Tag Archives: review

The List

The List Book Cover The List
Patricia Forde
Juvenile Fiction
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
August 1, 2017
384

Farenheit 451 meets The Giver in this gripping story about the power of words and the dangers of censorship In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world.On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark's citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it's up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.

 

Review:

“The List” is a middle grade dystopia with a good premise: words are dangerous and by limiting them you can control how people spread ideas.  The city of Ark has 250 approved words, and it is up to Letta to keep the meanings of the others.  The problem is that the narrative is muddled and slow because so many other issues are tackled but not given any depth.  Everything from religion to the environment to prisoner’s rights are thrown in and it keeps the story from flowing well.  I would stick with “The Giver” when it comes to middle graders.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Violence

Emma in the Night

Emma in the Night Book Cover Emma in the Night
Wendy Walker
Fiction
August 8, 2017
320

"Both twisted and twisty, this smart psychological thriller sets a new standard for unreliable narrators." –Booklist, Starred Review One night three years ago, the Tanner sisters disappeared: fifteen-year-old Cass and seventeen-year-old Emma. Three years later, Cass returns, without her sister Emma. Her story is one of kidnapping and betrayal, of a mysterious island where the two were held. But to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Winter, something doesn't add up. Looking deep within this dysfunctional family Dr. Winter uncovers a life where boundaries were violated and a narcissistic parent held sway. And where one sister's return might just be the beginning of the crime.

 

Review:

“Emma in the Night” is a taut psychological thriller that kept me reading from start to finish without putting it down.  Not only did I keep second-guessing my theories,  I kept feeling ill-at-ease in my own home.  It’s difficult to say much more than the book synopsis because to spoil it even a little would take away from the fun.  If you like thriller mysteries, you will probably enjoy this.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Mask of Shadows

Mask of Shadows Book Cover Mask of Shadows
Linsey Miller
Young Adult Fiction
Sourcebooks Fire
September 1, 2017
384

Perfect for fantasy fans of Sarah J. Maas and Leigh Bardugo, the first book in this new duology features a compelling gender fluid main character, impressive worldbuilding, and fast-paced action. Sallot Leon is a thief, and a good one at that. But gender fluid Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class—and the nobles who destroyed their home. When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand—the Queen's personal assassins, named after the rings she wears—Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge. But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive.

 

Review:

“Mask of Shadows” is another diverse book in the young adult category, and I am thrilled to see more representation.  Sal, the main character, is gender fluid.  Unfortunately, the book seemed to drag in quite a few places.  The plot is good.  It is the execution I found lacking.  That being said, it will still appeal to many readers and there is a lot of promise that the next book in the series will improve. I have my fingers crossed.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

How to Make a Wish

How to Make a Wish Book Cover How to Make a Wish
Ashley Herring Blake
Hmh Books for Young Readers
May 2, 2017
336

Grace, tough and wise, has nearly given up on wishes, thanks to a childhood spent with her unpredictable, larger-than-life mother. But this summer, Grace meets Eva, a girl who believes in dreams, despite her own difficult circumstances. One fateful evening, Eva climbs through a window in Grace's room, setting off a chain of stolen nights on the beach. When Eva tells Grace that she likes girls, Grace's world opens up and she begins to believe in happiness again. How to Make a Wish is an emotionally charged portrait of a mother and daughter's relationship and a heartfelt story about two girls who find each other at the exact right time.

 

Review:

“How to Make a Wish” is the rare sort of young adult romance that tackles the difficulties of growing up in a dysfunctional family and first love without being melodramatic.  The situations feel awful and real, but not hopeless.  It also has a beautifully executed romance between two girls that places it in the top-tier of books featuring lgbt main characters.  Recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Park Bench

Park Bench Book Cover Park Bench
Christophe Chabouté
Comics & Graphic Novels
Gallery 13
September 19, 2017
336

With his masterful illustration style, bestselling French creator-storyteller Chabouté (Alone, Moby-Dick) explores community through a common, often ignored object: the park bench. From its creation, to its witness to the fresh ardor of lovers, the drudgery of businessmen, the various hopes of the many who enter its orbit, the park bench weathers all seasons. Strangers meet at it for the first time. Paramours carve their initials into it. Old friends sit and chat upon it for hours. Others ignore the bench, or (attempt to) sleep on it at night, or simply anchor themselves on it and absorb the ebb and flow of the area and its people. Christophe Chabouté’s mastery of the visual medium turns this simple object into a thought-provoking and gorgeously wrought meditation on time, desire, and the life of communities all across the planet. This could be a bench in my hometown or yours—the people in this little drama are very much those we already recognize.

 

Review:

With the only words in “Park Bench” being book titles and scribbles on the bench, it is the purest form of a graphic novel.  I can’t even begin to describe how beautiful this book is.  No words could do it justice.  I laughed and I cried and I felt despair for the human race and hope for the human race and etc.  I can’t recommend this enough.  It is truly something you will never forget.  If only there were 100 star ratings.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

Zero Repeat Forever (Nahx Invasions, Book 1)

Zero Repeat Forever Book Cover Zero Repeat Forever
Nahx Invasions, Book 1
G. S. Prendergast
Young Adult Fiction
Simon and Schuster
August 29, 2017
496

Sixteen year-old Raven, injured and still grieving over her boyfriend's death by the invading Nahx, crosses paths with Eighth, a Nyx warrior who has deserted his unit and abandoned his directives, and as the world falls apart around them, the two learn to trust each other in order to survive.

 

Review:

I really wanted to like “Zero Repeat Forever.”  It has so much that I love: aliens, survivalism, nightmare-inducing scenarios.  Unfortunately, it fell very flat.  The chapters featuring Raven seemed to drag on in an effort to make the “forever” in the title seem literal.  I also did not find her character likable at all.  The only redeeming parts of the book were Eighth and diversity.  I can’t recommend it to even the biggest of alien invasion fans.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence, Underage Drug and Alcohol Use

Omega (Infinity Division, Book 2)

Omega Book Cover Omega
Infinity Division, Book 2
Jus Accardo
Young Adult Fiction
Entangled Teen
August 1, 2017
Paperback
320

One mistake can change everything. Ashlyn Calvert finds that out the hard way when a bad decision leads to the death of her best friend, Noah Anderson.

Only Noah isn’t really gone. Thanks to his parents’ company, the Infinity Division, there is a version of him skipping from one dimension to another, set on revenge for the death of his sister, Kori. When a chance encounter brings him face-to-face with Ash, he’s determined to resist the magnetic pull he’s felt for her time and time again. Because falling for Ash puts his mission in danger.

But there’s more going on in Ash’s alternate universe than either of them knows: a mysterious project called Omega. A conspiracy spanning multiple Earths and revolving around none other than Ash. Its creators would do anything to keep Omega secret…

Anything.

 

Review:

“Omega” is a fun follow-up to “Infinity.”  It expands nicely upon the science fiction aspect and adds more depth to the original characters.  It also introduced new characters and points-of-view that were entertaining and expanded the universe a great deal.  If you enjoyed “Infinity”,  then you are most likely going to love “Omega.”

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

No Good Deed

No Good Deed Book Cover No Good Deed
Kara Connolly
Young Adult Fiction
Delacorte Press
2017
352

"Ellie is USA's best shot at Olympic gold in archery, but one wrong turn in Nottingham on her day off from the trials and she's somehow been transported back to the Middle Ages. Amidst an evil sheriff who wants to lock her up, a knight who might not be who he says he is, and an assassination plot, she must not only find her way back to the present, but fight to survive and not change history"--

 

Review:

“No Good Deed” is a fairy-tale/legend retelling that served as a good palate cleanser for me in the middle of quite a few heavier reads.  The plot is fast-paced and the characters are just the right amount of snarky and developed for a light read.  The content is mild, and the writing easy enough to read, that even the youngest of the ya group should find it enjoyable.  Recommended!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Very Mild Sexual Content, Violence

Little Monsters

Little Monsters Book Cover Little Monsters
Kara Thomas
Young Adult Fiction
Delacorte Press
2017
336

When Kacey moves in with her estranged father and his new family, her new friend goes missing and Kacey finds herself at the center of the investigation.

 

Review:

“Little Monsters” is a young adult thriller that will satisfy both the ya audience and adult readers.  The mystery is well-written and keeps the reader guessing throughout.  Even when you think you know the bad guy, you keep second-guessing yourself.  A very enjoyable read that I recommend to any fan of the mystery and thriller genres.

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Violence

Yak and Dove

Yak and Dove Book Cover Yak and Dove
Kyo Maclear, Esme Shapiro
Juvenile Fiction
Tundra Books (NY)
September 19, 2017
56

Sometimes the unlikeliest friends form the greatest friendships. A funny, charming picture book from a dynamic duo.

Friends Yak and Dove are complete opposites. Yak is large and Dove is small. Yak has fur and Dove has feathers. Yak is polite. Dove is ill-mannered. Yak likes quiet. Dove likes noise. One day as Yak and Dove list their differences they come to the conclusion that maybe they aren't meant to be friends. In the hope of finding a new best friend, Yak holds auditions. But when a small feathered contestant sings Yak's favorite song, the two begin to think that maybe they are alike after all . . .

Yak and Dove whimsically captures the highs and lows of friendship through the three interconnected tales of two very different friends.

 

Review:

“Yak and Dove” may be my new favorite children’s book ever.  The story of friendship, both the ups and downs, is beautiful.  The artwork is stunning.  It’s the type of work that I want to hang all over the house.  This is sure to be a classic and I encourage anyone with children in their lives (or without) to pick up a copy.  I’ll be picking up several.

Five (hundred) enthusiastic stars!

This unbiased review is based upon a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.