Posts Tagged With: review

Review: Deliver Me by Kate Jarvik Birch

Deliver Me coverAll their lives, Wynne and Odessa have dreamed of being Carriers, the pampered women chosen to carry children for the Union. All their lives they have planned what they will do when they are Carriers together. And just as they’ve planned, Odessa is chosen to be a Carrier.

Wynne is not.

As Wynne settles in to her new job as a delivery assistant, helping the Carriers deliver their babies, she slowly comes to realize the painful costs  the Carriers pay for their pampered status. But it is only when she is sent to be Odessa’s servant that she understands how horrible the life of a Carrier truly is.

Deliver Me will face inevitable comparisons to Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale, but Birch has created a fully realized, original dystopian world. Although at first it seemed that this was yet another book where “oppression of women for no reason” is shorthand for “the government/other authority is obviously evil” (an excellent blog post on this can be found here), the author created internally consistent reasons for the use of Carriers to bear children.

As a mother, and someone who has recently given birth, there were some scenes that were particularly emotionally wrenching, but teens will probably not have a similar reaction. The only real issue with this book was that there were many things that we just never learned about how the Union worked and the world in which Wynne lived, but that was internally consistent with how sheltered Wynne’s existence was.

Deliver Me will appeal to fans of Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy and Lois Lowry’s The Giver, as well as those who enjoyed pondering the ethical issues raised by Neal Shusterman’s Unwind.

Recommended for grades 9 and up – references to rape, domestic violence, and torture.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and Now coverPrenna is an immigrant, living a new life in New York. But not from another country. Prenna and her community are from the future, a time when climate change mosquito-borne plagues have brought tragedy to all of humanity. Now safe in the 21st century, the community follows twelve stringent rules. The rules are to keep them safe, their leaders say.

Especially rule 12

We must never, under any circumstances, develop a physically or emotionally intimate relationship with any person outside the community.

Prenna knows all the rules, but Ethan won’t be kept at arm’s length. He keeps being her friend, no matter the things she can’t talk to him about. And when Prenna’s safe little world threatens to smother her, it is Ethan who helps her search for the truth.

The Here and Now is part dystopian thriller and part science-fiction story, but all of it is a compelling and gripping read. It will appeal to readers looking for a more substantial time travel story, one that explores the ethical implications of trying to change a future.

Recommended for grades 8 and up – some language, kissing, references to sex, references to murder, etc.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Adaptation by Malinda Lo

Adaptation CoverIt started with the birds. All over the country, birds dropping dead from the skies. And no one could say why. Or why some flocks flew right into airplanes, crashing them with all passengers

Reese and David were at an airport when it happened, on their way home from a school trip. With all flights grounded, their teacher rents a car for them to drive back to San Francisco. But when their teacher is shot by a would-be hitchhiker, David and Reese escape alone, trying desperately to make it home…until their car crashes on a remote highway in Nevada. When they wake, it’s clear that they were severely injured. What isn’t clear is the purpose of the highly classified government base they are on.

Reese and David just want to go home, to put the past behind them and get on with their lives.  But strange things keep happening to them. Reese’s scars are disappearing, and she is having strange dreams. When the government agents come for them, David and Reese are determined not to be kept in the dark anymore.

Adaptation is a clever science fiction story that will appeal to fans of Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It and other post-disaster stories, as well as readers who enjoy a good conspiracy theory story. It is clearly intended to be the first in a series, as many things are left unresolved at the end.

Recommended for grades 9 and up – language, underage drinking and smoking, sexual references, making out but no on-screen sex

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano

Nearly Gone coverNearly has three rules: no boys, no trouble, and no touching. Only a few percentage points separate her from a chemistry scholarship that will get her out of her DC trailer park. Away from her neighbor the drug dealer, her mother the exotic dancer, and the sense of hopelessness that pervades her life.

But when a killer starts targeting the students she tutors after school, all of the rules will have to go. Trouble has already found her. To unravel the clues the killer has left for her, she will have to work with Reece Whelan, even knowing that the police have sent undercover to spy on her. But worse, she will have to use her ability to read other people’s emotions through touching them, even if it overwhelms her.

All the clues point toward Nearly being the killer. One by one, her students are killed, all while she is nearby, trying to save them. Leigh and Reece are racing against time to unmask the killer before it’s too late for both of them.

Nearly Gone will appeal to fans of mystery shows such as Bones, CSI, Law and Order, Criminal Minds, etc. , as well as readers who like their mysteries with high stakes and lots of suspects.
Recommended for grades 9 and  up — swearing, buying and selling drugs, sexual references, underage drinking, etc.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Before They Find Us by Michelle A. Hansen

Before They Find Us cover I’m going to make you wish you were dead.

In the grand scheme of things, a random text doesn’t seem like that big a deal to Beck. It was probably just a wrong number. But the texts keep coming, and when her best friend is framed for bombing his school, Beck realizes that whoever is texting her isn’t just after her–they’re after Ryan, too.

Now Beck and Ryan are on the run, trying to figure out who set up the bombing and planted all the evidence to point to Ryan. And why would someone even want to? How is this related to the crime Beck witnessed when she was eleven? And why is a dead man sending her Facebook messages?

The search for the truth will take Beck and Ryan from Wyoming to Las Vegas, from seedy motels in bad neighborhoods to the glamour of the Vegas Strip. It will bring them closer than ever, test their friendship to the limits, and force them to finally admit the way they feel about each other. And it will force Beck to finally face the demons that have haunted her for the past six years.

Before They Find Us is a tightly-plotted mystery that will appeal to fans of shows like CSI or Criminal Minds, even though the protagonists are ordinary teens.

Recommended for grades 9 and up – sexual humor, depiction of rape and murder, references to rape, swearing, etc.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Variant by Robison Wells

Variant coverLongtime foster kid Benson Fisher knows that no one is going to get him out of the system. But he’s tired of foster care. Tired of bouncing around from place to place. Tired of “working” at his foster parents’ gas station for no pay. Tired of broken schools full of broken people. So he gets himself a scholarship to Maxfield Academy.

Now he’s trapped. Locked behind an unclimbable wall, under the watchful eyes of security cameras, he and the other seventy-some students divide into gangs under an uneasy truce. The Society wants to keep the rules, keep the peace. Havoc wants to live it up with no adult supervision. And Variants…Variants want to get out.

Benson wants to get out.

But the more he learns about the school, the less sense it makes. And then he discovers the secret that could change everything. But does it actually change anything?

Variant will appeal to fans of James Dashner’s Maze Runner trilogy, Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s GameThe Hunger Games series, and other dystopian series, although this is not a dystopian story, per se. This book blends elements of dystopia, science fiction, mystery, and psychological thriller into a highly entertaining book that you won’t want to put down until you reach the end.

Recommended for grades 6 and up – depictions of violence, descriptions of kissing, mild profanity.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

 

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Review: Boys Like You by Juliana Stone

Boys Like You coverMonroe’s parents have sent her to her Gran in Louisiana for the summer in hopes that something will help bring her back to life. But Monroe is quite content to continue napping the days away, numb and not thinking, until the day that Nathan Everets interrupts her nap. Intrigued despite herself, Monroe knows better than to think a boy like Nate could be interested in her.

Nate is actually glad for his court-appointed job working for his uncle; without it, he would have too much time to think. Time to think about that night, and the biggest mistake he ever made. Time to think about what it cost Trevor. But when he meets Monroe, he sees something he recognizes.

As Nate and Monroe slowly share the broken pieces of their lives, they start to heal, start to feel again. Their lives were changed forever before they even met, but together they start taking steps into a new future.

Boys Like You is an achingly raw book. Nate and Monroe are both in a great deal of emotional pain, and with a less able writer, this could have been incredibly whiny and angst-ridden, but they come off the page as real, living, breathing teens dealing with impossible circumstances. I was glued to my Kindle until I finished. This book will appeal to fans of John Green, and any reader who enjoys realistic fiction with emotional depth.

Boys Like You will be released on May 6, 2014, and is definitely worth preordering.

Highly recommended for grades 10 and up — references to and depictions of underage drinking and recreational drug use, teenage sexual encounters, drunk driving, etc.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

What's Left of Me coverEva and Addie were born just like anyone else, two souls in the same body. They took turns learning to walk, to run to dance. But as they got older, neither of them faded. They were both still there. They weren’t settling.

Their parents took them to doctors, specialists, begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced normal. Eva was gone. They could start over.

But Eva isn’t gone. Only Addie knows that she’s still there, trapped inside their body, unable to move, unable to speak. Except to Addie.

Only Addie knows that Eva would risk anything to be able to speak. To walk. To dance. Anything.

But when Eva gets her chance, it opens up a whole new world for them…one more dangerous than either girl could imagine.

What’s Left Of Me is a dystopian story exploring ethical issues in a world not our own…yet shockingly similar. It will appeal to fans of Neal Shusterman’s Unwind series, Lois Lowry’s The Giver, and other thought-provoking dystopian literature.

Recommended for grades 6 and up – mild profanity, kissing, some graphic descriptions of medical procedures.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About It coverHomeroom 10B was just going to get their flu shots. They didn’t want to get sick. All of them got the shots except Renee and Adam.

Now all of them can hear what people are thinking.

Now 10B has no secrets from each other…but they do have a secret weapon. Pi can finally be the kid with the highest grades. Tess can find out if the friend she’s crushing on feels the same way. Olivia knows exactly what her boyfriend is thinking, so she can do whatever he wants.

But everybody knows Mackenzie’s secret…including her boyfriend, Cooper. Tess knows that Mackenzie thinks she really could stand to lose those seven pounds. Cooper knows about his dad’s affair and that his mom has hired a divorce lawyer.

Don’t Even Think About It is a lighthearted look at a serious topic. There is no exploration of the ethics of invading other people’s privacy, although it is touched on briefly, and the narrative style can be a little clunky at times. This book will appeal to readers who like light, easy reads with some drama, such as the Clique or Gossip Girl novels.

Recommended for grades 8 and up – some kissing, references to making out and parents having sex.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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Review: Thirty Sunsets by Christine Hurley Deriso

Thirty Sunsets coverForrest can’t believe it when her crush actually comes over to talk to her. Maybe this is it! Or maybe…maybe he just wants to know if her older brother and his girlfriend are still together. Because he has a crush on Olivia. Olivia, who curls her lip at Forrest. Olivia, who is keeping Brian in town at the local community college instead of studying pre-med at Vanderbilt. Olivia, the ultimate popular hot girl.

Not only are Brian and Olivia not broken up, Olivia is coming along on the family trip to their beach house. A whole month of Olivia’s curled lip, picky eating, and sudden disappearances to the bathroom after meals, not to mention a whole month of Olivia as a roommate.

But there are a lot of things Forrest doesn’t know about. Things about Olivia. Things about her brother. Things about her parents. And things about herself.

Although toward the end the number of issues in this book seemed to approach after-school special levels, Thirty Sunsets is a sweet book that will appeal to fans of Sarah Dessen and readers who like realistic fiction with real-life issues.

Recommended for grades 9 and up – some swearing, references to sex, teen pregnancy, references to and depiction of rape.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received the digital ARC of this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. This review has been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at ftc.gov/os/2009/10/091005revisedendorsementguides.pdf)

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