Saturday, April 9, 2011

Stay Review

Title: Stay
Author: Deb Caletti
Release Date: March 2011
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 311

Sample Passage:
“First off, I've never told this story to anyone. Not the entire thing anyway, and not entirely truthfully. I'm only telling it now for one reason, and that's because an untold story has a weight that can submerge you, sure as a sunken ship at the bottom of the ocean. I learned that. This kind of story, those kind of things kept secret- they have the power to keep you hidden forever, and most of all from yourself. The ghosts from that drowned ship, they keep haunting."  (p.1)

“I thought it was a complement. I was sitting there, soaking in the great ego feed of new love, where your wonderfulness merges with his wonderfulness, magic dust that creates some sky-high shiny Christmas tree sparkling with admiration and flattery and tinsel and lights and a billion, hopeful, unopened presents underneath. I just saw it as praise, falling down now like glittering snowflakes. But it was something else. A drop of poison on that gathering snow. That moment in the fairy tale when we know what just happened but the princess doesn’t.” (p.49)

Mini Review:
Pros: Beautiful prose, Deb Caletti, powerful
Cons: none that really stood out
Overall: Favorite book of the last two years.
Grade: A++

Summary from Amazon:
Clara’s relationship with Christian is intense from the start, and like nothing she’s ever experienced before. But what starts as devotion quickly becomes obsession, and it’s almost too late before Clara realizes how far gone Christian is--and what he’s willing to do to make her stay.
Now Clara has left the city—and Christian—behind. No one back home has any idea where she is, but she still struggles to shake off her fear. She knows Christian won’t let her go that easily, and that no matter how far she runs, it may not be far enough....

Written Review:
Absolutely breathtaking. Caletti has always had a way with words that draw you into a story completely but Stay was so powerful, and so honest, and so beautiful, it took her talent to a whole new level of brilliance.

My favorite thing about all of Caletti’s works but Stay in particular was the way one aspect of the story, one emotion or event that not all can really relate to because most haven’t had the same experience, is expanded and explained in a way that every single person can feel for. There were so many parts of this novel that I had to stop and go find somebody to read it to because of the wisdom of a passage or the emotion portrayed was so close to myself.

With such raw emotions portrayed so vividly, the characters developed just as brightly. Clara has become one of the most realistic characters I’ve read and her story is so powerful and depicted so well that it’s sure to hit home with many. This is more than realistic fiction. It’s just plain real.

This novel is not one that comes close to a light read. It’s deep and full of thought and heart and love and forgiveness and moving on. It’s a story that will resonate with many and will not leave your head for a while after you’ve finished.

Breathtaking, heartbreaking, raw, real, beautiful, Stay is contemporary fiction at its very best. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Secret Year Giveaway

Hey everybody!
It's time for another contest!

The always lovely Jennifer Hubbard has offered to donate one copy of her book The Secret Year to one lucky person!

If you are a resident of the U.S., thirteen or older, and want to win a copy of this book, enter below now

The contest closes on April 20th so hurry and spread the word.

If you would like to know more about The Secret Year, now available in paperback, it is reviewed HERE

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Exposed Review

Title: Exposed
Author: Kimberly Marcus
Release Date: Feb. 2011
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 272

Sample Passage:
"The Best Trick

When we were small
Mike and I thought
Dad's friend from college
was better than Houdini
the way he could make coins
vanish into thin air.

But now Uncle Nate's traded his pouch of change
for a law degree and a Brooks Brothers suit,
and it's my dad who's on his cell phone
heading out the door, hoping Uncle Nate can make this
nightmare disappear."
(ARC, p.109)

Mini Review:
Pros: perspective, emotion, word choice
Cons: ending, too short
Overall: I strongly recommend it
Grade: A

Summary from Amazon:
Sixteen-year-old Liz is Photogirl—sharp, focused and confident in what she sees through her camera lens. Confident that she and Kate will be best friends forever.
But everything changes in one blurry night. Suddenly, Kate is avoiding her, and people are looking the other way when she passes in the halls. As the aftershocks from a startling accusation rip through Liz's world, everything she thought she knew about photography, family, friendship and herself shifts out of focus. What happens when the picture you see no longer makes sense? What do you do when you may lose everything you love most?
Written Review:
I don't know when it happened, but some time recently I've begun to like verse novels more and more. My latest one to fall in love was EXPOSED by Kimberly Marcus.
EXPOSED gets to the heart of the story quick and the pace only picks up as the story progresses. But this speedy read is in no way a light novel. It's full of an intensity that evokes strong, raw emotions throughout the novel.

Without giving too much away, this book covers so much loss; the loss of trust, the loss of a lifetime friendship, the loss of innocence, the loss of privacy, the loss of any sense of normal. And even towards the end of the novel I wouldn't say it was all gained back.

The prose itself make the novel. Not a word seems out of place and each one carries so much weight that it adds another level of depth and reality to the story.

The ending is real. It is not a happily-ever-after, it does leave questions and suspicions unanswered, and though I can see how some would see this as a definite problem, I feel that this story wouldn't be as true as it could be with anything else.

I greatly recommend this novel. A quick read full of depth, originality, and a different perspective on a touchy subject, EXPOSED is a strong debut that will definitely leave a mark on all who read it.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Delirium Review

By: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: February 2011


Summary from Goodreads:
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Outlined Review:
Character Development: 10/10
Originality: 9/10
Ending: 8/10
Voice: 8/10
Recommendation: 9/10
Total Score: 44

Grade: A

Age Appropriate Rating:

Cussing: 3/10
Drugs, alcohol, etc.: 1/10
Sexual Content: 3/10
Violence/Disturbing Images: 8/10

Written Review:
With Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver made us question everything we know about life, and with Delirium she questions everything we know about love.
Though it is starting to be a very new trend in Dystopian YA from the looks of things, the premise of Delirium alone is wonderful. When love is seen as a disease, as something to be feared and protected from, you learn all the things love really affects. Love is the basis of all feelings. Because it controls too much. Or rather, it makes one lose too much control. It makes one lose their emotional balance and actually feel, not feel obliged, but really feel, absolutely everything. Lauren Oliver uses that to her advantage with the building of the relationship between Lena and Alex, making it confusing and raw and beautiful and heart-wrenching.
And with that premise, Delirium leaves you with questions about what love means but also with awe about what we already know it is and the wonder that one could live without a feeling that is so large to encompass and connect to almost every other feeling out there. Oliver leads us into a world that is so exhilarating and unsettling and full of so much despair all at the same time. And though the idea of that is so sad and hard to imagine, Oliver’s strong imagery and convincing prose made it is easy to escape into that tragic world.
The story within was just as intriguing with characters to relate to and a love story to root for amid all the controversy and secrets. Lena was very relatable to everyone with her fears and doubts but also her want for something more. And with her broken past traveling alongside her every decision, you really get a feel for every risk and feeling she’s facing. The purposely detached feeling of some characters only better highlighted the importance of the relationships between Lena and Alex, and Lena and Hanna, again making you feel the importance of love itself.
About the ending: Yes, it was shocking and powerful and full of questions, but all the same, I still found the ending satisfying and leaving me much anticipated for the sequel releasing in 2012.
Overall, with engaging characters, eloquent prose, and a premise unlike most, DELIRIUM is a story that provokes thoughts, questions meanings, and gives the power of love a whole new importance.