Review: The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: March 24th 2015
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Paranormal, Ghosts, Revenge

BLURB:

“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.

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Review: My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger

My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park by Steve Kluger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Received: Bought
Publication Date: February 19th 2009
Publisher: Speak
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Diary, High School, Love, LGBT, Friendship, Family, Humour

BLURB:

There are only three great loves in T.C. Keller’s life: the Red Sox, his father, and his best friend and unofficial “brother,” Augie. But ninth grade is the year when he falls head-over-cleats in love with Ale Perez. She’s pretty, sassy, smart, and a great dancer. Ale is so busy playing hard to get that she doesn’t realize that she just might be falling head-over-tap shoes for T.C.’s Boston accent, too. Meanwhile, T.C.’s best friend, Augie, is falling in love as well, but with a boy? It may not be so clear to him; but to the rest of his family and friends, it’s totally obvious that Augie, who loves musicals and old school screen sirens such as Judy Garland, is head-over-heels in love with Andy Wexler.

Told in alternating perspectives, this is the story of their most excellent year, where these three friends discover themselves, love, and that a little magic and Mary Poppins can go a long way. Continue reading

Review: Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: Giveaway
Publication Date: April 21st 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Death, Love, Family

BLURB:

When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas—a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn’t want to give in to it—especially since he has no idea how they’re connected—but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost…and all that remains at stake.
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Review: The Calling (Endgame, #1) by James Frey & Nils Johnson-Shelton

The Calling by James Frey

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: October 7th 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Point of View: 3rd Person & Alternative
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Survival, Romance, Adventure

BLURB:

Twelve thousand years ago, they came. They descended from the sky amid smoke and fire, and created humanity and gave us rules to live by. They needed gold and they built our earliest civilizations to mine it for them. When they had what they needed, they left. But before they left, they told us someday they would come back, and when they did, a game would be played. A game that would determine our future.

This is Endgame.

For ten thousand years the lines have existed in secret. The 12 original lines of humanity. Each had to have a Player prepared at all times. They have trained generation after generation after generation. In weapons, languages, history, tactics, disguise assassination. Together the players are everything: strong, kind, ruthless, loyal, smart, stupid, ugly, lustful, mean, fickle, beautiful, calculating, lazy, exuberant, weak. They are good and evil. Like you. Like all.

This is Endgame.

When the game starts, the players will have to find three keys. The keys are somewhere on earth. The only rule of their Endgame is that there are no rules. Whoever finds the keys first wins the game. Endgame: The Calling is about the hunt for the first key. And just as it tells the story of the hunt for a hidden key, written into the book is a puzzle. It invites readers to play their own Endgame and to try to solve the puzzle. Whoever does will open a case filled with gold. Alongside the puzzle will be a revolutionary mobile game built by Google’s Niantic Labs that will allow you to play a real-world version of Endgame where you can join one of the lines and do battle with people around you.

Will exuberance beat strength? Stupidity top kindness? Laziness thwart beauty? Will the winner be good or evil? There is only one way to find out.

Play.
Survive.
Solve.
People of Earth.
Endgame has begun. Continue reading

Review: Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Stacy King, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Crystal Chan & SunNeko Lee

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Stacy King

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Received: NetGalley
Publication Date: March 10th 2015
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Point of View: /
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Historical, Religion, Manga, Classics

BLURB:

A powerful tale of forbidden love, shame, and revenge comes to life in Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter. Faithfully adapted by Crystal Chan from the original novel, this new edition features stunning artwork by SunNeko Lee (Manga Classics: Les Miserables) which will give old and new readers alike a fresh insight into the Nathaniel Hawthorne’s tragic saga of Puritan America.

Manga Classics editions feature classic stories, faithfully adapted and illustrated in manga style, and available in both hardcover and softcover editions.

Proudly presented by UDON Entertainment and Morpheus Publishing. Continue reading

Review: I Was Here by Gayle Forman

I Was Here by Gayle Forman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Received: Borrowed
Publication Date: January 27th 2015
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Point of View: 1st Person & Feminine
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Suicide, Friendship, Family

BLURB:

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss. Continue reading