Review Rendezvous: 10/21/17


This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, contemporary, thriller
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 285
Publish date: January 5th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

This is Where it Ends10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

This week we have another book with pretty heavy subject matter. I’m going to preface this by saying I mean no harm to those who have been affected by such violence. I know this is very sensitive and I’m trying my hardest not to overstep my bounds.

I found this book through Booktube yet again, and I must say it was quite the compelling tale. There are a few holes, but I’ll get back into that later. Nijkamp manages to stretch out the entire time of the shooting by head hopping between characters. I can’t say I’m entirely a fan of that move, but in this situation it works so that you can see the many sides of the situation.

The main drawback that I had with this book is that it does not go into the shooter’s motivation. He kinda comes off as the “I’m bad because I’m bad” type of villain. one-dimensional villains like that don’t lend themselves well to novels, and in this setting, it’s fairly insulting. The motivation of a school shooter is not something to be taken lightly, and to demean the situation by not offering more of an explanation is a bit harsh.

I did finish this book quite quickly, as it grips you from the second you open the cover. I do applaud Nijkamp for being able to write about the topic, because certainly authors (myself included) would shy away from the challenge. I would suggest it as a good read, not the best but still very good in my opinion.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 10/14/17


Baby Doll by Hollie Overton
Book stats:
Genre(s): Thriller, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 281
Publish date: July 12th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Baby DollHeld captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked.

This is what happens next…

…to her twin sister, to her mother, to her daughter…and to her captor.

I heard about this book from Regan over at PeruseProject. Or it could’ve been Sasha on abookutopia, I’m honestly not entirely sure because this sat on my to-read list for a couple months before I finally got to it. Anyways, the premise seemed interesting because I’d just seen Room, an Oscar-nominated movie of similar subject matter. But what really tickled my fancy was the fact that we could read from the antagonist’s point of view, which is not something you see very often.

A big portion of the book explores the psychological effects of something like this happening. You see how missing Lily has affected her whole family, and it’s how everyone responds differently. They are all shocked once they realize who took Lily in the first place, and where exactly she was for the eight years.

The subject matter can be a bit dark and depressing, I will admit. And then there’s the people that have the gall to say Lily is making it all up, which honestly just infuriated me. I know that there are probably people out there that would go so far as to make that stuff up just to tear someone down, but you sympathize with Lily and it’s just frustrating to see people disbelieve her.

Either way, the character growth and development in just this one book is amazing. Normally it takes a few books to get anywhere with growth, but you see the maturity and struggle these people go through in order to better understand and handle the situation. I certainly highly recommend this one.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 10/7/17


The Future of Us by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, romance, contemporary
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 356
Publish date: November 1st, 2011
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

Future of UsIt’s 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They’ve been best friends almost as long—at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh’s family gets a free AOL CD in the mail, his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they’re automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn’t been invented yet. And they’re looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they’re forced to confront what they’re doing right—and wrong—in the present.

I read this one a bit ago, but it was interesting enough to stick with me and get a read-over. It poses the question “What would you do if you could see your future?”. Sure, everyone jokes about superpowers and how it would be nice to know, but if you think about it, seeing the future comes with complications.

At first Emma thinks this website is a joke, and though I can’t remember how, she accepts that it’s actually the future. She makes some quips asking why she’d be so open about something like going to the psychologist, which makes you think about the fact that we do overshare quite a bit now, and it has become very commonplace.

It doesn’t take long for Emma to start trying to change the future. She goes after a new boy, changes her situation, and makes friends with the sole purpose of seeing how her future ends up. Josh, on the other hand, doesn’t think this is quite a good idea, and I’d be inclined to agree with him. They eventually get into quite the fight, and Emma begins depending on the information far too much.

Overall, the themes on the dangers of technology and knowledge of the future really stuck out to me. Eventually Emma learns her lesson and lets things be, which shows some good character growth on her. I did enjoy the book, enough to read it twice, so I would certainly suggest it to others 🙂

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 9/16/17


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, dystopia, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 338
Publish date: November 15th, 2011
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

ShatterJuliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

I read the first book of this series a bit ago, but I just went back to re-read it because I wanted to get into the rest of the series. There are so many questions and plot lines to explore that start in this book, I can’t wait to explore them all. But, that’s beside the point.

In the debut novel of this series, we meet Juliette. For some reason, she hurts and even kills people with her touch. She accidentally caused the death of a young boy, which is how she got locked up under the ‘care’ of the Reestablishment, which is the government that has now taken over the world. Juliette doesn’t know much of the outside world, since it’s been several months she has been in captivity and is slowly losing her mind.

I did like that Mafi explored the effects of solitude on Juliette’s character. I’ve seen protagonists bounce back from terrible conditions and imprisonment too fast, so it was nice to see a more realistic portrayal.

The inciting moment when Juliette’s situation changes is when she ends up getting a roommate. At first she doesn’t like this person, but then she begins to open up and get to know him a bit. That is, until she realizes that he was sent there as a test for her and the commander really wants to use her as a weapon. Of course, Juliette was scarred by hurting the little boy, so she downright refuses. And that’s when things get ugly.

There is so much potential in this character and her story, so I’m excited to see where Mafi takes it. I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of the series, and I’m looking forward to seeing if it gets a spot on my favorite books list 🙂

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 9/9/17


Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, dystopia, science fiction
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 335
Publish date: November 6th, 2007
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

UnwindThe Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

The premise of this book is chilling to say the least. I can’t imagine parents who would willingly do this to a child, but it is still frightening. Shusterman has written quite a compelling series, as this is the debut book. I don’t believe I’ve read the last one yet, but I will have to get to it.

This book basically pits children from ages thirteen to eighteen against the world, because if they become “too much” of a troublemaker (and that line is always blurry), they can easily be shipped off and unwound into different people. ‘Technically’ the kids don’t die, so maybe that’s how they adults are okay with this. But, not everyone is, as there are the stirrings of a rebellion.

I must say, Connor is basically written to be the leadership type. His actions, decisions, and temperament all point to the fact that he’s meant to lead a group, whether it is just the three main characters or if it’s an entire group of children fighting against the wish that they be unwound.

There are so many things wrong with this society, and yet that’s what makes it compelling to read, to see the characters triumph over the circumstances. People can do this thing called “storking”, which is leaving a baby on someone’s doorstep and they are legally required to care for it since abortion is not allowed any longer. Sounds good in theory, until you realize that it brings unnecessary burden on families that many not be able to afford it or care for the child easily.

Either way, this is one of the first dystopian series I ever read, and I’m kind of surprised that it took me this long to write a review of it. But, I do plan on taking up the last book soon, so I’ve been refreshing my memory. Shusterman managed to get in on a trend at least a year or more before it began to blow up with the onset of the Hunger Games franchise, so I have to give him credit for jumping in on a previously unloved genre.

Also side note, there’s this very well done video on YouTube I stumbled across depicting and “unwinding”. It’s not graphic, but it’s still slightly frightening because of the sound effects and all. Fair warning. Feel free to check it out if you’re interested.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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