Archive for the 'Young-Adult' Category


Frog Princes

I’m not usually one for short stories, but I love this one.

Janni Lee Simner’s Frog Princes

I can’t wait for her YA novel to be out next year, and in fact, I’m so excited about it, I’ve already asked to interview her when it comes out. 🙂


Laurie Faria Stolarz: Blue Is For Nightmares

“I Know Your Secret . . .”

Stacey’s junior year at boarding school isn’t easy. She’s not the most popular girl at school, or the smartest, or the prettiest. She’s got a crush on her best friend’s boyfriend, and an even darker secret that threatens to ruin her friendships for good.And now she’s having nightmares again. Not just any nightmares – these dreams are too real to ignore, like she did three years ago. The last time she ignored them, a little girl died. This time they’re about Drea, her best friend who’s become the target of one seriously psycho stalker.

It started with weird e-mails and freaky phone calls. Now someone’s leaving Drea white lilies – the same death lilies that have been showing up in Stacey’s dreams. Everybody thinks it’s just a twisted game . . . until another girl at school is brutally murdered.

There are no witnesses. Worst of all, no one has a perfect alibi. With everyone as a potential suspect, Stacey turns to the one secret weapon she can trust – the folk magic taught to her by her grandmother. Will Stacey’s magic be strong enough to expose the true killer, or will the killer make her darkest nightmares come true?

It worked for me as a supernatural thriller, not so much as a YA novel.

As a protagonist, Stacey left much to be desired, at least for me. I felt the book didn’t dig deep enough, and that’s why I’m not picking up the next book; I don’t see anything that tells me that Stolarz does dig deeper in the next book.

This rates 3 out of 5.


Melanie Gideon: Pucker

Thomas Quicksilver, known to his classmates as “Pucker,” has always been an outsider. His crazy mother, the secret of his family’s strange origins, and above all, the terrible scars on his face from a childhood fire—these things have kept Thomas isolated and alone. Now, at seventeen, a quest to save his dying mother takes Thomas back to his birthplace, an alternate world called Isaura from which he and his mother were exiled years earlier. In Isaura, Thomas’s scars will be magically healed. He will fall in love for the first time. And he will face a devastating, impossible choice.

I like that the author doesn’t go the self-pity route with Thomas.

I do find it rather curious in that Pucker reads like a short story, despite being novel-length. Part of it has to do with the ending. While the ends are tied up, it wasn’t a very satisfying ending.

Isaura…was boring. Mostly because I think not enough effort was put into the worldbuilding.

I think none of the characters paid a high enough price for the Ever afters, but that’s a personal preference.

This rates 3.5 out of 5.


Justine Larbalestier: Magic or Madness

“My Mother Named Me Reason.”

Reason Cansino has lived fifteen years in the Australian outback with her mother: Sarafina. They’re on the run from Reason’s grandmother Esmeralda, who believes in magic and practices horrifying dark rituals. But when Sarafina suffers a mental breakdown, Reason is sent to the one place she fears most–Esmeralda’s home in Sydney.

Nothing about the house or Esmeralda is what Reason expected. Then, when she walks through Esmeralda’s back door in Sydney and finds herself on a New York City street, Reason is forced to face the shocking truth. Magic is real. And Reason is magic.

Magic or Madness doesn’t live up to the visceral impact of the blurb’s first line, unfortunately, but it is a pretty good debut novel.

I felt that Reason comes off a little younger than her given age of fifteen, though this might be deliberate on the author‘s part. Growing up glued to your mother’s side can’t be too good for your maturity.

I don’t usually like it when authors switch between third and first POVs, but the author carries it off quite well.

I like the worldbuilding–I’ll give you a clue: see title. In this, however, I’m admittedly biased because it fits the way I think so well.

I will be picking up the next book.

This rates 3 out of 5.


Sarah Dessen: Dreamland

I looooooved this book.

Sarah is on her way to being one of my favorite YA authors of all time, together with the likes of Laurie Halse Anderson.

The title matches the feel of the book perfectly.

Dreamland is the story of a girl who walks further and further down the wrong path, and she doesn’t know how to stop or how to turn back.

It has more adult appeal than some of the other ‘darker’ YAs I’ve read, partly because, I think, that it can be an analogy to many issues.

In Dreamland, it’s abuse by a boyfriend. But the way it’s written, it could be interpreted to be many things, depression etc.

This rates 10 out of 10.


Jennifer Lynn Barnes: Golden

Jennifer got the teenage voice down perfectly.

Which, IMHO, might work against the book finding a larger audience, because teenagers are whiny, overdramatic brats, though I suppose Lissy does have reason to be overdramatic.

After all, she’s just moved from California all the way to Oklahoma and she SEES Auras.

The next book, Platinum, will be out next year, and I can’t wait for it.

This rates 7.5 out of 10.


Laurie Halse Anderson: Speak


I cannot recommend this book enough.

Laurie Halse Anderson is a genius!

Melinda Sordino is an outcast from her first moment as Merryweather High.

Some of you are thinking, “Oh boy, another one of those books.”

You’ll be wrong.

For some of us, it’s not going to be an easy book to read. The ending made me cry–in a good way, because Melinda comes through her experiences stronger and better for it.

It’s a book that gives hope to those of us who have had to live through terrifying times, because if Melinda can do it, then you can do it too.

I had planned to use review another book for Angie’s TBR Challenge. But this book deserves it more. Much Much Much Much Much Much Much More.


Emma Bull: Finder

I liked the setting–it’s a Borderlands novel.

Orient the Finder sounds, on paper, pretty cool.

But what do we know about Orient beyond that? Nothing, which is amazing considering that it’s written in first person.

The issue here is that Bull is a WRITER, all in caps. Her writing stands out a lot more than her characters do.

Also, this novel is a YA novel, which I didn’t realise until I googled it online.


Neil Gaiman: Coraline

It's a very strange sort of book. All of Gaiman's work is strange.

My bookseller mentioned to me that a lot of her buyers were adults, who liked it more than their children–Coraline is a YA novel.

I can see why. It's got a somehow adult feel to it, without Coraline sounding too old for her age.

I can't say I'd recommend it as a YA novel, but it's a pretty good read if you're an adult.

And no, I've yet to decide whether I like Gaiman.


Christine Fletcher: Tallulah Falls

Most books, I read and enjoy the story. That's it. I don't get themes, and I'll go 'huh' if ask me about them.

Not this book.

It's about a girl named Tallulah, and her quest to help a friend. A friend with 'issues'.

And it speaks to me in a way most books don't. Maybe because I've been on both sides of the fence.

Tallulah is a rather confused 17 year old. She wants to help her friend, but there are other strings tugging at her. A new love, responsibility, a family back home.

Not everybody will think it's the right ending. It's not the perky, life is now perfect, happy ever after most people expect.

I think it is pitch perfect. Tallulah comes of the little detour better for it, because she sees herself clearer than she ever had before.

This book is a T&T Must Read.

Disclaimer: I won this book from Christine


Jonathan Stroud: The Amulet Of Samarkand

It's hard to write a good book about a character that isn't truly likeable.

Nathaniel is out looking for revenge. That alone made it my kind of book. On top of that, Nathaniel's mood changes were authentic–IOW, rather like my 2 younger brothers.

What takes the book to the next level, though, is Bartimaeus, and the hilarious footnotes written in his POV.

He's just pure fun.

Do pick this one up. Bartimaeus will make you smile.


RA Nelson: Teach Me


Talk about impact, because this book has it in spades.

It’s written in first person, in Carolina “Nine” Livingston’s POV. Nine is every teenage girl out there, yet she is still Nine. 

She has an affair with a teacher–every parent’s nightmare.

She survives it, and its aftermath. Not unscathed, perhaps, but still whole.

Certainly, it’s a dark book. Of course, it’s a book about an adolescent living through adolescence, and for many, it was a dark time.

This book is pitch-perfect, and you absolutely have to read it.


Stephenie Meyer: Twilight

Great read from a new author.

Twilight is the first book in a
series, and luckily for us readers, there will be a sequel, tentatively
set for release in October this year. 

It's not a must-read, mind, because it's Meyer's first book, and it shows. She got the big, important things right, and missed the little things. 

written in first person POV, and she stayed in Bella's POV successfully
throughout the book. I also feel that as a whole, none of the
characters did something that jarred me out of the book because, IOW,
great characterization. 

But the little things.. She's got pet phrases, for example, and it seems the copy editor didn't catch them. 

certainly worth a read, but I'd suggest that you wait to get the
paperback version that's going to be out soon (I think) or borrow it
from the library.