Monday, December 30, 2013

Selected YA reviews for 2013

I’ve been pretty lax about blogging over the last few months. In part, because I left my day job at Puku and started a new career. In part, because I have spent a lot more time reviewing books and writing stories than I did even when I was at Puku. In any case, that has not meant that I haven’t been reading. So now, as I recover from the Christmas turkey, let’s talk about some of what I read this year:

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

In a word, it was... Thoughtful

Started this book with high expectations and found that for the first half of the book, I was thoroughly enthralled and could really relate to Hannah’s situation. I think the misogyny and objectification I put up with at 13, at 19, at 21 is very much of the flavor that she’s dealing with. But as the reasons started to get a little darker, I also started to feel some skepticism creeping in. Would these reasons really be enough to kill yourself? Some of these things didn’t even happen to you, Hannah. They happened to other people and, yes, they affected you deeply, but it seems a little self-obsessed to turn someone else’s pain inwards when you don’t even know the person or particularly care about them. We’d all be offing ourselves after the evening news if we did that, wouldn’t we? I appreciated the story, I really liked the main character and it is totally worth reading but the format of Hannah says something on the tapes, Clay responds to what Hannah just said got old and I am still not entirely sure why Hannah killed herself.

The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab

In a word, it was... Action-packed

When I first read this book, I quickly dismissed it as fun but insubstantial. It’s only now, months later that I realize how much of the story stayed with me and seems to have resonated on some level. It’s a tale of two girls, stuck in a house where the shit has seriously hit the fan. Peeps be dying, peeps be lying and bitches be taking none of that. So yeah, girls rule in this one. There’s intrigue, mystery (though, to be fair, it wasn’t that hard to work out if you really thought about it) and even a little romance. It’s a great weekend/beach read, I really enjoyed it and think it’s an awesome substitute for the Friday night action movie you can’t bring yourself to turn on.

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith

In a word, it was... Lite

I’m not gonna be a hater about this book. I enjoyed it, not immensely but certainly enough to keep reading. It was sweet, very cute but a little heavy on the insta-love. If you’re into a good romcom of The Holiday/Love Actually variety, this will do it for you. Bonus: dark, mysterious, broody guy with posh British accent swoon

Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

In a word, it was... Curious

I was looking forward to this one for some time. I mean, add Greek mythology to high school drama and I’m there like the Harry Potter book 8, you know. It was quite slow to start but once it got going, it did take me on a ride and I did find myself rooting for the semi-good gods to beat out the no-good gods in a fight for their immortal lives. That being said, it didn’t blow me away and I probably won’t be reading any more books in this series, Perhaps it was because I had just finished reading the Anna Dressed in Blood books (which I really loved) and the mannerisms and voices of all the characters I’d grown to love in Anna seemed to just be cut and pasted into Antigoddess. This may be ungenerous but honestly, while the plots could not be more different, Blake could have used an editor’s wise hand to remove the tones and echoes of the Anna books in Antigoddess. Still would recommend it if you’re into mythology and YA though.

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