Tag Archives: book nerd

Book Review: #Scandal

Standard

Author: Sarah Ockler 

Genre: YA

Summary: Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation. 

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…

Review: Sarah Ockler has done a great job spotlighting cyberbullying, judging, and bullying in general. Name-calling has always been an aspect of high school that everyone must endure at point or another. But things have escalated with the internet and social media. No longer can you find a safe haven outside of school walls. The internet is everywhere and forever.

Lucy has one night in which she makes a total mistake with Cole. In her mind, she will fix everything the next morning, but when she wakes up, her and a handful of people have been outed. On Facebook. The worst part is that everyone thinks it’s her fault, since the pictures and tags came from her account. In truth, Lucy’s phone was stolen and she has no idea who has set her up.

Worse goes to worst when all of her friends ditch her, she is being called all sorts of names by the girls in school, her locker is trashed daily, and the internet is having a field day with her pictures and some very creative phrases. 

#Scandal sheds light on the dangers of social media and reflects (very accurately) how teenagers love to bash those who are already down. It seems like a “normal high school” thing to do, talk about someone’s indiscretions, but in reality it is bullying. 

Lucy must face her indiscretions, the bullies, and find her voice, to clear her name and fix something that someone else has started.

Recommendation: Must read!

Image

Cheers!

Advertisements

Book Review: We Were Liars

Standard

Author: E. Lockhart

Genre: YA

Summary: A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Review: This is one of the most stunning novels I have ever read! Her descriptions are emotional and evocative; the story is a thrilling mystery!

Cady has headaches. Headaches that keep her from being able to function. Cady can’t remember anything about her accident, or anything about the summer two years ago when it happened. She returns to her family’s island for summer seventeen, trying to piece together what when wrong.

She spends her time with her three best friends; two cousins, Johnny and Mirren, and Gat, who she is in love with. They can’t tell her what happened, the doctors say she must remember on her own. As she watches her family fight for inheritance and fall apart at the seams, Cady clings onto her best friends, the Liars. They are all she has and all she cares about.

E. Lockhart keeps the tension high until the very end, when Cady finally remembers what happened in summer fifteen. She has created the most spectacular emotional arc that I’ve seen in years. Cady’s story is stunning. 

Recommendation: READ! READ NOW!

Image

Cheers!

Book Review: Daughter of Chaos (Red Magic #1)

Standard

Author: Jen McConnel

Genre: YA

Summary: There comes a time in every witch’s life when she must choose her path. Darlena’s friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the Queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it’s too late?

Review: Jen McConnel knows how to keep the tension high. In the novel, Daughter of Chaos, tension is brought on early, with Darlena choosing a path that she didn’t know existed. This focal point is driven throughout the novel, leaving readers almost as desperate as Darlena to find out more about Red Magic.

The tension rises more as the life she once knew is taken away from her. Her parents are scared, her friends are misunderstanding, and a plethora of goddesses keep showing up,trying to convince her to use Red Magic their way, but leaving Darlena with more questions than answers. She is frightened and intrigued by the power that she wields, hoping to be able to do good for the world; not just destruction. Her journey for answers takes her farther than she realized she’d ever go.

Recommendation: Read

Image

Cheers!

Book Review: The Rithmatist (Rithmatist, #1)

Standard

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: YA

Summary: More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings — merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.

As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students study the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing — kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery — one that will change Rithmatics — and their world — forever.

Review: Brandon Sanderson is known for his world building, and he does not disappoint in his first YA novel! Sanderson is a master of pacing, so don’t be worried about getting overwhelmed in this world he has created. Sanderson slowly introduces readers to the world of Rithmatists, Rithamtics, and Chalklings. It’s a fun ride, with a murder-mystery intertwined as well!

Sanderson has added steampunk elements to the twenty-first century, along with a sort of magic. Rithmatists are able to draw–with chalk–cirlces, lines, and pictures that come to life. Wild chalkings are those chalk creatures that are untamed and are wreaking havoc on the United Isles. Oh yeah, Sanderson splits the States into Isles! 

Joel, a non-Rithmatist, is obsessed with Rithmatics and finds himself in the center of a murder-mystery invovling Rithmatist students from his school. Melody, a Rithmatist who’d rather being drawing unicorns, also finds herself in the center of things, alongside Joel.

This is the first novel in a new series, so the pacing is nice and slow. However, the tension is kept high with the disappearance of students and new teacher who stirs the campus into a frenzy.

Recommendation: Read!

Image

Cheers!

Book Review: The Program (The Program #1)

Standard

Author: Suzanne Young

Genre: YA

Summary: 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.

Review: Readers are immediately immersed into Sloane’s unraveling world. She has already lost her brother, her best friend, and now she’s facing another friend’s “illness” as well as her boyfriend, James’. He is the only thing she has left and would do anything for him. But she is forced to enter The Program soon after he is released, with no memory of her.

Young takes readers on a journey through The Program, which camoflage’s itself as therapy. Readers watch as Sloane goes through every important and special memory of James. Young keeps the pace a little slow, showing the exact effects of the pills Sloane is forced to take before and after therapy. She keeps the tension high as readers realize what’s happening before Sloane does.

In the end, there is an erie feeling, a sense of loss but also of hope that springs forth in the last few chapters.

Recommendation: Read!

Image

 

Cheers!

Book Review: Relativity

Standard

Author: Cristin Bishara

Genre: YA

Summary: If Ruby Wright could have her way, her dad would never have met and married her stepmother Willow, her best friend George would be more than a friend, and her mom would still be alive. Ruby knows wishes can’t come true; some things just can’t be undone. Then she discovers a tree in the middle of an Ohio cornfield with a wormhole to nine alternative realities. 

Suddenly, Ruby can access completely different realities, each containing variations of her life—if things had gone differently at key moments. The windshield wiper missing her mother’s throat…her big brother surviving his ill-fated birth…her father never having met Willow. Her ideal world—one with everything and everyone she wants most—could be within reach. But is there such a thing as a perfect world? What is Ruby willing to give up to find out?

Review: Bishara has done an excellent job intertwining science and YA! There is plenty of math and string theory in this book, but you never feel bogged down with information.

It’s a slightly heart-wrenching read, at least for me. Ruby is forced to move from her home and best friend, halfway across the US to live with a stepmother and stepsister (who makes it clear that she hates her). Ruby focuses on her loss. The loss of her mother at age four, the loss of her best friend (and love interest), the loss of everything she knows and loves. 

I’ve been there. I’m sure plenty of readers have, in some way or another. So what does Ruby do when she finds a way to jump planes of parallel universes? She searches for the perfect one, of course!

Bishara keeps the focus tight, which in turn keeps the tension high. The emotional arc is beautifully done, as is the characterization. This is a short read, but I felt connected with Ruby.

Recommendation: READ!!

Image

 

Cheers!

Book Review: The Book of Blood and Shadow

Standard

Author: Robin Wasserman

Genre: YA

Summary: It was like a nightmare, but there was no waking up.  When the night began, Nora had two best friends and an embarrassingly storybook one true love.  When it ended, she had nothing but blood on her hands and an echoing scream that stopped only when the tranquilizers pierced her veins and left her in the merciful dark. 

But the next morning, it was all still true: Chris was dead.  His girlfriend Adriane, Nora’s best friend, was catatonic. And Max, Nora’s sweet, smart, soft-spoken Prince Charming, was gone. He was also—according to the police, according to her parents, according to everyone—a murderer.

Desperate to prove his innocence, Nora follows the trail of blood, no matter where it leads. It ultimately brings her to the ancient streets of Prague, where she is drawn into a dark web of secret societies and shadowy conspirators, all driven by a mad desire to possess something that might not even exist. For buried in a centuries-old manuscript is the secret to ultimate knowledge and communion with the divine; it is said that he who controls the Lumen Dei controls the world. Unbeknownst to her, Nora now holds the crucial key to unlocking its secrets. Her night of blood is just one piece in a puzzle that spans continents and centuries. Solving it may be the only way she can save her own life.

Review: Robin Wasserman has written a wonderful stand alone book! There’s blood and love and an ancient mystery. What else could you ask for?

Her characters are unique, though spun from the normal archetypes. I loved that each character turned out to have a secret! (I refuse to be much more spoilery than that!)

I had the privilege of hearing her speak on a panel at AWP in Seattle last week. They were discussing creating a career in children’s and YA. This is not Wasserman’s first book (or second or third or tenth!) She has taken the time to hone her craft, and in this book, it shows.

The tension rises well as the action does. Nora’s emotional arc is slow, but forefront and is very authentic. My favorite craft element of this book though is the voice! Wasserman has created a wonderfully sarcastic, bright, and lovable main character with Nora.

Recommendation: READ!! 

Image

 

Cheers!