Thursday, June 30, 2011

Before I Die by Jenny Downham

"Everyone has to die. We all know it.

With only a few months of life left, sixteen-year-old Tessa knows it better than most.

She's made a list, though - ten things she wants to do before she dies. Number one is sex. Starting tonight.

But getting what you want isn't easy. And getting what you want doesn't always give you what you need. And sometimes the most unexpected things become important."

You're probably thinking, "how morbid!" Well....yes, it is. But, it is beautifully written, and painfully realistic. I'm not going to lie - it was very sad, and I even teared up a few times. But, it was worth it. The author did a good job showing the joyous side of death. How important it is to live life to the fullest while you are able. How important it is to show your family and friends how much you love them.

This book contained some language, some fairly graphic sexual content, and, obviously, some difficult themes. I would not recommend this for younger teens.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Gone by Lisa McMann

Final book in the Wake trilogy.

"Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she'd made her peace with it. But she can't handle dragging Cabel down with her.

She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He's amazing. And she's a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves: she has to disappear. And it's going to kill them both.

Then a stranger enters her life - and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she'd ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out..."

This was a really good series. I went through all 3 books over a total of about 3 days. The stranger who enters her life is her father, whom she has never met. Unfortunately, she doesn't ever get the chance to meet him (he's in a coma), however she "meets" him when she gets pulled into his dream. She comes to find out that he's a dream catcher too. She thought that she already knew everything about dream catching, and what her future would look like. However, while trying to get to know the man her father was, she realizes she still had a lot to learn...

Very gripping and fast paced. There is a LOT of language in it, and some non graphic sexual situations.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

"In the society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It's hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one...until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path no one else has ever dared follow - between perfection and passion."

Wow, this was an awesome book! It is about a futuristic society where EVERYTHING is predicted, planned, and controlled by the government. You do not get to make any choices of your own, but life is perfect...or is it? They may have eradicated disease and crime, but can they really control somebody's feelings? Cassia is told that Xander, her long-time best friend, is her ideal mate, and she does love him. With him, she feels safe and comfortable. But she cannot deny the passion she feels for Ky. Should she follow the Society's rules and live a "perfect" life, or should she risk everything to pursue passion?

The sequel to this book comes out in November and I am excited to see what happens next!

I loved that this book had NO bad language, sexuality, or violence - but was still an exciting story! The popularity of this book proves that those elements are not necessary to get people to read a book. I did not hesitate one bit to hand it over to my daughter to read.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fade by Lisa McMann

"Some nightmares never end.

For Janie and Cabel, real life is getting tougher than the dreams. They're just trying to carve out a little (secret) time together, but no such luck.

Disturbing things are happening at Fieldridge High, yet nobody's talking. When Janie taps into a classmate's violent nightmares, the case finally breaks open - but nothing goes as planned. Not even close. Janie's in way over her head, and Cabe's shocking behavior has grave consequences for them both.

Worse yet, Janie learns the truth about herself and her ability - and it's bleak. Seriously, brutally bleak. Not only is her fate as a dream catcher sealed, but what's to come is way darker than she'd feared..."

I am really enjoying this series! In this book, Janie is now working undercover for law enforcement. It is suspected that a faculty member at Fieldridge High is a sexual predator, and Janie becomes a key source in bringing them to justice.

She also learns more about her "gift" which seems much more like a curse. I'm looking forward to seeing how this plays out in the final installment of this series.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Sequel to If I Stay

"My first impulse is not to grab her or kiss her or yell at her. I simply want to touch her cheek, still flushed from the night's performance. I want to cut through the space that separates us, measured in feet - not miles, not continents, not years - and to take a callused finger to her face...But I can't touch her. This is a privilege that's been revoked.

It's been three years since Adam's love saved Mia after the accident that annihilated life as she knew it...

...and three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is L.A. tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other. "

This sequel is told from Adam's perspective. I was really excited to read this book, since I adored the first one. I have to say I was a little disappointed. It was actually kind of boring. Seemed like one of those sequels that the author writes more because their fans have demanded it, and not because they really have more of the story to tell. Don't get me wrong, it was ok...but, I'm glad I didn't pay for this book, but got it at the library. I will say that it did have a satisfying ending though. I am still looking forward to the film adaptation of
If I Stay.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wake by Lisa McMann

"Not all dreams are sweet. For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does - they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant..."

This is the first in a trilogy. I loved the whole idea of someone falling into people's dreams - what a clever plot line! I really felt sorry for her. Think about the all the nightmares you have ever experienced - imagine having to experience not only your own, but those of everyone around you! She finally learns how to control her ability to a certain level, and at the end of the book, discovers that her ability can be used for the good of others. The end is definitely left open for the second book in the series, Fade. I will be reading that one very soon.

Warning: Quite a bit of language, including several uses of the f-bomb. Also, some sexual content.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dirty Little Secrets by C.J. Omololu

"From the outside, Lucy's home looks normal. Inside the front door is where the secrets begin. Towering piles of newspapers and magazines. Bags of junk flooding every inch of open space. The rotting smell permeating the air. This is what she's kept from everyone - that her mother's compulsive hoarding has reduced their lives to garbage...literally.

With just two years until graduation, Lucy finally feels like a normal life is within her grasp. Her new best friend, Kaylie, and her longtime crush, Josh, make a future seem almost possible.

Then one morning Lucy comes home to find something she never expected, something that will change her life forever. And she must ask herself - how far can she go to protect her family's secrets?"

As a fan of the show Hoarders: Buried Alive, this book really caught my eye. Like the hoarders on the show, the mother in this book frustrated the living daylights out of me, because I just don't understand how people can live like that. (Well, I understand it on a psychological level, but not on an emotional level.) I felt so bad for Lucy though, because she was FORCED to live like this.

I was able to predict what happened in the end...but it was still really good. It was a very quick, engaging read. It was also very motivating, lol! It totally made me want to go and throw out a bunch of stuff, lol. I actually went and organized my cabinets and threw out a whole trash bag full of pots, pans, tupperware, etc. Hmmm, the author needs to make this into a series, lol!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Young Adult fiction: handful of instances of swearing, mild sexual references

"Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: it kills you both when you have it, and when you don't.

They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I've always believed them. Until now. Now everything has changed. Now, I'd rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie."

The plot of this book was such an interesting idea. It takes place at a time in the future when love has been banned. The government has decided that love is a disease - amor delirium nervosa - and it is law that everyone is to be "cured" of it, by way of a removal of part of the brain, at the age of 18. If anyone is found to show signs of the "disease", they are subject to forced medical procedures, being thrown in the "Crypts" (think mental institution/jail), or even death.

Lena has always been obedient, and believed what she was told. She even looked forward to being cured. Until she met Alex. She then questions everything she has ever believed in. What follows is an action packed chain of events, that is left open for a possible sequel.

There were some parts of the book that kind of dragged, but it really picks up, and had me glued to the pages. I highly recommend it!