By Kasie West
Publication date: Feb. 12, 2013
HarperTeen, 343 pages
Source: From my friend April
Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .
Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.
— Goodreads.com description
I saw a flurry of people recommending Pivot Point to my friend Jamie on Facebook over Thanksgiving, which encouraged me to dig it out from my to-read pile. Man, why did I wait so long to read this book? It was so good!
Chapters flipflop between two realities for Addie after her parents’ divorce — one if she chooses to stay with her mom in her paranormal community and one if she chooses to stay with her dad in the “normal” world. The decision gets tougher and trickier as the chapters go on, and I loved the ambiguity of it all.
In the end, she makes a very rough choice and we’re all left DYING to get our hands on the sequel, Split Second which comes out in February. I cannot wait!
I loved the friendship and romance in this story, but mostly was intrigued by Addie’s strength and the paranormal elements at play. If you haven’t read this one yet, you’ll definitely want to pick it up before the sequel comes out.
Sean Griswold’s Head
By Lindsey Leavitt
Publication date: March 1, 2011
Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, 288 pages
According to her guidance counselor, fifteen-year-old Payton Gritas needs a focus object-an item to concentrate her emotions on. It’s supposed to be something inanimate, but Payton decides to use the thing she stares at during class: Sean Griswold’s head. They’ve been linked since third grade (Griswold-Gritas-it’s an alphabetical order thing), but she’s never really known him.
The focus object is intended to help Payton deal with her father’s newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis. And it’s working. With the help of her boy-crazy best friend Jac, Payton starts stalking-er, focusing on-Sean Griswold . . . all of him! He’s cute, he shares her Seinfeld obsession (nobody else gets it!) and he may have a secret or two of his own.
In this sweet story of first love, Lindsey Leavitt seamlessly balances heartfelt family moments, spot-on sarcastic humor, and a budding young romance.
— Goodreads.com description
How enjoyable is this book?!
Sean Griswold’s Head is one of those contemporary books that have issues, sure, but they are so easy-breezy to read. They don’t weigh on you – you look forward to picking them up, laughing a little, watching the main character mess up and then grow as a person. It’s just plain good stuff.
Payton’s reaction to her dad’s MS diagnosis was frustrating – she basically freaks and freezes him out – but I connected to that element of the story for some very personal reasons. Sean Griswold’s Head is a good book for any YA reader, but because it’s so light and non-preachy it’s particularly a must for any teens going through similar situations.
After this book and Going Vintage, I’m definitely a Lindsey Leavitt fan. Can’t wait to see what she’s up to next. Have you read either of her books? Did you feel the same? Let me know!
By Alexandra Bracken
Publication date: Oct. 15, 2013
Disney-Hyperion, 512 pages
The gripping and highly anticipated second installment in a dark YA trilogy about teens with dangerous powers on the run from the government.
Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.
When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children-and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts-has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future-and who now wouldn’t recognize her.
As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam-and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart-she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?
I’m a big fan of Alex Bracken’s in general and particularly enjoy the gritty, intense Darkest Minds series, so I was excited to pick up book two, Never Fade.
Only…I totally blanked on what happened at the end of The Darkest Minds.
Thankfully, I had a copy on hand and could reread the last few chapters. It helped MAJORLY, so if you have a copy around, I highly recommend doing the same to get back into the zone.
Once I got into Never Fade, there were a lot of highs and lows. Lows: My attention lagged in parts; I was ready to read ahead a bit. Highs: When the action came, it was CRAZY. Like, very emotionally charged. I feel so invested in these characters!
Anyway, that’s a typical reaction for me during the second book in a series, so I’m not too concerned. I’m ready for the third and final book!
Have you read this one? What do you think? If you haven’t read it yet, now is your chance. Enter below to win a copy of the book, plus a fun t-shirt!
By A.C. Gaughen
Publication date: Feb. 14, 2012
Walker Childrens, 292 pages
Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.
Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.
It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.
— Goodreads.com description
I liked A.C. Gaughen’s Scarlet so much, I didn’t want it to end.
A little romance. A lot of adventure. Girls disguised as boys. People fighting for the underdogs. A fresh take on a classic story (Robin Hood!). OMG I can’t even. I love it all.
If you like any of the above, read this book. My only solace is that there’s a sequel out in February, Lady Thief.
Now, can anyone suggest other fresh takes on fairytales/classic stories? Off the top of my head there’s Marissa Meyer’s Cinder series, Meg Cabot’s Avalon High and Jessica Day-George’s Princess of the Midnight Ball series. I’ve never read the Alex Flinn books or Gail Carson Levine’s books. Should I? I tried to read Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce once, but didn’t care for it. Suggestions welcome!
For now, if you’ve already read this one, check out the sneak peek of the first few pages of the sequel!
The Beginning of Everything
By Robyn Schneider
Publication date: Aug. 27, 2013
Katherine Tegen, 335 pages
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.
No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.
But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?
Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.
— Goodreads.com description
Hmm. Something about this book didn’t work for me, but I’m not sure what. And that really befuddles me because I know many other people liked it.
It felt very John Green-esque in terms of a lot of banter/flirting/smartness. But instead of feeling cute/smart, it felt like it was trying too hard. I never fell in love with any of the characters, and I wasn’t crazy about the romance. Perhaps because it felt like something I’d read before?
That being said, if you’ve loved this type of story in the past (male point of view, boy meets girl but loses her and wallows in his heartbreak, etc.) and are a bit more open than I was to a new iteration of it, you might have a completely opposite reaction.
Puzzling! What do you think? Will you give it a go? Have you read it and, if so, thoughts?