Tag Archives: Young Adult

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Overview
Shadow and Bone : Leigh Bardugo : 9780805094596

Title: Shadow and Bone
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone Trilogy #1, Grishaverse #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, Magic, Young adult
Dates read: 4th – 5th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Square Fish
Year: 2012
5th sentence, 74th page: He didn’t say a word to me, and as the hours and days wore on, I started to worry that I’d somehow offended him.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

SOLDIER. SUMMONER. SAINT.

Orphaned and expdnable, Alina Starkov is a soldier who knows she may not survive her first rek across the Shadow Fold – a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. But when her regiment is attacked, Alina unleashes dromant magic not even she knew she possessed.

Now Alina will enter a lavish world of roaylty and intrigue, as she trains with the Grisha – her country’s magical military elite – and falls under the spell of their notorious leader, the Darkling. He believes Alina can summon a force capable of destroying the Shadow Fold and reuniting their war-ravaged country, but only if she can master her untamed gift.

As the threat to the kingdom mounts and Alina unlocks the secrets of her past, she will make a dangerous discovery that could threaten all she lvoes and the very future of a nation.

Thoughts

I can seriously understand why this series, and this story in particular is so damn popular. I knew that I’d probably love it from the fact that I have loved all of the short stories which Bardugo has written. But I didn’t realise how much I would enjoy this. I mean… wow. It is an amazing, unforgettable journey and I can’t wait to read more of this series! hopefully before the Netflix series comes out…

Alina is a lovely and soulful lead character. I honestly fell in love with her from the very beginning. There is something about her loyalty and strength that makes you love her from the first page. And the fact that she will do anything for the boy that she loves… that just makes it all so much sweeter and cuter. Particularly when you discover the depths she’s actually gone to for him…

I seriously can’t wait to dive into the rest of this series – not just he trilogy, but the whole Grishaverse. Alina and Mal may have found a way to escape the first obstacle. But there are so many more to come. And the Darkling doesn’t seem like the kind of villain that is going to be easy to escape – he is kind of terrifying if I’m being completely honest.

I love that this is most definitely a friends to lovers romance. Particularly since you can see Alina’s loyalty and love from the very beginning. Boys are stupid and tend to take a little bit longer, but that tie is there from the very beginning. I can’t wait to see how this all grows and blossoms throughout the series. Everything about writing this review and reading the story just make me want to pick up the next novel in this series!!!

All in all this is an amazing story. One that has pulled me into the Grishaverse reality completely. I can’t wait to read more of the series. And then, hopefully, when I’ve finished, dive into the Netflix show too…

<- More Leigh BardugoSiege and Storm ->

Image source: Bookdepository

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti

Overview
Zeroes | Book by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti |  Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

Title: Zeroes
Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan & Deborah Biancotti
Series: Zeroes #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Science fiction, Superheroes, Young adult
Dates read: 21st February – 5th April 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: All those training missions, shepherding crowds around a shopping center while listening to Glorious Leader’s orders in their earbuds.

Synopsis

DON’T CALL THEM HEROES

But these six Californian teens have powers that set them apart. They can do stuff ordinary people can’t.

Take Ethan, a.k.a. Scam. He’s got a voice inside him that’ll say whatever you want to hear, whether it’s true or not. Which is handy, except when it isn’t – like when the voice starts gabbing in the middle of a bank robbery and lands him in deep. The only people who can help are teh other Zeroes, who aren’t exactly best friends these days.

Enter Nate, a.k.a. Bellwether, the group’s “glorious leader”. After Scam’s SOS, he pulls the scattered Zeroes back together. But when the rescue blows up in their faces, the Zeroes find themselves propelled into whirlwind encounters with ever more dangerous criminals across the city. And at the heart of the chaos they find Kelsie, who can take a crowd in the palm of her hand and tame it or let it loose as she pleases.

Filled with high-stakes action and drama, Zeroes unites three power-house authors for the opening instalment of a thrilling new series.

Thoughts

This book is an absolute chunkster. Which is why I have kept putting it off for ages. I just find books that are this big to be kind of intimidating at times. Plus, there’s the fact that sometimes I tend to get distracted and bored halfway through these monster tales. Yet, in spite of all of my concerns… I just couldn’t put this down! It was an amazing chunkster, one that I seriously and thoroughly enjoyed.

I loved the flickering of points of view throughout this story. It is most definitely a difficult tactic in stories – but these three authors have managed to give each and every one of the six superheroes a wonderfully unique voice. The fact that it also gives you these great views into their lives and the different ways in which they see one another… it was a brilliant journey. And, unlike many other stories I’ve read that flicker between points of view, I wasn’t more or less attached to each of the characters. This is wonderfully unique and had me grinning throughout.

The whole storyline and characterization of the Zeroes reminded me a lot of Umbrella Academy. There was that great feeling of dysfunction and coming together in a pseudo family. Although, being that this is a young adult story, it felt a heck of a lot less dark than the comic / Netflix series. I love stories of dysfunctional family units, they tend to feel all that much more humorous. Which left me grinning and smiling as I journeyed through the Zeroes reuniting and finding more depths to their powers.

This novel partners teenage angst with dysfunction and superpowers. I mean, really, what on earth could go wrong there? Turns out, everything and anything. Which then makes me want to pick up Swarms straight away… it’s surely just going to get better from here on out.

<- More Scott WesterfeldSwarm ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

A Universe of Wishes by Tara Sim

Overview
A Universe of Wishes: A We Need Diverse Books Anthology by Dhonielle Clayton

Title: A Universe of Wishes
Author: Tara Sim
In: A Universe of Wishes (Dhonielle Clayton)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Fantasy, LGBTQI, Young adult
Dates read: 31st March 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Crown
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: “If you make this wish come true,” the boy said, holding up the figurine, “then yes.”

Synopsis

He’s been storing up his wishes for something big and important. But what he might find on the journey could be everything he ever needed.

Thoughts

This was an absolutely fantastic short story. In fact, I made sure that I added a Tara Sim novel to my wish list the moment I finished this. It was just great, fantastic and fun. The fact that it featured a queer relationship alongside wishes and desires made me ridiculously happy. Particularly when you added in that final splash of magic.

Sage and Thorn are one of the most gorgeous couples. They are just cute and I like how their relationship slowly grew. It wasn’t a love at first sight, sappy story. But just one that I ultimately enjoyed for the sake of enjoying the romance. Plus, the way that their story ended was seriously brilliant. It made me want more stories set in this world!

There is power to wishes and desires. I mean, there’s a pretty strong reason why they feature so strongly in many of the stories that I read. This short story really drove that wonderful idea home and made me think of what I wish for in life.

<- A Universe of Wishes CollectionThe Silk Blade ->

Image source: Goodreads

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Overview
Over Sea, Under Stone | Book by Susan Cooper | Official Publisher Page |  Simon & Schuster

Title: Over Sea, Under Stone
Author: Susan Cooper
Series: Dark is Rising #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Adventure, Camelot, Fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 27th – 28th January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: McElderry Books
Year: 1965
5th sentence, 74th page: But they seemed to go for the books, and I can’t vouch for those.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

All through time the two great forces of Light and Dark have battled for control of the world. Now, after centuries of balance, the Dark is summoning its terrifying forces to rise once more – and three children find themselves caught in the conflict.

Simon, Jane, and Barney, on holiday in Cornwall, discover an ancient map that leads to a grail: a vital weapon for the Light’s fight against evil. The search for the grail becomes their quest, and they risk their lives in a race against sinister human beings who serve the dreadful power of the Dark.

Thoughts

I bought the box set of Dark is Rising ages ago. Partly because it was on sale, but I also have a tv series based on this series and I’ve heard good things about it. But then, because the covers of my versions aren’t the most attention-grabbing, I kind of kept forgetting about them. And wow, am I kind of regretting that fact. This book was wonderful and intense and seriously, wonderfully enjoyable. Most definitely a great start to a series. One that I plan on reading more of in the (hopefully) near future.

In the past year I’ve started to find and enjoy some Camelot stories. I don’t know a lot about Arthurian lore, not anything that isn’t seriously mainstream. But it’s definitely something that I’m beginning to enjoy more and more. A theme and base that is used beautifully in this story. The whole tale is about the search for the Grail. And I’m getting some serious King Arthur vibes from Simon. There was also that nice little crumb at the end of the story about Merlin which I’m really looking forward to unpacking…

From the moment you open this book, you are pulled into this great adventure. As a child, I might have even tried to solve the little riddles and clues that are riddled throughout the novel. But, as an adult, it was just a lot of fun to be pulled along on this adventure. This unexpected journey that takes you all over the countryside pulling you into a story that you won’t forget anytime soon. One that had me smiling and gleefully turning to the next page again and again throughout.

This is a fantastic, wonderful and very, very enjoyable adventure story. One that has introduced me to a whole new world that I can’t wait to sink further and further into. I love that although the battle is over in this story, you can feel all the hints and horrors of the war to come. And now I can’t wait for the next mystery to be revealed!

<- More Susan CooperThe Dark is Rising ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Overview
Dumplin' by Julie Murphy - Penguin Books Australia

Title: Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy
Series: Dumplin’ #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Book to Film, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 1st – 2nd January 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: And now I know.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Willowdean Dickson (Dumplin’, to her mum) has always been at home in her own skin.
Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body?
Really, the criteria is simple.
Do you have a body?
Put a swimsuit on it.

But life as Willow knows it is about to change. And when this happens, she suffers an unaccustomed and unwelcome attack of self-doubt. So in an effort to regain her confidence, Willowdean enters into the local Miss Teen Blue Bonnet beauty pageant.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs and a wildly unforgettable heroine – Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart. And send you out to buy the bikini.

Thoughts

I bought Dumplin’ a little while ago. Because I loved the Netflix movie, and, so far, all of the books that I’ve read which have been adapted into Netflix content has been glorious. And this was no different. Dumplin’ the movie was amazing, and Dumplin’ the book was also glorious. I read this cover to cover in about a twenty-four hour period, struggling to find a way to actually be productive in the meantime…

I should probably preface most of this review by stating the fact that I’m quite skinny. So the ways in which a “fat girl” or really any of the outcasts in this book feel is kind of foreign. Having said that, I was bullied, just for different reasons. But I love that Murphy is able to place you in Willowdean’s shoes. And show you all of the emotional and insane entanglements which come with being a plus sized girl. One with a beauty queen mother.

There is something that is always glorious fun about those fish out of water stories. The ones in which the outcast who doesn’t quite fit in chooses to stand up and stand out. Willowdean does this amazingly. And it is a great reminder that we should all jump up and grab what we want in life. Without waiting for someone else to tell us that it’s ours. It seems like such a simple choice, but no matter what your status or what the world tells you, sometimes you need that reminder that living your best life starts with putting your best foot forwards.

I absolutely loved this book. The older I get, the more my body changes, and the more I question what I see in the mirror. It doesn’t matter what size your body is, everyone has things that they love and don’t love about themselves. Murphy reminds us that we all have our own issues. And Willowdean is able to remind us that there are so many different ways to find our own strength and identity. Even on the days that we kind of hate the body that we find ourselves in.

<- More Julie MurphyPuddin’ ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han

Overview
It's Not Summer Without You : Jenny Han : 9780141330556

Title: It’s Not Summer Without You
Author: Jenny Han
Series: Summer #2
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Chic lit, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 23rd – 24th December 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: “It’s my prom.”

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Synopsis

When something is perfect, you hope it never ends…

Isabel’s lazy, long hot summers at her family friends’ beach house are over.

Conrad – sexy and unavailable – is the only boy she’s ever loved. He’s left for college, taking her heart with him. Jeremiah, his gorgeous brother, is still Isabel’s best friend – but maybe friendship isn’t enough for him any more…

Isbael just wants everything to stay the same, because change means moving on. But if she stops looking back, will she find a future she never knew she wanted?

Thoughts

I’m very on the fence about this novel. Belly is a bit of a selfish pain. I thought that in The Summer I Turned Pretty but felt that she’d grown up a little by the end of it. And then I started this, and it felt like we were right back where we started. It wasn’t so painful that I had to put the book down, and I’ll still read the final book in the trilogy (because I really want to know which brother she ends up with), but it’s the kind of trilogy that I need a good gap between readings.

The most difficult thing I think I found about this story is the idea of a girl being between two brothers. Love triangles often aren’t my favourite trope, I just can’t understand them in my own little reality. But when the love triangle involves two brothers? That just feels wrong and cruel. I mean, I know that it even happens in real life… but still… how can you kiss one brother and then the other?

Aside from the weird love triangle stuff and immaturity, I did seriously feel for Belly throughout this. Losing someone is always tough, and this story really highlighted the ways in which grief shows in all of us differently. And that there is no right or wrong way to deal with losing somebody. Actually, I think that the way in which Han dealt with this issue and plucked at the heartstrings is why I bought up the rating which I gave this novel.

All in all, this isn’t a book or series that I would give away, because the potential for rereading it far into the future is there. But, it’s also not a series or novel that I’m going to dive into picking up again and again. Maybe when I was younger, and could relate to Belly a little more… but as an adult? She’s kind of frustrating…

<- The Summer I Turned PrettyWe’ll Always Have Summer ->

Image source: BookDepository

Begin, End, Begin edited by Danielle Binks

Overview
Image result for begin, end, begin book cover

Title: Begin, End, Begin
Author: Danielle Binks, Amie Kaufman, Will Kostakis, Alice Pung, Michael Pryor, Melissa Keil, Ellie Marney, Lili Wilkinson, Gabrielle Tozer & Jaclyn Moriarty
In: Begin, End, Begin (Danielle Binks)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Contemporary, Short story collections, Young adult
Dates read: 30th June – 26th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: I couldn’t imagine what they’d think of Diamond Rose Fashions.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Bestsellers. Award-winners. Superstars. This anthology has them all.

With brilliantly entertaining short stories from beloved young adult authors Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, this all-new collection will show the world eactly how much there is to love about Aussie YA.

Thoughts

This is a fantastic collection, one that I wish was around when I was finishing high school. It’s all about those moments on the cusp of adulthood when the world is stretched before you and you’re suddenly responsible for yourself. It’s kind of a huge, pivotal point in someone’s life, so a collection on this was completely fantastic. And although I’m not exactly that young anymore, this was still a great journey that reminded me of the decisions we make in life.

I love that #LoveOzYA has come up with a collection of Aussie YA authors. This, and Kindred have introduced me to so many new and wonderful authors to fill my shelves with. Something that I’m always looking for. And the fact that they’re homegrown and often write about the areas that I’m more familiar with? It’s very, very much appreciated. I hope that they come out with a new collection soon!

I didn’t know any of the authors in this collection, other than Melissa Keil when I bought it. Now I have a handful of amazing new Australian authors to add to my wish list. Some that will challenge me, some to enthral, and some just to leave a giant smile on my face.

<- Competition Entry #349One Small Step… –>

Image source: Harper Collins Australia

Competition Entry #349 by Jaclyn Moriarty

Overview
Image result for begin, end, begin book cover

Title: Competition Entry #349
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
In: Begin, End, Begin (Danielle Binks)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Contemporary, Young adult
Dates read: 26th November 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Well done, she said to me.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

It’s a competition to win five time travel trips of ten minutes each. Explain why you should win in 25 words or less…

Thoughts

This is an incredibly meandering and very funny short story. It honestly sounds exactly like a teenager refusing to get to the point and basically telling their life story. Actually, it reminded me a lot of my sister when she was a preteen… she’d start the story at a. Then take about a thousand detours and end up at 10. I was never entirely sure where we were going with a story, or what the point was, but it was always fun.

The format for Competition Entry #349 was completely unique. I have never read a story that is supposed to be a competition entry. It was kind of amazing how Moriarty managed to tell a whole story in a piece that was a competition entry. She got so much history and detail into just a few short pages. You also got to know the character very well in an incredibly short space of time.

Just thinking about this story, the day after I read it to write this review has left a huge smile on my face. It was so light, funny and just downright cute. I am completely intrigued to see if I can find anymore books / stories by Jaclyn Moriarty now…

<- Last Night at the Mount Solemn ObservatoryBegin, End, Begin ->

Image source: Harper Collins Australia

Prom Nights from Hell by Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle

Overview
Image result for prom nights from hell book cover

Title: Prom Nights from Hell
Author: Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle
In: Prom Nights from Hell (Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Short story collections, Young adult
Dates read: 4th – 24th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Anthology
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: We could have; my house was miles from town on an unmaintained dirt road, with no nearby neighbours to complain.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Worried that prom is gonna bite?

In this collection, bestselling authors including Stephenie Meyer (Twilight) and Meg Cabot (How to be Popular and The Princess Diaries) take bad Prom nights to a whole new level – a paranormally bad level…

Wardrobe catastrophes and two left feet are nothing compared with discovering you’re dancing with the Grim Reaper – and he isn’t here to tell you how hot you look…

From vampire exterminations to angels fighting demons, these five stories will be more fun than any DJ in a bad dinner jacket. No corsage or limo rental necessary – just great, sexy, scary fun!

Thoughts

This wasn’t too bad a collection. It was a bit soured for me towards the end since I don’t really like Stephenie Meyer. And she was the author who rounded out the collection. But, the other four novellas were still great, so, ultimately I really enjoyed this collection.

I’ve always thought that prom was incredibly stupid. I wouldn’t have gone to my own formal, if it wasn’t for the fact that the school told us we wouldn’t graduate if we didn’t go. Luckily for me, this collection proved that prom is stupid. And at least these stories featured some really entertaining and interesting proms. Ones that I might have even been excited to go to.

I liked all of the stories in this collection. I didn’t necessarily jump head over heels for each of them (with Cabot and Harrison’s being exceptions to this). But I did enjoy the majority of the stories. They were fun and quirky and took me on an adventure that I really wasn’t expecting.

Even though this isn’t my favourite anthology on my shelves. I would most certainly read it again.

<- Hell on EarthThe Exterminator’s Daughter ->

Image source: Harper Collins

Hell on Earth by Stephenie Meyer

Overview
Image result for prom nights from hell book cover

Title: Hell on Earth
Author: Stephenie Meyer
In: Prom Nights from Hell (Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe & Lauren Myracle)
Rating Out of 5: 2.5 (Readable, but not worth reading again)
My Bookshelves: Paranormal fantasy, Young adult
Dates read: 24th November 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novella
Publisher:Harper Collins
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: He could see Melissa, her head on that stupid jock’s shoulder, her eyes closed.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

Synopsis

Gabe just wants prom night to be good, fun and filled with love. But, there’s a hitch in his plans and he might just be able to save her.

Thoughts

I was so hoping that this novella would begin to redeem Meyer to me. But it really didn’t. partially this is probably because I went into it with a negative expectation. But also the fact that it is, in general just not that well written. Her writing still feels clunky to me. Clunky, not well edited and just not enough to be interesting.

The idea of this novella was kind of brilliant. And I think that most other authors, I would have happily read the novella and actually enjoyed it. But, that is just not destined to be the case for this story.

I won’t write much about this as I don’t have much to say that is positive.

<- Kiss and TellProm Nights from Hell ->

Image source: Harper Collins