By Fiona Wood
Publication date: Sept. 16, 2014
Poppy, 400 pages
During a semester in the wilderness, sixteen-year-old Sib expects the tough outdoor education program and the horrors of dorm life, but friendship drama and an unexpected romance with popular Ben Capaldi? That will take some navigating.
New girl Lou has zero interest in fitting in, or joining in. Still reeling from a loss that occurred almost a year ago, she just wants to be left alone. But as she witnesses a betrayal unfolding around Sib and her best friend Holly, Lou can’t help but be drawn back into the land of the living.
Fans of Melina Marchetta, Rainbow Rowell, and E. Lockhart will adore this endearing and poignant story of first love, true friendship, and going a little bit wild.
— Goodreads.com description
My thoughts on this one are all over the place, so I’ll just lay ‘em out for you:
– Fiona Wood knows some really big words that I don’t know; or maybe it’s just an Aussie thing?
– Love love love Michael and Sib and Lou — some brilliant secondary characters here.
– But also some brilliantly HORRIBLE characters; Holly is the worst. HATE HATE HATE. So hard to read this bullying and justification and nastiness from supposed friends. At the same time, who can’t relate?
– This book makes me want to go hiking.
– My galley eBook copy didn’t have formatting to help me see there were two points of view…which really messed things up for me. Wildlife got off to a crazy slow start for me because I had to go back and reread after I worked out the two narrators a few chapters in.
– This cover is to die for.
So, really a formatting thing that made this a toughie for me. Plus, it hit a little close to home on the toxic friendship thing. Been there, done that. But it was brilliantly portrayed and the setting was lovely. Pros and cons!
By Anna Carey
Publication date: Sept. 16, 2014
HarperTeen, 256 pages
This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.
A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.
On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.
The Maze Runner series meets Code Name Verity, Blackbird is relentless and action-packed, filled with surprising twists.
— Goodreads.com description
Okay, WHAAAT?! This book is written in second person. You guys, who even does that?
ANNA CAREY, that’s who.
And it is fab fab fabulous.
I don’t think I’ve read a book written in second person (for those who don’t remember their elementary school English lessons, this is when it’s told in “you do this, you do that” etc.) since Choose Your Own Adventure books as a kid. But it works so perfectly here in that YOU are doing every action. YOU are running for your life. YOU are confused. YOU don’t know your own backstory.
It helps the reader put themselves in the main character’s shoes and really ups the ante on the thriller aspects of this story.
Bonus points: It’s a duology. I’m into that. Not EVERYTHING has to be a trilogy, you guys. The one detractor? CLIFFIE ALERT. Sigh. Bring on book two!
Two lovely readers let me know that comments weren’t working over the weekend so they couldn’t enter contests. AHHHH!
Turns out, I’d updated some widgets on the blog that got things all funky. I think it’s fixed now, but thank you so much to those of you who let me know. Give me a shout if you ever notice something weird like this again — it’s a HUGE help to me. Especially in this case because I THRIVE on your comments.
Meanwhile, I’ve had a crazy weekend but am going to rest the rest of the day. Phew. Hope you’re having a beautiful Sunday!
PS: I did get to wake up and read in bed a bit yesterday morning to this gorgeous view of the sunrise out my window! Thought you guys would appreciate:
By Ally Condie
Publication date: Oct. 28, 2014
Dutton Children’s, 368 pages
Can you hear Atlantia breathing?
For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.
Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.
— Goodreads.com description
Atlantia, the latest from the author of the Matched series, kicks off with a heavy dose of it when Rio’s twin sister, Bay, unexpectedly chooses to live in the Above (on land), separating them forever.
You see, Rio lives Below aka below land aka an underwater city aka MY CHILDHOOD DREAM. If you only knew how often I daydreamed about this as a kid…
Anyway, immediately you want to dig into this book and uncover all of the secrets of the Below and of Rio’s family, which was a great feeling.
I also adored how Rio’s loneliness really matched the setting’s deep, dark depths — there was a really cool sense of pressure as you read. Oh, and there’s witches and romance and lots of other good stuff.
And another nice thing about this is that it’s NOT a series (at least, as far as I can tell). I know, what? Who does that these days?
On the downside…it’s not a series. By that, I mean it was wrapped up a little too quickly and with too much prothletising and “here is the moral” for my tastes.
Overall, though, I thought it was creative and a good read. And, in the end, I am sooo #TeamAbove. An underwater city is awesome, sure, but ewwwww sea creatures and dampness. No, thank you. Blech.
Alexandra Bracken’s conclusion to The Darkest Minds series, In the Afterlight, is in stores Oct. 28 and I cannot wait! To get everyone ready for the finale — and to celebrate the release of the eBook novellas in the series — there are 50 giveaways going on across the book blogosphere and I have a GREAT one. Each is themed on one of the Psi-groups in the book, and mine is Orange, aka Mind Control.
Read on for more info on the series and enter to win. Good luck!
ABOUT IN THE AFTERLIGHT
Ruby can’t look back. Fractured by an unbearable loss, she and the kids who survived the government’s attack on Los Angeles travel north to regroup. Only Ruby can keep their highly dangerous prisoner in check. But with Clancy Gray, there’s no guarantee you’re fully in control, and everything comes with a price.
When the Children’s League disbands, Ruby rises up as a leader and forms an unlikely allegiance with Liam’s brother, Cole, who has a volatile secret of his own. There are still thousands of other Psi kids suffering in government “rehabilitation camps” all over the country. Freeing them–revealing the governments unspeakable abuses in the process–is the mission Ruby has claimed since her own escape from Thurmond, the worst camp in the country.
But not everyone is supportive of the plan Ruby and Cole craft to free the camps. As tensions rise, competing ideals threaten the mission to uncover the cause of IANN, the disease that killed most of America’s children and left Ruby and others with powers the government will kill to keep contained. With the fate of a generation in their hands, there is no room for error. One wrong move could be the spark that sets the world on fire.
ABOUT SPARKS RISE (The Darkest Minds: 2.5 e-Book release)
Available online Sept. 2, 2014
This new eBook novella connects the last two novels in The Darkest Minds trilogy.
Sam didn’t think things could get worse at Thurmand rehabilitation camp. Then the Reds arrive. Everyone assumed the kids with firepower had been killed years ago. Instead they were taken away, brainwashed, and returned as terrifyingly effective guards. To her horror, Sam recognizes one of them: Lucas, the one spark of light in Sam’s dark childhood.
Lucas has a deadly secret–he beat the brutal training that turned his fellow Reds into mindless drones. When Sam defends herself against an attack by a vile PSF guard and faces a harrowing punishment, Lucas must risk his everything to save her.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Alexandra Bracken was born and raised in Arizona, but moved east to study at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. She recently relocated to New York City, where she worked in publishing and lives in a charming apartment overflowing with books.
Visit Alexandra online at www.alexandrabracken.com
Follow Alexandra on Twitter & Instagram
Like Alexandra on Facebook
Follow Alexandra on Tumblr
Visit Hyperion Teens at the Official Site & on Twitter
ORANGE PSI PRIZE PACK (MIND CONTROL)
Keep track of your memories! Enter for your chance to win a tripod and telephoto lens for your camera-phone plus The Darkest Minds series & tote bag. Prizing & samples courtesy of Disney-Hyperion. Giveaway open to U.S. addresses only.