Edgewater by Courtney Scheinmel

For some reason, although I do love the idea of this book along with the striking cover, this book didn’t seem as awesome as I hoped it would. It starts out as an all-American story. Lorrie and her family have ye olde “family money,” and live quite well off of it until the summer before her senior year at her elite boarding school. While at equestrian camp (yes, you read that right), she is called to the dean’s office for what qualifies as “insufficient funds.”

edgewaterWhile I don’t usually feel sorry for characters who suddenly lose their family fortune, and in this case I did get frustrated with Lorrie a few times. She was complaining to the boy who had the exact same thing happen to him just a few years prior. She kept telling herself that at least she was still better than him. Come on, though, I think Sheinmel wanted us to kind of hate her in those moments.

This is also an American story, like I said. I kept drawing parallels between the Kennedy’s and Lorrie’s boyfriend’s family. Because Lorrie is dating Charlie Copeland, the son of an esteemed US senator, and he lives in the house. Because in Idlewald, Road Island, there are houses builders that try to emulate the Copeland estate, and there are families who want to stay as far away as they can from Lorrie’s own crumbling mansion.

I honestly want to hear what you think about this one. A lot of Goodreads reviews talked about how much they adored this book (and as a YA debut, I really like it, too). However the ending of this book seemed too… neat. There’s a scandal in the last 1/4 of this piece that makes me yearn for an ending that is just as messy. So when there’s so much hope and love and acceptance at the end, it just kind of made me think Sheinmel was afraid to pull an R.R. Martin.

 

Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

Release Date:

September 1, 2015

Summary

I adored this book, especially after the disaster that was A Whole New World by Liz Braswell. I was just really pulling for Disney/Hyperion to slay it on this awesome book, and they really pulled through for me.

In a world where mythical creatures called “Othersiders” have reshaped society, it’s up to the Hunters to keep humanity safe (and alive). Each is armed with a pack of dogs (usuallyl 3-4) from the Otherside, but Joyeux Charmond has the largest pack out of the group of hundreds of hunters she lives with. From the moment she moved from her small town to the big city, she’s been on guard. Unsure of whether her uncle–a man of power–can be trusted, she worries that he or his Psimon bodyguard (a mind reader) might try to end her life. Her rosy ideals are not ready for a life where she must guard herself from even her fellow Hunters. Joy must decide who to avoid and who to trust, especially in this (literally) post-apocalyptic world.

Opinions

If you’re a big fan of mythology and folklore, this is for you. It’s got everything from Cerberus to a pack of vampires and sneaky dragons. It’s also deeply disturbing because of the religious references. It seems like how radical Christians would act if they weren’t chosen for the rapture, which is what the radicals think happened.

Hunger Games fans will enjoy it, as will any fantasy fanatic.

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

Publication Date:

August 18, 2015

Review:

Absolutely stunning. This novel takes on the idea of ghosts, both real and emotional as they affect an entire family. Cara’s family struggles to survive during the accident season every year. From October 1-31, there’s an increase in scrapes, broken bones, and other more fatal injuries. Like when her dad drowned. Or her uncle. This accident season, even more odd things are happening. For one, Elsie (the weird mousy girl from school) is in every one of her photos. Not just the ones she’s taken in this last few weeks, but in every photo on her phone and in the photo albums at her mom’s house, Elise is there… watching. When she tries to confront Elise about everything, she’s not at school and nobody knows where she is. Or who she is, for that matter.

Then there’s Bea. Her best friend has been acting extra weird around her sister Alice, and she and her ex-stepbrother Sam are both starting to notice. Speaking of Sam, he’s looking at her differently these days too. Just as it’s about to come to a close, Bea reads (in her Tarot deck) that this accident season will be one of the worst.

Filled with ghosts and monsters straight out of a fairy tale, this novel set in rural Ireland was a real treat of a ghost story. It’s anything but typical, and I can’t wait for someone to please please please read this so that I can actually talk to them about it!

Verdict:

Holly Black meets John Green meets Ireland. Boom. (That’s an “I would recommend to anyone” for all of you not familiar with my weirdness).

Have you read this book? Is there anything similar out there that I can read before I lose my mind? Can we start a support group? 

The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

I was so impressed by this book. I can remember going to little “talks” in high school where they would talk about how many high school relationships are abusive (that statistic is up to roughly 10% according to a CDC article I found while writing this). It seemed so high to me at the time. I’d never experienced anything like what I imagined an abusive relationship was like. I got these ideas–from Law & Order: SVU and from those talks in my health class in high school–that abuse was always rape o physical abuse, that the women and men who take that kind of abuse are just hit one day and afraid to say anything because they’re too surprised. That’s true, and I’m not saying that that doesn’t happen. However a lot of what I’d consider abuse now as a twenty-something isn’t as overt as that.

Plot

This book was a breath of fresh air as someone who’s been in an abusive, controlling, manipulative relationship. This book is important for the very reason that it describes Bettina’s relationship with her boyfriend Brady as picture-perfect. It’s the kind of relationship that all teenage art kids dream of (I know I did) where the basketball star notices you and wants to make you his because he sees how unique you are. You’re his special snowflake that he defends in front of his jock friends. But when he starts to act cruelly, Bettina can’t believe it. She’s so shocked that she doesn’t say anything to him. And when she does he brushes it off, telling her that it’s all in her head, that she needs to lighten up, that it was just a joke. That brushoff is what made this book seem real to me.

She is lucky enough to find someone who gets her through her abuse and who reminds her often enough that she’s better than that abusive relationship that she eventually leaves Brady.

Verdict

This book had me crying on the train to Chicago before a big date night, and my mascara ran all over. It was a mess. Needless to say don’t read this in public unless you’d like to make a spectacle of yourself. I normally totally judge books by their covers, but this one is definitely deceptive. It seems like it’ll be a fun little romp into the land of teen dating and the life of a girl whose parents are Greek (like, Greek Greek) and control most of her life. It was not. It’s a sad book. I cannot stress this enough. But I also know it’s an important book because it describes a realistic abusive relationship between two teens.

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun Hutchinson

Woah. This book packs a huge punch.

I was expecting something akin to Winger when I started this one, mostly because of the frequent comic strips peppered throughout the novel. You see, Drew is an artist. His character, Patient F, has also lost everything in the hospital. Like Patient F, Drew is struggling to survive in a world where his family no longer exists. Anyways.

Plot:

In his tragic life, Drew is the hero and Death personified is the villainous social worker (known to everyone else as sweet Miss Michelle) who wants to take him away from everything stable and good in his life. He works for cash in the hospital cafeteria, he volunteers and is friends with his makeshift family of nurses, his friends are two straight cancer patients in the peds ward, and he sleeps in the unfinished wing of the hospital. But when a boy comes in to the hospital with third degree burns on his legs, arms, and chest, Drew has to know more about him. He’s drawn to Rusty. His agonizing screams pull Drew in.

So he adds a new routine to his life: every night Drew sneaks into the ICU to read to Rusty and tell him about himself. Drew soon learns about Rusty’s tortured life as a gay teen, and Drew confides that he hasn’t had the same experience. Drew also vows to protect Rusty from Death.

His new routine is threatening to throw his entire life off-balance. When Death starts to notice Drew, he’s got to decide whether to protect his friends, protect Rusty, or protect himself.

Verdict:

If you’re in for a good cry, then I’d definitely say that this is the book for you. However, if your TW is child death or anything like that, I’d stay away from this read, as Drew reflects often on his six-year-old sister, Cady’s death (and there is a graphic scene where Drew tries to give CPR to a dead three-year-old).

This book ain’t for the faint of heart.

Extras:

The author, Shaun David Hutchinson, has a pretty sweet Twitter page. I’d check it out, if only to see what an awesome nerd he truly is.

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demitrios

Before I read this book, I hadn’t thought about the huge hole in YA lit. That hole is books about young adult soldiers. One of my best friends is married to a veteran, and yet it still never occurred to me that there was this missing piece. People enlist at an insanely young age and do brave courageous things for their country and they deserve to have a part in YA lit. To have their stories told. I can’t say it more eloquently than the author, so here’s a link to Heather Demetrios‘s blog post/letter to the reader she posted in August. This book is her favorite one, and it’s quickly becoming mine too.

 I often refer to the book you’re holding in your hands as the book of my heart. It is intensely personal and was inspired by seeing my father’s struggle with PTSD and Gulf War Syndrome, as well as some of the challenges I had in my own adolescence.

So without further ado, here are some of my thoughts.

Release Date:

February 3, 2015

Plot:

Skylar Evans has lived in Creek View, California for her whole life. She’s had her hard times (her father’s untimely death and her mother’s various subsequent addictions) and now she’s looking forward to the good. She’s a scholarship student and she’s getting the hell out of Creek View. Her last Summer isn’t going to be pretty: this novel isn’t pretty. Its realistic. Sky is dealing with poverty on an extreme level every day. So nobody is more surprised or unwilling than her when, at 19-year-old Josh Mitchell’s homecoming party, she finds herself wanting to see him again.

He’s always been the life of the party, but now that he’s back from Afghanistan and traveling to San Francisco for various therapies, he seems different. Sky and Josh’s love story is as real as it gets when it comes to falling for a vet: he’s got PTSD and suffers from all of the terrible side affects of losing a limb.

But this book, guys. Man. I don’t even have a readalike for it. It’s not like anything else I’ve ever read.  I started reading it yesterday and after work I spent hours just reading. This is a stay-up-until-1am-with-your-kindle-under-the-covers read. At least it was for me.

Verdict:

Gecha ass in gear and read this book so I can discuss it with someone. Please.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

I highly contest this tagline,

Graceling meets The Selection

not unlike many of the other readers out there that I’m seeing. I can honestly say that ____ meets ____ meets ___ is just as much of a cop-out as “the next Harry Potter” and might be nearly as problematic.

That being said. Mare’s narrow world has her pegged as the underdog, and there’s nothing she can do about it. When she bleeds, she bleeds red, unlike the upper-class Silver elite who bleed silver blood. Side note: This leads to interesting problems later because when she blushes, she blushes a rosy pink color unlike her silver counterparts. A well-developed part of the plot that made it seem more believable. That’s not the only thing that keeps the reds down. Nope. The Silvers have special abilities like telepathy, the ability to control the will of others, or the ability to control elements and objects around them.

So when Mare is offered a job at the Silver palace in order to get out of being conscripted as a front-lines solider in a war she has no interest in, she jumps at the opportunity. Who wouldn’t when you don’t want to die for a lost cause? She soon finds out, however, that she has an ability too: she can make electricity, including controlling the many security cameras in the castle.

With her new found ability comes new responsibility.

Soon Mare finds herself deep in the life of the Silver royals, whether she wants to or not.

All she knows is she better not bleed.