Thu, July 24, 2014

Dissonance by Erica O’Rourke Review

Dissonance book cover

Dissonance book cover

Dissonance
By Erica O’Rourke
Publication date: July 22, 2014
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 496 pages
Source: Publisher

Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.

— Goodreads.com description

Dissonance is set in Chicago, which I loved (in one scene, the characters even walk by my office). And the concept is great — it sort of reminded me of Pivot Point by Kasie West. Del’s part of a special group of people who can walk through the multiverse, follow alternative realities that pop up based on the decisions people make.

It was a long book (nearly 500 pages!), but I made it through with no problems and will absolutely read more of the series.

But, and this is a big “but” for me, I think I was a little too slow on the pickup of certain plot points. The science behind the multiverse concept was tricky, and I never quite followed along. Honestly, it made me feel a little stupid as I struggled to keep up.

So, not a total win and “OMG WOW” reading experience, but like I said: It piqued my interest enough that I’d absolutely try the second book.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: For those who read it…my notes say “Addie & Monty intrigued, gay thing?” What the heck was I talking about?!?! Must’ve been a typo?

Posted by: Anna   •   In: erica o'rourke, family, paranormal
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Wed, July 9, 2014

On the Fence by Kasie West Review

On the Fence book cover

On the Fence book cover

On the Fence
By Kasie West
Publication date: July 1, 2014
HarperTeen, 320 pages
Source: Publisher

She’s a tomboy. He’s the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she’s got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she’s falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.

— Goodreads.com description

I’m a sucker for romance.

SHOCKER!!!

You probably know that if you’ve read, like, ANY post on this blog.

Anyway, I’m a sucker for romance, which is why I love Kasie West for her lovely YA stories.

For On the Fence specifically: Did I see a lot of the plot coming? Yeah. Did I care? Not too much.

I liked that Charlie is not traditionally girly and that that’s presented as totally okay. But when she does start to slowly embrace female friendships and girlish clothes…that’s okay too.

I liked her brothers. They certainly made some questionable decisions, but overall they were close-knit and loving, which I loved to see.

So. Plenty to like here, though it’s not my favorite from West so far (read my reviews of The Distance Between Us and Pivot Point). On the Fence is a book I just really enjoyed reading, and I hope you will, too!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: family, friendship, kasie west, romance
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Mon, July 7, 2014

Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker Review

Wildflower book cover

Wildflower book cover

Wildflower
By Alecia Whitaker
Publication date: July 1, 2014
Poppy, 320 pages
Source: Publisher

The best songs come from broken hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family’s bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennesee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.

Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She’s even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird’s star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?

In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice.

— Goodreads.com description

Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker is perfect for fans of Open Road Summer by Emery Lord or Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols.

That is to say: If you like music and Nashville and country in your books, you’ll want to read this.

Personally, I love those things in books so it was up my alley. Plus, there were tons of interesting family dynamics that really caught my interest.

Still, I do have to say the ending was too abruptly tied up for me and got me thinking that maybe I was more attached to the setting and music aspects of the story than to the characters themselves.

Excellent bonus factor: I hear the finished version includes the sheet music to Bird’s song. How fun is that?!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: alecia whitaker, family, music
2

Thu, June 26, 2014

Second Star by Alyssa B. Sheinmel Review

Second Star book cover

Second Star book cover

Second Star
By Alyssa B. Sheinmel
Publication date: May 13, 2014
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 248 pages
Source: Publisher

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers. Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward Pete’s nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she’s falling hard for Pete. A radical reinvention of a classic, Second Star is an irresistible summer romance about two young men who have yet to grow up–and the troubled beauty trapped between them.

— Goodreads.com description

The feelings I got when I read Second Star certainly matched its oceanside, surfer setting. As a reader, I felt like I was caught in a wave, forced underwater, not knowing which way was up.

What is true? What is real? What is happening here?!

Yup, we’ve got a potentially unreliable narrator in Wendy, which made the vibe of the book very disturbing, mysterious and, well, trippy.

I guess I’d compare it to the feeling I got when I read The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, though I didn’t exactly like that story. Maybe it’s something to do with my love of surfer books (aka Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar) but it worked better for me here.

My problem with the book was more related to the Peter Pan references. I mean, clearly it’s a take on the classic: Her name is Wendy Darling, for goodness’ sake. But it was a little too vague of a reference for me; I almost wish the author had left it out altogether and just said Peter Pan “inspired” her rather than using the names so literally. I found it distracting!

A mixed bag for me, I guess. Has anyone else read this one?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: alyssa b sheinmel, drugs, family, Uncategorized
5

Thu, May 29, 2014

Take Me On by Katie McGarry Review

Take Me On book cover

Take Me On book cover

Take Me On
By Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits #4)
Publication date: May 27, 2014
Harlequin Teen, 544 pages
Source: Publisher

Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

Champion kickboxer Haley swore she’d never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can’t stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she’d stay away from. Yet he won’t last five seconds in the ring without her help.

West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it’s his fault his family is falling apart. He can’t change the past, but maybe he can change Haley’s future.

Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they’ll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.

— Goodreads.com description

If you like your plots gritty, your romances steamy and your characters all sorts of flawed…WHY HAVEN’T YOU READ THIS SERIES YET?

I’ve said it before and I’ve said it again: What I like most about Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits series is that book after book she surprises me. They’re all entertaining stories by themselves, but what wows me is the seeing characters I either disliked or dismissed in one book take the lead in the next. McGarry totally upturns everything I thought I knew about them!

I didn’t think much of West in the last book, but I loved his strength and loyalty in Take Me On. And Haley! What a kick butt girl. She’s equal parts strong and vulnerable and I loved her sportiness.

I also totally forgot how Crash Into You ended in a cliffie. AHHH! Loved seeing the resolution there — and it didn’t take me long at all to get caught back up to speed.

If you started this series, please continue. If you haven’t yet, give it a try when you’re in the mood for something YA that still feels a little NA. Think Simone Elkeles!

My previous reviews in the series:
Pushing the Limits
Dare You To
Crash Into You

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: abuse, family, katie mcgarry, romance
4