Romance

Book Review: Red Queen

Red Queen
Author: 
Aveyard, Victoria
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

"Red Queen" is the first book in a series by Victoria Aveyard. I chose it at a friends suggestion.

The setting is a dystopian world where the color of your blood determines a lot about you. Reds are the common-folk, with nothing extraordinary about them. To make matters even worse, if a red doesn't have a job by 18, they are drafted into the ongoing war.
Silvers, however, live in the lap of luxury. They are cruel, biased, and power hungry. Plus, they have advantages over the reds. Silvers have extraordinary abilities like mind reading, controlling fire, and more. They use these powers to keep the reds in check.
Mare is a red, 17, and about to be drafted for pick-pocketing instead of getting a job. In a strange turn of events, she is saved from that cruel fate by a mysterious boy, and hired to be a servant to the royal family. Her first day on the job, however, things go array. Turns out, not all reds are powerless, and Mare is only the beginning.

To be honest, I didn't enjoy this book as much as most. The concept is fantastic, but the execution... not so much. Victoria Aveyard spends a lot of time in her subplots- a love square (not a love triangle, a love square). It might have been alright, except this is the ONLY subplot she uses. Romance is overused in this book, in my opinion. Then again, I'm not one for romance. So I would still suggest you try it, if only to step out of your reading comfort zone.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Adia R.

Book Review: There's Something About Sweetie

Cover
Author: 
Menon, Sandhya
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Sweetie Nair is fat. She doesn’t care, but her mom cares. Like, a lot. A lot a lot. Definitely too much. So much that so when Ashish, a hot local boy from a good (and crazy rich!) Indian family tries to date Sweetie, Sweetie’s mom shuts it down. But Sweetie won’t give up without a fight, and so she, Ashish and Ashish’s parents hatch a plan in which the kids will go on four dates. If it works out, they’ll tell Sweetie’s parents. If not, no harm done. Plus, what can happen in four dates? Turns out, a lot.

If you’ve read any of Menon’s other books, this one is completely on brand. I’ve read her other two books, and this one might be my favorite? It’s up there with Dimple, for sure. It’s a funny romantic comedy with endearing, mostly believable characters from a culture that’s different from mine. In addition to reading an adorable book, I get to learn a little bit about Indian Americans. This one has an added element of pointing out our society’s horrible ways of treating fat people. The way a folks react to Sweetie will have you seeing red – but you know it’s unfortunately totally realistic. Luckily, Sweetie is a self-confident young lady, and it was a joy to see her grow throughout the book. Ashish isn’t too bad himself! He has a very believable journey through the course of the book, and was a male lead you could root for even as he made a few terrible decisions.

TLDR: If you’re looking for a light, funny and very swoony read, this one will do it for you. I know it put a smile on my face.

Sandhya Menon is coming to PPLD to be the keynote speaker for Mountain of Authors! Meet her, listen to her give a talk and get a book signed on 27 April at 21c. More information about the event can be found here: https://research.ppld.org/mountainofauthors

Thanks to Netgalley and Simon Pulse for the advance copy, which I received in exchange for an unbiased review. There’s Something About Sweetie will be available for purchase on 14 May – don’t forget to put your copy on hold!

Reviewer's Name: 
Britt

Book Review: Foolish Hearts

Foolish Hearts
Author: 
Mills, Emma
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

Foolish Hearts is your typical YA high school drama. With a mean girl, break ups, friendships, and broken friendships, this book is not a new story. I thought the storytelling and the characters were interesting and it is a well executed book but I've read this story before. Another critique that you can't get away from when writing high school fiction is that the characters are not very believable. I know that if the characters aren't dramatic and larger than life then it wouldn't be an interesting story, but as a high school student the situations are just so unbelievable and dramatized. I did enjoy the inclusion of LGBTQ+ characters and it just being a casual thing but this book is not one I would read again.

Reviewer's Name: 
Maddie K.
Awards: 

Book Review: Heartless

Heartless
Author: 
Meyer, Marissa
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

"Heartless" by Marissa Meyer is near the top of my favorite books list. The book tells the story of Catherine, future Queen of Hearts in Wonderland BEFORE she was queen. Normally romance isn't my cup of tea, but the suspense from the very beginning kept me hooked. Marissa Meyer does a fantastic job of weaving her story with the original; including some of the old cast (The Mad Hatter and Cheshire Cat, for instance) while giving us fresh characters who will steal your heart (Catherine, Jest, and The Sisters). I found this book through my love of other Marissa Meyer novels like the Lunar Chronicles. I would definitely suggest it to any teenager looking for a fun twist on a classic story.

Reviewer Grade: 8

Reviewer's Name: 
Adia R.

Book Review: Legend

Legend
Author: 
Lu, Marie
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

Legend by Marie Lu is a dystopian novel that illustrates the story of two characters, each with a major difference that sets them apart. Born in different districts of wealth, 15 year old June is a prodigy that is on the path to becoming a military officer of the Republic. On the opposite end is the 15 year old Day, who is born within the poor districts of the Republic and is the country's most wanted criminal. When June's brother, Metias is murdered, Day is the main suspect of the murder, leading to June to seek upon to avenge her brother's death. Once June meets Day, they both begin to realize and uncover dark secrets of the Republic.

Legend is consistently full of action and suspense. With a twist of romance included, it provides a rich story with a variety of thrills and tense moments in the story. The likable characters and a well structured plot, it moves at a perfect pace that keeps the adventure enjoyable and interesting.

Reviewer Grade: 10

Reviewer's Name: 
Nam T

Book Review: Everything Everything

Everything Everything
Author: 
Yoon, Nicola
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

The book "Everything Everything" by Nicola Yoon is about a girl named Maddy. All she wants is to go outside and see the world, but sadly, the only 'outside world' she will ever be apart of is her colorful sun room. Madeline has Bubble Baby Syndrome, a condition where anything could cause her allergies to go crazy. However, when she notices a new neighbor named Olly, she can’t wait to talk to him…. through iMessage. However, texting isn’t enough, she needs to see him in person and be next to him. As the story unfolds, Madeline will find out a secret that will change her world forever.

"Everything Everything" was such a good book and I would love to read it again. Each and every character has their own unique personality, which make them more relatable to different people. I am so thrilled to be able to read more of Nicola Yoon's books and hope that they are just as good as "Everything Everything"

Reviewer's Name: 
Kaylei F

Book Review: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
Author: 
Saenz, Benjamin Alire
Rating: 
4 stars = Really Good
Review: 

This book is about a complicated relationship between two boys, in which one finds it difficult to accept himself and his family, which translates into him bring unable to understand or accept love from the other boy. It develops the ideas of self-criticism and self-acceptance, as well as the multiple forms that love can take on. Aristotle and Dante are the two main characters, who begin as friends and slowly fall in love. Aristotle, Ari for short, deals with a father with PTSD and a delinquent brother who is the black sheep of the family. Dante has a peaceful and accepting family, which causes tension between the boys; while Ari has learned to speak with his fists or remain silent, dante has learned to be diplomatic and express himself at all times.
The fact that they are total opposites is very interesting, because the plot then revolves around a complicated process of trying to understand each other. It is a good read if you are looking for something that is about mental health, love, and how relationships require compromise. It is also written in a nice style, in a sort of blocky, thought-like manner. I would give it four out of five stars.

Reviewer's Name: 
Molly Q

Book Review: Fangirl

Fangirl
Author: 
Rowell, Rainbow
Rating: 
3 stars = Pretty Good
Review: 

This book follows two twin girls heading off to college, and they differ in social skills, interests, and beliefs. They share common ground over their mutual love for a book series revolving around Simon Snow. He is similar to Harry Potter. Cather, though, is much more obsessed with the series and writes fanfiction in her free time. With no interest in attending college away from her dad, unlike her sister Wren, she hides out in her dorm and avoids people until her roomate and her friend Levi drag her out. She slowly overcomes her hatred of university and gets closer with Levi, but struggles between writing what is an original idea of hers and what she takes from the Simon Snow books. I really enjoyed this book because it is easy to relate to in today’s world. With ever-present media and popular shows and books bring in the spotlight, it is hard to be feel genuine in your ideas or opinions.
The book explores different ideas or love and originality and provides a view of family and of university that is atypical. It was very interesting to read about the social dynamics of an introverted university student, but the cute romance aspect of the book also adds to the entertainment. I would recommend it for a young adult read. I would give it three and a half stars out of five.

Reviewer's Name: 
Molly Q

Book Review: In Other Lands

In Other Lands
Author: 
Rees Brennan, Sarah
Rating: 
5 stars = Bohemian Rhapsody Awesome!
Review: 

This books follows Elliot Schafer as he leaves behind the modern England and travels instead into a magical land where he enrolls in a sort of a school.

Students, called cadets at the camp/school, can choose between war training and council training, meaning fighting or diplomacy. He befriends Luke Sunborn, the fan favorite of the camp and a promising soldier, through a truce that they made regarding the third member of their group, Serene, the only elf who joined the human army and who they both try to help by offering extra lessons. Elliot’s mission slowly becomes peace in the Borderlands, the name of the magical place he now lives in, because he doesn’t like their dependency on war as a means of existence. The book then follows the three friends as they navigate treaties and violence and meet many magical creatures. This is by far the best book I’ve read this year. There is a sense of empathy for all the characters, realistic romances, delicate friendships, and other harsh realities that rarely appear in young adult literature, not to mention the reverse gender stereotypes and raging pacifism that become center points of the plot. I loved the detail in the story and how everything in the story in interconnected. I could barely put it down, and would highly recommend it. I would give it five stars out of five.

Reviewer's Name: 
Molly Q

Book Review: Five Feet Apart

Five Feet Apart
Author: 
Lippincott, Rachel
Rating: 
2 stars = Meh
Review: 

This book follows two teens who have Cystic Fibrosis and are receiving treatment in the same hospital. The girl is fairly strict with her routines, but she slowly falls for the rebellious boy who ignores the doctors’ advice and avoids his medicine. While this book was interesting, especially in regards to the medical aspect, the plot as a whole wasn’t all that unique.

The idea of a forbidden romance, even due to medical conditions, was not terribly exciting. I would not recommend this book for anything other than a quick, cliché romance read. It isn’t too deep and the end is very predictable. I initially chose this book because I thought it would go more in depth into the lives of the main characters lives and explore CF, but the book is almost totally limited to the hospital. I would give it two and a half stars out of five.

Reviewer's Name: 
Molly Q

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