Monthly Archives: January 2015

Vivian Apple at the End of the World

Vivian Apple at the End of the World Book Cover Vivian Apple at the End of the World
Vivian Apple, Book 1
Katie Coyle
HMH Books for Young Readers
January 6, 2015

Seventeen-year-old Vivian Apple never believed in the evangelical Church of America, unlike her recently devout parents. But when Vivian returns home the night after the supposed "Rapture," all that’s left of her parents are two holes in the roof. Suddenly, she doesn't know who or what to believe. With her best friend Harp and a mysterious ally, Peter, Vivian embarks on a desperate cross-country roadtrip through a paranoid and panic-stricken America to find answers. Because at the end of the world, Vivan Apple isn't looking for a savior. She's looking for the truth.



The summary for “Vivian Apple at the End of the World”, while intriguing, sells the book far short.  So much more occurs within different contexts during the course of the book.  It is a contemporary romance, mystery, dystopia, and horror story all mixed into one good book.

The subject matter can be controversial, as organized religion is not exactly lauded, but I believe readers should look at it as satire.  It brings up very important questions that are important that we all ask ourselves in a way that is very palatable for teenaged readers.  What do we believe?  What is important to us?  Should we follow the crowd or go against the pressure of society?  Is everything we are taught true?

The plot flows quickly, but not too quickly, and is anything but predictable.  The characters are well-developed and there is a tongue-in-cheek humor that left me laughing out loud several times.  Not to be ignored is the romance between Vivian and Peter.  It is refreshingly devoid of “instalove” and develops in a way which is believable under the circumstances.  That is always something worth noting in a young adult book.

I recommend it for teenagers and adults who enjoy a good satire that makes them think closely about religion and society, though it may be offensive to those with certain religious beliefs.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Underage Drinking and Drug Use, Violence.

Stone Faced Angel

Stone Faced Angel Book Cover Stone Faced Angel
The Stone Angels Saga, Book 1
Marie McKean
February 1, 2015

There are some things I know for sure:

I died . . . A long time ago
Even in death I was always aware of him.
Love has a way of making even angels choose to leave their heaven above.



If I could give half stars, “Stone Faced Angel” would get 3 1/2.

The story of an angel coming to earth looking for love is definitely an intriguing plot, and it did deliver in moments.  As is too often not the case, there was an actual love interest that is a good example of what to look for in a partner as opposed to being obnoxious and overbearing.  The love story moved too quickly in my opinion, but it was not unrealistic enough to distract from the romance.

The main problem with the book is the pacing.  The beginning seemed to be from an entirely different novel, then it sped up, then slowed down again.  I would have preferred it to be more consistent, settling into a happy medium.  At times things became a little too unrealistic, but overall it was a sweet story.

I would recommend “Stone Faced Angel” to those who are fans of “Fallen Angel” type stories and those who enjoy fantasies between this world and the next.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations

The Here and Now

The Here and Now Book Cover The Here and Now
Ann Brashares
Juvenile Fiction
Delacorte Press

Seventeen-year-old Prenna, an immigrant who moved to New York when she was twelve, came from another time and she and the other travelers must follow strict rules to avoid destroying the new life they have worked so hard to get, as well as the one personPrenna is desperate to protect.



I don’t know whether I had high expectations because I loved “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” so much, or whether it was the book itself, but I found “The Here and Now” to be underwhelming.

The premise is original, and there is no real fault in the storytelling, but it seems like it would have been more suited to a short story.  There was quite a bit of filler in regard to the plot and the romance felt sudden, jarring, and forced.  The only character that seemed to be fully developed was the protagonist.

All of those being said, while there are sexual situations, it is a very easy and quick read that can easily appeal to younger middle readers.  In spite of there being plot filler, it does flow well, and it is technically well-written.

I would recommend it for the younger set, but not for older young adults or adults.

This review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Mild Language, Brief Sexual Situations, Violence

Since You’ve Been Gone

Since You've Been Gone Book Cover Since You've Been Gone
Mary Jennifer Payne
Juvenile Fiction
Dundurn PressLtd

On the run from her abusive father, fifteen-year-old Edie Fraser and her mother flee to London, England for a fresh start. But one day, Edie's mom doesn't come home from work. Afraid to phone the police and risk being returned to her father, Edie begins a desperate search for her mother, and finds an unlikely ally along the way.



“Since You’ve Been Gone” was a very difficult book to rate.  It tackles some very difficult subjects, including domestic violence and racism.  To be honest, I had no idea how rampant racism was in Great Britain until reading this novel, and the valuable education alone raised it from two stars to three.  I’d like to thank the author,  Mary Jennifer Payne, for making me more aware.

The problem with the book was not the plot but the pacing.  It all seemed very rushed from one event to the next in a way that did not allow the reader to gain much understanding of each situation.  It would have been much better had there been more details offered, even though it would have significantly increased the length.  A story about such heavy topics deserves to be fully explored.

There were also a large amount of secondary characters that were completely unnecessary.  They presented conflicts that had no resolution in some cases, and in others they just served to muddle the story.  One character in particular did nothing for me but make me have an intense dislike of Edie, the protagonist.

It was not terrible, and I can neither recommend nor say it is to be avoided.

This book is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Content Warning:

Language, Brief Sexual Situations, Violence, Domestic Violence