The Fallen by Charlie Higson

Zombie lovers everywhere should be cheering – or, um, groaning? – for Charlie Higson’s YA horror series The Enemy. The fifth and latest installment in the series, The Fallen, hit shelves in the U.S. on June 10. Zombie fans won’t want to miss the latest and greatest addition to this scary series.

The events of The Fallen pick up where the first book in the series, The Enemy, ended. A year after the world has been infected with a mysterious disease that turns everyone over the age of 16 into flesh-hungry zombies, the Holloway gang – Blue, Maxie and all their friends – are headed for London’s Natural History Museum. When they get there, they find the kids who had taken refuge at the museum are under siege by the infected grownups. After helping battle the bloodthirsty adults, the “geeks” from the museum tell the gang that they are working on a cure, and a nearby pharmaceutical warehouse might have just what they need to end the disease. A harrowing trip and some haunting discoveries follow setting up for some pretty big bombshells in the upcoming final two books of the series.

Most horror novels are aimed at adults, so it was refreshing to read one specifically meant for younger readers. Continue reading “The Fallen by Charlie Higson”

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

When I began reading The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, I entered the process with extremely high standards. Shannon was heralded as “the next J.K. Rowling” by The Telegraph, The Daily Mail. USA Today, Forbes and many other high-profile media outlets. In my eyes, there is no higher literary compliment.

While I didn’t think the book quite lived up to all the hype, it was still a very good novel and I look forward to reading more of the series, which is expected to be seven books long.

The Bone Season is really hard to sum up without giving too much away, so bear with me while I attempt to generalize.

Paige Mahoney is a clairvoyant in 2059 London – she can throw herself out of her body and travel the astral plane. Scion, the entity that runs England’s government, sees clairvoyance as a disease and known voyants are constantly at risk of being arrested and never seen again. It isn’t long before Paige discovers the real reason so many voyants have disappeared, and she has to decide if it’s better to live as a slave to the mysterious supernatural beings behind Scion or to risk her life and rebel. Continue reading “The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon”

The Pentrals by Crystal Mack

Antares follows people for a living. Her job is to track one person’s movements. She has to monitor them as closely as possible, and there are drastic consequences if she strays from her job. No, Antares is not a spy or secret operative of some government organization. Instead, the main character of The Pentrals by Crystal Mack is something much more common – a shadow.

Antares is the Shadow assigned to Violet, a teenage girl living in the opulent, mirrored city of Talline. She is a Class Two Pentral, or a Shadow or Reflection assigned to mirror the movements of a living creature.  She doesn’t feel emotions, and her only form of interaction is the brief moments she crosses paths with other Shadows and can exchange thoughts.

After tragedy strikes Violet’s group of friends, Antares begins to notice drastic changes in her Person. Violet becomes withdrawn and starts taking Lift! – a drug that makes it impossible for Antares to remember anything that happens afterwards. Eventually, Antares has enough of Violet’s changed attitude and suddenly is filled with a blinding rage and tries to rip away from her Person. Violet falls and collides with the Shadow, and, after briefly losing consciousness, Antares wakes up in Violet’s body. Suddenly able to openly communicate, emote, and move freely for the first time, Antares comes face to face with a city-wide conspiracy and has to expose the truth before it is too late.

To say this book is unique would be an understatement. Continue reading “The Pentrals by Crystal Mack”

Parallel by Lauren Miller

Parallel by Lauren Miller, pub. 2013, 432 pg.
Rating: 5/5 stars

Parallel by Lauren Miller honestly left me speechless. That’s a pretty difficult thing to do, but as soon as I finished reading the final words, I couldn’t do anything but sit in silence and try to wrap my mind around how a book can be that complex and adorable and amazing all at the same time.
If you couldn’t tell, I am kind of in love with this book. And it’s not just because it’s about a girl named Abby who lives in the Midwestern United States and spends her whole life wanting to be a journalist (because, um, that’s totally my life). Parallel was stunningly complicated. It kind of has to be – it deals with parallel universes.
Abby spends her whole high school career crafting the perfect combination of classes and extracurricular activities so she can get into the college of her dreams and pursue her lifelong goal of becoming a journalist. But things don’t go quite the way she planned her senior year when one of her classes gets cancelled at the last minute and she has to choose between theater and astronomy to take its place. In one version of her life, she chooses theater and ends up getting cast in a movie and moving out to L.A. before graduation. Her acting career gets in the way of her college dreams, and she resigns herself to the fact that she’ll have to postpone university until filming wraps up.
On the morning of her eighteenth birthday, she wakes up in a dorm room at Yale with no recollection of how she got there and memories of having had to take astronomy over theater her first day of her high school senior year.
Needless to say, things get crazy from there. The book is told in alternating perspectives between current-Abby’s present as she is trying to figure out the events that led her to Yale and what else has changed in her life, and her parallel self’s present (which takes place one year in current-Abby’s past) as she works her way through high school. Parallel-Abby’s daily choices make huge impacts on present-Abby’s life, changing events and relationships nearly every day. Continue reading “Parallel by Lauren Miller”

Sketchy by Olivia Samms

Sketchy by Olivia Samms, pub. 2013, 238 pg.
Rating: 5/5 stars

When I first cracked open Sketchy by Olivia Samms, I didn’t know what to expect, but within the first few pages, I was hooked.
Sketchy’s plot revolves around sharp and spunky Bea Washington. Bea, newly released from a drug rehab program, is preparing to start life at a new school. Unlike most high school seniors, however, Bea has a gift: she can see and draw what other people are thinking. This gift leads her down a dark path as someone begins to sexually assault and murder girls from her town, and Bea may be the only one who can find the rapist after accidentally seeing (and drawing) his only surviving victim’s thoughts.
Let me just start off by saying I was enthralled by this book from the first page on and couldn’t set it down until I’d finished it. I love a good mystery, and this one had a fantastic combination of action, humor and suspense that was completely gripping and made me keep turning pages to find out what happened next. All of the elements blended perfectly to create a book that kept me on the edge of my seat. There were points where I literally had to remind myself to breathe because I was so caught up in the action, and there were other moments where I got odd looks from people when a line or two caused me to burst out laughing. Continue reading “Sketchy by Olivia Samms”