July 17, 2012

REVIEW: Adorkable by Sarra Manning

The latest novel by contemporary british author Sarra Manning, Adorkable is a breath of fresh air.

Jeane Smith is seventeen and has turned her self-styled dorkiness into an art form, a lifestyle choice and a profitable website and consultancy business. She writes a style column for a Japanese teen magazine and came number seven in The Guardian's 30 People Under 30 Who Are Changing The World. And yet, in spite of the accolades, hundreds of Internet friendships and a cool boyfriend, she feels inexplicably lonely, a situation made infinitely worse when Michael Lee, the most mass-market, popular and predictably all-rounded boy at school tells Jeane of his suspicion that Jeane's boyfriend is secretly seeing his girlfriend. Michael and Jeane have NOTHING in common - she is cool and individual; he is the golden boy in an Abercrombie & Fitch T-shirt. So why can't she stop kissing him?

This if my first Sarra Manning novel after a long amount of moaning from Katie to make me read Nobody's Girl, one of her other YA novels. I'm so glad that I did!

In my opinion, this is the epitome of a contemporary novel. It has a cool concept, (which according to Sarra Manning, does not stem from Tavi) and I really liked how that was incorporated into the plot.

It is written in alternating chapters, from Michael's perspective and Jeane's perspective. They overlap, but that just adds to your understanding of the events, and it's nice to see how they see each other, and what happens between and around them. It's one of the things about this novel that just worked!

Just everything about this novel is so cute, I just can't put into words exactly what made it so compelling -- maybe it was the romance, probably the comedy, the genuine behavior, that one quote I can't get out of my head, or just the great mood?

All I know is that it's awesome, and you have to read it if you liked Meg Cabot, Stephanie Perkins, if you're a girl and between 13 -17.

July 12, 2012

REVIEW: Slide by Jill Hathaway

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered.

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane. 

Enmeshed in a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger and with no one to turn to, Vee must find a way to unmask the killer before he or she strikes again.

Even though it's only 250 pages (exactly), Hathaway manages to have you embroiled in the plot, invested in the characters and intrigued as to what is going to happen within the first chapter. What's so enjoyable about Slide is that it combines multiple genre aspects, making it appealing to readers of mystery and contemporary, while at the same time adding in a dash of romance. 

Each aspect of the book was enjoyable, the mystery was sound and I found myself making a few predictions - some that came true and some that really didn't. I also thought it was a bit reminiscent of the movie Scream, with Neve Campbell, in some aspects. I have never read a book with narcolepsy being the backing for the plot before, so I was excited because it was a really cool concept. I thought that it was used well, and Hathaway's take on it was original and gave the book another dimension.

There were red herrings that invaded all aspects of the plot, some obvious, some not so, and this use of so many distractions just amplified the feeling that you were in Vee's head. I thought that it was really clever and made you relate to Vee and her confusion on a subconscious level. The elements of the genre were used cleverly within the story. 

Highlight from asterisk to asterisk to read my thoughts BEWARE THEY CONTAIN SPOILERS!
I thought that the new love interest turning out to be the killer was a really clever play on the contemporary genre and how the protagonists usually fall blindly in love with this guy that they have just met; completely trusting them for no good reason. Once again, reminding me of Scream with the ending.

If you enjoy a mystery, contemporary novel with a protagonist that does not wimper at every turn, and/or are a female aged around 13-17, then I think that you will enjoy Slide. 

July 10, 2012

Movie Updates

Article about YA books being turned into movies from Teen Vogue, April 2012, Page 94.

July 06, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Winner Announced

You have won the international Lola and the Boy Next Door competition!

I will email you so that you can claim your prize!

Thank you to all those who entered, good luck next time!


July 05, 2012

REVIEW: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously--and at great risk--documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives.Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.

I don't like sad books. When I got sent this book as an ARC, I put off reading it so long, it was published before I picked it up. I wish I hadn't waited that long, because: 

Between Shades of Gray is a novel that everyone should read.

I read it quite a while ago, and I am still unable to give an opinion on this book. All I can say is that Sepetys has done an amazing job in evoking emotions and educating people, especially the Young Adult bracket (including myself), who are unaware of the atrocities that were committed to everyday people just like you and me.

I cannot put into words my feelings for this book. The review by Linda Sue Park for the New York Times, entitled "A Teenager's view of the Gulag" does a great job at it, and if you are interested in the book, should read it.
Other than that, 

I think that you should really make up your own mind about this book. 

No matter what genre you are into, you have to read it.

July 03, 2012

GIVEAWAY CLOSED: Lola and the Boy Next Door


Thank you and good luck to everyone who entered the competition to win a copy of Lola and the Boy Next Door!

The winner will be drawn tomorrow, so keep an eye HERE and on TWITTER.

Good Luck!


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