Book Review: Throwaway Girl by Kristine Scarrow

Throwaway GirlA victim of a tumultuous childhood of abuse, hunger, and homelessness, Andy Burton has learned a thing or two about survival. But at 13, Andy was picked up by the police and is taken to Haywood House, a group home for girls who have nowhere else to go.
Now, as her 18th birthday approaches, she must find a new home, knowing that life may not be so easy on her own. When Andy discovers that her struggles are far from over, will she be able to carve out a better life for herself and find the happiness she is searching for?

 

I don’t know what to say about this book.  It read like an autobiography, kind of one dimensional and straight forward, when the story was told in present tense.   However when it was a flashback it was really well written, full of emotions and description.  It’s like they were written at two different times from two different people.  The present tense was written like a shopping list; she met a guy, they liked each other, blah, blah blah.

I thought the concept of the book was really intense and eye opening and at times horrifying.  I did love the flashback parts.  I thought it was neat to see her past as her present was unfolding.  I found it weird that Andy only had that one sort of rebellion phase and then was perfect.  It wasn’t very relatable or realistic.  Not to mention that it seemed like a major part of someone’s life, but Scarrow just sort of glossed over it, then dismissed it, along with the other major event towards the end.  That was super strange, it was a good opportunity to give Andy some depth.  Overall the book wasn’t’ bad, I feel like it didn’t live up to its potential.

3 Bards

threebards

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Panic by Lauren Oliver

17565845 Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

So like most YA readers I have read Lauren Oliver’s other books and really liked them.  Naturally I assumed that this one was dystopian like her others, I was wrong.  I warn you of this not because it was a bad book, more to prepare you for the type of book you are reading since the cover gives you nothing.  In fact I really don’t care for the cover.  It doesn’t fit with the story.  The synopsis is misleading too.  For example one might think from the write up that the two main characters Heather and Dodge are going to be romantically involved with each other, they are not.   I do actually like that part of the book.  If they were to have fallen for each other it would be too cliché.

Heather and Dodge were likable characters and relatable.  I personally liked the supporting characters Nat and Bishop.  Nat had some significant issues of the OCD variety and Bishop always seemed to have something else going on if you know what I mean.  Anyway there were enjoyable.  I liked the concept of Panic as a game.  I would probably not compete because I am a wimp, but it sounds neat.  I wish that we could have explored games from years past to find out those challenges.

Overall I really liked the book.  There were some parts that had me rolling my eyes but they were few and far between.  I thought Lauren Oliver did a great job writing this book!  Its a must read!

4 Bards

fourbards

 

Re-Read Review: Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

“Dead girl walking”, the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret”, the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.


Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

Continuing on my re-reading journey, I decided to take a step back from Sarah Dessen for a week and look toward one of the books I recommended our audience read for a little more insight into the world of eating disorders so we can continue to raise awareness for the silent killer.

While Anderson is widely known for her ground breaking novel, Speak, I want to argue that this novel is just as important. Not only are more than 30 million Americans suffering from diagnosed and undiagnosed eating disorders, but many suffer in silence, just like Lia and Cassie.

Wintergirls begins at the end of a character’s life, a life that ended under mysterious circumstances, and the former best friend of the narrator.  While the synopsis makes it sound like Lia is being haunted by a ghost, it is clear that the anorexia is what is haunting her.  Not only does the food and liquid restriction eventually cause hallucinations, but it also will cause an entire body shut down.

The writing is excellent, and I love Anderson’s use of strikeouts throughout the text to exemplify the struggle within the narrator.  I think that Anderson also did a great job of showing how the eating disorder can affect the family unit as well.

Either way, you need to read this novel if you haven’t.

If you know anyone who is suffering, please direct them to the National Eating Disorder Association.

5 Bards

fivebards

Book Review: Edge of Falling by Valia Lind

22674926For Chance, there’s always only been Dakota.

He’s been in love with the girl since the day they met. He’s tried everything to get her to notice him and nothing has worked. So when things suddenly start moving in the right direction, Chance can’t believe his luck.

Until Kyle comes along.

Kyle is like a new shiny toy and Dakota loves new and shiny. She falls for the tall, blonde and gorgeous fast and without looking back. Dating the summer before college wasn’t in the plans, but come on, Kyle is perfect. So why does Chance and his snarky grin keeps popping up in her mind now that Dakota has found her happiness?

When Chance’s world comes crashing down, Dakota proves the strength of their friendship, surprising herself and everyone around her, by helping him pick up the pieces. In return, Chance is finally able to crack her hard shell, discovering that not everything is sunny in Dakota-land. Her world is not what it seems on the outside, and together, they’re able to pull each other to the brink of safety and sanity.

Dakota likes that things are simple with Kyle, so why does she feel more like herself around Chance?

As graduation grows closer, both Chance and Dakota learn that the plans you make for your life don’t always play out the way you expect them and sometimes, everything starts to make sense when you find yourself on the edge of falling.

 

This is the second book in the Falling by Design series from Valia Lind.  To find my first review follow this link.  I loved Falling by Design and I love Edge of Falling, so basically I want Valia Lind to continue writing so I can continue loving everything she does.  I was looking forward to reading Chance and Dakota’s story after the first book and was not disappointed.  I felt all sorts of feels while reading this.  I was happy, sad, nervous, angry, jealous, everything.  I loved that about a book, when you loose yourself in the characters, its soo good!!

This book let us in to Dakota’s not so perfect life, and as a child of divorced parents I could relate so much to her.  I loved the relationship her and Jackson had, and am hoping to hear more about Jackson in a future book?????  Anyway, fingers crossed on that one.  Chance, oh Chance.  I feel for you bud.  My heart breaks for him, and everything he has been through.  The only character I didn’t fully connect with was Kyle.  But I get the feeling that we may hear more of his story later so I’m not mad about not knowing his background.

As for the stoy, I thought it flowed at a good pace.  I was super upset in the middle of the book, and if I had put down the book I might have even yelled at Valia via twitter, but alas I couldn’t put the book down!  I am not going to lie, I kind of want to go to that high school too, it sounds way better than mine was!  Anyway two big thumbs up for Edge of Falling.  I can’t say too much about the book with out giving stuff away, but I will say that you will not be able to put it down!  It is a must read!  Have tissues handy for that middle part!!!  Also Miss Valia Lind is on twitter and responds to tweets!  So tell her how much you love the book @ValiaLind !!

5 Bards

fivebards

 

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

 

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: September 2, 2014

Eveny Cheval just moved back to Louisiana after spending her childhood in New York with her aunt Bea. Eveny hasn’t seen her hometown since her mother’s suicide fourteen years ago, and her memories couldn’t have prepared her for what she encounters. Because pristine, perfectly manicured Carrefour has a dark side full of intrigue, betrayal, and lies—and Eveny quickly finds herself at the center of it all.

Enter Peregrine Marceau, Chloe St. Pierre, and their group of rich, sexy friends known as the Dolls. From sipping champagne at lunch to hooking up with the hottest boys, Peregrine and Chloe have everything—including an explanation for what’s going on in Carrefour. And Eveny doesn’t trust them one bit.

But after murder strikes and Eveny discovers that everything she believes about herself, her family, and her life is a lie, she must turn to the Dolls for answers. Something’s wrong in paradise, and it’s up to Eveny, Chloe, and Peregrine to save Carrefour and make it right.

Book Review: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

439288Melinda Sordino busted an end-of-summer party by calling the cops. Now her old friends won’t talk to her, and people she doesn’t even know hate her from a distance. The safest place to be is alone, inside her own head. But even that’s not safe. Because there’s something she’s trying not to think about, something about the night of the party that, if she let it in, would blow her carefully constructed disguise to smithereens. And then she would have to speak the truth.

I picked this book up in my most recent foray into a bookstore solely based on the cover.  I do love a good cover.  I don’t really know how I feel about this book.  I thought the content was good, the plot was good, but I just didn’t connect to it.  The whole time I was reading it I kept waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop.  The book felt like it should have been the first half of a book and not the whole book.  Does that make sense? I think the major problem I had with the book was that Melinda did not ever talk about what happened to her.

I know this book is targeted to young kids and I don’t think it sends the right message.  The author almost condones not telling anyone and keeping everything inside.  I say almost because she does show how keeping the emotions inside can negatively affect you, but she ends the book right when a reader would benefit the most from the information to come. Laurie Halse Anderson was dead on when it came to describing the cliques and personalities of both the students and the teachers.  I think we can all identify people from high school that would fit in the the cliques described and have been treated in some of the same ways at one point or another.  That is what makes this book so relatable.  For this reason I still recommend the book, however I wish there would have been more helpful information at then end.

 

3.5 Bards

 

3.5bards

Waiting on Wednesday

waiting on wednesday

 

Every week Breaking the Spine hosts the bookish meme for book bloggers to share what books they are waiting on to be released!  This week I’m waiting on:

Release Date: October 8, 2014

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she’s been dying to leave behind. 

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her “delusions,” Claire can’t seem to escape the wolf’s eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she’s ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella’s trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister’s disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella’s past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

Book Review: The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

Release Date: June 3, 2014

I will say that the first thing that I noticed when reading this novel was how frequently the Point of View shifted.  Pretty much every other chapter was one of four people’s points of view.  Now, when done well this can be extremely helpful for the movement of the plot, so I have no problem with it.

That being said, I totally understand why Mathieu chose to do this for her novel because it really helped express how deep the rumors and gossip concerning the main character went in their small town.  There was the popular girl, the school nerd, the closeted best friend of the quarterback, and the former best friend of the Alice in the title.  My problem with the point of view shifts in this novel?  While they did help inform the reader about the intricacies involved with the rumors that ruined Alice, each point of view was only distinguishable by the titles at the beginning of each chapter.  Each character’s voice sounded the same.  Hence the major problem with utilizing multiple point of views, there has to be a way for each of those voices to stand out and be original to the story. Also, I really hated all of the voices except Kurt.

Other than that major problem, the story was constructed well and it was an excellent foray into the damage that rumors and vicious lies can cause for high school students, or well, anyone being the victim of this.  I think that this story is important to remember when there are a lot of stories about bullying in schools and online.

The only other thing I disliked about this novel was how abrupt the ending was.  All of the sudden the character of Alice speaks up and then the story ends.  It really just felt like there wasn’t enough resolution for me in the end.  There was so much build-up through the different point of views and then the resolution was so short and sudden.

3.5 Bards (-1.5 for POV shifts, and the abrupt ending)

3.5bards

Book Review: Riot by Sarah Mussi

It is 2018. England has been struggling under a recession that has shown no sign of abating. Years of cuts has devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing. The authorities cannot cope. And the population has maxed out.

The police are snowed under. Something has to give. Drastic measures need taking.

The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.

The country is aghast. Families are distraught, teenagers are in revolt, but the politicians are unshakeable: The population explosion must be curbed. No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit, no more free school meals, no more children in need. Less means more.

But it is all so blatantly unfair – the Teen Haves will procreate, the Teen Havenots won’t.

It’s time for the young to take to the streets. It’s time for them to RIOT:

OUR RIGHT TO CHOOSE, OUR BODIES, OUR FUTURE.

Riot is one of those action pact adventure novels that keeps you hooked from the start.  It is focused on a hacker (Tia) and the trouble she gets involved in via her hacking ways.  The plot was interesting.  I liked that it was believable and quasi-realistic.  And can we talk about the forced sterilization?  Yikes.

I really liked Cobain, I thought his character was well developed and likable.  I thought Tia was ok,  she was a teenage girl fighting for the rights of the youth.  She was a bit wimpy in places but lets be honest, we all would be if faced with the same troubles.  I thought the pace of the book moved along well.  It was very action packed, almost a little too much.  I wanted them to catch a break occasionally maybe have a day or two of peace.  What I didn’t like in particular was the end.  It felt too complete, like everything was wrapped up in a nice neat bow.  I feel like with that kind of mass unrest there would have been more fall out involved.  Other than that I thought the book was great.

I am a little confused as to how to classify the genre of this book, it’s not really dystopian as it happens in the near future, and the world didn’t end.  It’s like pre-dystopian, what caused the world to change.  I will give a disclaimer to all the American’s who read this book, it is British, so some of the slang is different, but it doesn’t trip you up too much.  I happen to enjoy all things British, so I enjoyed reading it with my terrible English accent in my head.  It’s a good faced-paced action book, with a little romance to spice things up!  Don’t let the description discourage you from reading the book.  It was about the social unrest of the teens, however it followed 2 main characters and had some romance involved.  I felt like the description was misleading.  It didn’t even mention the characters or the hacking aspect of the book.

 

fourbards

 

I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Review: The Distance Between Us by Kasie West

15283043Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she’s beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

This book is super sassy and I love it…

Target Lady

First off, let me tell you how relieved I was that I liked this book.  I had the awesome opportunity to meet Kasie West at a book event a couple of months ago and she is super nice, so I would have felt bad if I didn’t like the book!  Anyway back to the actual book, it was super cute, and a great read.

I loved Caymen’s sass.  She is says things I only dream I could say out loud.  I thought, overall she was a well written character.  I loved everything about her, from her sass, to her vulnerability.  More importantly I identified with her.  I love when I can see parts of my personality reflected in a character.  It lets me loose myself in the story.  I loved that the humor of this story outweighed the seriousness of the situation.

I loved Caymen’s interactions with the other characters (specifically Skye’s Boyfriend).  I liked Xander as a character but didn’t particularly fell any connection to him.  I did like the other dude in the band but maybe he was more my type.  I thought the creepy doll store was brilliant.  It was so weird that it was funny, and they had names.  It would for sure give me nightmares if I had to work there.  I loved the career day idea, I may even steal it.

The only thing I didn’t really care for was the outcome with the grandparents.  I thought it made the ending a little too perfect.  I also thought the medical scare didn’t quite fit in with the story.  I know that it served a purpose but it didn’t gel with the story for me. Regardless of these two things I still loved the book.  This is a great, fun, entertaining read!

4.5 Bards

four.fivebards

 

 

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