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review 2018-12-16 04:52
The Belles - audiobook
The Belles - Dhonielle Clayton,Rosie Llewellyn-Jones

Audience: Young Adult

 

We all turned sixteen today, and for any normal girl that would mean raspberry and lemon macarons and tiny pastel blimps and pink champagne and card games. Maybe even a teacup elephant.

- opening lines

 

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In this world, Belles control Beauty and Beauty is a commodity. People are born gray and will pay anything to be transformed. The society is fixated on Beauty - there are even rules to prevent people from going to extremes. For example, a Belle cannot make your proportions so outrageous that they don't look like the natural human form. Camellia (and the other Belles) wants to be the favorite and live in the palace. But, in this world, nothing is as it seems and danger and betrayal are everywhere.

 

So, I think this book was trying to make a statement about how much our society reveres beauty. And how dangerous this could be when taken to the extreme. There are many issues tackled in this book including gender equality, male privilege, the way woman warp their bodies to be "perfect," and the idea that beauty is not just what we see on the outside. It does a good job of raising the issues without seeming preachy.

 

Camellia is fixated on being the Favorite and being the best and she can't handle the idea of failing. But she is naive and doesn't see what is happening around her - the deception and danger. I found the evil character to be very obvious and couldn't believe that Camellia wouldn't see right through her. She often walked right into a trap that a blind person would have seen coming.

 

The world is interesting with the teacup size elephants, giraffes, and dragons. But some of the descriptions are a bit much and I found it distracting. When describing a scene or a place, the author used a lot of imagery and flowery language - too much really. It stood out to me and it shouldn't - I should be able to picture the scene in my head without thinking about how many similes or metaphors the author is using.

 

The audio was very well done. I enjoyed the narrator's accent. I read the first couple of pages on the Amazon preview and I was glad I listened to the audio. There are many words that are hard to figure out how to pronounce. Not having to think about that allowed me to enjoy the story more. 

 

I did enjoy the story and when the ending was more than a bit of a cliffhanger, I was looking for the next book in the series. It doesn't come out until some time next year. If it had been available when I finished this book I probably would have read it, but I don't know if I will still be as interested when it finally comes out.

 

I borrowed the audio from my local library. The book is a Florida Teens Read program nominated book for 2018-19.

 

 

 

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review 2018-12-12 03:03
This is Our Story - Audiobook
This Is Our Story - Ashley Elston

 

Audience: Young Adult

 

 

A ten-point buck and a dead body make the same sound when they hit the forest floor.

- opening sentence

 

 

This story revolves around the mystery of what happened at River Point when five friends went hunting and one was killed. Afterward, the "River Point Boys" decide to stick together and say that none of them knows who fired the shot that killed their friend. Kate is interning at the DA's office and she is determined to get justice for Grant. But it isn't clear who killed Grant and without evidence, the DA could succumb to the pressure from the powerful families of the boys to sweep the incident under the rug. 

 

The story is well-written and seems realistic, except for the fact that Kate is the only one who can find evidence to solve the crime. Adults aren't always as inept as YA novels make them out to be. But, I get it - Kate is the intrepid sleuth (ala Nancy Drew).

 

The plot was slow at times, but I always wanted to keep listening to try to figure out who the killer was. Most of the book is told from Kate's point of view with periodic sections from the POV of the killer (without giving away who it is). I enjoyed hearing what the killer was thinking and planning. I had a hard time keeping the names of the boys straight but that may have been a factor of listening to the audiobook. There are two narrators and they both did a great job. The plot twists, including one that reminds us how technology can hide the truth, make up for the slow parts of the book.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to YA mystery fans.

 

 

 

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review 2010-09-16 00:00
Read On...Speculative Fiction for Teens: Reading Lists for Every Taste (Read On Series)
Read On... Speculative Fiction for Teens: Reading Lists for Every Taste - Jamie Kallio "Sucks to Be Me" is one of the vampire/paranormal YA books that I've enjoyed in recent considerations. With an interesting protagonist, Mina Hamilton, narrating the way through a coming-of-age meets paranormal story, it's an intriguing read and much different than the exaggerated angst of some peer releases. What makes it intriguing is the witty yet charming commentary and reactions of Mina as she tries to cope with the decision of whether or not to become a full fledged vampire and risk losing life as she knows it, especially noting her best friend Serena. Plus, she doesn't necessarily like the idea of having to drink blood or go to special vampire sessions only to have homework from there in addition to her normal school work. But "Sucks to be Me" is a convincing book with respect to its portrayal of teen relationships and events (i.e. Prom, among other factors ). I was surprised to see how inventive and charming it was. It easily stands out among its peers for its strong use of characterization and prose, and reads quite fluidly. I finished this book in a day, reading it at whatever chance I had between my busy schedule, and it was well worth the time.I would definitely recommend this to those who want something of a coming-of-age twist on vampiric stories. I'm definitely looking forward to reading the next in this series.Overall score: 4/5
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