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Archives for : young adult

Hereafter

Tara Hudson’s new novel, Hereafter, promised to deliver an enticingly unique young adult book, different from the rest of the watered down love stories on the market. Unfortunately, it didn’t deliver.

Amelia, a ghost who doesn’t remember anything except her first name and parts of her death, wanders around aimlessly, as do the first 50 pages of the book. I forced myself to continue reading, waiting for the book to pick up and deliver the fascinating read that would have me on tender hooks. After finishing the 400+ page book, I’m still waiting. The story seemed contrived and lacking, although the book cover is hauntingly appealing.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by HarperTeen.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Lost Voices

Sarah Porter’s new book,  Lost Voices, seems depressingly lost. Addressing the abuses of young girls at the hands of the people who should love them and take care of them, the book missed a great opportunity for empowering the young readers who may look to it. While the writing is beautifully descriptive, it rambles along on tangents which serve to detract from the story, which is lacking to begin with. The characters are shallow and add to the depression of the book, which ends abruptly without bringing any closure.

I would love to see someone pick up the theme and write a fantastic fictional book for young girls.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by Harcourt Books.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

The Goddess Test

Debut author Aimee Carter’s new book and beginning of a new series, The Goddess Test (Harlequin Teen), goes on sale next week. The book pulled me in at the beginning, having been the teenage girl taking care of a mother dying of cancer. The concept of Greek mythology in modern day life is appealing and one that I enjoy.

However, the book left a lot wanting. The focus on Kate’s self-sacrifice over-shadowed any further character development, for either her or the rest of the cast of characters. Multiple twists in the storyline are abrupt without any foreshadowing too look back on, leaving the reader feeling that the author changed her story mid-book. The chosen tests are not connected to the subject matter and left me shaking my head at their inclusion.

I can only hope the author does some further development before the release of the next book in the series.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by HarlequinTEEN.

Previously published at Living Peacefully with Children.

Cinder and Ella

Cinder and Ella are two of four sisters. Both their older and younger sisters are selfish, their father quit doing anything to help the family before disappearing altogether, and their mother spins all day at her spinning wheel, effectively ignoring her daughters to the point that she has forgotten that Cinder and Ella are two individuals. Ella, tired of being forgotten and taken advantage of, sets out on her own, leaving Cinder to take care of the family.

Melissa Lemon’s telling of the Cinderella story, Cinder and Ella, is only marginally related to the original fairytale. With an evil prince on the horizon, and a story of living trees, the book’s closest tie with the original tale is the name of the book. While the book is a decent read, the characters, with few exceptions, just aren’t very likeable.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was provided by the publisher.

The Sleepwalkers

Caleb’s life is all set. He has his plans laid out for after high school graduation until the arrival of a letter from an old childhood friend. Shortly after, he sets out on a road trip with his best friend, Bean, to find out what is going on. Arriving at his old hometown, he finds that secrets have been kept there for years.

J. Gabriel Gates’ The Sleepwalkers brings a new scene for teen horror. Reminiscent of Stephen King and John Saul, the story is artfully written and skillfully suspenseful. While I found I had many questions about some of the story’s end, it merely added to the disquieting feeling of the book.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers has it all: a strong plot, well developed characters, political intrigue, nuns as assassins, and a unique take on religion.

Ismae has always suffered. Given away in an arranged marriage to an abusive man, she barely escapes with her life. Seeking help from the herbwitch, she is smuggled to a secluded convent, one which serves the god of death. There she finds that not all nuns are soft-spoken servants. The Daughters of Mortain are skilled assassins, serving their lord. Ismae, herself, has been called by Mortain and excels at her new profession.

Along with learning about poisons and weapons, the young apprentices also learn about how to use their womanly ways in the service of death. While it seems stereotypicla that every book must focus on the sexuality of teenage girls, based on the tenor of the rest of the book, I can only assume LaFevers was making a statement through this.

While the book drags through parts, the overall story is darkly compelling.

 

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

The Shadowing

Callum Scott is predominantly a normal boy. He does well enough in school, plays rugby, and keeps a low profile. The only problem is that for as long as he can remember he has seen ghosts. Now his premonitions are growing and he is being chased by a large creature from another place. Life is about to get interesting.

Adam Slater’s The Shadowing: Hunted would be a mediocre paranormal young adult novel with characters who are screaming to be further developed. However, he has managed to weave new aspects into his brand new paranormal series which may just set the foundation for a great story.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

Bane: Book Two of The Coven Series

Having previously fled from her over-controlling father and the other witches of the dark coven, Jax Pherson is on the run again. Leaving those she cares about behind in an attempt to protect them, she and another rebelling witch, Egan, are on the search for a way to stop their families and covens. Gaining allies along they way, Jax and Egan realize that they can’t beat the evil alone.

Bane is the second book in Trish Milburn’s The Coven Series. While there were definitely aspects of the book that kept the story line of the series going with necessary scenes, the overall quality of the second book wasn’t to par with the first, White Witch. The plot meandered about and character development seemed stalled at the beginning before picking up towards the latter half of the novel. The book is short and still enjoyable to read but leaves readers hoping Milburn comes back stronger in the next installment.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Catch and Release

Polly Furnas had a plan. Graduate highschool. Marry her sweetheart. Go to college, and have children. MSRA was not in the plan. Neither was spending weeks in the hospital and loosing her eye. Somehow, out of everyone in her hometown who survived the infection, she survived, along with a fellow highschooler, Odd. Now she has a choice. She can lie around wallowing in self-pity or take Odd’s offer for a fishing trip. She can choose to fight to live or slowly die inside her new body. Plans change.

Blythe Woolston’s Catch & Release is interesting, a bit disturbing, and just perfect for analyzing our views and anger. With writing and a story line that gets under your skin, Woolston wraps it up with Odd’s letters to his grandmother, effectively putting a balm on the infected story. A new book with merit for discussing what we make of life and those around us, Catch & Release is certain to find its own among teens looking for something out of the ordinary.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.

Beyond the Grave

It’s hard to have a normal life when your parents are paranormal investigators. Charlotte’s mother is in a coma after a previous encounter with The Watcher. Her father and sister are struggling to live, the business if falling apart, and Charlotte is left floundering, trying to hold it together and spend time with her boyfriend who is becoming more secretive each day.

Mara Purnhagen’s Beyond the Grave is the third and final book in her Past Midnight series. The book is strong enough to stand alone for those of us who haven’t read her earlier novels, but the characters seem a bit flat and the build up and discovery drags. Luckily, the action at the end mostly makes up for the slow clues.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

This was previously posted at Living Peacefully with Children.