[REVIEW] Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

In Red Queen, people are divided up by the color of their blood: those with red blood and those with silver blood that have special abilities.  Mare Barrow, a poverty stricken Red, lives under the rule of the Silvers when she finds herself working at the Silver Palace.  She soon after discovers a silver-like ability of her own.

The beginning of this story was the highlight for me.  I really liked the dynamic of Mare’s relationships with her family.  It really felt like she had a clear goal from the beginning of the story.  The plot points before the big Palace scene were interesting and felt like they really kept the story going.

Then Mare discovers her power and the plot points after that felt like too much, and I didn’t really understand what was going on.  Maybe it was a lack of interest that kept me from understanding because I felt like I’ve read a much similar story before in YA literature.  I found the characters, setting, and plot interesting, but not compelling enough to really care much about them.  And I really wish this weren’t one of those stories where the main character has no female friends because they’re all fighting over the men.  I just always find it really hard to believe that not one female side character is not on the main characters side.  Evangeline was an interesting character, but Mare was always so jealous of her.  I just find the fighting over a guy thing so boring now. /End rant.

The one thing I truly appreciated in this story was the romance subplot.  It’s very much not what you expect it to be. I would have been annoyed by it in the end, but once everything is actually revealed, it is a lot more complicated than you expect.

In the end, I just feel that this book was the wrong one for me at this time.  Had I not been semi-spoiled for the ending, I might have enjoyed it much more.  That said, this book is great for anyone interested in reading a YA fantasy right now, just not me.



[REVIEW] I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak

Markus Zusak’s I Am The Messenger is a truly unique tale of what happens when ordinary Ed Kennedy receives a card with just three addresses which spurs his journey as the messenger to those in need.  It is a touching novel that really makes you see just how connected all our stories are

I was wary going into the book.  I did not want to be disappointed after reading The Book Thief, and while the writing styles were the same, the narrative in this novel was refreshingly different and suited the story.  How Zusak could take all my favorite aspects of his writing but still make it wholly new to suit a different tale is a real testament to how his writing really puts the reader in the setting.

There was so much truth in the characters of Ed and his friends.  They were so believable as new adults struggling with their own way and backgrounds.  Each one was extremely interesting, especially with the way they tied into the story.

My favorite part of this novel was the premise.  It was such an inventive and completely unprecedented one, unlike anything I’ve ever read before.  The way Ed gets sucked into this adventure and completely absorbed by the mystery of it in turn captured my interest, making me want to keep reading.  Even the first scene captures you with its equal parts drama and humor.  It certainly sets the tone for the novel.  Every single story was important to the message as a whole, and I loved every one of them.  Each one had a role, and though seemingly unrelated to each other, came together in the end to make the message. 

The story is witty and poignant and sometimes emotional, and Zusak certainly does not disappoint for my second of his novels.



[REVIEW] I Was Here by Gayle Forman

This Young Adult novel follows Cody as she deals with the suicide of her best friend Meg.  When  Cody finds something off about the suicide of her best friend, it takes her on a journey to discover the parts of Meg’s life kept hidden that led up to her death.  It is an emotional experience of forgiveness and relationships – platonic and romantic.

I found Cody to be very relatable in dealing with her grief and the unknown life of her best friend.   Her relationships with other characters were interesting and complex, especially because the romance of the story took a backseat.  And the way she dealt with these new and old relationships after the death of her best friend was very authentic and felt true to Cody’s character. 

Although it was nice to see the romance in the story taking a backseat in the beginning, I felt that in the end it was too rushed.  Maybe it could have been actually more developed and worked with the story or left more open-ended to fit better.  In general, too, things of import were rushed or skipped over.  You could easily miss information that we were meant to be looking for or that maybe should have been fleshed out in detail. 

The mystery of the novel was compelling and really made me want to keep reading.  The mystery and the story of the suicide was a very unique one, unlike any other one I’ve read before.  The messages of mental health and forgiveness of oneself and others are also ones I appreciated most about this story, and why I read stories like it.  Though I wish the story and some relationships could have been developed more, it was an overall enjoyable read.



[REVIEW] All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


The story of a boy called Finch and a girl named Violet . . .

Violet, who’s sister has died in a car accident, and Finch, who is obsessed with death, meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school and end up saving each other.  All The Bright Places is the story of how their lives come together, and the mark that death and mental illness leave on the lives of those who are around it.

This story is one that is so important, and I felt that it was dealt with so well. It was not this romanticized thing, but something that could be helped and needed to be helped.  The way it was portrayed, as this ruthless disease, was so real and it was heartbreaking.

The relationship between Violet and Finch was very organic, and reading about each from the other’s point of view, the way they grew on each other was very believable.  They were not dependent on each other, but were two separate people that helped each other grow.  The two separate point of views were also very well done, each voice coming through clearly each time.

Violet and Finch were strong characters, with an abundance of charming qualities as well as flaws.  Their flaws are what made them more relatable and believable.  I was amazed at how much I loved all the background characters.  Almost all of them were three dimensional and developed.  And the parental presence for each main character was so different, but so important in shaping their characters (something you don’t see often in YA).

There is also a Help Line Resource Guide included in the back of my hardcover copy.

Overall a heart wrenching and very authentic story that I could hardly put down.