Thursday, January 29, 2015

There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake


Will be Lies by Nick Lake
Pub: 1/6/2015
Pgs: 464
ARC Provided by NetGalley

Shelby Jane Cooper never really gets out much.  She lives a quiet uneventful life with her mother, she is homeschooled, and her mother has trained her to be wary of everyone.  Shelby might not ever go to college, get a job, or even go on a date because of the invisible leash her mother has her on, but she doesn't really complain because her mother does it out of love and worry.  How can she know that there is something more sinister than that lurking behind her mother's reasoning?  One night she does the unthinkable; her mother has given her strict instructions to be outside of the library at 8 PM not a minute more and not a minute less, but Shelby decides to go out to wait for her mother a couple of minutes earlier than planned.  How was she supposed to know that would be the night that all her mother's worries became reality?  Struck by a vehicle and before she loses consciousness she sees a a lone coyote, and she is warned there will be two lies and then the truth, right before she passes out.  Slowly, as the hospital begins to ask simple questions such as insurance information, Shelby realizes her mother is hiding something... but what she can't imagine is that her mother his harboring a deep and dark secret that will crush Shelby's reality into pieces.

This was such a great story.  I may have given it 3.5 stars but it's because there were things I personally did not like about Shelby.  The overall situation with her mother, the lies, and eventually the truth were what roped me in.  The interludes of Shelby passing out and dreaming of  journeys fit for Native Indian mythology were also not may favorite.  Don't get me wrong, I completely understood why the author chose to reveal the truth to Shelby via the dreams.  Her coming to terms with the reality was by far a journey of great spirituality.  I really did like Charm & Strange, and just like that one this novel inspired constant turning of the pages to find out how this all would be accomplished.

3.5 Stars, Thanks NetGalley. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Is January YA Suicide Month?

Okay, maybe I am being a little more critical than called for. However, the three YA books in this review published in January can really get you down, make you mad, and frankly just contemplate life.

The Five Stages of Andrew BrawleyThe Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson
Pub: 1/20/2015
Pgs: 336
Arc Received by Edelweiss

This story is about a boy named Andrew.  He is lost, alone, angry, and desperate.  Working under the table at the hospital cafeteria, volunteering in the E.R., and visiting various sectors of the hospital are the things Andrew looks forward to; facing reality is the last thing on his mind.  He's been able to stay off the radar and blend into the sterile atmosphere in the hospital; however, on July 4th after a terrible party accident sends a teenage boy to the E.R. badly burned Andrew's anonymity amongst the hospital may be put at risk.  There is something about this boy-Rusty- that pulls and Andrew, and also pulls the past back into focus for him. After losing his family Andrew hasn't been the same, but what if something tragic happens to you and it's your fault?  Can one ever forgive themselves and accept who they really are?  And when reality strikes, how far will you go to keep from living it?

I really enjoyed the story, and found myself to be equally engrossed and angry.  This story will make you upset, angry, sad, scared, and ultimately hopeful.

4 out of 5 stars, thanks Edelweiss.

I Was Here
I Was Here by Gayle Forman
Pub: 1/27/2015
Pgs: 288
Arc Received by Edelweiss

Best friends sometimes doesn't mean forever.  We have all experienced growing up, moving on to college, losing that extreme connection to someone we considered are better and other half.  Cody and Meg's friendship is no exception to the rules.  As little girls they were inseparable; Meg was the light of Cody's life.  However, life took both girls to completely different places, and as they grew apart both lived out a different life.  But how was Cody supposed to know that her friend was keeping a deadly secret?  After Meg is discovered dead by suicide, Cody has to come to terms to one of the greatest losses she has experienced.  And as she comes to these terms, she slowly begins to learn things about Meg's life that she had never known existed.  Trying to reconcile her memory of her best friend from this secretive and desperate girl who eventually took her life isn't easy, but Cody becomes desperate herself to figure out the last chapter of her friend's life.  Encountering roommates, past flings, and eventually a secret that will shock her Cody discovers that sometimes the people we love are not exactly who we thought they were. 

This story was such an emotional roller coaster.  At first I thought it would be a story of discovery, but it delved so much deeper into the world of depression and suicide.  It's great when stories give a voice to, perhaps, taboo subject.  But the point still remains, depression can and does effect many including their family and friends.  Coming to terms with a loved one's depression/suicidal tendencies, or coming to terms with your own is a very scary thing because no one wants to talk about it.  Instead we shame each other by making it taboo, and in the end all that was possibly needed was an ear to listen and a shoulder to lean on.

4 out of 5 stars, thanks Edelweiss.

Playlist for the Dead

Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff
Pub: 1/27/2015
Pgs: 288
Arc Received by Edelweiss

After a terrible ending to a party Hayden decides to take his own life.  His best friend Sam, ready to apologize, is the one to find Hayden lying dead in his bedroom the next morning from a drug overdose.  The only clue he left behind was a playlist, specifically for Sam.  Now Sam immerses himself in the playlist trying to figure out why his only friend was so desperate enough to kill himself.  Soon Sam starts figuring out that Hayden had some secrets that he didn't even share with him. Full of bullies, amazing songs, revenge, and puzzles this book is sure to keep readers entertain.  My only problem with this book is the revenge aspect, and who is dishing it out.  Especially since things end so flatly and almost as if done quickly to run away from the story itself. 

3 out of 5 stars.  Thanks Edelweiss.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe

The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant (The V Trilogy, #2)
The Wicked Awakening of Anne Merchant by Joanna Wiebe
Pub: 1/20/2015
Pgs: 320
ARC provided by NetGalley, Edelweiss and The Author's Marketing Department

“Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man.”-Nietzsche

The second book of Wiebe's The V Trilogy was an impressive sophomoric release.  Normally the biggest challenges for authors and readers is getting through the second book.  Normally nothing happens in these books, but information overload.  That was not the case in this book.  Anne has been brought back to Cania Christy by Teddy.  Her rebellious acts in the end of the first book with Ben, has literally brought down Hell.  Mephistopheles is no longer the head master, and the new one, Dia, is something to look at.  Now Anne has to deal with all the backlash, Ben's punishment, her father's punishment, and eventually the truth of her origins. 

I did not see that coming at all.  The fact that Anne seems unimportant in the first book is notable.  Why is everyone in a tizzy about  her?  In the second book, all is revealed, including why Dia really came to Cania Christy, and Anne's connection to Hilltop (Mephistopheles).  I personally liked the twist; however, I did not like what ended up happening with Dia.  Hopefully Anne doesn't become one of these YA heroines that start acting before really thinking.  The ending seemed to be an ending; however, since this is a trilogy I have no clue (except for one, connected to Ben) as to what the third book will have in store for readers.  I like that a lot about this author, she subtly twists the readers out of their prescribed notions and hits them with surprises.  Very glad that I read this book, and was given the opportunity to read it early.  Anne might be okay, but she is definitely not done saving her loved ones and her soul.

4.5 stars!