Monday, February 27, 2012

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Goodreads Description: "Running away brings Rhine and Gabriel right into a trap, in the form of a twisted carnival whose ringmistress keeps watch over a menagerie of girls. Just as Rhine uncovers what plans await her, her fortune turns again. With Gabriel at her side, Rhine travels through an environment as grim as the one she left a year ago - surroundings that mirror her own feelings of fear and hopelessness. 

The two are determined to get to Manhattan, to relative safety with Rhine’s twin brother, Rowan. But the road there is long and perilous - and in a world where young women only live to age twenty and young men die at twenty-five, time is precious. Worse still, they can’t seem to elude Rhine’s father-in-law, Vaughn, who is determined to bring Rhine back to the any means necessary. 

In the sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price - now that she has more to lose than ever."

My Review: Wither was good, but it wasn't the best of the dystopians I've read out there. I'd compare it to Matched: It had a beautiful premise and wonderful writing, but it went pretty slow. That said, I didn't have high hopes for Fever. However...Lauren DeStefano TOTALLY BLEW ME AWAY. She totally had a sophomore comeback, and I personally thought that Fever was way better than Wither---and that it was an amazing book in general. The writing was beautiful---strange, but beautiful, which kind of describes the whole Chemical Garden Trilogy as a whole. The action was well-paced and kept surprising me, and I loved the plot twists and turns DeStefano threw at us (a demented circus? Yes please!). The descriptions of the circus painted this totally amazing picture of this place that seemed like it was full of sickness, but also sunshine, if that makes any sense. The descriptions of the circus totally amazed me, because the concept was so fresh and brilliant. Rhine was definitely a stronger character in this book. Gabriel was still kind of weak-seeming, but I didn't pay much attention to him anyway. I loved the medical descriptions in the book---they were beautifully-written, but at the same time, they were so disgusting that I felt nauseous. Now THAT is good writing. And the ending of the book totally threw me for a loop and left me DYING to see what happens next. Too bad I have to wait another year or two for the last book! All in all? A really wonderful sequel to Wither. 

Cover: The cover is so pretty it hurts. I love the colors in the theme of it---the shocking pink, acidic green, faded gold. And I ADORE the circus/carnival theme. I've always had a weird love of circuses, so this cover just kind of made my life. It's beautiful. 

Overall Grade: A+

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Mockingbirds by Daisy Whitney

Amazon Description: "Some schools have honor codes.
Others have handbooks.
Themis Academy has the Mockingbirds.

Themis Academy is a quiet boarding school with an exceptional student body that the administration trusts to always behave the honorable way--the Themis Way. So when Alex is date raped during her junior year, she has two options: stay silent and hope someone helps her, or enlist the Mockingbirds--a secret society of students dedicated to righting the wrongs of their fellow peers.

In this honest, page-turning account of a teen girl's struggle to stand up for herself, debut author Daisy Whitney reminds readers that if you love something or someone--especially yourself--you fight for it."

My Review: I loved this book. I loved how it was raw and real and gripping---but not one of those sad, depressing sob stories (like Speak or basically any Sarah Dessen book; no offense if you like those books...). I was pretty impressed with how Whitney chose to write Alex's personality as. She was a good mix of vulnerable and tough. And I loved her fighting spirit, even if it was slightly hidden at times. I loved the small, slightly sassy bits of humor slyly thrown in every now and then. Humor is my life. Good humor can easily take a book from "okay" to "amazing". And the slight humor in The Mockingbirds turned it from that-book-where-that-girl-gets-raped to that-book-where-the-kid-fights-back. Also, I LOVE To Kill A Mockingbird, so I adored how the whole vigilante society was based on themes from that book. It just made it so much more honest and cool. Also---the concept of an underground student-run vigilante justice system is just so COOL, isn't it? It's like the kind of thing every kid WISHES they could join or start. The plot was interesting and the characters were cool, especially Alex's friend Maia. She kept me laughing because of her sass. This was just a very good and fresh spin on an old idea, and it worked out really well.

Cover: I love it! I love the color tones and I love how it looks all mysterious and sly, like the girl knows something you don't. Very spy-chic (even though the book isn't about spies...but whatever...).

Overall Grade: A+

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Goodreads Description: "Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she's never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim. 

Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He's searching for someone too. He's also wild - a savage - but might be her best hope at staying alive. 

If they can survive, they are each other's best hope for finding answers."

My Review: I liked Under The Never Sky because it was a very different type of dystopian. It was less futuristic/sci-fi and more tribal and raw, with a strange fairy tale feeling to it. Strangely enough, I want to compare it to a strange mix of Graceling and The Pledge. If that makes any sense? And both of THOSE books were very good, so that's good news for UTNS (yeah, I'm gonna abbreviate it. I'm too lazy to type it out every time.) I LOVED Aria as a character---she didn't have the fatal flaw most female heroines in dystopians do: how they're so serious and cold and...apathetic (AHEM, Katniss, AHEM...). She seemed like a NORMAL girl---strong-headed and independent at times, and girly and shriek-y at times. Also, I loved her curiosity and how she made jokes. The way she talked seemed really realistic of a normal teenage girl with worries and fears and dreams. Being in the future does not take that away from humans. Perry was also an interesting character---slightly cliche, as male characters tend to be (in female-oriented books), but I still enjoyed hearing his story...especially his rivalry with his brother, Vale, over the position of Blood Road. I won't spoil the ending, but I rather enjoyed how the rivalry ended. Not to be a jerk---but I kind of liked how Perry DIDN'T take the noble and high road. I'll admit, the plot wasn't BRILLIANT---it kind of seemed to be going nowhere and it didn't make much sense anyway...but the plot was never really the main function of this first book, I don't think. (The relationship was.) Anyway, the way the book ended was rather too abrupt for my taste...but it achieved its desired effect: I am now anxiously awaiting the next book in the series. 

Cover: The cover is pretty, that much is true. The girl is okay-looking, even though I couldn't HELP but picture Aria as Aria from Pretty Little Liars (the show). But that's okay, because Aria from PLL is pretty. The colors of the book are really pretty as well, and I like how the title has RELEVANCE. Too many YA titles are only meant to be pretty and catchy and have literally NO meaning (like Hush, Hush---sorry, I liked the book, but you all know it's true!) The only thing is...this cover bares an eerie resemblance to the paperback cover of Across The Universe. Which bothered me a bit, because ATU came out first...but c'est la vie, I suppose.

Overall Grade: A-

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ruthless by Sara Shepard

Amazon Description: "For years scandal has rocked Rosewood, Pennsylvania—and high school seniors Aria, Emily, Hanna, and Spencer have always been at the center of the drama. They’ve lost friends, been targeted by a ruthless stalker named A, and narrowly escaped death. And it’s not over yet.
Aria’s love life is on the fritz. Emily’s exploring her wild side. Hanna’s kissing the enemy. And someone from Spencer’s past—someone she never thought she’d see again—is back to haunt her.
But none of that compares to what happened last spring break. It’s their darkest secret yet and guess who found out? Now A is determined to make them pay for their crime, and the only thing scarier than A is the fear that maybe, just maybe, they deserve what’s coming to them."

My Review: I know these books---or the latest ones, anyway---are sellout books. I know that they're glossy sour candy. I know that I'm probably losing brain cells when I read them. But I can't help but love them anyway! Ruthless was just as good as the previous books (even if the story lines ARE getting more and more unbelievable). It kept me hooked and now I have NO idea what's going on, with Tabitha or Kelsey. Well, I think I've got Kelsey figured out. Tabitha? Not so much... It's all speeding towards one more dramatic ending, and frankly, I can't WAIT to see how it all plays out! I enjoy the way Shepard writes. It's hard to write from four characters' points of view in the third person---it's hard to keep things clear and un-confusing and, well, INTERESTING. However...I feel that Shepard manages to do it pretty nicely. She's really good at giving enough details to things that they feel realistic, relevant, and interesting. I'm looking forward to the next book a lot!

Cover: What can I say? I think all the PLL covers are cute. Candy colors, pretty swirly font, and cutesy/eerie dolls. What's NOT to like?

Overall Grade: A-

Friday, February 3, 2012

Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick

Amazon Description: "The noise between Patch and Nora is gone. They've overcome the secrets riddled in Patch's dark past...bridged two irreconcilable worlds...faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust...and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth. Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they've worked for—and their love—forever."

My Review: I thought Hush, Hush was okay---pretty good, even perhaps---but I was severely disappointed by the sequel, Crescendo. That's why I approached Silence with such apprehension. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read any more of Nora and Patch's story...but in the end, curiosity won out---as it usually does with me---and I read it. And guess what? I'm glad that I did. Hush, Hush was good, Crescendo was a letdown, but Silence had a junior comeback. I liked the story line---it was fresh and intriguing. I loved how she almost had to get to re-know everywhere and everything, especially Patch. It made their relationship seem new and thrilling all over again. Also, I felt like Nora was a much tougher character in this book. She was the weak, passive Bella Swan (is "Bella Swan" a new term, like "Mary Sue" is? I think it should be...) in Hush, Hush, but she actually seemed to have a backbone and some bravery in Silence, which I respected a lot. Patch also didn't seem as cheesy---you know the type. Tall, dark, handsome, and predatory. Thrilling for, like, the first chapter...and then you kind of want to be like, "Dude, GET REAL." Thankfully, Patch was more realistic in this book! I even found Vee to be more likeable (and I do NOT like Vee). But besides the characters, the plot was also pretty interesting. At the very least, it kept me reading steadily through the night (something Crescendo did NOT do). All that said, it was a nice comeback in the series and now I'm looking forward to the next book in the Hush Hush Saga. 

Cover: The cover is pretty cool, I guess. I like the gray-and-black theme the saga has, and at least it doesn't feature some girl in some swooping dress on the cover, which irritates me to no end (*ahem* Unearthly and Fallen *ahem*). 

Overall Grade: B+