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review 2015-07-31 15:19
Go Set a Watchman - Harper Lee

I finished Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee and it took me over a week (which is a long time for me) and I don’t really know how I feel about it. I absolutely love To Kill a Mockingbird and in no way did Go Set a Watchman change that- it actually enforced it. I know have a deeper appreciation for TKaM and its underlying narrative, issues, symbolism, and overall feeling. I’ve read TKaM over and over (at least 5 times) and each time I find something new/different to enjoy. GSaW is NOT a sequel, in the truest sense, to TKaM- yes it takes place after TKaM, Scout is grown up and the characters have evolved with the times but it’s a drastically different story. I had a hard time keeping the two separate- I didn’t want to compare them, TKaM is wonderful and I don’t think GSaW could ever truly compete with it. The biggest issue I had with GSaW is the time jumps, the entire book is set within a week (or less) but there are flashbacks to Scout’s childhood. The flashbacks got so confusing because there was no indication of when then were happening- I could only tell because Jem was alive. I struggled with how many stars to give this book- 3 or 4? Three because I enjoyed it  but I probably won’t read again anytime soon. Four because I love TKaM and Harper Lee. I ultimately settled on four because I love TKaM.

 

Overall: 3/5 for the book, 4/5 because I love Harper Lee  


SRP Goal: 12/20

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-07-02 18:59
Magonia
Magonia - Maria Dahvana Headley

I read Magonia in one day… and that is not because I couldn’t put it down. It was because I wanted to put it down but I also wanted to see how it ended so I skimmed a few pages here and there to get to the ending faster. I just could not get into this book- I thought the main character was whiny, self-entitled, and unrelatable. Maybe because I’m not a teenager anymore or maybe because I’m not typically into fantasy but either way- I just didn’t like this book.

 

The premise sounded really interesting (though who decided to compare it to The Fault in Our Stars needs to be fired):

Maria Dahvana Headley's soaring YA debut is a fiercely intelligent, multilayered fantasy where Neil Gaiman's Stardust meets John Green's The Fault in Our Stars in a story about a girl caught between two worlds . . . two races . . . and two destinies.

 

Aza Ray Boyle is drowning in thin air. Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn't think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

 

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who's always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

 

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza's hands lies fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

But the execution of the story/plot was done horribly. Like I said, the main character was relatable and whiny which made the book hard to get through. The fact that she felt the need to tell the reader that she was dying or was supposed to die soon on every other page got so frustrating that I started to wish she would die just to get some relief. I did tear up when she died but not because SHE died but because of the way the author portrayed her family during the process. Having lost someone close to me, I felt every emotion Aza’s parents were feeling and it made it that much more real. Though when Aza woke up alive on a floating ship in the sky, I thought she would’ve matured or at least death would’ve made her less whiny- but nope. All she wanted to do was “go back home, go back to her boyfriend, see her family.” I get it- you got ripped away from everything you ever knew but you need to learn to ADAPT- YOU’RE ON A FLYING SHIP IN THE SKY! THERE ARE WHALES MADE OF CLOUDS FOLLOWING YOU AROUND! THIS SHOULD BE AWESOME but instead Aza makes it sound like it is the worst thing that could ever happen to her ever.

 

Overall: 2/5

 

SRP Goal: 7/20

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review 2015-06-30 18:57
The Rook
The Rook - Daniel O'Malley

I finished The Rook by Daniel O’Malley last night and I fell in love or really strong like- I haven’t decided which yet. I had been hunting for this book for awhile (in a previous post, I mentioned how I went to 4 Barnes & Noble stores and 3 Half Price Books to locate a copy of this title) and finally got to it in my pile. I was super excited to read it but I didn’t have my hopes up- I’ve been let down way too many times by recommendations based off my love of The Night Circus and Harry Potter. I went into this story with reservations and thinking it wasn’t going to live up-to the hype but I was wrong. This story is AMAZING. I adored the main character Myfanwy Thomas- especially after she woke up as a new person, the “old” Myfanwy (rhymes with Tiffany) sounded rather boring and meek- not strong enough to carry this story. I loved the supernatural secret service- which is saying something because I was very weary of this aspect. I am definitely not a  fan of the X-Files and from the blurb on the back, that’s what the supernatural aspect sounded liked it was going to be and even though it was similar, The Chequy is a way more sophisticated entity than the FBI in the X-Files.

 

There were so many details about both Myfanwy and the Chequy but because of the pacing, I never felt like I was being bogged down with all the information. I never wanted to put this book down- it grabs you from page one and doesn’t let go! I will definitely re-read this before the second one in the series comes out.

 

Overall: 4/5

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-06-23 15:51
Not what I was expecting
All the Rage - Courtney Summers

I finished All the Rage by Courtney Summers last night.

It was an intense read- I had to take a few hours to process. It deals with some tough topics- rape, death, social cliques, and bullying are just a few of the big issues. The book flap summary:

The sheriff's son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything-friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy's only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn't speak up. Nobody believed her the first time-and they certainly won't now-but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.

made the book sound like it would be about the aftermath of Romy Grey’s rape, the disappearance a classmate and the sexual assault of another girl- all related to Kellan Turner, the sheriff’s son. I thought the three crimes would show the town what a monster he really is- the multiple assaults, the disappearance- all would be linked back to him with evidence and witnesses.


SPOILERS AHEAD


If that is what you thought the book is/was going to be, then you’re in for disappointment/shock/frustration because that is not what it was at all. Nope. Not one bit.

Kellan doesn’t even make an appearance in the book- NOT ONCE. He’s mentioned three times by name and hinted at quite a few more times but the reader is never introduced to him outright. He is in no way connected to the disappearance of Romy’s classmate and the second sexual assault is mentioned twice, both in passing. Nothing is ever done about Romy’s rape- she reports it but the town turns against her because Kellan is the golden boy and can do no wrong. Everyone at school hates her because they think Kellan moved away because of her accusation. She is shunned and bullied by the student body- at one point the “popular girls” steal her underwear and put them on the school mascot. They spread rumors around that Romy was “asking for it” because she had a crush at Kellan. NO ONE EVER ASKS TO BE RAPED. EVER. High school was pure hell for Romy because of something that she had no control over. I ended up despising the town, and that was the point of the story, but it also shows how easy it is to jump to a bandwagon based on a single side of the story (not that I’m saying you should EVER be supporting the rapist) but when you can’t comprehend someone's actions- it is easy to just ignore the problem and pretend it didn’t happen.

I felt the book flap was very misleading- even now, having read the novel- I don’t think it describes what happens accurately. 80% of the book focuses on the missing classmate (who used to be Romy’s best friend but turned against her after Romy reported the rape) and what happened to her- though it turns out she died trying to protect Romy from a second rape by a different boy.

If I had been correctly informed of what this book was about, I think I would’ve enjoyed it more but because I was expecting something different- I felt disheartened (and kinda lied to).


Overall: 3/5 - If I got the story I was expecting, I would’ve given it 4/5 - I really enjoyed Summers’ writing style and the issues NEED to be tackled- especially for young adults.


SRP Goal: 5/20

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