Mon, March 31, 2014

Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About It book cover

Don't Even Think About It book cover

Don’t Even Think About It
By Sarah Mlynowski
Publication date: March 11, 2014
Delacorte Press, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

Contemporary teen fiction with romance, secrets, scandals, and ESP from the author of Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn’t Have).

We weren’t always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn’t expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we’ve kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what’s coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.
So stop obsessing about your ex. We’re always listening.

— Goodreads.com description

Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski was super enjoyable: fun, quick and lighthearted but surprisingly thought-provoking.

I can’t think of any other book told in first-person plural, and I loved how different it made the storytelling. The book follows a group of teenagers with ESP, and because they know ALL of each others’ thoughts, they tell the story together. How smart! I usually hate multiple points of view, but this twist was so clever I couldn’t help but like it.

Fair warning: This one definitely skews a little young/predictable (perfect for middle schoolers reading up or early high school, for sure). But Sarah Mlynowski is sooooo funny that it still worked for grownup me. For something quick and easy but still unique, check this one out — especially if you fit into the REALLY A TEEN age group.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: friendship, paranormal, sarah mlynowski
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Thu, February 20, 2014

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi Review

Ignite Me book cover

Ignite Me book cover

Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3)
By Tahereh Mafi
Publication date: Feb. 4, 2014
HarperCollins, 416 pages
Source: Bought on my Kindle

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she’ll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew – about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam – was wrong.

— Goodreads.com description

I think Tahereh Mafi is a brilliant writer — her writing style is incredibly fresh and gorgeous.

And, beyond that, I think she’s a lovely person. I was lucky enough to go to lunch with her once when Shatter Me first came out, and she was a delight.

So it’s from a place of love that I say this: HOLY COW, TAHEREH, YOUR CHARACTERS INFURIATE ME.

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

As Juliette falls deeper and deeper for Warner, she becomes less of the Juliette we first met. And I think that’s good in theory — she was a hot mess when we first met her. But what we got here was such a total character 180 it gave me whiplash.

As a reader, I couldn’t keep up as everything that enraged me in the first few books (about Warner, about society, about so many things) was just — poof — written off. I mean, kudos to Juliette for moving on faster than I could, but it was hard for me to process. Her quick forgiveness and acceptance of Warner appalled me.

And while I think we were supposed to be pissed off by Adam…I was really rooting for him. Every single word out of his mouth was exactly what was running through my mind as I read. It was harsh, yeah, but it felt like Juliette was breaking up both him and me! Or, maybe, I was just starting to realize that who I thought she was as a main character in the first two books was phony baloney. So I was cheering him on, like, “Yeah, bro, you tell her what’s up!”

Then the ending felt rushed and I just…blah. I’m not even sure I’m Team Kenji anymore. Team No One.

Okay, clearly I’m feeling a little bitter. Truly, I feel like I’ve been dumped by this book!!!

What’s hilarious is that anyone who was even SLIGHTLY into Warner in book two is going to have a totally different reaction. And that this can’t even be a negative review because Tahereh clearly knew at least a quarter of her readers would feel this way, so it’s like: That thing you wrote knowing it would drive me nuts? You did it. And I hated it, but you succeeded at making me feel that way, so good job.

Either way, I’m very much looking forward to whatever Tahereh has in store for us next. Have you guys read it yet? Thoughts? Do I even want to know, or are you going to be all Team Satan and upset me? HAHAH. Kidding. Sort of.

Previous reviews: Shatter Me | Unravel Me

Anna Reads young adult book blog

PS: Is this the longest review I’ve ever written? Was this rant even readable?

Posted by: Anna   •   In: paranormal, tahereh mafi
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Mon, December 16, 2013

Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard Review

Something Strange and Deadly book cover

Something Strange and Deadly book cover

Something Strange and Deadly (Something Strange and Deadly #1)
By Susan Dennard
Publication date: July 24, 2012
HarperTeen, 388 pages
Source: Publisher

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.

— Goodreads.com description

Ooh, I waited far too long to read this one!

The title and look of the cover made me think it was steampunk, which turned me off. But it isn’t quite — phew. But I guess there’s still something about the Victorian era that just doesn’t do it for me. Not sure why those genres don’t interest me — I’ve tried to pinpoint it, but can’t!

Still, I totally devoured Something Strange and Deadly and its sequel, A Darkness Strange and Lovely, back-to-back in just a few sittings.

The action was intense, the plot twists interesting and the grittiness of it all quite fun (it is a zombie story, after all).

I enjoyed it, and definitely look forward to the third in the series, Strange and Ever After, coming out next summer. Susan Dennard’s writing impressed me!

Again, the setting just isn’t my jam, so it wasn’t a favorite, but for those of you who gobble that up in your YA, you should definitely check it out.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: family, paranormal, romance, susan dennard, zombies
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Wed, December 11, 2013

Pivot Point by Kasie West Review

Pivot Point book cover

Pivot Point book cover

Pivot Point
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.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: family, friendship, paranormal, romance
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Mon, December 2, 2013

Spoiler-Free Review of The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

The Fiery Heart book cover

The Fiery Heart book cover

The Fiery Heart (Bloodlines #4)
By Richelle Mead
Publication date: Nov. 19, 2013
Razorbill, 438 pages
Source: Purchased for myself!

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this thrilling fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

— Goodreads.com description

I kept delaying my trip to the bookstore to pick up The Fiery Heart because I didn’t want it to be over too quickly. That fear was totally founded: I plowed through it in a day and the painful wait for Silver Shadows, book number 5 in the Bloodlines series, is already on. Is it July 2014 yet?!

I was someone who once judged these books by their names and covers, but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: The Vampire Academy/Bloodline books are some of the most engaging, suspenseful and emotionally charged young adult novels I’ve read.

In The Fiery Heart Adrian and Sydney are as compelling as ever — as are the friendly faces of the full returning cast of characters, from Rose and Dmitri to all our new Bloodlines friends.

I’m going to keep this review spoiler-free for those who haven’t read it yet, but I will say it reminded me of Blood Promise. Richelle Mead knows how to rock a fourth book in a series, you guys. This one slayed me: both because of the depth of emotion it made me feel and the turning point it presented in the series.

Page 301: It started out a little cheesy (hey, it IS a Vampire Academy book), but quickly became one of the most meaningful scenes I’ve read in a long time.

Page 412: GOOSEBUMPS UP AND DOWN MY ARMS.

I know I’ve gotten a little rave-y over these books, but stick in my mind days, weeks, months after I’ve finished them. So amazing.

For those new to the series, my previous reviews (all spoiler-free): Bloodlines | The Golden Lily | The Indigo Spell

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: paranormal, richelle mead, romance, vampires
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