by Gina Linko
Pub Date: 23 Oct 2012
read courtesy of Netgalley.com
Note: I, too, received this as a galley copy to review many years ago, but I just got around to posting about it.
This was a quick read, well, a compelling read, because I was pulled along by the plot, the mystery of Emery's illness, and the connections all of the characters had. Time travel always messes with my head (think Back to the Future), so I had fun trying to piece the story together at the same time Emery was. Then... and I agree with other reviewers on this, too ... I had my WTF moment at the end. If I hadn't read the print version and instead read the Netgalley digital version, I might have missed the author's note that she likes to pursue "What if...?". Only this note, that the author was purporting that alternative inevitabilities are her passion, allowed me to understand why Linko surprised her readers with this twist.
Overall, this was good, interesting YA writing. Yet, though I understand why Linko couldn't have built up to this ending earlier, it really did come out of nowhere with the minor exception of a conversation Emery and Ash had late in the story.
This book would be hard to classify as scifi, because it turns into fantasy. Recommend this book to readers who like the book The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold or the movie The Sixth Sense.
Caution: Spoiler alerts:
- Where did Dala go when she fluttered with Emery? If the past was an afterlife, then did Emery kill Dala somehow?
- How could Emery take people/things from the present back and forth to the afterlife? Did they temporarily die, too?
- Why could Emery see her grandmother, Ash's brother, her mom, but not Ash's mom in the afterlife?
- In hindsight, it makes sense that Emery couldn't see Ash's father in the afterlife, but that still doesn't explain why she didn't see his mother.
Plague Land by Alex Scarrow
Read through NetGalley
publishing date December 1, 2017
No spoilers in this review...
Getting this review in under the wire! But.... Plague Land is GREAT! To be honest, I wasn't getting into it at first, but I soon couldn't put it down! And for those of you who don't like cliffhangers, this isn't one; though, it does leave itself open for a sequel!
Just enough science to make it scifi instead of fantasy, it is a story with a wide appeal. While the tension isn't too aggressive to scare off casual readers, avid fans of runaway virus stories won't be disappointed, either. The characters have depth - as far as the typical YA novel where the child is smarter than the parent goes. There is even international appeal as the virus goes, um, viral.
What's really appealing is the great descriptions of the evolving virus. Scarrow's adept as creating vivid images without details that drag down the storytelling.
I will definitely be getting this for my high school library!
Book Review: The Similars by Rebecca Hanover
Publishing date: January 1, 2019
read courtesy of netgalley.com
I'm going to start at the end... there's a sequel in waiting. That gives you an idea about the ending: it's a cliffhanger. Unfortunately, I'll never find out how it all ends; I won't be purchasing the sequel for my high school library. I'm not sure how much my students recognize cliched writing, but since it interfered with my enjoyment of the book, I'm not going to expose them to the triteness.
As a mystery, Hanover did what she was supposed to do, provide clues or throw out distractions as to the "real" perpetrator. However, I found these clues too obvious -- they were spelled out instead of implied or alluded to -- which took some of the guesswork out of reading a mystery. Hanover also heavily depended on the readers' willingness to suspend disbelief that a 16-year-old girl would be able to save her best friend from the evil mad scientist when the friend'as own father couldn't or wouldn't -- in the guise of having to wait for his wife to die -- so it HAD to be the teenager to come to the rescue.
One of the Similars, who are all brilliant geniuses, couldn't estimate how large the place from which he came was, claiming that it was hard to "have a sense of scale" when you're inside the place. Really? That felt out of character. (If it sounds like a nitpick, it is; but it irked me to have such a blatant character misrepresentation.)
Basically, the story was a little too schizophrenic for me. the majority of the story was about cloning and clones, and then the last part suddenly became about virtual reality and two mad scientist brothers. Then at the end... I mean near the cliffhanger... a character who had been declared dead via suicide was found alive and returns to the boarding school. Clunk... the cliffhanger was only a 2-foot drop for me. In spite of those who knew cloning was involved, the rest of the world didn't (wouldn't the suicide have made the news?) How could a teenager reappear, and no one called the FBI? No one did because then it wouldn't be a cliffhanger. But like I said, it wasn't a cliffhanger for me. I stepped back up the 2-foot drop and walked away. It was my suspension of disbelief that was the only thing left hanging.
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars
by Christopher Paolini
Pub Date: 15 Sep 2020
Read courtesy of http://www.Netgalley.com
Every character has a personality; the characters are ones for whom I want to cheer and root, and I don't really have to spend too much time understanding or hating the 'bad guys.' Kira and the Soft Blade do that for me. Engaging, fun, (long), and quite epic.
Undivided by Neal Shusterman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow, what a great ending to the Unwind Dystology! Each chapter in Undivided was narrated by a character or broadcast. This final book was suspenseful, horror filled, and sad as Nelson captures Connor and Risa, Lev becomes a member of the Arapache tribe and Grace continues to surprise and amaze me. Despite Roberta using nanotechnology to wipe Risa from Cam's memory--he still remembers he loved someone and must help the cause of the unwinds. But the book ends on a positive note with many surprises! Highly recommended--and if you haven't read the other three books---Run to your local library or bookstore and grab them, Shusterman is a master!
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