Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Title: Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)
Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: June 7th, 2011
Pages: 368 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Amazon Vine

Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)
Like any sixteen-year-old would, April jumps at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free. Even though she had to tell her dad a tiny untruth to make it happen (see #1: "Lied to Our Parents"). But she and her housemate, Vi, are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up "Skipping School" (#3), "Throwing a Crazy Party" (#8), "Buying a Hot Tub" (#4), and um, "Harboring a Fugitive" (#7) is kind of a mystery to them. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world just might be falling apart... one thing-she-shouldn't-have-done at a time.

Fans of Sarah Dessen and E. Lockhart will love this hilarious and bittersweet tale of a girl on her own for the first time who finds herself doing ten things she (definitely, maybe, probably) shouldn't have.


Over Christmas break, April's dad and stepmom drop a bombshell on her: They're moving to Cleveland and want her to go with them. April has no intention of packing up her things, leaving her friends and boyfriend behind in Westport, and starting over in a new city, so she convinces her dad to let her move in with her best friend Vi and her mother Suzanne. The thing is that it's just Vi and April there because Suzanne is traveling and her dad doesn't know this. Boy troubles will be had, long-simmering issues will explode, and April will use the wrong product and cause a flood, among other things.

When you find a quote like "...and--um, where were my pants? Why was I in bed with a guy who was not my boyfriend without any pants?" (ARC p. 2) in the very beginning of a book, it's almost assured you're in for a fun ride. And I was--there were a lot of moments where this book made me laugh or at least giggle. If I had been in a bad mood while reading (which I was not, thank goodness), this would have made for a great cheer-up read, something fluffy and undepressing I could try to lift my mood with.

Despite the fluffiness, it does get serious at times. April has issues with her parents over their divorce that she doesn't like to think about, but those issues become intertwined with her problems with Noah. Her relationship with him is one of the only things that hasn't changed since her parents' divorce and she's desperate for at least something to stay the same, but they're growing apart and she can't handle it. Change is difficult to deal with and anyone who feels the same way as she did will connect with April, though her layers of deceptions and manipulative moments may keep them from liking her.

But it says something for the characters when my favorite turns out to be Donut the cat instead of a human. Most of the characters are pretty unremarkable except for April and Vi, the latter of whom was remarkable for being a bad person instead of for anything good. The only scene in the entire book where I really felt invested and cared about what happened was Donut-centric. Otherwise, I floated through the book and I don't doubt that in a month, I'll barely recall anything but Donut.

The book is mostly about sex, though the blurb might lead you to think it's about something more. Nope, most of the book is focused on preparing for sex, freaking about the thought of it, actually having it, having it some more, discovering how sex can change relationships, and dealing with some of its consequences. If reading about sex makes you uncomfortable, don't even consider this book. After the last book I read, reading such a sex-positive book was like a weight off my shoulders, and they even discussed birth control and condoms and safe sex! This book taught me more about sex than my sex ed class in high school (but then again, anything teaches more than my sex ed class did; my school taught the "abstinence-only" way.)

There isn't going to be anything ground-breaking when you read this book, but you're probably going to be entertained and smile at least once because April makes some pretty good quips throughout the book. If for nothing else, pick up the book because of Donut the cat. She's such a sweetheart that only a hardcore cat-hater could hate her.

4 stars for being fluffy like a kitten, funny enough to make me giggle out loud a few times, and occasionally heartfelt, but otherwise nothing extraordinary.

What am I reading next?: Stay by Deb Caletti

Friday, May 27, 2011

Born at Midnight by C.C. Hunter

Grab a seat and something to eat. This is going to be a long one.

Title: Born at Midnight
Author: C.C. Hunter
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: March 29th, 2011
Pages: 397 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: Borrowed it from Kayla

Born at Midnight (Shadow Falls, #1)
One night Kylie Galen finds herself at the wrong party, with the wrong people, and it changes her life forever. Her mother ships her off to Shadow Falls--a camp for troubled teens--and within hours of arriving, it becomes painfully clear that her fellow campers aren't just "troubled." Here at Shadow Falls, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches, and fairies train side by side, learning to harness their powers, control their magic, and live in the normal world.

Kylie's never felt normal, but surely she doesn't belong here with a bunch of paranormal freaks, either. Or does she? They insist Kylie is one of them and that she was brought here for a reason. As if life wasn't complicated enough, enter Derek and Lucas. Derek's a half Fae who's determined to be her boyfriend, and Lucas is a smokin' hot werewolf with whom Kylie shares a secret past. Derek and Lucas couldn't be more different, but they both have a powerful hold on her heart.

Even though Kylie feels deeply uncertain about everything, one thing is becoming painfully clear: Shadow Falls is exactly where she belongs.


Sixteen-year-old Kylie is sent off to a summer camp after she's caught at a party where drugs and alcohol were found. She and her mom thought it was just a camp for troubled teens, but it's really a camp where supernatural creatures like vampires and witches come to stay and learn how to control their powers.Kylie thinks she's normal and doesn't belong there, but strange things are happening with her that say otherwise. Throw in two new best friends, a love triangle, and the threat of Shadow Falls being shut down and all of this adds up to Kylie's summer.

We'll start with the book's worst point: rampant slut-shaming. In the very first chapter, a girl named Shannon that Kylie never interacts with is at a party with Kylie's ex Trey. Shannon is called (in third-person narration) slutty, a screw toy (twice!), a bang toy, special attention is paid to how short her skirt is and how low her shirt's neckline is, and she is outright called a slut later. What is Shannon's crime? Choosing to have sex with her boyfriend Trey.

Next is Kylie's best friend Sara. She used to think sex was special and lost her v-card to a guy she thought was the love of her life. He wasn't. In the six months after that happens, Sara starts to party and drink, dates four boys, sleeps with two of them, has a pregnancy scare, and then goes on to planning sex with a nineteen-year-old boy once she's sure she isn't pregnant. She no longer talks about sex being special. (Factoid: this book takes place in Texas, the age of consent there is seventeen, and Sara is sixteen.) It felt like her character was being used as a cautionary tale instead of a character. "Don't have sex, girls! Not unless you want to end up like Sara."

In short, this book preaches that girls who are sexual or dress in revealing clothes are looked down upon and are sluts. They're the bad girls and should be hated. The girls who decide to wait for sex are angels. You especially shouldn't have sex because that risks pregnancy. It's not like you can take the Pill or use a condom, right? They don't protect against pregnancy or significantly lower the odds.

How the fuck is this a teen book?! This book and its messages belong in the garbage, not in bookstores or any reader's hands. This is not the kind of book you hand to teenage girls, who get messages from so many sides of society about being a slut if they are even the tiniest bit sexual and only being worth something if they're a virgin. Nor would I hand this to teenagers in general because when they're struggling with their sexuality and new sexual urges, these messages aren't the kind they need to be hearing. These kinds of sex-negative books don't belong on the market for modern teenagers.

(Ironically, I have a print copy of this and I can see the cover model's nipple when I look closely.)

Kylie herself, our darling narrator, is a hypocritical, snobby, rude, jealous brat. I don't make it a requirement to like my main characters, but I know I'm supposed to like this girl or at least sympathize with her, and I don't know why I should. She looks down on people for how they look, instantly classifies them as Goth if they wear any black, thinks wearing black at all is a rebellion instead of a fashion choice, and has to constantly emphasize how girls are clinging to guys if the guys happen to be one she likes, among other things.

I'm supposed to feel sorry for Kylie, but the character I felt most sorry for is Fredericka, the female werewolf that likes Lucas and hates Kylie's guts. She is specifically designed for the audience to hate and gets no depth at all. She's just a piece of cardboard inserted into the story for no reason. She has what has to be one of the worst girl names in the world (I have a feeling she was given that name just because it is so awful and would give readers another reason to hate her), she has a thing for one of Kylie's love interests (and is deluded, also), and--gasp!--has sex! She is so evil! Please.

It does not escape me that both girls in the book that have sex are characterized as bad. Meanwhile, both dudes who have sex are Kylie's love interests. Still preaching. Still disgusting.

The love interests are no better. Trey pressures Kylie for sex, breaks up with her when she won't for a girl that will screw him, comes crawling back, and pressures her more. I don't like guys that play with emotions like that. Meanwhile, Derek fakes having a thing with one girl to make Kylie jealous, and I hate this even more. Lucas is supposed to be a bad boy, but he does nothing truly bad other than initially treat Kylie like an annoyance and get her a kitten. (Speaking of that kitten, how did he get that? It's not like he can leave camp whenever he wants to make a trip to the pet store.)

Kylie's vampire roommate Della was the only character I liked. Her situation of keeping her secret from her family, thereby ruining her relationship with them, and facing pressure from her cousin to join a vampire gang, is more sympathetic and interesting. She has a prequel story of her own, but she deserves more than that. I liked the dyslexic witch Miranda at first, but I stopped liking her around page 200. Trash-talking someone you have no business with is apparently more important to Miranda than saving her friend, who is choking to death on food.

Sometimes, things that happen are downright mind-boggling. How does someone SNEAK A LION INTO A GIRL'S BEDROOM IN HER CABIN AND NOT GET SEEN DOING IT?! Not that building a summer camp right next to a wildlife park with lions and tigers in it is a smart idea in the first place. Don't forget the whole kitten thing mentioned earlier. I don't think camp counselors have permission to randomly take underage campers to town with them while running errands. The Meet Your Campmate Hour was an obvious ploy to hook Kylie up with her boys. It's supposed to build friendship, but it's more like a matchmaking service because they will only pair a girl with a boy. Can't use that hour to make friends with other girls.

Two smaller points: if you're going to use bitch, damn, and shit in your book, you shouldn't be using phrases like "crappers" (from a sixteen-year-old girl!) to creep around cuss words or replace "hell" with "Hades." Hades is not hell--he is the god of the Underworld, which is also not hell--and Hades is not a replacement word for hell either. This book will also talk down to you as if you can't understand that she's talking about a certain person when talking generally.

The plot is like a performer at a club who spends most of their time at the bar doing shots instead of performing. When reminded by its manager Romantic Dilemmas (who is up there performing when no one wants to hear them; they want Plot, damn it!), Plot gets onstage, does a little jig for about two minutes, and then goes back to the bar for more shots. Romantic Dilemmas took over the show and only called Plot to the stage when everyone grumbled about wasting their money and wanting to leave. (Outside my simile-metaphor thing, the pacing was slow as hell.)

Books are trains that carry readers and make stops as needed, though the ends of chapters provide stations where passengers can more easily disembark and get back on. The good books stay on track, the decent ones slide off the rails a few times but stay on-track for the most part, and bad books result in a train wreck. Born at Midnight is special. Before you can get to the second station, this train crashes and the cars keep piling up while it slides along on the tracks. Just when you think it can't get any worse, another car adds itself to the wreck. All you're left with is a twisted metal monstrosity at the end of the book, but the crash still isn't over. There will be... sequels! The wreck continues!

Please excuse that slightly manic metaphor. This book has damaged my brain. If you will excuse me, I'm going to take my short shorts and go slut it up. I have not had my first kiss or done anything remotely sexual in my life, but I'm still a slut because girls who wear revealing clothes like I do are always sluts. Right, Born at Midnight?

0 stars! Easily one of the worst books I've ever read. Unless a truly "unique" book comes along, this will top my "worst of 2011" list at the end of the year.

What am I reading next?: Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have) by Sarah Mlynowski

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Cryptic Cravings by Ellen Schreiber

Title: Cryptic Cravings
Author: Ellen Schreiber
Publisher: HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 17th, 2011
Pages: 211 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.

Cryptic Cravings (Vampire Kisses, #8)
The morbidly monotonous Dullsville has finally become the most exciting place on earth now that Raven is madly in love with her hot vampire boyfriend, Alexander, and a crew of vampires has taken residence in Dullsville's old mill. Raven discovers Jagger's plan to open a new club, the Crypt, right here in Dullsville. But is it her dream come true or her worst nightmare? Raven and Alexander have to figure out what the nefarious vampire has in store for Dullsville's teen and vampire population. Can Raven convince Jagger to listen to her plans to make the Crypt the morbidly magnificent dance club it could be? Will it be safe for mortals and vampires alike?

And as Sebastian and Luna's relationship heats up, Raven wonders about her own amorous fate: Will Alexander ever turn her? Does he crave her and does he want to spend eternity together? And what does she really want?

With cryptic secrets and cravings, this eighth installment in the Vampire Kisses series is a romantic and mysterious thrill ride.


Jagger and Luna are back and this time, they want to open a club in Dullsville called the Crypt. Raven, seeing a place where she can finally belong in Dullsville, is excited about it and yet cautious; if Jagger makes the club a place for humans and vampires both, all the vampires coming to Dullsville could cause trouble and put Alexander's secret in danger. Raven and Alexander work to find out what Jagger has planned for the Crypt in case he's up to no good yet again. Meanwhile, Luna and Sebastian's relationship is blooming and Raven wishes more than once that Alexander would just turn her already. But is she ready to give everything up for her love?

I may as well admit now that this review is totally biased. The Vampire Kisses series changed my life and made me love reading, which led me to reviewing books and aspiring to become an author. I couldn't be critical of something so meaningful, beloved, and fluffy even if I tried.

Raven and Alexander's romance takes a little bit of a backseat in this installment to plans for the Crypt and Raven's slight introspection on whether or not she's prepared to give everything up, but they still have their moments together, including a half-gross, half-romantic birthday surprise for Alexander from Raven. These two may be cliches, but they make a cute couple when they're put together. It may not be completely healthy (Raven has insomnia from staying up late to be with Alexander), but it's better than some of what else is on the market (see Hush, Hush and Fallen, among others). They never manipulate and abuse each other, at least. I shouldn't have to settle, but with young adult trend as they are now...

One thing I do like about the books is that while Raven constantly thinks and says she would be willing to give up her world to be in Alexander's, she can't do it as easily as she thinks she can. All these vampires telling her that it isn't as romantic as she thinks and those moments with friends and family that she'll never have once she's a vampire are getting through to her! You know what would make this series legendary for me? If Raven decides her love for Alexander, not matter how true, isn't worth giving up her friends, family, and human life and she stays human. It's a shame it won't happen. I know Schreiber's books too well.

I also had some fun laughing at Raven. I don't think I've ever met such a dense character in my life. So there are seven books' worth of evidence that Trevor is in love with Raven, including buying a painting of her at auction, multiple people telling her he likes her, a guy who can read blood telling Raven that Trevor wished he were having a covenant ceremony with Raven instead of his then-girlfriend (long story, see the end of book three Vampireville), but it takes her all the way until now for her to figure it out? Her thickness is so impossible that it would cause the world to end if she were real. At least she recognizes by the end of it that if Alexander weren't there, she could have easily started dating Trevor.

Very few major events happen in Cryptic Cravings. There isn't much action and I can count on one hand how many events seem like they'll have importance in the future. Those few events are the reason I'm not going to call it filler that the author is using to make more money. I would love for Schreiber to write a larger Vampire Kisses book one day because the longest one is the first one at a short 253 pages, made shorter by how easy the books are to read. All the others barely extend past 200 pages.

The ending is all sorts of messy (and I should say that beyond this point are SPOILERS FOR THE ENDING OMG I'M WARNING YOU!). What happened to Jagger and Luna? The plan to trick Sebastian into a covenant ceremony is a bust, so do they leave Dullsville again? Do they hide in the coffin room? Do they just leave the building? I have no idea. I would have liked some resolution on that end.

And then all of a sudden, we learn Alexander has a sister: Athena, or Stormy. This and Alexander's excuse of "oh, she never came up because I was too busy snogging you" are both huge buttpulls. It's been eight books and a year inside the bookverse! This is the kind of stuff that comes up! And Raven is barely concerned with him never mentioning a sister. Does she not wonder what else could he be hiding besides a sister? The only reason I can think of that he wouldn't mention his sister is that he doesn't like her, but he likes her enough to convince her to come to Dullsville, so that can't be it.

Bonus: It appears that "nefarious" is the word of Cryptic Cravings, just as "chagrin" was a common word in Twilight and "engage" was common in Abandon by Meg Cabot. I'm going to go through this book one day and count how many times the word appeared. I swear it must have been at least once per chapter.

If I were capable of looking at this series critically, this would surely be a two-star due to the stereotyping, lack of complexity and depth in its characters, subpar writing, and having very little happen. However, I love it too much to do that. These books keep me smiling and going when everything sucks and even I need fluffy, cheesy reads every now and then. Even if those fluffy reads cost eighteen dollars for barely two hundred pages and next to no progression. I honestly don't think the book is worth that much money.

4 stars!

What am I reading next?: Born at Midnight by CC Hunter

Eona by Alison Goodman

Title: Eona
Author: Alison Goodman
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: April 19th, 2011
Pages: 637 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.

Eona: The Last Dragoneye (Eon, #2)
Once she was Eon, a girl disguised as a boy, risking her life for the chance to become a Dragoneye apprentice.Now she is Eona, the Mirror Dragoneye, her country's savior--but she has an even more dangerous secret.

She cannot control her power.

Each time she tries to bond with her Mirror Dragon,she becomes a conduit for the ten spirit dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered by Lord Ido. Their anguish floods through her, twisting her ability into a force that destroys the land and its people.

And another force of destruction is on her trail.

Along with Ryko and Lady Dela, Eona is on the run from High Lord Sethon's army. Sethon has declared himself Emperor. In order to stop him,the renegades must find Kygo, the young Peal Emperor, who needs Eona's power if he is to wrest back his throne.

Eona, with its pulse-pounding drama, thrilling fight scenes, sizzling tension--and many surprises--brings to a close an epic story.


High Lord Sethon has declared himself Emperor after a coup, though the true Pearl Emperor Kygo has escaped. Eona, her identity as a woman revealed, Lady Dela, and islander rebel Ryko have also escaped and must find Kygo. He'll need Eona's power to take back his throne, but Eona can't control her power. Every time she tries to connect with her dragon, the ten dragons of the murdered Dragoneyes attack her. In need of training if Sethon is to be defeated, Eona and the resistance are forced to rescue Lord Ido, the murderous Rat Dragoneye and a power-hungry man. Torn in a million different directions by truth, power, loyalty, and more, Eona will have to make decisions that could save the empire or bring it to ruins.

Finding the words to describe this book is difficult, so I apologize if I ever seem muddled or nonsensical.

The mythos of the world Eona takes place in was carefully constructed and laid out in Eon--the twelve dragons and their relationships to the Dragoneyes, the purpose of the Imperial Pearl, and what the Dragoneyes can do with their power. In Eona, almost everything the reader knew is turned upside-down because nothing was what it seemed to be in the first book. All these reversals, especially in the relationships between the dragons and their Dragoneyes, make perfect sense in their execution and make the stakes even higher.

It takes a good while for the story to get to its climax, but intense battles are throughout and don't make it feel like there's a long wait. In the meantime, Eona and the other characters get some development. Some of the decisions Eona made in the book and the sheer amount of lying/secret-keeping she does boggled my poor mind. Seeing what could have been if Eona had a moral compass like Lord Ido's basically nonexistent one is very easy and she does some seriously bad things without thinking much on it. Considering her situation, where she's come from, and the problems she could cause herself by dwelling on it, I'm tenuously okay with that.

Romance takes a huge step up in this book, and it almost feels too sudden, like it's happening just because Eona is now known to be a woman. Eona's relationships with Kygo and Lord Ido are both refreshingly, wonderfully complex; while one is based on romantic feelings and troubled by trust issues, the other is mainly driven by attraction and power and is nowhere near healthy. For the first time in more than a few months, reading about love/lust-driven relationships sent a thrill through my system. I didn't even mind that there was a love triangle! I wish I could have seen more of Lady Dela and Ryko's relationship, though the latter put some serious effort into pushing Lady Dela away.

This book had me so enraptured that I had my head in it for four out of six classes for three days straight, unable to put it away because Eona and her sometimes-slow, sometimes-rapidly-paced story wouldn't let me. (Don't worry about any neglected schoolwork; my grades will be fine.) I was so mentally exhausted in the very best way upon finishing the book that I put my head on my desk and sat like that for twenty minutes. For about an hour after that, I was all smiley and floating. I know you don't want to hear about any of that, but I'm detailing it for a reason: I've never a reaction like this to any book in my life. Sobbing like a baby? Yes. This? No.

A day later, everything about this book is still bouncing around in my head, from the characters to the decisions Eona made that weren't always very ethical and were never easy. I felt that the preceding book Eon had its flaws, but Eona more than made up for them. There's no doubt I'll be coming back to this book (and maybe a few specific scenes) for a reread at a later time and enjoy the severe mental exhaustion all over again. This is a must for any fantasy or dragon fans looking for something new.

5 stars!

What am I reading next?: Born at Midnight by CC Hunter

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

Title: Wherever You Go
Author: Heather Davis
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/Harcourt Children's Books
Release Date: November 14th, 2011
Pages: 320 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: From the publisher via NetGalley (and thank you very much for that!)

Wherever You GoSeventeen-year-old Holly Mullen has felt lost and lonely ever since her boyfriend, Rob, died in a tragic accident. The fact that she has to spend most of her free time caring for her little sister and Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather doesn’t help. But Holly has no idea that as she goes about her days, Rob’s ghost is watching over her. He isn’t happy when he sees his best friend, Jason, reach out to help Holly with her grandfather—but as a ghost, he can do nothing to stop it. Is his best friend really falling for his girlfriend?

As Holly wonders whether to open her heart to Jason, the past comes back to haunt her. Her grandfather claims to be communicating with the ghost of Rob. Could the messages he has for Holly be real? And if so, how can the loved ones Rob left behind help his tortured soul make it to the other side?

Told from the perspectives of Holly, Jason, and Rob,Wherever You Go is is a poignant story about making peace with the past, opening your heart to love, and finding the courage to move forward into the light.


(Despite the following review, I don't think this is a bad book. Many small factors came together that ultimately made Wherever You Go not work for me personally, but that does not mean it's a bad book overall. Also, I love this cover.)

After the death of her boyfriend Rob, Holly has become withdrawn and is now forced to take care of her Alzheimer's-afflicted grandfather Aldo while her mother works to keep their family in an apartment rather than a homeless shelter. She doesn't realize this, but Rob is still around as a ghost, watching her and wishing he could communicate with her. Rob is overjoyed to learn that Aldo can see him and talk to him, but then Rob becomes upset when he sees that his best friend Jason is falling for Holly--and Holly might be falling for Jason too.

Oh, Wherever You Go... How do I begin to review thee? You were such a strange book that left me with all sorts of conflicting feelings and confusion over what I did and didn't like.

Grandpa Aldo and his disease were the high points of this book. He had a central part in the story as we see Holly's struggle to take care of him when his Alzheimer's worsens, Rob's communication with him and a clear picture of how Aldo feels about all of this, and the way Aldo's list of things he wanted to remember helped bring Holly and Jason together. Making the love triangle the hook for this book is a huge mistake. The real story is in how Aldo's disease affects all three teenagers and the various feelings holding them back.

Do you remember how you're taught to write in one tense and one point-of-view type? Well, this book was written in both past AND present tense, along with being in first, second, AND third person points-of-view! Holly's sections were first person point-of-view with past tense, Rob's were second person present, and Jason's were third-person past. It's great the author wasn't afraid to try something different, but this is the biggest reason the book did not work for me. I like continuity in my narrative style and I got irritated when the style is changing in two different ways so often. Having all of this happen at the same time but with Rob's sections in present tense and Holly's and Jason's in past tense does not help. There is a very good reason students are taught not to mix past and present tense in writing.

The pacing is dead slow for most of the novel. Towards the end of the book--and I mean the end, as in the last fifth of the novel--it picks up a little and I no longer felt like I had to force myself to keep reading. It was a shame that this ending only came about due to some drama that made absolutely no sense. Holly knows Mark is a douchebag that wants her to break up with Jason and yet she takes what Mark says about Jason's intentions to heart? And she never tries to talk to Jason about it! I thought she trusted him more than that, but apparently not. Call me jaded if a scene like that made me doubt Jason and Holly's big connection.

Wherever You Go is supposed to, in part, be about how Rob's death impacted Rob, Holly, and Jason. It's a shame I never had any insight into how they related to one another when Rob was alive. You never get to read about why Holly and Rob loved each other so much and you don't learn much about why Rob and Jason were best friends. I would prefer to be shown this rather than told, especially when it's such an integral part of the story. We see nothing of their past and that makes me not believe what I'm being shown in their present.

A minor quibble, but one I feel warrants mention: I know some readers hate headings that indicate a change in narrator because I suppose they feel like they're not being considered smart enough to figure out the narrator themselves, but this is the one area where I prefer to be told something rather than shown. The addition of headings to indicate whether Rob, Holly, or Jason is speaking before publication would be appreciated.

As I said earlier, this is not a bad book. It's just one that didn't work for me. The book automatically had three stars because I couldn't emotionally connect to it and when considering the various flaws, it eventually lost two more stars. I'm conflicted on whether or not I should recommend it to anyone, but give it a try if the summary jumps out at you and makes you think "I want to read this book!" or even if my review made you curious about the book and you want to see what I mean.

1 star!

What am I reading next?: Eona by Alison Goodman

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Title: Abandon
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Scholastic Inc./Point
Release Date: April 26th, 2011
Pages: 320 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Amazon Vine

Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone... because someone is always watching her. Escape form the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she's moved to a new own. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away... especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.


Pierce Oliviera drowned when she was fifteen and she hasn't been the same since. When she moved to Isla Huesos, Florida with her mother after her parents' divorce, she hopes to start over and forget about everything that happened in the wake of her temporary death. Too bad John isn't going to let that happen. She doesn't know quite who he is, but she knows that he's not human. Whatever he is, she will have to be cautious of him. If she's not, he may just take her back to the Underworld and keep her there.

Cabot has a rare gift: the ability to keep the reader glued to her books through her writing. She knows just when to stop the chapters so that you've got to turn the page and find out WHAT THE HELL'S GOING ON and every now and then, she'll throw hints out there to make the reader keep going so they'll find out what's going on. Even in the numerous moments where I was irritated with Abandon because thoughts weren't expanded on or flashbacks kept interrupting scenes, I didn't want to stop reading. The plot went like "zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzOMGCLIMACTICSCENEover" for me as it unfolded over three days, but that never bothered me once. Who needs plot or character-driven stories when your style is enough to keep people reading?

Another gift of Cabot's is to write spirited, witty heroines you can't help but cheer for even when they get irritating. This time around, she tried for a more introverted heroine in Pierce. In heroines, I ask for them to be two simple things: flawed and interesting, in that they make me want to learn more about them. Pierce isn't short of her flaws (she's rather slow, selfish and selfless all at once, a little bit of a pushover, doesn't think before acting) and I like that she's not perfect, but she missed the boat on being interesting. She's the same plain heroine I've gotten used to seeing in young adult paranormals. Considering the author and what I know she can do, this makes me sad. I was never sold on John either, or the romance between the two; his mood swings and any lack of romantic development between the two kept me undecided.

Despite being a young adult paranormal and therefore entitled to be a little unbelievable, I had no trouble believing this could be real and happening in our world because of how the very minor characters act and the detailed setting. The nasty things humans will do to one another, like blame the victim of a crime for something that wasn't their fault and persecute each other for being in a program like New Pathways or being the child of someone who was in jail, are all too real. Not that I want to read about people blaming victims or persecuting each other because I think that's wrong and should be changed in real life, but it was exactly what many people would do and I respect that the decision was made to have the people be nasty instead of nice. If they'd been nice, I would have felt something was up and my suspension of disbelief would be broken just like that.

I'm  sad it looks like the sequel will take place largely in the Underworld because considering all the little hints of things to come in Isla Huesos, I would prefer to read about that. What does Alex have planned? (Probably nothing good.) What about our minor characters like Alex and Uncle Chris and the mom, the people who showed some signs of three-dimensional potential? I want to read about them, not Pierce being trapped in the Underworld and most likely romanced by John! My hopes are the romance gets some emergency life injected into it, Pierce stops thinking "I have to help him" because no you don't, and there is more of Pierce's family.

While it's good to know that Cabot hasn't lost her gift for writing stories that captivate me and keep me reading whenever I have spare time, but the experiment of writing a heroine who is not spunky and witty and such didn't work out very well. I will take serious good word to make me pick up the second volume Underworld. And I mean trusted-reviewer-friends-give-glowing-reviews kind of good. If I may be so excused, I must read a little bit out of the Mediator books on my shelf to make myself feel better. I would prefer Suze over Pierce any day and if you've read the Mediator books, this really says something about Pierce.

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray

Monday, May 9, 2011

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Title: Heist Society
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Disney Book Group
Release Date: February 9th, 2010
Pages: 304 pages
How I Got the Book: Bought it for my Kindle

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her to the Louvre...to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria...to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own--scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving "the life" for a normal life proves harder than she'd expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring her back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has good reason: a powerful mobster's art collection has been stolen, and he wants it returned. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.
For Kat there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s (very crooked) history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.


Katarina Bishop is from a family of famous thieves, but she chose to leave that life behind and con her way into the Colgan School. After her best friend Hale frames her for a prank at the school and gets her expelled, she learns that her father is suspected of stealing five paintings from one very mean mobster. If she can't find the paintings and return them in two weeks, her dad is done for. But her father didn't do it; one of the greatest thieves in the world did, and that great thief hid them in a museum. Together with her teenage crew of thieves, Kat plans to break into one of the most secure museums in the world and steal those five paintings back.

I may not seem it, but I'm a big fan of tales of thievery. I grew up watching my brother play the Sly Cooper video games (God, I miss those games), I'm a fan of the Ocean's movies starring George Clooney through my mother's influence, and my favorite character in a show I've followed for seven years and got up at five in the morning to watch as a fifth-grader is a thief. (In fact, I am going to watch the fourteenth of that series's fifteen movies after I finish this review because it includes that thief character.) I hadn't heard of Heist Society, a tale with a female thief as the lead, until very recently and I decided that I must read it. I did, and I enjoyed myself just as I expected to--maybe even a little more than I expected to.

The writing style was the strongest point of the book. The narration, recording the events as if it were a documentary of an infamous crime from long ago, was often humorous and played out perfectly in my head like a movie. This book would be perfect to adapt into a screenplay, not to mention make a great movie, and it looks like someone already realized this. From what I've read, the book has been optioned for a film (though its characters' ages would be changed from teens to their twenties, and this makes me incredibly sad and maybe a little angry). Carter made this book exciting and difficult for me to put down. I can't believe it took me so long to read the book!

In a sea of books where family means almost nothing to the main character, the importance of families both blood-related and not to Kat and everyone else in her group was refreshing. How often do you see a child care enough about their parent to put them in jail for their own safety? Even when she gave up being a thief and her family felt betrayed by her choice, her crew was still unerringly loyal to her and listened to her even when they thought her plans were insane and would never work. If only everyday people could be so loyal to one another in real life!

The major players like Kat and Hale (to an extent) get their development, but supporting characters like Gabrielle and Simon could be summed up in about one clean sentence. The reader knows that Visily Romani stole the paintings and put them in the museum, but Romani's true identity is never resolved. Maybe the sequel Uncommon Criminals might be kind enough to resolve this? That one loose end is still bugging me in a story that otherwise tied up everything neatly.

This book is a nominee for the 2011-2012 Florida Teens Read award, whose past winners include Graceling by Kristin Cashore and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Sadly, I don't expect Heist Society to win the award, considering other nominees, the fact that the award is chosen by votes from Florida students, and current trends in young adult literature. Regardless, it deserves its nomination and I hope it can be a surprise winner. Check this book out for a fun caper and take a look at some of the other Florida Teens Read nominees through that link--I discovered my favorite author and book (E. Lockhart, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks) because it was one of the nominees.

4 stars!

 What am I reading next?: Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Identical by Ellen Hopkins

Title: Identical
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Simon and Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: August 26th, 2008
Pages: 565 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are identical down to the dimple. As daughters of a district-court judge and a politician mother, they are an all-American family--on the surface. But behind the facade, each sister has her own dark secret.

Kaeleigh is the misplaced focus of Daddy's love; Raeanne sees Daddy playing a game of favorites, which she is losing. Secrets like the ones the twins harbor are not meant to be kept, from each other or anyone else. Pretty soon it's obvious that neither sister can handle it alone, and one must step up to save the other. But the question is--who?


Kaeleigh and Raeanne Gardella, identical twin sisters, are both buried in their own vices and secrets hidden from the world. Kaeleigh is sexually abused by her father and bulimic, among other things; Raeanne is jealous of the attention her sister receives, partying and smoking pot and flirting with one of her teachers. After a car accident when the girls were younger, their mother drifted away into the world of politics and their father started doing things to his daughter no father should. Before they're both crushed beneath the weights they carry, the girls must tell someone the truth and release their secrets, but how will they be able to when secrets are part of who they are?

First, I must say that I admire whoever wrote the blurb for this book because trying to explain in simple terms what this book is about is incredibly difficult. A one-word description of the book itself is "difficult." It's difficult to read, difficult to keep reading sometimes and difficult to put down at other times, and difficult to even talk about in a review. Because of this, I apologize if my review is not up to my usual standards. It touches on many issues that people don't like to talk about, just as all of Hopkins' books do. Just a taste? Bulimia, drug use, incest, rape, sexual abuse, and mental illness. And there's still much more, so much that it almost overloads the book.

The free verse style worked well in this novel, especially when it was time to switch narrators and their thoughts would mirror one another's, but I really tired of it at points. Maybe it's because I've read this and two other books like it in such a short period of time and it's irritating me because I'm used to regular prose. Either way, my irritation at the style and the slow pacing put me off and made it difficult to keep reading even in sections where I wanted to keep reading.

While Kaeleigh is easily identifiable as the softer twin, she shares the same negative vices and mean wit that Raeanne possessed (and they also share names that make the name freak in me want to scream). There were multiple times I wanted to switch narrators already because one twin was annoying me and even though the other will get to that same point, even a temporary break would be appreciated. The complicated relationships among their family was one of the strongest points of the novel. Want a dysfunctional family? Meet the Gardellas. Two people were sexually abused, one was an alcoholic, one refuses to be near their family, and one was cut off for something that wasn't totally their fault.

I came into the book knowing what the twist was (did too much research) and was amazed at how well it (the twist) was written. If I had read it without the huge spoiler, I never would have seen it coming. By coming to the book with that knowledge, I was able to observe just how perfectly the book is written to keep the reader from figuring it out themselves. Hopkins obviously slaved over this book and worked hard to keep it hidden and yet have it make sense to any reader that looks back at everything that happened. In fact, it's so well done that it's almost a flaw. While the sisters' thoughts are very similar, they are still two separate characters and I often forgot who was narrating one section because they got too similar.

And with this book, I end my small Ellen Hopkins Readathon. After buying four of her books at once (I'd already read one of them and wanted my own copy), I've finished reading all of them. I would love to get a copy of another books of hers called Impulse, but I think it would be better that I take a break form Hopkins's free verse style for a bit so I don't get sick of it.

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: Abandon by Meg Cabot

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bite Club by Rachel Caine

Title: Bite Club
Author: Rachel Caine
Publisher: Penguin/NAL Hardcover
Release Date: May 3rd, 2011
Pages: 337 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.

After learning that vampires populate Morganville--and surviving a number of adventures with her new night-dwelling friends--college student Claire Danvers has come to realize that for the most part, the undead just want to live their lives.

But someone else wants them to get ready to rumble.

There's a new extreme sport being broadcast over the Internet: bare-knuckle fights pitting captured vampires against one another--or worse, against humans. Tracking the out-of-town signal leads Claire--accompanied by a loyal group of friends and frenemies--to discover that what began as an online brawl will soon threaten everyone in Morganville.

And if they want to survive, they'll have to do a lot more than fight...


A new gym has opened up in Morganville and Shane, to say the least, is excited that there's now a place where he can learn to kick vampire butt. He soon starts acting strangely and despite Claire's attempts to find out what's wrong, Shane isn't talking. Through her own invesigation brought on by the death of a classmate and the long trail that leads her down, Claire discovers that one of Morganville's greatest threats is still alive--and he's escaped his prison. She then discovers a website that broadcasts fight between vampires and humans in Morganville, something that could expose vampires and Morganville's secret to the world. Amelie wants whoever is involved dead, which is a bad thing when Shane is a regular feature of the videos.

This series is one of my current favorites because of how... unputdownable the books are and Myrnin, most of all. I read this book from the moment I got home until about 7:45 and coming out of it, I'm not really impressed. It wasn't awful, but there were definite problems and it's got me worried.

From the beginning, I felt that something was wrong. The narrative voice felt... off, somehow. Little comments that were strange even for Morganville narration, which gets pretty different for third-person narration. That was soon fixed, but then came little discrepancies. Does anyone ever remember hearing a mention in the last nine books of how Eve used to fence competitively? I don't, but she apparently did. Ten books in, we're told about the glamour, which some female vampires have and can use to influence humans and vampires. This felt a bit like an asspull done to justify the plot. There is no doubt that the plot was only possible because of the newly introduced glamour power. Otherwise, it never would have worked.

I don't think the shifts into Shane's first-person point of view from the usual third-person limited narration worked very well. Most of his narrative segments added nothing to the book and even the ones that did could have been done without. Frankly, they felt like fluff in a series that didn't need it. The last series that pulled that trick is one I went from loving to loathing. It feels like this book needed more editing, some tweaking of story and grammar and such in a few places and cleanup of the sometimes clunky prose and many misplaced commas. Nothing knocks you out of a suspenseful, tense scene like "Harry closed his eyes and sweated, a lot (p. 283)."

Most of all, Claire and Shane acted pretty out-of-character (though much of Shane's behavior is excused by glamour/for the sake of plot). Claire had a bit of information to tell her roommates about her MIT invite and yet she never tells Shane in all the opportunities she had before his mood swings kicked in. So this girl, who could stay up for three days straight (wasn't that it?) when forced to, can't force herself to stay awake a few minutes to finish a conversation and tell her boyfriend about an invitation to MIT? She forgives Shane for all he does in this book far too easily. As he admitted, he came under such control of the glamour because there was something there to work with. She doesn't seem to realize that. Also, Shane learns about his father's fate. His reaction? Not talk to people for a week and then be fine. Something felt off about that reaction.

Despite the rocky road at the beginning that I just ranted about, Bite Club got into the Morganville groove by the half point of the book and became impossible to put down. If anything, this series is a master of suspense, how everything gets tense and the narration will quit fooling around and start flowing smoothly. You always know the main four will live and that Amelie, Oliver, and Myrnin will too, but everyone else is fair game. Despite this surety, there's always the desperate need to keep turning those pages and find out how it's all going to work out. Each time I got a new Morganville book, I finished reading it the day I got it because the book wouldn't let me go. Bite Club was no exception. Only one or two other series are like that for me, and I've read many series!

If you are a fellow Myrnin fan like me, rejoice because he is here and just as much fun as usual! Among other things, he nearly causes many traffic accidents and we find out that his picture ID on Claire's phone is a close-up photo of those famous vampire bunny slippers. When I got irritated, I flipped back to his entertaining moments and it made me feel better again. Bonus if you're a Myrnin/Claire fan: everyone and their mother thinks, 'There's something there...' I'm not a fan of it and even I could see it. Most of what makes me love Morganville is its supporting characters and they are out in spades here to entertain the reader.

This is definitely my least favorite book yet in the series and it makes me worry for the future of the series. I can see where holes are forming in the foundation, threatening to make the entire structure fall apart and become a bad series. However, the two events did not happen at once like multiple series I don't wish to name. With more careful writing, Morganville can be saved. Most Morganville fans will love or at least like Bite Club and anxiously await Last Breath for their next dose of Myrnin (oh, and some other characters, in case they don't like Myrnin).

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: Abandon by Meg Cabot

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Putting Makeup on Dead People by Jen Violi

Title: Putting Makeup on Dead People
Author: Jen Violi
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/Hyperion
Release Date: May 24th, 2011
Pages: 336 pages (Digital ARC)
How I Got the Book: From the publisher via NetGalley.

In the spring of her senior year, Donna Parisi finds new life in an unexpected place:  a coffin.

Since her father's death four years ago, Donna has gone through the motions of living:  her friendships are empty, she's clueless about what to do after high school graduation, and her grief keeps her isolated, cut off even from the one parent she has left.  That is until she's standing in front of the dead body of a classmate at Brighton Brothers' Funeral Home.  At that moment, Donna realizes what might just give her life purpose is comforting others in death.  That maybe who she really wants to be is a mortician.

This discovery sets in motion a life Donna never imagined was possible.  She befriends a charismatic new student, Liz, notices a boy, Charlie, and realizes that maybe he's been noticing her, too, and finds herself trying things she hadn't dreamed of trying before.  By taking risks, Donna comes into her own, diving into her mortuary studies with a passion and skill she didn't know she had in her.  And she finally understands that moving forward doesn't mean forgetting someone you love.

Jen Violi's heartfelt and funny debut novel is a story of transformation-how one girl learns to grieve and say goodbye, turn loss into a gift, and let herself be exceptional...at loving, applying lipstick to corpses, and finding life in the wake of death.


(A review that isn't the length of an essay! I feel so proud of myself!)

Four years after Donna's beloved father died, she's almost a ghost, just floating along in life and letting her future be picked out by other people. Then she attends a funeral for a classmate and it suddenly clicks: She wants to work with dead people for a living. With the encouragement of a vibrant new friend named Liz, Donna decides to become a mortician so she can prepare dead bodies for their funerals. While finding new life in dealing with death, Donna must deal with the troubled relationship that has developed between her and her mother and choose between the cute college boy Tim or environment-loving classmate Charlie.

To start with, I loved Donna's narrative voice and the general style in which the book was written. Writing about the aftermath of a loved one's death if a difficult feat because it can so easily turn into a pit of angst that no reader wants to touch. Putting Makeup on Dead People avoided this pit and managed to inject a little humor into the situation per Donna's inner thoughts. Of all the books about loved ones dying, I don't think I've ever seen one where the main character decides to work in a mortuary. Points are most certainly given for coming up with an original idea out of one of the most well-tread plot lines around.

Putting Makeup's deathly slow pacing needs tightening, especially because the novel is character-driven instead of plot-driven. For such a large cast of characters, only Donna and her mother are characters with depth and more to them than just a recognizable trait or two, but these two characters and their troubled relationship creates one of the novel's strong points wen dwelt on as much as it is. An important part of the "loved one dies" plot line is to show how the death affects many of the characters and off the facets of even minor characters that way, and this is something Putting Makeup couldn't do. All these flaws togther kept me from being emotionally invested in Donna's story.

This book really should have two stars. I have a rule than any book that can't make me care is automatically three ukuleles and with all the book's flaws in mind, that would pile on another smack of the ukulele. However, the improvement of the novel towards the end--and I mean by the end, as in the last thirty pages--will make me feel bad if I give this book four ukuleles. Despite the rating I gave it, this actually isn't a bad book. It's mostly due to my golden rule my rating is this low. Give it a try if it catches your eye and you might find that you can invest yourself in it the way I couldn't.

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

Fallout by Ellen Hopkins

Title: Fallout
Author: Ellen Hopkins
Publisher: Simon and Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date: September 14th, 2010
Pages: 665 pages (hardback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.

Fallout (Crank, #3)Nineteen years after Kristina Snow met the monster--crank--her children are reeling form the consequences of her decisions. Instead of one big, happy family, they are a desperate tangle of scattered lives united by anger, doubt, and fear.

A predisposition to addiction and a sense of emptiness where a mother's love should be leads all three down the road of their mother's notorious legacy. Sex, drugs, alcohol, abuse--there is more of Kristina in her children than they would ever like to believe. But when the thread that ties them together brings them face-to-face, they'll discover something powerful in each other and in themselves--the trust, the hope, and the courage to begin to break the cycle.

Fallout is bestselling author Ellen Hopkins's riveting conclusion to her trilogy begun by Crank and Glass. It is a revelation and a testament to the harsh reality that addiction is never just one person's problem.


Taking place about nineteen years after the conclusion of Glass, Fallout picks the story back up in the eyes of three of her children: Hunter, still living in Reno with his grandparents and longing to know who his father is; Autumn, an OCD-inflicted teen living in Texas with her father's family and knowing nothing of her mother or that side of the family; and Summer, a girl torn between two boys and living in the foster care system in California. All three long for love and are tied together by one person: Kristina Snow. Her children are more like her than they would prefer and as this novel shows you, addiction destroys more people than just the addict.

This time around, we leave Kristina's point of view and are spread between three narrators, all children of hers by different men. Just as all of Hopkins's books are, Fallout is written in free-verse poetry that range from simple to purposeful, some arrangements revealing the inner thoughts of the section's narrator and some making shapes relevant to the passage. Part of what makes Hopkins's books so powerful is this free verse she uses. If put in plain prose like in most books, their power would certainly take a beating, though there would still be power coming from what's being written.

All three of our narrators--angry Hunter, OCD Autumn, and cynical Summer--are rather unlikable, but my favorite of the three is definitely Autumn. There was just something so vulnerable about her, probably coming from being a loner and not knowing many people beyond her grandfather and aunt, that made me like her. Some of what she said and did later in the book kind of made me lose some of that fondness, but she's only human. Summer was the most interesting of the narrators due to her cynicism and trip through the foster care system. Hunter? Well, I didn't like Hunter that much or have much to say about him. He's a pretty big sleaze.

The narration had a habit of changing to the next child just when it got interesting for one of them and that became frustrating quickly. All this switching made the pacing slow to a crawl at points. However, all this changing does give them all their time in the spotlight and show just how similar all three are to Kristina. As for Kristina herself, she's still a mess and still into crystal meth, but it isn't as bad as it once was. If it were, there's no way she would come near any of her family. Twenty years of drugs and jail have changed her and she's not completely the Kristina readers may know, but it is her. Curious about some of the minor characters, like Trey's cousin Brad and Brad's daughters LaTreya and Devon from Glass or Kristina's ex Chase? Thanks to newspaper clippings between chapters, you'll find out.

While I liked the ending of Fallout, I wish that it didn't end with the group realization at the Christmas dinner and the fake news article. We just saw three siblings who barely knew each other finally coming together and seeing their mother again. The article tells us all of the children now live in the same house. Couldn't it be extended a little to show us how the siblings interact together? We only saw their introduction to each other and then it was over. We never got a handle on how they felt about one another. I think this small extension really would have made this book shine.
If you haven't already picked up these books, do it. Read them and be horrified. Have a problem reading about drug addicts or drugs in general? Me too, surprisingly. Getting around that discomfort to read the Crank trilogy will be worth it. It's a bit of a shame that this is the end because there is still so much more to the story, but readers will be able to piece together the future themselves if needed.

4 stars!

What am I reading next?: Heist Society by Ally Carter