is really nice, I've got to admit. It really captures the essence of the book: girlish and teenager-y, yet action-y as well. It's sure to draw attention, and I enjoy the saucy little message in the sunglasses: one minute the painting is there, and the's not.

Overall Grade: D-

Sammy Keyes by Wendelin van Draanen

Wikipedia Description: "Sammy Keyes is a series of mystery novels written by Wendelin van Draanen for children aged 9–15. The series focuses on Sammy's adventures as an amateur sleuth. The books, which are narrated in the first-person perspective by Sammy, involve detective fiction as well as comedy. Sammy begins her adventures in the first book as a seventh-grader, and the series will end when she completes the eighth grade. Eighteen books are planned for the series."

My Review: I'm reviewing this series, because I feel like it's greatly under-appreciated. Normally, I hate mystery books, but Sammy Keyes isn't like a normal mystery series. The mysteries are modern and more action-y than Nancy Drew-esq. And the mysteries are only part of the books; the other parts involve Sammy's family, her friends, her personal life, and her school life---all of which are pretty dramatic. She goes through lots of things that most normal kids go through---like crushes and enemies (even though her enemy is a bit more insane than normal enemies are)---and then she goes through things that most normal kids DON'T go through, like a mother who abandoned her to go become a Hollywood movie star; a tricky and illegal living situation; an absent and mysterious dad; an enemy who makes Draco Malfoy look like a bunny; and many more things. Sammy's a tough, independent and gutsy (a.k.a snarky and sassy) heroine who is very much alike Max Ride (from the Maximum Ride series by James Patterson; also a very good series). Yet, she also goes through the normal pains of adolescence and teenagerdom---and she keeps a witty, hilarious perspective through it all. Although sometimes she can get on your nerves, this series is a winning, kitschy read, and it's not to be missed by anyone who likes strong female characters. (The supporting cast of characters---including Grams, Hudson, Marissa, and Casey---is wonderful as well.) Oh, and a word to the wise? The series gets WAY better as it goes on.

Covers: Quite honestly, the covers are pretty ugly. They're boring and dull; they don't do the series much justice. Nicer covers would probably have gotten this series more readers, but anyway...even though the series is good, the covers are not.

Overall Grade: A-

Neon Angel by Cherie Currie

Amazon Description: "Cherie Currie, with her signature Bowie haircut and fishnet stockings, was the groundbreaking lead singer of '70s teenage all-girl rock band the Runaways. At the tender age of fifteen, she joined a group of talented girls—Joan Jett and Lita Ford on guitar, Jackie Fox on bass, and Sandy West on drums—who could play rock like no one else.

Arriving on the Los Angeles music scene in 1975, they catapulted from playing small clubs to selling out major stadiums, headlining shows with opening acts like the Ramones, Van Halen, Cheap Trick, and Blondie. Currie lit up the stage with the provocative teen-rebellion songs "Cherry Bomb," "Queens of Noise," and "Born to Be Bad," riding a wave of hit songs and platinum albums, all while touring around the world.

On the face of it, Currie's is a riveting story of girl empowerment and fame. But it is also an intensely personal account of her struggles with drugs, sexual abuse, and violence. She and her bandmates, runaways all, were thrown into a decadent, high-pressure music scene where on the road, unsupervised for months at a time, they had to grow up fast and experience things that no teenage girls should. Neon Angel exposes the side of the music industry fans never get to see, and chronicles the group's rise to fame and their ultimate demise.

Shocking and inspiring, funny and touching, Neon Angel stunningly re-creates a bygone era of rock and roll, all the while providing an inside look at growing up hard under the relentless glare of the public eye, and chronicling one tough woman's fight to reclaim her life."

My Review: Okay, I'll admit it: this book is not strictly YA fiction...but it is so good that I feel like it deserves more attention---and a glowing review. (And I AM an avid punk-rock fan, so it was just plain fascinating to me.) This is the story of Cherie Currie---lead singer of the punk-rock band The Runaways---and how The Runaways came to be, in the 70s. This is a memoir, so it's not boring at ALL! It completely reads like a YA fiction novel; the writing is very teen-friendly and easy to read. Cherie's story is simply fascinating, and parts of it are horrible and disgusting. The books deals with the ugly side of being a rock star in the 70s (and even now, maybe, although I doubt bands these days are that RAW): the drugs, the drinks, the perversions... It also talks about how immense and awe-inspiring their fame became, how far The Runaways got. As the first all-girl punk-rock band, they were breaking legendary ground here. Cherie's emotions were so vivid and relatable. There were parts where I could really envision my emotions to be on par with hers. It was a swirl of emotions and intensity, made all the more amazing by the fact that this actually happened---and to teenage girls of around fifteen-years-old, no less! Neon Angel is an amazing book that deserves much, much more attention than it gets.

Cover: The cover is simply a picture of Cherie Currie singing, nothing too amazing, so it's merely okay. But the font is nice and bright and bold; I always like it when a font is like that.

Overall Grade: A-

One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt

Amazon Description: "Eliza, 17, loses her possessions on a regular basis. None of them, however, matters as much as her purple notebook. Her notebook is where she lists the things she would love to do but is most afraid of doing, from asking a random guy to dance at a club to kissing a secret crush. Via text messages, she learns that her notebook is in the hands of her evil ex-boyfriend, Cooper. He and his friends, who are some of the most popular boys in school, threaten to make the contents of Eliza’s notebook public unless she spends one night doing some of the things on her list. How Eliza goes about trying to overcome her fears is both hilarious and inspiring; readers will rejoice with her when she sees that she’s survived and boosted her bravery. The frankly funny dialogue, related in Eliza's first-person voice, provides more laugh moments while ably delineating character. A satisfying look at what it means to face your fears."

My Review: I enjoyed this book; it was a cute and funny little chick-lit. The perfect summer or beach read, in my opinion. The plot was entertaining, and I enjoyed all of Eliza's little trips all over Boston. Her best friends were hilarious, especially the girly Clarice. Eliza was a mediocre character; she seemed a bit too whiny and crybaby to me, at times, when she could have tried to take charge of her life...but she had her bright moments as well, where she redeemed herself At times it felt like Barnholdt was writing for a younger audience, but that seemed to be the style. The book definitely kept me entertained and I've read it more than once. It's just a silly, light little read, all about wacky misadventures and friendships and relationships, all told through the narration of a "typical" teenage girl.

Cover: In my opinion, the cover is super-cute. It's what first got my attention. I like the Boston background and the ombre words. Here's a link to an alternate cover (that I kind of like better, but whatever):,r:3,s:0&biw=1138&bih=519

Overall Grade: B+

Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway

Booklist Description: "Within a few weeks after their breakup, Audrey’s boyfriend, Evan, writes and performs a rock song about their split that catches the attention of a music executive and catapults Evan and his band to stardom. Because she is the song’s subject, Audrey suddenly becomes a celebrity, too, and over the course of a school year, she finds herself dodging paparazzi, rock stars in search of a muse, and star-crazed classmates. Set in Southern California, Benway’s memorable debut is a highly entertaining fantasy of teen fame, narrated in Audrey’s sardonic voice and perfect timed comedic lines that channel contemporary YA culture."

My Review: I've read a LOT of books in my life (no, seriously: a lot). All different types of books, all genres. But in all the books I've read, Audrey, Wait! remains one of my TOP favorites, and I don't think I'm ever going to stop loving it!
        Audrey was one hell of a character. Sassy, witty, relate-able, funny, sarcastic, genuine---she was perfect! She was exactly the kind of girl I want to be best friends with her. And speaking of best friends...her friends Victoria and Jonah were perfect! Funny, loyal to a T, and totally fun to read (and hangout with, I bet). Audrey's obsession with bands and music is something I can relate to 100%, since that's basically MY life, too, so that just made her character all the better. And going on with the topic of characters...Audrey's family was funny and amazing and just pure gold. All of the characters in this book were written with so much heart and wit; Robin Benway is amazing. 
        And the plot! I feel like I don't even have to say anything; it just sort of speaks for itself. It sounds awesome...and it is, indeed, awesome. It's funny and exciting and a bit unbelievable and over-the-top, but that's makes all of this madness that Audrey gets herself into all the more funny. The humor and sarcasm and wit is what REALLY takes this book over the edge from Good Book to Fantastic Book. Being a sarcastic person myself, I really appreciate humor---usually dry---in books. And I loved hearing about Audrey's concert experiences and the weird people she met and interacted with; she took everything with just the perfect pinch of bemusement, exasperation, and sass, and I loved her for that. 
       I could gush about this book forever, but where's the point in that? All I can say is that this book was funny and amazing and pure gold (just like all the characters in it), and I've re-read like fifty times at this point, and I don't think I'll ever stop! Sometimes, your heart just takes to a book...and I love Audrey, Wait! 

Cover: The girl on the cover is cute and trendy, and her expression is pure gold. The title is bright and sure to catch your eye, so the cover, all in all, is pretty nice and cute.

Overall Grade: A+

Last Christmas by Kate Brian

Amazon Description: "Ariana Osgood has everything an Easton Academy girl could want: straight A's, the perfect boyfriend, and a coveted spot in exclusive Billings House. But on the first night of Christmas vacation, a blizzard traps her on campus with irresistible bad-boy Thomas Pearson. Alone. Instead of snuggling with her boyfriend next to a cozy fire in Vermont, she's huddling for warmth with Thomas in Ketlar House.

As the snow transforms Easton into a winter wonderland, Ariana finds herself falling for Thomas. But someone is watching their clandestine romance unfold, someone intent on turning their holiday weekend into a nightmare...

Last Christmas reveals the secret of what really happened before Private began -- and the shocking truth will change everything for fans of Kate Brian's bestselling series."

My Review: [I haven't finished the Private series, but that's okay, because this is a Private prequel that is SPEFICALLY about Ariana Osgood, and she's only in the series for a few books, and I've read that far.] I liked this book. It was definitely eerie, the way Ariana killed people. Ever since I read the first seven or so books of the Private series, I always wondered how exactly Ariana killed people, and how she justified it, and Last Christmas told me just that. I loved seeing how exactly she got to know Thomas Pearson (something I had ALWAYS wondered about!) and parts of the story even made me feel a bit sympathetic towards her...which is saying a lot, as she's a bit of a serial killer (in her own schoolgirl way). It answered all my questions about Ariana and Thomas, and the ending made me shiver, especially since I knew what she was going to do later on in the Private series. This is a must-read for anyone who is a fan of the Private book series!

Cover: The cover isn't much; just a girl with some flashy lights behind her. That's not how I pictured Ariana at all, so points off for that, but the background is cute enough, I suppose. It's certainly glam looking.

Overall Grade: B+

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Amazon Description: "After being kidnapped from the home she shares with her twin brother, Rhine is "sold" to a rich man, Linden, along with two other girls, Cecily and Jenna. Their polygamous marriage is seen as necessary, for Linden’s father is a scientist trying to find a cure for the "virus" that strikes down youth, and he needs new subjects for his experiments — subjects in whose DNA, he hopes, a cure can be found.

The day-to-day lives of Rhine and her sister-wives — parties, pregnancy, babies — contrasts starkly with the shadow of death that looms over every action. Even Rhine’s growing romance with a servant, Gabriel, could lead to vicious punishment for them both — as could her repeated attempts to escape her gilded prison. This story, the first of a trilogy, leaves us with a glimmer of hope but no easy answers."

My Review: I liked Wither quite a lot! It didn't have a lot of action, like most dystopian books do, but it was written beautifully, and the setting was very eerie, almost creepy in its ethereal beauty and darkness. Rhine was an okay character; she didn't shine nor was she dull. She did have her good moments, however. The supporting cast of characters was very good. The sister-wives were brilliant, and I thought that Rhine's relationship with Linden---and Linden as a character himself!---was far more interesting than her and Gabriel, but maybe that's just me? The novel definitely creeped me out (which, I'm sure, was DeStefano's purpose) and it hook me, making me read very quickly to the end. I'm also pretty excited for the next book, so that's something. The only complaint I have with it was that there definitely some slow parts and some irrelevant scenes that I didn't know what to make of. But all in all, it was a good book, with a really interesting look at what our future could be.

Cover: I'll admit it: I judge books by their covers. Not ALWAYS; a good book can certainly have a hideous cover. But a nice cover draws me in, and that's just what Wither's cover did. The colors and tones were beautiful and the whole scene---girl with a feathery dress with chemicals and beakers all around her---was beautiful and eerie, like the whole book was.

Overall Grade: B+

Matched by Ally Condie

Amazon Description: "For Cassia, nothing is left to chance--not what she will eat, the job she will have, or the man she will marry. In Matched, the Society Officials have determined optimal outcomes for all aspects of daily life, thereby removing the "burden" of choice. When Cassia's best friend is identified as her ideal marriage Match it confirms her belief that Society knows best, until she plugs in her Match microchip and a different boy’s face flashes on the screen. This improbable mistake sets Cassia on a dangerous path to the unthinkable--rebelling against the predetermined life Society has in store for her. As author Ally Condie’s unique dystopian Society takes chilling measures to maintain the status quo, Matched reminds readers that freedom of choice is precious, and not without sacrifice."

My Review: I, personally, was not such a big fan of this book. I picked it up, thinking it would be a good dystopian read---the hype about it was crazy, after all---but I found it lacking. The world was HIGHLY dystopian, but Condie never really delved deep into it, leaving me confused about many aspects of it (such as sleep tags: what do they look like? Feel like? Why are they used?, etc). I didn't really like the main character, Cassia. I found her a tad boring and just the slightest bit annoying. Her personality got a little better towards the end of the book, so hopefully she'll be better in the next book. I also disliked how the whole entire book revolved around the romance. The interactions with Xander and Ky were interesting, but I would have liked to have learned about Cassia's world, more. It was still okay, however, and I did finish it---and I will read the other books, if merely out of curiosity as to what happens, because Condie hints that the next book will be more action-packed (whereas this book was more like action-LACKED).

Cover: I will admit it: the cover is gorgeous! It's beautiful and it definitely draws you in. I like the simplicity and elegance of it; it really goes with how Cassia's dystopian world is like: neat and clean. I've seen the cover of the next book (Crossed, out in stores November 1st, 2011), and it's just as beautiful!

Overall Grade: C+

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Amazon Description: "In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance."

My Review: I personally loved Divergent! It's the first of a trilogy, and while there are many dystopian books out there---thanks to the craze that The Hunger Games started---this one really stood out to me. Roth's idea of breaking each city into sections that value certain character traits was a very interesting idea. It actually made me excited to read the book! And Divergent is definitely a page-turner. My cousin lent me her copy at 9 PM one night, and I stayed up well into the early hours of the morning, frantically trying to finish it (and I did). The characters were compelling and interesting, the plot was driven and fast-paced. I personally never found a dull moment. And Roth actually made me care about what happened to the main character, which is a rarity. Divergent is a gem of a book, and anyone who enjoys action, adventure, or dystopian books should make this a must-read.

Cover: The cover definitely caught my eye, but I think they could have done more to make the word "Divergent" stand out. I also liked the symbol of the faction she chose on the cover, but it did take me a while to figure out what it even was.

Overall Grade: A-