Quentin and Margo used to be best friends, living right across the street from each other in Florida the two would play at the park together. Nine years later, Quentin and Margo had gone their separate ways until one night when Margo sneaks into Quentin’s room asking for help in a revenge plot. After a night of pranks, vandalism and break ins, Margo has disappeared. Quentin is desperate to find her and with a few of his friends and a series of clues, he embarks on a journey that he will never forget.
What I Thought of Paper Towns
I usually am not a big fan of romance novels because I feel like they are repetitive and dull. However, I decided to keep an open-mind and take a chance on this book, and I’m glad I did. This is not your classic sappy romance novel; Paper Towns is a compelling read with its smart characters and fast-paced plot. But what really separates Paper Towns from other YA fiction is its message. This book leads you on a wild adventure but ends with a thoughtful finish, providing needed closure while also making you think.
The most memorable moment was, like many books are, at the end. John Green sets readers up for a dramatic ending but instead he ends the novel with a surprising plot-twist.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like standing on the top of the world? Well it’s not as glamorous as it seems. On a writing assignment for Outside magazine, Jon Krakauer and his group members at Adventure Consultants attempt the ultimate achievement: climbing Mount Everest. But scaling the tallest mountain in the world wasn’t the only problem on Jon and his fellow climbers’ minds; a crowded mountain, inexperienced climbers and and unpredictable weather patterns make Everest a lot more complicated than it seems. And with little oxygen there’s no room for human error…
What I Thought of Into Thin Air
I used to think that if I was a good climber with enough experience, I would climb Everest. Not anymore! This book has opened my eyes to what really happens on the mountain and how agonizing climbing it can be, even for experienced climbers. However through all the pain and struggling, Into Thin Air is an extraordinary story of survival showing how even in the worst situations people can manage to pull through. Even as disaster struck, the climbers retained willpower and passion that ultimately determined their fates. But Into Thin Air isn’t just a captivating story, it asks some important questions regarding if places like Everest just aren’t for human exploration. Even though the writing style and descriptions didn’t blow me away, it is a must-read!
Out of all the action-packed events in this novel, the most exciting moment was when a helicopter came in to save someone’s, who I will not name for the sake of spoilers, life.
The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson
Hayley’s father has been attempting for five years to escape his memories of Iraq. He’s been on the road with Hayley, traveling from town to town, struggling to block out his inner demons. After coming up fruitless time and time again, finally the father-daughter duo is settling down in Hayley’s father’s hometown. Haley finally has the chance to live an ordinary life; go to school, make new friends maybe even have a boyfriend! But with Hayley’s own painful memories and her father’s PTSD pushing him to the edge, being normal seems impossible.
What I Thought of The Impossible Knife of Memory
The Impossible Knife of Memory contains some great qualities, but one characteristic of this novel takes my review from five stars to four. In this book, Laurie Halse Anderson creates a gripping, relatable novel about trauma and recovery but unlike her other books, such as Speak, The Impossible Knife of Memory lacked my emotional connection. Before delving in to why I was so unemotional about this novel, I’ll explain what I enjoyed first. Most of all, I liked how this book focused mainly on PTSD but not solely. Almost every character had their own dilemmas, each distinctive and each tied in well. For instance, Hayley’s best friend’s family was falling apart as her parents divorced, and Finn had problems that aren’t revealed until the end. This makes The Impossible Knife of Memory relatable on three fields rather than one. Finn’s secrets are another component I enjoyed about this book, that and Hayley’s father unpredictability kept me intrigued throughout the novel. Additionally, even with this heavy topic, there’s plenty of entertaining humor! So what didn’t I like? As I said earlier, in books like Speak I felt like the book was pulling on my heart’s strings, but this was not the case for The Impossible Knife of Memory. We never learned enough about Hayley’s dad for us readers to be able to really grow attached to his character, especially since his backstory about his time in Iraq/Afghanistan is somewhat of a mystery. On the other hand, I did enjoy The Impossible Knife of Memory and recommend it to any fan of Laurie Halse Anderson or contemporary fiction. But if you are looking for a heart-wrenching novel about PTSD this may not be the book for you.
A memorable part in The Impossible Knife of Memory is when Hayley is describing other people as either “freaks” or “zombies”. I thought this described Hayley’s unique voice and character very well in only a few sentences.
The first wave destroys all electronics. In the second wave, coastlines are destroyed. The third wave is a plaque that kills billions of people. During the fourth wave, aliens use humans as hosts. Now, the 5th wave is approaching and Cassie and Ben are on separate missions to save and avenge their loved ones. Cassie promised herself that she would rescue her brother from the soldiers that killed her father. Ben has recovered from the plaque that killed his sister and is ready to fight against the aliens. In a world where no one can be trusted and survival is a game of chance, will Cassie and Ben survive to the 5th wave?
What I Thought of The 5th Wave
This novel is a great read for both boys and girls alike. The 5th Wave contains not one, but two thrilling stories, includes nonstop action and is strikingly quotable. The only part of The 5th Wave that I didn’t enjoy was the confusing switch of POVs. Rick Yancey wouldn’t state when he was switching to Ben’s, Evan’s or Cassie’s point of view so for the first few chapters it was hard to get a handle on what was going on. However, that being said, this shouldn’t be enough to offset you from reading The 5th Wave. Rick Yancey combines numerous great sci-fi elements to tell both of his storylines. Ben’s narrative coincides with that of Ender’s Game and Cassie’s is similar to The Passage, then when you throw in robot-like aliens, some Call of Duty-like warfare and plenty of dystopian survival you get a superb modern science fiction novel. And with the mystery of the 5th Wave, persistent fighting for survival and many plot-twists/cliffhangers the action never ends. Not to mention the great quotes like this, “I may be the last one, but I am the one still standing. I am the one turning to face the faceless hunter in the woods on an abandoned highway. I am the one not running but facing. Because if I am the last one, then I am humanity. And if this is humanity’s last war, then I am the battlefield.” For this and more awesome quotes and plot, read the 5th Wave. Believe me, once you start you won’t be able to put the book down!
The end is the most memorable part of the 5th Wave. It’s unexpected, action-packed and suspenseful with a cliff-hanger that entices you to read the next book.
There was no warning when all the adults disappeared in Perdido Beach. Out of the blue, suddenly everyone fifteen and older vanished. And with no internet, phones or television there’s no way to get help. Fourteen-year-old Sam Temple, rises up to the situation to figure out what’s happened and more importantly, why. But Sam and his friends, Astrid and Quinn, will realize soon enough they have bigger problems to worry about.
What I Thought of Gone
Gone really has it all. Smart, realistic characters, a fascinating premise with loads of action and social dynamics most kids can relate to. The only reason it doesn’t deserve five stars is because it was overly complicated and very confusing at times. For example, the book’s narrative was from multiple perspectives, which added great depth to the story but it also could be hard to keep track of. Then when you throw in the mutations and the long list of other characters and the disappearances…well, it became chaotic and sort of exhausting to read. On the other hand though, I still really liked Gone. Sam is exactly the character you want to read about in YA dystopias and Astrid and Lana are both strong female protagonists. The plot will hook you from the very start and the social structure in Gone’s Perdido Beach is unidealized and true-to-life, which I appreciated. All in all, anyone who loves science fiction and paranormal fantasy should read this book, just as long as you can handle a little gore or dark writing. I especially recommend it to fans of Unwind by Neal Shusterman or The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.
A memorable moment in Gone was when the Drake from Coates Academy put people’s hands in cement to keep them from using their powers. It was disturbing and I won’t be forgetting it any time soon!
When Amy and her parents were frozen as cargo on the spaceship Godspeed, they were told that they would awaken in three-hundred years on a new planet. This was not the case for Amy, who woke up fifty years before reaching the destination. And her awakening was no computer malfunction, someone aboard Godspeed had tried to kill her. But worst of all, her parents could be next. With the help of Elder, the future leader of the spaceship, Amy races against time to unlock Godspeed’s secrets and save her parents.
What I Thought of Across the Universe
Across the Universe is a sci-fi book to remember. There’s adventure, great world-building and many plot twists to keep you on your toes! You’d think Across the Universe would be boring because of the seemingly small setting, but it’s quite the opposite. Godspeed has many secrets, making it a very complex setting and the perfect place for Amy and Elder’s adventures. In addition, the author’s interpretation of how humans would evolve with the rise of technology and medicine is very intruiging. On the ship, everyone looked the same and many were given drugs, making them mindless and robot like in order to keep everyone under the leader’s control. This world-building is creative and clearly well thought-through. In spite of that, the best part of the book was the plot twists. I can’t describe any of them without spoiling…you are just going to have to read the book!
The most memorable moment is when you find out who was unplugging all the frozens. I didn’t expect it and the reveal was very suspenseful.
Twenty years after America first entered the Selection and won the heart of prince Maxon, their daughter Eadlyn is of age to find love of her own. The only problem is Eadlyn isn’t looking for romance. If things would go her way, she would never get married and rule Illéa independently. But Eadlyn’s duty is to the public, and with the entire kingdom in a state of tension, a Selection could help lift the strain and let the America and Maxon solve the problem. Eadlyn thinks the Selection will only last three months, but as she gets to know the boys Eadlyn may end up with a ring on her finger.
What I Thought of The Heir
Contrary to popular opinion, I enjoyed this book. The author created a realistic protagonist, with an appealing, original plot that I believe is overlooked by most. Eadlyn was bratty, selfish and probably is the most hated protagonist out there, but at least she wasn’t some boring, “perfect” princess. Instead of being a Cinderella, Eadlyn had a strong, complex personality and acted like her own antagonist, further capturing my interest. The story was also admirably interesting, it took a few risks but it paid off as it was all the more entertaining. For example, the Selection was reversed and Eadlyn (not her twin brother) was to become the ruler of Illéa. If you are willing to read something a little different, without a conventional protagonist then this book is for you.
The most memorable moment is when Ahren elopes with Camille. Ahren was a favorite character of mine and I was happy that he found someone he loved.
America’s struggled with her feelings for Aspen and Maxon, but finally America has made her choice. Except now there’s bigger problems ahead for America. With southern rebels closing in on the palace, alliances must be made and lives will be lost. Illéa’s future hangs in the balance and America’s just now uncovering all of the truth. Will everything fall into place, or fall apart?
What I Thought of The One
This is easily the best book in The Selection series. Kiera Cass seemingly amped everything up a notch: the romance, the drama, the action, all of it was pushed to the very max. And the best part is it worked for her! You never know what would happen next and just when you thought something was going to work out fine something would come up and change everything. The only reason I give the One four stars instead of five is because I thought there were too many deaths. None of the main characters were killed off, but there were characters that I really liked who died. Overall though, the One, and really the whole Selection series, is a worthwhile read that’s great for any fangirl or bookworm alike.
My favorite part of the One was when America gave up her jewelry so a man could pay off his debts for stealing clothes for his children. This was very generous of America, and a creative solution to the man’s problem.
When America entered the Selection she never thought it would come down to this. Thirty five girls entered, now only six are left, with America among them. Now the competition for Maxon is fiercer than ever, and America is still on the fence between Aspen and Maxon. And if she doesn’t act soon, she could lose them both.
What I Thought of The Elite
Overall, I enjoyed this book. With the Selection down to six girls, there was more focus on developing the characters and I found myself liking (and disliking!) characters more and more. Additionally, the author did a good job building the tension between characters and setting up for the next book. In fact there’s a lot in the Elite that influences events in the One. However even with all of this, the book only deserves three stars. This book felt dragged out and plainly uneventful. The back-and-forth between characters was irritating and the outcome of this back-and-forth was far too predictable. Don’t get me wrong though, many of the events, like I said earlier, were necessary but it just shouldn’t have been enough for an entire book. If the Elite was merged with the Selection or the One, it would’ve been far more enjoyable to read.
A memorable moment was when Celeste shows America that she’s dead-last in the popularity polls and Celeste is first. It made me question whether or not America would stay in the competition.
When four-year old Korean, Young Ju, boards the plane to America, she is sure that she is going to heaven. But upon arriving, Young Ju discovers that this is not the case at all. Young Ju speaks no english, knows no one other than her extended family and lives in what can only be described as the ghetto and it only gets harder from there. With a new baby, an alcoholic and abusive father and loads of pressure to fit in, Young Ju is very much afraid. But unless Young Ju can conquer her fears it may cost her both her and her mother’s life.
What I Thought of A Step From Heaven
Don’t get me wrong, this novel was cleverly written, well-thought out and realistic. However, A Step From Heaven does not deserve a five-star rating for a few important reasons. But first I’d like to detail what was good in the book.
An Na chose to write this book uniquely through vignettes and with much success, if you ask me. The vignettes gave the author the ability to cover a lot of ground in not very many pages and to focus on only the important details of story. Additionally, vignettes provided an even more realistic plot, making the readers feel as if Young Ju herself was recalling her memories to weave together a story. That’s another major strength this book has: relatability. Most likely anyone who has gone through abuse, immigration or possibly both could easily relate to this story. Even I, who has gone through neither abuse or immigration can sympathize and understand Young Ju’s feelings and actions. This is what probably made Young Ju such a great character. Her voice is authentic and strikingly lifelike, she is perfectly understandable and it is hard not to feel her suffering. Unfortunately, other aspects of the book were not quite as satisfactory as I could have hoped.
What was most frustrating about this book were the other characters’ lack of depth. No elaboration was made for any of the characters other than Young Ju. This means no backstories, no explanation for their actions; nothing. They were just…there. Call me crazy, but I wanted to know more about Young Ju’s family and friends! It would’ve given the book four, no five times as much depth, which according to me is very valuable in a novel. Speaking of, another valuable thing is the plot, which in this case, was completely predictable! From almost the very beginning of the book I knew exactly what was going to happen, and I was right! This made me bored through most of the book, and that’s why it received only three and a half stars. Nevertheless, I will give A Step From Heaven some credit, it’s an eye-opening read that’s both unique and true to life; and that’s saying something.
A memorable moment is the climax where Young Ju calls 911. I won’t say what for (because that will spoil the book) but I will say it was a suspenseful and exciting scene in the book.