Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sky On Fire by Emmy Laybourne

Series: Monument 14 (bk. 2)

Genera: Dystopian Sci-Fi

Subjects: survival, post-apocalyptic, stores, Colorado

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 215 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Macmillan: Feiwel & Friends

Summary/ product description: “Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope.
Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . .
Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected. . . .”


My Review: I enjoyed this short, fast paced sequel and I wasn’t entirely sure if there was a 3rd book, because the ending seemed to wrap things up. But there is a 3rd book, called Savage Drift. I will of course read it next year when it comes out. Still, I enjoyed the 1st book more because a lot more survival stuff happened, it being the 1st book and all.

I liked how the story switched between Dean and Alex’s 1st person perspectives. They have such distinct voices because Dean is 16 and Alex is 13. Dean was the only narrator of the 1st book. Alex’s perspective was in a condensed san-serif typeface that wasn’t really the best type to use for body copy. I still enjoyed it.

The pacing of this story was great. Maybe a bit too fast. I feel like the book could have been longer, but sometimes short is good. I read the 2 short stories before this, which were only about 30 pages each. I didn’t like them because they were in 3rd person, but they gave good background info on the chemical and what Jake was doing.

Some people think the characters are one-dimensional or something. They seemed well developed to me. They have their own personalities. Emmy really knows how to make characters that act their age. And they are pretty funny sometimes. You got to watch and listen to little kids to know how they behave. They story seems well researched.

I loved the way she chose to make the chemical affect different blood-types differently. That was very creative. Better than making everyone raging zombies (Only the type Os). This made if an effective and realistic survival story. Also, there’s a rubber eating fungus, which was cool and kind of gross.

I like the setting because I’ve been to Colorado. The Denver/Aurora area to be specific. I could picture the dark and decimated world. And the fact that it’s 10 years in the future only makes it more relatable.

Overall, great story. Similar to Quarantine by Lex Thomas and No Safety in Numbers by Dayna Lorentz and Ashfall by Mike Mullin. If you like survival stories or post-apocalyptic stories, you’ll enjoy this series.

Cover Art Review: Perfect cover. The bus that many of the kids are on and the white tire-eating fungus and the dark sky. It’s a well done post-apocalyptic illustration.



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Shutdown by Heather Anastasiu

Series: Glitch (bk. 3)

Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: psychic ability, technology, telekinesis, individuality, emotions, resistance to government, love

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 307

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $9.99

Publisher: Macmillan: St. Martin’s Griffin

Summary/ product description: “The battle is all but over, and hope seems to be lost. Zoe and her fellow Resistance fighters are on the run, having lost their home, their protection, and their leader. They are outnumbered and outmatched by the powerful corporation that controls the world, and the cruel Chancellor is inches away from completing a scheme that would kill most of humanity. Zoe's only remaining option is to chase the impossible dream of upending the Link system, freeing the world from the hardware that controls their thoughts and emotions, and hope it will trigger a revolution.
The plot requires a nearly impossible mission to infiltrate the dangerous Community, and it is a task that Zoe must unfortunately complete alone. With challenges and surprises at every turn, nothing goes according to plan. Adrien's visions of the future now show two possible outcomes: one in which they succeed, and one in which humanity falls. It all lies in Zoe's hands.
Full of romance, high-adrenaline action and shocking twists, Shutdown is a heart-pounding conclusion to an exciting sci-fi adventure trilogy for young adults.
The thrilling conclusion to an action-packed sci-fi trilogy”


My Review: Another great dystopian series comes to an end. I haven’t read finales of many dystopian series recently, but I know this one was good. I love the characters and their powers. Since the last book left off on a not-so-good note, I’ve been anticipating the conclusion. Now that I’ve read it, I happy with the way it ended.

Adrien was lobotomized in the last book and lost his emotions. He seemed very robotic. And he didn’t love Zoe anymore. I didn’t want this to end up like the Delirium series, where Andrien is “cured” of love. But wait, there is hope! He’s getting a treatment that could help grown some brain matter back.

Warning: some small spoilers ahead. If you want to be surprised when you read the book, don’t read ahead. If you want to find out just how awesome this book is gonna be, please do read ahead.

At the beginning of the book, Zoe is sent on a mission with Max, the shape shifter who pretended to be Adrien in the previous book. Zoe is still angry at him for his betrayal, because they used to be friends before he started working with the Chancellor. When the mission fails, they go back to the compound. Something bad happens that caused the compound to be found and now they all must escape. Zoe saves Adrien and they get separated from the other and must survive on their own.

It’s really interesting to see how Adrien’s changed. It made me pretty mad for a while because I loved how romantic he was before. He was all about logic now and seemed very cold and unemotional. But there was still something very Adrien about him. Underneath it all he still cared for Zoe. They could take away the animalistic, human instinct of compassion and survival.

My favorite thing about the book series was the superpowers. I loved seeing how Zoe power developed. Her telek is very believable, the way that the author explains it. I could picture the way she used it. It was like remote viewing and sensing things. Zoe can feel the pull and presence of objects and people. She can manipulate them to, move them about. The biggest and latest development was her learning to fly. I’ve been waiting for this for a while. With telekinesis so powerful, you’d think you could lift yourself, and move yourself through space.

Everything became so exciting and enthralling and Adrien started having visions again. And when everyone that made it regrouped, they started figuring out how they could finally stop the Chancellor. And wow, what an epic finale. Since the Chancellor has Zoe’s brother, she had to save him too. There are tragedies along the way, but overall the series wraps up nicely, though I kind of wish we could see how society will rebuild itself and what happens after Zoe saved the world from the Chancellor?

This series was like Shatter Me, Delirium Under the Never Sky, Renegade (Elysium Chronicles), and many other dystopian series out there. But it still managed to be a unique, exciting series and I’m sad that it’s over. I can only hope that Heather will write a e-novella or short story from another character’s perspective if she already hasn’t. Right now this is definitely in my top 10 dystopias.

Cover Art Review: I love the cover. The girl, who’s supposed to be Zoe, looks like she’s focusing on using her powers. Or possibly feeling what it’s like to be outside, unprotected for the 1st time. I also like the techno-light effects coming out from the O in the title. And the gold colors are really atmospheric and emotional.



Thursday, July 25, 2013

Linked by Imogen Howson

Series: Linked (bk. 1)

Genera: Sci-Fi/Dystopian

Subjects: outer space, space travel, psychic ability, twins, sisters, love

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 359 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $16.99

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Summary/ product description: “Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.
Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.
Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.
Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.”

My Review: I am so utterly disappointed in this book. It had such a great premise, wonderful world building, but the way it’s written is just so boring. The characters are boring. The dialogue is boring, and possibly British sounding. This has been such an awful let down. The cover is beautiful, but the book in it sucks.

But the fact that it’s set on a distant planet is very unique (to me). I’ve only read a few books set in outer space, but none on made up planets.This planet has a city with shelf apartments and slidewalks and so many cool unique things that are very different from the world todays. I pretty much pictured the city in the Total Recall remake (such cool CGI). It’s so highly futuristic, set 1000s of years in the future after terraforming a bunch of exo-planets. Yet, there’s some still familiar stuff, like clothing: hoodies.

This book could have been better if it was 1st person perspective, switching between Elissa and Lin so we could see both points of view. Also if the characters had actual defining characteristic in their personality. Caden was the only well-defined character in my opinion. Elissa is uninteresting. The book could have been better from Lin’s POV.

The plot is kind of slow, despite being on the run from the government. I honestly felt like there was no plot. I basically skimmed the whole book, except for the world building stuff, even if it was info-dumping. I feel like Elissa’s kind of dumb, like she doesn’t think about what she’s saying, and when there’s a thought, it’s too long.

There’s no quirky fun dialogue or banter. Lissa and Lin get into arguments that are about stupid stuff. There’s a lot of obvious stuff. A lot of stuff that the author didn’t need. I was like: Way to state the obvious. I was pretty sick of reading it, but I had to stick with it.

The only other interesting thing was a twist at the end. We find out what Lin was supposed to be used for. The space travel stuff was okay too, but I’m not a Star Treck fan like my mom, so I felt like the author was just copying that stuff.

I recommend this book to fans of Star Treck/Starship Academy, Battlestar Galatica, Star Gate, Firefly, Across the Universe series, Glow (Amy Kathleen Ryan), Black Hole Sun, or space operas. But beware; you may get bored pretty quickly. I’m not even sure if I want to read the second book after such a dysto-fail.

Cover Art Review: I love this cover. The way the photo is cut up is really cool and the type being linked. The NK put together. But the cover is very deceiving. The book’s about a society on the distant planet and psychic twins, so where’s the space stuff? And the book wasn’t good, but the package was pretty.



Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Awaken by Meg Cabot

Series: Abandon (bk. 3)

Genera: Paranormal Romance/Fantasy

Subjects: Greek mythology, underworld, death, supernatural, magic, Florida

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 343 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Scholastic: Point

Summary/ product description: “From #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, the dark reimagining of the Persephone myth comes to a thrilling conclusion.
Death has her in his clutches. She doesn’t want him to let go.
Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she’d be forced to live forever in the one place she’s always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves.
But now her happiness — and safety — are threatened, all because the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: He revived a human soul.
If the balance between life and death isn’t fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce’s home back on earth will be wiped away. But there’s only one way to restore order. Someone has to die.”

My Review: This final book was definitely the best book in the whole series. Pierce was less of a ditzy, air-head and was more kick-ass. She’s definitely grown as a character. I didn’t like her in the 1st book at all really, and in this one I do. And there was more action and romance, and twists. This book was just so much more enjoyable, that I’m sad I didn’t like Abandon and Underworld that much. This was truly an epic finale.

I really cared about the characters this time. John is dark, sexy and old-fashion. He had something happen to him in the 1st half of the book that wasn’t so great, but things turned out well. Kayla is such a cool, awesome friend to Pierce. She takes to the underworld and Frank pretty well. She’s so funny and tough. Alex really stepped it up in this book, after what happened to him at the end of Underworld. Mr. Smith was helpful to Pierce as always. There were some new characters in the underworld, too. And Hope, the dove. She still reminds me of my parakeets.

I love the setting, too. This is the only series I’ve read set in the Florida Keys. It’s not even a mermaid book, but mythology it is. I have never been to Florida or even the ocean, so it was kind of a virtual island vacation. Even though much of the book was during a hurricane, and then after it.

Also the underworld setting is interesting. A cave with a castle? Awesome. I’m picturing stalagmite towers. The first 100 pages of the book are in the underworld, which is now hot for some Fury-related reason.

Out of all these book, the most happened in this one. The plot was well done and I was never confused or bored. Maybe the previous books were actually this good and I was just not in the right mood for them. I am a bit of a mood reader, and don’t enjoy certain things when I’m in the wrong mood, so maybe that’s what happened. I liked this book a lot, and mostly because the plot. And the added mythology of Thanatos made it interesting. And fighting/banishing furies with the Persephone diamond Pierce has.

I recommend this series to fans of mythology, and paranormal romance. Also if you liked Die For Me (Revenants trilogy) by Amy Plum, Falling Under by Gwen Hayes, or Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini.

Cover Art Review: I love the cover so much. It’s purple! Such a pretty shade of lavender and violet. Pierce looks like she’s holding a dead John or maybe Alex. And the pink-purple of the cover under the duct jacket cover is beautiful. I live the type treatment on the A, and the vector flower designs. And it’s metallic, like the previous books.



Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith

Release Date: July 23rd, 2013

Series: The Fury (bk. 1)

Genera: Paranormal/Horror/Sci-fi

Subjects: supernatural, angels, survival, apocalyptic

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 681 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.99

Publisher: Macmillan: FSG

Summary/ product description: From the creator of the Escape from Furnace series, a ferocious epic of supernatural terror, perfect for Stephen King fans
Imagine if one day, without warning, the entire human race turns against you, if every person you know, every person you meet becomes a bloodthirsty, mindless savage . . . That’s the horrifying reality for Cal, Brick, and Daisy. Friends, family, even moms and dads, are out to get them. Their world has the Fury. It will not rest until they are dead.
In Alexander Gordon Smith’s adrenaline-fueled saga, Cal and the others must uncover the truth about what is happening before it destroys them all. But survival comes at a cost. In their search for answers, what they discover will launch them into battle with an enemy of unimaginable power.”

My Review: This book was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay tooooooo loooong!!! I was so furious about the length; I almost threw it and said I’m not reading this. But I did read it and finish it, and my eyes suffered. Bad this about this books: 3rd person POV, a lot of perspective changes, British words that confuse me, no real chapters, just parts, which made the 671 pages even longer. This books took me forever to read. I pretty much skimmed most of it.

The good things about this book: angels (with fiery wings and they may or may not be energy aliens or inter-dimensional beings), kids becoming angels, telepathy and other power, humor. The rating I gave it would have only been 1 star if it weren’t for the creativity. I love angel books, but didn’t love this one. This book SHOULD have been 2 books, 340 pages each, because I hate when books are too heavy to read laying down. I would have enjoyed it more if it was short and fast paced. This was way too slow.

There’s too many scenes at the beginning where people are trying to kill the characters. Whenever anyone gets close to them, they become furious and feral. It’s like a zombie novel, but not really because it not a disease and the angels in side of them are causing it. That might be a spoiler, but just letting you know. They survive in an abandoned amusement park for a few days before something really crazy and exciting happens.

The characters weren’t really that well developed either. Daisy’s 12, Cal’s 17, Brick’s 18, Reilke and Schiller are 15. Cal’s funny and athletic, Brick’s gangly and depress? Daisy is young. Reilke is a psychopathic girl. I didn’t care for any of them.

I felt like this book was similar to Michael Grant’s Gone series. Maybe because all the characters are kids, but there’s still adults around. So if you like that series, this book you might enjoy. I really wished I liked it better.

Cover Art Review: Prefer the UK cover. This one’s too ugly and creepy and not well done. This is not a zombie book, really.



Friday, July 19, 2013

The Program by Suzanne Young

Series: The Program (bk. 1)

Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi/Romance

Subjects: suicide, death, love, brainwashing, psychological disorders, memory, Oregon

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 405 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $16.99

Publisher: Simon & Schuster: Simon Pulse

Summary/ product description: “In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.
Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.
Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.”

My Review: This book was way better than I expected. I loved A Need so Beautiful, the author first YA book. This book, part of a new series, has a unique premise to a near-future dystopia where suicide is an epidemic. It wasn’t futuristic or post-apocalyptic. It was more of a contemporary dystopia, with psychological disorders, mainly depression, being the issue. The 1st part of the book is set in normal seemingly modern Oregon, and in high school. The second part is in a metal health facility that’s part of the program. And later on in part three, I can’t tell you where it’s set.

The characters are pretty interesting, even if they seem helpless in parts, their hearts are strong. The main character is Sloane (how do you even pronounce that name? Such a strange name for a girl, also seen in the book This Is Not A Test by Courtney Summers, the character Sloane was suicidal). She’s madly in love with James, and they’ve been in a relationship for the past 2 years. James was her brother best friend before that. Her brother died over a year and a half ago. They seem like an awesome couple.

So when their other friend commits suicide, James becomes depressed and is flagged. The Program’s handlers come and take him away. Sloane can only hope that he’ll remember her when he comes back in 6 weeks. Because the Program erases your memories. The cure is getting rid of the memories that supposedly are causing the depression. But they also take away good ones that go along with the bad.

When Sloane ends up in the program herself, there’s nothing she can do to escape. She must survive a program and make sure she doesn’t forget everything, especially not James. I felt so sad for her. Her personality and voice are so strong, but she was helpless. She made friends with Mike Realm, playing card and he really helped her through. The story was so compelling and emotional. There was some romance later on, but mostly just her memories of James.

If you’ve read Delirium for Lauren Oliver, this book had that sort of feel. And world where you can’t show your true emotions or they’ll try to “cure” you or send you away. Love was a disease in Delirium. Sadness, grief, anger and depression are the disease here. Depression may be a mental disorder, but treatments these days don’t go to the extremes this book’s near-future world does. Also other parts of this book reminded me of Level 2 (The Memory Chronicles) and In The After (part 2 of the book). Any book about brainwashing or memories. I recommend this book if you like any ones I mentioned.

Cover Art Review: Nice, simple, clean and fitting for the book. The couple, the pill and the stark white hallway. I love the cover under the dust jacket too. You see the couple’s faces. They look very familiar. Wonder if they were on any other book covers.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Parallel by Lauren Miller

Series: Standalone

Genera: Romance/Sci-fi

Subjects: parallel universes, college, actor, love, fate

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 419 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She'd go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she's in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it's as if her past has been rewritten.
With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby's life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby's senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby's never even met.
As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn't choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that's finally within reach.”

My Review: This book is complex and intricately woven. There are things about it I enjoyed and things I didn’t. I mostly wish there was more sci-fi stuff in it. It’s very different from Elizabeth Norris’s Unraveling, but both have parallel universes. It’s very different from Fringe. I kind of wanted to picture Dr. Mann as Walter with a German accent, still.

This book had a lot of drama and crazy situations based on the choices the main character made. It felt contemporary and had some romance. I can totally tell that the author was a TV writer because Parallel would be awesome on the CW or ABC Family. Abby is funny and her friend Caitlin is awesome for helping her with the parallel situation.

I like that there was a college setting in this book. I wasn’t too crazy about the high school drama because I’m kind of sick of high school book clich├ęs. Yale seems like a cool place. I wouldn’t go there, but it’s fun to read about it.

Fun is probably the best word for this book, but the story has deeper meaning. This book made me think about what I would do in this situation. How thing would go differently if I choose a different major or if something happened that caused me to pick something. It made me think about parallel selves.

The parallel world was a year and a day behind Abby’s, which mean that when Abby woke up in a different reality, she has a year gap in her parallel selves reality. She could remember only up to what happen a year ago (and what happened after her birthday). Her parallel joins the crew/rowing team after an injury, and become the coxswain. I had no clue what crew was even till I read this book. Our school never had such a sport. I’m sure crew is part of the summer Olympic or something.

This book gets points for creativity, complexity and fun-ness. I didn’t give it an awesome rating because some part lost my interest. I like sci-fi, and I want my sci-fi with more science and solutions. Caitlin loved science and Dr. Mann was pretty cool. Astronomy is awesome. But it was lacking.

There was romance but it wasn’t really compelling. Josh seemed like a cool guy. There wasn’t insta-love but the love didn’t feel very deep. I feel like the story didn’t get to the really romantic stuff. And Michael (the guy at Yale) sounded like a player. He reminded me of Damon from the Vampire Diaries (minus the killing and bad attitude, and in college). I completely saw it coming, Josh and Michael. The author dropped hint. I am happy to say that I WAS RIGHT.

I recommend this book to people who enjoy contemporary and like their sci-fi lite. Or like lite-paranormal romance. Fans of Cat Patrick and Lauren Oliver will enjoy this. Especially if you loved Before I Fall. I haven’t read it, but I heard go thing about it.

Cover Art Review: I love the pearly stock paper used on this cover, but the design itself is boring and not creative. It fits the book, but it’s the kind of cover that would intrigue me. It’s not sci-fi looking.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

In the After by Demitria Lunetta

Series: In the After (bk. 1)

Genera: Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: post-apocalyptic, survival, monsters, zombies

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 455 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: HarperTeen

Summary/ product description: “They hear the most silent of footsteps.
They are faster than anything you've ever seen.
And They won't stop chasing you...until you are dead.
Amy is watching TV when it happens, when the world is attacked by Them. These vile creatures are rapidly devouring mankind. Most of the population is overtaken, but Amy manages to escape—and even rescue “Baby,” a toddler left behind in the chaos. Marooned in Amy’s house, the girls do everything they can to survive—and avoid Them at all costs.
After years of hiding, they are miraculously rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living in a former government research compound. While at first the colony seems like a dream with plenty of food, safety, and shelter, New Hope slowly reveals that it is far from ideal. And Amy soon realizes that unless things change, she’ll lose Baby—and much more.
Rebellious, courageous, and tender, this unforgettable duo will have you on the edge of your seat as you tear through the pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate in this thrilling debut from author Demitria Lunetta.”

5 Stars

My Review: One of the best post-apocalyptic/dystopian books I’ve read this year. It really surprised me. I had no idea what was going to happen. It started out in a silent, post-apocalyptic Chicago. And then moved to New Hope, an attempt to rebuild civilization located in Kansas. But, being from Chicagoland myself, I loved that she set at least of 3rd of the book there. Demitria is a Chicago native, after all. And she mentioned Oz park, which I heard has Wizard of Oz statues.

At the beginning of the book there was only Amy and Baby. And they were living in Amy’s house, which has solar panels and an electric fence. It’s even got electricity and water, due to Amy’s father’s efforts at a self-sustained home. The electric fence was her mom’s idea. How convenient. And that’s why Amy’s been able to survive for the last three years. Also, her and Baby use sign language and don’t make any noise if they can help it. Because They (the monsters) have super hearing.

Some people have been comparing this book to The 5th Wave, which I haven’t read. This book isn’t an alien book really. It mentions that they think the creatures are aliens, but are they? That’s the mystery. I was very surprised to find out. This book is more of a zombie book. But these aren’t the walking dead. These creatures have green skin and yellow eyes. They do eat people and their own dead. They are fast, and of course have supersonic hearing. Very different from any other zombie or alien book I’ve ever read.

This book manages to combine different things from dystopias and still be very unique. Of course, like any other dystopian, the main girl must get a haircut. Because you just can’t have long hair if the world is ending. I know I won’t want to be bald, though. There’s Twinkies, too. And other survival stuff. But sign language? No other dystopia has ever used that before.  

Amy, much later on in the book, reminded me of Tris from Divergent. She’s brave, a good fighter, and has strong character. She’s definitely dauntless. And she cares for Baby so strongly. I loved their sisterly bond.

While there are parts in which Amy is training to become a Guardian, there are also parts that happen 4 months later. The story in Part 2 & Part 3 switches between past (serif-typeface) and present (san-serif typeface). It’s an interesting way of unfolding a story. It became even most fast paced and exciting. I kept wondering how she would get to the point. What happened? And it was done way better than Lauren Oliver’s Pandemonium.

There’s also a love interest, but not much romance. Rice is pretty geeky and smart. I like him because he’s realist and still sound cute, with glasses and shaggy blond hair. He has to keep thing secret, so it’s hard to completely trust him, but he’s helpful. I wonder if book 2 will have more romance. I wonder what will happen next. There’s a lot of stuff I didn’t mention in this review because I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

I recommend this book to fans of Divergent, Rot & Ruin, Ashfall, The 5th Wave, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and any other survival/dystopian novel. If you love dystopia and post-apocalyptic books, this is a must-read. And help spread the word about the shear awesomeness that In The After is.

Cover Art Review: I love the textured cover and embossment. The cracked pavement with the title is really cool. It scream dystopia novel. The green offsets it well.


~Haley G

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Originals by Cat Patrick

Series: Standalone

Genera: Contemporary Sci-fi, Romance

Subjects: Clones, high school, sisters, love, individuality, California

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 296 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover

List Price: $18.00

Publisher: Little, Brown

Summary/ product description: “A riveting new story from Cat Patrick, author of Forgotten and Revived.
17-year-olds Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey Best grew up as identical triplets... until they discovered a shocking family secret. They're actually closer than sisters, they're clones. Hiding from a government agency that would expose them, the Best family appears to consist of a single mother with one daughter named Elizabeth. Lizzie, Ella, and Betsey take turns going to school, attending social engagements, and a group mindset has always been a de facto part of life...
Then Lizzie meets Sean Kelly, a guy who seems to see into her very soul. As their relationship develops, Lizzie realizes that she's not a carbon copy of her sisters; she's an individual with unique dreams and desires, and digging deeper into her background, Lizzie begins to dismantle the delicate balance of an unusual family that only science could have created.”

My Review: Almost as good as Revived and definitely better than Forgotten, The Originals was just as original as both. Cat Patrick makes yet another unique, contemporary, sci-fi-lite romance. I love sci-fi books with genetic engineering, and cloning is pretty interesting too. If you ever read Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix, you’ll know that the main character (Bethany) in that book was a clone of a girl named Elizabeth. In this book there a three clones living together, basically triplets, but only one identity named Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a name with about a million nick-names. The clones are named Lizzie, Betsy and Ella (but if there were more, maybe Beth, Lissa, Liza, Bethany, Bethie, Izzy, could all work.).

Lizzie is the narrator. I was expecting alternating POV, but it’s only Lizzie. The three of them definitely have different personalities. Lizzie is funny and creative. Betsy felt like an older sister for some reason. She likes country music and singing. She nice and caring. Ella scowls a lot apparently. She’s very type-A, overachiever. They each are out for a quarter of the day, taking only some of the classes and going home to switch with each other. The somehow manage to make it through the day without anyone noticing a change of personality. Until Lizzie meets Sean. Dating’s hard when you sisters have to share your identity. 

Sean is you average teenage hottie. He’s funny, smart and basically awesome. He’s also trustworthy and caring. I’m glad that Cat Patrick makes realistic love interests. And no insta-love or love triangles. (Can’t count as a love triangle if Ella likes David and Lizzie like Sean, but Ella and Lizzie have to both be Elizabeth.)

This book didn’t have the best plot in the world. It was lacking action and slow at times. But it had a lot of romance and drama. I loved the funny, romantic scenes between Lizzie and Sean. Like dancing in the bathroom. Sean’s such a sweet guy. I loved that the character made you care about them. They were well developed and distinct. There was a theme of individuality and what it means to be unique and not just a carbon copy. It was a good book. Short and sweet.

I recommend this book if you like high school, romance and sci-fi together. If you like books about cloning. If you enjoyed Double Identity, or Shadow Girl (Jennifer Archer). If you liked any other Cat Patrick books, this is a must-read. I loved Revived.

Cover Art Review: Very cool broken glass image with the three sisters/clones on the cover. This cover is perfect for this book.