Review Rendezvous: 6/30/18


Top Choice by Sophie McAloon
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young Adult, dystopian, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 330
Publish date: April 16th, 2018
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository

TCAs a future leader of the female-led regime her grandmother fought hard to establish, Alice Kearns is no stranger to pressure. Being the best in a society where women are expected to be high-achieving is the only option her powerful mother has ever accepted for her, and now that Ali’s a senior in high school, the pressure to succeed is greater than ever. But fortunately, as of her eighteenth birthday, Ali has a place to blow off steam: she’s finally allowed into the Choice Clubs.

Filled with an enticing mix of music, drinks and gorgeous guys, the Choice Clubs were founded to ensure that smart girls wouldn’t get distracted in their real lives by anything as trivial as a shallow crush or a pretty face. Choice guys are fun, flirty, and the perfect eye candy, but Ali would never dream of actually falling for one—until she meets Tag.

Tag McPhail is Top Choice. With his mischievous grin and chiseled abs, he is exactly the kind of boy that Ali’s mother believes needs to be kept contained. But after he kisses Ali at the Choice Club, she suddenly sees him everywhere—and she’s surprised to learn that there’s more to him than his perfect looks. Tag is sweeter, smarter, and funnier than Ali ever expected… and, she soon discovers, he’s also dangerous. Because Tag leads a double life: when he’s not working at the clubs, he’s leading a rebel group trying to overturn the girl power society that the women in Ali’s family have worked so hard to put in place.

Getting closer to Tag upends everything Ali thought she knew. But will she betray everything she was raised to protect for a guy she’s not even sure she can trust?

In the current setting of politics and shows like The Handmaid’s Tale, this book was quite the interesting shift in perspective. Too often we see dystopians where female characters are put down and treated improperly, but what if it was the other way around? There is plenty of objectifying of not just women but men as well, so what if it was all combined in a future society?

That premise alone is what drew me to this book. The writing style was well done and easy to follow. I enjoyed the descriptions of setting and character, and McAloon seems to be able to get into her character’s heads well. She did well with fitting her character’s attitudes and personalities to the society they’ve grown up in, instead of taking characters that existed in today’s society and tried to fit them with a future government.

There were plenty of surprises to keep me on my toes which I highly enjoyed. There’s always a rebel group going against power in futuristic settings, and this one is no different. But the fact that the main love interest has a double life just brings depth to his character instead of him being the typical ‘cute boy’ stereotype that the others like him seem to fall into.

Overall, great work. Would definitely read this one again.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:

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Review Rendezvous: 6/9/18


XVI by Julia Karr
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, science fiction, dystopia
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 325
Publish date: January 6th, 2011
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

XVIEvery girl gets one.
An XVI tattoo on the wrist–sixteen.

Some girls can’t wait to be sixteen, to be legal. Nina is not one of them. Even though she has no choice in the matter, she knows that so long as her life continues as normal, everything will be okay.

Then, with one brutal strike, Nina’s normal is shattered; and she discovers that nothing that she believed about her life is true. But there’s one boy who can help–and he just may hold the key to her past.

But with the line between attraction and danger as thin as a whisper, one thing is for sure…

For Nina, turning sixteen promises to be anything but sweet.

This had a promising idea attached to it. I was interested in the idea of the tattoos and the social constructs surrounding them. But, after the first chapter or two, things began to go downhill. I didn’t particularly empathize with the character, which is a huge sign that the rest of the book won’t be too enthralling either.

I will admit, I finished the whole book for this one, which is an accomplishment. Normally if I end up disliking a book that quickly, I will just skim the rest to see what happens. Maybe it was my interest in the few mysteries that Karr brought up, or the fact that I had nothing else to do. Either way, the book isn’t particularly bad, it is just lackluster in my opinion.

Nine seems to follow the cookie-cutter dystopian teenager mold that I’ve seen many, many times. You can forgive the character the first time you read one like her. But the 20th? Not as easy. Granted that there are extenuating circumstances in the book, but Nina just seems to float through, responding to the situation rather than really acting. And then there is her reaction to events surrounding the end of the book, that I can’t disclose. If something like that happened to me, I feel like I’d have a much more emotional reaction. Just saying.

Overall, it’s meh if you have nothing else to do, but I’m not particularly motivated to read the second book.

Rating:
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Review Rendezvous: 5/12/18


A Grey Sun by S. J. Sherwood
Book stats:
Genre(s): Science fiction, dystopian, young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 432
Publish date: November 16th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & Noble

TDA convicted Denounced, sentenced to death.

When sixteen-year-old Ned is wrongly convicted and kidnapped to a secret location, he meets ninety ‘Denounced’, and a terrifying truth begins to unfold – one that will change the world forever. 

Forced to lead a Pod of five, Ned begins to realise thousands of lives could depend upon him. A survivor by nature, he now has to face his past, confront his destiny, and fight a System that has never lost.

A Grey Sun is the first in a three-part series following six Denounced teenagers as they struggle to live in a world where a simple mistake will cost you your life…

I don’t think I will ever be able to get enough dystopians ever. This particular genre is easily my most read, and it is likely because I was getting fully immersed in the reading world just as series like Hunger Games and Divergent were making huge waves, which brought many more authors to that genre. Today I’m reviewing A Grey Sun, the first in a new dystopian series. I will admit, upon first glance I feel like the cover could have been better, but that could also be just me. It kinda works as a more minimalistic cover however, so to each their own.

Getting into this book, there is really no easing in. You are dumped into the action from the very first page, where the main character Ned is rescued (?) from certain death. But then he goes on to a training camp, and you begin to wonder if this rescue was really better than dying. Especially when there’s still a chance he could die anyways.

There’s quite a cast of characters, bringing to mind a series like The Maze Runner. But, despite all of the similarities to other dystopians, this new series has a good chance to stand on its own. We learn just enough about the world to be drawn in, but there is plenty of space to learn more in later books, which is very important if an author wants to sustain a series.

I honestly found the “mother figure” a bit creepy and strange, something just felt off about her. But I suppose that’s the point, as you go the entire book wondering if she really has the best interests at heart for these kids.

I’m definitely interested in reading another of these books, I want to know how the story ends!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
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Review Rendezvous: 5/5/18


Speed of Life by Carol Weston
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, romance, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 320
Publish date: April 1st, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Barnes & Noble

SoLSofia wonders if 14 might be the worst possible age to lose your mom. Talking with her dad about puberty and s-e-x is super-awkward (even though he is a gynecologist). And when she wants to talk about her mom, her friends don’t know what to say and her dad gets sad.

When Sofia discovers Dear Kate, an advice columnist from Fifteen magazine, she’s grateful to have someone to confide in about everything from crushes to mourning—someone who is completely, wonderfully anonymous. It feels ideal—until Sofia’s dad introduces her to his new girlfriend, Katherine Baird, a.k.a., Dear Kate…

Even though this book deals with harsh topics, there is still a sense of childish-ness and young discovery. I ended up loving Sofia’s character, despise the occasional flaws like a bit of naivety. These moments only serve to make her character that much more developed, and I loved her for it. She doesn’t instantly get over her family’s tragedy, and the journey to healing is very well represented, coming from someone who went through a similar situation.

You’ve gotta admit, Sofia’s situation is a bit of a pickle. The person who was once an anonymous comfort is now a real life person she can interact with, and it can be difficult to deal with that, no matter who you are. There are so many topics that a girl her age needs help with, and without her mom to guide her, Sofia is at a bit of a loss.

I loved reading in this writing style, Weston has a beautiful voice in her prose. There is such a broad range of characters the simply bring her story to vivid life, matching the equally brilliant (and lovely!) cover. I was hanging on every word, and even though I am several years past this age, I still loved it and found myself enthralled.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
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Review Rendezvous: 4/28/18


Two Halves Whole by Melissa Abigail
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 254
Publish date: November 20th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon

THWSeventeen-year-old Ryu Debiru thought he had everything under control, thought he knew exactly where his life was headed after graduation (assuming he makes it to graduation).

That was until the girl he hated became the girl he could no longer ignore. 

Perhaps his secret life is no longer something he can keep secret. 

Or maybe it is.

Although, it seems like the entire city is harbouring secrets. What’s one more? Sure it might hurt a few people, even Ryu himself. Hey, he’ll survive. He’s survived worse. 

Except sometimes… the truth comes out in ways one doesn’t expect. Then what? What happens when just surviving is no longer enough? What happens when even the truth is fatal?

I definitely enjoyed reading the second installment in this series. I tend to get somewhat frustrated with slower works, such as the first piece, but this book managed to bring a lot more in depth and intrigue. In the last book, we left off right as Ryu and Haruna were making amends, but things never stay perfect for long. Ryu’s path as a young gangster is certain to mess things up sometime.

There’s something to be said about how the book manages to address racism. In the past, young adult literature has been hesitant to say much about it, so it’s refreshing to see it addressed for once. Haruna is not afraid to say something when things are wrong, which is admirable.

While the book does fall prey to the occasional cliche, it is still a very well-written piece of work. The Japanese tones for a book set in Canada make for an interesting setting, but it is not so distracting as to take from the main focus of the book. This one is well worth a read, so go take a look!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
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