The slant on YA books

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All Our Yesterdays (All Our Yesterdays #1) by Cristin Terrill

Pages: 368  Yesterdays 

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Date Published: September 3, 2013 

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

“You have to kill him.” Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain. 

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Review:

All Our Yesterdays has done the unthinkable. It made me like a time travel book. If you haven’t read this book yet, it’s about time you did. (Yes, you can expect more bad time travel puns to follow.)

After hearing Cee rave about this book, I grabbed a copy from my library. By the first chapter I was hooked. I couldn’t wait another minute. I had to know what happened next.

I started to piece together elements before the characters, which created some nice dramatic irony that added to the suspense of the book. The pace doesn’t really let up once you are introduced to both narrators, Marina and Em.

This book has action, romance, character development, and much more. It’s logic made somewhat sense to me, though it would take me a second to understand most of it. I wish we got more of a back story from Em and Finn’s past travels and more of a look at the world as it is in the future. But, other than those qualms, there wasn’t much more I could ask for.

Marina’s perspective would kind of drag in the beginning, which would make me long for Em’s narration. Marina is a different character to like at first, but she grows and evolves and it is really great to read.

On to Finn. Him and Em are my new favorite couple to ship. They were cute while facing down danger. I was rooting for those two the whole time. 

All Our Yesterdays has clocked in as my favorite time travel book. 

P.S. May I suggest to that the title to this book get changed to All Hour Yesterdays? 

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TeenReadWeek

Happy Teen Read Week! Celebrated the third week of each October, Teen Read Week is designed to get teens reading and encourage literacy. The overall theme is always Read For the Fun of It, but there is also a sub-theme unique to each year. This year’s theme, Seek the Unknown, really encourages the promotion of fantasy, sci-fi, mystery books, and any other genre that gets your imagination going. Anyone and everyone is welcome to participate and help spread the word.

Here are a few books I think sought out the unknown.

GracelingWithout a doubt one of my favorite fantasy novels, Graceling by Kristin Cashore features a brilliant cast of characters and a truly unique world.

TerribleBeauty

 A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray has mystery and magic in spades. Seriously, if you like your historical fiction with a dose of spookiness and suspense, get your hands on this book immediately.

Finnikin

When will I stop recommending Melina Marchetta’s novels? NEVER! Read Finnikin of the Rock if you want a deep, complex, and gorgeous fantasy.

UnwindIf you want to be creeped out all week, then try Unwind by Neal Shusterman. Not only is it perfect to put you in the Halloween spirit, it is also great to read whenever you need a sci-fi fix. 

What books have you read that seek the unknown? Do you have any special plans for Teen Read Week?

For more information on Teen Reed Week, visit their website.


Drought by Pam Bachorz

Pages: 400                 Drought

Publisher: Egmont USA

Summary from Goodreads:

A young girl thirsts for love and freedom, but at what cost?

Ruby dreams of escaping the Congregation. Escape from slaver Darwin West and his cruel Overseers. Escape from the backbreaking work of gathering Water. Escape from living as if it is still 1812, the year they were all enslaved.

When Ruby meets Ford—an irresistible, kind, forbidden new Overseer—she longs to run away with him to the modern world where she could live a normal teenage life. Escape with Ford would be so simple.

But if Ruby leaves, her community is condemned to certain death. She, alone, possesses the secret ingredient that makes the Water so special—her blood—and it’s the one thing that the Congregation cannot live without.

Drought is the haunting story of one community’s thirst for life, and the dangerous struggle of the only girl who can grant it.

Review:

If I had to describe Drought in one word it would be warped.

This book left me with an uneasy feeling the whole time I read it. The message at the end of the novel undermines all of the events leading up to it. Also, there are some odd religious themes and undertones at work that took Drought to a weird level.

The first one to two hundred pages is about Ruby and her community harvesting water. By scraping it off plants. With spoons. One drop at a time. I am surprised that I stuck through that for so long. During this time Ruby constantly repeats herself, yet never takes much action. 

Never is there a satisfying explanation for why Ruby and her family have been captured as slaves. Any information that is given is only repeated over and over. This lack of info did not create an air of mystery but a frustrating experience.

I think that all of the characters have multiple personality disorder. Sure, being a slave for two hundred years would have some negative psychological events, but it doesn’t explain how a character is kind and caring one minute and then harsh and disapproving the next. 

Ruby and Ford have one of the unhealthiest relationships in YA fiction. Ruby is two hundred years behind the times and infatuated with her cult of a religion, and Ford sometimes acts like the crazy slave-driver who controls the community. I missed the part where this is supposed to be romantic. Ford was simply an object of temptation to Ruby.

Drought is a kind of a psychological twister, but most of the plot is very uneventful. As I said before, the ending does a disservice to the rest of the book. The conflicts Ruby faces conveniently go away, which made me upset for having invested so much effort.

At times I thought I would enjoy Drought more than I did, especially at the beginning when there seemed to be so much promise, but I just don’t think I will ever read it again.  


Reboot by Amy Tintera    

                                Reboot

Pages: 365

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary from Goodreads:                              

 Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).


Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.

The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

Review:

Reboot sounded pretty awesome. It’s a zombie book with only minimal gore and plenty of blood.

Wren, the main character, is this cold-blooded killer, and I will admit that I respect her for that. She kills without regret, literally talking about how she enjoys the thrill of it all. I loved that about the book because typically when there is a murderer as a character they only feel guilt and remorse. This  look at the other side of a sociopathic mindset was refreshing in a disturbing kind of way. Wren is a very distant character, supposedly emotionless, though really she is just very awkward and anti-social. I found her to be amusing when she was in that odd emotional state:

“I guessed this was a friend thing. I saw the other girls doing it, so I went along with it.” – pg 11

(That sounds so much like my friend interactions it isn’t even funny.)

Of course she changes pretty quickly once she meets Callum, a very humanlike reboot. Wren sort of lost her edge once he entered the picture, but she regained some of her earlier killer personality by the end. Callum is the complete opposite of Wren, so I really enjoyed their scenes together (which are plentiful).

For the majority of the book, Wren and Callum are really the only characters that truly affect the plot. Sure, there are others, but really Callum is all Wren could think about. I wouldn’t call it insta-love because they were never necessarily mushy or made me want to gag myself on their gushiness. (Gushiness is totally word.)

The Texas pride evident in Reboot definitely caused me to favor this book a little more. I ain’t even going to try and act like it didn’t. The explanation for why the USA has fallen apart is practically non-existant, except for the fact that some disease killed many, many people and caused some of the victims to reboot. Texas is the only state still standing and it has become a dangerous place to live. The settings are excellent, though my favorite is the dystopian version of Austin:

“‘It’s weird here,’ he mumbled.” – pg 295

TINTERA, I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE.

Reboot will have a sequel, which I feel is much needed because the ending was a little too convenient. I’m hoping this means something bad will start off the next book because I want to read more of Wren kicking butt.



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