Between the Bookcovers

Blogging About the Books I Read

Author: Ann Aguirre
Published: April 12, 2011
Pages: 212
Rating: 5/5 Stars

Description from Goodreads:

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from t
he only world she’s ever known.

Review:

The story starts with girl 15, who gets named Deuce on her 15th birthday. It is sometime in the future and she lives in an underground world where life is hard and short. She has trained to become a huntress, and her job is to find food and fight off the "freaks", transformed people who have sharp teeth and claws and hunger for human flesh. I won't add anyspoilers, but we follow Deuce as she becomes a huntress and her life as it unfolds in the Enclave.

I love dystopian literature, and this should be considered among the best. It is fresh and original with all the elements you want in a this type of book. And although it is not long, there are no wasted words. I applaud Ann Aguirre for creating such believable worlds, both below and above ground. The Enclave was hot and creepy, I found myself becoming claustrophobic just reading about it. When Deuce moves above ground another world is created, just as interesting and dangerous as the first.

The characters are well developed. Deuce is a strong female protagonist who grows throughout the novel as she learns to trust herself and others, and even finds love along the way. The secondary characters are just as well developed.

And while there is a love interest, this is by no means a love story. It is one about survival in a world where everything that can go wrong has, and survival is measured by days not years. It is an exciting read with danger around every turn.

I loved this book. I started reading and could not put it down. And when it was over I was left breathless and wanting more. It stayed with me for several days, as I relived the journey of Deuce and her friends, and pondered survival in their world. I am so happy a sequel is planned, I cannot wait for the next installment.

Rating: Not to be missed, a great dystopian novel


Author: Jonathan Mayberry
Published: September 14, 2010
Pages: 464
Rating: 5/5Stars

Description from Goodreads:

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

Review:

The world changed 15 years ago when something made people into zombies who spread the sickness by biting. Now the populations exist in small groups behind wire fences, and the zombies rule most of the world. This is the setting where Benny Imura is introduced, now at the age when he must declare a vocation in order to live in the town and share in its resources. After trying several jobs he decides to follow in his brothers footsteps and become a zombie killer. But the job is nothing like he imagined and as he leaves the town to venture into the world he learns many life lessons.

I wasn't sure what to expect with this novel and I was pleasantly surprised. Mayberry has provided a wonderful story about what is important in life, tucked into a zombie novel with lots of action. There are so many colorful characters inside, including Tom Imura, Benny's brother, his childhood friends and Lilah, the wild girl who is the object of legend, living alone in the wilds and killing zombies that wander the world outside the gates ("the ruin").

Benny doesn't really like Tom, he is nothing like the "cool" zombie killers named Charlie Pink Eye and he can't imagine why he is respected by the townspeople. When Tom takes him into the Rot & Ruin he comes to see Tom as a compassionate man who sees zombies for what they once were - people like them with hopes and dreams, and lives worth living. He sees how Tom uses this compassion to "quiet" the zombies and give them a final death.

He also comes to see the cruel people who use the zombies for fun and games. He realizes that the world inside the gates of Mountainside is only a glimpse of what is really happening. When his friend is kidnapped and taken to be used in zombie fights he must risk everything to save her.

Mayberry has created an interesting world where zombies outnumber the living and the world is a dangerous, dark place. But it also holds spots of goodness if you look for it. There is plenty of zombie type violence here, but it is used as needed to make the story real. I found this one of the better YA novels with zombies. I found myself immersed in the Rot and Ruin and could not stop reading until I found out how things turned out. I highly recommend the book for the moral story it teaches. It will be appreciated by teens and adults for the wonderful story it tells.

Rating: A wonderful story with zombies, don't miss this one

There are quite a few new releases in the next week, July 12-18:


Sass & Serendipity
Author: Jennifer Ziegler

Description from Goodreads:

For Daphne, the glass is always half full, a situation is better managed with a dab of lip gloss, and the boy of her dreams—the one she's read about in all of her novels—is waiting for her just around the corner.
For Gabby, nothing ever works out positively; wearing any form of makeup is a waste of study time, and boys will only leave you heartbroken. Her best friend, Mule, is the only one who has been there for her every step of the way.
But when the richest boy in school befriends Gabby, and Daphne starts to hang out more
and more with her best friend, Mule, Gabby is forced to confront the emotional barriers she has put up to stop the hurting. And for once, her sassiness may fall prey to her definition of stupidity.


Sometimes it
Happens
Author: Lauren Barnholdt

Description from Goodreads:


On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Sebastian dumped her. Facing a summer of loneliness, Hannah turns to her best friend Ava for comfort. Ava does what BFFs do: she stays by Hannah's side...until it's time for Ava to head up to Maine for the summer. Also left behind is Ava's boyfriend, Noah, who's such a great guy he gets Hannah a job at the diner he waits tables at. Slowly, Hannah comes out of her funk thanks to Noah's good conversation and their fun times at the diner. But things get complicated when their friendship turns into attraction--and one night, into a passionate kiss.

The novel opens on the first day of senior year; the day Hannah is going to see Ava, Sebastian, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, everyone is paired up once again, but not the way you might think...



The Summer I Learned to Fly
Author: Dana Reinhardt

Description from Goodreads:

Drew's a bit of a loner. She has a pet rat, her dead dad's Book of Lists, an encyclopedic knowledge of cheese from working at her mom's cheese shop, and a crush on Nick, the surf bum who works behind the counter. It's the summer before eighth grade and Drew's days seem like business as usual, until one night after closing time, when she meets a strange boy in the alley named Emmett Crane. Who he is, why he's there, where the cut on his cheek came from, and his bottomless knowledge of rats are all mysteries Drew will untangle as they are drawn closer together, and Drew enters into the first true friendship, and adventure, of her life.



Texas Gothic
Author: Rosemary Clement-Moore
Description from Goodreads:

Amy Goodnight's family is far from normal. She comes from a line of witches, but tries her best to stay far outside the family business. Her summer gig? Ranch-sitting for her aunt with her wacky but beautiful sister. Only the Goodnight Ranch is even less normal than it normally is. Bodies are being discovered, a ghost is on the prowl, and everywhere she turns, the hot neighbor cowboy is in her face.







The Other Countess
Author: Eve Edwards

Description from Goodreads:

It's 1582 and eighteen-year-old Will Lacey's family is in trouble. After years of wasteful spending, his late father has run Lacey Hall to near ruin. Tasked with marrying his family back into fortune, the new Earl of Dorset is all set for a season at court to woo not just the Queen but potential brides with his jousting skills. But when Ellie – a strong-willed girl with nothing to her name but a worthless Spanish title – catches Will's eye, he faces a bigger battle than he could ever have anticipated.





The Hidden Coronet (The Relic Master #3)
Author: Catherine Fischer

Description from Goodreads:

The coronet, a potent ancient relic, might be the only way to defeat the power that is destroying Anara. But it has been lost for centuries, and only legend tells of its whereabouts. Will Galen and Raffi be able to find it before the Watch does?







Forever (The Wolves of Mercey Falls #3)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Description from Goodreads:

The thrilling conclusion to #1 bestselling Shiver trilogy from Maggie Stiefvater

then.

When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their love moved from a curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.

now.

That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.

forever.

Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment - a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.


Author: Alex Flinn
Published: April 27, 2010
Pages: 400
Rating: 3/5 Stars

Description from Goodreads:

Talia fell under a spell...Jack broke the curse.
I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic...
I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.
I awakened in the same place but in another tim
e—to a stranger's soft kiss.
I couldn't help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn't know this would happen.
Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!
Now I'm stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels...The good news: My parents will freak!
Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?


Review:

Jack and his friends are on a tour of Europe when they wonder off from their tour. They stumble on a village frozen in time. When he finds a beautiful girl (Talia) who is sleeping he is compelled to kiss her, breaking a curse that awakens her from a 300 year nap. The story follows Jack and Talia as they make their way back to the United States and Talia adapts to life in the modern world. Will it be the perfect love story or will the evil witch who cursed Talia win in the end?

Finn has adapted a classic fairy tale and added a twist of having to adapt to a new time period. The characters are well done and fun to watch. Talia is a typical spoiled princess at first but soon changes as she must rely on Jack to help her make her way in her new world. Jack has his own problems too, parents who expect him to do as told, and not choose a career that he desires. In the background is the wicked witch who placed the curse on Talia and is determined to recapture her.

The plot is predictable and at times funny, especially as Talia tries to adapt to the new technology she finds in Jack's world. I did find it an easy read, but saw the ending coming half way through the book. I enjoyed the novel, it is a light and fun book if you enjoy revisiting the fairy tales from your past with an updated twist.

Rating: An enjoyable, fun retelling of a classic fairy tale.



Author: Tabitha Suzuma
Published: June 28, 2011
Pages: 464
Rating: 5/5 Stars

Description from Goodreads:

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But ...They are brother and sister.



Review:


Lochan and his sister Maya have grown up in a dysfunctional family where they have been abandoned by their father, their alcoholic mother is absent most of the time and they and are struggling to keep their siblings together and out of the eye of social services. Close in age, they have grown up as best friends as well as brother and sister. Both are stunned when they realize they are falling in love with each other and that the feelings are mutual. This is an absorbing story of their dilemma and how they handle this taboo, and how it is likely to end.

Tabitha Suzuma has taken on a subject not often written about, especially in YA novels. But she has done a beautiful job in making the story of Lochan and Maya come alive and exploring the difficulties and heartbreak found when siblings fall in love. Incest is most often portrayed with an aggressor and a victim, here it is a mutual desire without victims, but not without consequences.

The chapters are in first person and alternate between Lochan and Maya, giving us a view from both main characters. This allows us to get inside their heads and get to know them both, and I found that I found myself thinking that they deserved to find the happiness they wanted and deserved. All characters were well developed, I found myself wanting to cry for the situation these siblings were left in by the adults who were supposed to care for them.

Despite the topic, I found that this was an incredibly well written book. I wanted for things to work out for Maya and Lochan, despite the views of society and the law, but I knew that the book was not destined to have a happy ending, stories like this never do. However, the ending was not what I expected and it was a tragic, heartbreaking conclusion to one of the better books I have read this year. This is definately written for the older set of teens, but anyone older will also find this an absorbing book.

Rating: An excellent book about a taboo subject, not to be missed

About This Blog

I review mostly Young Adult literature, any genre. I also review other fiction, especially horror, science fiction and historical novels. I also have occasional giveaways.

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