Tag Archive | 2010

Book Review: Gods is in the Pancakes by Robin Epstein

God Pancakes

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“Fifteen-year-old Grace Manning is a candy striper in a nursing home, and Mr. Sands is the one patient who makes the job bearable. He keeps up with her sarcasm, teaches her to play poker . . . and one day cheerfully asks her to help him die. At first Grace says no way, but as Mr. Sands’s disease progresses, she’s not so sure. Grace tries to avoid the wrenching decision by praying for a miracle, stuffing herself with pancakes, and running away from all feelings, including the new ones she has for her best friend Eric. But Mr. Sands is getting worse, and she can’t avoid him forever. Robin Epstein has delivered an incredibly engaging, thought-provoking debut YA novel, with all the snappy dialogue and attitude of the movie Juno.”

What I See: This book challenges it’s characters in a rarely seen contemporary way. I appreciated that, but there was still something missing. Grace Manning is a strong female teen character, and perhaps that’s why I’m not entirely on board. She acts a bit too adult. She’s a bit too mature.

It’s a different kind of story, with beautiful passages and thoughts through Grace. I don’t want to hate on Grace, I just want to bring to attention that it’s all a bit cookie cutter when it comes to the end. To go from super adult to typical YA ending makes have a disconnect. 

Nevertheless, it’s a story that tugs at the heartstrings. It’s a coming of age story that hits all the buttons and targets for what a books needs to be. And yet, I wanted something more. Not more pages, but I guess it’s the ending for me. It’s a bit 80’s romantic comedy. The major chunk of the story is full of heart and trials, and I guess I wished the end reflected that growth of character. But the grief subject matter is a great discussion point and I’m pleased that Epstein went there. There needs to be more contemporary, stand alone YA books out there!

 

Book Review: Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Crescendo cover

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Please note: This is the second book in the Hush, Hush series and does contain spoilers.

Check out my review for Hush, Hush (1).

A few weeks ago Nora Grey almost died. When her life was in danger, the smoky hot mysterious Patch did the unthinkable and saved her life. If she died Patch could have taken her life and become human, but instead he saved her and became her guardian angel.

Yet the angels above are keeping an eye on Patch, Making his relationship with Nora…complicated. When an old childhood friend of Nora’s comes back to town, suddenly there are questions involving her father’s death. In this small town of Maine there are a lot more secrets than Nora could ever imagine. If Patch isn’t by her side to sort them out, will she be able to handle the truth?

I can’t say that this sequel was as good as the first. The habits that Nora had established in the first book were completely absent and she reverted to an unimaginative one-dimensional character obsessed with her love interest.

However, I kept going because the plot was intriguing. What lacked in character development/progression can be slightly overlooked due to the thrilling mystery the story created. Fitzpatrick did a brilliant job of giving the reader just enough hints of information to keep me turning the pages.

Plus, the ending is even more explosive than the first book. I’m going to keep reading the series but I was disappointed that the second seemed to forget everything good it had established in the first. 

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched Cover

Matched Info

Cassia Reyes has been waiting seventeen years to attend her Matching ceremony. A right of passage event when eligible teenagers receive their chosen matched partner. The officials have worked everything out. Each citizen is prepared to have the maximized proficiency for their life: Food is fuel, not taste, activities are for body performance, not enjoyment and life moves on with peace.

Cassia receives her match and her life is scheduled to be everything she had hoped. Until the day when there’s a flicker of doubt on her tablet screen. Suddenly someone else replaces, if only for a brief second, her match’s face. This doubtful seed gives birth to a love Cassia is not supposed to feel. A strict follower of the rules Cassia begins to see them for what they are. In a world full of control can there be room for freedom?

I’ve been so excited to get my hands on Matched. I loved the premise of the story and I can’t wait to continue Cassia’s story. I see it as a Young Adult version of Orwell’s 1984. I was struck by the sadness of the loss of physical writing. It’s such a simple little detail, but it’s a relevant one that goes unnoticed today. The passing of Cassia’s grandfather is also more emotional than most YA’s go.

The emotion that is engrossed in the pages gives the book a broader audience, meaning that younger readers will enjoy the love and romance, whilst older ones will see the deeper meanings. Condie has got more than just a romance on her hands and I thrilled that the final instalment in the series, Reached was published last month. If you’re not a fan of romance there is other interesting aspects to this book so please don’t be thrown. Matched is not a traditional romance Young Adult! 

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall Cover

Before I Fall Details

February 12th, also known as ‘Cupid Day’ for senior Samantha Kingston at Thomas Jefferson High School. Every American High School has a day like this. Students buy flowers, write a message and send them to whomever throughout the day. It’s a race for popularity to see who receives the most. Sam’s one of the most popular girls in school along with her best friends Lindsay, Ally and Elody. Her boyfriend Rob is the hottest guy in school and tonight she’s going to lose her virginity to him.

With popularity comes a way to act and for Sam this is no different. Cruel and cold to all the other students in her class, she doesn’t bat an eye to painful pranks pulled by Lindsay against her enemy Juliet Sykes. When the group attend a party by geeky guy Kent in school, Sam watches as her life pools at her feet. Tired and drunk from the festivities, Sam sits in the front of the car as Lindsay gets behind the wheel. They were supposed to make it home, Sam is too young to die, but the car hits something and suddenly she’s falling.

However, that isn’t the end of Sam’s story as she wakes up to a brand new February 12th. Stuck in the ‘in between’, Sam must figure why she’s reliving her last day on Earth. A journey of self-discovery that comes too late, Samantha Kingston, this was your life.

This is the kind of book that you might not originally like whilst reading, but it’s after you finish that it creeps into your heart. Sam Kingston is your typical mean girl and I really struggled with her character throughout most of the book. Her redeeming qualities took forever to come about and I felt as if most of the novel was just an excuse for her to piss all over everyone simply because she could.

Yet, the ending gives me what I want and as each day begins anew there’s a little bit more of Sam that is less snobbish and more genuine. This isn’t a story of the Mean Girls; it’s a story behind every insecure teenager trying to get through High School in one piece. Sam does evolve and I grew to like her for learning to stand up for herself. This is the kind of book that does take you back to those four years when everyone though they were invincible, that the future was bright and open. You’ll anxiously await turning the pages, wondering what Sam is going to do or learn next.

Many thanks to Stacey of PrettyBooks for this book!