My Life in YA

I love books. Especially Fantasy & Sci-Fi, but I need a little contemporary in between.

The Boy on the Bridge

The Boy on the Bridge - Natalie Standiford 3.5 stars
Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1) - Kasie West 4.5 stars
The Longest Holiday - Paige Toon 3.5
Born Wicked  - Jessica Spotswood 4.5
Hidden  - Marianne Curley I have no idea what I just read, but when you´re laughing after finishing, that´s not good.
Everbound - Brodi Ashton 3.5 stars
Roar and Liv (Under the Never Sky, #0.5) - Veronica Rossi I love this series and I love Roar, but I wanted so much more!

Defiance

Defiance - C.J. Redwine 3.5 stars
Glitch - Heather Anastasiu Look at that beautiful cover! Besides that I think this is one of the best covers I´ve seen this year, I also liked that Glitch is a YA Sci-Fi book. After having read and absolutely loved books like Across the Universe and Cinder, I was pleased to find more books in this genre. Unfortunately, Glitch doesn´t deliver on the Sci-Fi aspect at all.Let me start with the positive points, because there aren’t many I’m afraid. First of all, the plot is okay and interesting, but on the other hand, it’s nothing special. It’s a very generic dystopian. Besides the plot, I liked Zoe as a character. She’s relatable enough and her reaction to these new emotions she experiences when glitching was fairly realistic. Although I have to mention that there are quite a few inconsistencies about these feelings and emotions. Thanks to her glitching, she is experiencing emotions for the very first time. She asks about the definition of the word ‘sorry’ and learns that reddening means embarrassment. I find that realistic. But, what I find inconsistent is that the narration acknowledges peoples’ emotions/feelings easily. Zoe would think things like ‘he looks frustrated’, etc. And all I could think was HOW DO YOU KNOW?! Then the negative points, which is actually all about the other characters who ruined this book for me. For example, the ONLY other girl that’s mentioned beside Zoe is Molla and she is described as being a very scared girl. This bothered me because I felt this was done to make Zoe look better and I DON’T need that. Adrien and Max are the supposed love interests of Zoe. But really, this isn’t romance. Adrien is obsessed and stalkerish and proclaims his love for Zoe the first day they interact. I knew upfront there would be a love triangle so I hoped I’d like Max better. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Fellow glitcher Max doesn’t take these new emotions so well and is super obsessed, clingy, needy and creepy. I understand this is what realistically could happen to a person under these circumstances, but if a dystopian book is so focused on the romance aspect than I at least need to like/care for the male leads. Now I’ve had to read about a guy that’s too creepy and a guy I didn’t really get to know except that he of course loves Zoe (and he has a very wise mother that he probably should listen to, but when’s that ever going to happen in YA?)I wouldn’t recommend this for big Sci-Fi fans, because Glitch is VERY focused on the romance aspect. I even think that people who seek a romance book will be more pleased with Glitch than readers who seek a Sci-Fi book. Just bear in mind that the male leads aren’t very lovable.
Graceling - Kristin Cashore The worldbuilding in this book is very good. It’s an interesting but probably common fantasy world. The Graces (talents) people have are unique and interesting to read about, especially since our main character is a girl graced with fighting skill! I felt that everything about this world was very well explained, without it getting boring or too much information at once. In my opinion the best thing about this book are the secondary characters. Cashore has made a great cast of characters and everyone had their own distinct personality or wants. I especially enjoyed reading about Raffin, Katsa’s cousin, and Bitterblue, the young crown princess of another country (Monsea). These two characters were what made this book for me. Unfortunately, I didn’t like to read about main character Katsa. She’s physically and mentally a tough girl, and that’s admirable, but I found her to be so arrogant! I didn’t like how she thought about and treated others, especially Giddon (what did he ever do to her, except love her?) and animals. She would tire horses out and couldn’t care less. I’m a huge animal lover, so I couldn’t stand that. Another thing I disliked was the romance aspect. She was so adamant not to marry/fall in love, and I didn’t feel their connection as strongly to understand why suddenly she did fall in love with someone. Although I mentioned earlier that the worldbuilding parts didn’t bore me, there were some parts that did. When you read about a girl graced with fighting skill I want action, not the actual ‘fight scenes’ that I got: practising fighting with Po, the other person ‘graced’ with fighting. There is also a lot of travelling and hunting. At least parts of those things in this book could have been left out to make it more exciting. Unfortunately some exciting aspects were resolved too easy and too soon, but the mystery aspect was great to read about! I’m giving Graceling 3.5 stars. It is a great fantasy with a mystery that doesn’t drag on for the entire book. In the end I cared so much for the secondary characters that I enjoyed reading Graceling and can’t wait for the sequels. I especially can’t wait to read more about Bitterblue in the third book.
Variant - Robison Wells Variant starts right in the middle of the story, with main character Benson arriving at Maxfield academy. He learns pretty soon that he and the other 73 students are trapped inside and can’t get out. There is not a lot of background information on Benson, but for this kind of story it doesn’t matter because you get sucked right into the story. I loved the idea of these kids trapped in this school with no explanation at all, because it raises a lot of questions to you as a reader. I mean, what would you do? Which gang/group would you join? Personally, I think I’d have gone crazy.What I liked about Variant is something I didn’t expect in a book in this genre: the characters were all diverse and fleshed out. I thought it would be all about the plot, but there are a lot of characters in this book as well. I wouldn’t say they all have character development, but I did like the fact that they were all fairly unique from each other in their ways and behavior. While reading I was really fond of Becky, the girl with the tour guide smile, but luckily there’s more to her than that. Benson was also a nice main character. He made some stupid choices, but doesn’t that make sense in a way? Wouldn’t you try do anything to get out?!The book is very fast-paced and I couldn’t stop reading it, there were so many new developments and a pretty big twist that I just had to know how it would all end. Although I expected there to be a lot of action, that’s actually a bit missing. I think because of this Wells added these ‘paintball’ games as gym classes. I found these to be a bit unnecessary and so I didn’t enjoy reading this. Another thing I didn’t like in this book was Benson’s romance with Jane. It’s pretty clear early on that they would get together, but I didn’t understand why Benson would fall for Jane. While the other characters are pretty fleshed out, I didn’t get to know who Jane was. She didn’t have a distinct personality or distinct behavior/motivations. I liked Lily, Benson’s teammate with paintball, for example much more because her personality is clear: she loves paintball and is the best at it, but she’s also determined to get out of there. If you are looking for an exciting YA mystery/thriller with a male POV, look no further and read Variant. I believe many people could enjoy this book. This genre isn’t something I usually read, but I thoroughly enjoyed Variant. I have so many questions left after finishing, but that makes me even more excited to read the sequel!
Fever  - Lauren DeStefano 4.5 stars.Fever is, much like its predecessor, a haunting story in a bleak and grim world. Where Wither was almost entirely set at Linden Ashby´s house, now Rhine has escaped the mansion we really get to see what´s become of the world.You can’t really compare Fever with Wither, because in Wither Rhine was bound to one place and her whole purpose was to escape. In Fever, Rhine has escaped and is trying to find a way back to New York, to her brother. There’s this whole world beside Linden’s house and this makes the story much more different, but in a good way. I think that if you loved Wither, you’ll love Fever too. The writing is beautiful again. It sucks you into the story until you can´t stop turning the pages anymore.Rhine and Gabriel fall from adventure in to adventure. But it´s not a thrilling and exciting adventure, it is a harsh trip. Take for example the first thing that happens in this book: Rhine and Gabriel, who’ve just escaped, are captured by a madwoman who owns a ‘circus’, which is basically a brothel. New characters are introduced and are as fully fleshed out and unique characters like the side characters in Wither were. And some of those characters from Wither even make an appearance here!I wish we got to learn more about Gabriel! In Wither he was just this sweet servant boy who had a great chemistry with Rhine, but because of all that happens in Fever, we don’t really learn more about Gabriel or who he is as a person. The only thing that’s stopping me from giving this book 5 stars is because of the grim world and all of the misfortune, it makes Fever such a depressing read. Days later I still found myself thinking about these characters. The Chemical Garden Trilogy is one of the best Dystopian series out there!

Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass - Sarah J. Maas Throne of Glass is one of 2012’s most hyped up debuts and I saw buzz about it all around the blogosphere, including raving reviews. By that time I had really hyped it up in my mind as well (including a pre-order of it months in advance) and you know that’s almost never a good thing. Alas, Throne of Glass turned out to be not exactly what I thought it would be.The reason why Throne of Glass disappointed me was the beginning. It starts good, with Celaena being brought to Prince Dorian by the Captain of the Guard, Chaol. I couldn’t wait for action to start, but unfortunately for me, this book is not a typical action type of book and it is also not a fast-paced one. The beginning dragged. It bored me. I wanted to DNF it, but I never DNF and especially not one I couldn’t wait to read, so I read on. After endless descriptions and a bit boring parts about training and dresses and a whining Caleana, it finally picked up steam and by then I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. By that stage the mystery aspect of the book kicks in, and that was very exciting!Something that I felt was missing were the fantasy elements. There is some magic and some evil creatures, but that magical feeling of fantasy novels was missing. It could as well have been a book set in the middle ages. This is also due to the fact that there is not a lot information given about the history of the world, but since it is part of a series, I think (and hope!) that that is going to be more explored in the next books in the series. The thing that really made this book, apart from the mystery, is the great set of characters. While Caleana came across to me in the beginning as whiny and arrogant, she redeemed herself later in the book. I do hope we get to learn more about her personality in later books. I think the villains are very well crafted, I understood their motivations (always important!), especially that of Kaltain. Besides the villains, I loved the other characters. I think they all stand out from each other and have distinct personalities and motivations. Although Prince Dorian becomes nicer later on in the book, I am all for Chaol. Throne of Glass is a debut that will be devoured by readers looking for a great YA fantasy and who prefer characters and court intrigues and a slow pace above action and adventure. Although the main character is an assassin, she is also sweet and vulnerable and open to love. I can’t wait to learn more about her in the next book in this series. Also, I want more Chaol. Please.Actual rating 3.5
Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins 4.5 stars
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer  - Michelle Hodkin The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer seemed so promising. It’s got a beautiful, eerie cover and a mysterious title and the premise was amazing. Unfortunately, for me it didn’t quite live up to its potential. Like I said, the cover and title promise a very haunting read and it sure was! The plot is very thrilling and there are some pretty scary moments. Also, the book is set up in the prologue in a very good way because you’re immediately thrown right into the mystery aspect. In my opinion Mara is a great main character and I liked her. I mean, when you help abused animals then immediately you’re a girl after my own heart. To be fair she does some bad things and she’s got some pretty big issues, but still I think she handled all that crazy stuff that’s happening much better than I ever could! Sadly, the very thrilling mystery took quite a backseat in many parts of the book and it focuses instead on the romance. For me, that was a sad thing, but it all depends on whether you like the love interest, Noah Shaw. I didn’t at all. He’s written like he is so perfect, even unbelievingly so and the fact that he likes Mara seems a little like wishful thinking. He is British, REALLY rich and every girl wants him BUT of course he doesn’t sleep with the most popular (and mean) girl in school. I also didn’t like Mara focussing so much on him. I wanted to read more about the exciting mystery! Luckily the ending was AMAZING again. It’s one of those endings with a huge cliffhanger and you’re DYING to know what happens next, and this kind of ending suits the book so well. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer unfortunately lost me at the romance part, because it took up way too many pages, and it was unbelievable. Despite that I really enjoyed reading it. It’s a bit hard to get into at first but it’s scary, haunting and a complete page-turner . Can't wait for the sequel and to hopefully get some answers!
Between - Jessica Warman Sometimes books you buy on a whim are the books that surprise you the most. This happened to me with Between as well. I picked it up based on the cover and read it without any expectations, and it took me by surprise. Between is a well-written, thought-provoking mystery about friendship, secrets and lies.The book starts with the main character, Elizabeth, finding out she’s dead and has become a sort of ‘ghost’, in that she is still on earth and can see and hear everyone, but the other people can’t hear or see her back. You’re really thrown right into the story, and it’s very haunting to read about Liz’s friends and family finding out about her death. I don’t even want to imagine watching my family being sad over my death, but it’s portrayed really well in this book and that made it that more horrifying. The writing was very good and the mystery aspect of this book was very well done. Some parts I figured out early, but a lot of things I didn’t see coming at all! While reading, I couldn’t wait to find out more about Liz through the flashbacks and how she found her end.I am a bit on the fence regarding the characters in this book. First of all, I didn’t really care for Alex, the only other ‘ghost’ Elizabeth sees. Moreover, I found some characters to be a little over the top. Liz visits many of her friends and family members, and it seemed like every person has a big secret or problem. I did like to read from Liz’s POV and the fact that her memory came back slowly, so she really had to get to know herself again through flashbacks. Besides Liz, I also liked Liz’s father and Richie, her boyfriend. They had their flaws, but they felt more real than all the other characters (except for Liz and Alex) and I think their pain over losing Liz was portrayed very realistically. The ending of this book was handled very well. I am an emotional person, but I do not tend to cry while reading a book, however, I really got a little teary-eyed at the end of this book. I was really invested in the mystery and the characters, and I found it ended perfectly. To conclude, I would definitely recommend this book to lovers of YA contemporary, mystery and/ or thriller. Between is not just a book about rich people and their many secrets and lies, it really makes you think about friendship and betrayal.