Posts tagged ‘arc’

November 5th, 2011

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Shatter Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Published: November 15th, 2011

Number of Pages: 352

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

In this electrifying debut, Tahereh Mafi presents a world as riveting as The Hunger Games and a superhero story as thrilling as The X-Men. Full of pulse-pounding romance, intoxicating villainy, and high-stakes choices, Shatter Me is a fresh and original dystopian novel—with a paranormal twist—that will leave readers anxiously awaiting its sequel. [From Goodreads]

Official Review Sent to HarperTeen*:

Tahereh Mafi’s debut novel, Shatter Me, is brilliant and has made Mafi one of my favorite Young Adult authors. The premise itself is thrilling and freshens the slightly diluted dystopian genre, but it was Tahereh Mafi’s absolutely magnificent prose that enshrouded me in happiness from page one. Ideas and thoughts that are already interesting – and border on profound – are relayed in such a mesmerizing way that very few readers will be able to resist.

Review:

IT IS GOING TO BE SO DIFFICULT NOT TO TYPE THIS ENTIRE REVIEW IN CAPS.

IT’S THAT GOOD.

SERIOUSLY.

‘KAY, I’M DONE NOW.

But it deserves capitals. It even deserves bold words and italicized ones. Shatter Me is by far the best dystopian book I’ve read this year. In fact, it’s one of the best YA books I’ve read this year. I swear it has some sort of power, some sort of magical force that stretches its hand out from the pages and wraps you in its fist. From the very first page, I was mesmerized by the unusual format and voice. Tahereh chose to mirror the voice in the format. Many of the lines are slashed out, so the reader knows they were thought by Juliette, but she’s repressed them. In moments of panic, Tahereh left out punctuation entirely. Whatever she chose to do for any given line was perfect and amplified the feelings expressed by the words. It was one of the most entertaining things I’ve ever seen in a book.

There were dozens of other wonderful things about Shatter Me. The most important of which was Juliette. She was so great! I love it when I have almost nothing negative to say about a heroine. Juliette is a tortured soul, but she’s so thoughtful. She has such a beautiful personality and sees the world in 4D. Everything is deeper through her eyes. I can promise you that, if you’re going to love Shatter Me (and you should), you’ll know it by the end of the first chapter.

And Juliette isn’t the only hook. The world Tahereh’s created is mind-boggling. Juliette is not the only tortured thing in the book. Her entire world is. Really. It’s a mess. However, that leaves tons of progress to be made in the series. This series has so much potential to be as magical (in feeling) as Harry Potter, as heart-wrenching as Delirium, as action-packed as The Hunger Games, and as well written as, well, the best written book in the YA genre.

And did I mention a romance more perfect than almost any other in dystopian books? I don’t know if I should tell you who this dream romance involves… I think it’s better to see as few spoilers as possible and preorder the book. All you need to know is this: You’ll need a lot of chocolate to comfort you from heartsickness when you remember that this boy is officially off-limits due to the facts that 1) He’s taken and 2) He’s fictional. Feel free to sob.

The only other person I want to mention is the villian. I loved him! He’s so fantastically weird and twisted and awesome. He’s perfect and just the sort of bad-guy you want to pop up around every corner.

The final word? Shatter Me is the ridiculously awesome novel heart-throb you’ve all heard it is. Mark the 15th on your calendar. Take a sick day and read.

*Thanks A TON for the ARC!

August 9th, 2011

Heist Society by Ally Carter; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Heist Society

Author: Ally Carter

Published: February 9th, 2010

Number of Pages: 304

Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way. [From Goodreads]

Quote:

She’d absolutely adored the library – an entire building where anyone could take things they didn’t own and feel no remorse about it.

Review:

Audrey, of holes In My brain fame, has raved about Hale, the male crush-interest (they aren’t quite to the L word yet), and has said a few times that these books are really fun. An old ARC I got for free from a friend of mine had been sitting on my shelf for months, so I decided to take it with me on the drive to Utah last week.

Though Heist Society had a lot of potential to be clever and brilliant, I found myself a bit more interested in looking out the window than reading. The drive’s nice, but not that nice. I don’t mean to imply that the book is boring, but it definitely didn’t engross me. I can pinpoint the exact reasons the book fell flat for me.

1) The prose. Perhaps it was the third person point-of-view, but that typically doesn’t bother me. The way that Ally Carter described just about anything felt too distant and too ordinary. I would have appreciated word choice that was more unique and character-specific. Also, the description was a bit sparse.

2) The secondary characters were not as detailed as I would have liked. Sure, they could be sassy and funny, and they did funny things, but I wouldn’t have missed them if they were absent. I can only hope that they make another appearance in the second book and that they become individuals.

3) Hale. I know! Everyone loves him! I was definitely interested in him, but he, like the other secondary characters, was not dug into as deeply as I would have liked. However, I believe that he has more potential than nearly every other character and am eager to read more about him.

Luckily, I’m a sucker for cons and thieves. I mean, fictional ones, of course. I love intricate plots to steal valuable items from highly secure locations. The more clever the plot, the better. Kat is just my sort of gal, and her world is just the sort of world I love to escape to. Because of this, I did enjoy the book. I can’t wait to see if Carter steps it up a notch in the sequel. Audrey recently reviewed book two, Uncommon Criminals (great title!), and described the book as a con itself. Carter, like the writers of Oceans 11, 12, and 13, apparently reveals things in a particular way so that the reader is kept making assumptions and guessing as the story goes along. Mind games are so much fun in books, and I enjoy a book even more if I find that the conclusions I came to are wrong.

Throughout the book, Kat travels around the world, and she ends up in Paris and England more than once. I’m fascinated by Europe (especially Paris), so I definitely appreciated this factor of the book. I only wish she had been more descriptive and had incorporated the environment a bit more.

I believe that Kat is the strong point of the novel. Without her, I would not have given the book three stars. She’s savvy, clever, and most importantly, compassionate. Oftentimes, people think that a strong female protagonist must shed tendencies toward emotional attachment, compassion, sympathy, and tenderness. Why is it that, in order to be clever and independent, a girl has to rid herself of the qualities that make women special? I deeply appreciated how well-rounded Kat’s character is.

Ultimately, I’d recommend this book to people looking for a fun read and a series with a lot of potential. I’m eager to read the sequel and hope that the aforementioned potential is reached!

July 18th, 2011

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Catching Jordan

Author: Miranda Kenneally (!!! Sorry, couldn’t help it.)

Published: December 1st, 2011

Number of Pages: 288

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there’s a new guy in town who threatens her starting position… suddenly she’s hoping he’ll see her as more than just a teammate. [From Goodreads]

Blurb:

There are two fundamental things in this world that baffle teenage girls – love and football. A clever and gorgeously written novel about characters I’d love to see walking the halls of my own high school, Catching Jordan manages to teach the truth about both.

Review:

This book gets better every time I read it. It has a timelessness to it, and particularly to its characters, that I believe will never fail to enthrall me.

I’ll admit: Catching Jordan‘s first few paragraphs are a little scary. Blitzing? What on earth is blitzing? But it only takes a moment before Jordan’s voice seeps through the football jargon, and you’ll be infatuated. Jordan is an open, raw, no-nonsense sort of narrator, and she has such an entertaining, sarcastic, joking way of looking at the world. (Can you tell I love her? That sentence had six happy adjectives!) Even when she made some silly decisions, I knew that she would turn out just fine. She’s strong, tomboyish, but unarguably a girl. No matter how hard she might try to maintain a sort of manly, domineering force on her team, the reader knows she’s just as susceptible to mucky teenage-girl feelings as any other girl is. This fact ensures that non-sporty girls like myself will feel the crucial emotional connection with Jordan that we all look for in a protagonist.

Within the first five pages, the reader is made aware of what’s at stake for Jordan, and within the first chapter, a threat is targeted. At stake? The state championship and, potentially, a full-ride to her dream school, Alabama. The threat? Ty Green, gorgeous, alluring, quarterback extraordinaire. For once, Jordan feels vulnerable. Will he steal her heart? Or worst – her position?

And from there sprouts a fantastic story of friendship, love, mistakes, family, teammates, and, well, Jordan Woods. Despite her confidence on the field, the Jordan at the beginning of the book is uncomfortable in her own skin. She has a specific, flawed idea of who she’s supposed to be, but as a reader, it’s evident that the real her is boiling under the surface, ready to surge over.

One of my favorite things about Catching Jordan is the team, particularly JJ, Carter, and Henry. JJ’s an oddly lovable sort of fellow. If I saw him from a distance, I might roll my eyes, but he’s a fantastic friend. Carter seems to have a story of his very own, and I enjoyed keeping an eye on him. And Henry…

HENRY.

Henry is phenomenal! I absolutely adore him. His irresistible, silly, humor is just the sort that wins me over every time. The history between him and Jordan felt so real, so substantial. Miranda expertly wove their past into the book, enriching their relationship and their characters. A girl would do just about anything for a friend like him – like play football. Yes, maybe even that.

Family plays just as important a roll in Jordan’s development as her team does. In fact, Jordan’s relationship with her father is an extremely sensitive issue. Though the entire state acknowledges her talent and potential, her father stands alone in his disapproval. Having the great Donovan Woods, quarterback for the Tennessee Titans might appear to be an asset, but his lack of support for her drives Jordan crazy. In my opinion, Jordan’s future was hinged on the evolution of their relationship.

Another feature of the book I appreciated was the poetry embedded between chapters every now and again. I couldn’t write poetry like that to rescue my books from a raging fire! (Although that’s a pretty shabby compliment, considering how terrible my poetry is. They’re very lackluster, while Jordan’s are the opposite.) The poems are laced with Jordan’s witty, comical voice, but also tend to express some of the emotions and feelings she’s too self-conscious to reveal verbally. They round her character and allow the reader to take a peek into her deeper feelings.

Miranda Kenneally is an abundantly talented writer. Her style and voice are riveting, and her characters are extraordinary. (Think Sarah Dessen but… funnier.) Catching Jordan is her debut novel, and I can assure you that she has much more in store for YA readers.

I can’t wait for Catching Jordan to hit shelves and for all of you to have the opportunity to befriend the fantastic characters within it. In fact, go ahead and preorder now to avoid the horror that would be wasting a single moment!

P.S. This horrible review does not do the book justice. My creative juices are simply not flowing this morning. However, if you want a real taste of this book, you can check out an excerpt here.