Sunday, February 24, 2013

you against me By Jenny Downham

Title: you against me
Author: Jenny Downham
Pages: 413
Published: 2010
Level: Young Adult

If someone hurts your sister and you're any kind of man, you seek revenge, right?

If your brother's accused of a terrible crime but says he didn't do it, you defend him, don't you?

When Mikey's sister claims a boy assaulted her, his world begins to fall apart.

When Ellie's brother is charged with the offence, her world begins to unravel.

When Mikey and Ellie meet, two worlds collide.

This is a brave and unflinching novel from the bestselling author of Before I Die. It's a book about loyalty and the choices that come with it. But above all it's a book about love.


I don't really know what to say about this book. I guess the first thing would be that I love realistic fiction and this definitely portrays it well. It's about two people both affected by the drama of a rape. Mikey's sister is the rape-ee (is that a correct term?) and Ellie's brother is the alleged rapist. 

This book was strange to say the least. One moment I would be totally enthralled by the plot line and the next it just wasn't doing anything for me and I was skimming pages. 

One thing that I did like was the progression in the relationship between Mikey and Ellie because it felt so real. Even though they were from two completely different worlds and weren't really on the same side they were both dealing with the repercussions of the rape and what it was doing to their family so they had something that tied them together. 

The ending was not really what I would have liked because I felt like there were so many loose ends and I'm pretty sure that there isn't going to be a follow up book. 

Maybe I'm not into realistic fiction as much as I thought, but I would really have liked a fairytale ending and when there are two sides to the story they both can't win. 

I don't even know what I'm saying anymore. I guess if you really like realistic fiction and want a book that portrays the challenges of everyday life and how rape can affect two families then I guess this is your book. For me, it was just okay. I'm not raving about it, but I'm not going to tell anyone not to read it. 

Oh and one last thing to add. I had no idea that Jenny Downham is English so it was definitely weird to read an English book with English slang because I didn't know what some of the words were referring to, but kind of cool at the same time.  So that was a positive thing about the book. 

Cover: 2/5
Character Rating: 4/5
Style: 3/5
Plot Development: 3/5
Overall : 3/5

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Masque of the Red Death By: Bethany Griffin

Title: Masque of the Red Death
Author: Bethany Griffin
Pages: 400
Level:  Young Adult
Published: April 24, 2012

Everything is in ruins.
A devastating plague has decimated the population. And those who are left live in fear of catching it as the city crumbles to pieces around them.
So what does Araby Worth have to live for?
Nights in the Debauchery Club, beautiful dresses, glittery make-up . . . and tantalizing ways to forget it all.
But in the depths of the club—in the depths of her own despair—Araby will find more than oblivion. She will find Will, the terribly handsome proprietor of the club. And Elliott, the wickedly smart aristocrat. Neither boy is what he seems. Both have secrets. Everyone does. And Araby may find something not just to live for, but to fight for—no matter what it costs her.


Just from reading the synopsis I was enthralled by the plot. I love this style because it kind of reminds me of back in the 1920s when all the girls were flappers. Anyways,this book was absolutely fantastic. I do not think I will ever be able to get over how much I love this book. Normally when I start a book it takes me at least 25 pages to really become interested. Not with this one, I was interested from the very first page. I don't know what it is with adaptations, but I love them so much. This one did not fail to impress me.

I really liked the plot. I didn't find one boring part of the book, ever. There was one problem that I had with this book though. If there is going to be a love interest, at least make it to where it's plainly obvious. I understand that I might be the only one that cannot clearly see who Araby likes, but it should be a no-brainer. The entire time I had to keep guessing, oh does she like Will? Or wait, does she like Elliott now? The end did not clear anything up either.

Everything other than that was amazing. I loved the setting, I mean who doesn't love dystopian books? Overall the best book I have read in some time.

Cover: 4/5
Character Rating: 3/5
Style: 4/5
Plot Development: 4/5
Overall: *****

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

When The Sea Is Rising Red By: Cat Hellisen

Title: When The Sea Is Rising Red
Author: Cat Hellisen
Pages: 288
Level: Young Adult
Published: February 28, 2012

After seventeen-year-old Felicita’s dearest friend, Ilven, kills herself to escape an arranged marriage, Felicita chooses freedom over privilege. She fakes her own death and leaves her sheltered life as one of Pelimburg’s magical elite behind. Living in the slums, scrubbing dishes for a living, she falls for charismatic Dash while also becoming fascinated with vampire Jannik. Then something shocking washes up on the beach: Ilven's death has called out of the sea a dangerous, wild magic. Felicita must decide whether her loyalties lie with the family she abandoned . . . or with those who would twist this dark power to destroy Pelimburg's caste system, and the whole city along with it.


Where to start? I thought at the beginning this book was really weird. I didn't understand a lot of things, I think it would have been better with more background information before the actual plot started. That being said, this book was definitely unique and original.

I didn't find a boring moment in this book. In the synopsis it says that she falls for Dash, so of course I couldn't wait to meet the character. Never have I ever hated a character more. I don't really know how to describe it, but it was like one of those bad boy guys that you like but they're nothing but bad for you. At the same time, at the end of the day I did end up caring for him no matter how much I hated him. 

The ending was also very strange. It was a little hard to follow. I don't know if I would read the second installment if there is one. I would be content just reading this book. Don't let that discourage you though, it was a good book.

Cover: 3/5
Character Rating: 3/5
Style: 3/5
Plot Development: 4/5
Overall: ***

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Sharp Time By: Mary O'Connell

Title: The Sharp Time
Author: Mary O’Connell
Pages: 228
Level: Young Adult
Published: November 8, 2011

Sandinista Jones is a high school senior with a punk rock name and a broken heart. The death of her single mother has left Sandinista alone in the world, subject to the random vulnerability of everyday life. When the school system lets her down, her grief and instability intensify, and she ponders a violent act of revenge. Still, in the midst of her crisis, she gets a job at The Pale Circus, a funky vintage clothing shop, and finds friendship and camaraderie with her coworker, a boy struggling with his own secrets. Even as Sandinista sees the failures of those with power and authority, she's offered the chance to survive through the redemptive power of friendship. Now she must choose between faith and forgiveness or violence and vengeance. From the Hardcover edition.


Zhanna wrote a raving review about this book, so when I saw it at the library, I had to pick it up. Often times, when she loves a book, I’ll hate it or vice versa. Well, that was the same for this book.

From the first page, I didn’t like the writing style. There wasn’t anything visibly wrong with it, it just didn’t mesh well with me, I found it overly complicated.

I thought that what Sandinista was making a big deal over was nothing. It was something that she should have gotten over more quickly than she did and I found her obsession quite frankly, creepy.

Most of the time when I’m reading realistic fiction there has to be some underlying message to the storyline. I guess it’s a personal preference. With this book,  I didn’t really understand the message. I’m sure other people did understand it though, otherwise there wouldn’t be good reviews. It just wasn’t my type of book. Maybe you’ll have better luck.

If you want to check out Zhanna's review of this book click here.

Cover: 5/5
Character Rating: 4/5
Style: 1/5
Plot Development: 2/5
Overall: **

The Peculiars By: Maureen Doyle McQuerry

Title: The Peculiars
Author: Maureen Doyle McQuerry
Pages: 354
Level: Young Adult
Published: May 1, 2012

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.


If I could rate this book based off of the cover, it would probably be one of my favorite books ever. I absolutely love the cover. Sadly, that’s probably the only thing I loved about this book. 

If I had known that the time period was in the late 1800s I probably wouldn’t have read it because I generally don’t like books in that time era. In my case they’re all usually boring. 

This book wasn’t necessarily boring, but it did take a while to get interesting and by that point I was already turned off by the time period. 

It’s hard to write a review for a book that was just okay. I can’t pick out anything that I hated, but I also can’t pick out anything that made it an amazing book. 

The one couple that I was anticipating to get together, NOTHING happened. I can understand no romance in a book, but it was like McQuerry wanted to tease me by these little hints of romance thinking it would lead up to something and in the end, nothing. That was probably the most upsetting part of the book.

Overall this book was mediocre, it didn’t stand out for being overly bad or good.
Cover: 5,000/5

Character Rating: 3/5
Style: 3/5
Plot Development: 3/5
Overall: ***