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Posts by Warren Griffin

Legend by Marie Lu

Legend by Marie Lu

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Release date: November 29, 2011

Pages: 336

Summary: Day is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. He commits crimes that disturb the peace and upset the government’s totalitarian control, but he never takes any lives.

June is the Republic’s golden girl. She got a perfect score on her Trial, making her the best candidate for a military position—and also the best person to find and capture Day. Though Day and June are bitter enemies, they might just find that they have a common enemy…

My thoughts: Legend is a gripping, moving, and thoroughly enjoyable tale of political intrigue and adventure. This book inspired me to write my essay for you. The dual narrative offers two very different perspectives on the same story, and it’s up to the reader to decide whose side they want to take. The distinctions between the narratives of Day and June are subtle, but Lu is very successful in writing through both the male and female teen perspective. Marie Lu’s writing is engaging, and she knows how to grasp her readers’ attention. With every turn of the page, there is something that makes you never want to leave the world of Legend—it’s just that absorbing. The words jump right off the page and into your brain. Legend would make an excellent movie, I think.

Legend’s shining aspect is not the fast-paced, engaging story—it’s the characters. Day and June may not quite read like they’re fifteen (an age awfully young for a protagonist in dystopian in YA), but they’re totally and completely lovable. Day is an underdog with great intentions, so he’s the easiest to warm to. June, on the other hand, is at first a bit rigid, but she opens up throughout the course of the novel. Together, Day and June are absolutely fantastic. There is a bit of romance in this story, but I felt as if it was almost unnecessary. The bond between the two grows very strong, and their friendship is actually sweeter than their first kiss.

The world-building in Legend at first seems a bit simple, but later it’s revealed to be so much more. The ways in which Marie Lu doles out hints to the true intentions of the government is absolutely perfect, and the reader is never left hanging for too long. The ways in which the Republic operates is fascinating, and every move they make, while horrifying, makes a sickening sort of sense.

Legend is a dystopian story not to be missed! It takes the genre to a whole new level with its stellar characters and complex world. The fast pace will hook readers instantly, and the dual perspectives will appeal to both guys and girls. If you’re looking for a thoroughly enjoyable read, Legend has you covered.

4.5/5 stars

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

 

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Publisher: Dutton

Release date: June 14, 2012

Pages: 395

 

Summary: Samantha’s mother has always disapproved of the Garrett family. They have too many children, too messy of a yard, and not nearly enough organization—plus, they live next door. Samantha, on the other hand, has always been fascinated with the Garretts. When she finally meets one of the Garrett boys by chance, she realizes what she’s been missing, and discovers that she doesn’t share her mother’s opinion of them.

My thoughts: Huntley Fitzpatrick is the next big voice in contemporary YA, I can just feel it! My Life Next Door is, hands down, one of the best pieces of realistic YA I’ve read in awhile. A big part of this love is due to the fact that while reading, you feel like you’re actually a part of the story—you’re so fully immersed that you don’t even feel like you’re reading words on a page. There’s something about Samantha’s voice that is connecting, that enables Huntley Fitzpatrick to bridge the gap between mind and page.

The honest storyline is fantastic, with twists that take the characters in unexpected directions. My Life Next Door is just like life: unpredictable and not always happy. But the happy parts of the novel are definitely the best. The romance, specifically, is the kind that’s sweet and heart-warming to watch evolve. I love the way Fitzpatrick handles the development of love between Samantha and Jase—it feels just right.

Though the story is near perfect, with its many moments of thought-provocation, the characters are what make My Life Next Door an absolute gem. The cast is quite large (consider the fact that Jase has seven brothers and sisters), but every single character stands out. By the end of the book, you’ll be able to say something about each of Jase’s siblings. About his parents. About Sam’s friends. Because they’re all unique, funny, and memorable. My favorite of all the characters (aside from the main two) would definitely be Tim, Sam’s drug-addicted acquaintance who turns out to be the most hilarious and quick guy on the planet. Fitzpatrick’s attention to even the smallest of characters is amazing.

If you like teen fiction, you absolutely must pick up My Life Next Door. I promise you’ll love it—it’s impossible not to!

5/5 stars

For those who like: romance, family drama, laughs 

Similar book you can find here

 

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux

Release date: September 4, 2012

Pages: 304

Summary: In 1873, the mermaid Syrenka kills the man who rapes her in order to become mortal. She marries the man she loves and lives in peace until the wife of the man she murdered comes after her. In present day, Hester discovers a young man in a cave by the sea and is strangely drawn to him. A family curse has prevented her from falling in love…until now.

My thoughts: Breaking news: I’ve finally found a mermaid book that I love! I was beginning to lose hope in the sub-genre when Monstrous Beauty hit my radar. I’m thrilled to announce that Monstrous Beauty is THE mermaid book of this year, at least for me, and that I would highly recommend it—especially to those wary of scaly ladies.

Monstrous Beauty stands out amongst other mermaid books because of its lush prose and mature tone. While other mermaid books play up the funny and cute, Monstrous Beauty revolves around a dark subject and isn’t afraid to terrify its readers. Elizabeth Fama’s writing is absolutely gorgeous, and its sinister edge perfectly reflects the story.

Fama uses a dual timeline to craft one heck of a mystery: the story flip-flops between the 1870’s and the present day, both narratives relating closely to one another. This adds such suspense to the novel: Fama almost always ends her chapters on cliffhangers, leaving the reader eager to reach the continuation (which usually occurs after the subsequent chapter). Readers will love the build-up and ultimate revelation of Monstrous Beauty’s mystery: it’s well structured, and its subject matter (mermaids! curses!) is very interesting.

I fell in love with Monstrous Beauty because of its fascinating mythology, its gorgeous writing, and its captivating narrative. Give it a read if you’re looking for a fresh take on mermaids!
I fell in love with the characters, the setting, and the story immediately.

If you’re looking for a book to put you right on the edge of your seat, it is a perfect choice.

It will win over the hearts of all readers with its creative concept, lovable characters, and thrilling storyline.
Have any of you read it, guys? Don’t hesitate to share your opinion in the comments below!  I’d gladly discuss this book with you personally.

4.5/5 stars

For those who like: mermaids, mystery, curses

 

Memento Nora by Angie Smibert

Memento Nora by Angie Smibert

Publisher: Marshall Cavendish Children’s Books

Release date: April 1, 2011

Pages: 192

Summary: Nora lives in a world full of explosions. Almost every day, a bomb goes off—set by the Coalition, a terrorist group with no known motive—and someone dies. To forget what they’ve seen, witnesses can head to their local Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, where they take a white pill and their memories are erased. After witnessing a particularly gory bombing, fifteen-year-old Nora is taken to the TFC to have her memory erased. Except that while in the waiting room, she sees a boy spit out his pill, and is inspired to do the same. Memento Nora brings up an important question—should we choose to run away from what troubles us?

 

My thoughts: On the surface, Memento Nora seems like any other dystopian book out there. Upon finishing the book, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not—it’s more. All three of Memento Nora’s narrators have troubled lives—lives that, as the book continues, get much more complicated. I liked how despite the terrible things in their lives, the three main characters still decide against taking the forgetting pill. It really speaks to the strength of their character.

 

The world that Angie Smibert created was very clever. It had the usual characteristics of a dystopian—a corrupt government, a resistance to said corrupt government, and an overload of technology—but it still managed to seem fresh. I had so many questions about Nora’s world—what is the coalition? Why are they setting off bombs? Who came up with the white pill?—and answers to all of them were revealed at perfect points in the novel.

 

Memento Nora’s three narrators, Nora, Micah, and Winter, made the book feel fleshed out. Because the three teens were from different social classes, we got to see the story from different angles and perspectives. The connections between the three were expertly woven, and though I think I enjoyed Micah’s perspective the most, all were enjoyable.

 

I’d recommend Memento Nora to anyone who loves the dystopian genre but wants a bit more substance. The book has great moral messages without seeming preachy, and the action-packed world in which the three narrators live is one you won’t want to leave (unless a bomb goes off. Then run the heck away).
At the moment I am thinking about what to read next, do you have any ideas, guys?

4.5/5 stars

Origin by Jessica Khoury

 

Origin by Jessica Khoury

Publisher: Razorbill

Release date: September 4, 2012

Pages: 372

Summary: Pia is immortal. She was raised in a scientific compound buried deep in the Amazon jungle. Once Pia passes a sequence of tests, she will be able to work with the scientists who created her—she will be able to help engineer more immortals like her. But the tests become increasingly difficult for Pia because they demand that she put her humanity aside. This is particularly hard, since Pia has been sneaking out of the compound to meet with Eio, a local villager who makes her forget about immortality.

My thoughts: There’s a reason Origin is part of Penguin’s Breathless Reads campaign: the book literally takes your breath away with its heart-pounding storyline. Origin is an adventure: one full of chase scenes, dangerous experiments, and murderous intent. If you’re a fan of fast-paced novels, Origin will be right up your alley. It’s a very difficult book to put down because of its almost tangible suspense. If there’s one thing Jessica Khoury is good at, it’s making readers bite their nails.

Pia, Origin’s protagonist, is a difficult character to connect with because of her arrogance and haughty attitude. I like this choice: it allows for so much growth as the book progresses. Pia never really reaches the point of relatable, but that’s the point: we’re not supposed to fully connect with her; we’re merely supposed to enjoy watching her change over time. I did enjoy reading Pia’s story, and for the type of tale she’s telling, her character works.

Eio, on the other hand, is easy to love. His genuine and unrestrained affection for Pia is too adorable not to fall for.

Something that prevents Origin from being a five-star read is the writing style. Khoury is fond of simple, abrupt sentences, and while this keeps the pace moving, it doesn’t make for a beautiful read. Considering the lush jungle setting, I would have expected more from the writing style. Still, since Origin’s selling point is its addictive story, Khoury’s to-the-point writing is effective.

Pick up a copy of Origin if you haven’t read a thriller in a while. It will remind you why fast-paced books are always fun.
I couldn’t express how pleased I am to get your feedback, I would appreciate it very much.

3.5/5 stars

For those who like: mad scientists, immortality, jungle boys

 

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Publisher: Feiwel & Friend
Release date: May 22, 2012

Pages: 336

Summary: While vacationing in Florida, Emma bumps into Galen and his sister Rayna. Emma doesn’t know it yet, but Galen and Rayna are royal Syrena—merpeople. Their kingdom is going through a rough patch, and Emma might have a gift special enough to fix it. This is when Emma discovers that she isn’t who she thought she was—she’s not even human.

My thoughts: Of Poseidon is one of those rare books with which I find myself torn. Part of me loves the silliness of it, and for the sake of pure enjoyment, Of Poseidon delivers. On the other hand, it could have been so much more. The story is riddled with clichés, such as a love interest whose sole purpose in life is to protect and assist the heroine. There is instantaneous romance. But during the first few chapters of the book, I still found myself smiling. Anna Banks’ writing style is compulsively readable, and the personality she gives to Emma is for the most part fun. If you go into Of Poseidon expecting a few familiar elements, I think it will be more enjoyable.

The Syrena (mermaid) mythology is very well done in Of Poseidon. The history that Anna Banks builds is solid, and it makes logical sense (well, the political parts. Making mermaids logical is tough.). I found myself paying the most attention when Emma was learning the ropes about the Syrena because Banks’ concept is so creative.

Of Poseidon features a dual narrative, something I love in YA. Emma’s portion is told in first person, but oddly enough, Galen’s portion is told in third. This doesn’t give us as good of a look inside his head as expected, but it still works, and the style feels natural, for the most part. Emma’s portions are more fun to read because her personality, like I mentioned earlier, is a ton of fun. I think another part of why I preferred Emma’s narration was due to the fact that Galen is a bit overly focused on Emma and how much he wants to kiss/protect her. It’s a personal preference, of course, but he seems a little bit over-the-top when he is in Emma’s presence. In other situations, like when he is with other Syrena or his sister, he’s fun.

Although critically Of Poseidon has its flaws, it succeeds in being just plain enjoyable. Fans of paranormal YA will sink their teeth into this book and devour every page—especially if they like the romance that often comes with it.

3/5 stars

For those who like: mermaids, devoted love interests, banter

 

Nightspell by Leah Cypess

Summary: Years ago, Darri’s sister Callie was sent to Ghostland to marry a prince and form a political alliance. Darri never forgave herself for letting Callie be forced to live in a community where half its residents are actually dead. Now she has the opportunity to go take her sister’s place. Unfortunately, Darri finds herself in the middle of a war between the dead and the living—and she only makes things worse.

My thoughts: Mistwood was one of my favorite books of 2010, so I was thrilled upon hearing that its companion novel, Nightspell, would be released in May. While I don’t feel that Nightspell was as excellent as Mistwood, it still was a fun fantasy read.

The most memorable aspect of Nightspell is the setting. Leah Cypess has a knack for creating worlds that sweep you away, and Ghostland is no exception. The mysteries and moral dilemmas that lie in its sprawling castle are thought-provoking, and it’s near impossible to guess what awaits Darri as she begins to unravel them.

In terms of characters, Nightspell fell a bit flat for me. Darri was a strong, loyal protagonist, however for some reason I couldn’t connect with her at all. Though we are exposed to some of Darri’s thoughts, she is rarely vulnerable enough for us to find an aspect of her personality we can relate to (other than her devotion to her sister, which is relatable if you, y’know, have siblings).

Fans of Mistwood will recall Clarisse, Prince Rokan’s sister. She plays a very interesting role in Nightspell, and I’d say that she was the most enjoyable character in the story. She’s as duplicitous as ever in Nightspell, and trying to figure out her allegiances was fun.

Nightspell, like Mistwood, is a book that’s easy to get into and quick to finish. I’d recommend it to fans of fantasy YA—it’s certainly a solid contribution to the genre. Nightspell contains next to no romance, but the secrets of Ghostland will enchant readers who delight in reading of a new world.
I’ m so excited about the fact that there’re so many books to read, so many stories to enjoy, so many characters to fall in love with. I hope you all share my book passion.- Now, get yourself a cup of nice tea  and don’t forget to read a couple of pages before going to bed.

3/5 stars