Book Review

Review|Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid

18812437Let’s Get Lost
Author: Adi Alsaid (Goodreads, Twitter, FacebookWebsite)
Published: July 29th 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 338
Genres: Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Synopsis
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named Leila. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila’s own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth—sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you’re looking for is to get lost along the way.

Review

I had very low expectations going into this novel because I read Adi Alsaid’s most recent release and I didn’t really enjoy it. But Let’s Get Lost had me pleasantly surprised. Adi’s debut novel had me very entertained, leaving me wanting more stories from the characters I met throughout the story.

Let’s Get Lost is separated into 5 different stories. Each one told by a different character in a different city. The only thing that these stories have in common is a drifter, Leila. Leila is determined to get to the northern lights. And this story is all about the people she meets along the way. Each character had a distinctive personality that made them quite believable.

I really did enjoy the way this book was written. Leila never stayed in one place too long. But she left a mark on people’s lives as she helps multiple strangers during her trip. This book is fun and full of adventure. But there is an underlying mystery as to who Leila is and what her plans are. She never talks about herself and makes it a point to get others to open up about their troubles, but never her own. She’s a mystery, which had me even more intrigued.

The one thing that made me lower my rating is that I could never truly get a feel for the characters because as soon as a story would be getting good, Leila would be on to the next person, in the next town over. I liked the characters, and I wanted their stories to be longer. We get a glimpse into their lives and that’s it. Leila is the main character, but the story is told by everyone but her, until the last few chapters of the novel. It added to the mystery aspect, but it left me wanting more.

Overall I think this story is a great debut. It’s unique way of story telling had some positives and negatives but I did enjoy it overall. I’m giving this book 3.5 stars. I was captivated until the end and even wished that the story didn’t end as quickly as it did. I’m planning on reading more books from Adi Alsaid. So far his stories have been hit or miss for me so I want to dive into more of them and see what happens. 3 Stars

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

4505164Adi Alsaid is the author of several young adult novels, including Let’s Get Lost, Never Always Sometimes, and North of Happy. He was born and raised in Mexico City, where he now lives and spills hot sauce on things.

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Book Review

Review | The Boy In the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

39999The Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Author: John Boyne
Published: September 12th 2006
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Pages: 224
Genres: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis

Berlin 1942

When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move from their home to a new house far far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence running alongside stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people he can see in the distance.

But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different to his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.

Review

This book explores the subject matter of World War ll and the Auschwitz concentration camp through the eyes of a 9 year old boy named Bruno. Bruno’s father is apart of the german forces. After receiving a promotion, the family moves to a new home, located right next to Auschwitz. Bruno is confused about the big fence and the boys in striped -pyjamas that he sees out his window. Being an explorer, Bruno decides to venture out into the forest to get a closer view. There he meets a young boy his age that lives on the other side of the fence. Their friendship grows as they begin to spend time together, the fence always between the two.

This book was very sad. Reading about the way that people were treated during the holocaust broke my heart. Knowing that Bruno’s new friend was a prisoner even though he was just a little boy who did nothing wrong in his life, broke my heart. All people deserve to be treated as equals. That’s why this war is so extensively talked about in schools and curriculums. in my opinion. We as people, need to keep understanding that all people are equals. No one deserves mistreatment, especially for the colour of their skin, the religion they follow, or the place they were born.

It did bother me at times, the lack of understanding from Bruno. He was 9 years old, so it was expected that he didn’t understand everything that was happening around him. But he seemed unaware of everything that was happening around him. He seemed to be younger than the author intended him to be. As for his sister, she was a little brat. Her personality was very unlikeable, which made the story a little less pleasant for me.

The storyline really spoke at my heart strings. This entire book, I was stuck between feeling such sadness for humanities passed mistakes, and annoyed at certain aspects of the story. I wish it had been written a little differently so that we as readers could get a better understanding of the events that were happening. Everything was passed over, to make sure that know one got uncomfortable during the story. But stories like this one should make the reader feel uncomfortable. Should make the reader wish for different truths.

I’m giving this book 3 stars, because the subject matter and plot of the novel was worth the read. The characters however, were severely unlikable, which is what decided my rating. I would recommend this book to those looking for a glimpse in the path without harsh scenes, but if you want a true glimpse into humanity’s past evils, I recommend Night by Ellie Wiesel, a book written from a prisoner in Auschwitz, as he tells his tale of what happened in the camps. 3 Stars

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

7195John Boyne (born 30 April 1971 in Dublin) is an Irish novelist.
He was educated at Trinity College, Dublin, and studied Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia, where he won the Curtis Brown prize. In 2015, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters by UEA.
John Boyne is the author of ten novels for adults and five for young readers, as well as a collection of short stories.
His novels are published in over 50 languages.

Book Review

Review | Looking for Alaska by John Green

342209Looking for Alaska
Author: John Green (Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Website)
Published: March 3rd 2005
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Pages: 221
Genre: Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis

The award-winning, genre-defining debut from #1 bestselling author of The Fault in Our Stars

First drink
First prank
First friend
First girl
Last words

Miles “Pudge” Halter is abandoning his safe-okay, boring-life. Fascinated by the last words of famous people, Pudge leaves for boarding school to seek what a dying Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.”

Pudge becomes encircled by friends whose lives are everything but safe and boring. Their nucleus is razor-sharp, sexy, and self-destructive Alaska, who has perfected the arts of pranking and evading school rules. Pudge falls impossibly in love. When tragedy strikes the close-knit group, it is only in coming face-to-face with death that Pudge discovers the value of living and loving unconditionally.

John Green’s stunning debut marks the arrival of a stand-out new voice in young adult fiction.

Review

John Green’s books are a hit or miss for me. I loved The Fault In Our Stars so much, it still remains one of my favourite books of all time. I didn’t really enjoy Paper Towns, and Will Grayson, Will Grayson was just okay in my opinion. I’ve made it a mission to read all of John Greens works as I do believe he is a great story teller. Looking for Alaska is the next one I’ve picked up and I truly did enjoy the story.
This book is about a boy transferring to a boarding school to finish off high school. He meets new friends, including a girl named Alaska. She is mysterious and beautiful and he can’t help but develop feelings for her. This book follows the adventures of this group of friends as they deal with school, self-discovery and first love.
This book had me captivated the second Pudge stepped foot on campus. The characters were amazing with their unique personalities. I loved all of them so much. I thought they were very realistic and easy to relate to. Pudge, not used to having friends, finds himself quite awkward at times, trying new things like smoking and drinking etc. The typical affairs that most teenagers do. I found myself laughing out loud during multiple scenes. The awkwardness was so strong that I just couldn’t help myself.

The mystery surrounding the second half of the book left my heart broken into a million pieces. The book was as such a steady pace and then all of a sudden I’m ready as fast as humanly possible because I NEEDED to know the outcome. I needed to know what happened.

The only thing that I criticized whilst reading was Alaska’s behaviour. I find that John Green doesn’t always portray a realistic main girl protagonist. During most of his books, including this one I find the main girl protagonists a bit unlikeable, as I have a hard time connecting to them.

I’m giving this book 4 stars for the climbing pace and never ending interest that I had in the story line. This is officially my second favourite John Green book. I’m excited to continue reading his stories. I still don’t think I’m ever going to find a book that I loved more than The Fault In Our Stars. But you never know. 4 Stars

1406384ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Green is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars, and Turtles All the Way Down. He is also the coauthor, with David Levithan, of Will Grayson, Will Grayson. He was the 2006 recipient of the Michael L. Printz Award, a 2009 Edgar Award winner, and has twice been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Green’s books have been published in more than 55 languages and over 24 million copies are in print. John is also an active Twitter user with more than 5.4 million followers.

Book Review

Review | We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

28243032We Are Okay
Author: Nina LaCour
Published: February 14th 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Pages: 236
Genres: Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need…

Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.

Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend, Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit, and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

Review

My best friend recommended me this book. She doesn’t read very often, so when I get a recommendation for her, I tend to pick the book up rather quickly. This book impacted me so much. And I am so glad that I am beginning to discover the writing of Nina LaCour.

Marin, our main character is grieving. Having shut herself off from everyone in her previous life, she takes off for school hoping for a new start. She wants to forget everything and everyone. Even the one person who mattered most in her life, her best friend Mabel. But now, after being absent for so long, Mabel has arranged to come visit during winter break. Marin is a bundle of nerves as she waits for her best friend to arrive. Will she open up and attempt to rekindle their friendship? Or is the tragedy she endured still plaguing her senses, making it impossible to feel.

Marin is closed off, afraid to let anyone in. Thats what happens when grief envelopes someone. You don’t know what to do with yourself. Sometimes, you turn into a complete different person. A shell of the being you used to be. Eternally running for a truth you can’t escape. This book came into my life at a perfect time. I had just lost someone, and reading about a Marin dealing with the same troubles as myself made me feel like I wasn’t alone.

I love how realistic and raw the story was. Jumping back between the past and present we slowly discovered the events that lead up to Marin becoming emotionally scarred. My heart broke for her. I kept hoping that her best friend would be able to somehow make her feel okay again. I kept hoping that Marin would see the light at the end of her dark tunnel that she seemed to be walking in for a long time. I think it’s safe to say that this story gripped me hard. It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished the last page, and the story still stays so fresh in my mind.

If I had to give one thing that I didn’t like it would be the pace. While I loved the buildup and the mystery surrounding the events that lead these characters to present events, there were times that I thought scenes could have finished a bit quicker. Things could have been a little less drawn out and the dramatic effect would have still been there.

I am giving this book 4 stars for hitting me right in the heart at a time where I needed to understand my own grief. This book was very helpful to me and the story was amazing. Nina LaCour is slowly becoming one of my all time favourite authors. This is the second book of hers that has played with my heart and my mind. I can’t wait to read more from her in the future. 4 Stars

img_173728129ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nina LaCour is the bestselling and Michael L. Printz Award-winning author of four critically acclaimed young adult novels published by Dutton Books: We Are Okay, Hold Still, The Disenchantments, and Everything Leads to You. She is also the co-author of You Know Me Well, a novel written in collaboration with David Levithan and published by St. Martin’s Griffin, and a contributor to numerous anthologies, including Summer Days and Summer Nights, edited by Stephanie Perkins.

Born and raised in the East Bay, Nina crossed the bridge to receive her undergraduate degree from San Francisco State University, and then crossed back to Oakland to receive an MFA in Creative Writing at Mills College. Her graduate thesis became her first novel, Hold Still, which received a William C. Morris honor from the American Library Association.

Book Review

Review | The Midnight Heir by Cassandra Clare

18758617The Midnight Heir
Author: Cassandra Clare (Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, Website) & Sarah Rees Brennan
Series: The Bane Chronicles #4
Published: May 21st 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 64
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal
Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis
In Edwardian London, Magnus Bane discovers old friends and new enemies—including the son of his former comrade Will Herondale. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles.

Magnus thought he would never return to London, but he is lured by a handsome offer from Tatiana Blackthorn, whose plans—involving her beautiful young ward—are far more sinister than Magnus even suspects. In London at the turn of the century, Magnus finds old friends, and meets a very surprising young man . . . the sixteen-year-old James Herondale.

This standalone e-only short story illuminates the life of the enigmatic Magnus Bane, whose alluring personality populates the pages of the #1 New York Times bestselling series, The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices series. This story in The Bane Chronicles is written by Sarah Rees Brennan and Cassandra Clare.

Review

Oh my goodness, I was so happy to read about Tessa, Will and Jem again. It has been so long since I have read the Infernal Devices, and getting the chance to read about these amazing characters, no matter how short, made me so happy. It brought back a sense of nostalgia for me, as the first time I read The Infernal Devices, I was in middle school, just getting back into reading.

Will and Tessa, the most perfect pair in my eyes. They have a son name James who is going through an awful hard time. When Magnus finds him drunk as a skunk, he helps the young Shadowhunter return home.

Seeing everyone reunited for a short story was great. I was smiling so much as I read the scenes. James a wild boy, taking after his father, maybe even surpassing him with his tricks and lack of emotion. I wish I could have read more from this story. I wish the questions raised about Tessa and Will’s son could have been answered.

That’s a running problem with all these novellas. There is a main problem for each one, but after they end, the problem is rarely solved. I wish instead of 11 short novellas, they could have written 4 longer ones. It is making me so exasperated, to begin reading a tale of mystery every 60 pages, only to have the tale end with no solution to the stories issues.

So I am giving this one 3 stars. I have so many questions about this novella that I will most likely never get answers too. But, I got to read about Tessa, Will & Jem, which makes me so happy. 3 Stars

cassandraclare-683x1024ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cassandra Clare was born overseas and spent her early years traveling around the world with her family and several trunks of fantasy books. Cassandra worked for several years as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter before turning her attention to fiction. She is the author of City of Bones, the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy and a New York Times bestseller. Cassandra lives with her fiance and their two cats in Massachusetts.

Book Review

Review|On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

35068618On the Come Up
Author: Angie Thomas (Goodreads, Twitter, FacebookWebsite)
Published: February 5th 2019
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 464
Genres: Contemporary
Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis
Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.

Review

This book has been on my radar since it was announced. I read the Hate U Give when it was first released and I loved it a lot. I loved the message and the how Angie doesn’t shy away from hard topics that are very real and that not many people like to talk about, nor give acknowledgement to. On The Come Up was a solid novel. While I did like the Hate U Give more, I truly did enjoy this one. Angie Thomas is becoming a strong voice in YA. And I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Bri loves music, and she wants to be known for her songs and her skill. Her father was an amazing rapper before he passed away, and she wants nothing more than to follow in his footsteps. With Bri’s family struggling to make do with their income, she decided it was time to say enough it enough, and become the rapper she knows how to be. She needs to provide for her family, no matter the cost.

Just like Angie’s debut, On The Come Up doesn’t shy away from the hard truths. Throughout this book there is gang violence, protests, threats against lives and more. There was an underlying tone of intensity that made my heart race as Bri tried to stay out of the drama that followed those living in her neighbourhood. She tried to stay out of it, but at most times she was the primary cause.

I loved the plot of this book. Our young main character trying to make it in a world of fame and truth at the same time. Trying to stay true to herself while still being able to provide for her family. There was never a dull moment as there was never an option of failure in Bri’s eyes. The pace of this book never wavered, making me flip through the pages quickly. I finished it in a day,

There was one thing that bothered me. Bri’s stubbornness and lack of responsibility as her new song gets negative attention from the news and from her neighbourhood.  What she thought was just lyrics had a big impact on the people around her. And when she was asked to re-evaluate her songs, she ignored all advice, thinking she knew what was best. Her personality got on my nerves some times. She seemed very immature, which surprised me, because the main character from Angie’s debut novel THUG, was a very down to earth character, hoping for change.

Overall, the story kept me engaged and I liked the message and music. Angie Thomas is a great writer, and I am excited to read more from her. I am giving this book 4 stars, as it was a strong story and definitely held up against The Hate U Give. I hope that one day this book turns into a film as well. I think it would be amazing brought to the big screen.

4 Stars

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

img_2103-768x512Angie Thomas was born, raised, and still resides in Jackson, Mississippi as indicated by her accent. She is a former teen rapper whose greatest accomplishment was an article about her in Right-On Magazine with a picture included. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from Belhaven University and an unofficial degree in Hip Hop.She is an inaugural winner of the Walter Dean Myers Grant 2015, awarded by We Need Diverse Books. Her debut novel, The Hate U Give, is a #1 New York Times Best Seller. Film rights have been optioned by Fox 2000 with George Tillman attached to direct and Hunger Games actress Amandla Stenberg attached to star.

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