Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine, a weekly meme
meant to spotlight upcoming releases we're excited for.

Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg
Point/Scholastic, 288 pages

US Release: April 1, 2012

From the fantastic author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Prom & Prejudice comes a story of all the drama and comedy of four friends who grow into themselves at a performing arts high school.

Emme, Sophie, Ethan, and Carter are seniors at a performing arts school, getting ready for their Senior Showcase recital, where the pressure is on to appeal to colleges, dance academies, and professionals in show business. For Sophie, a singer, it's been great to be friends with Emme, who composes songs for her, and to date Carter, soap opera heartthrob who gets plenty of press coverage. Emme and Ethan have been in a band together through all four years of school, but wonder if they could be more than just friends and bandmates. Carter has been acting since he was a baby, and isn't sure how to admit that he'd rather paint than perform. The Senior Showcase is going to make or break each of the four, in a funny, touching, spectacular finale that only Elizabeth Eulberg could perform.

-------Goodreads summary

Doesn't this book sound fabulous?! I love novels that focus on a group, and that this is mixed boys and girls?! I love it. Performance arts schools are always so fascinating as well with such a different environment from my high school - plus, in college I lived with several drama kids so I know some of the weird quirks and monumental pressures they have from professional standpoints. I can't wait to get my hands on this! (Also, how stunning is that cover?!)

What book are you eagerly anticipating? Leave a link and I'll come check it out!
And of course if you follow, I'd love to follow back!

Top 10 Books For A Book Club Pick

Welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the lovely Broke and the Bookish :) This week, in no particular order (despite the numbering), we have:

Top 10 Books That Would Make 
A Great Book Club Pick

1.  I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Two boys taken by a deadbeat, off-his-rocker dad makes up for a brutal, heart wrenching and hopeful story of how they survive on their own intelligences, instincts and love for each other. This book covers everything from new love to enduring love to failed love to misplaced familial love and just how much of it we can bear - and what ultimately it all means.

2. Matched by Ally Condie (read my review here!)
Simply because I think the world Ally Condie has created could be a possible future.  Eliminating excess, controlling lives and choices and matches and food intake to maximize our output and outcome? I could probably pick 10+ people from my life right now who would opt for a life like that, and I think that warrants a discussion.

3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I don't think there's much to say that we all don't know. This series is fantastic and interesting and so action-packed that there's been years of discussion on it.

4. If I Stay/Where She Went by Gayle Foreman
If you've read these, you know why it's on this list - and if you haven't, then dear God GO GET THE BOOKS. The choice of staying when you know your family has gone will rip your soul to shreds, and then the absolute tragic and great love when there's so much to bear will make it all worthwhile.

5. The Beginning of After by Jennifer Castle
Similar in catalyst to If I Stay, The Beginning of After tackles the idea of being left behind when the rest of your family is killed in a car accident.  It adds an interesting plot element of having a friend's family involved (even to blame, pending your judgment), and after I read it I felt I could talk for hours about Laurel and her life.

6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This has been optioned for a movie, right? It seems fairly obvious to me why, because it's gripping and has such possibilities when you find out it's a deceased girl who has made tapes for each person who played a part in her suicide - and then sent them to those involved to let them know why and how it all comes together. It's one of those Big Life Topics neatly packaged into a bold story. Even though I was only so-so on the book itself, it would lead to tons of discussion.

7. It's Kind of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
I think we're all kind of like Craig Gilner, in a weird and semi-messed up way. Who hasn't felt so much pressure that we all just...crack a little bit?  This is a story of a 15-year old gifted boy in a gifted school who doesn't feel like he can live up to it all: so he checks himself into a psychiatric ward after he begins to consider suicide.

8. Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan
I've mentioned on this blog before that this isn't even my favourite David Levithan novel (though still loved), but it's such a Big, Intimidating topic: 9/11 in it's just-before, during and after state.  How did we all handle it? How did we all come to terms with such a tragic event, how did we all wrap our minds around it? The book handles it so well and with such a respect that it deserves to be talked about.

9. The Outsiders by SE Hinton
It's a classic about brotherhood and rivalries and the love that can cross all.  Absolutely brilliant, and one of my all-time favourite books ever.

10. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky
Also becoming a movie to be released later this year (with Logan Lerman, of Percy Jackson fame!), this one is also well-known and frequently banned or limited as it deals a lot with drugs, homosexuality, sex and suicide. But it's also more than just hot-button topics: it's about adolescence and introversion and awkwardness and influence and how we all have to learn how to handle life.

11. Honorable Mention: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen
17-year-old Mclean has spent her years since a divorce traveling around with her father on his many jobs and avoiding her cheating mother and the new family she's creating. With every move, Mclean creates another name and personality, opting to never really be known as the inevitable relocation will only rip away all that she's known for the last year. And then they move to one town, and Mclean, in a blindsided moment, has to tell her real name: and suddenly, she's learning what it means to want to belong, how to become her real person, and that she can't always run and change forever.  It's a beautiful story of feeling lost and reinvented.

12. Bonus Adult Novel: Addition by Toni Jordan
I was recommended to read this a few years ago, and even though I wasn't too crazy about it (it's a light, funny and vaguely memorable novel that mixes in some very real struggles), I still remember how it takes on the notion of OCD and how it really affects lives: not just yours, but the people around you, too.  People like to joke nowadays that they're "so OCD omg, I like need to eat carrots every day or else I just feel gross, y'know?" (that's a real quote from someone in my life, by the way).  But not many realize just how restrictive and terrifying this disease is.  Toni Jordan's novel does quite well in the avenue of explaining it, showing what it can do and what it makes a person do, and just how to live with it.  I really loved how she integrated the idea of accepting OCD and learning to live with it, not just trying to get rid of it.

What books would you pick for a book club? Leave me your link and I'll come check it out!

Friday, January 27, 2012

TGIF (3) and Follow Friday (2)!

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View that spotlights two amazing blogs and allows bloggers to link up and meet other fabulous bookish friends and share the Following love.

This week's spotlight blogs are: Fiction Ferver and Book'd Out

And the question is:
Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why?

Hmmm...I'm not really big on memoirs or Science Fiction, but there are definitely exceptions to that distaste.  HOWEVER, (and I know this is kind of twisting the question prompt but go with it!) I absolutely cannot stand time travel!  There's just something about it that I cannot ever get into. Everything I've tried to read I just find too many loopholes or things that I don't believe would happen given the time readjustments. It's not like everything I read is real or believable so I don't quite understand my aversion to time travel, but I know it's there.  What's funny is this extends to movies and TV shows too, so it's just a life-avoidance, really!

What genre do you avoid? Leave a link in my comments and I'll come check it out! (and of course if you follow I would love to follow back!)

TGIF is a weekly meme hosted by Ginger at GReads. This week's question is:
Buy or Borrow: Where do your books that you read come from? The bookstore? The library? Do you prefer to own a book, or have it on loan?

Most of my books are from the library, and I like it that way. Libraries have been a haven for me all my life: my mother is a librarian, and they've always meant home. It's books and order and familiarity and so many worlds and universes and possibilities all in one room or under one roof - they're amazing.  So naturally, I want to support them all I can.  Obviously it's much more financially stressful to own every book you read too, so the library is a nice little cash-saver as well.

Also, I feel like having books from the library increases my odds of reading them soon. Having a deadline to return the book makes me feel like I need to read that book and do it quick, before my time runs out. No offense meant to books I buy of course!  It's just that I get that oh well, it'll be there later feeling with ones I own and they tend to get lost in my TBR stack.

Of course, if a book is one that I absolutely loved loved loved after reading a library copy, I will eventually go out and purchase my own copy. If I love it I want it available and on hand at all times, even if I rarely go back and read it again.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Matched by Ally Condie *minor spoilers

Matched (Matched, Book 1) by Ally Condie
Dutton Juvenile, 366 Pages
Released November 30, 2010

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
"This is a difficult balance, telling the truth: how much to share, how much to keep, which truths will wound but not ruin, which will cut too deep to heal."

***MINOR SPOILERS - nothing major, but I do discuss some of the events in the book***

I've been waffling at the rating I'm going to give this book for awhile.  It's been so hyped to me (this is what I get for reading it 1.5 years after it's original release...) that I had high expectations, and I have to say...they were sort of met?  I mean, I'm not that well versed in Dystopian YA fiction quite yet - but I know I like romance, intrigue, creative worlds, a few twists, and that painful, welcome tug at my heart.  And in that sense, completely delivered.  There were honestly moments I could not put this book down, times that I had to know what was happening and felt like I myself was trying to make a choice and defy Society.

But it also took me 5 days to read this - about 4 days longer than it would take me to read any other book.  I finished two others during it, and started two more. It wasn't ever slow, and it wasn't ever boring.  But there was just something about it where I was...unimpressed?  It may be that I just wanted her to be nicer to Xander!  He's her Match, her long time best friend...so the Friend Zone, I guess.  So much of her discovery of life beyond Society's Choices seemed selfish to me, and I hated that.

That all said...I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS.  My heart was torn with hers when Ky was "relocated," I wanted to cry for Bram when the Artifacts were taken away. I believed whole-heartedly in her parents love and the goodness of Xander.  Despite my reservations about the book, I can't deny that it's a fabulous read.

Also, how amazing is this Society that Ally Condie has cooked up?!  It's brilliant: the Hundred Poems/Songs, ports, even the Match system. Of course I think it's all terrible, but the idea of it is so original.  Was I the only one who feared this could totally happen in real life?  Technology/social media and the availability to be so linked in with such an influx of sensations is overwhelming - and I could see how one day we'd all decide it's just too much and strip it all away.

(And bonus notable quote: "There is screaming in the Borough again and this time it is human."  How striking is that?!)

Even though I had negatives, the positives of this book FAR outweigh all of them. I can't wait to get Crossed (Book 2)!

4 Stars / 5

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

Waiting on Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, 
spotlights a book we're eagerly waiting for!

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
Delacorte Books, 336 Pages
US Release Date: June 12, 2012

Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars . . . and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!

--------Goodreads summary.

Short summary, but promises so much!  I lived in Italy when I was younger and have a soft spot for all things Italian or Italian-related; and this one just sounds like so much delicious, girl adventure fun!

What are you eagerly waiting for? Leave your link in the comments and I'll check it out!

Review: Close To Famous by Joan Bauer

Viking Juvenile, 250 Pages
Released: February 3, 2011
Age: Middle Grade

Foster McFee dreams of having her own cooking show like her idol, celebrity chef Sonny Kroll. Macon Dillard's goal is to be a documentary filmmaker. Foster's mother Rayka longs to be a headliner instead of a back-up singer. And Miss Charleena plans a triumphant return to Hollywood. Everyone has a dream, but nobody is even close to famous in the little town of Culpepper. Until some unexpected events shake the town and its inhabitants - and put their big ambitions to the test. Full of humor, unforgettable characters, surprises, and lots and lots of heart, this is Joan Bauer at her most engaging.

------------------- Goodreads summary
Notable Quote
"I felt safe around this small, determined boy who didn't make fun of anything I told him. This is how best friends are made."
4 Stars / 5

I really, really liked this book. I wasn't expecting much since my last (and first) experience with Joan Bauer wasn't too stellar (see my review of Stand Tall here), but as soon as I saw cupcakes and the premise, I knew I'd give it a shot. And I'm glad I did! Foster McFee is such an adorable protagonist, she's that perfect young girl who is just on the edge of learning the big things of life. She's been put through some very adult situations and has some very serious struggles, and Joan is perfect in her approach to it as a child.  The summary is spot on when it says this book has lots and lots of heart.

I was particularly taken with the integration of Foster's passion for cooking into her struggle with reading, her mom's abusive relationship and trying to figure out her place in this tiny town. Cupcakes and sweets are a universal language, everyone has some sort of memory with them - and Ms. Bauer is fabulous in being able to invoke that nostalgia in the reader and making you really believe in Foster and her talent and perseverance.  I loved how Foster really had a belief in cooking and ingredients and what they can mean to anyone and everyone.

I do recommend this for Middle Grade girls, I think it's a perfect book to really start trying to understand the Big Issues in life and the difficulties of fitting in, finding your voice, and being strong. Be aware there are serious issues (family abuse, mainly), but if it's something you think your child can handle, don't hesitate.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: How I'm A Liar

This week's Top Ten Tuesday (as always, hosted by the lovely Broke and the Bookish) is a free category; meaning you can make up your own or grab one from their long list of past topics that might have missed. As I was scrolling through, one definitely caught my eye that I decided to do a bitty version of:

10 Bookish Things I Lie About

1. A Game of Thrones. I've yet to read the series (or see the show), but one of the baristas at Coffee Bean was trying to defend the series to this obnoxious customer who was so resistant against it. Come to find out, the customer hadn't ever even read a synopsis of the series!  As I have read the first 50ish pages of the Game of Thrones (which obvs makes this ok), I chimed in really quick that the series is awesome and that I was in agreement with the barista. I'm not sure why I felt I had to, but I do want to read it eventually and was quite enthralled with the pages I have read. Plus, the barista is one of my favourites!

2. 1984.  People seem to assume I've read this for some reason, but I have not. It's my brother's favourite book and I always mean to read it - just haven't gotten around to it.

3. I don't read romance books.  Total lie. I've never read harlequins or those that are on the bookshelves near them, but I love me some Susan Elizabeth Phillips at least.  Read all of hers (exception: Call Me Irresistible, which is in my TBR stack!) and intend to keep doing so.

4. I've read the entire Gossip Girl series. I always vaguely say that I've read a few of them, but truth is I read the entire series as fast as I could get my hands on them from the library. It wasn't necessarily that juicy/interesting, it was just one of those things where I had to know where it was all going!  I'm not sure why I lie about it.

5. My feelings about Kurt Vonnegut.  Most of the time I'll say "I just wasn't into his books...I respect him and I get why he's a classic, but it's not my style."  Which is mostly true, I'm just not saying that I could not stand Slaughterhouse Five. It was probably the most I've ever had to push myself to finish a book - and I'm not sure why. I've always wanted to reread just because maybe I'll understand it better now, but...ugh. I really didn't like it. HOWEVER, I do say "so it goes" quite often.

6. Likewise to 1984, I've never read the Narnia series or The Lord of the Rings series. I've started both, but can't quite get into it more.

7. The Little Prince. This lie is different than the others because I have said before that I've read both the English and the French version of this.  I've read parts of both, just never in it's entirety.  But it's on my nightstand, ready to have it's turn one day!

8. Speaking of French, this one is more of a...twist. I count The Count of Monte Cristo as a book I've read, but in actuality I've never read it...in English.  I have, however, read Le Comte de Monte-cristo in it's entirety.  I should probably read the English version one day just so I'm positive I understood it all, but so far it seems I've got it!

9. Little Women is my favourite book of all time. In 9th grade, a bunch of people in my Honors English class made fun of me when I said so. They told me it was a childish, lame book and that I needed to grow up.  For YEARS after, I was so ashamed to say Little Women was my favourite, often claiming Pride & Prejudice, Catcher in the Rye, or Brave New World to be my favourite (all of which are some of my all-time favourites, but not THE favourite).  It's only been recently that I've stopped being ashamed and reclaimed Little Women as my favourite.

10. E-Readers. I lie about this in multiple ways. Mostly, I can't stand them. I adore physical books, the smell of them and being surrounded by shelves and stacks and how yellowed pages can tell as much a story as the words within it.  Given a choice, it will always be a real book.  BUT...without meaning to be spoiled, I was given an iPad from my boss as a gift - so I do have an e-reader. And I see the value in it, I read ebooks and take it with me on trips so I can have a whole library at my fingertips. So I'm lying when I say I would never have an e-reader, but I'm also lying when I say I don't use mine.

Any bookish fibs you tell?

Review: Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

Simon & Schuster, 344 Pages
Release Date: May 4, 2010

Grade: YA (15+) Some sexual content

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew—just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road—diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards—this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.

---------------Goodreads Summary
Notable Quote
"There sometimes isn't much difference between a knight's quest and a fool's errand."

5 stars / 5

OMG. Is it possible to have a perfect book? Because I'm fairly certain this is it.  Anything and everything you could possibly want out of a novel is in here. Strong protagonist who has lost her way due to a tragedy and embarks, if not reluctantly, on a trip to find herself?  Adorable sidekick boy who cheers her up and becomes her friend while unknowingly seeking his own journey that crosses perfectly with hers?  A fabulous trip across the country with pictures, interesting details, funny insights, and playlists?  IT'S ALL HERE.

I was a little worried moving through the book that it would all seem too cheesy (two strangers forced to road trip together...we can fairly predict where it will go), but it really, truly was not. Everything flowed well and the progression of their friendship and individual growth was excellently paced and very real. The little touches of photos and other scrapbook paraphernalia were fantastic, adding one more element that made this book such a stand-out.

I really think this is the closest a book can get to perfection. Even the tragedy and struggles Amy and her family are going through are crafted so perfectly, where your heart goes out to them and you feel the loss and sadness just emanating from the pages. Somehow a book that had almost none of Amy's family physically on the trip was all about them.

Two things, though.  I was incredibly distracted by the use of "but" in the novel.  Did anyone else think that it seemed to be used improperly? I kept seeing it in paragraphs where the two sentences weren't really contrasting.  (No? Just me? I'm the weird one? Moving on...)

Lastly, I read a hardcover version from the library, I think a first print? Anyway, there was a small typo that made me laugh:
Amy's gangster, yo.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

In My Mailbox (3)

Hosted by The Story Siren, In My Mailbox is a weekly meme to showcase the books we acquired this week (via purchase, library, ARC, etc)!

A pretty good haul this week! I'm a bit behind on my last stack because work conflicted with my time, but that's ok - lots to look forward to now!

From the library
The Fault In Our Stars - John Green
Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
Girl vs. Boy - Yvonne Collins & Sandy Rideout
Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzpatrick
Sloppy Firsts - Megan McCafferty

Clockwork Angel (Infernal Devices, Book 1) - Cassandra Clare
Finally picked up the paperback! Perfect timing since Clockwork Prince is finally in transit in my library queue!

The Fault In Our Stars - John Green
Originally I was going to wait for the paperback, but I got too impatient for the library to get a copy in for me! I wanted to read it now, and then when I was in Barnes & Noble and saw this:
I knew I had to have it. (No hanklerfish, boohoo!)

Did you get any awesome books this week?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

TGIF (2) and Follow Friday (1)!

It's been slow around these parts since my job was getting kinda crazy, but I think I've finally got a functional schedule worked out.  Reviews for Amy & Roger's Epic Detour, Close to Famous, and Matched will be coming up this week!

But enough of the housekeeping things, time for the fun! I've been seeing Follow Friday around the blogger net for awhile and thought I'd finally hop in :)

Alison Can Read & Parajunkee's View
Today's question: 
What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get your hands on any particular book?
Hmmm...you know, I don't think I've done too crazy things. The normal waiting at midnight, and I sent my mom out at the crack of dawn to get the last Harry Potter book because I was too sick to go myself.  I can't tell you how many times I've just broken down and spent money for a book because I didn't want to wait anymore in the Hold Queue at my local libraries (multiple! I always reserve books from both the County and Public libraries, just so I can get things sooner).

There was also one time I drove literally all over San Diego for a book. It was for the last Percy Jackson book haha (I really needed to know!). The public library by my house said it was there, but when I arrived nobody could find it. So I drove the 5 miles to the county library to inquire, and they told me it was available at a different branch - about 20 miles from me. And I went...only to be told it was actually reserved. It wasn't at a County library, so I looked it up at a Pubic library, and it said one was left at another branch that was about 27 miles South of my current location. And I went, and when I arrived was told it couldn't be found in the stacks and was now marked Missing.

And so, one afternoon and ~120 miles later, I still didn't have the book. I had to wait 5 more weeks for it to come up in my hold queue.

Hosted by Ginger at GReads!
Which book from the last 10 you've read would you recommend to a friend?
This is TOUGH, because of the last 10 I've read, I think a good 7 of them have been 4-5 star reads!  It's a toss up between The Scorpio Races, The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, and Amy & Roger's Epic Detour (review coming soon!).  All of them are just quintessential YA fiction, brilliant and emotional.  The Scorpio Races is so original and heart wrenching.  Statistical Probability really makes you believe in connections and romance (even made this girl who doesn't believe in love at first sight question herself!).  And Amy & Roger is honestly the pinnacle of all things YA: friendship and loss and adventure and a little bit of yourself in just about everyone.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine,
meant to spotlight a book we're eagerly waiting for!

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson
Simon & Schuster, 224 pages
Scheduled US Release: May 8, 2012

Taylor's family might not be the closest-knit – everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled – but for the most part, they get along fine. Then Taylor's dad gets devastating news that changes everything. Her parents decide that the family will spend the summer together at their old vacation home in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former summer best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend. . . and he's much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses, the Edwards become more of a family, and closer than they’ve ever been before. But all of them are very aware that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance – with family, with friends, and with love.

------------------Goodreads Summary

I'm currently reading Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by the same author and it's SO DANG GOOD that I had to look up her other books (had no idea it was her debut novel!).  Saw that this one is going to be released soon, and the plot sounds deliciously summer-filled and heartbreaking all at once. If her first novel can be this good, I can't wait to see what else she's going to come out with!

Review: Fade by Lisa McMann

Fade (Dream Catcher, Book 2) by Lisa McMann
Simon Pulse, 248 Pages
Released February 10, 2009

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open -- but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability -- and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared....
---------------------Goodreads summary

Notable Quote
"Endless speculation only leads to dead ends."

This entire series is incredibly fascinating to me. It's so original and something that I would never in a million years think to conceive. When I read Wake (Book 1), I was riveted. It was such a novel idea and seeing Janie work through controlling her ability alongside this newfound relationship with Cabel - a boy with just as much darkness as Janie - was interesting. I remember speeding through it.

Unfortunately, Fade didn't have that same effect. It was still good, and I'm still curious about the entire situation and what will happen in Book 3. I was grateful for the introduction of Miss Stubin to explain a bit more about this ability. I thought the case Janie took on was creepy and perfect for what she could do, and I'm still intrigued (and, admittedly, smitten) with Cabel.

But the entire book seemed kind of...forced. I didn't find the case at Fieldridge High believable - it seemed halted, a bit jumbled, and then resolved so quickly it was almost like it was just another day. Cabel pulling away when it got real was typical and expected. Janie's shutting down when he went away was typical and expected. Yes, it fits with their character types (alone, used to looking out for self, lost after they get their first taste of love/caring), but I had hopes they would be stronger than that.  The scandal and culprits were also predictable to me.

I do still want to see how Janie and Cabel will figure out their life together and if her life will follow the downward spiral of Dream Catchers before her. I'm hoping Fade just succumbed to the curse of Book 2s in a trilogy, that its function is more of the informative bridge to an explosive ending.

3.5 Stars / 5

Monday, January 16, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday! for the YA Skeptics...

Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish!  This week's topic is:

Top 10 Books I'd Recommend to Someone Who Doesn't Read _________
(in which I chose general YA)

I get a lot of flack for reading majority YA novels - a debate I'm unwilling to post about just yet - since I'm no longer quite in the typical "Young Adult" category (though I'm 24, that's a pretty young adult to me!).  In no particular order, the following are the books I'd recommend and dare anyone to read and not fall in love!


1.  The Hunger Games Trilogy - Suzanne Collins
No explanation really necessary. Fantastic.

2. The Mortal Instruments - Cassandra Clare
As I've mentioned before, Cassie Clare can do no wrong. A brilliant series.
(and I eagerly await City of Lost Souls, Book 5!)

3. Across the Universe - Beth Revis
Perhaps one of my favourite books ever.
(My review of A Million Suns, Book 2, here!)

4. The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater
Thrilling, captivating, and completely unique.
(review here!)

5. A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray
Historial fiction that toes the line of supernatural at the same time. Fascinating and original.
I loved the entire Gemma Doyle series, though Book 1 was still the best in my opinion.


6. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist - Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
A bit more "mature" content than a typical YA, it's an adventure and a love story all rolled into one
crazy, exhilarating night.

7. Lola and the Boy Next Door - Stephanie Perkins
Love love love. No words how much I adore this book.
(review here!)

8. Just Listen - Sarah Dessen
Any Sarah Dessen novel would really do, but Just Listen really tugged at me. There's so much
crammed into it (family, eating disorder, love, music, life struggles, and much more) but it never
ever felt overwhelmed. It's perfect.

9. Paper Towns - John Green
Again, any John Green would do. Paper Towns is my favourite of his.
(my dedication to John Green here!)

Tough Stuff 
because YA doesn't automatically mean vapid and childish

10. If I Stay/Where She Went - Gayle Forman
Heart breaking and soul satisfying. Perhaps the closest any novels could get to perfection.

11. Love is the Higher Law - David Levithan
Though this isn't my favourite David Levithan, it tackled a tough topic of 9/11 respectfully 
and how different people struggled, experienced and dealt with the tragedy.

Middle Grade/YA
fabulous lead-ins from the Middle Grade to Young Adult

12. His Dark Materials

13. The Outsiders

(i know, I cheated with 13 - but I couldn't narrow it down!)
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