Tag Archives: young adult

The Silence of Six

The Silence of Six Book Cover The Silence of Six
E.C. Meyers
Adaptive Books
November 5, 2014
Ebook
274

“WHAT IS THE SILENCE OF SIX, AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?”

These are the last words uttered by 17-year-old Max Stein’s best friend Evan just moments before he kills himself after hacking into the live-streaming Presidential debate at their high school.

Haunted by the unforgettable image of Evan’s death, Max’s entire world is upended as he suddenly finds himself the target of a corporate-government witch-hunt. Fearing for his life and fighting for his own innocence, Max goes on the run with no one to trust and too many unanswered questions.

 

Review:

“The Silence of Six” is an exciting page turner that begs you not to put it down until you know how it all will end.  Built around the world of computer hacking, compromised security, and government overstepping its bounds, in this day and age it could almost be described as a horror story.  I know it has left me a bit on the paranoid side.

The characters are well-developed, the plot picks up its quick pace from the very beginning, and the plot is unpredictable, which is exactly how any good thriller should be.  The hacker world is also rather extensively explored, which can be both a good and a bad thing.  For those with computer knowledge, it adds to the fun.  For those who are able to gloss over details they do not understand and go with the flow, it does not take away from the excitement.  However, for those who can get lost in details, it may be overwhelming.  It is for that reason that I would not recommend “The Silence of Six” for reluctant school-aged readers.

However, should you fit one of the first two categories listed above and enjoy cyber thrillers, “The Silence of Six” is one fun and exciting read that is not to be missed.

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

 

Content Warning:

Language, Violence, Intense Situations

Etiquette and Espionage

Etiquette & Espionage Book Cover Etiquette & Espionage
Finishing School, Book 1
Gail Carriger
Juvenile Fiction
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
2013-10-08
336

It's one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It's quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School. Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners--and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine's Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality. But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but the also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage--in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year's education. Set in the same world as the Parasol Protectorate, this YA series debut is filled with all the saucy adventure and droll humor Gail's legions of fans have come to adore.

 

Review:

“Etiquette and Espionage” is a wonderful and whimsical introduction into the world of historical steampunk fiction for the middle reader.

Based around a floating finishing school that also trains young women to become spies in the Victorian era, the subject is rich before a single word was written.  The attention to detail in describing the machines and general steampunk ideas is amazing and inspires the imagination.

Added into the plot is a great history lesson about the customs of the era mixed with a great deal of satire concerning the way a “proper lady” should dress and behave.  I found myself laughing at several points in the adventure at the sheer ridiculousness of it all.  To counter the customs of the day, the author presents a host of very strong female characters and how they are, in fact, equal to men.

There is fantasy type violence, though none graphic, and questionable morality that is presented in a tongue-in-cheek-manner that no reader after fifth grade will see as an example of appropriate behavior, making it a great read for those making the leap from children’s books to young adult.  My only caveat is that the language is a bit difficult to get used to, so it is not a good choice for the more reluctant readers.

But don’t let the children have all of the fun.  “Etiquette and Espionage” is a fun read for adults who are children at heart.

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

 

Content Warning:

Violence

Meritropolis

Meritropolis Book Cover Meritropolis
Meritropolis, Book 1
Joel Ohman
Young Adult Fiction
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
September 9, 2014
Paperback
226

The year is AE3, 3 years after the Event. Within the walls of Meritropolis, 50,000 inhabitants live in fear, ruled by the brutal System that assigns each citizen a merit score that dictates whether they live or die. Those with the highest scores thrive, while those with the lowest are subject to the most unforgiving punishment--to be thrust outside the city gates, thrown to the terrifying hybrid creatures that exist beyond.

 

Review:

This review is based on a complimentary copy provided in exchange for an honest review.

“Meritropolis”, by Joel Ohman, was a wonderful surprise when it comes to the sometimes predictable world of young-adult dystopian literature.  The action is non-stop, and while the story has great depth and backstory, it is presented in a way which is not bogged down and unnecessarily complicated.  It’s a very easy to understand premise.

What I found to be the major selling point is that it is a very attractive story for advanced middle reader males, a market which is surprisingly sparse.  As the primary purchaser of books for a twelve-year-old male bookworm, it becomes frustrating to find a story that’s full of adventure, intelligent, and a bit light on the romance.  “Meritropolis” fits the bill perfectly, and I would like to thank Mr. Ohman personally for writing it.

I wish 4 1/2 stars were possible, because the only reason I did not give it the full five is because the paragraphs were long, with lots of description.  While not necessarily a bad thing, it may be off-putting for more reluctant readers.

I highly recommend “Meritropolis” for lovers of dystopian novels, both old and young alike.

 

Content Warning:

Violence, Adult Themes, Animal Death

 

Heart of Dread: Frozen

Frozen Book Cover Frozen
Heart of Dread, Book 1
Melissa De la Cruz, Michael Anthony Johnston,
Juvenile Fiction
Putnam Publishing Group
2013-09-17
336

More than a century after a catastrophic disaster wiped out most of humanity and covered much of the earth with ice, fifteen-year-old Cass yields to the voice in her head urging her to embark on a dangerous journey across a poisoned sea to the mythical land, Blue.

 

Review:

This review is based on a complimentary copy provided by Hatchette Children’s Books in exchange for an honest review.

When I began “Heart of Dread: Frozen”, I thought I was going to be reading a somewhat typical dystopian novel.  Boy, was I ever wrong.  It is impossible to place it in one, or even two, categories.  Finally, I decided to go with dystopian, apocalyptic, and fantasy.  There is an even amount of all of them.

This novel is a wild ride right from the start, alternating between third person points of view focusing on two flawed, mysterious, and very different individuals. We have Wes, the mercenary, and Nat, the girl with a secret.  Their backstories are revealed very slowly, and combined with the action, it makes it difficult to put down.

If I describe any of the plot that is not already included in the synopsis above, I run the risk of spoiling a surprise, and that would take away from the fun. And if nothing else, this is one fun book.  Anything that could possibly be included in it is, and the ending was a cliffhanger that has me upset that I need to wait a few months for the next.

I normally try to avoid fandom-speak in my reviews, but my thoughts can be summed up by this:  “I didn’t mean to ship it this hard.”

 

Content Warning:

Violence, Animal Death, Some Sexual Talk

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

 

The Alliance: A Registry Novel

The Alliance Book Cover The Alliance
The Registry, Book 3
Shannon Stoker
Fiction
William Morrow Paperbacks
2014-09-02
448

In this deadly endgame, the final move is hers . . . In America, the Registry weds girls to the highest bidder and raises boys for its army. Mia Morrissey escaped to make her life her own, and now that she has, she will risk everything so that everyone can be free. Going undercover as part of a diplomatic mission, Mia returns to America. But life there is more dangerous than ever as the walls grow taller, and the forgotten country faces its most ruthless leader yet, Grant Marsden . . . a shadow from Mia's past. With the help of Andrew, Carter, and other members of the subversive group Affinity, she embarks on a perilous journey to defeat Grant, bring down the government, and destroy the Registry once and for all. But when a terrible betrayal exposes the operation, Mia discovers that her enemies have used her—and so have her friends. Alone and frightened, she's uncertain of whom to trust—or whether the mission is worth the sacrifice. With the fate of her friends and the future of her country on the line, Mia knows that her next step may be the last for her . . . and America.

 

Review:

I admit that I was a little reticent to continue “The Registry” series, by Shannon Stoker, but the premise was promising enough to get me to give “The Alliance” a try, and I’m glad a did.

While the writing still lacks some polish and over-use of certain words (said being an example), the author showed a great deal of growth in how she handles character interaction and personal thoughts.  The backstories sprinkled throughout made the characters feel less like caricatures and more like humans.  I genuinely began to care about most of them, even the less than likable ones from the previous “Registry” novels.

I loved the beginning of each chapter including the history of how the society came to be using accounts from diaries of the period.  It provided answers to questions that had been nagging me from the beginning, and the explanations made perfect sense in the context of the story.  The ending was also plausible and satisfying.

I’m very impressed with Stoker’s growth and look forward to seeing what else she publishes.

 

Content Warning:

Language, Violence, Sexual Situations

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