Book Review: Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann

Publisher: Greenwillow

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: May 3, 2016

Pages: 225 (Hardcover)

good

Addie has always known what she was running toward. In cross-country, in life, in love. Until she and her boyfriend—her sensitive, good-guy boyfriend—are careless one night and she ends up pregnant. Addie makes the difficult choice to have an abortion. And after that—even though she knows it was the right decision for her—nothing is the same anymore. She doesn’t want anyone besides her parents and her boyfriend to know what happened; she doesn’t want to run cross-country; she can’t bring herself to be excited about anything. Until she reconnects with Juliana, a former teammate who’s going through her own dark places.

This will be a short and sweet review. Despite my feelings and how relative large the negative part of my review will be, I did enjoy Ask me How I Got Here. It’s cute, funny even. It’s not at all like most young adult books because it doesn’t waste time on unnecessary details. Still it does need work, things are not fleshed out. But I liked it. It’s a solid read.

The characters aren’t fleshed out well enough. Juliana comes into the story and into Addie’s life. It’s not a smooth transition and seems like she was added into the story as a second thought. There are also connections made between Addie and The Virgin Mary, however I was expecting more from it. I was expecting their stories to line up not perfectly, but better. Especially with their relationships with men, their emotions towards family, etc. As I read through all of my notes for this one, my biggest problem is with the characters. It sucks when a novel, beautifully written in verse fails to translate enough emotion through the characters. Claire and the brother should have been better. They fell flat and were not able to support Addie, the protagonist as much as they should have.

I loved Addie’s voice. No bullshit from her. It’s beautiful as she uses references from the Bible to explain her life through The Virgin Mary. Although I’m not at all religious, the way Heppermann weaves this into the story is lovely. I really enjoyed it.

Ask Me How I Got Here is an in between novel for me. It’s not bad but it isn’t particularly good either. If characters play the largest part of a novel for you, this might not be a novel for you. Nonetheless, it’s a story that’s not really talked about, especially in young adult. Teenagers do indeed get abortions, shit happens. Which also aides in my overall opinion of the book.

3 Mediocre Clouds

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Book Review: This Savage Song ( Monsters of Verity#1) by Victoria Schwab

26074170This Savage Song ( Monsters of Verity#1) by Victoria Schwab 

Publisher: GreenWillow Books

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 464 (Hardcover)

good good

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, GreenWillow Books 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’ve read Schwab’s other story, The Archived  and really enjoyed it so I was super pumped to read This Savage Song. But, like, no. So monotone, so unemotional, and just…sad. Pretty much, all I was thinking while reading this was:

 

Nothing matters in the book. And by this, I mean I could not have cared less if the whole city got eaten by monsters. The characters are not well-developed, are extremely flat, and annoying. An example would have to be August himself as he’s supposed to be watching Kate, understanding her tactics, and reporting everything back to his dad yet he doesn’t (or rarely ever does) report a damn thing. He just waits for her to show up. Again,

On top of this, the relationship between Kate and August is so fucking contrived which is pointless Since there is nothing to care about here.

But, I did like the setting. Schwab seems to spend ample amounts of time on world building, which is great because the setting is the best. Monsters! Crawling everywhere! No one is safe. I could completely believe it, feel the atmosphere of the things that go bump in the night, unfortunately, it quickly died because of everything else. Moreover, the only character I actually enjoyed was Ilsa because she is so strange yet cool and AHHH!! Picturing the stars all over her body is just so beautiful and perfect. But then again, maybe I don’t actually like the character, maybe I like the idea of this character. Either way, I’m giving Schwab points for it.

This Savage Song is flat-out a ‘meh’ book. The characters are shit with Leo leading the pack. When he did anything, I took it all in without hesitation or emotion. Moreover, because of this, the plot twists are shit, the writing is okay, and the world is excellent. Although I do recommend this book, I also recommend to go into it with an open mind as you will most likely be let down otherwise.

3 Mediocre Clouds

3 Mediocre Clouds

Book Review: Meet Me Here by Bryan Bliss

18190738 (1)Meet Me Here by Bryan Bliss

Publisher: GreenWillow Books

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 464 (Hardcover)

good good

Thomas is supposed to leave for the army in the morning. His father was Army. His brother, Jake, is Army—is a hero, even, with the medals to prove it. Everyone expects Thomas to follow in that fine tradition. But Jake came back from overseas a completely different person, and that has shaken Thomas’s certainty about his own future. And so when his long-estranged friend Mallory suggests one last night of adventure, Thomas takes her up on the distraction. Over the course of this single night, Thomas will lose, find, resolve, doubt, drive, explore, and leap off a bridge. He’ll also face the truth of his brother’s post-traumatic stress disorder and of his own courage. In Bryan Bliss’s deft hands, graduation night becomes a night to find yourself, find each other, find a path, and know that you always have a place—and people—to come back to.

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

opinion

Meet me Here makes me so sad, guys.

And I get it. There’s a lot of shitty things going on. Thomas has a really sad life, his brother is not himself, his parents are abusive, and he has no say in anything. However, that doesn’t mean that by bringing in an old flame will solve his damn problems. This book is just a joke. I just hate how the plot is, the way Mallory randomly shows up in his life. Why? No? Stop? On top of all of this, Bliss has made the story insanely predictable (and I say this while skipping over quite a large chunk of it). By this, I mean that despite the story being about the way Thomas and his brother are different, their relationship is nothing new. The brother is the go-to golden boy who loses all sense of himself. now, I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with this, what I am saying is that it is played out and not executed as well as it could be because the only times we really hear of him are when their father comes into play.

I wish I could have liked Meet Me Here but it lacks in every area. The writing is nothing stellar, the character are extremely dull and of the generic kind, and the plot…well what plot is there, really? I mean, nothing matters in this book. Instead, if you’re looking for brother relationships with war themes, I recommend Something like Normal and The Things a Brother Knows. 

One Lonely Cloud

One Lonely Cloud

Book Review: True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

24485772True Letters from a Fictional Life by Kenneth Logan

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 7, 2016

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

good good

If you asked anyone in his small Vermont town, they’d tell you the facts: James Liddell, star athlete, decent student and sort-of boyfriend to cute, peppy Theresa, is a happy, funny, carefree guy.

But whenever James sits down at his desk to write, he tells a different story. As he fills his drawers with letters to the people in his world–letters he never intends to send–he spills the truth: he’s trying hard, but he just isn’t into Theresa. It’s a boy who lingers in his thoughts.

He feels trapped by his parents, his teammates, and the lies they’ve helped him tell, and he has no idea how to escape. Is he destined to live a life of fiction?

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

I’m really glad this got to be one of my first summer reads. It’s fairly light yet a solid novel. With great characters and a steady plot, Kenneth Logan delivers a lovely coming of age story. Although I didn’t absolutely love James, the secondary characters are the ones who really had me. Derek, Hawken, Topher, and the parents. They kept me lightly on my toes by not being the predictable supporting characters that I assumed they would be and I really enjoyed that.

Despite the high rating I’m giving it, there are some flaws. One of them being the intense info-dumping in the very beginning. During the first chapter, readers are handed an essay long description on characters that have yet been introduced. A prime example of this is with Theresa, where James explains their long history and feelings. This could have been easily handled with showing us the friction of their relationship rather than telling us because I started to quickly lose interest. The book, for that matter, is mostly telling rather than showing like from the letters and how James writes them to how he speaks and thinks of his friends. Instead of being put in his shoes, understanding his pain and struggle, I just felt as if I was reading a very personal, extremely distant essay (sorry for the contradiction but it’s the only way I could really explain it. Like a cold ‘I love you’). The whole book is surrounded by the letters and how they make him feel and transform him as a person but I felt this part of the novel was poorly executed because I couldn’t connect with it as I was being told about it instead of showed it. More is written about the letter than what is actually in them. Which is really sad as the letters are his way of expressing himself.

Nonetheless, I enjoyed True Letter from a Fictional Life. it’s straightforward plot wise, it contains plenty of twists, and holds some sad truths about the world we live in. I’m glad Logan made the characters different, especially with Derek because of course there are more issues outside of the LGBT community and just even shining a small light on those issues like race and religion is always appreciated. Moreover, I still liked the idea of writing letters, as a strong believer in this approach to dealing with anger (I’ve been writing letters to people since I was in grade two, I swear) I could connect with where James was coming from. looking past all of the telling and lengthy explanations, the writing itself is quite smooth. It’s easy to lose yourself in the story and keep on reading until everything gets resolved.

You should read this. It’s not a heavy book, definitely finish it within a day, no more than a week. The writing style although not unique, has a one-of-a-kind approach to a popular topic and I loved reading about it. There’s more to this novel than what one read will tell you.

4 Dreamy Clouds

Book Review: Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

23315831

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 23, 2015

Pages: 352 (Hardcover)

good good

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

opinion

I actually don’t know what to say about this one. It’s not a bad novel, it’s just…childish. Or at least it is during the beginning. Emmy and Oliver’s relationship has this huge ten-year gap because Oliver’s kidnapping and I think this is why I had such a hard time liking the story. Since he left when they were still little children, it just picks up where they left off. It’s all, “Emmy does this” and, “Oliver does that.” If stuff like this doesn’t bother you, it’s actually a great novel that’s very sweet, however if it does, maybe just skim until the middle.

Or even skim the first chapter because it’s the summary only more in-depth. Oliver left, there was a note, Emmy misses him. And although the story is Emmy’s, I feel like there should have been more to it. Like, Oliver talks about his life, about what he did during those years however, it’s hard to truly picture it since he only says snippets and then that’s it. I did feel for him and his pain however, I wanted to know more so that I could relate more to him. Also, the blow-ups that happen between Oliver and his mother happen too quickly. As a person who has gone through bad shit and seen my friends go through bad shit, parents just aren’t that quick to ground people over small things. Another thing that’s lacking is the town. Like, what town? There is no town. I didn’t get the small feeling of people watching his every move, the ‘think this way,’ or anything. It just fades into the background so whenever Emmy mentions something about their town, it’s always confusing because WHAT TOWN IS THERE?!

But Emmy & Oliver is a sweet novel. The characters are strong and witty, especially Drew who honestly killed me every time he opens his mouth. The relationship between Emmy and Oliver is cute. It’s more of a friendship than anything else and I enjoyed reading about it. I also liked the relationship between Oliver and his father. It’s not your typical one, it’s a strange and realistic relation between two people who need time to figure out their feelings. I got that and I loved it. One of the best relationships ever. The small in between chapters that tell of secrets and memories between Emmy and Oliver also helps paint the picture of how close these two were when they were younger. It put me in a memory of my own childhood where I would always make up weird sayings that only my friends and I understood. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t think any of us actually knew what we were saying to each other but we still understood, deep down.

Would I recommend this book? Yes I would because it’s focused on more than just romance and I love that about books. Although the execution at times is sloppy and annoying, it does get its footing and tells an amazing story about time. So, yeah. Go pick this one up it’s cute and sad and summer friendly.

3.5 Interesting Clouds

3.5 Interesting Clouds

Book Review: A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing#1) by Rhiannon Thomas

22535481A Wicked Thing (A Wicked Thing#1) by Rhiannon Thomas

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Retelling and Young Adult

Release Date: February 24, 2015

Pages: 337 (Hardcover)

good good

One hundred years after falling asleep, Princess Aurora wakes up to the kiss of a handsome prince and a broken kingdom that has been dreaming of her return. All the books say that she should be living happily ever after. But as Aurora understands all too well, the truth is nothing like the fairy tale.

Her family is long dead. Her “true love” is a kind stranger. And her whole life has been planned out by political foes while she slept.

As Aurora struggles to make sense of her new world, she begins to fear that the curse has left its mark on her, a fiery and dangerous thing that might be as wicked as the witch who once ensnared her. With her wedding day drawing near, Aurora must make the ultimate decision on how to save her kingdom: marry the prince or run.

opinion

There’s a reason why not many authors write fairy tale retellings. It’s a hard thing to do. What’s even worse is when the fairy tale is the dullest one in the world. So no, I didn’t like reading A Wicked Thing and for readers with a low tolerance for boring shit, I don’t think they’ll like this one either.

It’s boring. From beginning to end, this book was my pal for lulling me to sleep. The writing is also really bad since it honest to God switches from how they would talk back in the day to how we talk ow. I had no patience for this and almost gave up on the book. Bad thing I didn’t because those uninteresting and underdeveloped characters from the beginning of story? They don’t get much better and Aurora is literally too annoying to give even a sliver of a fuck about.

Still, it has some good stuff. Not a lot, but some (thing). The witch part is well done, I felt the suspense and the creepiness. I was actually excited when the witch showed up and started making fun of everything. However, the witch doesn’t appear until the very end. That’s about it as far as stuff that I actually enjoyed goes.

A Wicked Thing was doomed from the start. Sleeping Beauty is a magical tale, sure, however, it’s quite dull and that makes it really hard to work with. I don’t recommend this unless you need some help getting to bed thanks to exams and stuff.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds

 

 

Book review: No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

22403036No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre:Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: February 24, 2015

Pages: 272 (Hardcover)

good good

Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they’ve lost everything. She’s left to decide: Does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

Abigail doesn’t know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents shouldn’t have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there with Brother John for the “end of the world.” Because of course the end didn’t come. And now they’re living in their van. And Aaron’s disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl.

opinionLook, let’s just get straight to the point. Was I made by the end of this book? Not quite. Did I still have a lot of questions, like how some loser conned more than two dozen people into giving him pretty much everything? Fuck yes. But more than that, I was disappointed. I felt so underwhelmed by every aspect of No Parking at the End Times, even during the parts where there should have been a lot of religious insight,fuck, any kind of insight, I got nothing. You’re better off skimming a pamphlet on the ‘New World’ rather than read this book.

Why? Because nothing happens. And when something does happen, it’s 77% into the book, where no shits are given anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good build-up, leaving room for nothing but suspense however this is ridiculous. And when you pair a boring book and awkward writing that’s full of unnecessary words, well, the outcome isn’t pretty. Moreover, for a novel that has so much on the Now, there’s almost nothing on the Then part. The book is mostly surrounded on the decisions that Abigail’s father has made and still making, how his mistakes have caused the family to lose greatly. So when I was reading and found close to nothing, honest to God, nothing on what made him switch gears and decide to listen to Brother John, I couldn’t help but scream. Adding onto this, the characters aren’t fleshed out. Abigail, I could understand for the most part because I could relate to her but only to a point. Halfway done, I stopped caring about her as well as the other characters. They just don’t stick out, especially Brother John, who is supposed to be this magnificent man sent down from God. Obviously he’s not but I did not see the appeal of him. He always gave generic answers, didn’t read any fucking verses from the Bible despite always having it on hand, and all around, didn’t even act like he was really into it. As a con artist you have to at least fake to have your heart in it, this guy gave no fucks. Now, does that sound like a man two relatively responsible adults with two children would give everything to? It doesn’t to me, I still don’t understand where Bliss was going with him.

Nonetheless, there are some mediocre things that I didn’t mind. One of them being the Before chapters albeit short and mostly pointless because they tell only snippets of what happened, of how they got to California rather than giving the whole picture.

No Parking at the End Times might have been great since most books about the Rapture don’t really go into after the ‘event’, only about two weeks later. What made me even more disappointed is the fact that the beginning is so good. Like, guys, it’s so good. It’s intense, mysterious, and exciting. I was giddy with pleasure (that died like two or three chapters later). Would I recommend this novel? No, like I said before, I got more information from a pamphlet, hell, even the damn internet than I did on the actual Rapture, or on anything religious. This should tell you something about how badly this book is written when I have to complain multiple times about the religion aspect of it. And I don’t even like religion.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds