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”

Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding

For me, one of the biggest signs that you’re reading a great book is being able to relate to the characters and situations even though you’ve never been in their shoes yourself. By that standard, Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding definitely qualifies as a great book.

Kellie is your average high school junior. She’s trying to skate through high school without putting in too much effort (that is, until she gets a position as her school paper’s humor columnist), stresses out about her new relationship with the boy she almost had sex with the previous summer and struggles to maintain old friendships while growing up and growing apart. When her adopted older sister, Sara, is contacted by Camille, her biological mother, Kellie watches as Sara’s decisions about her relationship with Camille impact their family.

Kellie’s relationship with her family really made this book for me. Where Sara is extremely smart and relatively popular, Kellie has a fantastic sense of humor and one or two close friends. She definitely feels inadequate compared to her sister, and these feelings are really reflected in the family’s dynamic.  Continue reading “Ink is Thicker Than Water by Amy Spalding”

Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elissa Janine Hoole

When I read YA books that primarily take place at a high school, I’m usually a little disappointed. Many of them just aren’t realistic, and my biggest issue is when the author just glosses over all of the problems so many high school students face. Luckily, I was happily surprised when Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elissa Janine Hoole turned out to be one of the most realistic depictions of a high school setting that I’ve ever read.

Cass Randall is pretty sure she is the most boring person alive. All of her friends have filled out an online survey, and each one seems to have more interesting stories than the last. Cass, however, comes from a fundamentalist Christian family and, besides struggling to figure out what her own beliefs are and keeping her brother’s secret sexual orientation a secret, she thinks she might be the least-exciting person in existence. On a quest to make herself more interesting and simultaneously figure out who she is, Cass has to decide if popularity, notoriety, or her friends and family are most important.

One of my favorite things about this book is that it isn’t perfectly smooth or flawless. Continue reading “Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always by Elissa Janine Hoole”

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”

Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell

Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell, pub. Oct. 2013, 320 pg.

Rating: 5/5 stars

If your classmate died and you had her bucket list, what would you do? That’s the question the title character in Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell has to answer when a girl at her school dies and leaves behind a list of things she wanted to do with her life.

Rebecca “Rebel” Blue is a misfit at her high school. She grew up running barefoot and wild while she and her mother, a photographer, traveled the world. When her mother died, Rebel went to live with her aunt, uncle and cousin Penelope, in a much more regimented household.

When the book begins, Rebel is constantly in and out of detention and has a reputation for causing trouble. When one of her classmates suddenly dies, Rebel is the only one who knows where to find the girl’s bucket list. After trying to get rid of the list only to have it continuously come back to her, Rebel decides there is only one way to get the list – and the memory of her classmate – to stop haunting her: she has to do everything the other girl wanted to do before she died. Continue reading “Goodbye, Rebel Blue by Shelley Coriell”

Feature & Follow Friday (um…or…Sunday?)

What book (or TV show or movie) have you not read that seemingly everyone else has? Fifty Shades of Grey. But not for lack of trying! I put the first book on hold through Overdrive to read on my Nook and waited months and months for it to become available for me. I figured I should see for myself what all the fuss was about, even though I knew I wasn’t really that into the subject matter. When I finally got it, I read the first few pages and had to put it down. I didn’t even get into the … Continue reading Feature & Follow Friday (um…or…Sunday?)

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, pub. Sept. 2013, 288 pg.
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales, pub. Sept. 2013, 288 pg.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Being a teenager in this day and age is tough. Modern teens face pressure from parents to think or behave a certain way. They’re under pressure from teachers to achieve particular grades or complete particular goals. They also face pressure from their peers to conform to certain ideals and are often teased for being different. Understanding and being proud of his or her unique talents can be hard for a teenager, and that’s exactly the issue that author Leila Sales takes on in her latest novel, This Song Will Save Your Life.

Elise Dembowski loves projects and often dedicates her summers to learning a particular skill. The summer before she starts her sophomore year of high school, she devotes herself to learning how to be cool. After years of being teased for acting and thinking differently than the other kids at her school, she is determined to make friends and be “normal.” On her first day back at school, her plan backfires, and Elise gives up. When she happens across an underground dance club called Start, she finally finds a place where she fits in and begins to learn that what makes her different might not be such a bad thing.

This Song Will Save Your Life is an amazing and poignant novel about feeling like you don’t fit. It deals with many issues teens are faced with today, including bullying, divorce, and depressive or suicidal issues. Continue reading “This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales”