The Young Elites by Marie Lu Review

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

20821111 198x300 The Young Elites by Marie Lu ReviewThe Young Elites by Marie Lu
Book DepositorySeries: The Young Elites #1
Published by Penguin, Putnam Juvenile on October 7, 2014
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 355
Format: Hardcover
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

Marie Lu does it again in The Young Elites! Fascinating story, characters, and more wrapped up in 355 glorious pages.

Now, Fantasy isn’t always my jam. Well, I like Urban Fantasy, but sometimes the more Fantasy-set-in-another-world is confusing to me. I got confused to who the Daggers were. I know it’s supposed to be questionable as to if they have Adelina’s best interest at heart, but I wasn’t sure if they were Elites or a part of the Inquisitor’s army-of-sorts. I mean, I learned closer to the end.

Speaking of questioning who is good and who is bad, I loved that Adelina had this Elsa vibe to her. I know her dad tried coaxing her powers out of her when she was younger, but when she actually is allowed to use her powers without manipulation, it’s the big KABOOM. Or something. Sometimes it was confusing as to what she was illusion-ing and what was actually happening, but it gives the story more complexity than just “Oh here’s this girl fighting the mean inquisitor! Sigh.” And speaking of the inquisitor, he was pretty complex with his malfetto-ness while fighting other malfettos.

Violetta is my favorite character. You’ll have to read to find out why! I mean, yes, THINGS. But THIIIINGS. Also Enzo. I think Enzo was the best. I mean, not that characters need to be upstanding citizens to be well-written. Do they? What do you think?

Oh and the epilogue was one to end all epilogues. It introduces us to a character that I am super excited about.

Read More

#HaleNo: A Discussion

This weekend, my Twitter feed exploded in reaction to Kathleen Hale’s essay in which she recounts how she stalked a blogger who gave her a negative review or negative status updates on Goodreads and allegedly threw shade at the author on Twitter.

The book, No One Else Can Have You, was released earlier this year and what I’ve seen from Goodreads, it has received reviews all across the board. Why hone in on this one blogger?

Hale claims that she’s been “catfished” by the blogger by way of this review. This isn’t true when you see that the blogger didn’t write the review with the intent deceive the author or any other readers of the review. The author took it upon herself to find out where the blogger lives, works, and checks out her social media profiles in detail.

The mere posting of a negative or critical review does not merit being stalked. It does not merit payback. A negative or critical review from a blogger has yet to destroy an author’s career. I have yet to see one blogger jump in front of a book case, video camera, or instagram photo exclaiming that no other reader is allowed to read a certain book. And I bet no blogger reviews a book negatively thinking they’re either putting themselves in risk or being edgy by any stretch. I know some people can be mean and rude, BUT it does not turn the author into Literary Batman.

The Guardian essay: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/oct/18/am-i-being-catfished-an-author-confronts-her-number-one-online-critic
That time she threw peroxide at a child her mother allegedly molested: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kathleen-hale/2013/02/169836/

Justine L’s tweet: https://twitter.com/JustineLavaworm/status/523471229085155330

Resources:
http://www.nationalcac.org/prevention/internet-safety-kids.html
http://www.safekids.com/kids-rules-for-online-safety/
http://www.safekids.com/contract.htm
http://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety

Read More

The Body Electric by Beth Revis Review

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

22642971 197x300 The Body Electric by Beth Revis ReviewThe Body Electric by Beth Revis
IndieboundPublished by Scripturient Books on October 6, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
Pages: 482
Format: Paperback
Source: the author
Goodreads
four stars The Body Electric by Beth Revis Review
The future world is at peace.

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

So who can she trust?

Androids and bees and dead scientist dad, oh my! The Body Electric by Beth Revis had me on the edge of my seat within the first few chapters and kept me going until the very end.

Characters
I liked ‘em. I liked that I didn’t feel pressured to like them. Like, Revis doesn’t lay out these amazing qualities like, “OMG Like Me!!!” I know that every character in every book is different, but it was nice to read a character’s perspective that didn’t involve Ella doing things because someone else wanted her to. She looked after her mom and worked in the spa because that’s what she wanted to do.

I also liked that her relationship with Jack didn’t appear out of thin air. He isn’t this super mystery waiting to be found out. I wouldn’t go as far as saying he’s this normal guy who is just a guy. He’s got depth. He has drive.

The World
The world was so interesting! That’s the thing I love about Revis’s novels. Of course, this one is set on Earth, but it’s a new version of Earth. Some things have been recreated. The government is a big part of it. There are androids and an emphasis on science, whether it’s gone too far or if it’s still moving in the right direction.

The Story
So, this Dystopian Sci-Fi Thriller is quite a lot, but it’s knit together well. We learn about the world, characters, what’s going on, and –as we go along– what is actually happening. Questions like: What really happened to Ella’s dad? How does Ella know Jack? Why can’t she remember him? Who is good and evil in this world? Who can Ella really trust? and more are answered.

four stars The Body Electric by Beth Revis Review

Read More

(Late) September Wrap Up [2014]

Source: the publisher

God Loves Ugly by Christa Black

Where do I even start with this book? It’s a self-help book that is also a little bit of autobiography. Also, self love and healing and stuff.

The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (review copy)

Middle Grade Fantasy for fans of Harry Potter and The Mortal Instruments.

Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour (review copy)

Contemporary fiction that is super lovely. It’s about Emi who is a production designer who wants something epic to happen this summer.

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer (review copy)

Although this is now how we in the real world deal with our problems, it’s a brilliant way to scrunch it all down to one semester of dealing with these characters’ issues. Read More

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

The second book in the Raven Cycle. This one focuses more on Ronan, but we still get all of the other fantastic characters.

Read More

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer Review

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

20821376 198x300 Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer ReviewBelzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Book DepositoryPublished by Penguin on September 30, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 264
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
Goodreads
five stars Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer Review
If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

Jam has a mental breakdown of sorts and gets sent off to a boarding school for kids with issues called The Wooden Barn. She and four others end up in a class together called Selected Topics for English in which they’re given a copy of The Bell Jar by Silvia Plath and a red leather journal to write in. This book deals with heavy topics of depression as well as a touch of magical realism.

So, what happens when they write in the journal? They go to this realm that exists in their minds of a time before their breaks. Jam goes to the soccer field where she meets Reeve. Casey is in the car with her mom. Griffin is in the barn. Marc is in his house. Sierra is on the bus with her brother. It’s seemingly perfect, and each trip they take takes up five pages of writing in the journal, which lasts the whole semester.

Although this is now how we in the real world deal with our problems, it’s a brilliant way to scrunch it all down to one semester of dealing with these characters’ issues. Jam mentions it near the end of the novel, but a lot of the stuff (or that one big thing) that changes the way we act and/or view the world usually doesn’t get dealt with in a short time of it happening to us. It’s usually later on, sometime into adulthood. We have that, “Oh, right!” moment in which we realize that that’s why we act a certain way toward people or do things a certain way. It all goes back to that experience.

Something that really bugged me, but worked out in Jam’s story’s favor was the focus on British stereotypes while she reminisces about her time with Reeve. He’s this football-loving, Monty Python jokester on top of several other super stereotypes. After a while, it wore me down, especially since some aspects of how she perceived him were repeated over and over again. But it plays into her last time in Belzhar and what she experiences there and deals with there.

Something that I felt might have needed a bit more clearing up was that although these characters face their life-changing experience yet again, it’s not the cure for their trauma. They still have more healing to do, so the journal and Belzhar were just stepping stones to highlight what’s really going on for them.

[[I listened to the audiobook and finished with the ARC because I get impatient]]

five stars Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer Review

Read More