Tag Archives: ya

Wildlife

Wildlife Book Cover Wildlife
Fiona Wood
Juvenile Fiction
Poppy
2014-09-16
400

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.

 

Review:

This review is based on a complimentary copy given through Netgalley by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review.

“Wildlife” by Fiona Wood is a book about two vastly different girls coming together during a semester in a wilderness type camp required by their school.  It’s set in Australia, and while the differences are strange at first, I thought it was fun to learn more about the life of teenagers there.

The book is absolutely beautifully written, and takes many twists and turns that I did not expect at all.  The two main characters, along with a secondary character (Michael), were so well-developed that your heart breaks when theirs do, and you laugh when they laugh.  The mood is up and down with the story, ranging from sad to embarrassing to hilarious, and it makes the whole thing realistic.

Speaking of realistic, there is a LOT of strong language and talk of sex in “Wildlife”.  It fits with the story, and I love when authors are brave enough to write how real teenagers speak, but I did want to mention it in case anyone likes to avoid those types of things.

The only reason I gave “Wildlife” four stars instead of five is because the ending felt somewhat rushed.  It was a natural conclusion, but felt like it needed a couple of more chapters to make it seem less jarring.  It was a bit like being on a pleasant drive and then slamming on the brakes.  However, it is not anywhere near enough to ruin a wonderful book.

I highly recommend “Wildlife”.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations, Underage Drinking, Drug Use, Animal Death

 

Love and Other Unknown Variables

Love and Other Unknown Variables Book Cover Love and Other Unknown Variables
Shannon Alexander
Juvenile Fiction
Entangled: Teen
2014-10-07
352

Charlie Hanson has a clear vision of his future. A senior at Brighton School of Mathematics and Science, he knows he’ll graduate, go to MIT, and inevitably discover solutions to the universe’s greatest unanswerable problems. He’s that smart. But Charlie’s future blurs the moment he reaches out to touch the tattoo on a beautiful girl’s neck. The future has never seemed very kind to Charlotte Finch, so she’s counting on the present. She’s not impressed by the strange boy pawing at her—until she learns he’s a student at Brighton where her sister has just taken a job as the English teacher. With her encouragement, Charlie orchestrates the most effective prank campaign in Brighton history. But, in doing so, he puts his own future in jeopardy. By the time he learns she's ill—and that the pranks were a way to distract Ms. Finch from Charlotte’s illness—Charlotte’s gravitational pull is too great to overcome. Soon he must choose between the familiar formulas he’s always relied on or the girl he’s falling for (at far more than 32 feet per second).

 

Review:

This is a review of an ARC provided through Netgalley by Entangled Press in exchange for an honest review.

I don’t even know where to begin with how much I love “Love and Other Unknown Variables.”  Love may not be a strong enough word.  There are so many things about it that make it a breath of fresh air in the Young Adult genre.

Shannon Lee Alexander’s writing seems effortless and flows in a way that pulls you in quickly and keeps you engaged, making it nearly impossible to put it down.  The characters are all intriguing and the dialogue is realistic for teenagers, something not always present, which adds to the relatibility of the characters to the target audience.

I was thrilled to find a coming-of-age romance narrated with such tenderness by a male narrator.  Charlie is flawed but likable, and grows in a way that is inspiring.  It was especially wonderful to see how siblings can grow together and become friends as they age, as well as how those we think we know can be so much more than we give them credit for.

I can’t say much else without spoiling the book, but the themes of difficult choices and thinking outside of the lines, both literally and metaphorically in this case, are explored with an excellent mix of humor and gravity.

I feel privileged for the opportunity to be one of the first to read “Love and Other Unknown Variables.”  My honest opinion is that the book, as well as Shannon Lee Alexander, will become a force to be reckoned with in the world of Young Adult literature, something which is well-deserved.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Sexual Situations