The Distance from A to Z Book Review

The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt

Publisher: HarperCollins

Published: January 12th, 2016

Pages: 352

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.

That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to exclusively wear baseball caps and jerseys.

But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between the distance between who she is and who he is, is worth the risk.

My Thoughts:

This book has such a great premise that just sounds fun and entertaining, which is why I decided to pick it up. The story does start off well, but I just found way too many flaws with it. Continue reading

Just One Day Book Review

Just One Day by Gayle Foreman

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Published: January 8th, 2013

Pages: 320

Synopsis:

Allyson Healey’s life is exactly like her suitcase—packed, planned, ordered. Then on the last day of her three-week post-graduation European tour, she meets Willem. A free-spirited, roving actor, Willem is everything she’s not, and when he invites her to abandon her plans and come to Paris with him, Allyson says yes. This uncharacteristic decision leads to a day of risk and romance, liberation and intimacy: 24 hours that will transform Allyson’s life.

A book about love, heartbreak, travel, identity, and the “accidents” of fate, Just One Day shows us how sometimes in order to get found, you first have to get lost. . . and how often the people we are seeking are much closer than we know.
The first in a sweepingly romantic duet of novels. Willem’s story—Just One Year—is coming soon!

My Thoughts:

Gayle Foreman’s writing and story telling is absolutely beautiful. I found the characters, settings, and plot to be very real, amazing, and I couldn’t get enough of them. Continue reading

The Different Girl Book Review

The Different Girl by Gordon Dahliquist

Pages: 240

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Published: February 21, 2013

Synopsis:

Veronika. Caroline. Isobel. Eleanor. One blond, one brunette, one redhead, one with hair black as tar. Four otherwise identical girls who spend their days in sync, tasked to learn. But when May, a very different kind of girl—the lone survivor of a recent shipwreck—suddenly and mysteriously arrives on the island, an unsettling mirror is about to be held up to the life the girls have never before questioned.

Sly and unsettling, Gordon Dahlquist’s timeless and evocative storytelling blurs the lines between contemporary and sci-fi with a story that is sure to linger in readers’ minds long after the final page has been turned.

My Thoughts:

The Different Girl was a very interesting read, but ultimately left me wanting more. Continue reading

The Fifth Wave Book Review

The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey

Published: May 2013

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Series: The 5th Wave, Book 1

Pages: 457

Synopsis:

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

My Thoughts:

The Fifth Wave is one the the best books that I have read so far this year. Everything from the characters, the plot, the writing style, and the world building was absolutely phenomenal. There was not one aspect of this book that I did not enjoy.

For starters, the world that Rick Yancey built is very unique and so different from all of the other post apocalyptic books I have read. The way that the aliens are presented is like nothing I have ever read or seen before. I loved the way the author decided to the invasion in different waves instead of one big attack. It created suspense in guessing the next way the aliens would decide to weed out the humans.

The book switches between various points of views, which I thought was also very unique. It showed how different kinds of people were affected by the invasion from kids to teens to the actual aliens themselves. I loved being able to see both sides of the invasion and also different perspectives of the humans.

There was nothing that happened in this book that did not take me by surprise. Every time I though something would happen one way it went in a completely different direction. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time reading and was taken aback by how many mind blowing twists and turns there were. I have never read a book like this one, and I really loved it. The surprises in it mad me not able to put the book down because I wanted to now what would happen next, and what twist would take place after the other.

Hearing all the praise about this book made me skeptical, but I was completely blown away. There is not one thing about this book that I can complain about or would change. This is writing at its finest, and I can not wait to read more of Rick Yancey’s work. I highly recommend this book to everyone and any kind of reader.

Rating: 5 / 5 stars

The Farm Book Review

The Farm by Emily McKay

Published: December 4, 2012

Publisher: Berkley Trade

Series: The Farm, Book 1

Pages: 432

Synopsis:

Life was different in the Before: before vampires began devouring humans in a swarm across America; before the surviving young people were rounded up and quarantined. These days, we know what those quarantines are—holding pens where human blood is turned into more food for the undead monsters, known as Ticks. Surrounded by electrical fences, most kids try to survive the Farms by turning on each other…

And when trust is a thing of the past, escape is nearly impossible.

Lily and her twin sister Mel have a plan. Though Mel can barely communicate, her autism helps her notice things no one else notices—like the portion of electrical fence that gets turned off every night. Getting across won’t be easy, but as Lily gathers what they need to escape, a familiar face appears out of nowhere, offering to help…

Carter was a schoolmate of Lily’s in the Before. Managing to evade capture until now, he has valuable knowledge of the outside world. But like everyone on the Farm, Carter has his own agenda, and he knows that behind the Ticks is an even more dangerous threat to the human race…

My Thoughts:

The Farm took me completely by surprise. I had not really heard anything about the book so I honestly didn’t have high hopes for it because of the synopsis. It’s a dystopian thriller with a virus that turns people into vampire type things, I mean to me that sounds like most books that have been released since The Hunger Games and Warm Bodies. So I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book.

For starters, the book switches bares rations between three different people. I always love that, but what it even better was that one of those people were autistic. It was really interesting seeing the author’s take on how an autistic person sees and interprets the world around them. I have never read anything like that before, and ended up looking forward to those narrations the most.

Another great thing about the book that I love and don’t see often enough is how much detail the author put into the story. The entire book spanned only a few days, but was still fast paced and exciting enough that it never dragged on. I love when author’s are able to write out whole days of a character’s life and make it interesting instead if just skimming over most of their lives and only showing small moments.

The paranormal aspect of the book was very interesting. I wasn’t expecting it with the science fiction and dystopian themes already so strong in the book, but I really enjoyed it and though the author handled it well. With the way the book ended I am super impatient to get the next book to see what happens since the driving force of the book is shattered in a way. I wonder how the story will continue on, and can not wait to find out.

I highly recommend this book. It’s a very good story with great characters, an amazing plot, and a romance that had me on the edge of my seat. I was very surprised by how much I loved this book, and hope that more people will read it and give the series a chance.

Rating: 4 Stars / 5 Stars

Another Little Piece Book Review

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Publisher: Harper Teen

Publisher: June 11, 2013

Pages: 432

Synopsis:

The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series in Kate Karyus Quinn’s haunting debut.

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese’s fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

My Thoughts:

Another Little Piece is haunting and lovely in such a way that I couldn’t put it down. The writing is absolutely beautiful, but the story is dark and thrilling.

I was quite surprised at how bloody and disturbing the book was. There was murder, cannibalism, and a strange paranormal aspect to it. I was very connected to the main character and was on the edge if my seat the whole time wondering what she would do or what would happen to her next. I hated what she was, but loved her as a person and character.

The way the author chose to write the story was perfect for it. The whole book had a poetic and dreamy quality to it. Pairing the writing and story together made a unique mix that was just perfect. If it was not written that way it would have been like a thrilling Steven King novel. Instead it was disturbingly beautiful, and I loved it.

Even the love interest was interesting. The pair were both quirky in a very real way, but each had a different paranormal aspect to them that made them work well as a couple in a way that I would never think of being able to. Overall I recommend this book to people who love amazing writing and paranormal stories done really well.

Rating: 4 Stars / 5 Stars

The Secret Ingredient Book Review

The Secret Ingredient by Stewart Lewis

Published: June 11, 2013

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

Pages: 256

Synopsis:

Olivia doesn’t believe in psychics. But the summer before her senior year of high school, she meets one in an elevator.

This summer will be pivotal, the psychic warns. Please remember—all your choices are connected.
Olivia loves her life in Silver lake, Los Angeles, but lately, something’s been missing. And after getting this strange advice, her world begins to change. A new job leads Olivia to a gorgeous, mysterious boy named Theo. And as Olivia cooks the recipes from a vintage cookbook she stumbles upon, she begins to wonder if the mother she’s never known might be the secret ingredient she’s been lacking.
But sometimes the things we search for are the things we’ve had all along.

My Thoughts:

The Secret Ingredient is a great contemporary novel in the likes of Sarah Dessen. I loved the lightness, fun, and quickness of the story. My favorite thing about this book is that the author did a great job of combining the more serious aspects of the main characters life with the lighter ones.

The story involves the main character going through hard times, falling in love, getting her first job, and just being a normal teenager. I loved reading the book because I loved how much I connected to the main character. She is funny, witty, and goes through a lot of things that most teenagers go through. But the story is also great because it involves things like having two fathers, being adopted, and dealing with a parent who loses a job.

The book was never too serious or too light. It had a great tone to it and I recommend it to people who love contemporary novels. It was just a really great fun and light read that is perfect for summer.

Rating: 3 Stars / 5 Stars

The Book of Blood and Shadow Book Review

The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman

Published: July 9, 2013

Publisher: Ember

Pages: 464

Synopsis:

One night. One body, broken in a pool of blood.
One killer, lost in the shadows.
One girl, left behind.
Left alone, to face the consequences.
To find the truth.
To avenge the dead.

One night is all it takes to change Nora Kane’s life forever. Her best friend is dead; her boyfriend has vanished. And the trail of blood leads straight back to her: The person who might be responsible. The person who might be next.

Desperate to save the people she loves and determined to find justice for the ones she’s lost, Nora unearths a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. Something to which Nora herself might hold the key. It turns out her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries—and solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

My Thoughts:

I have very mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand it is dark, thrilling, mysterious, and well written. On the other, though, there are annoying parts to the story that seem to happen in many YA book.

The story itself is amazing. The historical conspiracy mystery aspect of it made it feel like a YA version of an addicting Dan Drown novel. The characters go through a bloody and dark journey of translating hundreds of years old letters, going across the world, and following hidden messages to find an answer to something never solved before. It was a very interesting plot to read, and therefore was so hard to put down.

But then there were those parts of the book that made me roll my eyes. The way everything just happened to fall in place at the right time, the way the main character didn’t really question weird things going on like a guy following her who would have no idea where she even lives, and the nonexistent parents, dumb police, and clueless teachers who barely questioned anything going on. These are all things that are huge pet peeves of mine when it comes to YA literature, and it made me really conflicted since I loved the story but hated that the book had these parts to it.

Overall it was an amazingly afflicting book that had a plot unlike anything I had ever read in YA and that I loved. Even though it had those parts to it that are annoying, it is definitely worth the read and I highly recommend it to readers that love YA and mystery and conspiracy type stories.

Rating: 3 Stars / 5 Stars

Transparent book review

Transparent by Natalie Whipple

Published: May 21, 2013

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 368

Synopsis:

Transparent’s Fiona McClean could be a superhero. She has a mutation that allows her to become invisible. But her father, a Las Vegas crime lord, forces her to use her power for evil. Since she was five, she’s been stealing cars, robbing banks, and spying on people.

Fiona’s had enough, so she escapes to a small town far from her father’s reach. Happiness is hard to find surrounded by a mother she hates, a brother she can’t trust, and a guy at school she can’t stand, but Fiona manages to make some friends. And when her father finally tracks her down, Fiona discovers how far she’ll go to protect everyone she’s come to love.

Fans of strong heroines like Daughter of Smoke and Bone’s Karou or Maximum Ride’s Max will fall in love with Transparent by Natalie Whipple.

My thoughts:

Transparent is one of the most unique books that I have read so far this year. It’s a mixture of The Godfather and X-Men with a contemporary romance feel to it.

The powers that people had were really interesting, especially with the main character’s invisibility that she can’t turn on or off. The author did a really great job at showing the main character’s feelings and struggles at not being able to see herself or have other people see her. Although the main tone of the book is lighter, those feelings and other things like her relationship with her huge crime doing father are written much deeper. I loved that the author was able to do that. It was never too light or intense, but had a good mix and flow to it.

The romance was so good. I loved the relationship that Fiona develops, and am most excited to continue that aspect of the story in the next book. It wasn’t instantaneous or even predictable. I had no idea that the story would take that turn and I am so glad that it did.

The best thing that I think this novel does best is blend the light romance and the heavy crime and escape aspects to where it’s a more gender neutral novel. Both guys and girls will really enjoy it.

Rating: 4 Stars / 5 Stars

The Program Book Review

The Program by Suzanne Young

Series: Program, Book 1

Published: April 30, 2013

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 416

Synopsis:

In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

My Thoughts:

With all of the dystopian books being published lately, it’s hard to find one that is unique and I really click with. This one was one of those. Even though it is a dystopian, the world felt real. I could imagine the teenage suicide epidemic and The Program being things that could happen in the very near future.

Reading The Program was a serious emotional ride. I cried and screamed in frustration many times while reading. The story is really depressing, but so good that I couldn’t put it down.

The romance was amazing. I loved reading their story of falling in love, and the way that they interact and support each other was very real and mature. The way that the author wrote all of the relationships so intense and real is what made the story depressing. When the characters were separated or something tragic happened to them it felt so depressing reading about it because I was connected to the characters and their relationships.

The plot was also much more complex than I had anticipated. There were so many plot twists and revelations that I had no idea who to trust, who was really who they said they were, or what to even believe. I did not predict nearly half or what happened, and the ending especially took me by surprise. There is a huge cliff hanger, and I can not wait for the next book to come out so I can see what happens.

Overall this book was just amazing. I loved every single aspect of it, and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great and original dystopian read that has a great romance.

Rating: 5 Stars / 5 Stars