Every morning sixteen-year-old London sits down with her notes to find out what happened yesterday: she has absolutely no idea of her past, her memory extending only until 4:00 am, when it resets to a blank, erasing everything from the previous day. What she does possess, though, is a memory of the future. London has no idea what happened yesterday, but she does know what’s going to happen tomorrow. So why does the gorgeous, kind, funny Luke not show up in any of her future memories, even after she starts dating him?
I enjoyed this book while I was reading it, but there were many times when I was thrown out of the story by the basic premise of London’s odd memory. There is a paradox involved in almost everything she does. For instance, she can “remember” her locker combination only because she knows what it will be tomorrow. On the last day of school she can’t open her locker because she does not have the next day’s “memory” to tell her what it is. But if that is true, then on the second-to-last day of school she also wouldn’t know what the number was, and so on in a cascade of dominoes. Even if we take it as read that this is the way the memory works, why not just plan to wake up on the day after the last day of school and read the number off of a piece of paper? The same goes for all of her schoolwork. If she is passing tests based on what she knows tomorrow, how does that work if she never actually learned the information in the first place? It boggles the mind.
Plus, it is shown that there is no predetermined fate. London’s actions can have an effect on what she remembers happening in the future. This comes as something of a surprise to her, but shouldn’t it have been happening all of the time, even if just by accident? Everyone is hurt at some point, London has never once given herself a note to avoid falling or tried not to have a fight with a friend, or any other such thing in the last twelve years? How in the world has she managed to hide her strange ability/disability from absolutely everyone for so long, especially since it started when she was so young?
If you’re wiling to just let the logic go and take the worldbuilding for what it is, however, the story is a decently good romance with a dash of paranormal.
Grace is excited to move to San Francisco, but a little nervous at the same time. It doesn’t help that she’s suddenly seeing terribly monsters everywhere. Monsters that no one else seems to notice, until the day another girl appears, chasing the monster – a girl who just happens to look exactly like her. Grace always knew she was adopted, but now she’s not just an identical twin, but a descendant of the Gorgons, destined to fight mythical monsters?
This was a quick, eventful read, a solid book without being stellar. While the attitudes of the girls are completely different, and what let me tell them apart, their voices were a tad too similar. Bumped also features identical-twins-separated-at-birth with both girls giving us their first person narrative, but in that book the girls had distinct speaking styles, whereas here they did not.
The general idea – descendants of the Gorgons fighting monsters – was good, if not terribly inspired. I think my general inability to muster up any true enthusiasm has to do with a trend I’ve been seeing in a lot of YA books lately: the desire to create an entire series waters down each individual book. I think this book should have been merged with its sequel to create a stronger work. Nothing really happens here, it’s all set up for the next book in the series, filled with foreshadowing and several obvious attempts to set up the characters for action-packed adventure later on, but with no real payoffs in this installment other than the girls meeting one another.
That being said, it’s still a fun read, and the second in the series will no doubt have legions of fans eagerly awaiting its release.
Aden’s life up to now has been tough. Since he was a baby he’s had four souls living inside his head, and the chatter and noise they create have made it hard for him to live a normal life. Instead, he’s spent the past sixteen years being shuffled from foster home to mental institution to juvie and back again. It doesn’t help that each of the souls has a special power, from raising the dead to time-travel, and that Aden himself has no control over when or where they will use these powers.
Aden is trying very hard to make his newest group home work out when he stumbles across a town girl named Mary Ann. Normally Aden is too distracted to pay much attention to girls, but this girl is different. She makes the voices go away. No more souls in his head, at least when she’s nearby. But why does she have this effect on him? And can she help to free the souls that have been trapped with him for his entire life?
There was a lot going on in this book, perhaps even a little too much. The summary above is already intriguing, even before I begin to mention werewolves, vampires, and epic Love Against The Rules. But if you are willing to just sit back for the ride, the book is willing to race with you.
The writing stumbles occasionally, but the plot rockets forward. The relationships will appeal to fans of the increasingly popular paranormal romance, while the action will keep the non-romantics entertained. The ending leaves itself wide open for a sequel, which I will be looking forward to.
Laura has always been a little bit different. She gets “warnings” before life-changing events, such as the day her father moved out of the house. But there’s nothing she can do to change things. Then one day, a “warning” day, her little brother Jacko becomes the victim of a ancient evil, and suddenly Laura is the only one that can stop the evil being from killing her brother. Desperate for help, she turns to the Sorry, a local boy that she has known for years is a witch.
This book is nearly thirty years old now, but it is still a thrilling read. If it were not for the outdated cover art, I suspect that many of today’s teens would not even realize that the story is old enough to have been read by their parents. Since Laura’s family has very little money the lack of expensive electronics makes sense, and any slight changes in slang or fashions can be explained away by the New Zealand setting.
I had a few problems with Sorry’s behavior. Not necessarily with his actions, because I felt that he was very real and his actions made sense, but with Laura’s re-actions. There were a few times that I felt she should have been more upset, or more strongly uncomfortable, but perhaps that is simply me projecting how I would have felt in that scenario. By the end of the book I thought their interactions were spot on. While the main plot of the book is tied up with a bow, there remains an entire other chapter that looks at the ways in which Laura’s relationships amongst her family and friends have changed. I thought the way that her maybe-romance with Sorry was handled was done perfectly. The uncertain-certainty of what will happen in the future is much more appealing than ending the story with a passionate embrace and vows of “forever”.
When Lindsay was eleven years old she was the star of tv show and one of the most popular young actresses in Hollywood. Then she started hearing voices. Specifically the voices of anyone, anywhere on Earth, that was talking about her. The constant noise – fueled by the fact that, as a highly visual celebrity lots of people were talking about her, all the time – led her to a breakdown. Now, five years later, she lives as a virtual recluse with her father. But when three well-meaning teenagers attempt to “save” her from her spartan life by kidnapping her, everything Lindsay has feared or thought she understood is called into question.
Margaret Petersen Haddix is a prolific writer. As with any of her books, the pages keep turning, but this is not one of her more enduring works. Unlike Double Identity or Running Out of Time, I don’t think this book will hold up to further readings. Too much of it just didn’t make sense. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER. For instance, if her father really did hear the voices too, why didn’t he ever mention it? It’s written off in the story as her father just being distant and distracted due to his research. But since the research was specifically to counteract the impact of the voices, why wouldn’t he, in FIVE YEARS, never have brought it up? And what in the world would possess him to let little Lindsay join a television crew when he knew that the voices were a possibility? After all, she is in a position to be discussed by hundreds of thousands of people. The ending with the prisoner was contrived and manipulative. It doesn’t make sense that all the other listeners would go outside in an attempt to help Lindsay. They can only hear when people talks about them. Why would the prisoner talk about them? END SPOILER END SPOILER
Basically, I was disappointed. The book was interesting, and I enjoyed it while I read. But once I started thinking about it, the plot basically fell apart. Even the voices are not that bad. I wouldn’t like it, don’t get me wrong. But except for Lindsay, with her nationally known persona, I can’t imagine that any individual gets talked about enough to require a hermit-like existence. The idea that people are talking about you all the time is a very self-centered one.
Ever since her best friend and exboyfriend Lawrence came out of the closet – thereby breaking up with her – Viola has felt like the Invisible Girl. She has friends, and people acknowledge her, but she doesn’t feel like she belongs anywhere. Not the way she belonged when she and Lawrence were dating. The intensity of her wish to belong summons a jinn, ready to grant her three wishes, and impatient to return to his world. But Viola isn’t sure what she should wish for, and the more she procrastinates, the more Jinn starts to doubt whether he truly wishes to leave her…
This was a fun story, and I highly enjoyed it. It was a sweet, if slightly predictable romance. That being said, it made me a bit uneasy how utterly destroyed Viola was at the thought of being alone. There are a few moments were Lawrence or Jinn try to convince her that she is not “broken” just because she doesn’t have a boyfriend, and by the end of the book Viola admits that she is a whole person all by herself, but the vast majority of the book showcases Viola’s intense sense of being a non-person simply because she is alone. When she gets a boyfriend who is completely wrong for her, she realizes that he is not good for her sense of self but stays with him anyway because the alternative, to be alone, is simply to horrifying to contemplate. She only dumps him when another love appears on the horizon. The last chapter or two show Viola alone and self-confident (at least for awhile), but the rest of the book does not. Yes, it’s just a silly romance novel, but the message to young women should still be mentioned.
In another area where I’m probably over-analyzing the messages in the book, is with Lawrence’s sexuality. He claims that he has purposefully avoided dating anyone so as not to cause Viola more grief, but this seems to be an unhealthy response to Viola’s neediness. Later, when Viola is happy and confident again, he doesn’t seem to be dating either. The most we see out of him is a few glances at boys at a fair. This seems to fall a little too closely into the stereotype of the “gay best friend”. And it is a bit disturbing that Jinn says that wishes can’t “change who you are” (so no becoming a mermaid), yet later SPOILER SPOILER a possibly unfriendly ifrit changes Lawrence to be straight. (Don’t worry, Viola makes the choice to change him back again.) How is that not changing an essential part of what makes Lawrence himself? END SPOILER Yes, it’s very dramatic and potentially angsty (and I saw it coming miles away just for that reason) but it seemed inappropriate to me.
In any case, I really did enjoy the book, even if I feel compelled to pick apart its undertones after finishing it.
The Duchesne school in NYC, despite being one of the ritziest, most exclusive schools in the country, still has its cliques and scholarship students. Schuyler Van Allen, one of the latter, and her best friend Oliver are definite outcasts, though this is something of their own choosing. Mimi Force and her twin brother Jack, on the other hand, are clearly the school rulers. The fact that they are all vampires is a something of a shock to Schuyler.
The Blue Bloods have existed for centuries, immortal creatures who trade old and decrepit bodies for new lives as babies. As adolescence approaches, the memories of their previous lives start to filter into the Blue Blood’s consciousness, they start craving blood, and become full-fledged vampires. But this transition process is a vulnerable time, and something ancient has begun to prey upon the teenaged Blue Bloods. What is it, and can they stop it in time before more of their friends are killed?
This was an interesting take on the vampire mythology. I very much enjoyed the concept that the Blue Bloods were immortal but changed bodies from lifetime to lifetime. However, I didn’t see any need for them to be vampires, other than to cash in on the current craze for all things vampire. They could easily have simply been a new kind of supernatural creature. I have not read the rest of the series yet, so it’s possible that the need to drink blood will arise as a point of importance later in the storyline. Otherwise the Blue Bloods don’t share any of the typical vampire characteristics.
Nina has been stuck as a fifteen-year-old vampire for the past fifty years. It is far from a glamorous life, as she will be the first to tell you. There are no amazing super powers, or sexy sparkles. Instead, she’s stuck taking vitamin supplements, sucking on guinea pigs, and trying to combat constant nausea. As one of the nonvampire character later says (I’m paraphrasing) “The vampires aren’t dangerous, it’s more like they’ve got AIDS.”
Not only is Nina stuck with what is essentially a never-terminal illness, she’s also stuck with the other vampires. There are only a handful, for which Nina is incredibly grateful. She sees all vampires as being whiny, listless, unlikeable hand-wringers. She’s largely right. But when one of the members of their support group turns up with a stake in his heart, the entire vampire community is forced into out-of-character action. Nina alternates between being thrilled at finally doing something different and being terrified of the consequences.
Author Catherine Jinks does a great job of making the many vampires whiny, complaining lumps. It would be annoying if the book were not so funny. How she managed to transform “annoying” into “humorous” is beyond my ken, but manage it she did. While not laugh-out-loud funny, the book is nevertheless significantly amusing throughout.
The plot moves fairly quickly, with a number of twists and turns, though I saw most of them telegraphed ahead of time. The characterization is consistent when you consider that all of the characters are acting way outside their comfort zones. A very enjoyable novel, and one I highly recommend.
Mary has lived her entire life in an isolated village, surrounded by the Forest of Hands and Teeth. The Unconsecrated teem around the village’s fences, trying desperately to get in. It is only the protection of the Guardians and the guidance of the Sisterhood that has protected the village all of these years. Mary has always been discontented with the quiet village life, convinced that there is a great world outside, one free of the Unconsecrated. She dreams of the ocean. But the Sisterhood has been keeping secrets from the villagers, secrets that could have deadly consequences.
When the fences fail and the village is overrun, Mary barely escapes with her life, along with a handful of others. The villagers who escape with her are a complicated bunch, including both the man Mary is betrothed to (“marriage in our village was not about love, it was about committment”) and the man that she passionately loves.
While the word “zombies” is used only in the author’s acknowledgments, it will be instantly obvious to fans of the genre that the Unconsecrated are the walking dead. While there have been wry comments that the tide is turning and “zombies are the new vampire”, it is still relatively rare to find a well-written book with zombies as a main theme. While I did not always resonate with the emotional roller coaster Mary was riding, I suspect that that had more to do with my own frame of mind than anything to be found in the writing. The action sequences – as well as the frantic choices and repercussions that accompany the danger – were my favorite parts of the book.
Clary’s life is ticking along quite nicely. Her mother’s been acting a bit odd and overprotective lately, but that’s how mothers are. It doesn’t stop Clary and her best friend Simon from going to an all-ages club. But things start to take a turn for the very weird when Clary witnesses three teenagers at the club lure another boy into a back room and kill him. Three teenagers that no one else can see, and a dead body that immediately shrivels up and disappears.
Clary is confused and freaked out, but she doesn’t have a chance to shrug it off, because almost immediately her entire family is under attack. Apparently her mother, long-term family friend Luke, and possibly even an unwitting Clary have become entangled in the mysterious world of the Shadowhunters, demon killers living beyond the awareness of most humans. With her mother kidnapped – or worse! – Clary takes refuge with the three teenagers she met at the club – beautiful and aloof Isabelle, her brother Alec, and the infuriatingly attractive Jace. But what can three highly trained teens and one overwhelmed girl do against the powers of evil?
Cassandra Clare does a great job of world building in this book. The not-magic (Shadowhunters are adamant that their special abilities are not magic, that not being able to do magic is part of their humanity) is consistent throughout. Non-humans are complex, with their own agendas and cultural sub-groups. The general attitude of “why should we help you?” seemed less a plot device and more the reflection of centuries of bitterness and uneasy truces.
This is the first in a trilogy, but it doesn’t have a “introduction” feel to it. The relationships are dynamic and realistic. Betrayals abound, but so do burgeoning friendships, and Clary’s awkward attempts to understand both her life-long friendship with Simon and her recent – and complicated- feelings for Jace. Some of the reactions are a little extreme, but so is the situation, and this can be understood as simply a reflection of emotions running high in a stressful situation. The main villain of the piece has no real subtlety, at least in this first installment, though several of the lesser foes are complicated and three-dimensional.