Review: Moonrise By Sarah Crossan

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Joe hasn’t seen his brother for ten years, and it’s for the most brutal of reasons. Ed is on death row.

But now Ed’s execution date has been set, and Joe is determined to spend those last weeks with him, no matter what other people think …

From one-time winner and two-time Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this poignant, stirring, huge-hearted novel asks big questions. What value do you place on life? What can you forgive? And just how do you say goodbye?

Goodreads

Published on: 7 September 2017

I have strong views on the death penalty. I personally don’t believe in its value. I firmly believe that the state should not play God and decide that someone should be sentenced to die for their crimes.

I believe in jailing a person and giving them the chance to learn and reflect and become a better person. To me, the death penalty serves no purpose except to torment the families of criminals. Realistically, how does death punish a person? It’s over for them very quickly. But it’s their families who have to suffer with the grief.

Reading this book unsettled me quite a bit. It made me think a lot about what we value as a society and how we treat people who have committed crimes and even people who have not.

So let’s break this book down.

It was written in verse

In typical Sarah Crossan style, this book was written entirely in verse. I completely adored it. I’ve always loved Crossan’s books because of her simple way of telling a story in such a powerful and poetic way.

You really don’t need a lot of words to make a person feel something.

It was heartbreaking

The book follows the Joe and his family as they deal with the fact that their brother is heading straight for the gallows. He has been in jail for a long time and every single appeal has failed them.

As you can probably imagine, that is extremely difficult to bear witness to. It’s like watching a car crash happen in slow motion. You know what’s going to happen but you’re powerless to stop it.

I hated it but I also loved it. It was a beautiful sort of torment.

The characters were well-developed

What was interesting about this book was the fact that even though it was very short, we still got to see the characters in a very three dimensional way. I felt like I could really see Joe for who he was. does through this moral dilemma. We see him struggle against his heart and his head and it’s a gorgeous kind of struggle. The type that most people will understand but will not be able to relate to.

It was short but impactful

There’s not much to say about this book because the fact was that it was very short and it was also just very good in a way that is almost incontestable. At least to me. You guys know that when a book makes me cry, it has also basically stolen my heart.

It was certainly one of those very necessary books in the YA department. I enjoyed seeing such a highly debated topic in a book like this and I think Crossan looked at it in a very brave angle.

*An advanced copy of this book was very kindly provided to me to read and review by Pansing. However, all opinions are my own*

My-Rating-5-Stars

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Review: The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

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The first day of senior year:

Everything is about to change. Until this moment, Sal has always been certain of his place with his adoptive gay father and their loving Mexican-American family. But now his own history unexpectedly haunts him, and life-altering events force him and his best friend, Samantha, to confront issues of faith, loss, and grief.

Suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and discovering that he no longer knows who he really is—but if Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

Goodreads

Published: 7th March 2017

Okay I really didn’t expect to have to do this but I’m doing it.

I read ‘Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe‘ maybe a year or two ago and while I wasn’t utterly blown away by it, I did enjoy it. So when I received this ARC, I had high expectations. However, it didn’t entirely deliver. Here’s why:

Pros

Very real

The book was very real. The problems faced were realistic and the way the characters handed their issues was real as well.

This was obviously pretty great considering how very few books nowadays have that element of true realism in them. Like I could imagine them stepping out of the pages and living an actual life.

It did make me cry

Despite all the flaws of this book that I will outline in a bit, it did make me cry which is not always easy to do. There were parts that I teared up at and of course, the ending really killed me.

Actually, the ending was the only part of the book that was really interesting. It was heartwarming and I actually think it was only the last 100 pages or so that earned it one more star.

Cons

Too real

I am so fussy aren’t I? Yes, while it was good that it was real, it was also too real for me. I read a book because I want some sort of escape. I don’t read a book to see real life just plastered on a couple of pages.

Everything was real but felt stilted when you put it on a page. Like yes, this is the way a normal dad would react to situation A, but when you write about it, it just looks pretentious. Do you get my drift?

Too long

The book was way too long. Absolutely too long. At 452 pages, this book could have been halved and would have still delivered the intended message and impact. Actually there was no impact anyway.

Nothing happened

I feel like there was no climax at all in the book. It was just one big long line of normal. The whole book is about life and living but did I really get into a book to read about normal people living their dead ass boring normal lives?

Where was the action? Where was the big exciting event? It was so boring!

I mean, the blurb lines up this fantastic read about discovering yourself but the reality of the novel is that nothing happens at all.

Unrealistically perfect

The dad and the kids were just too perfect. Like no one is that perfect. How did the dad not have one single blow up? Or like, how did he not react badly to something at least once?

The writing style

Now, the absolute worst thing a writer could do. Repetitive and stilted writing. Sentences were jarring and everything was just said over and over. This adds on to my point about it being too long by the way.

Overall

Overall, it was a book that kept me reading till the end but I’ll be honest, I only really kept reading because I had to review it.

It was way too real and long. The characters just felt too much like a real, well-adjusted human and I couldn’t take it.

There was zero action. It was just a flat line of boring with zero storyline (especially for a book that stands at 452 pages jeez).

In fact, the only redeeming quality was that it was heartwarming and that it made me cry.

This is certainly not a book that I would recommend.

*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review. However, all opinions are my own*

My-Rating-2-Stars

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Review: When Dimple Met Rishi By Sandhya Menon

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A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

Goodreads

Published: 30th May 2017

 

Hello guys! Yes, I know. I’m actually blogging for the first time in over a month. I’ve missed this so much but I’ve just finished the most adorable ARC and I had to rave about it before it was published. So here it goes. Be patient with me. I might be a bit rusty.

When Dimple Met Rishi is quite possibly the most adorable thing you will read all year. It is clichéd but oh so adorably cute. It took me a while to read (because of work) but I’m actually glad that I dragged it out for a bit because I got to really appreciate it.

Pros

It was so cute

I can’t say this enough. This book read like every romantic comedy ever. It had all the elements. However there was just something that made you feel like it was very down-to-earth. Usually romcoms have this element of ‘this will never happen in real life’. But this one just felt perfect.

I was swooning throughout the book with everything that Rishi was doing for Dimple. I mean come on! Where do you even find someone like that??

It felt realistic

The book certainly felt realistic mainly because of how drawn out everything was. There was no insta-love so everything felt very organic and natural. The progression was just slow enough to feel real but fast enough that one would not easily lose interest.

I particularly like how the storyline was fleshed out. So it wasn’t just a story about the two of them but rather it was an entire story. Even the supporting characters had storylines and that really added to the whole realism factor.

There was so much cultural pride in it

I have not read enough Indian-American books to be able to make a general statement of any sorts but I did feel like the author really let her culture, heritage and language shine through this novel.

The book is peppered with Hindi quotes and sentences and the best part is that not everything is translated. So you sometimes have to just glean the meaning from the other paragraphs, But it just felt like such a brave thing to do.

Obviously the book is meant for an American audience but she bravely and unapologetically let her own words sit in the paragraphs and that is honestly such a beautiful thing.

To be honest, I’m tempted to learn Hindi now.

It tackled a controversial practice

This book is about arranged marriages. That part is quite clear. But what I liked about this was the way it was handled.

In a number of Indian books that I have read, arranged marriages have been treated with a mostly negative tone. And yes. For a lot of people arranged marriages are a terrible thing. Girls are sold to their husbands for the price of a fat dowry. Girls get raped and abused by their new families. Arranged marriages are not always good.

That said, I felt like this book took cultural norms like arranged marriages and a girl’s place in an Indian household and turned it into something that was actually fun and interesting.

Dimple was so headstrong despite coming from such a traditional family and Rishi was so dedicated to his parents and their wishes. It just made for a very lovely combination. Getting to see two very different worlds come together like that.

There was this aspect of fun and wit in the whole thing that you rarely see. I really enjoyed that.

Cons

Clichéd

Okay this is honestly the tiniest problem and it actually isn’t even a problem. The book was clichéd as in this has literally been done so many times.  But at the same time, it was so adorably cute that it didn’t even matter anyway.

Though I did think that ending was a bit cringe. But only slightly.

So there you go! My gushy review of When Dimple Met Rishi. I’m sorry it was very quick. I’m literally scrambling for time here. It’s been so hard to blog with my job (which I’ll tell you guys all about in about three weeks).

Regardless, I would like to take the time to thank you all for sticking by me even as I vanished without a word. I’d also like to thank you for 200 followers which I hit last week. You guys are the best and I look forward to coming back full time with a proper life update.

My-Rating-5-Stars

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Review: Other Breakable Things by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood

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According to Japanese legend, folding a thousand paper cranes will grant you healing.

Evelyn Abel will fold two thousand if it will bring Luc back to her.

Luc Argent has always been intimately acquainted with death. After a car crash got him a second chance at life—via someone else’s transplanted heart—he tried to embrace it. He truly did. But he always knew death could be right around the corner again.

And now it is.

Sick of hospitals and tired of transplants, Luc is ready to let his failing heart give out, ready to give up. A road trip to Oregon—where death with dignity is legal—is his answer. But along for the ride is his best friend, Evelyn.

And she’s not giving up so easily.

A thousand miles, a handful of roadside attractions, and one life-altering kiss later, Evelyn’s fallen, and Luc’s heart is full. But is it enough to save him? Evelyn’s betting her heart, her life, that it can be.

Right down to the thousandth paper crane.

Goodreads

Published: April 4 2017

This was such a cute read and I really enjoyed most of it. It’s just that there were a couple of major bits that made it lose points with me.

Pros

It was cute

This was a very cute road trip romance that I really enjoy simply because of how simple and easy it was.

The relationship between Luc and Evelyn was just adorable and mushy. The whole trip just  such a lovely journey that I felt really privileged to be on. It was an adventure that’s for sure.

The illness was fleshed out well

I also liked how Luc’s illness was properly brought out in the book. So he wasn’t suddenly superman on this road trip but he had his ups and downs just like if he were to be at home.

Evelyn was a great character

Evelyn was such a lovely human being. Her mildness just reminded me a lot of myself and I really liked her. She was so sweet as compared to Luc who I actually didn’t really like personality-wise for most of the book.

It handled a tough subject well

This book is basically about euthanasia and the right to die. Topics that are still widely discussed and debated. I think this book took the topic and just spun it in a way that was very easy to understand

Cons

The lack of backstory

I actually think their love story was really natural but I think what was missing was the backstory and how they became friends. We start out the book with Evelyn returning home after some time away. So she and Luc have been friends for ages but we only come in somewhere around the middle.

I guess that’s what made me feel like there was just something not so right. I think the whole move would have been more impactful if we could actually understand just how close they were before the story begins.

I think that’s why I’m still not sure if it was really insta-love or not. I mean it progressed naturally but we jump in and they already kind of have feelings for each other so it was a little strange.

It was unrealistic

At it’s base, I think there were a lot of things that were just a tad unrealistic. For one, how is it possible that Luc kept his illness a secret from Evelyn for that long? They grew up together and you’re telling me that Luc was that selfless even as a child? No way.

Evelyn was also rather daft for not figuring it out. I mean she suspected but why did she never ask. Seems uncharacteristic of the basic human instinct of being curious.

It was infuriating

Every single time Luc got the chance to tell Evelyn about his illness and then didn’t, I DIED.

*An advanced copy of this book was provided to me to read and review. However, all opinions are my own*

Purchase Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.ca | Entangled Publishing

My-Rating-3-Stars

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Review: The State Of Grace by Rachael Lucas

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Sometimes I feel like everyone else was handed a copy of the rules for life and mine got lost.

Grace has Asperger’s and her own way of looking at the world. She’s got a horse and a best friend who understand her, and that’s pretty much all she needs. But when Grace kisses Gabe and things start to change at home, the world doesn’t make much sense to her any more.

Suddenly everything threatens to fall apart, and it’s up to Grace to fix it on her own.

Whip-smart, hilarious and unapologetically honest, The State of Grace by Rachael Lucas is a heart-warming story of one girl trying to work out where she fits in, and whether she even wants to.

Goodreads

Published: 6th April 2017

This book was just so perfect and cute and relatable. I loved it!

It was so honest

What really made this book special for me was the fact that Grace was just so relatable and honest. You might think that it would be hard to relate to an autistic girl but I found myself completely relating and understanding many of the things that Grace was going through.

Maybe it’s because of my years spent as the least popular person in any given situation but I really felt Grace’s pain and her desire to just fit in for once in her life. I really liked that.

I think a lot of her bits where she was just trying to fit in really struck a chord with me just because that was my life.

The book helped me understand Autism

Autism is one of the many diseases that I don’t completely understand. And honestly, unless you have it, you’ll never understand completely.

But I think this book put Autism at a level where most people could understand it. It made it easier for me to relate to the struggles of an autistic person and while everyone is different and Autism is different in each person it affects, it still helps to know of some coping methods so if you’re ever in a situation, you can try to help or at least attempt to do the right thing for that person in their time of need.

Insta-love

Okay first of all, I didn’t like what a big cliche the whole thing was. The most popular boy at school falls for the least popular girl. I mean come on! Really?

It was so typical! Not to mention that somehow, no matter what Grace pulled, Gabe was just always bouncing back to her. Like it just seemed a bit unrealistic.

Gabe gave off a very ‘too cool for school’ kind of vibe and anyone who’s anyone will very easily be able to tell you that Gabe is not the definition of a 16-year-old cool kid. He’s weird. He’s a John Green character. Ew.

Plus I think the story could have done without the love story altogether. If they were just friends that would be cool. I mean a lot of the times, the love story seemed to fall away because everything else with Eve and Anna and Leah was just so much more important. The love story parts sometimes just felt like an afterthought which I found to be quite uncomfortable.

The happy ending

I hate happy endings.

There I said it.

I am not five. Why does everything have to have a perfect ending with flowers and a white picket fence? Real life does not happen that way. You don’t just pull a stunt and then have people just forget about it. At least not when you’re 16.

It was unrealistic and I hated the ending.

So there you go. It was a short review because honestly there isn’t much to talk about. In the grand scheme of things, it was a good book but there were parts of it that just could have been so much better.

It was a very relatable book that’s for sure and anyone hoping to learn more about Autism should read this book to supplement proper researched writing. But some bits were just too forced and the reader could totally feel it.

It’s a quick and light read though so if you need something like that in your life (like I do because my new job is exhausting) then give it a shot.

*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. All opinions expressed are my own*

My-Rating-3-Stars

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Review: Paper Princess (The Royals #1) by Erin Watt

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From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals. He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.

Goodreads

Published: 4th April 2016

I completely binge read this during my exams so if I fail, it’s on you Erin Watt.

Okay so let me begin by saying that this was the trashiest piece of crap that I have ever read but I have also never been so addicted to a series in my life.

So let’s start from the top:

It was trashy af

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This book was so trashy guys. So in the book, Ella gets swept up and put in her new guardian’s home. Her guardian just so happens to have five boys. Two of which she ends up sleeping with in a matter of days.

I was just amazed by that alone.

Not to mention all the weird crap that the Royal boys do including threatening to rape her at one point. Like what even?

It was so sexist

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The novel, as you would probably expect, was really sexist. Ella was just constantly this damsel in distress that needed to be protected by her big, strong, hunky brothers. GAG.

I mean, for a girl who spent her life fighting for survival in places like a strip club, you would expect her to be able to take care of herself better and to not depend so much on the men in her life.

This brings me to my next point.

It read like fan fiction

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Okay as a girl, even I will admit that the whole damsel in distress thing and the guy being all protective and sweet is a very appealing idea. In my head. Trust me when I say that while most girls have this fantasy, no one actually gets that in real life.

If you somehow have a man who takes care of you like you’re absolutely helpless and who only wants to cuddle and take care of you instead of his own needs, you’re probably not in a very healthy relationship.

Which is actually why I think everyone goes crazy over these books while also admitting that it is literary trash. Because even though none of us will ever admit it, the book basically takes everything we daydream about as girls and puts it into a book.

I mean Reed was selfless to the point that it was unrealistic. Ella was helpless to the point that it was annoying. But still these books sell like hotcakes. Something must be up, no?

What was with the incest?

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I talked about this with Tina who insisted that Reed and Ella hooking up was fine because technically they were not related. But I always found that a bit strange. I mean technically Ella is their sister now. Even if it’s not by blood, she lives in the house and they now kind of share a father.

To me, it was incest and I didn’t get why no one, especially Callum, had a problem with it. Even the kids at their school acted like it was fine. That was just plain weird.

Yet, it was still so addictive

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However, after everything I’ve just said, I’m still giving this book a damn high rating because screw it, it was so addictive. I fell in love with the whole story and the characters (annoying and stupid as they were). I really just enjoyed this book and it was the perfect escape.

I mean it really felt good to have a book that wasn’t so politically correct you know?

Nowadays authors just want to be politically correct with gender equality and never portraying a woman as unable to do something a man can do. While that kind of thinking is obviously what we need as a society in the real world, sometimes it’s nice to let go of that for a bit in a  fictitious world.

So if you need a light read to binge, this series is 100% for you. I know I particularly enjoyed it because I was so stressed with my exams and assignments that this book was just a really good way to destress because it didn’t require very many brain cells.

My-Rating-4-Stars

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Review: Close Your Eyes by Nicci Cloke

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Southfield High School is oh so normal, with its good teachers, its bad, and its cliques. But despite the cliques, there’s a particular group of friends who have known each other forever and know that they can rely on each other for anything.

There’s the twins: Aisha, rebellious, kind, and just a tiny bit worried about what the hell she’s going to do once this year is over, and Vis, smart, quiet and observant. Then there’s Remy, the loudmouth, and Gemma, who’s more interested in college boys and getting into the crap club in town. And then there’s Elise: the pretty one.

But at the start of Year 11, when the group befriend the new boy, Elijah, things start to change. The group find themselves not as close as they used to be.

Until one Tuesday, when the students are trapped inside the school building. And one of them has a gun.

Close Your Eyes is the story of a school shooting which, through interviews, messages and questionable actions, asks: Who is truly responsible?

Goodreads

Published: 23rd February 2017

Before I start this review, I would like to invite you to watch the following video if you have not.

 

This novel felt like the expanded version of this video. Where you’re so busy paying attention to the main character that you forget to look around. Okay I’ll stop before I give away too much.

This is a spoiler-free, plot-loving space!

Pros

The unique way the story was told

The story was told through the use of interview transcript, forum and text messages and then bits of narrative. It was honestly very interesting and I really liked it. It broke the monotony and it just made it a lot more fun to read.

It also helped the reader to see things from different perspectives  which was cool.

The plot twist

About in the middle of the book, there is an epic plot twist and then the other half of the book is spent explaining how that twist makes sense. Honestly guys, the plot twist alone is the main reason why you should read this book. It was epic. It really was. You will completely not see it coming.

The well-developed characters

In the book, we have a group of friends and different points of view but what I liked about the book was that they were all equally well-developed. They were all very well rounded characters and each of them were important to the story and were treated as such.

I think a lot of books tend to sometimes neglect certain supporting characters but in this book, everyone was given almost equal treatment which is why the plot twist was so much more satisfying.

The characters were also all flawed. What I liked was that they were so human that even though they tried to do good, they sometimes slipped and they sometimes hurt each other. It was like I could totally imagine them as real human beings in the real world which I liked a lot.

Cons

It was draggy

One of the biggest, and really the only, problem that I had with the book was the fact that I felt like a large part of it was really dragged out especially in the first half of the book.

I found it very hard to get hooked onto the storyline and I found myself putting it down many times in favour of another book. It was only when it hit the middle mark that things started to pick up and then all of a sudden the pace just switched and everything happened so fast and then it was over just like that.

Consistency is what I like people!

Overall

Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I personally have always enjoyed books about school shootings because it gives you this inside look at what would eventually drive a person to doing something so heinous, so this book for me, was incredible.

In fact, I’ve read and watched a couple of school shooting things in the past like This Is Where It Ends and I’ve watched We Need To Talk About Kevin (the best school shooting movie you will ever watch I swear) and I have to say that this was the most unique and the most notable.

It was really fantastic and everyone needs to read this. And yes, I know I say that about loads of the books that I read but I’m dead serious okay.

Trust me.

*An advanced copy of this book was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. However, all opinions are my own*

My-Rating-4-Stars

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Review: The Aquaria Chronicles by Melanie Dixon

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In the near future, Aqua Marsden, a med school dropout with a fascination for marine biology, is learning how to exist in a city devastated by the effects of bleed—a deadly blue organic substance that suffocates and kills everyone in its reach. When a bad outbreak of the bleed causes Aqua to lose contact with everyone, she must hunt for safety with her new friend, Mark. Out of options, they must discover how to breathe toxic air and find Aquaria, a large marine research facility hidden under the city that could hold the key to humanity’s survival. Aqua may have given up saving humanity through medicine, but perhaps she can discover the cure for bleed and save Aquaria.

Goodreads

Pros

The Plot

I liked the story idea. I think it was quite fresh and interesting. I liked how zombies were brought in even though they were seemingly not related to the bleed at all. I thought it was good. I also really liked the plot twist at the end. It turned a seemingly dull and boring book into something that was worth it in the end.

The Setting

Much effort went into describing the surroundings and I enjoyed getting to picture this gorgeous underground aquarium home. It really was spectacular in my mind and I really liked that.

Cons

The Odd Plot Distribution

Quite honestly did not know how to title this section.

Okay anyway, I felt like the book was just very lopsided. So obviously the main idea behind the book is the blue bleed and the zombie apocalypse right? But most of the book is just them hanging out in the aquarium home and eating and cleaning fish tanks and it was like the outside world just stopped existing. There was no action at all. Rather it was just like they ate, they worked, they slept, they fell in love. Like what.

I’m sorry but that kind of ‘I did this then I did that’ style of writing was terrible. In fact, End Blyton’s boarding school stories had more action then this.

Very little attention was given to the real problem at hand which was the zombies basically and I just couldn’t understand why. I mean it was a good plot until it turned into a giant sleepover with like four people because God forbid you try to develop any other characters.

Which brings me to my next point.

The Lack Of Supporting Characters

Why were there no other characters?! Literally there was an huge research facility that was supposedly full of people but you hardly heard of them? How did Aqua and Mark not make other friends besides Derek and Joyce?

You would get random mentions of the fact that there might be other people in the facility but besides that, I went through the novel believing that there were like 10 people in the whole place.

The Dialogue

One of the things that I just couldn’t stand in this novel was the way that the characters talked. Let me give you an example of an exchange between Aqua and her best friend Heather.

“Am I ever. At least I don’t have to worry about this year, as I switched my application to marine biology without her knowledge.”

I mean who on earth talks like that in real life to their best friend? Or anyone for that matter?

“Aqua! I heard strange noises. Are you okay?”
“Yes, while you were perambulating away, I was being attacked by a zombie!”

Who on earth, after using a hammer to nearly kill a man, uses the word ‘perambulating’??? Not to mention that Aqua wasn’t in the slightest shaken up about the fact that she killed the guy. Anyone would have been so panicked but no. Aqua is totally calm. So calm in fact that she can use the word ‘perambulating’.

“Well, I’ll teach you, but right now our safety is of paramount importance.”

This was said as they were having bleed rain down on them and they were panicking and trying to get into a room. Who uses the word ‘paramount’ when they are in a panic?

“Aqua? What is it?” Derek asked me with great tenderness. He sat on the edge of my bed.
“My Mum is dead!”
“Oh no! What happened?” he asked.”

It was just very formal, stilted and sounded a lot like how I used to write dialogue when I was doing my primary school English essays.

The Ignorance

Okay so I hate to do this but I got really annoyed at how ignorant the characters were.

“I felt momentarily guilty for not asking about whether the physically challenged were welcome here, but obviously they were, as Joyce grabbed one of Mark’s bags to help him out.”

This was an actual quote from the book. I mean obviously the physically challenged are welcome in the bunk that will save them from the bleed! Are they not human?

“I hadn’t even considered that a disabled person would still be able to swim”

I just felt like there were so many instances in the book where the characters would say something and it would sound so horrible and like they were putting down people which I hated.

“I finished two years ago, in the gifted programme.”

“You mean the retards”

“It appeared that prejudice was alive and well, even in someone disabled. Did it matter if I was a retard? They had a name for everything nowadays. I might have suffered a bit of ADHD when I was younger, but I was doing better now.”

At one point in the book, Aqua tells Mark that she was in the gifted programme in high school. Mark instantly responds by calling her a retard. The book went on to elaborate that by calling her a retard, he meant that just because she had a learning disability, she was a retard.

I have a learning disability. I grew up getting treated differently during exams in school yet I graduated with a single digit ‘O’ Level score. Are you calling me a retard? Are you seriously going to sit there and call me a retard?

Honestly why include a disabled character and a character with a learning disability if you have such an agenda against them and you’re going to spend the whole book hating on them?

I mean some of the things were just mean. Like when Aqua had to share a room with Mark and Joyce told her that she was going to find a room with wheelchair access and that it would have to be on the ground floor. Instead of being grateful, that little twerp gets annoyed that Mark’s every need needs to be thought through and that she isn’t getting a good view from her room.

I’m not even joking. Ugh.

The Dreaded Insta-Love

Honestly, this was worst then insta-love. This wasn’t just insta-love. This was insta-love on steroids!

She meets Mark and instantly she assumes that he is in love with her (he is of course because every guy you meet is instantly infatuated with you. That’s so realistic). Then she meets Derek and she assumes the same thing. Then of course there’s so much premature jealousy coming from Mark towards Derek. UGH. I cringed through every exchange between them.

To put things into perspective for you, Derek takes Aqua out for lunch after about three days of knowing her and instantly they are flirting and he tells her that he wants to snuggle with her. The very next day they go out for lunch again and he kisses her without warning and asks her to be his girlfriend. And she says yes. Gosh I wanted to punch them both.

I have a friend who had a boy ask her to be his girlfriend after like one date and seriously, that is a major major major red flag. It is not cute. It is not endearing. It is creepy af and no sensible girl will ever say yes in real life.

Overall

I don’t know. There was so much potential in this book but the execution was just so poor. I really wanted to like this but I was cringing through majority of it and rolling my eyes at the other bits.

The book needs work. That much is obvious. I mean there are so many thing that just outright don’t make sense and the book clearly needs to be fact checked.

I mean this was said by Aqua during a fire drill.

“But then my stomach contracted. What about all the sea creatures? The whales, the dolphins, the fish? What about the electric eels? Was there any plan of evacuation for them? Or would they just all burn?”

She was worried that the fish would burn. Oh gosh.You think a fish could burn? Really? With all that water you worry about the fish burning?

“If there’s really a fire, what happens to the sea creatures?” I asked Stephen.

He pondered. “I don’t think there has ever been a plan. I think most of the tanks are water and air tight. Hopefully we could get a fire under control in time to save them.”

“Well, when this is over, we will have to have a chat with Stephen. These animals are important, and we can’t lose even one of them. Their lives are as valuable as ours,” I said to him.”

Bless her heart that girl is truly stupid.

So yes. It was a good plot but lacked a lot of the very basic things that make a book a book like sense and proper direction and buildup.

My-Rating-2-Stars

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Review: We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

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Authors Brian Conaghan and Sarah Crossan have joined forces to tell the story of Nicu and Jess, two troubled teens whose paths cross in the unlikeliest of places.

Nicu has emigrated from Romania and is struggling to find his place in his new home. Meanwhile, Jess’s home life is overshadowed by violence. When Nicu and Jess meet, what starts out as friendship grows into romance as the two bond over their painful pasts and hopeful futures. But will they be able to save each other, let alone themselves?

For fans of Una LaMarche’s Like No Other, this illuminating story told in dual points of view through vibrant verse will stay with readers long after they’ve turned the last page.

Goodreads

Publishing: 9 February 2017

I need to confess that I started this book angry at Sarah and Brian for how badly they portrayed Nicu. Now I am not generally someone that speaks out about racism. I mean I do tend to feel that people tend to go overboard with the whole ‘omg white authors can’t write about racism because they’ve never experienced it’ crap but there are some things that I do frown upon.

In this book in particular, I didn’t like that Nicu’s parts were all written so badly and disjointed that it almost felt like they were poking fun at him and trying to portray him as illiterate. Like ‘hey! Look at that foreigner. He can’t speak english! Let’s mock him and laugh at him and his cultures. Let’s make sure everyone knows he’s dumb.”

So yes, I did start out being angry in the beginning. And then the story started to unfold and I finally say what the authors were trying to get at and I guess it started to make more sense.

Plot

This book follows Jess and Nicu. Two teenagers who are going through enormous struggles. Jess is from an abusive home and Nicu has just moved from Romania and is struggling with speaking English, racism and the fact that his parents are just waiting to earn enough money to get him married off to a girl in Romania.

In the midst of all this pain and difficulty, Jess and Nicu meet each other in community service. What starts out as two people unwilling to connect with each other very quickly develops into a friendship and then a relationship.

Told entirely in verse, the authors weave a heartbreaking story about finding your home within someone else and how true love isn’t always the happy ending that everyone expects.

Characters

Jess

Jess was a girl that came from an abusive home. She was damaged and she was trying to deal with her home life as well as her life outside it.

Jess was honestly someone that I didn’t really like from the beginning to the end. She was quite bitchy and racist towards Nicu even after they became friends and then lovers. Not to mention that she thought ridiculously highly of herself considering that she and Nicu were at the exact same place in community service. I mean seriously.

But I think what kept me hating Jess was the fact that she refused to stand up to the people that bullied Nicu. Instead, she often joined in or just remained silent. Like no. I cant stand that.

Nicu

I think I liked Nicu a lot largely because he could not speak English fluently. So you just automatically felt  more protective towards him. Especially when Jess is saying terrible things to him.

He was a very innocent kid but you could tell that there was this buried hardness in him that was developed from staying quiet about the horrible way that he was being treated in school and how his parents treated him like a piece of meat at home.

It’s something I think a lot of people can really relate to. I know I certainly did.

Overall

I really enjoyed this book. It was a very quick but impactful read.

I personally loved how it wasn’t your typical romance with the happy ending. Rather the ending proved that love does not mean that you end up dancing off into the sunset with your lover. Something that I think is sorely lacking in most young adult contemporary books these days.

The characters, while unlikeable, were well-developed even in this short book. It was just a read that was painful and it made me cry and we all know that any book that makes me cry is a good book in my books (wow that was a mouthful).

The way the book was written (in verse) was also really excellent and enjoyable.

Overall, something that I totally think you should read.

*An advanced copy was provided to me to read and review by Pansing. However, all opinions are my own*

My-Rating-4-Stars

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Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr

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Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

Goodreads

Publishing Date: 12 Jan 2017

I haven’t done a book review in the longest time so I may be a little rusty. Bear with me.

This was such an odd little book but it was such an incredible adventure that it was impossible to not fall head over heels in love with it.

Plot

So let’s start with the storyline. In this book, we follow Flora, a girl with amnesia. Of course because of her condition, she becomes a highly unreliable narrator. Something that I found very interesting. I love unreliable narrators because then when the twist comes, it’s usually a bigger sucker punch.

So the story follows her as she goes to the Artic in an attempt to find the boy she kissed all while trying to help herself remember where she is, what she’s doing and who she can trust.

A pretty unique and quirky storyline in my opinion.

Characters

Flora

I loved Flora. I thought she was so brave (see what I did there?). No but seriously, for someone who loses everything in a matter of an hour or two, I thought Flora did an excellent job getting herself to the Arctic and hunting down Drake.

I mean personally, I would have been so terrified not knowing what was true and who had my best interests at heart and who didn’t.

But above all, I really liked how resilient she was. I mean here she was, writing everything down. So she knew how long she had spent looking for Drake. However each day, she just got up and went right back out to look for him. Never knowing where she was headed, where he was or what he was doing. She just kept on keeping on.

There was just something so pure and innocent with her that I really enjoyed. It’s impossible to not root for her.

Drake

There are no words for me to tell you how much I hated Drake. I don’t know why exactly but from the very beginning I just felt like something was so off about him.

I mean come on. Any guy that kisses another girl while they have a girlfriend is just screwed up. Not to mention that he does this literally a day before he leaves claiming that she will forget so it doesn’t matter. Like excuse me! It totally matters! You can’t just use someone like that! It’s as good as rape. I mean he was using her!

I don’t know I think I just felt so protective over Flora that knowing that this boy was ultimately going to hurt her just made me hate him.

Paige

I honestly don’t get Paige. I mean okay. She had every right to be angry about Flora kissing her boyfriend and I fully respect her decision to not want to babysit Flora when her parents went to Paris.

But instead of just ditching her, a responsible human being would have told her parents at least that she would not be looking after her.

I mean yeah it was good that she called every day but seriously? How irresponsible can you get?

And I don’t get how they were suddenly BFFs again at the end of the novel. How did Jacob even talk to Paige? I’m confused here!

Overall

I enjoyed this novel immensely. I think especially with YA contemporary novels, you tend to get a lot of the exact same things and formulas. But with this book, there was so much that was different that it made the book really stand out.

I wasn’t pleased with the plot holes and the loose ends that were not tied up properly but I think it was an altogether pretty amazing concept and story.

The charachters, while not all loveable, were very well-developed and I enjoyed learning about them.

If you’re looking for a light read with serious undertones, I strongly recommend picking this up.

*An advanced copy of this book was given to me to read and review by Penguin. All opinions however are my own*

My-Rating-4-Stars

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