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Genre: YA Contemporary
Series: Nope. It’s a stand alone.
Publisher: April, 29th, 2010 David Fickling Books
Author: Jenny Downham
Recommended Read?: It’s really powerful, really touching, and not for those who can’t take the death of a character.
I could tell right away the story has a very strong voice and even though all my friends said they cried when they read it, I wasn’t going to. I knew what to expect. It was going to be okay.
We’ve all heard it before: dying person has a bucket list. But the way Downham goes about the list is so … painfully beautiful and real that you forget about all the other stories out there. Tessa’s tale is so engaging, so enduring, that it’s ridiculously hard to put the book down and even harder to stop thinking about once you’re done.
I’ve heard a lot of negativity about how obsessed Tessa is with sex at the start (one reviewer said something like “she’s just sixteen, come on!”). That’s ridiculous. She’s a teen — plenty of teens think about sex. Particularly sixteen-year-olds and her age really means nothing. She’s going to die, she’ll never get older, so how can you blame her for thinking about sex? If I were a dying and sixteen, I’d totally want to have sex before I was gone.
TESSA the main character is so unique, so conflicted, so amazing that I fell in love with her myself. She faces such a difficult fate and goes through so many emotional situations, but she still keeps moving forward. I loved how she obsessed over numbers — counting days, things she saw, numbering her list, it was all so interesting.
ZOEY is the best friend, and I love her, too. My feelings for her were like a roller coster, one minute they were high in an ‘I-totally-love-this-girl’ way and then the next they were shooting down in an ‘I-hate-her-so-much’ fashion.
ADAM is the love interest, and a very special one at that. He has his own hard time dealing with his life, but he still can’t keep away from Tessa, even though he knows it can’t end well.
CAL is the little brother. Conflicted, adorable, and a magic lover — what’s not to like? Plus, I have a soft spot of little brothers (even though they’re all over the place in YA).
The characters were what really made the story a tragedy. Even though I knew it couldn’t end well, I couldn’t help but love each of them. Which really just made it harder in the end.
I loved this part of the story. How unexpected it was for them. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a sucker for star crossed lovers, and you really can’t get any more star crossed then a dying girl and a healthy boy. There was real tension in this subplot, real emotions, and really beautiful moments.
The writing is amazing. Downham really paints a vivid picture of life for Tessa and doesn’t shy away from the gritty and horrible parts of her sickness and about life (like, #1 on Tessa’s list: sex). She focuses on everything around Tessa, bugs, birds, weird extra, little, things you’d never really think about and it just makes it all so real. The end of the book is where her talent really shines. The way she captures Tessa’s declining health is perfect. I wasn’t able to stop reading.
Usually, near the end of the book, I’ll glance at the page number a lot to know how many pages are left. That way I can sort of gage what will happen next (this subplot will be wrapping up, this question should be answered soon, etc) but with this book I wasn’t. I just focused on the words, turning the page, and hoping it wouldn’t end. I didn’t want Tesa to leave.
I cried. By around page 280, there were tears in my eyes. They stayed until the end. I feel a tingle in my eyes when I think about the book. I can honestly only think of one other book that made me cry (LOVELY BONES) and it was just a few tears. This book … there were a lot more than just a few.
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Series: Book #1 in the Under The Never Sky series.
Publisher: HarperCollins 1/3/2012
Author: Veronica Rossi
Recommended Read?: Yes, it’s a very powerful love story.
WORLDS KEPT THEM APART.
DESTINY BROUGHT THEM TOGETHER.
Aria has lived her whole life in the protected dome of Reverie. Her entire world confined to its spaces, she’s never thought to dream of what lies beyond its doors. So when her mother goes missing, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland long enough to find her are slim.
Then Aria meets an outsider named Perry. He’s searching for someone too. He’s also wild – a savage – but might be her best hope at staying alive.
If they can survive, they are each other’s best hope for finding answers:
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book — mostly about the “unforgettable romance” — so I knew I had to read it. It took me a while to finally get to it. When I first began to read it, I immediately liked that it was written in third person. I didn’t know how I felt about Aria yet and I was actually hoping it would pick up the pace a bit.
There is a larger plot to the story that keeps things moving forward, but it’s sort of like there are two. There’s Aria’s story — her need to get to Bliss, her mom, and back inside the Pods — and then there’s Perry’s — his need to find Talon, to become Blood Lord, to help his tribe. Personally, I thought Perry’s plot was far more compelling. There were so many interesting elements to the world Rossi built around the tribes and the Outsiders, I just loved learning about it. Plus, Perry’s stakes were significantly higher than Aria’s (not that that’s Aria’s fault or anything). He had his nephew’s well being in his hand, his tribe’s, and just so many lives to consider. Whereas Aria just had her and her mother’s life to worry about. That’s not her fault or anything, I just thought the parts with Perry were more interesting and the tension was higher.
Even though Aria’s plot line wasn’t as interesting as Perry’s, I really think that Rossi did a great job of world building for both worlds. By the end, I had a deeper understanding of their world, the Pods, the tribes, and all of it. I don’t think there were any significant plot twists. All the ones that were probably meant as surprises, I could see coming.
I enjoyed all the characters. Aria was a true heroine. She was put in a very tough position, and despite that, she learned to rise above it. She was completely outside of her element, constantly getting hurt, but she toughed through it. She held her head high and she just kept going — because she knew she had no other choice. That’s a character I can really respect.
Perry was so deep and brilliant. I loved him. There were so many elements to him, and they just kept unraveling throughout the story. He was so broken, not just on the outside, but he just kept going. Even though he wanted to be Blood Lord, it didn’t seem like a selfish impulse. It was clear that his tribe needed him. Even though he seemed so confident on the outside, he still had a sweet and shy side that I adored.
Roar, Perry’s best friend, was a fabulous extra character. I just adored him. Talon, another side character, was precious as well. And Cinder … I liked him, too. He was a bit convenient, as were his powers, so I’m hoping in the second book there’s a bigger reason for having him.
This is why I read the book. I heard the romance was to die for. It was slow to unravel (like a lot of things in this book) but I liked that. I generally can’t stand insta-love, so the fact that it took a lot of time and experiences for Aria and him to grow close was perfect for me. In the end, I was eager for them to be together.
And Rossi gave us glimpses of that, which was nice, but the part that made the book great was all the times she gave us glimpses into the future — the future were they couldn’t be together. They seemed like true star crossed lovers, uncontrollably in love, but not meant to be. I love that in a romance.
I loved the way Rossi described things. She really has a gift for that. How she used Perry’s Senses to heighten situations. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to constantly have to describe emotions into scents. I loved the POV switches, it was really fitting for this story. There were a few things that gave Perry and Aria different voices, but overall you couldn’t tell from purely the writing sentence which character’s head we were in. Perry would use some words Aria wouldn’t (like skitty) but otherwise they were the same sentence structure and all that.
The world building was impressive. I never felt like she was dropping the information just for the reader to have it. It all worked into the plot.
The only problem I had in the story was pacing. There were a lot of lulls and parts that I felt were probably meant for some reason (illustrating Aria and Perry’s relationship, for example) that just slowed the story down. There was a lot of waiting for things to happen. Waiting to leave Delphi. Waiting to get here or there. Even though the pacing was off, the moments she used to fill those lulls were interesting enough that i didn’t really mind.
I already have the second book. That pretty much says it all, right?
I’ve been really bad about blogging lately. There’s just so much going on. I’m gearing up for WriteOnCon‘s YA March Pitch (and as such, have been spending a lot of time at the critiquing board). I’m also prepping for the NaNo Pitchapalooza and even have a session set up with the Book Doctors (I have no idea what to do about that… ). I’m also preparing for the SCBWI WIP grant, critiquing two full manuscripts for friends, and a member of three different critique groups (I love all three of them so much!). So … yeah.
But I promise to be better about this! I have a new schedule that I’m going to force myself to follow. I’m an avid believer in lists. Plus, Delancey Steward just nominated me for a Liebster Award so I really do need to get better about this!
Liebster Award is an honor bestowed upon relatively new bloggers with followers of fewer than 200. The rules are:
1. You must thank the person who gave you this award (Thanks, Delancey!)
2. You must display the Liebster heart on your blog
3. You should nominate 3 to 5 up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 subscribers
4. Each person must post 11 random things about themselves
5. Answer the questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
6. Create 11 questions for those you nominate to answer
7. Notify your nominees and provide a link back to your post.
8. You’re not supposed to do “ping-backs”
For the 3-5 up and coming blogs, I did my best to check if they had more than 200 subscribers, but for some I couldn’t tell so … I nominate the following wonderful bloggers:
Jennie at Life Is Short, Read Fast
Nancy at Banks Writes
Sylvia at Under-Employed & Over-Joyed
My 11 Random Things:
- I just bought a Bichon Frise! Though, he was just born on Tuesday so I won’t get him until April…
- I love Baja Blasts from Taco Bell. I will just go there to get one and nothing else sometimes.
- I’m not a fan of comedy movies. It’s really hard to get me to watch one.
- I just got a new phone, the Samsung Galaxy, and it’s awesome.
- I’ve had various shades of red hair since my freshman year in high school … but I’m naturally a brunette, which is unfair since my grandmas are gingers.
- I cannot stand touching styrofoam
- I’ve lived in three countries (France, USA, Australia)
- Sour patch kids are my favorite candy ever (I’m eating them as I post this)
- I only have brothers and boy cousins, which was a big pain growing up.
- I’m from Kansas and hate the Wizard of Oz
- I went through a goth phase in high school
Here are the questions I have to answer:
Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
Edinburgh, Scotland. I spent a prolonged weekend there when I was studying abroad in France, and fell in love with the city. It has a castle in the middle of the city, how cool is that?
Who is the most important person in your life?
I’d have to say my mom. She’s always been there for me and even though she can drive me insane a lot, she’s still my mom. I have to call her at least every other day.
What most influenced the person you have become?
This is a hard one. There’s a lot of little things. Dyslexia really influenced my childhood and for a long time I was a very shy girl because of it. Then in middle school I met two crazy girls who brought me out of my shell, and we started to write a book together. I haven’t stopped writing since.
Where were you on 9/11?
I remember my mom driving me to school (I was in sixth grade) and we were listening to these radio DJs that we both hated (I don’t know why we were listening to them) because of their ridiculous pranks, so when they said a plain flew into the twin towers, we thought they had yet again made jackasses of themselves. Then I got to class and my teacher had all of us sit on our desk tops (I don’t remember why) and she explained to us what had happened.
Are you good at math?
Ha. No. Everyone in my family is except for me.
Describe the shoes you are wearing at this moment.
I’m not wearing any. If possible, I prefer not to.
Are you writing anything interesting?
I’m working on a contemporary YA right now that takes place at a teen hospice.
What is the best book you’ve ever read?
This is soooooo hard. IF I STAY by Gayle Forman…? CREWEL by Gennifer Albin? THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers? Anything Laini Taylor or Gretchen McNeil writes? SOMETHING STRANGE & DEADLY by Susan Dennard?
Uh … I have to pick one book, don’t I? I’m going to have to go with EMILY’S DRESS & OTHER MISSING THINGS by Kathryn Burak — at least this week.
What is your favorite word?
What is the scariest thing you’ve done?
I could say jumping out of a plane at 14,000 ft and how cruel it was for the guy that I was doing it with to literally hang me out of the plane, ask “Ready?” and when I said “No” instinctively he was like “OK” and we remained there longer. That almost killed me. I hate heights.
But the scariest thing has to be swimming at the Great Barrier Reef. I know, I know, how is that scary? I’m not a fan of large bodies of water. I have an irrational fear of sharks and jellyfish. My friends had to force me into the water. I saw three sharks and didn’t freak out as much as I thought. Then I saw a jellyfish (I say it was a Box Jellyfish, my friends insist it wasn’t … in hindsight, I’m willing to admit they might be right) and I got the hell out of there and back on the floating platform. I’m glad I did it, though.
What about your best friend makes you love them?
I love my bestie, Heather, but she just got engaged and named me her Maid of Honor so I kind of want to run far, far away from her right now. My idea of the perfect wedding: legalize it and spend all the money on an amazing honey moon (preferably to Bora Bora then cage diving with Great Whites off the coast of Cape Town). Her idea of the perfect wedding: a big frilly thing that will take forever to plan and be a huge vortex that will suck away all my free time. As you can tell, we’re opposites in a lot of ways.
One thing I really love about our friendship is the fact that we don’t have to be around each other for months and we can still be best friends. I’ve spent a lot of time abroad in the last few years but it’s never mattered.
The questions for those who take the challenge after me:
- Out of all the places you’ve lived, which has been your favorite?
- If you could have any job in the world (aside from being a writer), what would it be?
- Do you have pets?
- What is your favorite genre to read?
- What is your favorite movie of all time?
- Have you ever read a book that you were super-super-super excited about, then you read it and you were so, so, so disappointed?
- Do you like to travel?
- What book do you plan to buy next?
- Are you writing anything right now?
- Are you a coffee or tea drinker?
- What’s your favorite food group?
And there you have it, my first post in ages!
This is going to be my first giveaway, how exciting! I’m not guaranteeing that I will do a giveaway each month (though I plan on it) and I’m also not going to say that every giveaway will be like this one. But I thought as far as starting giveaways go, this one is pretty basic and wouldn’t be too difficult for me to handle.
So, here’s how it is: I’m going to give a list of the February 2013 Young Adult releases that I’m most excited about. Follow the giveaway rules at the end of this post, enter the giveaway, and if you’re the winner then you’ll get your pick of any of the new February Young Adult books. It can be one on my list or one I haven’t mentioned — it’s all up to you!
This month there are a few books I’m very excited about coming out. These are just a few of them:
HYSTERIA by Megan Miranda
Release Date: Feb 5th
As of now, these are the books that I’m really excited to see released to the world. I’ve already preordered UNRAVEL ME and SCARLET. Aren’t all the covers simply beautiful, too? MIND GAMES or UNRAVEL ME would probably have to be my favorites.
Here the giveaway rules:
- To win a physical book, you must live in or have a mailing address in the United States or Canada.
- To win an e-book, you can live anywhere in the world. I’ll give you a kindle/nook/whichever e-formated book you want.
- I use a random generator to select winners.
- You must follow this blog (either with wordpress account or e-mail address),@KKTrotter on twitter, and @TheCrewelWorld on twitter.
- This giveaway is opened starting today (2/2/13) and closes on 2/23/13. I will contact the winner to obtain a mailing address (or ebook preference info) no later than 2/25/13. If a response isn’t received within 72 hours of my e-mail being sent, I will have to select a new winner.
No, unfortunately, I run this blog on wordpress and you can’t insert a Rafflecopter giveaway in a wordpress post. So you’ll have to just click on the link below to go to the rafflecopter giveaway and enter there.
How you can enter:
- Comment on this post by telling me which Feb 2013 release you’re most excited about
- Tweet about giveaway (which you can do everyday, each tweet will get you another new entry)
- Follow @KKTrotter & @TheCrewelWorld & this blog
- Just click the link below to the RAFFLECOPTER giveaway to enter!
And, like I’ve said, this is my first giveaway so if anything goes wrong (example: Rafflecopter doesn’t work for some reason) please notify me!