Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Rachel Dewoskin
(Trigger Warnings for the book: Genital mentions, accident, alcohol, fire, suicide, drugs, animal harm/death)

(The following summary is from Goodreads. Look, I'm already behind on reviewing, you want it to take longer?)

When Emma Sasha Silver loses her eyesight in a nightmare accident, she must relearn everything from walking across the street to recognizing her own sisters to imagining colors. One of seven children, Emma used to be the invisible kid, but now it seems everyone is watching her. And just as she's about to start high school and try to recover her friendships and former life, one of her classmates is found dead in an apparent suicide. Fifteen and blind, Emma has to untangle what happened and why - in order to see for herself what makes life worth living.

Okay, this review is split into two parts. The first is a draft of the review when I was only halfway through. The second is now, when the book is done.
Part One
Unlike most books on here, I didn't pick up this book because 'wow! That sounds interesting!' (that came later), but instead the creeping feeling that I should. It was on one of my lists, and I was curious. Would I need to take it off the list? Was it even a good book? So, out of curiosity and some vague worries, I picked it up.

The first thing I noticed was backstory. This is kind of alarming, because I usually feed on a diet of trashy mermaid romances where backstory and plot are treating like some kind of plague. And Blind has a lot of backstory. A lot. While the book follows the plot of a murder mystery type scenario, it would be a bit easier to say that it was about Emma's journey from first being blinded to accepting her disability and doing the things she wants to do. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Actually, the backstory is really interesting. 

It would be nice, however, if the book was a little less expound-y. It wasn't fluff sentences or fluff scenes that were the problem, but things that could take one sentence taking a paragraph instead. That didn't happen too often, but enough to be kind of irritating. Most of them were referring to Zach (more on him later).

The characters were really cool. Logan especially. Instead of being your Typical YA Best Friend (TM), she was actually a person. A real person, whose life didn't revolve a) Emma, or b) helping Emma get together with Love Interest. Even with some of the qualities of the Typical YA Best Friend (TM) like being snarky, or being emotionally strong, she was rounded out and interesting to read.

Emma broke out of the mold of what I except from the Typical YA Heroine (TM). She wasn't defined by something like shyness or stubbornness, but by being her own person. She had opinions and did things, acting like someone who you might know instead of cardboard cut out you might know. Even if she acted a little cynical sometimes, it didn't come off as that aggravating type of cynicism I've gotten way too used to reading, where the narrator sounds like they think they're better than everyone. I liked it.

Even secondary or background characters were individuals. Emma's sisters (and brother) didn't feel like they were there for the 'look, a baby! Oh, don't you love the BABY?! BABY BABY BABY!' factor. I hate that factor. I've mentioned this in previous reviews. I don't think you guys need a recap on it. Anyway, each of Emma's six siblings were unique. At the same time, they acted their age and did their own thing. Other secondary characters, even ones that had like two lines were individuals. Do you know how hard it is to give a character two lines and still make me think 'yep, this is a person. I like this person. Yep.'?! It's really hard. A flower crown to the author.

Zach. No. No Zach, not right now. You know where his paragraph is, don't you, lovelies?

As mentioned in the first paragraph, there was backstory. And the backstory was well written and didn't seem like it was just there to clog things up. However, it did slow down the pace of the novel. The book's only 394 pages. That's not that bad. But it feels so much longer. I'm going to admit, I'm not quite done with it at the writing of this paragraph (December 20).

Part Two

I honestly don't know what happened. The book was still good, but something must have happened at the halfway mark.

First of all, the pacing picked up. Great! I'm going to admit, the slowness of the first half was seriously starting to bother me.

But Emma also suddenly achieved Stage Four Other Girls Syndrome. It just happened. She went from being all cool and original to sounding a lot like the very Typical YA Heroine (TM). Sad. She hit the points of: feminist is a dirty word, all gays are dead, all gays are messed up, and you're a slut. What?! I expect books to start like this, not end like this. Was this some kind of messed up character arch? Le sigh.

Zach's status of Love Interest was dropped, to be picked up by Sebastian. Sebastian was cool, so I didn't mind. At the same time, could Dee being Sebastian's girlfriend have not incited an Other Girls reaction? Please?

(Sorry I missed the 15th. Busy season. Hopefully I can read more books over break and put them in a queue.)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

*Sad flute sounds*

Well, I did all the masterposts. It took longer than I hoped, but it happened. I'm still editing some things (realized the fact I used blocks of text is really inaccessible, so I'll space things out), but that's all for now. Hopefully, there'll be more diverse reads in the future. Like, a lot more. A LOT more. Anyhow, here are some websites I thought you guys might like, if you enjoyed the posts.

Disability in Kidlit

Diversity in YA

American Indians in Children's Literature (Yes I know it says 'Children's Literature', but it deals with YA books too)

We Need Diverse Books

Harmony Ink Press (Publishes MOGAI books, also posts other things)

Writing with Color (For if you're trying to write a character of color, occasionally does book recs)

I'll still take recommendations/corrections on any of the lists! I still will in a month, I still will in a year, I still will forever.



Masterpost of Diversity p.3

 Our last installment (sadly) of the masterposts. It took longer than I thought, mostly because lists of books with disabled protags were just The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time (which is friggn' offensive) and It's Kind of a Funny Story (which I included, though I don't like it). Thank you to everyone- everyone- that has made a list that includes neither of the two. As always, if you see something wrong on the list, tell me. I'll correct it as soon as possible. Recommendations are always welcome!

Part 3 Disability

Mental Disability

Trueman Bradley: Aspie Detective- Alexi Maxim Russell (Autism, tw death)

Mindblind- Jennifer Roy (Autism)

House Rules- Jodi Picoult (Autism, tw murder)

Marcelo in the Real World- Francisco X. Stork (Autism)

Rogue- Lyn Miller-Lachmann (Autism, tw bullying and slurs)

Viral Nation- Shaunta Grimes (Autism, tw violence, disaster)

Colin Fischer- Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz (Austism, tw murder)

Somewhere Only We Know- Cheyanne Young (Anxiety)Health and Safety- Nick James (Anxiety, tw medication)

Wild Awake- Hilary T. Smith (Social anxiety)

The Boyfriend List- E. Lockhart (Anxiety, tw alcohol)

This is Not a Test- Courtney Summers (Depression, tw death)

It's Kind of a Funny Story- Ned Vizzini (Depression, Anxiety, tw suicide attempt, self harm, drugs)

All the Bright Places- Jennifer Niven (Depression, tw death, suicide)

Lovely, Dark, and Deep- Amy McNamara (Depression, tw death, accident)

Kissing Doorknobs- Terry Spencer Hesser, A.J. Allen (OCD)

Don't Touch- Rachel M. Wilson (OCD)

Schizo: A Novel- Nic Scheff (Schizophrenia, tw death, kidnapping, the slur in the title...)

Invisible- Pete Hautman (Schizophrenia, tw bullying)

The Half Life of Molly Pierce- Katrina Leno (DID)

Girls Like Us- Gail Giles (Learning difficulties, tw abuse)

Bleeding Violet- Dia Reeves (Schizoaffective ?)

Cryer's Cross- Lisa McMann (OCD)

 Physical Disability

She Is Not Invisible- Marcus Sedgwick (Blind)

Diamond Eyes- A.A Bell (Blind, tw mental institutions)

Blind- Rachel Dewoskin (Blindness, tw accident, suicide)

Girl, Stolen- April Henry (Blindness, tw kidnapping)

Silence In Center- Jody Studdard (Hearing impairment)

Five Flavors of Dumb- Antony John (deaf)

The Dark Days of Hamburger Halpin- Josh Berk (deaf, tw murder)

Otherbound- Corrine Duyvis (Epilepsy)

100 Sideways Miles- Andrew Smith (Epilepsy, tw death)

The Island at the End of the World- Austin Aslan (Epilepsy, tw natural disaster (tsunami), medication)

The Unintentional Time Traveler- Everett Maroon (Epilepsy)

Summer of Yesterday- Gaby Triana (Epilepsy)

When Mr. Dog Bites- Brian Conaghan (Tourette's, tw death)

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling- Lucy Frank (Crohn's disease)

Tripping- Heather Waldorf (Amniotic band syndrome)

The Elementals- Sara Polsky (Withered leg, tw death)

Adrenaline Crush- Laurie Boyle Crompton (Shattered leg, tw accident, war mentions)

Izzy, Willy-Nilly- Cynthia Voigt (Leg amputation, tw accident)

The One Where the Kid Nearly Jumps to His Death and Lands in California- Mary Hershey (Leg amputation, tw accident)

A Time to Dance- Padma Venkatraman (Leg amputation, tw accident, death)

The Running Dream- Wendelin Van Draanen (Leg amputation, tw accident)

Alchemy and Meggy Swann- Karen Cushman (Dislocated hips)

Handbook for Dragon Slayers- Merrie Haskell (Clubfoot)

Boy on the Edge- Fridrik Erlings (Clubfoot, tw bullying, violence)

Push Girl- Chelsie Hill, Jessica Love (Wheelchair user, tw accident)

Dangerous- Shannon Hale (Congenital limb deficiency)

Shark Girl- Kelly Bingham (Hand amputation, tw accident- shark attack, plenty of water mentions)

Accidents of Nature- Harriet McBryde Johnson (Cerebral Palsy)

Stoner and Spaz- Ron Koertge (Cerebral Palsy, tw drugs, alcohol, sex)

The Color of Silence- Liane Shaw (Cerebral Palsy?, tw death, accident, prison)

Drowned- Nichola Reilly (Nondescript physical disabilty, tw drowning)


The Lightning Thief- Rick Riordan (ADHD and dyslexia, tw violence, lots of water, death)

Say What You Will- Cammie McGovern (Dual POV: Cerebral palsy and OCD, tw death mention, disease, alcohol, drug mentions)

Dr. Bird's Advice for Sad Poets- Evan Roskos (Depression, Anxiety, tw abuse)

The Shattering- Karen Healey (OCD and learning disorders, I think? tw suicide, death)

(A shout out to all the people who didn't write 'autistic white dude solves murder case with undiscovered genius' stories. You are very important. Also, I know Percy Jackson is technically middle grade. Shhhhhhhhhhhh.)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Rethinking Normal

Rethinking Normal
(Image originally from Amazon, cropped by me to get rid of extra space)
Katie Rain Hill

(Trigger warnings for suicide, slurs, violence, transphobia, drug mentions, sex mentions, genitalia frequently mentioned, and rape mentions)

I can't summarize memoirs. Sorry. Look, it's about Katie Rain Hill, a trans girl who currently goes to college at Tulsa. The end. 

Reviewing memoirs is kind of weird, as I have said multiple times about reviewing things that are anything but strictly fiction. Am I judging your life to see if it's interesting enough? That would be weird. Frankly, if I wrote a memoir, I'd probably get one stars if we were judging on how interesting it is. But, anyway, onto the review.

As a non-binary person, it's good to see a book about being trans that isn't just anthropology (I have a simmering hatred for anthropologists, but that's not related) and sniffy phrases like "transgendered" and "man who identifies as a woman". If you read too much of that, no matter how nice it tries to be, you start feeling miserable. Your identity is picked apart piece by piece, given "explanations", and you go from a person to an "it". Anyway, I am so glad Ms. Hill wrote this.

The book tackles gender confusion and transphobia. I can't believe she can describe gender uncertainty so well. You have a bunch of things going on, and you don't know why. She talks a lot about genital dysphoria, which is important and does need to be addressed. However, I'd like to see a little more on baseline dysphoria, where something's just a little off. It's the fly that buzzes over your head as you work.

Another topic is depression. She had severe depression from age seven, and attempted suicide twice. Thank God she didn't. She got into the gritty parts that fiction doesn't want to touch on (Yes, latest book, depression is totally when all you do is cry but power through /sarcasm). Not bathing, not leaving your room, not even knowing what to do in life. But she doesn't write it like it's just her backstory and doesn't affect her anymore. It does. She notes that.

Really, none of the book was written in any way but relatable. Who's been on national TV here? Oh, look, one hand in the back. But she makes it feel as close to you as tripping on your own shoelaces. It feels like you've done it, now that you've read about it. I love that.

If there was one thing I wanted to see less of, though, it was sex mentions. I know, they didn't happen often, but there were a couple that could have been cut. Then again, I have no clue how important that kind of thing is to allosexual* people. Those wacky allos.

*Allosexual- someone who feels strong sexual attraction- opposite of asexual

(A note for the book- genderqueer is not the "in between" of male and female. That would be like saying every color is in between blue and pink.)

Saturday, November 15, 2014


(image from its amazon page)
Scott Westerfeld

(Tw for death, terrorism, alchohol, suicide mentions, murder)

Darcy Patel wrote a novel in a month. The experience was surreal, and only got more so as she's rocketed into the publishing world. She puts off college, takes days out for editing, finds and apartment in NYC, and falls in love.
Every other chapter is that of Lizzie, Darcy's protagonist. Like Darcy, she's been thrown into a new, strange world. The difference is, Lizzie's a spirit guide.

*Horrible summary is horrible, but short*

There are 599 pages in this book, and the last time I read something so long without taking two week breaks in between chapters was when I read Blood of Olympus. That was for a series I am deeply invested in and feel the need to finish in three days. This? Scott Westerfeld's ranking on my author list is "male author that does not make me feel the need to watch 'Male Novelist Jokes' every other page". It took me more than three days, but managed to get finished before the 200 page book I'm currently putting off by writing this review.

Westerfeld, also, has totally touched down on Poe's Law with Lizzie's chapters. They're satire- but I couldn't tell until I saw something that said so. If you're reading this before you read the book, you should know that. And I have to say, that makes it pretty good satire.

The non-Lizzie chapters were well written, if a bit slow. I don't know if this was just 'writing is slow, so nothing really important will happen for a while' or what, but it didn't seem as fast-paced. Then again, I may just be desensitized to contemporary. It's not my main genre.

The Lizzie chapters give me, now that I know they're a parody, a sort of vertigo. Yeah, they feel a lot like the cheap paranormal romances I love and hate, but they're different- mostly, the love interest would never be named something more than one syllable. Come on, Yamaraj? That's like three. Point is, they were the egregiously obvious parodies I'd expect. Frankly- and I haven't read most of what Scott Westerfeld writes, so give me a pass here- I thought it was totally in line with what an advanced writer might do, if they aren't writing literary fiction by then.

The characters in both stories left me torn between 'yes much development very' and 'is this even a real person'. It seems kind of contradictory, but that's how it felt. Sometimes they felt flesh and blood, other times paper and ink. It depended on the chapter.

On the romance: You know how for Mardi Gras there'll be those giant king cakes? And if you get the baby doll baked in the cake, it's good luck? Well, that's how reading Darcy's chapters felt. You have your cake, and cake's amazing. Then you take a bite and get a baby. By which I mean two girls. Together! In a way that isn't portrayed as earth-shattering or nonexistent!

Yamaraj as a love interest was, for a satire, a little too distant. I mean, come on Mr. Westerfeld. YA boyfriend are super clingy and get angry if it's so much implied if the protagonist has friends. If you're going to mock a genre, you got to do it right.


Thursday, October 30, 2014


Maya Van Wagenen

Trigger warnings for death, drug and alcohol mentions, and bullying

Before the beginning of her eighth grade year, Maya Van Wagenen discovers a book in the back of her closet. It's from the 1950's and is titled Betty Cornell's Teenage Popularity Guide. Being on the lowest rung of the social ladder and not having much to lose, she decides to run a social experiment. Every month she'll obey a chapter from Betty Cornell's book, down to wearing long skirts and girdles. 

Behold my horrid summary of a great book. Instead of cold sociological reviews that try to explain that we're popular because we need to mate (to psychologists- this may surprise you, but Freud wasn't some great insight), it peels back what it's actually like, from a real person's perspective, to try and attain popularity.

I hate to use 'back of the book quotes' language, but the book was poignant. And funny, and weird, and worth a read.

The book isn't completely about the fight for popularity. It talks about the other things that happen in Maya's life, things that ultimately do affect her and how she acts. She learns from her experience. It totally brings me back to 8th grade. I'd been trying to forget that, but okay.

 One issue, though, was that it occasionally pushed the 'unrelated but important' part of non-popularity related things. The part where they gave her little brother "the talk" just seemed sort of unnecessary. But it's kind of hard to tell where to draw the line between frivolous and there for enjoyment. Ah, the troubles of non-fiction.

It's amazing to see what does and doesn't work 60-ish years after the popularity guide was written. Pearls- yay. Cardigans and long skirts- nay.Vaseline on eyelids-maybe. And there's so much detail! She made notes throughout the experiment and was writing the book as it happened, so I guess that explains it, but still. Woo hoo for not being vague.

The point of the book is something that I think is good to know, not just be told. Beauty is on the inside. Okay, so you've heard it a thousand times. But to have actually shown is so much better. I can't try and explain why. Point is, read the book. It's a good book.

Also. Even in non-fiction you can't escape romance. At least it wasn't overwhelming.

(Pathetic review five hours late, but whatever.)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Parantnormal, the Second One

Finally thinking I had absolutely nothing to complain about anymore, you sigh in relief. You slip into the lull of safety. But it's not true. I'm here to bristle about all the things I forgot in the last Parantnormal. So here we go.

1. There are only so many ways to spell 'fairy'

Fairy, faery, fairie, fair folk, faerie, faeiry, fayry, fayrie, faiery... There are probably more. There should not be more. With every mutation of the word, my Irish heritage aches. Look, the concept is the same. It doesn't matter how you spell it! But it needs to be readable. It's okay to say 'fairy'. I get it that 'fairy' evokes images of small children's dolls, but it's just how it's spelled. Faery is okay too.

People sometimes shorten it to just "the Fay/Fae/Fai". Fine. That's okay. It sounds more modern that way. However, please, stop acting like the word "fairy" will suddenly destroy your story. If the story is good, it will be fine.

And stop spelling vampire "vampyre". Replacing every "i" with a y doesn't help your case.

2. It could be any mythology in the world... Surprise, it's Greek

Hey, I'm a mythology geek. All mythologies are cool. But Greek mythology is everywhere, from English classes to YA novels. Is it because everyone knows about it? Well, that's your problem. It's not new, it's not fresh and interesting. If you're writing something focused on Greek mythology, try to think about it a little harder. For the plot, does it require being Greek? Or could it just be any pantheon? Really consider it.

If your first thought is that it wouldn't require as much research, or that everyone would know what you're talking about, stop having that thought. All mythologies require research. And most books, based on any mythology, explain the myths they reference. So you could use anything. Really.

Is the story about a child of Zues that controls storms? Is it vital that it's Zues, Zues, and nothing but the Zues? If not, look- other storm gods! Thor, Set, Oya, Taranis... I just googled 'storm gods'. There are plenty more than that.

3. The vampire/werewolf war

Forever wondering about this. Werewolves are German, vampires, well, vampires range, but most people go with the East European ones. But I get it, you want them in the same place. Okay, okay. Why are they fighting?

I swear, it's never explained past 'it's alway's been this way, so...'. There's nothing contradictory about werewolves and vampires. They can be friends. Really. Or do you just need a reason to make your romance forbidden? As always, it would be fine if it was just explained.

4. Failed pack structure, the only female werewolf, and other weird tropes

Writing about any were-blahblahblah society will take research on the species. Wolves are not exempt from this. No matter how much you think you know, you have to look a little farther. First of all- pack hierarchy isn't just "two ton muscle wolf rules all with lady wolf, all other wolves are under them". There's a breeding pair (the alphas), their kids, and maybe their kids' kids. Wouldn't werewolf society be at least close?

The last lady wolf phenomenon is one of the strangest, but also really common (and cissexist). Tell me again why it needs to happen. There's thousands of werewolves, but long ago all the girls died. But-but!- now heroine comes along, and she must hide from society because all the guys want to mate with her. Then Love Interest comes along, teaches harder that not all men are animals (I'm ao hilarious), somehow managing to be the only man that doesn't immediately treat her like breeding stock. But still proves his point.

Another, "the inner wolf" thing. So, there's you. You are the narrator. You are human. Then there's your inner wolf, who's also you, but is a wolf. And talks to you. And when you change, you're still you, not that inner wolf. I'm confused. Why don't you consider that inner wolf to be you, since you are a wolf? What is that inner wolf? If, when you transform, you don't become that inner wolf, what's the point?

She's going to find her mate, she's the Omega, it's- gasp- the Alpha. Who has abs of chiseled smoke. And he's possessive and, honestly, kind of terrifying. Or he rejects her, she mopes, then he comes around and is possessive and terrifying. He uses the dialogue tag "growled" a lot. His name may or may not be a version of "Zack" or "Jack". An ack name.

5. Destinope

This happens in every genre, but it's particularly common in paranormal stuff. Here. I'll even script it out for you. You'll know what I'm talking about.

(MC enters)

Hi, I'm the main character. I'm plain. So plain. My eyes are puplegreenyellowrainbow and people call me a freak because of that. 

(MC wipes away a single tear, though not seeming affected emotionally)


You're special. You have a destiny.

Whhhaaaaaaaaattt. That's so weird and horrible.

(200 pages of nothing)

(Suddenly AUTHOR remembers something)

Oh, crap. Right.

I have a destiny. I shall do that now.

(40 pages of actual plot)


The two hundred page snog sessions could easily go away. It needs to go away. We might like the filler, but not as much as we'd like to hear the plot.

6. The villain is SO hot

Do you need a love triangle but have only one good guy? Do you not want to just write in a new character? Well, do I have a solution for you! Just take your villain, the murderer, the monster, and make him hot! Buy Villain-Good Guy-Heroine Love Triangle now and get a free bottle of Creepiness! Buy now!

Have you considered not doing that.

(Also, did anyone else already finish Blood of Olympus? Because I did. Solangelo YEAH.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Odin's Ravens

Odin's Ravens
 (image from blackwellpages.com)
K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr

Trigger warnings for death and violence

If you want an original summary, I'm afraid you're out of luck. Sorry about that. Here's the one off goodreads:

When thirteen-year-old Matt Thorsen, a modern day descendant of the Norse god Thor, was chosen to represent Thor in an epic battle to prevent the apocalypse he thought he knew how things would play out. Gather the descendants standing in for gods like Loki and Odin, defeat a giant serpent, and save the world. No problem, right?

But the descendants' journey grinds to a halt when their friend and descendant Baldwin is poisoned and killed and Matt, Fen, and Laurie must travel to the Underworld in the hopes of saving him. But that's only their first stop on their journey to reunite the challengers, find Thor's hammer, and stop the apocalypse--a journey filled with enough tooth-and-nail battles and larger-than-life monsters to make Matt a legend in his own right.

A bit of backstory. This is the second book in the Blackwell Pages series. You may feel duped of the review of the first book, but more backstory- I never read the first book. I was so excited to see a book on Norse mythology (and I had heard of the series before) I bought it right then and there in a little airport bookstore. It took about fifteen minutes for me to notice the little yellow banner on the spine that read "Book 2". So thank you, authors, for having this book make sense for all of us that never read the first. That is a talent. A flower crown for the two of you.

I'm sure my readers are getting just a little tired of Norse mythology. I can see you scowling and pointing to the book I just reviewed that was also the second book of a Norse series, raising one unamused eyebrow. To that I'm sorry. Norse mythology is my special interest, and most people in my life probably feel the same way you do. I'll try and keep it short.

Ahhhhh, characters, characters. Loved the characters, and it was multiple POV so we got to read from 4/5 of the important POVs. No Baldwin sections that I remember. Disappointing, I know. Baldwin was the only person who was mildly HAPPY. Not to say that the others were bad, just not Baldwin. Can you guess my favorite character?

There were pictures. That's all you need to know. There were PICTURES.

A few things left me wondering if they were added in for plot convenience. For instance, the bags that Helen gave the kids. Those were just really... Convenient. It took out an element of urgency. Though, this could be swept under the rug by the fact it's MG. I suppose I'm a bit older and than the target audience.

Also, names. I need to decide if I hate or love the names. I mean, I like meaning names, but Helen. As Hela. And Ray and Reyna being Freyr and Freyja. Reyna and Freyja even have the same name meanings. But Ray means 'counsel protection' so, ya'know, we're not completely following a pattern here. I'm so confused. I love and hate the names.

The ending. THE END. HOLY CRAP. Now I need book three, which isn't out yet. It joins the ranks of the three other books that are coming out in 2015, but I want now. Let me tell you, if you feel at all bored (why would you?) while reading, give it until the last few pages. Holy goats.

If there was one problem I had, it was just how white the cast was. No diversity whatsoever. I know, I know, they're the descendants of Norse gods, and most people in Scandinavia are white. However, it's not like they're descendants on both sides (unless they were, in which a case, sorry, missed that), so they could have mixed race. Or something. And it so straight. No, I don't care that it's middle grade, if there can be straight romance, there can be gay romance. One is not more taboo than the other. Copy this over for disability, class, and anything else you can think of that I can't.

And the romance seemed a little unnecessary, too. Or, I think it's unnecessary because I'm worried Laurie will end up in a love triangle. Or, I think it's unnecessary because the chemistry between [Spoilers we have heard on high] Owen and Laurie [sweetly spoilering o'er the plains] is next to nil. Or, I think their chemistry is next to nil because I didn't want romance. It's cause and effect, but I'm not sure which is which.

(This review is a MESS)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

On the Day I Died

On the Day I Died
 (Image via juniorlibraryguide.com)
Cadence Fleming

(Trigger Warnings (book and review): Death, fire, spiders, blood, the undead, murder- Okay, -almost anything that has the potential to kill you was in here. For the love of a Smiling God, do not read if you have basically any triggers.)

Mike is driving fast to get home before he almost hits a dripping wet girl with his car. He slams on the brakes, and, knowing he's already late and the girl is clearly miserable, offers her a ride home. Except her mother says she's dead, and her real home is White Cemetery. Michael's visit there, however, leaves him trapped by the ghosts that need to tell their stories.

I read this book the first time the same year it was published. I didn't have a blog at the time, and my tastes were kind of underdeveloped back then anyway. It became my favorite book. I read again recently and came to some frightening truths about younger me (Why did I feel the need to read about all these deaths? Why was I upset when a cat was mentioned to have died, but not when the narrator died?  What was wrong with me?). It now ranks as 'decent' on my book-o-meter. Let's find out why.

This book is the ultimate exercise of writing different voices. And it succeeded. The characters were all obviously individuals. Heck, it sounded like it could have been different writers writing, even, which I mean in the best way possible.

So, another part of this book is that they died in supernatural ways. A couple, though, went from 'ooooh spppoooookkkkyyyyyyy' to 'wait what'. And the first didn't really even go under the theme of supernatural. Unless there's something I missed there, which is totally possible.

The writing style, while it varied from story to story, was consistently interesting. Or, didn't leave me skipping over paragraphs out of boredom, even in the slowest-building stories. However, the descriptions weren't usually as detailed as I wanted. There was a lot left to the imagination.

An anthology of ten short stories usually means ten different settings. Or, it's in New York. But instead On the Day I Died is set in Chicago, and does that fine. It's not the same story over and over again, it's not even really the same setting over and over again. Way to milk your surroundings. Also in a good way.

Overall, good light reading for creep addicts.

(Sorry for the patheticness of this review, and the fact I missed the 15th...)

Sunday, September 28, 2014


Sorry about being gone so long. School's back, less reading time, the usual.

I have to drop the queue for the 1st. I just don't have time for three things a month, though hopefully I'll do better as I get back into the rhythm of things.

Also, masterpost three is in the works. So y'all know.


Monday, September 1, 2014

The Masterpost of Diversity p.2

Well, here we are, list number two. Hopefully, this list will be longer than the last. Once again, leads count, all else does NOT. Also once again, please tell me if I missed a trigger warning, you want to add a book, I was wrong about the diverse-ness, or if the book is actually really offensive and I need to take it off (I haven't read most of these books, sorry!).

Thank you to mrkohler for correcting me on a couple things I got wrong and adding books to the list!

Part 2 People of Color


Zebra Crossing- Meg Vandermerwe (South African)

Chausiku: The Gathering Storm- Pamela E. Cash (Anzande, tw death)
The Milk of Birds- Sylvia Whitman (Sudanese, tw death, rape)
The Chaos of Stars- Kiersten White (Egyptian)
Now Is the Time for Running- Micheal Williams (Zimbabwean, tw war, death)
Lost Girl Found- Leah Bassoff, Laura DeLuca (Sudanese, tw war, death)
Akata Witch- Nnedi Okorafor (Nigerian)
Threatened- Eliot Schrefer (Gabonese, tw death)


Spirit of a Mountain Wolf- Rosanne Hawke (Pakistani, tw slavery, death)
Island's End- Padma Venkatraman (Indian, tw disaster)
The Fire Wish- Amber Lough (Middle Eastern)
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind- Suzanne Fisher Staples (Middle Eastern)
The Master Puppeteer- Katherine Paterson, Haru Wells (Japanese, also, might be MA, not YA)
Silver Pheonix- Cindy Pon (Chinese)
Book of a Thousand Days- Shannon Hale, James Noel Smith (Central Asian???)
A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea: A novel- Dina Nayeri (Iranian, technically MA)
The Walled City- Ryan Graudin (Chinese)
A Time to Dance- Padma Venkatraman (Indian, tw amputation, death, blood, injury)
Huntress- Malinda Lo (Chinese)

Ash- Malinda Lo (Chinese)

Shadows on the Moon- Zoe Marriott (Japanese, tw self harm)

Prophecy- Ellen Oh (Korean)

The Pearl that Broke its Shell- Nadia Hashimi (Afghan, tw drugs)

Of Metal and Wishes- Sarah Fine (Okay, Noor means Iranian, but I think it's set in east Asia? Does anyone know?)

Exquisite Captive- Heather Demetrios (Persian, I think? Tw death) 
Tiger Moon- Antonia Michaelis (Indian)
In the Name of God- Paula Jolin (Syrian, tw war)
When My Name was Keoko- Linda Sue Park (Korean, tw war)
Zero Defect- Aarohan Atwal (Indian)

Toads and Diamonds- Heather Tomilson (Indian, tw disease)
Moon at Nine- Deborah Ellis (Iranian, tw threat of death)
Spirit's Princess- Esther M. Friesner (Japanese, tw disaster)

Stormdancer- Jay Kristoff (Japanese, tw death, injury, disaster)

Year of Impossible Goodbyes- Sook Nyul Choi (Korean, tw war)

Alpha Goddess- Amalie Howard (Indian)

Forbidden- Kimberely Griffiths Little (Mesopotamia, which would be Iran/Iraq nowadays)

Love's Prey- Meg Xuemei X (Chinese, tw abuse)

Does My Head Look Big in This?- Randa Abdel Fattah (Palestinian-Australian, tw slurs, bullying)
The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf- Ambelin Kwaymullina (Indigenous Australian)
Ten Things I Hate About Me- Randa Abdel-Fattah (Lebanese-Australian)
Preloved- Shirley Marr (Chinese-Australian, tw death)

The Icarus Girl- Helen Oyeyemi (Nigerian-English)
Between Two Worlds- Katherine Kirkpatrick (Greenland Iniut, tw death)
I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister- Amélie Sarn (Algerian-French, tw murder)
Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow-

A Spy in the House- Y.S. Lee (Asian-English, tw death)

 North America

The Chaos- Nalo Hopkinson (Caribbean-Canadian ((tricked you, huh, thinking I'd say American. BUT NO.)))
Shadows Cast by Stars- Catherine Knutsson (First Nations of Canada, tw blood)
Skraelings: Clashes in the Arctic- Rachel Qitsualik-Tinsley, Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley (Inuit, tw murder, war)

For Today I Am a Boy- Kim Fu (Chinese-Canadian)

Names on a Map- Benjamin Alire Saenz (Latino, tw war)
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe- Benjamin Alire Saenz (Latino,

Guadalupe Garcia Mccall (Latino, tw illness)

Black Hole Sun- David Macinnis Gill (Latino)
The House of the Scorpion- Nancy Farmer (Latino)
Jumped In- Patrick Flores-Scott (Latino, tw gangs)

The Living- Matt De La Peña (Latino, tw disaster, death)

Marcelo in the Real World- Francisco X. Stork (Latino- also also ALSO autistic Latino)

Fated- Alyson Noel (Latina, tw death)

Flowers in the Sky- Lynn Joseph (Latina)

Mexican WhiteBoy- Matt de la Pena (Latino)

Crossing the Line- Malin Alegria (Latina)

Sanctum- Sarah Fine (Latina, tw suicide)

Death, Dickinson, and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia- Jenny Torres Sanchez (Latina, tw death)

Summer of the Mariposas- Guadalupe Carcia McCall (Latina, Tw death)

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors- Francisco X. Stork (Latino, tw murder, disease)

The Lost Sun- Tessa Gratton (Latino, I think? It's mentioned like, once. And I am only using it's real title because I have to. Tw alcohol, death, blood)
Hammer of Witches- Shana Mlawski (Latina, when will I stop loving that title? NEVER.)

Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel- Diana Lopez (Latina, tw disease)

We Were Here- Matt de la Pena (Latino)

Illegal- Bettina Restrepo (Latino)

Sofi Mendoza's Guide to Getting Lost in Mexico- Malin Algeria (Latina)

Santa Olivia- Jacqueline Carey (Latina, tw death)

What Can(t) Wait- Ashley Hope Perez (Latina)

Shelter- Patricia H. Aust (Latino, tw abuse)

Drift- M.K. Hutchins (Mayan???)

Tankborn- Karen Sandler (African American)

This Side of Home- Renee Watson (African American)
Not Otherwise Specified- Hannah Moskowitz (African American, tw eating disorders)
Orleans- Sherri L. Smith (African American)
Liar- Justine Larbalestier (African American, tw death) 
Echo- Alicia Wright Brewster (African-American, tw death)
Mare's War- Tanita S. Davis (African-American, tw war)
Kergulen- R.A. White (African-American, tw abuse)
If You Come Softly- Jacqueline Woodson (African-American)

Dust Girl- Sarah Zettel (African American)

Bad Kitty- Michele Jaffe (African American? Tw murder)

Pinned- Sharon G. Flake (African American)

Flygirl- Sherri L. Smith (African-American, tw war)

Pointe- Brandy Colbert (African-American, tw eating disorders, drugs, alcohol)

Shrink to Fit- Dona Sarkar (African-American, tw eating disorders)

Rumor Central- ReShonda Tate Billingsley (African-American)

Lies We Tell Ourselves- Robin Talley (African American, tw bullying, racism)
Copper Sun- Sharon M. Draper (African-American, tw slavery)

Tears of a Tiger- Sharon M. Draper (African-American, tw death, alcohol use)

The Battle of Jericho- Sharon M. Draper (African-American)

Crystal- Walter Dean Myers (African-American)

Charly's Epic Fiascos- Kelli London (African-American)

Next- Kevin Waltman (African-American)

Foul Trouble- John Feinstein (African-American)

When I Was the Greatest- Jason Reynolds (African-American, tw weapons, violence)

Call Me By My Name- John Ed Bradley (African-American, tw racism)

Kinda Like Brothers- Coe Booth (African-American)

A Wish After Midnight- Zetta Elliot (African-American, tw drugs, racism, war)

Kendra- Coe Booth (African-American)

Willow- Tonya Cherie Hegamin (African-American, tw slavery)

My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, and Fenway Park- Steve Kluger (Chinese-American, tw death)

Bird- Crystal Chan (Chinese-American? That's an assumption, I don't know. Tw death)

Team Human- Justine Larbalestier, Sarah Rees Brennan (Chinese-American, tw anything to with vampires)

Girl in Translation- Jean Kwok (Chinese-American)

The Painted Boy- Charles de Lint (Chinese-American, tw death)

Seeing Emily- Joyce Lee Wong (Chinese-American)

Girl Overboard- Justina Chen (Chinese-American, tw injury)

Paper Daughter- Jeanette Ingold (Chinese-American)

Crossing- Andrew Xia Fukuda (Chinese-American)

Possess- Gretchen McNeil (Chinese-American, tw death)

Mismatch- Lensey Namioka (Chinese-American)

Revenge of the Mooncake Vixen- Marilyn Chin (Chinese-American)

Chloe Leiberman (Sometimes Wong)- Carrie Rosten (Chinese-Jewish-American)

Gilded- Christina Farley (Korean-American) 
Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before- David Yoo (Korean-American, tw disease)

To All the Boys I've Loved Before- Jenny Han (Korean-American)

The Fold- An Na (Korean-American)
Since You Asked- Maurene Goo (Korean-American)

Good Enough- Paula Yoo (Korean-American)

Necessary Roughness- Marie G. Lee, Marie Myung-Ok Lee (Korean-American)

Finding My Voice- Marie G. Lee (Korean-American, tw racism)

Persimmon- Doc Pruyne (Korean-American)

Relax, I'm a Ninja- Natalie Whipple (Japanese-American)

Outside Beauty- Cynthia Kadohata  (Japanese-American)

Coral Hare: Atomic Agent (A WW2 Spy Novel) Inspired by actual historical events- Clive Lee (Japanese-American, tw war)

Orchards- Holly Thompson (Japanese-Jewish-American, tw suicide)

The Lost Girl- Sangu Mandanna (Indian-American- might just be Indian, tw death)

Shine, Coconut Moon- Neesha Meminger (Indian-American, tw terrorism, racism, anything to do with 9/11)
Born Confused- Tanuja Desai Hidier (Indian-American)

Monsoon Summer- Mitali Perkins (Indian-American)

The Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen- Mitali Perkins (Indian-American)

Red Turban White Horse- Nandini Bajpai (Indian-American)

Ask Me No Questions- Marinda Budhos, Ferdidnando Scianna (Bangladeshi-American)

Nothing But the Truth (and a few white lies)- Justina Chen (Taiwanese-American)

The Emerald City- J.A. Beard (Tibetan-American)

She's So Money- Cherry Cheva (Thai-American)

Roots and Wings- Many Ly (Cambodian-American)

Sophmore Undercover- Ben Esch (Vietnamese-American, tw drugs)
Skunk Girl- Sheba Karim (Pakistani-American)

Boy vs. Girl- Na'ima B. Robert (Pakistani-American) 

The Art of Secrets- James Klise (Pakistani-American, tw fire)

Molly By Any Other Name- Jean Davies Okimoto (Asian-American)

Cat Girl's Day Off- Kimberly Pauley (Asian-American)
Guantanamo Boy- Anna Perera (Pakistani-American)

Extreme American Makeover- Mitali Perkins (Pakistani-American)

Permanent Record- Leslie Stella (Iranian-American, tw bullying)

Bestest. Ramadan. Ever- Medeia Sharif (Muslim-American)

The Tyrant's Daughter- J.C. Carleson (Middle-Eastern-American, tw death)

Nation- Terry Pratchett (South Pacific Islander, tw death, tsunami, and all that goes with it)

If I Ever Get Out of Here- Eric Gansworth (Tuscarora, tw alcohol, bullying)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian- Sherman Alexie, art by Ellen Forney (Spokane, tw slurs, bullying, alcohol abuse, and death) 
More Than Good Enough- Crissa-Jean Chappell (Misccosukee)

The Gathering- Kelley Armstrong (Navajo, tw death)

How I Became a Ghost- Tim Tingle (Choctaw, tw death)

Killer of Enemies- Joseph Bruchac (Apache, tw death, weapons, violence)

Rain is Not My Indian Name- Cynthia Leitich Smith (Native American, tw death)

Hooked- Liz Fichera (Native American, tw racism, bullying)

Sorrow's Knot- Erin Bow (Native American, tw death)

Wolf Mark- Joseph Bruchac (Native American, tw alcohol, drugs)

Wildefire- Karsten Knight (Polynesian-American, tw violence)

South America

The Summer Prince- Alaya Dawn Johnson (Brazillian)

Origin- Jessica Khoury (Brazillian? Somewhere in the Amazon.)

Biracial/Didn't know where to put it/Multiple

So This is How it Ends- Tui T. Sutherland (Latino, Egyptian, might be others?)
Otherbound- Corinne Duyvis (I... I actually have no clue. No one tells me anything.)
Let's Get Lost- Adi Alsaid (Multiple, I think? And no, of COURSE I'm not adding this just because it mentions my home state, GEEZ. Tw death.)

Bleeding Violet- Dia Reeves (Biracial- Black and white, tw mental illness)
Romiette and Julio- Sharon M. Draper (Latino and African-American, tw gang stuff)

An Ocean Apart, A World Away- Lensey Namioka (Torn between Chinese and Chinese-American)

Drama Queens in the House- Julie Williams (Biracical- Black and white)

How To Salsa in a Sari- Dona Sarkar (African-American-Indian, Latina, tw bullying)

The Other Half of My Heart- Sundee T. Frazier (Biracial, black and white)

The Counterfeit Family Tree of Vee Crawford-Wong- L. Tam Holland (Chinese-American-White)

The Girl of His Dreams- Amir Abrams (Latino, African-American)

The Girl from the Well- Rin Chupeco (Japanese-Hawaiian, tw death)

Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible- Suzanne Kamata

Jet Black and the Ninja Wind- Leaza Lowitz and Shogo Oketani (Japanese-American-white, tw death and violence)

Ink- Amanda Sun (Japanese-American-white)

No Surrender Soldier- Christine Kohler (Dual POV: Japanese and Chamorro, tw rape, murder, war, disease)

(I wish Good Enough and More Than Good Enough could be put next to each other, so it would look like they were arguing. Also, every time I have to put down something vague like "Native American" or "Asian American", someone steps on a puppy's tail.)
Read More at http://latinas4latinolit.org/2014/07/10-latino-books-for-teens/, Copyright © Latinas for Latino Lit (L4LL)
Guadalupe Garcia Mccall

Read More at http://latinas4latinolit.org/2014/07/10-latino-books-for-teens/, Copyright © Latinas for Latino Lit (L4LL)
Guadalupe Garcia Mccall

Read More at http://latinas4latinolit.org/2014/07/10-latino-books-for-teens/, Copyright © Latinas for Latino Lit (L4LL)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Strange Maid

The Strange Maid
(image from its randomhouse.com page)
Tessa Gratton

(Trigger Warnings for the book: Death, alcohol)

(Gif warning for the review)
Signy Valborn climbed the New World Tree when she was seven, looking for Asgard at its top branches. It wasn't there, but the Allfather was. He promised her that if she could solve a riddle, she could join the ranks of the Valkyries. For ten years, Signy has trained to become a Valkyrie, trying to solve her riddle all the while. After running from home to live in the streets of Chicagland, she's not eager to trust Ned Unferth, who claims to know the answer. A Greater Mountain Troll, he claims, will hold the solution. Signy knows she's running out of time. She'll have to trust him.

You know, I was so proud of my summary for The Last Mango (If you're confused, read the review for the predecessor book- then you'll know why I refuse to call it by its real title.). Not sure what went wrong this time.

(image from Pintrest)

Yes, kid, this is a kissing book. There is lots of kissing. You're going to have to get used it. But, hey, there's a plot, too, so get over yourself. Here are the characters who may or may not have kissability:

Signy Valborn- KISSING RATE: HIGH- Finally, a strong female character that isn't a) basically a male character that the author decided should be female, or b) a sex object hiding under the strong female character guise. Signy was a genuinely interesting and cool character to read about. She had almost all the traits you want in a female character, without the chaser of "stage seven Other Girls syndrome" and "magically fails to do anything when Love Interest comes along". A+ main character.

Ned Unferth- KISSING RATE: Lower than Signy, but higher than, say, Sharkman- This is ~Love Interest~. You can tell just by those squiggles that I have a bone to pick. However, I actually have no reason to pick that bone other than Ned's brooding and angst. And the brooding and angst was reasonable too. So, while his character wasn't my favorite, there's no reason to actively hate him. Sad, I know.

Soren Bearstar- KISSING RATE: haha your girlfriend got turned into a goddess everybody point and laugh- I actually liked him better in this book than in the last. Is that weird? He was the MC of the last book. Anyway, he felt more sympathetic and real this time around.

Sharkman- KISSING RATE: Lower than Ned, but higher than Soren- Not important, I know, but for a secondary Love Interest, he probably should have shown up more. Or at least had a personality. Or something.

Baldur- KISSING RATE: Probably still higher than Soren- Okay, I'm only putting him down because I thought he was cool. He only showed up once.

The writing style wasn't too compelling. It wasn't really boring, but it didn't demand my attention. I felt like the narrator could have been a little less detached. However, it was good to see some real emotions from this main character, even if they felt a little bit at a distance. Perhaps third person would fit the style a bit better.

Ooh, ooh the twist near the end! I love end twists! That was pretty darn great. And it made sense, but wasn't obviously going to happen from the beginning. If there were more plot twists like that, reviews would be a happier place.

The balance of action and character development was pretty sweet. Not summer blockbustery, but also not romantic tragedy. Realistic, without one subplot beating out another. Or, well, as realistic as a fantasy book can get. You know. Anyway, veddy veddy good, Ms. Gratton, veddy veddy good.

On the romance: Let's face it, even though I have no practical reason to dislike Ned, I disliked Ned. The air of father figure/mentor and also Love Interest was unnerving. If he stuck as mentor and Sharkman became the Love Interest, I think I'd take it better.

I'm torn whether I liked this book or the last book better. The last one I liked the characters and plot better, but this one didn't have the same problems that bothered me last time.

(Let's face it, if my immune system was better, you guys wouldn't get anything.)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Say What You Will

Say What You Will
(Image from bubblegumpost.com)
Cammie McGovern

Trigger Warnings for the book: Death mentions, disease, alcohol use, drug mentions

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

Yes, I ripped the description off Amazon. Sue me, I hate trying to summarize contemporary books. Anyway, this book... *sigh, runs hand through hair* How to describe this book...

Let me start by saying I did not hate this book. I also didn't love it. But I can't say my opinion was neutral, either. There were a bunch of high points, but also some low points, and instead of cancelling each other out, it just dizzied my opinion on the book. So I'll section this review into two parts- positive and negative.

(I wish I could make that rainbow and sparkly, but, alas, I don't know how to do a glitter effect. Maybe another time.)

 Point One. This book was honest. I saw it compared to The Fault in Our Stars and just kinda... Well, the Fault in Our Stars isn't an honest book. It's pretty romanticized (listen as the nerdfighters gasp and plot their revenge against me). Say What You Will had an air of, "This is just how it is. There's no need to doll up the truth." Which, I've gotta say, I love. Thank you, Ms. McGovern, for giving the book the most genuine feel I've ever read.

Point Two. Stories about disabilities that aren't completely, "Look, people with disabilities! Existing! So brave!" are hard to come by. Inspiration may be nice, but there's no need to used disabled people as your pawn in the inspiration game. Another thank you to the author for not making Amy an object to gawk at. Amy (and Matthew) went way beyond the feel-good-story characters I expected.

Point Three. Not only were the characters people, they were good people! Interesting people! Honestly, if at the end of the book there was a little note that said "Surprise! There is no Cammie McGovern! This is a joint autobiography!" I might not actually be surprised. They sounded so real.

Point Four. Frrriiiieeeennnddddshhhhiiiiiipppppp. Instalove and enemies-turned-lovers are my two least favorite kinds of romance. Friendship based love is totally the best. It's realistic and warm and fuzzy without the lustity-lust-lust atmosphere I get from love at first sight, or basically anything where the Love Interest(TM)'s first description is that he/she was so hot that you'd melt looking at them.

Point Five. The romance was pretty darn great too. It didn't morph their relationship into something weird and unrecognizable. [Congratulations! It's a spoiler!] And then, when sex did come up, it wasn't an immediate take-off-your-clothes-we're-not-even-gonna-think-about-it thing. Why does that keep happening? I have no idea. But it's nice to get a break from it. [The spoiler disappeared, never to be seen again] Okay, I'm gonna have to say, it was pretty cute. There. You heard it from me, folks.


Sadly, we'd have to get to this eventually. Even with all the good stuff there was:

Negative Point One. [Wake me up... when the spoilers end] The baby. Yup. Third novel on here with a useless baby. It's not that it wasn't important to the plot, really, it's just there are so many better plot points that could have been used. I don't want another novel with the main girl getting pregnant. I don't need that. No one needs that. It's getting old, people. I'm also absolutely terrified that the book I'm reading now is going to do that. At least in this book the baby's put up for adoption. We really, really don't need another BABY. BABY ALL. ONLY BABY NOW. BABY LIFE. BABY BABY BABY. Story. [Goodbye, spoiler! We'll miss you! Write home!]

Negative Point Two. Near the end, the book went from awesome to a bit weird. Like the author wasn't sure what else to day after [Yeah, one more spoiler.] Amy went missing. [I knew your spoiler. It was a good man.] It became harder to really feel for the situation.

Negative Point Three. More of *sigh, flop onto the couch* The Other Girls. And here's the confusing part. Amy had a more mild case of The Other Girls syndrome than Matthew. She at least accepted them like people. Matthew went so far as slut shaming and acting like Amy was the only decent girl. That's, like, a stage four Other Girls case. All I can say is "no".

(If you total it up, it's two points. A mediocre book is zero points. So, uh, above average, I guess?)

Friday, August 1, 2014

A Time to Dance

A Time to Dance
(image from its goodreads page)
Padma Venkatraman

(Trigger warnings for the book- amputation, injury, blood, death)

Veda is a dance prodigy, used to applause and attention. After an accident, however, her dreams are shattered with her leg. A below-the-knee amputation has to be preformed, making Veda's once graceful movements slow and clumsy. But instead of giving up, she tenaciously chases her dream, entering beginner dance classes to relearn balance and flexibility. There she meets Govinda, a young dance teacher who believes in dance as a spiritual pursuit. With him, Veda's view of the world changes, and she finds what dancing means to her.

*Reads my summary* *Reads the book's summary* *Realizes I sound like a 6th grader when told to write about something 'in their own words'* *Laughs, but nervously*

Anyway, this book had the perfect set up to be the bane of my existence. A novel in verse (Is it poetry? Is it a novel? WHO KNOWS.), spiritual, inspirational... I mean, nearly everything I don't like was there. Yet this book was so good.

Veda was such a great character. It was amazing, seeing the world through her eyes. Despite one of the reasons I don't like novels in verse being they suck the life out of characters, she warded off the voice-vampire like a PRO. I think we need more Vedas in fiction.

The descriptions were A++. Even the kind of weird or disturbing ones, such as the phantom limb sensation or the time at the beginning of the book when Veda can't find her crutches and collapses in the bathroom. Despite accentuating that kind of thing, it made the beautiful scenes ten times more beautiful. It was great.

I kind of wish there was more just about dance at the end, because Govinda sorta took over for a bit. The dance scenes that were near the end were fab, though.

The spiritual bits, which usually just make me feel weird about myself, were actually pretty darn great to read. Instead of having a preachy tone of, "This should be you. This character is so religious. They're getting the nice afterlife. You? You're getting a second-rate death. Hah." it didn't push its boundaries as fiction. It felt more comforting than imposing. Remember, if you're going to write a book with spiritual themes, TAKE AFTER THIS BOOK.

Ah, romance. The way romance was handled never dipped into "intolerable" zones.  It always stayed tolerable or better. This sounds like a half insult. It's actually a full compliment. Her crush on Jim brought out a really realistic side. Because, like, at least half of readers out there have a crush they really regret now. You think I'm not talking to you. I am. When Govinda showed, he was perfect love interest material. He's cool. It's nice to not be stuck with 'dark and brooding lovey dovey interest winterest'. Very, very nice.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone.

(Thank Squid for the 31st, or you guys might not have gotten this)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In the After

In the After
(image from naomibates.blogspot.com)
Demitria Lunetta

Three years ago, They came. Amy was watching TV while it happened, witnessing what looked like a spacecraft in the city center. Since then, They have attacked every human they find, and they attack to kill. Amy has managed to survive and rescue a toddler she named Baby. They both have to work to survive, staying in Amy's (luckily reinforced) house.

When they are captured and taken to a colony called New Hope, they believe they've reached safety.

But did they?

Sorry if this review is short or just weird, it was a while ago that I read it. By a while I mean like a week. Memory capabilities, amirite?

I'm surprised that I actually liked Baby. Usually small children in YA are used as an 'aww he's so cwute don't you wub dem' factor. Which I hate. They don't have a personality beyond being cute. However, Baby was interesting and individual. She was actually likeable, not just a prop. It's sad that's so exciting, but still.

Amy was very close to your typical YA heroine, but had an original streak enough to keep her interesting. She actually can express concern and do things! Wow! Why is this so hard to grasp in other books? Ms. Lunetta, thank you for allowing emotions and actions to coexist. That is important.

[Please properly dispose of all spoilered goods] Sadly, this is another book demonizing science. I hate this for two reasons- for the love of Athena, science is frickn' beneficial to society, and also the target for a lot of YA is girls. You wanna know what career field girls are being pushed out of? Science. Girls need to learn that science is cool and they can be part of it without being terrible plague-monsters. Girls could cure cancer and get us to Mars if we stopped acting like science was a boys-only club. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT TO ME I AM SCREAMING STOP DEMONIZING SCIENCE. [Spoilanger over]

 The pacing was good, though not much seemed immediately important until later in the book. The subtle details from the beginning being huge later was cool, but if the writing style hadn't immediately caught me I might have gotten bored with the lack of plot progression. As I just said, though- the writing style was (waitforitwaitforit) fan. (Okay, if you read the book you'd get it.)

The Florae (just referred to as They in the beginning) were an awesome example of a monster species. The had strengths and weaknesses, and the weaknesses weren't the usual Achilles heel sort of this. They couldn't hunt in the dark, which doesn't seem like it should be big and original, but it is. There's more, I just feel like discussing more would count as spoilers. Anyhow, great monsters.

The format later on with the flashes between the future and the present were cool. It could get a bit confusing with information revealed in the future and not mentioned in the past, but it wasn't what-is-going-on-why-am-I-in-this-dark-room-with-no-windows confusing.

[Spoilered milk] The ending was kind of... eh. I liked the idea of the Florae being alien or plant based. But the zombie thing? Meh. It just felt like a cop-out. No need for more zombie fiction, I swear. [Shh, it's over now... It's alright]

On the romance. It was kind of strange to me, like they weren't really being romantic but they also weren't in the sort-of-friends category? I kind of wish they were either slightly more romantic so it would feel like boyfriend/girlfriend, or slightly less so it was more close friends. 

(Yes, I know it's short)