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review 2014-07-07 21:22
Allegiant - Veronica Roth

While I appreciated the twist, I was very underwhelmed by this series. For me, it had no heart, no real interesting or likeable characters* and seemed to just be a string of conspiracies that increasingly became confusing and implausible.



*Now when I say likable, I should really mean charismatic. Alex DeLarge is in no way likeable but he oozes charisma. Couldn't say the same for any character in the Divergent books.

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review 2014-06-21 15:34
We need more YA books about neuropsychiatric disorders
Jerk, California - Jonathan Friesen

I'll start out by saying that I can't really control my thoughts, I'm easily distracted and confused, and I'm still going through a lot of major personal stuff, but this book was HARD AS HELL to follow. Long scenes were summed up in a couple of sentences, the main character talked to himself constantly (although this might have been a symptom of his Tourette's), and characters came and went.


All in all, not a very enjoyable read, especially since the story took some bizarre turns near the end, but a promising premise and a decent book for teens who also have Tourette's (if not solely for the fact that you'd be hard pressed to find another YA book with a main character who has the affliction, and that he learned to live with himself and not feel like he was damaged).

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review 2014-06-06 15:17
Please don't read this book.
Asylum - Madeleine Roux

Don't read this book. Please. I care about you and I want you to be happy.


Why not, you ask? I'll tell you why - this book is terrible. Terrible. It reads as a first draft. If my friend showed me this, I'd tell her, "Okay, first draft is done, great. Now for the editing. Eliminate a lot of characters. Wait, you want this to have a sequel? No. Don't do that. Look, you need character development. And are you sure this is YA? This reads like lower-lever JF fiction. For middle school kids. Fourth grade. No, third."


Is that harsh? I don't think so. Don't like criticism? Stay out of the arts.


Back to the book. I cannot stress how happy I am that I did not purchase this book when I saw it at a Barnes and Noble last month. Thank Zeus for libraries. Anyway, yes, this book looks amazing. Asylums and their history fascinate me, as do pictures of abandoned buildings. The premise is interesting, and had a lot of potential.


I seriously cannot think of any other positive things to say about this book. The last few chapters were so ridiculous that I felt insulted as a reader. Do yourself a favor and Google "abandoned asylums" and do not read this book, because it is so terribly written that it will legitimately drain your energy. Stay away.

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review 2014-01-16 16:33
"Where is she, Nick?"
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn

Like everyone else, I've heard a lot of buzz about this book. Entertainment Weekly has a cover featuring the stars of the upcoming movie adaptation, Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck, and I figured I'd better read this before film gossip might ruin any plot twists for me.


I would suggest you do the same, as there are many twists in this book.


This book, while intense, is not without faults. There are odd metaphors ("He swallowed his lips" stood out for me as the worst) and repetition of adjectives (items are described as "creamy" about eight times). Luckily these faults don't detract from the overall story, and its powerful effect on the reader. 


Often I can guess a plot twist, and I did do that on this one, but even as a huge twist is revealed in the middle of the book, there are more coming. It's staggering, and the ending is so dark that I think Shirley Jackson would have grinned in delight at the sheer nihilism of it. 


Stay dark, my friends.



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review 2014-01-10 21:03
I grokked it, at times.
Stranger in a Strange Land - Robert A. Heinlein

I can see why this caused quite a stir when it was published. The still-controversial views of sexuality and freedom are shocking to read, and some of the statements made by the characters are downright appalling (I'm looking at you, Jill.)


The thing is, I can understand when a character is making a statement rather than the author him/herself. Still, there were plenty of times when it seemed Heinlein was talking through his characters. If author-insertion wasn't his intention, it certainly seemed that way. 


Since I am a fan of science fiction and oddity in fiction, I enjoyed most of the story's aspects, especially the beginning. Two beings on the run, an alien and a human who is both frightened of the alien and yet has an instinct to protect it. A government conspiracy. Knowledge seen as a dangerous entity that must be silence. Thrilling stuff.


The best thing about the character of Jubal, who most seem to think is based on Heinlein himself, is that he wouldn't allow anyone to manipulate him or Mike, the seemingly-friendly alien. I enjoyed this, but it only seemed to last for the press conference in which Mike showed himself to a curious world.


Most of the rest of the book was proselytizing, which I didn't care for. Even if I agree with something, I don't need to be preached at, even if it's done through fictional characters.


Overall, I'd say this is worth a read, if not just for the cultural impact it had and still has.

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