Book Review: Broken by C. J. Lyons

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Broken by C. J. Lyons

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: November 5, 2013

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

good good

The only thing fifteen-year-old Scarlet Killian has ever wanted is a chance at a normal life. Diagnosed with a rare and untreatable heart condition, she has never taken the school bus. Or giggled with friends during lunch. Or spied on a crush out of the corner of her eye. So when her parents offer her three days to prove she can survive high school, Scarlet knows her time is now… or never. Scarlet can feel her heart beating out of control with every slammed locker and every sideways glance in the hallway. But this high school is far from normal. And finding out the truth might just kill Scarlet before her heart does.

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

Broken is told to be a thriller, which it is, but not until the very last half of the middle does that even come to play. Is it exciting? Not the beginning but definitely the ending. If it weren’t for the twist during the near ending of the mid-section, this book would have been a boring facsimile of every book ever written about a dying girl trying to make the best out of her last days. There are the mean bullies, the love triangle, the outcast friends, as well as the overprotective parents. Luckily, C.J. Lyons ditches this lame route for a more exciting one however she does it too late to change my rating by much.

The story starts off with a bang, I was hooked and excited how a girl with a rare heart disease will make it through high school without dying. Unfortunately, after a few chapters of her first ever experience the story becomes very tedious and pointless and felt like an after school special to me. Scarlet as well as most of the other characters felt really flat also. I couldn’t connect with them nor was I rooting for them when they face tough obstacles that most people wouldn’t. Maybe it’s the fact that I have such a short attention span that I might be being too harsh on this book but I was bored for more than half of it.

Getting onto the good things about this novel, Lyons does a nice job of keeping readers guessing even if it is only for a little while. Once most of the characters are introduced, I was starting to guess which one would be the suspect before it became obvious who the suspect is. I really liked how Lyons uses her past medical history as an element in this, most, if not all of the different medical terms that are mentioned in this story are not as well-known as they should be. But I’ve read many things about a few of them (one in particular) and her execution of these syndromes and conditions are done beautifully.

Overall, this story has a bit of an off tempo that ruins the story by going from slow to really slow to fast and then really fast with barely any build-up in between. But I still recommend this if you don’t mind very slow beginnings that are pretty pointless but also has a nicely done ending. Broken isn’t a thrilling novel that’ll keep readers at the edge of their seat but it will make them second guess the people they choose to trust in their lives. I know that it did for me.

3 Clouds
3 Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

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Book Review: Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

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Somebody Up There Hates You by Hollis Seamon

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 3, 2013

Pages: 239 (Hardcover)

good good

Chemo, radiation, a zillion surgeries, watching my mom age twenty years in twenty months: if that’s part of the Big Dude’s plan, then it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? Somebody Up There Hates You.

SUTHY has landed me here in this hospice, where we—that’s me and Sylvie—are the only people under 30 in the whole place, sweartogod. But I’m not dead yet. I still need to keep things interesting. Sylvie, too. I mean, we’re kids, hospice-hostages or not. We freak out visitors; I get my uncle to sneak me out for one insane Halloween night. Stuff like that. And Sylvie wants to make things even more interesting. That girl’s got big plans.

Only Sylvie’s father is so nuclear-blasted by what’s happened to his little girl, he glows orange, I swear. That’s one scary man, and he’s not real fond of me. So we got a major family feud going on, right here in hospice. DO NOT CROSS line running down the middle of the hall, me on one side, her on the other. It’s crazy.

In the middle of all of this, really, there’s just me and Sylvie, a guy and a girl. And we want to live, in our way, by our own rules, in whatever time we’ve got. We will pack in some living before we go, trust me.

First of all, I would like to thank the Publisher, Algonquin 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

I think I knew I was going to dislike Richard from the beginning because he always repeats himself by saying, “see” or, “okay?” or “right”. It took all my strength not to jump into the book and punch him in the face. Hollis Seamon could have made this a killer book with such a sad and serious topic but instead she failed to do so. I was left underwhelmed and very upset with all the characters. And not in a good way.

Writing a realistic contemporary novel there has to be a realistic relationship between the main character and most likely the love interest. Unfortunately, the romance in Somebody Up There Hates You feels more like a fairytale than something that could happen in real life. Richard and Sylvie are already ‘together’ when the novel starts with little hints and snippets of how they met but not a full explanation of how they became so close and became a couple. There isn’t much if any character building either. All of the characters feel extremely stiff and are boring and I couldn’t connect to any of them. Another thing that I really disliked about this novel is the fact that everything is all over the place. The relationship between Richard and Sylvie, Richard’s life, all of it. Instead of reading one story I felt like I was reading ten different ones that randomly popped up out of nowhere. During many parts of the book I was left confused and uncertain about what I was reading.

One thing I did like about the book though, is the relationship between Richard and Edward. It is so cute because they depend on each other so much, whether they know it or not. I also liked Edward because he reminds Richard a lot that everyone has problems and that he’s not the only one going through a shitty time which I think everyone needs to be reminded from time to time.

Somebody Up There Hates You isn’t actually a story about a teen with cancer and how he fights through it. It’s more of a story about two teens going through a crappy time and having sex before they die. That’s about it. I recommend this only to people looking for a light read. Don’t let the summary fool you, it’s not heart-wrenching nor is it moving.

2 Clouds
2 Clouds

For quotes from this book, click here.

Identical By Ellen Hopkins

2241059 Identical By Ellen Hopkins

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Genre: Poetry and Realistic Fiction

Release Date: August 26th 2008

Pages:565 (Hard cover)

Identical

 

Do twins begin in the womb?
Or in a better place?

 

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge father and a politician mother, they are an all-American family — on the surface. Behind the facade each sister has her own dark secret, and that’s where their differences begin.
For Kaeleigh, she’s the misplaced focus of Daddy’s love, intended for a mother whose presence on the campaign trail means absence at home. All that Raeanne sees is Daddy playing a game of favorites — and she is losing. If she has to lose, she will do it on her own terms, so she chooses drugs, alcohol, and sex.Secrets like the ones the twins are harboring are not meant to be kept — from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it’s obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one sister must step up to save the other, but the question is — who?

 

  (My Opinion)

It’s pretty hard to get into a story that is poem based when all you’ve ever read are paragraph based. Ellen Hopkins does a great job telling a story about dealing with your inner demons while trying to find love in a cruel world. Even though it’s pretty hard to get into, the plot is good and the characters stand out. The writing style is a bit weird at first but the main characters are so interesting that it doesn’t bother me after a while.

The beginning is boring. I feel like Ellen Hopkins is trying to make the relationship between the sisters sound and seem very mysterious which it isn’t. Also, the fact that they are complete opposites seems to happen a lot in books. I wish they had more in common for the characters to stand out more than they did.

The shocking secret that comes out of nowhere is my favourite part of this book. It will take you by surprise and leave you shell-shocked. I also like the tense parts between Kaeleigh and her dad because it’s so controlled and perfect. It’s easy to know what will happen while still leaving the reads to let their imagination run wild. The ending to this is really good too since things look brighter and clearer, I’m not left with any unanswered questions. Even though the ending is kind of typical, I’m not disappointed because there is just so much happening in the book that the ending couldn’t ruin this for me. Recommended for everyone, especially if you enjoy realistic fiction with human-like demons.

four ah 4.5 Dreamy Clouds