Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Review: Variant by Robison Wells

Title: Variant
Author: Robison Wells
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: September 26, 2011
Source: Purchased
Edition: Hardcover (373 pages)
Genre: Science Fiction
Tagline: Trust no one.
Series: Variant #1

Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he's trapped in a school that's surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive. Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school's real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape-his only real hope for survival-may be impossible.

First things first: I've had this book on my shelf for almost two years. That's right: two whole years. This was one of the first books that I bought when I got really into reading hardcore, and for some reason, I never decided to pick it up. Whenever I went to bookshelf to find a book to read, I'd skim right over this one and pick up another one to read. Well, last Saturday I saw this book sitting on my shelf and I decided the time had come to finally read it.

There's something special about this book: the school seems so normal on the outside, but it really isn't. I loved finding out all of it's hidden secrets along with Benson. The first thing that clearly sticks out once Benson goes to school is that there are no adults, only children, and that all of these children have something in common: nobody really cares about them enough to miss them if something ever happened to them. These kids are at Maxfield Academy trying to survive and teach themselves, while participating in group activities that someone else says they must do.

At Maxfield, there are three different groups of kids. There's the Society, which is filled with kids who believe that the only way to escape is to follow the rules. There's Havoc, which is filled with kids who pretty much do whatever they want. Finally, there's Variant, which is filled with everyone else. Benson, of course, decides to join Variant, because he does not fit in with the Society or Havoc. Benson decides from day one that he is going to be able to get out; he knows that he will find a way.

One of the most interesting things about this book is that Benson really couldn't trust anybody but himself. Different people had been at the school for different lengths of time, so different people had experienced different things that the school had gone through, such as the war that happened a while ago, where quite a few kids actually lost their lives.

There's also this thing called Detention at Maxfield Academy. Basically, if you do something wrong or get in a severe fight where you injure someone, two kids from the Society come to take you and bring you to Detention. Nobody knows what happens in Detention; the only thing that people do know is that once you go to Detention, you never come back. Plus, it's been said that the Detention room is stained with blood.

This book was so amazing, I actually read it in just about two hours. I was flipping the pages nonstop; I just needed to know what happened. I was worried for Benson and I just wanted to know who to trust and if it was even possible to get out of the school in the first place, because nobody had really tried since Benson got to Maxfield Academy. I will definitely be buying a copy of Feedback; I need to know how it ends!

Recommended for fans of:
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas


Have you read this novel? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Book Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

16101128Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Source: Giveaway Win
Edition: ARC
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Dystopian
Cover Review: I really love the colors in this cover, and in real life the cover is so soft!
Series: The 5th Wave #1

The Passage meets Ender's Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rules applies: trust no one.

Now, it's the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
The 5th Wave had a lot of hype surrounding it, so I was a bit wary going in, but I'm so glad that I finally got the chance to pick it up. I haven't really read any alien books besides Jennifer L. Armentrout's Obsidian, so I enjoyed this one since the first page. The whole idea of different waves was really awesome. Each wave was a different thing that the aliens did to try to wipe out more of the population, and that is pretty much how history is marked now: by waves.

I really loved the characters in this book, especially Cassie. Cassie spends the whole book trying to find her little brother, because he was taken and she wants him back because he's the only family that she has left. Cassie has really good survival instincts and she has learned how to be by herself which is a pretty good thing in this world. It can be easier to be unseen if there's one person rather than two.

Ben was a fantastic side character. I really liked learning his story and his connections to Cassie, though Evan would have to be my favorite character from this book. There's so much that the reader doesn't know about him, and it's cool getting to know him as the story goes on. His relationship with Cassie was just so heartwarming and I loved every single minute of it. Evan and Cassie are definitely one of my favorite book couples now and nothing is going to be able to change that.

This book was just such a wonderful start to a series that I assume is only going to get better. I'm definitely buying every book that comes next and I'll be sticking with this series until the very end, and I suggest you do too!

Recommended for fans of:
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Gone by Michael Grant

Have you read this novel? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Review: Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Title: Why We Broke Up
Author: Daniel Handler
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Source: Purchased
Edition: Paperback (354 pages)
Genre: YA Contemporary
Cover Review: I adore this cover, especially because there aren't many plain covers.

I'm telling you why we broke up, Ed. I'm writing it in this letter, the whole truth of why it happened. 
Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped.

First things first: I've never read a book like this. It was so unique and mesmerizing-just the whole concept in general. Each chapter is a story based on one of Min's memories of her and Ed Slaterton, with a picture of an object to help remember the memory. Min put all of these objects into a big box along with a story about why they broke up. I find the fact that she felt the need to put all of this together extremely sweet.

The other cool thing about this book is the fact that the author is Lemony Snicket! I used to love reading the Series of Unfortunate Events as a kid, so it was cool to read something much different than that written by the same author.

I really loved Min and Ed's relationship. They were so different from each other, yet they worked so well. They accepted and loved their differences, which was extremely cute. I loved how reassuring Ed was about why Min was different, though sometimes Min took that the wrong way. I also loved how obsessed with movies Min was; I definitely learned a lot about movies that I didn't know.

I just hope that Ed appreciates the fact that Min took all this time and went through all the effort to really think about the relationship and realize why it didn't work out. If a guy  went through all the effort to do something like this for me, I'd definitely want to take them back.

In all, this book was really sweet and I really enjoyed it. If you're looking for a cute contemporary read, definitely pick this one up. It's really different and just so amazing!

Recommended for fans of:
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Looking for Alaska by John Green
Paper Towns by John Green
Pretty much any John Green book!

Have you read this novel? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (33)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

So I haven't actually posted a book haul since January... haha this is sad. Anyway, this is all the books I've purchased or received or borrowed since then!
Paper Towns by John Green
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Cold Calls by Charles Benoit 

From Publishers:
Resistance by Jenna Black (Thank you TorTeen!)
Otherbound by Corinne Duyvis (Thank you Amulet!)

Quarantine: The Loners by Lex Thomas

What books have you gotten recently?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Review: Feed by M.T. Anderson

169756Title: Feed
Author: M.T. Anderson
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: September 23, 2002
Source: Purchased
Edition: Paperback (308 pages)
Genre: Dystopia

 Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains.

For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon-a chance to party during spring break and play with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around and nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who has decided to fight the feed and its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of Gorge Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut Jr., M.T. Anderson has created a not-so-brave new world-and a smart, savage satire that has captivated readers with its view of an imagined future that veers unnervingly close to the here and now. 
Feed by M.T. Anderson was a book that I picked up on a whim, having not really heard much about it, I didn't know what to expect. The synopsis sounded really interesting, so why not? As soon as I started reading, I just couldn't stop. The whole world that Anderson created is really interesting and I just wanted to keep knowing more about it and why it was the way it was.

In this world, everyone (that can afford it, anyway) has these feeds hooked up to their brains. Basically, these people are constantly being overloaded with tons of advertisements for everything all over the world. They can also be watching TV shows or the news or music videos. It's just constantly being fed to them, so they're always kept up to date with everything. They can even talk to one another with their minds, which is absolutely crazy. Like their could be a party going on and everyone could be talking to one another, and while this is going on, two people could also be having a mental conversation at the same time. I don't know how these people deal with all the constant instant gratification, but then again, they had grown up with it so they're so used to it. The only bad side to this is that these people don't know what patience is. They wouldn't even know if it smacked them upside the head.

The other thing about this feed is that each person is constantly being marketed items that advertisers think they'd like based on old purchases, so they're even more likely to fall for it. They also always know what the latest fashion styles are, so if they see that there's a new hairstyle that's in, these people can instantly go and get theirs done just like it. It's crazy how fast the world is moving for this world.

I really loved the main character, Titus. He was just your average teenager in the future, which was really cool and it made him even more lovable. I loved his relationship with Violet; they were so perfect for each other. Violet would have to be my favorite character though, because I really loved her story. I was more interested in finding out more about Violet than I was about Titus's past.

The only hard part of this book was trying to get used to the language, because it is the future. I had to get used to the futuristic words. For example, all the teenagers call each other "Unit" which was confusing because I didn't know what was happening at first, since the book jumps right in. There are really no slow parts to this book, which is fantastic. That may be part of why I read this book all in one sitting. Anyway, once I got used to the language of the future, I really hooked onto it. It was really awesome that M.T. Anderson actually came up with this language; it shows that a lot of thought went into this book.

I'd definitely suggest picking this book up if you're looking for a quick paced easy read. I loved every minute of it and I'll probably be picking this one up again in the future just for the heck of it.


Recommended for fans of:
172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad
Across the Universe by Beth Revis
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Have you read this novel? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting on Falls the Shadow!

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine.

When Cate Benson was twelve, her sister died.
Two hours after the funeral, they picked up Violet's replacement, and it was like nothing had ever happened. Because Cate's parents are among those who decided to grant their children a sort of immortality-by cloning them at birth. So this new Violet has the same smile. The same laugh. That same perfect face. Thanks to advancements in mind-uploading technology, she even has all the same memories as the girl she replaced.
She also might have murdered the most popular girl in school.
Or at least, that's what the paparazzi and crazy anti-cloning protesters want everyone to think: that clones are violent, unpredictable monsters. Cate is used to hearing all that, though. She's used to standing up for her sister too, and she's determined to prove her innocence now-at whatever the cost. But the deeper she digs for the truth, the further Cate's carefully-constructed life begins to unravel, unveiling a world filled with copies and lies, where nothing and no on-not even her sister-is completely what they seem. 

Falls the Shadow will be released on September 16 by Simon and Schuster BFYR.