Posts tagged ‘YA Book Review’

Book Review: The Truth About Celia Frost by Paula Rawsthorne

Publisher: Usborne Publishing

Published: 1st August 2011

Format: Paperback

Pages: 336

Genre: Contemporary, Thriller,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 12+

Rating: 7.5/10

Amazon/Goodreads

Celia Frost is a freak. At least, that’s what everyone thinks. Her life is ruled by a rare disorder that means she could bleed to death from the slightest cut, confining her to a gloomy bubble of ‘safety’. No friends. No fun. No life. 

But when a knife attack on Celia has unexpected consequences, her mum reacts strangely – and suddenly they’re on the run. Why is her mum so scared? Someone out there knows. And when they find Celia, she’s going to wish the truth was a lie. 

A buried secret, a gripping manhunt, a dangerous deceit… What is the truth about Celia Frost?

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I picked up The Truth About Celia Frost. The synopsis was intriguing and it had consistently positive reviews, but I had no idea whether this was a thriller, a paranormal, or something else entirely.

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Mini Reviews: A Very Modern Pride and Prejudice…

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

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Publisher: Scholastic

Published: 1st January 2011

Pages: 231

Genre: Contemporary Romance,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 11+

Rating: 6/10

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.

After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be – especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London. Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk – so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

This is one of my least favourite P&P re-tellings (and I’ve read a fair few). It’s a sweet book, but one I feel better suited for junior readers looking for a quick, fluffy read, as there’s no real substance to it. Read more

Book Review: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson

Publisher: Harper Collins

Published: 28th September 2011

Format: Paperback

Pages: 372

Genre: Paranormal,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 9/10

Amazon/Goodreads

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago. 

Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him. Even her roommate, who was walking with her at the time, didn’t notice the mysterious man. So why can only Rory see him? And more urgently, why has Rory become his next target? In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

OK. I loved this book.

I’ve been reading some average books lately. None was as good as I’d hoped, or held my interest for long. And then along came The Name of the Star, a book I’d been vaguely interested in reading for months now but for some reason had always been pushed to the back of the pile.

I was hooked from the first chapter. Read more

Book Review: Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Publisher: David C. Cook

Published: 1st February 2011

Format: Kindle E-book

Genre: Historical Romance,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 12+

Rating: 6/10

Amazon/Goodreads

What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world? 

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaelogist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds…until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces. 

Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.

Waterfall looked like a safe bet – judging by the many 5/4 star reviews I’ve seen. It also looked like my perfect kind of book – historical setting, a heroine transported back in time, manly men with swords and so forth.

So I’m kind of sad it turned out to be an average read for me.

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Rewind and Review: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

Published: 18th July 2005

Format: Paperback

Pages: 384

Genre: Historical,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 9.5/10

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‘Set in the 1950’s, in an England still recovering from the Second World War, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is the enchanting story of Penelope Wallace and her eccentric family at the start of the second rock ‘n’ roll era.

Penelope longs to be grown-up and to fall in love; but various rather inconvenient things keep getting in her way. Like her mother, a stunning but petulant beauty widowed at a tragically early age, her younger brother, Inigo, currently capable of concentrating on anything that isn’t Elvis Presley, a vast but crumbling ancestral home, a severe shortage of cash, and her best friend Charlotte’s sardonic cousin Harry…’

My copy of this book has been re-read so many times it is falling apart. For those of you who are familiar with ‘I Capture the Castle’, another favourite of mine, this book has a very similar feel and atmosphere. Read more

Book Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Published: 1st December 2011

Format: Paperback

Pages: 281

Genre: Contemporary, YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 7/10

Amazon/Goodreads

What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though – she leads them as the captain and quarterback on her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there’s a new guy in town who threatens her starring position on the team… and has her suddenly wishing to be seen as more than just a teammate.

I know. I seem to be in the minority here in not loving Catching Jordan. I loved some parts, but it also left me with mixed feelings.

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Book Review: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

Publisher: Headline

Published: 11th November 2010

Format: Paperback

Pages: 329

Genre: Paranormal,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 7/10

Amazon/Goodreads

Violet Ambrose is grappling with two major issues: Jay Heaton and her morbid secret ability. While the sixteen-year-old is confused by her new feelings for her best friend since childhood, she is more disturbed by her “power” to sense dead bodies—or at least those that have been murdered. Since she was a little girl, she has felt the echoes that the dead leave behind in the world… and the imprints that attach to their killers. 

Violet has never considered her strange talent to be a gift; it mostly just led her to find the dead birds her cat had tired of playing with. But now that a serial killer has begun terrorizing her small town, and the echoes of the local girls he’s claimed haunt her daily, she realizes she might be the only person who can stop him. 

Despite his fierce protectiveness over her, Jay reluctantly agrees to help Violet on her quest to find the murderer—and Violet is unnerved to find herself hoping that Jay’s intentions are much more than friendly. But even as she’s falling intensely in love, Violet is getting closer and closer to discovering a killer… and becoming his prey herself.

As soon as I read the synopsis, I couldn’t wait to read The Body Finder and I wasn’t disappointed. While I bring up some negative points in my review, these were mostly issues that came up whilst looking back rather than things that bothered me as I was reading.

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Book Review: Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books

Published: 2nd February 2012

Format: Paperback

Pages: 370

Genre: Paranormal,  Mythology, YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 6.5/10

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Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned- to her old life, her family, her friends- before being banished back to the underworld… this time forever. 

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists. 

Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back – this time as his queen. 

As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s…

Everneath is a modern-day paranormal romance inspired by the myths of Hades and Persephone and Orpheus and Eurydice. Mythology is definitely the newest trend in young adult paranormal fiction and Everneath looks to be one of the more promising series out of the several I have read recently.

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Book Review: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley

Publisher: Random House Children’s Books

Published: 11th October 2011

First Published: 28th April 2005

Format: Paperback

Pages: 288

Genre: Contemporary,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 16+

Rating: 8/10

Amazon/Goodreads

CHARLIE DUSKIN loves music, and she knows she’s good at it. But she only sings when she’s alone, on the moonlit porch or in the back room at Old Gus’s Secondhand Record and CD Store. Charlie’s mom and grandmother have both died, and this summer she’s visiting her grandpa in the country, surrounded by ghosts and grieving family, and serving burgers to the local kids at the milk bar. She’s got her iPod, her guitar, and all her recording equipment, but she wants more: A friend. A dad who notices her. The chance to show Dave Robbie that she’s not entirely unspectacular.

ROSE BUTLER lives next door to Charlie’s grandfather and spends her days watching cars pass on the freeway and hanging out with her troublemaker boyfriend. She loves Luke but can’t wait to leave their small country town. And she’s figured out a way: she’s won a scholarship to a science school in the city, and now she has to convince her parents to let her go. This is where Charlie comes in. Charlie, who lives in the city, and whom Rose has ignored for years. Charlie, who just might be Rose’s ticket out.

I don’t want to say too much about this book, other than please pick this one up the next time you’re looking for an unassuming, quiet contemporary. With some writers you just know that when you sit down to read one of their books you’ll be left contented and with a smile on your face.

While I didn’t like A Little Wanting Song as much as Graffiti Moon, Cath Crowley has definitely become one of those writers for me. Read more

Book Review: Slide by Jill Hathaway

Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books

Published: 1st march 2012 (expected)

Format: Paperback

Pages: 256

Genre: Mystery, Thriller,  YA

Recommended Reading Age: 13+

Rating: 6.5/10

Source: ARC from UK Book Tours

Amazon/Goodreads

Vee Bell is certain of one irrefutable truth—her sister’s friend Sophie didn’t kill herself. She was murdered. 

Vee knows this because she was there. Everyone believes Vee is narcoleptic, but she doesn’t actually fall asleep during these episodes: When she passes out, she slides into somebody else’s mind and experiences the world through that person’s eyes. She’s slid into her sister as she cheated on a math test, into a teacher sneaking a drink before class. She learned the worst about a supposed “friend” when she slid into her during a school dance. But nothing could have prepared Vee for what happens one October night when she slides into the mind of someone holding a bloody knife, standing over Sophie’s slashed body. 

Vee desperately wishes she could share her secret, but who would believe her? It sounds so crazy that she can’t bring herself to tell her best friend, Rollins, let alone the police. Even if she could confide in Rollins, he has been acting off lately, more distant, especially now that she’s been spending more time with Zane. 

Slide was a very quick read for me. I found the narrative easy-going and the story progresses along nicely. There were no dull moments, and several well placed twists to keep you guessing, although as an older reader, I would have enjoyed a slightly darker novel. Read more

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