GEEKS, GIRLS, & SECRET IDENTITIES

https://i0.wp.com/d.gr-assets.com/books/1349153367l/12606292.jpgStars:
Recommended? If you’re looking for a funny, action packed, book then this book won’t disappoint you. Plus, there are a ton of comic book references that are fun to find.

Mike Jung spoke at my regional SCBWI conference. He was funny, energetic and a debut author with a very impressive story (and editor! Arthur Levine — the American editor of Harry Potter!) so, of course, I had to pick up the book. I loved hearing him talk about how he became an author — those are always my favorite parts. It wasn’t instant. He rewrote Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities quite a few times — like, completely sometimes. Originally it was told from Polly’s POV, now it’s in Vincent’s. Even though I generally don’t read MG, Jung won me over. If he was that funny in person, I couldn’t wait to see what his book was like. And, really, I’m not a fan of funny books, so the fact that he made me want to read one was pretty remarkable.

Synopsis from GOODREADS:

A SUPER funny, SUPER fast-paced, SUPER debut!

Can knowing the most superhero trivia in the whole school be considered a superpower?

If so, Vincent Wu is invincible.

If not (and let’s face it, it’s “not”), then Vincent and his pals Max and George don’t get any props for being the leaders (and, well, sole members) of the (unofficial) Captain Stupendous Fan Club.

But what happens when the Captain is hurt in an incident involving BOTH Professor Mayhem and his giant indestructible robot AND (mortifyingly) Polly Winnicott-Lee, the girl Vincent totally has a crush on?

The entire city is in danger, Vincent’s parents and his friends aren’t safe, the art teacher has disappeared, and talking to Polly is REALLY, REALLY AWKWARD.

Being the only girl in my family, I’m very familiar with comic books. My brother particularly love them, so I had no choice but to read them, too. Well, that’s not true. I could not, but I was always boyish growing up (all boy cousins and only brothers will do that to you). I found myself highly amused with all his comic book tie ins (like the school names, Xavier, and such). Aside from that, the voice, the plot, and the funniest of it all pulled me in. I understood Vincent, Jung really nailed a MG boy. He reminded so much of my brothers at that age. And the little boys I tutor at the library.

Except, none of them know a superhero. That would have been cool. Polly’s a big player in this book–and as a girl who is generally extremely critical of female characters–it means a lot that I liked her so much. She was intense, strong, clever, and believable. I adored her. I totally wish I was as badass as she is when I was her age. Plus her story, her tie in with the plot, was brilliant. Who would have saw that coming?

This book’s an easy read. Not just because it’s MG, but the plot keeps going and never lags. It wasn’t a challenge to finish it in one day. I’m glad the ending leaves open a possibility for something more. I’d like to see where Vincent and Polly’s story could continue to. I’ll be keeping an eye out for any future books by Jung. He’s made a fan out of me.

Crewel: Gennifer Albin

Stars:
Recommended? Yes, just yes. Anyone who enjoys YA will love this book. It’s fantastic. It’s really original, the prose is brilliant, and there are so many layers to this story it’ll keep you thinking for ages.

I read this book a while ago. A local Indie bookstore had a book signing for this debut author, Gennifer Albin. Some of you might have heard about her book, CREWEL. It’s been talked about a lot because she’s a debut but got a major offer for her trilogy. Here the concept, straight from goodreads:

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

This book was an amazing read and remarkable when you consider it’s a debut book. It is instantly interesting and the stakes are so high it’s hard to put the book down. Really, really hard. But at the same time I couldn’t keep reading it. I was so, so, so not looking forward to being done with it. So it took me a couple of days to finish it. I just… knew that once I was done I’d have to wait for the second book! And at the book signing Mrs. Albin mentioned she was still working on the second book so… ugh. It’ll be agonizing to wait…

The main character, Adelice, is stellar. She’s funny, prideful, and all around likeable. The writing is great and the romance — though subtle, which is what I like — is just so heart-tugging. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time I was reading it. One surprise followed another, I barely ever could really guess what was going to happen next.

And then the way it ended…? Wow. Simply wow. I cannot wait for the second one. I really can’t. It’s going to be so painful to have to wait…

Mrs. Albin was extremely nice, too, and it was so nice to hear how well a debut author in the YA market could do. She’s the exception, but her book is amazing. It’s so original. It’s been spun as Mad Man meets the Hunger Games. Though I don’t see it like that. It’s just so different.

I predict this will be the next big thing in the YA market. If it’s not, then there’s something wrong with the world.

Anna Dressed In Blood: Remarkable Read

Rating:

Recommended? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Do you like a little horror? A little romance? And a whole lot of WTF just happened moments? Go find this book and read it now.

I loved this book. I loved it from the start to the finish. I loved everything about it. I loved Cas. I loved Anna, even when I wasn’t supposed to, and I loved the cover art. I mean, come on, look at it, how can you not want to read it after looking at that? Once I got more than five chapters in, I hopeless. There went my weekend, I couldn’t put it down. I’m dying to read Blake’s next book, Girl of Nightmares. I read about that book at Pub Crawl and instantly wanted to read it but I knew it was the second in a series so, obviously, I had to buy the first.

This story is amazing and completely engaging. It starts in action and ends in action. There’s something going on in every chapter, every second, and it all means something — but, you probably won’t realize it right away. There are characters that you’ll love and character that you’ll hate. But I guarantee it’ll be one or the other. There’s not one that I feel just faintly one way about.

At first, I thought this was going to be like Supernatural. I was a huge fan of that show for a long, long, time. The first five seasons of which was amazing, so I figured I’d like this book. That Cas was going to be a mini Dean Winchester but it’s not really. Or a mini-“Cas” (Castiel), which was all I could think about at first when I learned the MC’s nickname was also Cas. But the story is its own and fantastic. Even though everyone’s read about ghost killers before, right? Well, most people, at least. This was different from the rest. It was unique, and I really did like Cas a lot.

Blake is an amazing writer. She tells a fair share, but that’s just what happens when a story is first person POV. It’s present tense, which is perfect, because it’s full of urgent-action-filled-moments. I didn’t notice a lot of unneeded adverbs or adjectives. And I love her for showing that fiction, particularly YA, can be filled with semi-colons and that there isn’t anything wrong with that.

The best part was that I never knew what was coming. I really didn’t. I thought I did a couple of times but I was always wrong. And the ending… I just can’t wait to read the next book. Which, really sadly, I did not buy yet. Damn that little voice in my head that whispered what if you don’t like it? I should have already bought Girl Of Nightmares. I could’ve returned it if I didn’t like the first one… I guess I’ll just have to go buy it tomorrow. I was planning on reading another series starting tomorrow (I’m sort of on a read-a-thon) but that’ll just have to wait.