Category Archives: 02 YOUNG ADULT

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

5 Stars

Before Eleanor and Park, there was Juli and Bryce.

I remember the first time I read this book, I think I was around eleven. I was at the sweet age of butterflies and puppy love. This book left an impact because at that time I was only starting to understand what the fuss was all about. Few days ago, I decided to read this book again, wondering how different my perception would be from my eleven year-old self. The funny thing is, I think it still has the same effect as it did many years ago.

“One’s character is set at an early age, son. The choices you make now will affect you for the rest of your life.”

At this point in my life, there are very few books that can make me feel like a little kid again. Flipped is one of them. It’s amazing how this short book is able to bring me back to my childhood, to the time of first loves and first heartaches, no matter how long it’s been. The story’s strength lies on its simplicity and, ironically, therein lies its complexity. Through my second reading, I saw things I think I might’ve missed many years ago. Back then, all I saw was a story of innocent love, of how Bryce reminded me of my crush, but now I know there’s more to this book than meets the eye.

“Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss. But every once in a while you find someone who’s iridescent, and when you do, nothing will ever compare.”

Materialism, false pretenses, prejudice, superficiality—these are things my eleven year-old self has yet to comprehend. But now I see the big picture. I love how the author was able to create two societies through two families. In a way, they are foils of each other.

“Get beyond his eyes and his smile and the sheen of his hair—look at what’s really there.”

Today, people care too much about appearances that we forget about substance. I think more adults should read and re-read Flipped. It not only brings back the tenderness of childhood but it also reminds us something that we’ve forgotten—something that we should always remember. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

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Still Point by Katie Kacvinsky (Awaken #3)

4 Stars

I’ve been staring at my screen for a while now, tears still damp on my cheeks, trying to figure out how to write this review.  I haven’t cried over a book and haven’t been in this state of both bittersweet heartache and contentment since  Please Ignore Vera Dietz. In this trilogy ender, Maddie’s story has finally come to a Still Point.

First of all I would like to thank the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book. I’ve always loved the Awaken series and it is truly an honor. Still Point, how do I even start? I read this book in three hours, no breaks, no standing, nothing—and the emotional aftermath is still with me as I write this.

“Life is supposed to be a risk. It’s written everywhere around us. We are meant to take chances. We are meant to explode and shatter and spiral. Even if we break, we’ll come back to a still point.”

Still Point is a very satisfying ending to a series that has captured me from book one, although I must admit the closing chapters felt a bit abrupt and too rushed in terms of how the events played out. In this final installment, Maddie and Justin face the final battle against Digital School. I think, the core of this book is about making decisions and realizations about ourselves that we never even knew about. Things happen, people change, and we learn that choices we once thought we made aren’t always our final ones. This book left me heartbroken, contented, satisfied and sad all at the same time. I am pretty sure fans will end up feeling the same way as well once they finish this.

I don’t want to say anything that might spoil the story but I think the final words of the book summed it up perfectly, justifying it in a way that I cannot argue with. Not all people will like how this story ends but how can you hate something if it ended right? As for me, I accepted it for what it was and relished the end of a good series. Let’s just put it this way—life happens the least way we expect it, in ways that shape us into who we are, into who we will be, and sometimes we end up somewhere we never expected to be in but that’s how life is. If this series has taught us anything, it’s that life is meant to be experienced. Never settle for anything less.

“Our fingers have spaces between them, just like life, and things fall through. Part of my life was ending so a new part could begin. But first you have to let go. You have to open your fingers and let slip.”

EXPECTED RELEASE DATE: September 2, 2014

Continue reading Still Point by Katie Kacvinsky (Awaken #3)

Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie Mcguire (Maddox Brothers #1)

2 Stars

A lot of people will probably hate me for this review but I have to be honest. How do I even begin? I feel so many conflicting emotions right now but hovering above them all is disappointment. Beautiful Oblivion left me with a strong feeling of dissatisfaction. I think the only thing worse than starting a book with prejudice is starting one with too much expectations.

I loved Beautiful Disaster and Walking Disaster so I was very excited to read this one—which I think contributed to the frown on my face as I write this review. Most reviews I’ve read from fellow book bloggers and in Goodreads have been positive and everyone talked about this big twist—people were shocked, upset, surprised, you name it. I blame the lateral-thinking addict in me for being so epicly let down by the twist that shattered the Jamie Mcguire fanbase because I was not surprised at all. I figured it out very early on in the book, probably too early—that it killed all the excitement. I believe I’m not the only one who had it all figured out from the start. Was it because I knew there was a twist and I was actively looking for it? Honestly, I felt that the secret was laid out so clearly throughout the story it was almost impossible to miss! This is why I’m baffled as to how many have failed to see it.

The “Big Secret” aside, let’s get on with the story. This book is about a different Maddox brother, Trenton. What is it about the Maddox boys? There’s something about them I can’t quite put a finger on. Maybe it’s the darkness in them? Come on, I’m sure every girl dreamt of taming the bad boy , being that one girl that finally gets the wolf settled—I think this is where the charm of this series comes from. Trenton definitely lives up to the Maddox name. He has the looks, the charm, the fighting skills, almost everything Travis—only, he’s not Travis. Sorry but I’m still a Travis girl through and through. The story runs parallel to BD and WD so we get to see snippets of events as seen by the people around Abby and Travis. We even get some “deleted scenes” so to speak–things that happened off-text from the original books. I thought those parts were interesting.

Beautiful Oblivion is supposed to be the first part of a series focusing on the Maddox brothers and I’m guessing all of them are just as hot as Travis and Trent, and I’m sure Mcguire fans will devour them just as eagerly. The truth is I didn’t enjoy this book as much I would’ve liked. It’s hard not to compare it to Beautiful Disaster, impossible even, and that’s where lies the problem for me. Travis and Abby’s story was volatile, tender, destructive, innocent and all-consuming all at the same time—this one just didn’t have that same fire and gentleness. That doesn’t mean this is a bad book, it just didn’t hit the right spot for me. Anyway, I’m sure fans of the original books will still find themselves engrossed regardless of its shortcomings.

“I wish you could see yourself through my eyes. Every woman who’s met you wants a shot at you. How could you ever think you’re the consolation prize?”

 

My Goodreads Review

Read my other reviews for Jamie Mcguire’s books:
A Beautiful Wedding
Walking Disaster
Beautiful Disaster

Want to know what THE SECRET is?
*Ultimate Spoiler* Read at your own risk!

Continue reading Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie Mcguire (Maddox Brothers #1)

Paradigm by Ceri Lowe (Paradigm #1)

3 Stars

“There’s surviving and then there’s living.”

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. First thing’s first, I’m sure many young readers will notice the eerie resemblance between the covers of Divergent and Paradigm, and I really wish they chose a different cover for this one because the two are totally different in theme and in story.

I really liked the idea behind this book. For a young adult dystopian novel, it has a very realistic and mature backbone. For a brief backstory: a devastating Storm hit the Earth around 2015 that nearly submerged everything to nonexistence. Thankfully, Paradigm Industries saw something like this would happen and built a massive underground complex made to withstand years of isolation to ensure survival. The story happens through the eyes of two characters: Alice and Carter. Alice’s story revolves around the beginning of the Storm, right after the world ended, and the new one began. Carter’s, on the other hand, happens generations later—a time wherein the new society has long been established.

“We must want to work together, to live together, to survive together. Or we all die together.”

I must admit, Paradigm hit something close to home. I live in the Philippines and I don’t know if you guys are aware but my country experiences devastating typhoons almost yearly. In fact, it was raining while I was reading this book. And here, when it rains—it pours. Some might think the Storm in the book can’t really happen, but you’re wrong. I’ve seen it happen, although perhaps not as cataclysmic as in the novel. The city I live in has been flooded to more than 10 feet high, submerging houses and buildings, more than once, and not long ago, a part of my country has been massacred by typhoon Haiyan—so yes, I am fully aware of how destructive water can be, which made it so easy for me to visualize Paradigm’s world. It was interesting that the main cause of the apocalypse in this story was the climate. It’s a relevant and more mature theme when compared to its peers. One thing I was not fully satisfied with the Storm was its origin. There wasn’t enough information given to how it came to be. Was it global warming? Was it a government experiment gone awry? I suppose, and hope, more explanation will come from the following books being that this is the first of a trilogy.

Another thing I’m disappointed with was the lack of character development. I liked Alice’s character, but Carter seemed to pale in comparison. I couldn’t connect with him at all. It greatly bothered me how weak his character was—I mean, all his life he was preparing for this one thing, then one day he meets some strangers and a girl who he hasn’t seen in fifteen years, who tell him things and he suddenly bends his beliefs just like that? I believe in the power of curiosity but it was shown from the early chapters how solid his views were. It was as if in a snap he decided to tread another path. It felt so out of character that I couldn’t find a way to root for him afterwards.

Overall, despite some of those misses, this is a promising debut novel. Readers might find some themes of the book in resonance with The Kill Order, Matched, City of Ember, and A Brave New World, but it still offers a fresh story.Will I read the next book? Yes. However, I do hope there will be more backstory and better world-building in the following installments. And I hope Carter finally finds his backbone along the way. After all, he’s the one carrying this story to its future.

Enders by Lissa Price (Starters #2)

1 star

By the length of interval between the release of the first book and this one, I expected a more riveting story than this huge jumbled chaos. “Enders” was a huge, huge disappointment. I actually liked “Starters” and the idea of the story being confined to just a duology, but after finishing this I felt like I might as well have waited for nothing.

Where do I even begin? I felt like this entire book was rushed and cramped into the few pages it had. Was the author being chased by a train while writing this? Because it sure felt that way. It seemed like I was reading a long summary of an actual novel instead of reading one.

One arc came after the other without any smooth transitions. It lacked fluidity, lacked character development and world-building. I felt like some characters were thrown away to the side due to laziness for development and for convenience (Yes, I’m looking at you Tyler and Michael). The new character Hyden seemed promising but I never really got to know him either. As a reader, I want to feel invested in the characters I’m reading about, but Enders failed to do that. To me they were just names in the story. I felt no connection at all, and that is a one big failure in character development. The ending offered a so-so resolution but it really didn’t feel satisfying. There wasn’t enough explanation or back story given to explain the past further. Like, the Spore Wars, the Middles, what really happened to the world. I was confined to Callie’s world and hers alone. Everything was boxed in. And speaking of Callie, she seemed like she got lost in translation while this novel was being written. She just wasn’t strong enough a character for me to really root for. I mean, Katniss was flawed and can be really annoying but you could understand where she was coming from and you’d still root for her even if you don’t like her. For Callie, she’s not exactly someone you’d hate but she’s not someone you’d love either, and that’s not a good thing.

The twists were good but were not enough to compensate for the lack of everything else. This was truly a disappointing book and I’m sad to say it wasn’t worth the wait.

Starters by Lissa Price (Starters #1)

3 Stars

“I’d started with a lie, and now it was just about impossible to untangle it without breaking something.”

NOTE: This is an old review, I just edited and added some things to it

I grabbed this book because the cover was interesting and when I read the jacket summary, I was intrigued, so I bought it. To give you a glimpse of how the book feels like: It’s like Hunger Games meets Surrogates slash Gamer. If you’re familiar with those three, then I guess you’ll have a vague idea on how the theme of the story plays out.
Continue reading Starters by Lissa Price (Starters #1)