Book Review: Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan

18378832Skin and Bones by Sherry Shahan

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: March 1, 2014

Pages: 259 (Hardcover)

good good

 

Sixteen-year-old Jack, nicknamed “Bones,” won’t eat. His roommate in the eating disorder ward has the opposite problem and proudly goes by the nickname “Lard.” They become friends despite Bones’s initial reluctance. When Bones meets Alice, a dangerously thin dancer who loves to break the rules, he lets his guard down even more. Soon Bones is so obsessed with Alice that he’s willing to risk everything-even his recovery.

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

opinion

Eating Disorders are something that I know a lot about because they have impacted my life in such a harsh way. So I expected to be able to relate to Jack’s story yet I couldn’t at all. It all felt very flimsy and rushed, nothing is properly explained and the characters are so choppy with the ever-present insta-love. Nonetheless, I liked the ending solely because it’s not necessarily a typical one.

Skin and Bones biggest problem has to be how unrealistic it is. The ICU unit in this is really relaxed and don’t seem to care about anything until Jack’s first weigh in. He exercises and no one’s there to watch him like a hawk his first few days there. This is actually mandatory pretty much everywhere no matter what is wrong with a person, there should always be a nurse watching especially on the first few days to get them to stop their horrible habits.Like I mentioned before, the characters are a bit flimsy and barely have a back story except for their parents. Jack doesn’t seem like an actual boy either. He’s like a girl trying to be a boy because of how emotional and stuff he gets. It’s very hard for a female writing to create a realistic male voice and Shahan didn’t capture it at all. Another thing that I didn’t like is the romance between Alice and Jack because it’s too forced and odd especially at first. It never really progresses and just suddenly ends just as the foundation was sloppily being built.

The story is fairly short and the chapters are short so it’s an easy read. The ending isn’t typical and I wasn’t expecting that which is why I’m bumping this book up to two stars.

Although Skin and Bones isn’t an original story and it felt more like a pamphlet rather than a story that could happen to anyone, it’s an easy enough read that some people, who might have to try pretty hard will enjoy. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys these kinds of novels but beware, it isn’t something new.

2 Clouds
2 Clouds
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Book Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

15726915Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: February 25, 2014

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

good good

Alexi Littrell hasn’t told anyone what happened to her over the summer. Ashamed and embarrassed, she hides in her closet and compulsively scratches the back of her neck, trying to make the outside hurt more than the inside does.

When Bodee Lennox, the quiet and awkward boy next door, comes to live with the Littrells, Alexi discovers an unlikely friend in “the Kool-Aid Kid,” who has secrets of his own. As they lean on each other for support, Alexi gives him the strength to deal with his past, and Bodee helps her find the courage to finally face the truth.

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

Alexi’s story is so moving and I think that everyone can relate to it. Her personality and denial about things that happened not only can be related to sexual assault victims but victims of pretty much any type of abuse. I felt for Alexi and Bodee and although their relationship at some times are…out there, I really enjoyed this.

Faking Normal actually starts off pretty boring. It took some time for me to actually get into the story and even more so the characters. Alexi and I have a bit of a ‘love hate relationship’ because although I loved her story, I didn’t really like her. I felt that she’s really stiff at times, especially when people wanted to help her. The romance itself is really typical and I didn’t like it, it’s the same broken girl meets broken boy and they heal together type of thing and it got old for me really fast. The way that Bodee knows things annoyed me more than anything. Another thing I didn’t like is how the flashbacks or story is told surrounding the rape. The same thing is told over and over again without any new information. This is one of my pet peeves–when someone tells me something over and over again with nothing new to add to it. Whenever Alexi brought up how it happened I found myself skimming it and moving on to the next thing.

Like I mentioned before, I really did like this story. It’s awkward and I wasn’t really suspecting it to turn out the way it did. The journey and her pain is so raw and relatable, I felt as if her struggles were my struggles too. For the most part, I liked most of the characters because they’re very realistic and complex. They had me guessing about their actions and emotions and I liked reading about them.

Faking Normal is quite the story. It’s not bad but it does have a few flaws and a dash of stiffness. Nonetheless, Stevens has created a lovely début and I recommend this to anyone looking for something serious to read and don’t mind the main character. I really hope that she keeps writing serious topic novels because there aren’t many of them out there that are well done or are even mediocre and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

3 Clouds
3 Clouds

Book Review: A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

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A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger

Publisher: Balzer & Bray

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: June 18, 2013

Pages: 189 (Hardcover)

good good

Mike Welles had everything under control. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they’re getting confusing at school. He’s losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he’s a mess.

Then there’s a voice in his head. A friend, who’s trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that’s holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.

opinion

I think what made this book so interesting is that it’s told from the perspective of the illness and how it matures and takes more and more of Mike everyday. It’s different and creative, making me feel like I was the illness itself. Unfortunately this novel is barely 200 pages and because of this, it moves far too fast. Eating disorders are things that I know well and I was expecting a heart wrenching, gripping, fast-paced story about the ups and downs of it. Instead I just felt like I got a longer version of an anorexia pamphlet.

The characters feel very flimsy and childish, going from best friends to complete enemies in only a matter of days. It’s not very realistic. I was also hoping for a more sadistic protagonist who, not only told Mike what to do but told him horrible things about everyone around him. The protagonist albeit creepy, isn’t creepy enough for me. I was hoping for a lot more from this book that I just didn’t receive.

Something that I really liked is the writing style because it’s told from the illness and it gets stronger and stronger and kind of knows everything there is to know about Mike Wells. Chapters are extremely short which also helped make it a very short read.

A Trick of the Light is overall, just like a brochure on anorexia and how it progresses. Even though it’s told in a unique light and way, it’s far too short to leave any lasting feelings and to really connect with it. Still, I recommend this to anyone who wants to refresh their mind on this disorder or just enjoy these types of novels in general.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds
2.5 Mess Up Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: Afterlife Academy by Jaimie Admans (Blog Tour!)

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Afterlife Academy by Jaimie Admans

Publisher: Self-Published

Genre: Fantasy and young adult

Release Date: March 15, 2013

Pages: 206 (Ebook)

Afterlife Academy

Even being dead isn’t enough to get you out of maths class.

Dying wasn’t on sixteen-year-old Riley Richardson’s to-do list. And now, not only is she dead, but she’s stuck in a perpetual high school nightmare. Worse still, she’s stuck there with the geekiest, most annoying boy in the history of the world, ever.

In a school where the geeks are popular and just about everything is wrong, Riley has become an outcast. She begins a desperate quest to get back home, but her once-perfect life starts to unravel into something not nearly as great as she thought it was. And maybe death isn’t really that bad after all…

Welcome to Afterlife Academy, where horns are the norm, the microwave is more intelligent than the teachers, and the pumpkins have a taste for blood.

(My Opinion)

Afterlife Academy is told from the perspective of Riley Richardson, who is, in fact, a very different kind of girl (the popular kind). Instead of being the popular girl with the perfect life like she’s used to, she is ridiculed at the academy because of the fact that she looks a lot different than everyone else. And to be honest, I think that Riley deserves it for the awful things she did to everyone while she was alive. Afterlife Academy is that kind of book that’s sort of funny but also sort of annoying. Although I like the story, I think that it’s lacking in a lot of areas.

For the most part, the writing in this is really awkward. It sort of stops and goes, with very short three word sentences ending when they should not have ended. Another thing I don’t like about this is that there is so much repetition  In almost every chapter, Riley explains to us how everything is either grey or very, very wrong. An example of the repetition is:

“The canteen looks exactly the same as it always has. Apart from the greyness, obviously. Grey lino flooring, grey tables and black chairs, grey counters.”

In the example above, it shows that saying everything is grey ins’t enough, but telling us everything in the room that is grey is the best way to get the image across.  Because of this, it makes the story harder to read since I’m being constantly reminded just how grey everything is and just how colourful Riley is. A very hard thing for authors to accomplish is to make their readers hate their main character and then quickly fall in love with them. This is very tough to do because it requires the right amount of emotions. Unfortunately, Afterlife Academy doesn’t his its mark. I can see where Jaimie Admans is trying to go with Riley, making her seem like the mean girl who finds her way and stuff like that. But throughout the whole story I felt very little sympathy for her. Instead of falling in love with her and rooting for Riley to have her ‘happy ending’ I felt more annoyed with her then anything. She keeps whining about how everyone is mean to her when she actually deserves it. The relationship between Riley and Anthony feels very forced and a bit on the random side as well. I couldn’t relate to it because I didn’t understand how anyone would like Riley after all the crap they put them through.

With that being said, there actually are a few things that I like about the book. The character of Anthony is so amazing and sweet. He’s a very caring person who I honestly think makes the story rather than Riley. He’s still kind to those (Riley) who have made fun of him and made his life a living hell for several years when he has every reason to be rude and hate them for it. For as far as humour goes, my favourite part has to be the group therapy session. This part made me laugh because it’s so realistic when you put a bunch of teenagers together. They snap at each other and defend one another and tease them.I also like all the sneaking around. It creates a somewhat mysterious setting.

Overall, not a bad read. I like the second half a lot more than the first because that’s mostly where all the action is. Most of the characters are lacking emotion and a personality and feel like ink on a page but I did enjoy the karmatic things that the author put in the novel. They made me smile. I recommend this to anyone who likes after-world novels. Especially if you love romances that just randomly happen.

Three Clouds
Three Clouds

Book Review: Chasing The Skip By Janci Patterson

13513650Chasing The Skip By Janci Patterson

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Genre: Contemporary, Adventure and young adult

Release Date: October 2, 2012

Pages: 240 (Hard Cover)

Chasing The Skip

 

Ricki’s dad has never been there for her. He’s a bounty hunter who spends his time chasing parole evaders—also known as “skips”—all over the country. But now since Ricki’s mom ran off, Ricki finds herself an unwilling passenger in a front-row seat to her father’s dangerous lifestyle.

Ricki’s feelings get even more confused when her dad starts chasing seventeen-year-old Ian Burnham. She finds herself unavoidably attracted to the dark-eyed felon who seems eager to get acquainted. But Ricki thinks she’s ever in control—the perfect manipulator. Little does she know that Ian isn’t playing their game by her rules.

(My Opinion)

After reading 200 pages of this novel, I gave up and skimmed the rest. I’m glad I did because from the reviews I’ve read about this, I didn’t miss much. Chasing The Skip had an interesting story line and okay idea, I was hoping to like it. But instead I was left with very stiff, annoying characters and a very disorganized story. There isn’t anything that stood out to me in a good way because I couldn’t get over the way Ricki acts throughout the whole story.

Ricki, throughout the books constantly changes her age from acting like a fifteen year-old to acting like a three year-old, to a ten-year old who has a crush on an older boy. At first, I thought this part was kind of cute, the relationship between Ian and Ricki is blooming and it’s cute until it started to get annoying and stupid.  What I really dislike about this book is that Ricki feels the need to impress Ian and change herself just so that he’ll like her. I find that very stupid and not a very good message to send out to readers who might think that this is the case. The way she is around isn’t the most annoying part of the book or even the character.

The most annoying part has to be how easily the author skips over the serious things that has happened to the father. I think that if Janci Patterson had explored the father and his situation that is his past a lot more, I could have enjoyed the relationship between him and Ricki. I was left feeling frustrated that I didn’t know very much about the dad and his past life, or any of the characters for that matter. Ricki’s best friend and boyfriend seem like ink on paper and nothing more.

With all of that been said, that wasn’t anything that I liked about this book. I wouldn’t recommend this book for anyone just because after reading this book, I felt cheated and left very disappointed.

Two Clouds
Two Clouds