YA Book Reviews

ISBN-13: 9780375870415
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Random House Books for Young Readers, 9/2012

I can honestly say that when I picked up this book, the plot seemed a bit familiar, like I had read it a million times, but Sarah Rees Brennan has turned what should have been an uneventful and completely clichéd story into a novel that has a host of interesting characters and twisted at every turn.

                Unspoken follows Kami Glass, your normal high school student living in a small English town…she just happens to have a boy name Jared in her head, literally. Not only does Kami have a reputation of being a little on the outside in her village, Sorry-in-the-Vale, she also has had to live with the added burden of having an imaginary friend that only she can hear. It's hard but she has dealt with the stigma of being strange--until the Lynburns come back to town. After that, a telepathic connection to an imaginary boy isn't the only enchantment Kami has to deal with.

                Overall, I was pleased with this book. The characters were what drove it home for me. Kami was fascinating in the way she looked at the world around her. A detective to the core, she wants to get to the bottom of the mysteries that hide beneath the surface and doesn't let anyone keep her from her goals. I don't want to give too much away. Let's just say that once the shadowy Lynburns return to their hilltop mansion (or castle-whichever you prefer), Kami's life becomes a lot more--magical.

Arise (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780062026798
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: HarperTeen, 6/2012
What would you do to keep your loved ones safe? Would you sacrifice everything? Would you turn your back on them? These are just a few of the questions Amelia has been asking herself in this new installment in the Hereafter series by Tara Hudson Arise. Having defeated Eli and gained a short break from the Underworld, Amelia and Joshua work on their relationship but on a family trip to New Orleans, Amelia quickly learns that her happiness will have to come to halt before the ones she loves get caught in the cross fire. I liked that Hudson moved the setting to New Orleans; it’s a perfect location for a good ghost story. The array of new characters are all interesting especially Gabrielle who becomes, in a way, Amelia’s mentor and eventual friend. Amelia is pulled in different directions throughout the novel and some surprising developments happen, but I don’t want to give them away, but Hudson has done a very good job of giving the reader what they want (especially me) but still holding back a little. I mean, all good things have some sacrifices right? Overall the book lives up to Hereafter, but I would have liked the villain in this to be a little less predictable. I never really trusted him/her and it felt a little cliché and forced. I would have liked to be kept on my toes a little bit. Joshua, although the perfect boyfriend, is slowly turning into an unrealistic teenage boy. I would have liked to see a little more fire in him. Get mad, angry, passionate, something! I will be looking forward to the next book because I’m dying to know how Amelia and Joshua solve their next big problem. Will there be a happy ending for this star-crossed couple? We can only hope.

Embrace (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9781402268403
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Sourcebooks Fire, 3/2012
Some believe that the world is split into two; light and dark, good and evil. It would be simpler that way, but for Violet Eden, nothing is ever that simple. In Jessica Shirvington’s novel Embrace the reader is thrown into a world where secrets are revealed but the answers are never easy. Violet values, above all else, control, but when she turns seventeen, her careful grip on her world begins to collapse. People she thought she could trust betray her, and those who can’t be trusted become her strongest allies. Shirvington has created a world that is easy to fall into and get lost, full of danger and passion. Violet begins to realize that the lines between light and dark are never absolute and she must make a choice that could force her to relinquish the control she has fought so hard for. Shirvington’s characters are rich and Violet is a careful mixture of sassy and vulnerable. She’s not afraid to hurt, either with her fists or her words, but it definitely makes her seem more real. No story would be complete without a Prince Charming, although in Embrace, it’s hard to decide who that is. Violet not only has to choose to embrace her destiny, but she must learn to trust those around her, when every instinct she has is telling her to run. But who can she trust; her loyal, steady teacher, Lincoln or the mysterious, sensual companion Phoenix? In the end Violet must have faith in herself and make decisions that could shape not only her future but the future of humanity. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Violet is a fresh character with a no-bullshit attitude. The plot and lore are well thought out. I’m looking forward to the next installment of this series and recommend it to anyone wanting a little angelic intrigue.

Arcadia Awakens (Hardcover)

ISBN-13: 9780062006066
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 days
Published: Balzer + Bray, 2/2012
Kai Meyer, bestselling German author, brings to light the dark and dangerous world of the Italian Mafia, where rivalries run deep and the beautiful landscape of Sicily hides ancient secrets. Acardia Awakens is the first in the trilogy, following Rosa Alcantara as she travels to Sicily to escape her past in the States and gets entangled with the “family business” and begins to uncover secrets better left hidden in the caves and mountains of the island. Of course a good Mafia story wouldn’t be complete without the devilishly handsome bad boy, and Alessandro Carnevare takes on that roll effortlessly. Heir to a rival family, he is just the person to battle against Rosa’s attitude, which is substantial. I liked how Meyer created two characters that come from completely different backgrounds and yet they have so much in common. Rose is not the typical damsel in distress. True she has scars and is sometimes very vulnerable; she has a strength that is captivating and refreshing to see in the young adult genre. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and can’t wait to see what happens in the next two installments.