Crewel: Gennifer Albin

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.

Possess: Hearing Voice

Recommended? Yes, if you like paranormal things and can overlook the initial overused idea of Catholics and exorcisms. But the Main character, Bridget, is pretty kick ass and well worth the read. Plus, McNeil has a powerful voice that can easily carry the story.

I actually finished this book about a week ago but I’ve been busy… so here’s the late review. I’m not sure why it is, but generally I’m overly critical of leading ladies. I’d say seven times out of ten I really don’t like the main character if it’s a female. Either they are too perfect, which drives me crazy, or they just rub me the wrong way. In the case of Possess, the MC is Bridget Liu and I really adored her. She’s strong, but flawed, and does not mess around. If she needs to get something done then she gets it done — no matter what. Plus her half-Irish Catholic half-Chinese heritage makes her pretty interesting.

The side characters are really amusing, too. Hector, her queer fellow social out cast at their Catholic High School, is hilarious. Kevin, the obsessive friend/stalker, is interesting but I was lukewarm for a while towards the love interest: Matt Quinn. At first, he seems just… like all over high school love interests — perfect, handsome, clever, and sportive. Blah. Boring. But, like a lot of things in this book, if you look passed the initial “oh that’s been done before” moments then you’ll really enjoy it. Matt turns out to be more than I thought.

The story is interesting and keeps moving from start to finish. There’s no boring lull and the end is sort of a surprise. It seems like the end leaves the book open for a sequel but — as far as I’m aware — there isn’t one. If there were, I’d read it.

The problems: cliches and so-been-done moments flash up all over the place in this book. For example, Bridget is a social outcast. What? A girl with paranormal powers is a social outcast, who could see that coming? Not. Plus, just the natural Catholics and exorcism thing. We all have been through that before. Then her mortal nemesis is Miss Perfect Bitchy Popular Pretty Girl. Owww, never seen that one before… not. Still, if you can overlook those few minute details then it’s a good book. It’s entertaining, the MC is kickass, the story just keeps going, and I really enjoyed the ride.

One more down side, the ending comes quickly and wraps up in like two pages. So for those out there that don’t like rushed endings, beware.

But the best part of the book? The voice. It’s flawlessly weaved throughout the story and really interesting. It nails a snarky teenager and can keep you entertained even when you encounter one of those so-bee-done-before moments.