Sunday, June 7, 2015
By Sophie Kinsella
Published: June 9, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Shopaholic series comes a terrific blend of comedy, romance, and psychological recovery in a contemporary YA novel sure to inspire and entertain.
An anxiety disorder disrupts fourteen-year-old Audrey’s daily life. She has been making slow but steady progress with Dr. Sarah, but when Audrey meets Linus, her brother’s gaming teammate, she is energized. She connects with him. Audrey can talk through her fears with Linus in a way she’s never been able to do with anyone before. As their friendship deepens and her recovery gains momentum, a sweet romantic connection develops, one that helps not just Audrey but also her entire family.
*Novel provided by Doubleday Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
Finding Audrey is Kinsella's first foray into YA, and since I have been disappointed by her adult books in the past, I wasn't expecting too much of this. However, when I saw that it deals with bullying, anxiety, and depression, and I do tend to enjoy Kinsella's writing, I decided to request it on Netgalley. Luckily, this book very much exceeded by expectations and I would definitely recommend it.
I really liked Audrey! I was really able to empathize with her situation, and I felt like Kinsella did a really good job of portraying her anxiety and depression, and her feelings about it. I have seen a few reviews saying that people don't think that Audrey's depression and anxiety are realistic and I want to say that depression and anxiety can manifest themselves in many different ways and just because Audrey didn't deal with it in the way that you did or someone you know did, doesn't mean that it isn't realistic. Audrey's family has a really great dynamic that I really enjoyed reading about.
I know that some people were really upset that Kinsella never actually reveals what it was that happened to Audrey that really acted as a catalyst for her depression and anxiety. However, though I have to admit that I was curious, I really appreciated that Kinsella chose to do that, and I felt that that choice presented a really powerful message. It shows people that you don't have to tell someone anything that you don't want to, which is a theme that is very prevalent throughout the novel. I almost feel that it would have been inconsistent with the messages that this book was sending for Audrey for to reveal to the reader what caused her issues.
I would say that this book isn't as funny as Kinsella's adult book which is probably because of the darker subject matter. However, Audrey is much more likable than Kinsella's adult characters. Kinsella's adult characters tend to act very much like damsels in distress who are incredibly irresponsible, appear to be pathological liars, and act like they can't do anything on their own without a man. However, Audrey was very self-sufficient and I was able to relate to her a lot more.
Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in this book and enjoys Kinsella's other books. I found this book to be very enjoyable, and to be a very fast read.
Thanks for reading!
Friday, June 5, 2015
By Virginia Boecker
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Book 1 in the Witch Hunter series
Witches, watch out... Half Bad meets Kill Bill in this incredible new supernatural series.
Sixteen-year-old Elizabeth Grey doesn't look dangerous. A tiny, blonde, wisp of a girl shouldn't know how to poison a wizard and make it look like an accident. Or take out ten necromancers with a single sword and a bag of salt. Or kill a man using only her thumb. But things are not always as they appear. Elizabeth is one of the best witch hunters in Anglia and a member of the king's elite guard, devoted to rooting out witchcraft and bringing those who practice it to justice. And in Anglia, the price of justice is high: death by burning.
When Elizabeth is accused of being a witch herself, she's arrested and thrown in prison. The king declares her a traitor and her life is all but forfeit. With just hours before she's to die at the stake, Elizabeth gets a visitor - Nicholas Perevil, the most powerful wizard in Anglia. He offers her a deal: he will free her from prison and save her from execution if she will track down the wizard who laid a deadly curse on him.
As Elizabeth uncovers the horrifying facts about Nicholas's curse and the unwitting role she played in its creation, she is forced to redefine the differences between right and wrong, friends and enemies, love and hate... and life and death.
The first book in an incredible new series set in a fantastical medieval world.
*Novel provided by Hodder & Stoughton via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
DNF at 14%
I really wanted to like this book. I was seeing rave reviews for it everywhere, and it sounded like something that I would be really interested in. Unfortunately, I found this book to be uninteresting and unengaging.
The magic in what I read was unexplained and underdeveloped, with no reason, logical or otherwise, for the ban on magic. It is possible that this would have been expanded upon later in the book had I gotten to that point, but I didn't and I feel like some explanation should have been presented in the eighty pages that I read.
The main character, Elizabeth, is what really killed the book for me. The only thing that prevented her from having pretty much no personality was the fact that she was absolutely, incredibly annoying. She is totally obsessed with her witch hunting partner, Caleb, but we never get any reasoning as to why this is, and we don't see enough of him to appreciate her affections. She's judgemental, hypocritical, selfish, shallow, and incredibly set in her beliefs and resistant to change.
The writing was decent enough, and I may have enjoyed it in another context, but the story wasn't interesting enough for the writing to carry it just on its own. I might pick up another book by Virginia Boecker if the plot interests me enough, but it'll take a lot to persuade me to do that.
Thanks for reading!
Thursday, June 4, 2015
Under the Lights
By Dahlia Adler
Published: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary
Book 2 in the Daylight Falls companion series
Josh Chester loves being a Hollywood bad boy, coasting on his good looks, his parties, his parents' wealth, and the occasional modeling gig. But his laid-back lifestyle is about to change. To help out his best friend, Liam, he joins his hit teen TV show, Daylight Falls...opposite Vanessa Park, the one actor immune to his charms. (Not that he's trying to charm her, of course.) Meanwhile, his drama-queen mother blackmails him into a new family reality TV show, with Josh in the starring role. Now that he's in the spotlight—on everyone's terms but his own—Josh has to decide whether a life as a superstar is the one he really wants.
Vanessa Park has always been certain about her path as an actor, despite her parents' disapproval. But with all her relationships currently in upheaval, she's painfully uncertain about everything else. When she meets her new career handler, Brianna, Van is relieved to have found someone she can rely on, now that her BFF, Ally, is at college across the country. But as feelings unexpectedly evolve beyond friendship, Van's life reaches a whole new level of confusing. And she'll have to choose between the one thing she's always loved...and the person she never imagined she could.
*Novel provided by Spencer Hill Contemporary via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Under the Lights is an adorable, heartwarming contemporary that brings out all the warm fuzzies while still dealing with a lot of deep, important issues.
This is a book about two girls who fall in love, but it is so much more than just a love story. It deals with the struggle of being a minority that is in the public eye, and how to find the courage to be yourself in a society that wants you to conform to its ideas of perfection.
Luckily, this book managed to avoid the hitch that books about this subject matter often fall into of ending up sounding more like a public service announcement and less like an actual story. I was engaged in the story and I enjoyed the fluffy, romantic parts and the friendship parts just as much as the parts that dealt with the major issues.
I did have a few issues with this book but these issues didn't hinder my enjoyment of the book. I felt that Josh at times fell into the classic bad boy trope, but Adler really managed to turn that trope around towards the end of the book. I also never felt a super close attachment to the characters. I did like them, but if they had died or something, I wouldn't have been overly upset.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It deals with a lot of important issues, and I think that this is something that everyone should try to experience in order to broaden your horizons.
Thanks for reading!