Thu, September 4, 2014

The Jewel by Amy Ewing Review

The Jewel book cover

The Jewel book cover

The Jewel
By Amy Ewing
Publication date: Sept. 2, 2014
HarperTeen, 358 pages
Source: Publisher

The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

— Goodreads.com description

BOOK MATH! The Jewel = The Winner’s Curse (slavery) + Eve (girls forced into surrogacy) + The Selection (really wonky social classes).

Things sort of evened out for me on The Jewel in terms of things I liked I things I didn’t. Let’s break it down…

Things I liked:
– Forbidden loooove
– Annabelle and Raven are AMAZING female friends to Violet

Things I didn’t like:
– Instalove
– Too many evil people! So depressing and scary!

The tie-breaker? A big-ole cliffie that recaptured my interest! Which I think pushed me over to the side of “liked it.” What about you? Do you like any of the books in my “book math”? Will you read this one?

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: amy ewing, dystopian, friendship, romance
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Wed, August 6, 2014

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg Review

he Lonely Hearts Club book cover

he Lonely Hearts Club book cover

The Lonely Hearts Club
By Elizabeth Eulberg
Publication date: Jan. 1, 2010
Point, 290 pages
Source: From my friend Melanie ages ago and finally reading now! <3

Love is all you need… or is it? Penny’s about to find out in this wonderful debut.

Penny is sick of boys and sick of dating. So she vows: no more. It’s a personal choice. . .and, of course, soon everyone wants to know about it. And a few other girls are inspired. A movement is born: The Lonely Hearts Club (named after the band from Sgt. Pepper). Penny is suddenly known for her nondating ways . . . which is too bad, because there’s this certain boy she can’t help but like. . . .

— Goodreads.com description

Well, I couldn’t keep all of the characters straight to save my life…but The Lonely Hearts Club was so cute that it didn’t overrule my opinion of this great, realistic read.

I loved the girl power message — ladies, you don’t need a man to be happy! I loved to see Penny and her friends come together, to pursue their own interests, to build supportive female friendships and realize that not all men are actually scum! Ha!

Very cute, especially for younger YA readers. Glad a sequel (We Can Work It Out) is coming out in January 2015!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Read my reviews of other Elizabeth Eulberg books here: Prom & Prejudice, Take a Bow and Better Off Friends.

Posted by: Anna   •   In: elizabeth eulberg, friendship
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Mon, August 4, 2014

The Bridge from Me to You by Lisa Schroeder Review

The Bridge from Me to You book cover

The Bridge from Me to You book cover

The Bridge from Me to You
By Lisa Schroeder
Publication date: July 29, 2014
Point, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

Lauren has a secret. Colby has a problem. But when they find each other, everything falls into place.

Lauren is the new girl in town with a dark secret. Colby is the football hero with a dream of something more. In alternating chapters, they come together, fall apart, and build something stronger than either of them thought possible–something to truly believe in.

— Goodreads.com description

What I love most about Lisa Schroeder’s books is how wonderfully READABLE they are. Her verse is beautifully written but not overwrought and I just seem to breeze through them.

The Bridge from Me to You was a wonderful book that kept me just enough in the dark about Lauren’s past to be intrigued but not annoyed. I loved Colby’s friendship with Benny and loved Lauren’s extended family — her aunt and uncle and cousins were all so sweet.

The romance was adorable — though Lauren and Colby have an instant attraction, they get to know each other as friends before they take it to the romantic level. It built and it grew until I was really rooting for them.

The character growth is definitely my favorite part of The Bridge from Me to You. Lauren and Colby learn to believe in themselves and follow their hearts in this story, and you can’t help but love that in a good YA. Definitely, definitely, recommended.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: family, friendship, lisa schroeder, romance, Uncategorized, verse
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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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Tue, July 1, 2014

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern Review

Say What You Will book cover

Say What You Will book cover

Say What You Will
By Cammie McGovern
Publication date: June 3, 2014
HarperTeen, 352 pages
Source: Publisher

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars meets Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park in this beautifully written, incredibly honest, and emotionally poignant novel. Cammie McGovern’s insightful young adult debut is a heartfelt and heartbreaking story about how we can all feel lost until we find someone who loves us because of our faults, not in spite of them.

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can’t walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other’s lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

— Goodreads.com description

For the most part, I liked Say What You Will. It was quite heartbreaking and insightful.

It’s about the friendship and love story between Amy, who has cerebral palsy, and Matthew, who has OCD.

In the sense that this is a story about two people who equally help and hurt each other…I could see the Eleanor & Park reference. Much of the book has that quirky vibe I tend to love. But my feelings are muddled because the latter half of the book took a dramatic, soap opera-y turn that threw me off bigtime. Things just spiraled a little TOO out of control and took me outside of the realm of believability.

That being said: I loved the insight Say What You Will gave me, as a reader, into Amy’s and Matthew’s medical conditions. I liked being inside their heads and seeing how their bodies’ betrayals have impacted their lives. Even more than that, I loved realizing that their ailments aren’t anywhere close to the most interesting things about them.

I’d be curious what people who have dealt with these issues think about the book — I don’t have a close connection to either OCD or cerebral palsy, so I’d be curious to read a review from someone who does!

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, romance
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