The Scorpion Rules Review

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Title: The Scorpion Rules

Author: Erin Bow

Genre & Age Group: Fantasy, dystopian, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

The children of world leaders are held hostage in an attempt to keep the peace in this “slyly humorous, starkly thought-provoking” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) novel.

Greta is a Duchess and a Crown Princess. She is also a Child of Peace, a hostage held by the de facto ruler of the world, the great Artificial Intelligence, Talis. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Start a war and your hostage dies.

The system has worked for centuries. Parents don’t want to see their children murdered.

Greta will be free if she can make it to her eighteenth birthday. Until then she is prepared to die with dignity, if necessary. But everything changes when Elian arrives at the Precepture. He’s a hostage from a new American alliance, and he defies the machines that control every part of their lives—and is severely punished for it. His rebellion opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the rules they live under, and to the subtle resistance of her companions. And Greta discovers her own quiet power.

Then Elian’s country declares war on Greta’s and invades the prefecture, taking the hostages hostage. Now the great Talis is furious, and coming himself to deliver punishment. Which surely means that Greta and Elian will be killed…unless Greta can think of a way to break all the rules.

Source: School library

How I Found Out About It: By browsing through the books at my school’s library

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One day recently, I had a fantasy craving. I was just getting so sick of all the contemporaries that I’d been reading, so I decided that I wanted a tiny change in scenery for my next read. So, while browsing through the books at my school’s library, The Scorpion Rules caught my eye. Though I was taking a risk by reading it, I still decided to crave some fantasy.

Just as I’d expected, three stars were what came out of this book. I enjoyed it, but only to an extent. There were still a plethora of things that I, the world’s most avid contemporary reader, was bothered by.

To briefly synopsize the book, it centred upon a girl named Greta, who is a Child of Peace. In this world of hers, anyone who wants to rule must give up their child for hostage. If Greta can survive until age 18, then she will be freed, but is still willing to make sacrifices. But when she meets Elian, she discovers that she is more powerful than she’d thought. When his country starts a war with hers, they both strive to keep themselves out of trouble.

This is yet another story with unmemorable characters, and I hate that! I just want a character that I will be able to remember for once, that is literally all I ask! Greta, the protagonist, was an example of this. Though she was brave, she was practically no different from any other main character in the dystopian novels I’ve read.

There was a love triangle in this story (another trope?!) and it was an annoying one, too. Greta was literally going back and forth between Elian and her best friend whose name goes along the lines of “Xia.” The synopsis misleads us in saying that she bonds with Elian, because there are really two love interests in the story. In spite of this, I did appreciate the diversity brought to us in this story with Greta being bisexual and there being mixed cultures.

As I write this review, I finished this book ten days ago, and I cannot tell you a single event that happened in this story. That’s how unmemorable this book honestly is! The plot was thrown all over the place and I often found myself quite bored while reading The Scorpion Rules.

The one pro I can recall about this book was its writing. Boy, did I fall in love! The writing was mystical, beautiful, and lyrical. I really wish that more contemporaries were written that way!

All in all, like what often happens with darker books of this sort, I didn’t fall in love with The Scorpion Rules. Well, I fell in love with the writing, but everything else? Not really. I’m sure that experienced fantasy readers would get more of a kick out of this one- it was flawed, but it still had its good traits.

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Unrivaled Review

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Title: Unrivaled

Author: Alyson Noël

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, mystery, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone wants to be someone.

Layla Harrison wants to leave her beach-bum days for digs behind a reporter’s desk. Aster Amirpour wants to scream at the next casting director who tells her “we need ethnic but not your kind of ethnic.” Tommy Phillips dreams of buying a twelve-string guitar and using it to shred his way back into his famous absentee dad’s life.

But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her bitch a long time ago.

She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.

That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the glamorous and gritty world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and lured into a high-stakes competition where Madison Brooks is the target. Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivaled is #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël’s first book in a thrilling suspense trilogy about how our most desperate dreams can become our darkest nightmares.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Blogging

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In spite of seeing quite a few rant reviews on Unrivaled (as well as some gushing ones), I was ultimately intrigued by the synopsis, so I decided to give it a go. California? Models? Mystery? What could be better?

Unfortunately, as with many of my reads lately, this one didn’t particularly meet my expectations. I found it to be rather long and boring with many undeveloped characters. 

For a brief summary, Unrivaled revolves around models Layla, Aster, Tommy, and Madison, who is the most well-known model in Hollywood. When the other three models receive VIP invitations to the nightlife in LA, they take advantage of them right away as they enter a competition against Madison to replace her as the hottest model in LA. But then Madison goes missing, and now it is up to them to chronicle what happened.

I felt like the four main characters of this book just weren’t developed enough. They were all stuck-up in their own ways, but that is a trait I can assign to all of them. They just weren’t memorable, and they had no traits that helped me distinguish them from each other. If I hadn’t been writing this review right now, I doubt I’d even be able to remember their names.

This book’s plot was also not very up to par. A whole lot of nothingness happened for the first 80% of the book, which surprises me because there is supposed to be such a big mystery aspect to it. By the time the plot *finally* sped up by the end, it was kind of too late for me to be excited since I had already been sitting through over 300 pages of boringness!

All in all, I was expecting a fun, flashy story about the real struggles teen models in Hollywood face, but basically, all I got was blah. This book had such a captivating premise and the writing was amazing, but all the other more important elements that make for a good story were lacking. This book did end with a cliffhanger, though, so I still want to continue on with the series and see if things get better. 

If you’re curious about how teen models really live their lives, then Unrivaled is the book for you. It paints a great picture of what they actually go through every single day, but just don’t expect the characters and the slow-moving plot to wow you.

The Haters Review

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Title: The Haters

Author: Jesse Andrews

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

From Jesse Andrews, author of the New York Times bestselling Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and screenwriter of the Sundance award–winning motion picture of the same name, comes a groundbreaking young adult novel about music, love, friendship, and freedom as three young musicians follow a quest to escape the law long enough to play the amazing show they hope (but also doubt) they have in them.

Inspired by the years he spent playing bass in a band himself, The Haters is Jesse Andrews’s road trip adventure about a trio of jazz-camp escapees who, against every realistic expectation, become a band.

For Wes and his best friend, Corey, jazz camp turns out to be lame. It’s pretty much all dudes talking in Jazz Voice. But then they jam with Ash, a charismatic girl with an unusual sound, and the three just click. It’s three and a half hours of pure musical magic, and Ash makes a decision: They need to hit the road. Because the road, not summer camp, is where bands get good. Before Wes and Corey know it, they’re in Ash’s SUV heading south, and The Haters Summer of Hate Tour has begun.

In his second novel, Andrews again brings his brilliant and distinctive voice to YA, in the perfect book for music lovers, fans of The Commitments and High Fidelity, or anyone who has ever loved—and hated—a song or a band. This witty, funny coming-of-age novel is contemporary fiction at its best.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads/Blogging

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Jesse Andrews’ other book, Me & Earl, and the Dying Girl, was a true winner for me. I loved its wit, humour and charm, so I decided that I couldn’t go wrong with picking up The Haters…. right?

It turned out that hence the fairly negative reviews I’ve been seeing about this book, I didn’t really enjoy it, either. This book has a 3.44 average rating on Goodreads, so I don’t even know why I bothered reading this thing.

This book’s plot was so messy that I can barely summarize this book from the top of my head, but using its synopsis, I’ll give it my best shot. Okay, so The Haters follows friends Wes and Corey, who are part of a jazz camp. They haven’t been liking it, so they decide to escape. So, with the help of friends, they go on to take the best road trip of their lives and start touring.

First, I must say that I disliked both main characters. This book was honestly such a mess that I couldn’t even identify which one of them played more of a part in everything. They lacked personality traits and they were both rebellious (in a not-so-good way!) and immature. I mean, these guys disregard their parents’ strict rules and do *things* with girls behind their backs, how irresponsible! Kids, if you don’t trust my word and decide to read this book anyway, then DO NOT follow Wes and Corey’s lead in real life. Just don’t.

Next, as for the plot, this uneventful, boring book had not even a single drop of one. It physically HURT my head to read this book- things were so scrambled around and there were so many random characters and ships and just AGHHHHH! This is just my opinion, but if you think that this book has any trace of a plot, you are out of your mind.

Even though I enjoyed Andrews’ writing style in MAEATDG, I don’t know what happened in this one. Maybe it wore off on me, maybe it didn’t go that well with this book’s context… I don’t even know. There are lots of possibilities. All I know is that after this piece of disappointment, I probably won’t be giving Jesse Andrews’ books another chance.

Overall, this book definitely had the potential to be a favourite, but it simply DID NOT FOLLOW THROUGH. I could try to recommend it to music lovers in bands, but I simply cannot guarantee that you’ll enjoy it. Truthfully, I am being extra generous with this 2 star rating- I did not like this book one bit.


Rating:

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*I haven’t yet had the chance to make a 2-star rating edit similar to my other ones- I will put it here once I do*

5 to 1 Review

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Title: 5 to 1

Author: Holly Bodger

Genre & Age Group: Dystopian, science fiction, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa doesn’t want to be a wife, and Contestant Five, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Five’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Five thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

Told from alternating points of view—Sudasa’s in verse and Contestant Five’s in prose—allowing readers to experience both characters’ pain and their brave struggle for hope.

Source: Public library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads

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Upon first hearing about 5 to 1, I became very excited to read it. It seemed like a diverse, unique story from a perspective that we don’t often hear from in YA fiction, so I was ready to take a dive in!

I enjoyed 5 to 1, but I wouldn’t say it was love. I loved the premise and the main character, but like many other 3.5 star reads, there were definitely some little things that bothered me about it.

This story follows the dual POVs of teens Sudasa and Kiran (a.k.a. “Contestant Five”). It is 2054, and in India, the ratio of boys to girls is 5 to 1, hence the title. Since the number of girls in India is so numbered, boys now have to take tests in order to find a wife. Sudasa and Contestant Five both have desires other than getting married, but Sudasa’s family would like her to choose a boy that keeps her safe, and for Contestant Five, his family just wants him to find a way out of the mess.

First, I just wanted to point out the unique formatting of this book. It may not work for some readers, so this is why I wanted to give you the heads up now. Sudasa’s POV is written in verse and Contestant Five’s is written in paragraphs, so even though it is a good way to distinguish the POVs, I know that many people are not fans of verse. Just be prepared if you decide to pick this one up!

I would have to say that the protagonist, Sudasa, was the focal point of this book. I found her to be a loyal, determined, bold, and confident character who never let anything get her down. These characters are the type that I always enjoy reading about, and even though Sudasa may simply ‘blend into the crowd’ a year from now, she was still awesome to read about.
As for Kiran/Contestant Five, I just found him to be forgettable. He lacked charm and I simply couldn’t relate to him. He did have many good insights about his world, but honestly, this book would have been just as great, or maybe even better, without his POV in the mix.

All in all, this book seemed pretty promising, but it didn’t turn out to be a favourite. The plot was interesting and so was the strong character of Sudasa, but everything else, including the writing style at times, didn’t really fit the bill. I think that those who enjoy diverse stories written in verse (hey, that rhymes!) with a strong protagonist will get the most out of 5 to 1.

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Review

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Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Author: Sherman Alexie

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.

Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike.

Source: School library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads

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I have heard nothing but amazing things about this book ever since I started blogging, so when I found it on display at my school’s library, I decided to join in on the fun and see what all the hype was about.☺️

Wow, was this book astonishing! I absolutely loved The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. It was witty, funny, and relatable, and those are some qualities that I just adore in my books. I can definitely see why so many people read it proudly and why so many schools endorse it as required reading.

For a brief summary of the novel, it is about a boy named Junior, who has been growing up on an Indian reservation. To prove to others that Indians don’t need to be confined to their own spaces, he decides to start attending the predominantly white school across town, and he is astonished at what happens.

I couldn’t help but adore the character that was Junior. He was relatable, charming, and hilarious (in an amazing way!), and I also loved the fact that he loved BOOKS! I also found him to be quite the risk-taker- it takes serious guts to be able to do what he did in trying out a predominantly white school being Indian, and he always kept on a brave face. Lastly, his development by the end of the book was phenomenal, as he became so much prouder of himself and his culture!

The plot, though not necessarily the strongest, ran smoothly and quickly. I basically soared through this book’s fine pages; I loved it so much and I barely wanted to put it down, even if my life depended on it!

This book is definitely not your typical YA contemporary novel, as it includes PICTURES! (Haha, finally!) Junior loves to draw and many of the things rambling around in his mind during the story are showcased in this book, and many of them gave me a great laugh.☺️

If you are on the lookout for a diverse story with a relatable protagonist and strong morals, then TATDOAPTI is for you. I know I will remember this one for years to come because of its pure awesomeness, engaging writing style, wit, charm, and diverse themes.

 

ARC Review: One Italian Summer

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Title: One Italian Summer

Author: Keris Stainton

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

It’s been a year since Milly, Elyse and Leonie’s dad died, and a year since their last trip to Rome. Summer’s here again, and once again they are heading with their mum to Italy – but what’s it going to be like going without Dad? Rome still holds its familiar charms – the sun is still as warm, the gelato as delicious, the people as welcoming. But nothing is quite as it once was …

With grief still raw for all of them, Milly is facing the additional awfulness of having to see Luke again – gorgeous, gorgeous Luke, who she had a fling with last year, and who she made a total fool of herself with – or so she thinks. What’s going to happen this time? What’s more, things between Milly, her sisters and their mum are rocky – Leonie is being tempestuous and unpredictable, Elyse is caught up with her new boyfriend, and Milly feels like she just doesn’t know how she fits in any more.

Over one Italian summer, can Milly find a way back to the life she once had?

Source: Thanks so much to Bonnier Zaffre/Hot Key Books for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!

How I Found Out About It: Netgalley

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One Italian Summer was such an uplifting, adorable story. The second I saw it on Netgalley, I knew I needed it in my hands. Visiting Italy has always been one of my dreams, and I was so happy to be able to in this book!

To briefly synopsize the story, it follows a teenage girl named Millie whose family travels to Rome, Italy almost every year. This year, though, will be her first time going after her dad passed away, and she is scared that it will be different and just not as fun as it used to be. Adding in being scared to see a guy whom she’d hooked up with the year before, Millie has even more to be anxious about. Will Milly be able to find herself again through all of this mess?

I have to say that I was really fond of Millie. Her sweetness and loyalty stunned me, and even though her dad’s death did get her upset once in a while, I believe that she was able to work through it and distract herself very well. I definitely saw bits and pieces of myself in her, and that is one thing I love about certain book protagonists.

Although I’m not completely sure if Millie and the love interest Luke were *the best* for each other, the romance was definitely still noteworthy and cute. I don’t think it was this book’s best quality, though.

As for the plot, there honestly weren’t a ton of notable events in this story- it mainly focused on the characters, especially Millie mourning over her late father. But then again, most contemporaries I read don’t have the most frivolous plots, so it’s totally fine with me!☺️

Also, may I take a second to talk about the FAMILY TIES in this book?! I absolutely loved Millie’s relationships with her remaining family members. Despite the fact that her dad’s death kind of ripped them apart, I loved seeing them brought back together by the end of the book.

The one tiny thing that bugged me about this book was that yes, it was set in Italy, but there were very limited descriptions of the country. I wanted to hear more about the beauty of a place that Italy is! All it takes is one extra page to describe all of Millie’s beautiful surroundings, come on!

All in all, One Italian Summer did not disappoint at all, and I enjoyed it immensely. From its strong characters to its family ties, there is truly something in this book for all YA contemporary lovers. So, if you dream of going to Italy, you’ll get an awesome chance to in this book once it is published on May 4th, 2017!☺️

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*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

ARC Review: Girl Out of Water

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Title: Girl Out of Water

Author: Laura Silverman

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Anise Sawyer plans to spend every minute of summer with her friends: surfing, chowing down on fish tacos drizzled with wasabi balsamic vinegar, and throwing bonfires that blaze until dawn. But when a serious car wreck leaves her aunt, a single mother of three, with two broken legs, it forces Anise to say goodbye for the first time to Santa Cruz, the waves, her friends, and even a kindling romance, and fly with her dad to Nebraska for the entire summer. Living in Nebraska isn’t easy. Anise spends her days caring for her three younger cousins in the childhood home of her runaway mom, a wild figure who’s been flickering in and out of her life since birth, appearing for weeks at a time and then disappearing again for months, or even years, without a word.

Complicating matters is Lincoln, a one-armed, charismatic skater who pushes Anise to trade her surfboard for a skateboard. As Anise draws closer to Lincoln and takes on the full burden and joy of her cousins, she loses touch with her friends back home – leading her to one terrifying question: will she turn out just like her mom and spend her life leaving behind the ones she love

Source: Thanks so much to SOURCEBOOKS Fire for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!

How I Found Out About It: Netgalley

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Right when I saw the adorable cover and title of this book, I fell in love, and I just had to press ‘request.’ As I write this review in November, it is fall; about to be winter, and Girl Out of Water made me feel like I was transported right back into the awesome season of summer!

I would first like to recognize that the author, Laura Silverman, has been having some hardships lately, mainly on Twitter with racists and other people of sorts spreading out false rumours of this book. I personally don’t use Twitter very often, so I never got to see what exactly was going on, but Laura seems like an amazing person who does not deserve any of this, so I’d like to applaud her for staying strong and not letting the haters get to her!👏👏❤️

Anyway, on with the review. For a quick summary, Girl Out of Water revolves around Anise, who is used to living her life in Santa Cruz, surfing to her heart’s content. She has almost never left her state, and is completely fine with that, until her aunt gets into an accident, and Anise and her dad are forced to stay with cousins in Nebraska. With that, all of her exciting summer plans went down the drain, leaving her very disappointed. What’s worse, is that she is forced to stay in her mom’s old house where she’d grown up; her mom who ran off years ago and had only returned a couple times since. There, Anise meets and bonds with Lincoln, a skater with only one arm, and is thus distracted from her friends back in Santa Cruz, disappointing them. Will Anise be able to find the joys in Nebraska, or will it ultimately come down to wanting to go back home?

Anise was definitely flawed, but that’s a-OK with me! I still really liked her anyway. At first, she was a bit whiny and annoying over her reluctance to go to Nebraska, but I think it was definitely worth it for her to go, as it ended up completely changing her outlook of life. I feel like she was also able to find the fun in whatever she did; wherever she went, and I really enjoyed following her footsteps for that reason. Anise was also an awesome cousin- she cared so much about her aunt’s three kids and their needs!

My other favourite character was the awesome Lincoln. (Yes, Lincoln, as in Lincoln, Nebraska!😜) He had such an upbeat, infectious spirit, and he didn’t let the fact that he only had one arm get to him. In fact, I think it pushed him even harder to be the best he could be! Reading the book, I was always very eager to read about him, as he spruced up the storyline and made things super fun, especially with his adventurous, jubilant personality.

The ending of this story was also great, with things being wrapped up very nicely, without any hanging questions still left to be answered.

I am very surprised that this book is only Laura Silverman’s debut- it was absolutely astonishing, and I can only imagine how awesome any future works of hers will be!

All in all, I was very impressed by Girl Out of Water. I devoured it in two sittings- that’s how amazing it was! If you are a fan of light-hearted, summery books with fabulous characters, great morals, a strong emphasis on family, and wonderful writing, you can’t miss this gem of a book once it releases on May 1st!

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*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

ARC Review: Sucktown, Alaska

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Title: Sucktown, Alaska

Author: Craig Dirkes

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Looking for a great adventure, eighteen-year-old Eddie Ashford stumbles into a job as a reporter in tiny Bethel, Alaska, a place so remote that bush planes and dog sleds are the only ways in or out. When the job and the place, which sits on the flat and desolate tundra and not in the stunning mountains he’d imagined, turn out to be disappointments, Eddie thinks maybe it’s time to bail. But three things tie him there: 1) Taylor, a girl who might be a little too pretty and a little too smart for him; 2) Finn, a new friend who is an all-around good dude but also happens to be a small-time pot dealer; and 3) Eddie’s empty wallet, which means he can’t afford to transport himself and his possessions back to civilization. Despite every good-guy instinct inside him, Eddie flirts with trouble as he tries to find a way home.

Source: Thanks so much to Capstone/Switch Press for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!

How I Found Out About It: Netgalley

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Sucktown, Alaska was a good story. I liked a lot about it, but that’s not to say that it didn’t  have its flaws, as well.

What attracted me to this book was probably the cover, as well as the setting. I had yet to read a book that takes place in Alaska, and I thought it would be super cool to learn about what it’s actually like there, rather than thinking about the snowy, igloo, parka, and husky stereotype every time the state is mentioned.

Basically, this book revolves around 18-year old Eddie, who has been kicked out of college and is looking for a job to fill his days with. Thus, he finds himself in a small town in Alaska as a reporter. But living and working in Alaska wasn’t everything he thought it would be- as he soon finds himself wanting out, and doing whatever’s possible to get himself back home.

I thought Eddie was an okay character, but nothing special. He seemed to be pretty discontent with his life, (which I totally understand considering his circumstances, by the way), but he just kept complaining non-stop and making decisions I couldn’t stand. I am usually one to put up with these types of characters, but I could just barely stand it this time. Eddie did develop quite a bit by the end of the story, I’ll give you that!👍

Taylor, the love interest, was pretty nice, though, and I found myself liking her a lot more than the protagonist. She seemed pretty open-minded and she often went with the flow, which I admire. I want to read some more about Taylor- a backstory or a novella about her would be great!

I did not really expect there to be so much profanity and mature themes when I requested this book- but low and behold, there was. This is just a warning for anyone who likes their books clean to maybe take a pass on this one!

All in all, I’d say that this book was just okay. I didn’t love love love it, but I absolutely didn’t hate it. I loved looking into what life is like in Alaska and meeting all the adorable  dogs, but I just could barely stand Eddie. So, if you’re looking for a book taking place in Alaska with a cool writing style and don’t mind some profanity and mature themes, be sure to check out Sucktown, Alaska!

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*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

ARC Review: Gold Rush

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Title: Gold Rush

Author: Jennifer Comeaux

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, romance, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

Liza Petrov’s entire life has been about skating and winning her sport’s top prize – Olympic gold. She’s stayed sheltered inside her bubble, not daring to stray from her destined path.

Until she meets Braden Patrick.

He makes her heart flutter with possibility, and for the first time she gets a taste of a normal teenage life. She longs to have both the boy and the gold, but stepping outside her bubble comes with a price. As Liza begins to question both her future and her past, can she stay focused on the present and realize her ultimate dream?

Source: Thanks so much to Weapenry Co-Op for providing me with an e-ARC of this book via Netgalley!

How I Found Out About It: Netgalley

When I was looking for books to read on Netgalley, Gold Rush caught my eye with its adorable cover and synopsis, so I decided to hit request. I haven’t read too much about skating, and it definitely interested me to in this book.

Even though I do have to say that this book is a tad cliché, I still enjoyed it. I absolutely loved the characters and the morals of this story!

For a brief synopsis, Gold Rush revolves around Liza, who is a competitive skater bound to compete in the Sochi Olympics. Her whole life revolves around skating with a need for lots and lots of practice if she is to be successful in any way. But then she meets a guy named Braden, and her whole life turns upside down. She finds herself falling for him in a way not necessarily possible for a skater at her level of competing. Will she be able to successfully keep track of both her skating and Braden?

I really liked both Liza and Braden, but for this review, I will be focusing a bit more on Liza because I have more to say about her. I adored her perseverance regarding her dreams about skating and her parents’ mystery, and I can’t believe how strong she was being under so much pressure all the time! I know I could never handle the commitment of being a competitive athlete, but I just loved how committed Liza was to her sport. Also, watching her grow so much by the end of the book was amazing!❤️

As for Braden, HE WAS SUCH A STUNNER OMG!! SUCH a sweet, caring guy, and he was adorable with Liza!😍

Now for the plot, as this story mostly focused on the characters, there honestly wasn’t too much of one. In spite of that, though, I do think this book ended quite well with all of its loose ends tied up in a neat little bow, but it was still a bit predictable. I’ve got to say, though, that despite trying skating last year and being *ridiculously bad* at it, this book made me feel like getting back on skates and trying again!

Overall, Gold Rush was a cute, fun read all about chasing your dreams, and I definitely enjoyed it. I’d recommend it to those in search of a sweet romance story with sports involved, because even though the concept is not the most original, I think you’ll still devour it for its morals.

*I received a digital ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review

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Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Author: Jesse Andrews

Genre & Age Group: Contemporary, young adult

Goodreads Synopsis:

The book that inspired the hit film!

Sundance U.S. Dramatic Audience Award
Sundance Grand Jury Prize

This is the funniest book you’ll ever read about death.

It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.
This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.
Fiercely funny, honest, heart-breaking—this is an unforgettable novel from a bright talent, now also a film that critics are calling “a touchstone for its generation” and “an instant classic.”

Source: School library

How I Found Out About It: Goodreads

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This may sound pretty cliché, but it is true that Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is very different from your regular book about cancer and death.

I had been hearing so many good (and not-so-good) things about this book before I dove into its fine pages. You either loved it or hated it, with there being no in-betweens. I have to say that on the spectrum, I definitely fell closer to loving this little piece of fluff!

For a short summary, this book follows a high schooler named Greg. A few years ago, he went to Hebrew school and befriended a girl named Rachel. After a few years of them not having interacted, he finds out that she has developed leukemia, so his mom urges him to make her last days pleasant with his presence. So, with his best friend Earl tagging along, the two decide to support Rachel and do anything they can to make her last days worthwhile.

Greg was a character whom I was able to identify with on so many levels. He was brainy, witty, loyal, fun, hilariously sarcastic at times, and an overall easy-going guy. I understand his reluctance to spend time with Rachel at first- I know I’d probably feel that way too, but I’m really glad that he was able to give in afterwards. I know that being with Rachel changed him for the better, making him much prouder to be the person he was.

The plot of this book was pretty basic; just two boys spending time with Rachel at her house or in the hospital. Honestly, I was fine with that. I can always sacrifice an eventful plot for a nice, character-driven story, and this book was a great example of that. 

One other thing I found really refreshing about this story was how it lacked romance and simply focused more on the bonds with family and friends. Most stories like this, such as The Fault in Our Stars for example, incorporate romance, but I’m very glad that in this story, Greg and Rachel became no more than good friends.👌

The ending of this story was pretty predictable, but it still broke my heart in every way possible. Though cliché, maybe, it was still a great ending for this book.

All in all, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl was a heartwarming, sweet story, and it is definitely lighter than your typical book about death. I’d definitely recommend it for avid YA readers looking for something hilarious but deep, because I know you’ll devour this one!