Special Review, ya contemporary, YA Mystery

ARC Review: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

And We Stay2Thank you Random House for providing me with a free ebook copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Description (on NetGalley):

Award winner and critically acclaimed writer Jenny Hubbard’s riveting account of a teenage girl whose boyfriend brings a gun to school and shoots himself. This is her story before, during, and after the tragedy.

When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

This inventive story, told in verse and in prose, paints the aftermath of tragedy as a landscape where there is good behind the bad, hope inside the despair, and springtime under the snow.

Review:

I started reading this book at the beginning of this year and it has taking me this long to read it. 6 months to be exact. Why you may ask it has taken me that many months? Because I had to be in a certain mood to read it. It’s not a lighthearted book at all. It’s heart wrenching, and tragic. If you’re not in the correct mood, it might bore you or turn you off.

The writing in And We Stay is poetic. I could even say lyrical. What I really enjoyed were the poems after every chapter. I could picture Emily late at night writing the poems, letting out all  of her feelings into that journal and beginning the process of healing that she desperately needs. The entire book is about the beginning of her healing process and realizing exactly what Paul was to her, as well as learning the consequences of her actions and what saying the truth may lead to.

If I were Emily, it would have taking me longer to heal from this, but the again at the end of the book she is barely starting to heal.

I really loved Emily’s roommate toward the end. At the beginning I thought of her as a snotty, rich, drama-loving girl. When Emily tells her to invent her past, her roommate doesn’t hesitate to make up a sob story that everyone eats up.

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It may not be for me, but I wholly appreciate the poetic writing that enraptured me two nights ago as I binge read the last 80% of the book I still had left to read.

Rating: 3/5

Advertisements
Reviews, YA Mystery

Book Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

WeWereLiarsJacketFinal

Goodreads Summary:

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

My Initial Thoughts:

I bought the book after I heard E. Lockhart read an excerpt about two months (maybe one month) ago at the LA Times Book Festival and it intrigued me. Also, Kayla raved about it, and said she loved it so with Kayla’s and Ms. Lockhart’s push, I bought it.

Review:

Oh My Gosh, this book was… amazing! E. Lockhart’s writing is poetic. Every lines flows into the next and it’s just perfection. I really love her writing style. AUTO-BUY AUTHOR!

It is true what everyone says, that you need to go into the book without knowing anything. I only knew what Ms. Lockhart read at the panel and really that was enough. You need to go into this book not knowing anything. (PLEASE DONT SPOIL YOURSELF)

Cady Sinclair is the perfect character to tell this story. I don’t think the story would be the same if any other liar was telling the story. Johnny, Gat, and Mirren will forever be imprinted in my heart.

I wish I could say more about this book but I really don’t want to spoil it for you. I really don’t.

I will tell you this, carve some time in your day and if you can, read it all at once. That is what I did and it was perfect. Also, if you know someone who read it and you can fangirl with, it would be perfect. I texted Kayla at a certain point in the story and she was there to fangirl with me.

If you don’t have anyone to fangirl with, spam me with comments, I don’t mind. I WILL FANGIRL WITH YOU!

Rating: 5/5

Reviews, YA Mystery

Book Review: The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

13597723

Goodreads Summary:

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

My Initial Thoughts:

I’d read one of Ms. Barnes books before and I liked it….a lot! It wasn’t a murder mystery like this one, but it had to deal with spies and government operatives. I’m a sucker for those stories.

Review:

Now, let’s talk about The Naturals. I really like this book. The main character, Cassie, is very observant, or what the FBI would call a profiler only she doesn’t know it until she gets the attention of the FBI one day. She knew she was different because she never fit in wherever she was. Cassie gets recruited into the The Naturals program, where other teenagers also have a natural ability whether it is to tell if someone is lying, what their emotions are, or how to profile people.

When Cassie gets to the program, she meets what I call the “Fantastic Four”, soon to become the “Fantastic Five”. Each teenager has one specific talent: Lia can lie like nobody’s business and also detect lies, Michael can read emotions off a person and has a very good poker face, Sloane sees the world through a mathematical point of view and can hack any government program or database, and Dean is a profiler, just like her.

The “romance” in the story takes the back burner throughout the whole book, and sometimes its hard to pick up the subtle hints here and there. Some of you may be Team Dean or Team Michael, but what I loved the most was the case and how all five of them even though they are messed up, can do good in the world one case at a time. It’s like a teenage Bones/CSI crossover. I love it!

Ms. Barnes has a PhD in Psychology and Cognitive Science, and her knowledge is sprinkled throughout the book. I absolutely love it when authors add their area of expertise to their novels. It takes the books up another notch!

Rating: 4.5/5

thenaturals

Reviews, YA Mystery

Short Book Review: United We Spy (Gallagher Girls #6) by Ally Carter

GG6-final

Edition: US Barnes & Nobles Exclusive Edition 2013

Goodreads Summary:

Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

Review:

I reread the first 4 books in the series and skimmed the fifth one in order to get ready for the final book in the Gallagher Girls series. It was a very wise decision on my part because I had forgotten a lot of key details of the series (I read the first book in 2008).

United We Spy is exactly what I wanted in the last book of this amazing series. I was blown away by how well everything was tied together so neatly. We were able to see all of our favorite characters and we even found out information that we didn’t know we wanted until the moment Ally Carter put that little seed of information in our head. I’m trying really hard not to spoil the novel for those who have not read the Gallagher Girls series, but know that I was blown away by this book.

I devoured United We Spy in one sitting. The book felt too short for my liking and the ending left me with so many questions, but any other ending would have not done Cammie justice. We got a lot of Zach & Cammie moments, and we blessed with the presence of some characters we hadn’t seen in a few books.

I am absolutely happy with how the series ended, but at the same time I am bummed out that I will not be waiting another year for the next Gallagher Girls book as I have been doing since 2008.

What HP is to other people, Gallagher Girls is to me.

I was a Gallagher Girl through High School, College, and now as a Post-Graduate trying to tackle the world. Even though this series has ended, I will always be a Gallagher Girl.

gallagher_girl

Rating: 5/5

Reviews, YA Mystery

Short Book Review: I’d Tell You I Love You, But Then I’d Have to Kill You (GG #1) by Ally Carter

idtellyouiloveGoodreads Summary:

The Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women is a fairly typical all-girls school, that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE, the latest in chemical warfare in science; and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes computer class. So in truth, Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses, but its really a school for spies. Cammie Morgan is a second generation Gallagher Girl, and by her sophomore year she’s already fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways (three of which involve a piece of uncooked spaghetti.) But the one thing the Gallagher Academy hasn’t prepared her for is what to do when she falls for an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, and track him through a mall without his ever being the wiser, but can she have a regular relationship with a regular boy who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie may be an elite spy in training, but in her sophomore year, shes beginning her most dangerous mission; she’s falling in love.

Review:

The last time I read this book was about 5 years ago. Reading it again after such a long time, it was almost like reading it for the first time. I had completely forgotten how the whole Josh thing went down. The first time I read it, I was confused with the whole Josh thing and how things worked (writing style-wise), but reading it now, my experience was crisp clean reading.

I liked the pacing of the novel and I fell for Joe Solomon. I wasn’t a big fan of Joe Solomon until the third book, but now, a totally different experience. Re-reading it again made me love the Gallagher Girls even more. If you haven’t read the Gallagher Girls series, I suggest you do. The first book may seem like it is for a 13 year old girl, but as the series progresses, so do the books. The series matured along with its audience. Oh and this book is the nicest and fluffiest book you are going to get. The rest is heartbreak town. Good Luck!

Rating: 5/5

Special Review, YA Mystery

ARC Book Review: Prep School Confidential (PSC #1) by Kara Taylor

Prep School Confidential_cover

I was provided with a ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Prep School Confidential (PSC #1)

Author: Kara Taylor

Expected Publication: July 30th, 2013

Publishing House: St. Martin’s Griffin

Goodreads Summary:

Anne Dowling practically runs her exclusive academy on New York’s Upper East Side—that is, until she accidentally burns part of it down and gets sent to a prestigious boarding school outside of Boston. Determined to make it back to New York, Anne couldn’t care less about making friends at the preppy Wheatley School. That is, until her roommate Isabella’s body is found in the woods behind the school.

When everyone else is oddly silent, Anne becomes determined to uncover the truth no matter how many rules she has to break to do it. With the help of Isabella’s twin brother Anthony, and a cute classmate named Brent, Anne discovers that Isabella wasn’t quite the innocent nerdy girl she pretended to be. But someone will do anything to stop Anne’s snooping in this fast-paced, unputdownable read—even if it means framing her for Isabella’s murder.

Review:

Amazing!

This book blew my expectations out of the water! When I was halfway through the book, I googled the author and noticed that this is her debut novel. Yes, her debut novel. I couldn’t believe it because the book is so well written and the plot is so good that I am left speechless.

Prep School Confidential is a page turner. The twists that are thrown at you leave you breathless as if you have been running a 5k marathon. The character development, the mystery, the writing, I loved everything in this book.

Since I am posting this review three weeks before the book comes out all I can say is that if you like mystery, if you like boarding school stories, or if you want a good murder story, this is the book for you.

I think even readers that are a fan of fantasy/paranormal/dystopian books will greatly enjoy this book.

Yes, its that amazing.

Rating: 5/5

Reviews, YA Mystery

Short Book Review: Perfect Cover (The Squad #1)

pcdropGoodreads Summary: 

Bayport High operates like any other high school–jocks at the top, outsiders at the bottom, and everyone else in between. Enter Toby Klein, a sophomore computer hacker who doesn’t play well with others. She has zero school spirit, a black belt in karate, and what her guidance counselor calls an attitude problem. She’s the last person you’d expect to be invited to join the varsity cheerleading squad.
But things are different at Bayport.
Bayport’s varsity cheer squad is made up of the hottest of the hot. But this A-list is dangerous in more ways than one. The Squad is actually a cover for the most highly trained group of underage government operatives the United States has ever assembled. Athletically, they’re unmatchable, though they make it all look easy on the field. Mentally, they’re exceptional–but with one flash of their gorgeous smiles, you’ll completely forget that. Socially, they’re gifted, so they can command and manipulate any situation. And above all, they have the perfect cover, because, beyond herkies and highlights, no one expects anything from a cheerleader.
Toby Klein might not seem like the most likely recruit, but she’s never been one to turn down a challenge. If she can handle the makeover, Bayport Hight may just have found its newest cheerleader.

Pretty, popular, armed, and extremely dangerous–meet THE SQUAD.

Review:

The first time I tried to read this book I was like, “NO… NO… Why did I buy this book again?!” I put it down for about 2-3 weeks and decided to give it a second chance a few days ago. Boy was I happy I did because it just became one of my favorite books of 2013. It is fun to read, it is witty, it has great, strong female characters, and it is action packed. It made me look at a cheerleader in a whole new way.  Even though I had a lot of work to do, I still managed to finish this book in one day. Talk about accomplishment right there.

I recommend this book to anyone that is stressed out. Get past the first two chapters and you’re going to thank me I told you to read it. Go on now.. GO BUY IT!

If you want to know more about the book and discuss it with me, leave a comment below! I’m all for talking about it!

Rating: 5/5

Rating System:

1/5: I hated it.

2/5: It had some redeeming qualities but overall, not a good book.

3/5: I liked it (A fun read).

4/5: I really like it, but something was missing.

5/5: I love it! It’s as close to perfection as it can get!