The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is about a French girl who did not want to get married and prayed to a dangerous higher being made a deal. The deal makes Addie cursed to live until she gets tired of living and not being able to remember as she lives. Throughout the novel Addie is alone for 300 years her only company this higher being who enjoys to mock her. Finally after 300 years someone remembers her.
The novel is written in a bit of a slow pace, but it slowly builds up as it goes on. The novel switches between the past of characters lives and the present. The ending is a little surprising. The book is worth the read.
Reviewer Grade: 9
Gathering Moss by Robin Wall Kimmerer is a thought-provoking and beautifully written book that explores the world of moss and the ecological relationships that exist in nature. As a botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, Kimmerer's perspective on nature is both scientific and cultural, offering a unique insight into the world of moss. The book is structured around a series of essays that delve into the various aspects of moss and the ways in which it interacts with other living beings. Kimmerer's writing style is poetic and evocative, with her descriptions of the moss and its surroundings painting a vivid picture of the world she is exploring. Her use of personal anecdotes and storytelling adds a personal touch to the book, inviting readers to connect with the natural world on a deeper level. One of the strengths of the book is the way in which Kimmerer explores the interconnectedness of all living things. Through her examination of moss and the relationships it has with other plants and animals, she demonstrates how all living things are dependent on one another and how our actions can have far-reaching consequences. Overall, Gathering Moss is a beautifully written and insightful book that offers a unique perspective on the natural world. Kimmerer's combination of scientific knowledge and cultural insights makes this book a must-read for anyone interested in ecology, indigenous perspectives, and the beauty of the natural world. Her poetic writing style and personal anecdotes make it a very accessible and engaging read.
Holes by Louis Sachar is a piece of young adult fiction that weaves together elements of mystery, adventure, and coming-of-age themes. The novel's plot centers around Stanley Yelnats, a young boy who is sent to a juvenile detention camp after being falsely accused of stealing a pair of shoes. At Camp Green Lake, Stanley is forced to dig holes in the desert as part of a rehabilitation program, leading him to uncover a mystery that has haunted the camp for generations. Sachar's portrayal of Stanley and the other boys at Camp Green Lake is one of the novel's strongest qualities. Through their interactions and experiences, Sachar explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity. Stanley's transformation from a timid and isolated boy to a confident and capable young man is both inspiring and heartwarming. This novel is very appealing due to is humor, unexpected backstory, and suspense that kept me hooked throughout. The novel's themes of friendship, perseverance, and the importance of doing what is right resonate with readers of all ages and make it a true gem of young adult literature, I'd recommend it to all!
Reviewer Grade: 11.
"Summer and July" by Paul Moiser is a warm novel about a girl named Juliet. Juliet's mother is a nurse who has to travel to California for the summer. Juliet is very upset about the move because she did not want to leave her best-friend Fern. Then Juliet meets Summer, a local surfer girl. Summer helps her adjust to the new surrounding, (which is very hard due to her mental illness). She faces her struggles with her new positive companion. When Summer reveals her own pains, Juliet must now be the one to help Summer overcome them.
If you have read the Hunger Games series, then you know that President Snow is the main villain and set a iron grip on the Districts of Panem. I you haven't read the trilogy, then might I highly suggest you do.
This book takes place decades before the trilogy starts and we read through Coriolanus Snow's eyes before he becomes the president and monster of Panem. Coriolanus has already set himself up to be in a position of power even as a young adult, and after his city was besieged, and his parents died, the Snow name and fortune left in ruins. Coriolanus Snow has decided that he will never be the weaker side again. The Hunger Games were not a new event for Panem during the time yet they were never popular, now though Coriolanus and his class are each assigned a tribute to make the Games finally noticed. Coriolanus has been assigned the girl of District 12, perhaps the worst choice available, or so he thinks.
The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton is a timeless classic that explores the lives of teenage boys growing up in a society divided by socioeconomic class. The novel's plot centers around Ponyboy, a member of a gang known as the "greasers," who are constantly at odds with the wealthier "Socs." When Ponyboy's best friend Johnny kills a Soc in self-defense, the gang is forced to go on the run, leading to a series of events that force Ponyboy to confront the harsh realities of his world. Hinton's portrayal of Ponyboy and the other greasers is one of the novel's greatest strengths. Through Ponyboy's eyes, we see the struggles and challenges of growing up in poverty, dealing with absent parents, and trying to find a place in a world that seems to be against you. The characters are all fully developed and unique, each with their own backstory, motivations, and distinct personalities, adding depth and complexity to the story. Hinton's portrayal of the greasers' bond highlights the importance of having a support system, even in the face of adversity. Additionally, the novel explores themes of social inequality, prejudice, and the challenges of coming of age in a world that is often unfair and unjust. I really enjoyed the authenticity of this novel through the abundance of dialogue and interactions between characters. I highly recommend this book as The Outsiders resonates with readers of all ages.
Reviewer Grade: 11.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, written by Stephen Chbosky, is a coming-of-age novel that explores the complexities of adolescence and the struggles of navigating social and emotional challenges. The novel is narrated by the protagonist, Charlie, a high school freshman who is struggling to fit in and find his place in the world. Charlie is a sympathetic protagonist, with his struggles with mental health and social anxiety serving as a powerful critique of the challenges of adolescence. His relationships with his friends Sam and Patrick provide an exploration of the complexities of friendship and the ways in which it can provide a sense of belonging and acceptance. Chbosky combines elements of romance, personal drama, and coming-of-age themes to create a plot that is emotionally resonant and suspenseful. The novel's themes, particularly mental health and the effects of trauma, are poignant and impactful, with Charlie's struggles serving as a critique of societal marginalization and stigmatization. Chbosky's descriptions of Charlie's thoughts and emotions are vivid, immersing readers in the experience of living with mental illness and navigating social and emotional challenges. His use of literary devices, such as symbolism and foreshadowing, adds depth and meaning to the story that kept me engaged throughout. While this book was heartwarming, it was also heartbreaking and took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. I would recommend this novel to all who love a sappy, coming of age, insightful read that gets you thinking about life.
Reviewer Grade: 11.
The "Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins is a suspenseful novel about 16-year-old Katniss in the dystopian land of Panem. In this world, the 13 districts protested against the government. In punishment, they must provide two tributes (one boy and one girl) from each district. When Katniss's sister was chosen as tribute Katniss stepped up to protect her. Now she must fight to the death with the other 23 tributes for a chance to continue with her life.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green is a very insightful novel that explores themes of mental health, friendship, and self-discovery. The story follows the life of 16-year-old Aza Holmes, a young girl who is struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety, as she navigates the challenges of adolescence and tries to solve a mystery involving a missing billionaire. Aza's struggles with mental health serving as a powerful critique of the ways in which society can stigmatize and marginalize those with mental illnesses. Her relationships with her best friend Daisy and her love interest Davis provide an intriguing exploration of the challenges of friendship and the complexities of romantic relationships. Green’s prose perfectly captures the voice of a young girl struggling with mental illness- his descriptions of Aza’s thought processes and compulsions are vivid and immersive, offering a nuanced portrayal of the experience of living with obsessive-compulsive disorder and anxiety. His use of metaphor, such as the titular “turtles all the way down,” adds depth and meaning to the story, inviting readers to reflect on the deeper themes of the novel. I loved the depth and detail that this book had, and I feel like each and every character had so many layers to them that really helped me visualize the story as I read. Turtles All the Way Down is both heartwarming and heartbreaking, and I plan to read it again. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys coming of age, narrative style books with strong takeaways.
Reviewer Grade: 11.
Sylvain Neuvel's "Sleeping Giants" is the first book in a series of three fantastic novels about alien technology and what it means to be human. This book was lent to me by my father, so I knew it had to be amazing. I was not wrong in that assumption. My favorite part about this book is likely the most divisive part: the format. This book is explained in an interview format, between each character and a mysterious interviewer that is developed further in the later installments of this series. At first, I wasn't sure if I would like how jarringly different this format is; sometimes it is noticeable when the author wanted to convey some important information, but the constant interview made the information difficult to show. It wasn't exclusively interviews; occasionally a mission log was used for variety's sake. My least favorite part of the book is actually what wasn't included in the book. It sounds picky, but I think that this book had room for more. The cliffhanger, while masterfully executed, came too soon. Not enough happened before the book ended, so I was left immediately scrambling to acquire the other 2 books in the series. The book, and especially the series as a whole, is absolutely surprising at nearly every step. Characters assumed narratively immortal die, and enemies turn into friends that save the world in the third book. Each character had interesting flaws and contrasting personalities, so each character introduced to us through the mysterious interviewer felt like someone you could meet walking down the street. All in all, this book is definitely one of the best books I have read this year.
Reviewer Grade: 10
The book "Tress of the Emerald Sea" was a brilliant standalone book set in Brandon Sanderson's "cosmere" (his unique term referring to the general world where most of his books take place). I didn't actually choose to read this book; my uncle lent me this book because I love nearly all of Brandon Sanderson's books. After reading this magnificent book, I am very thankful for his generosity. I enjoyed the development of the protagonist, Tress, over the book the most. Tress stays kind throughout the entire book, but her bravery develops as she grows from a timid cup collector to something I don't want to spoil, but she gains a massive amount of bravery in the pursuit of kindness. I didn't enjoy the ease at which the final boss was dealt with, but the conclusion was relatively tidy and neat. This is the type of book where I constantly need to ask myself, "How did the author think of this"? Spore oceans that kill you but still float ships? Cup collectors creating chaos? Nothing was offensively predictable, and the little twist right at the end reminded my instantly of Studio Ghibli's Spirited Away's little twist at the end regarding the protagonist's parents. I won't say this has been the best book that I've read this year, but that is only because the year is still young and Brandon Sanderson's kickstarter had 3 other books in it.
Reviewer Grade: 10
Before Your Memory Fades by Toshikazu Kawaguchi is one of three—four, as of November 2023—books that tells the tale of a cafe with a chair that allows visitors to travel back in time. Contrary to the simplistic concept it carries, there are rules one must follow:
1. One cannot change the present, regardless of their efforts.
2. Occupants must remain in their seat, otherwise they will return to the present.
3. Occupants must finish their coffee before it gets cold. If they do not, they become a ghost and are bound to that chair forever.
4. They can only meet people who have visited the cafe. With that being said, patrons need to travel to the day, hour, minute, and second their targeted person was in the cafe.
5. Patrons can only return to the past once.
6. Despite the first rule, one can give or receive gifts, and one can take photos.
Sorrow and the conflicting bet of regret is a spill all four of the patrons decide against drowning in. Clarity wiped their messes and ordeals clean through the reminiscent transparency of hospitality born from truth, unsaid words, or the driving words to live the rest of their life as a happy person, rather than a person grieving the nauseating reality they're set to survive in.
"Other Birds" is a slice of life story with mild paranormal elements. It does not have a high stakes plot, but rather focuses on the personal struggles of the characters. Overall it is a very refreshing and relaxing read. The paranormal element is not explored much, but it adds to the book's charm. The prose is lovely, especially regarding descriptions of food.
All of the characters are fairly interesting. Charlotte, Mac, and Lizbeth were my favorites. They all had interesting pasts and clear personalities. Zoey and Oliver were also interesting, but felt a little under developed. Lucy is only present for about a dozen pages. She's not so much of a character as she is a mystery, and she serves that role well.
The twists in this book are all fairly solid. I guessed one of them immediately, but it still felt impactful. I didn't guess one, but it didn't add anything to the story. Two of them were genuine surprises, and added depth to the story.
This book is not incredible, but it is thoroughly enjoyable and heartwarming. I would recommend it to lovers of character driven stories.
This graphic novel has a really interesting way of storytelling- it has multiple stories running simultaneously that add depth to one another. The author uses fairy tales, like the Magic Fish, to represent the actual characters in the main story. It follows a young boy who struggles to tell his mother he is gay and he experiences a crush on one of his close friends. It touches on some sensitive topics but ends really sweetly. Another bonus is the gorgeous artwork and use of color in the different storylines. Despite being a quick read, it was meaningful and a good story.
The book Less follows a middle-aged, gay author named Arthur Less, and recounts his loves and losses from a third person point of view. His lover of many years, Freddy, leaves him for a more serious relationship, he goes on a trip around the world partly to avoid Freddy's wedding and his upcoming 50th birthday. The book explores themes such as love, heartbreak, self-doubt, fear of aging, and sexuality. In Less's journey, he discovers that he can't run from his fears by traveling across oceans, he must face them. A Pulitzer prize winner, the language in the book is mature and riddled with literary references spanning throughout history. The author uses many intricate metaphors to describe Less's situation, and then book ends with an incredible twist that will make your jaw drop. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes contemporary literature and wants a meaningful, yet entertaining read.
Romance, thriller, and horror all wrapped into one. Natalie D Richards does it once a great with a book you won't be able to put down until the final page. When two best friends in love have a falling out over a fight at a party it seems nothing could bring them together again. Except for the bridge that is. Strange things keep bringing them back to the place of the party and back to each other. Lock on bridges and hearts hold mystery but the views of both parties is being clouded by their own mental struggles. This is a very emotional book and capitating one that I can't wait to read again. Readers enjoy and beware of the bridge.
"The Core" by Peter V. Brett is the finale for The Demon Cycle, a great series of books about demons and religion. I originally began to read The Demon Cycle because it was recommended for fans of "The Lies of Locke Lamora", another fantastic book that I will likely review at a later time. My favorite part about The Core was absolutely the lengths that Peter Brett went to in order to ensure an emotional journey. Without spoiling anything, beloved characters have surprising and drastic events that grip you and force you to keep reading. It's hard to pinpoint an unenjoyable part, but I do wish that the ending had more that I could read; I was dissatisfied when there was no more for me to read and that some characters were not developed to the levels I wanted (e.g. Abban and Roger). A few criticisms are as follows; some characters feel intentionally undeveloped just for the sake of a more impactful climax. Arlen, for example, appeared to achieve near godhood across the last 4 books, but he struggles unnecessarily with things that he proved he had mastered earlier in the series. Regardless of all of this, I still believe that The Demon Cycle as a whole has been one of the greatest series I have read this year.
Reviewer Grade: 10
Back to the beautiful family of Sinclairs, still liars. Family of Liars, the prequel to We Were Liars, takes readers back to the private island of the Sinclairs. What really happened in that tragedy two years ago? Or was it even one tragedy at all? This E Lockhart book will leave you captivated once again. The book may even cause you to return to E. Lochart's first Liars book to realign all the pieces of the mystery. Will the dots be connected or will more mystery unravel?
We Were Liars is a young adult mystery by E Lockhart that will grab your attention from the first page. The story describes a beautiful, rich, and perfect (as seen from the outside), family, the Sinclairs. But the Sinclairs have things to hide. When Cadence Sinclair shows up with her cousins on the Sinclair's private island they expect a summer of fun. However, a tragedy of two years ago comes back to haunt and Cadence's migraine pills aren't helping her keep the facts of the incident straight. This story leaves you wondering as new mystery is continuously added. With still more mystery at the end, the book will make you question even more than just the Sinclairs.
Nona the Ninth is the third book in the Locked Tomb series. It was an unprecedented addition, as the series was originally meant to be a trilogy that would end with Alecto the Ninth. And after reading this book, I couldn't imagine the series any other way. This book takes a step away from our principle protagonists and inter-planetary conflict to zoom in on Nona, a young woman who has technically only been alive for six months. She is a great teacher's aid, a fantastic dog watcher, and a caring friend. As her city crumbles around her and the secrets of her origin begin to come to light, Nona must keep trust in herself and the people she loves if she hopes to make it to her birthday.
I've seen a lot of reviews comparing this book to the first two in the series. In my opinion, there is no comparison to be made between any of them. The first is a thriller mystery in a nightmare castle with newfound friends. The second is a psychological horror story that occasionally becomes a soap opera. The third is slice of life, and the most heartbreaking of all three. I agree fully with the choice to make this a separate book, instead of trying to cram this into a climactic series ending. The series needed time to breathe from the revelations and consequences of the first two books, and to develop many of the wonderful side characters. On this note, the side characters in this book ruined me. They are constantly hilarious. They are perpetually heartbreaking. They have so much love for each other and it tears me apart. They are also fantastically developed, to the point where the thought of losing any of them almost stopped me from finishing the book. A large part of what made them special was seeing them through Nona's eyes, which was a fantastic combination of naively loving and strangely perceptive. Speaking of which, Nona's perspective was a special treat. Throughout the series, the author usually increases tension and intrigue by seriously limiting someone’s perspective. Previously this had been by outside parties hiding information or the unreliability of the narrator, but Nona being a mental six-month-old was a special treat. She attempts to relay everything with accuracy, but with limited experience and vocabulary the audience is forced to experience everything with fresh eyes to try to see it for what it is. Beyond all this, the story shined in all the usual departments for this series. The humor was exceptional, probably the funniest the series has been since the beginning of Gideon the Ninth. I particularly enjoyed the dream sequence narrations, as they were beautiful, insightful, and insanely funny. Sometimes I feel like Muir makes nearly every one of her characters funny so they can rip your heart out later with a little extra oomph. The worldbuilding continues to be a harrowing endeavor in the best way, as you have to take the time to figure it out for yourself with what little glimpses the book gives you. The only complaint I feel like someone could make about this book is that the pacing was pretty slow in the beginning to establish the ensemble cast, but I loved every minute of it so I can’t complain.
In conclusion, this book is another triumph for the Locked Tomb trilogy, and I can’t wait to see what comes next! I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves found family, slice of life stories, lots of explosions, zombie princes, and dogs with too many legs!
Reviewer Grade: 12