Book Review: Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

22605745Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Pages: 432 (Hardcover)

good good

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back,

Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good . . .

Caddie has a history of magical thinking—of playing games in her head to cope with her surroundings—but it’s never been this bad before.

When her parents split up, Don’t touch becomes Caddie’s mantra. Maybe if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, Dad will come home. She knows it doesn’t make sense, but her games have never been logical. Soon, despite Alabama’s humidity, she’s covering every inch of her skin and wearing evening gloves to school.

And that’s where things get tricky. Even though Caddie’s the new girl, it’s hard to pass off her compulsions as artistic quirks. Friends notice things. Her drama class is all about interacting with her scene partners, especially Peter, who’s auditioning for the role of Hamlet. Caddie desperately wants to play Ophelia, but if she does, she’ll have to touch Peter . . . and kiss him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn’t sure she’s brave enough to let herself fall.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionFor many people, touching others or being touched really freaks them out. Even for myself, there are times that I cringe whenever a friend comes in to give me a hug which isn’t as severe as what Caddie has however, it does make her easy to relate to. Rachel M. Wilson’s début is quite touching, (no pun intended) and obsessive disorder that has gone too far and a friend who is intent on proving that it’s not everything. Don’t Touch is a lovely story that I really liked with characters that are hilarious and kept my entertained.

Although Don’t Touch is a great debut, it does have a few flaws for instance, the romance. I really hated just how big of a role it plays in the book because for half the book, it’s the reason why the plot keeps moving. I wanted Caddie to get out of her comfort zone not because she has a crush but because she misses and needs her best friend. Another problem that I had with Caddie is how much she rushes through talking about her dad. I get that talking about someone who has hurt you is very hard, but the only way for a reader to completely understand the pain is by telling us a few stories about it, about the past and the memories that were shared, yet I never got the chance to experience this because it’s rarely showed.

Anyway, I really could connect with Caddie on most things, she’s realistic and her story is quite touching, something a I think most kids want when their parents split up. The way and process that Caddie uses to play the role of Ophelia as well as to get through life is amazing and beautifully done in a way that’s pretty moving. Moreover, I liked her group of friends because they are so funny.

Don’t Touch is a story about a girl with an illness. Believe me, I know how much of an overused story idea this is but Wilson takes a different approach that make it this book refreshing. I didn’t feel too annoyed with it. I recommend this to anyone who likes this story idea or is interested in books about plays.

3.5 Interesting Clouds
3.5 Interesting Clouds

Book Review: Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer

18852053Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: August 26, 2014

Pages: 288 (Hardcover)

good good

Leon Harris isn’t exceptional and he isn’t popular. He’s the kind of guy that peaked in middle school, when once upon a time he was in the “gifted” program and on the fast track to Ivy League glory.

Now, a high school senior, he’s a complete slacker who spends his time hanging out in a third-rate ice cream parlor with his best friend, Stan, a guy who (jokingly, Leon thinks) claims to be Satan. Committed to his sloth, Leon panics when he finds out that Anna, the love of his life aka middle school girlfriend, might be moving back to town.

Determined to get his act together, Leon asks Stan for help. Stan gives him a few seemingly random and mysterious assignments. Date a popular girl. Listen to Moby-Dick, the audiobook. Find the elusive white grape slushee. Join the yearbook committee.

As each task brings Leon one step away from slacker city and one step closer to Anna, he starts to wonder if maybe he shouldn’t have promised Stan his soul after all…

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinionAlways assume that a person named Stan is actually named Satan. That’s probably the first thing I picked up from this book. Oh, and that the Dark Lord is a complete ass. Play Me Backwards is a fun book about love, friendship, and knowing the difference between being a teen and an adult. I had a lot of fun reading this, and I really really REALLY want to go on a slushee adventure now. Definitely going on my high school grad bucket list to do. This book actually made me look back to what I was like when I was fourteen and all of my goals and expectations. I’ve changed a lot in those almost four short years but not in the way that I would have thought. This is one of the reasons why I could connect with Leon and why I think a lot of other people will be able to as well.

Right off the bat though, the book jumps into an albeit humorous, very long info-dump on the relationship between Leon and  Stan/Satan and how they became friends in the first place. And it’s not the only time that readers are forced to chew down a lot of information in one bite. It happens kind of a lot but I liked that even though Adam Selzer had a has a hard time expertly putting in some of the characters’ pasts into the story without boring readers, he at least makes it funny. If it weren’t for the humour, I really do believe that I would have skimmed through just about all of the references to the past. Another thing that I didn’t like is the middle of the book where everything just seems to kind of stand still. Things happen, sure, but it’s not things that matter. I truly did not care about Leon’s relationship with Paige though it took up a huge chunk of the story.

Play Me backwards is still a fun novel. I loved the writing. I know I say this a lot, but I usually love reading books in a male perspective better than a female solely because the writing is a hell of a lot more relaxed with a dash of humour in it. The random but awesome assignments that Stan gives Leon are great. I loved how much fun Leon has going around doing them. Moreover, the relationship between Leon and Stan is well done. I loved the journey that Leon goes through to improve himself and just how willing Stan is to help him. The characters are full of personality and enthusiasm (or lack of) that’s really realistic in teens. Adding onto this, Stan is amazing. He’s mysterious and plays his part well as the Devil.

If you don’t have a bucket list already, I suggest that you start one. Especially if you’re not a teenager. You must go on a slushee adventure and do at least one disaster dinner from an old cookbook. This book inspires random, weird, and awkward but in a way that’s relatable to most, if not all teens concerning their parents, friends, and grades. It was easy for me to love the book and laugh along with it. I recommend this one to everyone to read even if it’s just to pass the time. It’s kind of a jem, guys.

3.5 Interesting Clouds
3.5 Interesting Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Dissonance (Dissonance#1) by Erica O’Rourke

17334538Dissonance (Dissonance#1) by Erica O’Rourke

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: July 22, 2014

Pages: 496 (Hardcover)

good good

Delancy Sullivan has always known there’s more to reality than what people see. Every time someone makes a choice, a new, parallel world branches off from the existing one. Eating breakfast or skipping it, turning left instead of right, sneaking out instead of staying in bed ~ all of these choices create an alternate universe in which an echo self takes the road not travelled and makes the opposite decision. As a Walker, someone who can navigate between these worlds, Del’s job is to keep all of the dimensions in harmony.

Normally, Del can hear the dissonant frequency that each world emits as clear as a bell. But when a training session in an off-key world goes horribly wrong, she is forbidden from Walking by the Council. But Del’s not big on following the rules and she secretly starts to investigate these other worlds. Something strange is connecting them and it’s not just her random encounters with echo versions of the guy she likes, Simon Lane.

But Del’s decisions have unimaginable consequences and, as she begins to fall for the Echo Simons in each world, she draws closer to a truth that the Council of Walkers is trying to hide ~ a secret that threatens the fate of the entire multiverse.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Dissonance is  a well paced story that doesn’t delve into the science behind the multiverse too much. I had a lot of fun reading about Del’s crazy life and her hardships and those of the people around her. However, I wanted to like this one a lot for than I did. I wanted a kick ass heroine who knew how to make her own decisions without help. Del is a pretty badass character and I loved reading about her but I hated how much her life surrounded Simon even before everything went downhill. I wanted her to stick true to her image or at least to her goal. Still, a great novel that’s refreshing!

The beginning is the most confusing part of all. Although there is a lot of action and interesting things happening, there’s so most info-dumping and name dropping that it all felt like a huge whirlwind that barely made any sense. The romance is predictable and I disliked almost all of it. Nothing about Simon stood out to me and I  couldn’t understand the connection that Del has for him especially when she breaks a huge amount of rules to keep him from leaving her.

Nonetheless, Erica O’Rourke has taken an idea that’s starting to be more common in YA books and added a refreshing writing style and a new perspective. I couldn’t get enough of Del’s voice! It’s so different and reckless that I found myself staying up to get the book done. The world building is well done and very tricky considering all of the different choices and things that happen. I also liked how some chapters started off with a rule that Walkers have to follow.

Even though there are a few flaws in this book, for the most part, I really liked it. It’s fast paced and fully of cool twists. The characters are fun, the worlds are great, and even though the ending is predictable and crazy cheesy, I’m extremely excited to read the next book in this exciting new series. I recommend this book to anyone who’s read and liked stories about alternate universes and fun characters.

3.5 Dreamy Clouds
3.5 Dreamy Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

16068910The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: May 20, 2014

Pages: 384 (Paperback)

good good

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they’re sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few “dates”, it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What’s a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you’re meant to be with if you’re still figuring out the person you’re meant to be?

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

The Art of Lainey isn’t a book for everyone. Sure, for some,  it’s cute and light and a great book to read in between heavy novels but for others, it’ll be annoying and unrealistic. This novel has both good and bad qualities and although I liked it, I wished I could have liked it more. Hopefully Paula Stokes fixes these problems with her next novel.

Like I said before, Lainey is a hit or miss kind of character yet I found myself in the middle with her. She’s refreshing with her sense of light humour but she only thinks about Jason and soccer. It’s like nothing else exists to this girl except these two things which isn’t very realistic and really annoying. Another thing that I had a problem with is the lack of history the characters have. Because of this everything felt very forced and fake to me, there are only a few examples of how things were with characters before they got dumped like the relationship that Jason and Lainey had before. It’s pretty non-existent to the reader because there aren’t many examples of how much fun they had together or many flashbacks. The book mostly consists of Lainey telling readers how much she loves him and nothing more.

Every chapter in the book starts off with a quote from The Art of War which I thought was really good because it summed up some of the chapters. I liked how Paula Stokes decided to use a quote and then write a chapter surrounding that quote, it’s well done. What I love most about cute books like this one are the relationships between the characters, the way they interact and make each other laugh, cry, scream, etc. With Lainey and Micah, it’s so much fun! Their bickering and sarcastic banter is light-hearted and cute and my favourite thing about The Art of Lainey. Moreover, I just adored Micah! I loved his whole tough guy personality because it’s actually meaningful. He’s not doing t because he’s dying to fit in, or because he’s mad. He’s the way he is because he’s comfortable with himself despite the world and I loved that. I also loved his sarcasm and how realistic he is. The ending is fairly well done, I liked how things aren’t straightforward and the many obstacles that stand in Lainey’s way of happiness.

All in all, I still found this book to be really cute. Lainey learns a few things and I liked how her character grows throughout the story, understanding the views of her friends instead of just blindly following. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys cute books with a plan to get an ex back.

3 Clouds
3 Clouds

Book Review: Noggin by John Corey Whaley

18051349Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Pages: 342 (Hardcover)

good good

 

Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Atheneum Books for Young Readers for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Noggin is a story full of bad jokes, awkward situations, and horrible puns. And I loved every second of it. I didn’t feel like I was reading a work of fiction, instead, I felt as if I were reading a story, my story and my life of how I was brought back to life and forced to live in the present when I’m barely understanding the past. It’s weird, confusing, and such a fun ride. John Corey Whaley is an author  that I’ve been waiting for a long time and this will not be the last novel I’ve read by him.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to this story. First of all, this whole situation is just too unbelievable and it took me some time before I could really wrap my head around it. No way did a dude get his head chopped off and then come back to life! That’s too insane. I understood that Travis is really confused about this whole concept as well yet I still would have liked it if Travis was just as curious about the scientific aspect as I was and other readers will be. It’s interesting yet not at all explained which sucked for me.

Nonetheless, I still loved this book. Noggin is full of great, complex characters that are extremely easy to like and relate to. Travis’s relationship with Kyle is so heartfelt and awkward. I could easily relate to it and the struggles that Kyle faces to understand everything that’s happening not only to him, but also to his best friend. I also liked the writing style. Holy shit, this is the writing that I have been craving for in young adult books. It’s so relaxed and casual and makes everything seem like it’s happening to the reader and just being told to the reader. I really do need more books written like this because they usually end up to be books that I really enjoy. The best part about Noggin has to be Travis’s last holiday before his surgery. It’s beautifully described and captivating. Imagine celebrating every single holiday in one day with a group of people you love most in the world? I would want that as my last day alive because it sounds absolutely amazing.

Overall, Noggin is great. Although there are a few unbelievable parts and too little information, the good certainly outshines the bad. I recommend this novel to everyone, especially if you’re looking for something light to read with a serious undertone and don’t mind a lot of jokes and puns. I envy those people who can easily make jokes out of anything, especially when they don’t take life too seriously and can make anyone smile and for me, John Corey Whaley might just be one of those people.

4 Dreamy Clouds
4 Dreamy Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

17934493Book Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Genre: Dystopian and Young Adult

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Pages: 373 (Hardcover)

good good

 Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

I am so sick of romance in Young Adult novels. It’s all insta-love or something close to it. Romances more often than not take over the story but in Plus One there’s barely any romance until about 70%! I’m not kidding! It’s flipping amazing! The build-up, the relationship, perfection! Okay, except that D’Arcy totally insta-loved Sol at the beginning, but it didn’t bother me. My biggest problem with this has to do with the world building and the flashbacks. The whole night and day thing is awesome but flawed.  I also hated that the flashbacks felt more like ways dump info on readers. But as a whole, Plus One is awesome and just what I needed! And yeah, the ending is cheesy and shit but whatever.

Despite how much I really liked Plus One, there are a lot of holes and weak spots in it. One of the weak spots is the world building. Not much of this is explained which is sad because I really enjoyed the aspect of the whole Day/Night divide, all there is on it is that the division started sometime during the Spanish flu.There’s some talk about a rebellion but it’s so small that it feels like it’s put in there just to end ties with some things. I also didn’t like the flashbacks because, although they’re a nice way for readers to know more about the characters, there’s just too much info in those few pages that it feels more like an info-dump than anything else.

I’ve never read a book with such a slow burn romance but now that I have, I want to read more of them! They’re just so realistic in this aspect and they actually focus on the plot! It shows that the plot doesn’t need a romance to get stuff done. Although it’s obvious that D’Arcy is in love with Sol almost instantly because he’s constantly risking his life for her, I enjoyed that Fama doesn’t let Sol take too much advantage of this nor does she let Sol get her feelings for him in the way of her mission. The characters are really strong and well done. They’re all mysterious and I loved reading about them, especially Sol and Jean because they’re both flawed but really do try their best. Another thing that I loved is the French, it’s amazing. It’s not too much that people who don’t understand French will get confused and well done that the French feels right to be woven into the story and I enjoyed that Fama told the meaning of the words/phrases in English so that readers could fully understand it.

Overall, Plus One is a fun novel that has great characters, tons of actions, and a bit of romance. Even though the world building is flippy-floppy and close to nothing about the division is explained, I liked it a lot. I recommend this one to anyone who’s also sick of all that insta-love/too much romance stuff that seems to be taking over YA books now.

3.5 Interesting Clouds
3.5 Interesting Clouds

For quotes from this book, click, here.

The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

17586458The Summer I Wasn’t Me by Jessica Verdi

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: April 1, 2014

Pages: 352 (Paperback)

good good

Lexi has a secret…

Ever since her mom found out she was in love with a girl, seventeen-year-old Lexi’s afraid that what’s left of her family is going to fall apart for good.

You are on the road to truth. Help is on the way.

The road signs leading to New Horizons summer camp promise a new life for Lexi—she swears she can change. She can learn to like boys. But denying her feelings is harder than she thinks. And when she falls heads over heels for one of her fellow campers, Lexi will have to risk her mother’s approval for the one person who might love her no matter what.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Wow. What a fucking ride this book is!

Upon starting, I thought I was getting just a bunch of insta-love and maybe some “Okay. I okay with myself yay!” kind of stuff. But what I got is something different. A lot different. Okay, so I did get the insta-love (mutual by the way. Ugh) and the romance did take over some times but all in all, it’s great. I loved how Verdi teaches the lesson between right and wrong. Like how some people believe that being gay is wrong and is a sin but know that abuse of any sort is certainly wrong for everyone.

The worst part of this novel has to be the romance. It’s just so infuriating. I didn’t want to read about how much Lexi wanted to kiss Carolyn when she’s supposed to be focusing on herself and what she really wants. From the very first day, there’s romance and it really takes away from the story. I also felt that the characters for the most part were choppy. This is evident because the only time anything is told about the characters is at the very beginning and that’s it. There’s not much of a back story except then. The activities that the characters do are all right, but are quite confusing because they’re either too simple or too silly.

The Summer I Wasn’t Me is still a fairly beautiful story about acceptance. Lexi is a strong character, especially by the end of the story and I loved the way she accepted herself and her friends. Beautiful! The best thing about the camp is the cult-like feel it has, the exorcism that goes on is really well described and intense. I was shocked and enraged by it. It’s pretty awesome in a very sadistic way.

I was really skeptical when I first read this simply because many authors have tried this (not in YA) and have failed miserably. However, Verdi does a good job and had me at the edge of my seat more than once. Lexi’s story is pretty typical and so is the romance, but the execution is lovely and I felt connected to her. I recommend this to anyone who’s curious to see what it might look like inside of a “de-gaying” Christian camp.

3 Clouds
3 Clouds