Review: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

Bird BoxPublished: May 13, 2014 by Ecco
Format: Kindle Edition
Pages: 293

Most people ignored the outrageous reports on the news.  But they became too frequent, they became too real.  And soon, they began happening down the street.  Then the Internet died.  The television and radio went silent.  The phones stopped ringing.  And we couldn’t look outside anymore.

Malorie raises children the only way she can; indoors.  The house is quiet.  The doors are locked, the curtains are closed, mattresses are nailed over the windows.  They are out there.  She might let them in.

The children sleep in the bedroom across the hall.  Soon she will have to wake them.  Soon she will have to blindfold them.  Today they must leave the house.  Today they will risk everything.

Imagining a world where opening your eyes could make you go mad really made me think about walking around outside after I finished this book. AHHHHH. I loved Bird Box. I hated putting it down and every time I had to, I looked forward to picking it back up. While I did have some issues with the book, I still loved the book and my issues didn’t affect my rating.

I went into this book having no idea what it was about, knowing only that Malorie and her children could not look outside, and anything they did outside had to be done blindfolded. The book alternates between the present, the day Malorie and her children are preparing to leave the house they’ve lived in for four years, and the day in the past that Malorie learned she was pregnant. Not knowing anything about this book was so awesome. I loved learning more about what was going on bit by bit.

I did have a couple of issues (I didn’t like that the children weren’t named… that made no sense to me, and I was also confused about something that the news reports fairly early on because I couldn’t understand how they would possibly know that), but overall, those issues didn’t affect my rating. I still loved the book and highly recommend it. That said, there are some pretty gruesome scenes, so I would go into the book keeping that in mind.

I really hate how hard it is to write about books that you love, because I just want to throw this book at everyone and make them read it. XD Very happy that my book club picked this one out, and super excited for the discussion about it in a couple of weeks. :)

AHHH JUST READ IT. XD

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Review: Random by Tom Leveen

RandomPublished: August 12, 2014 by Simon Pulse
Format: eBook
Pages: 224

Late at night Tori receives a random phone call.  It’s a wrong number.  But the caller seems to want to talk, so she stays on the line.

He asks for a single thing – one reason not to kill himself.

The request plunges her into confusion.  Because if this random caller actually does what he plans, he’ll be the second person connected to Tori to take his own life.  And the first just might land her in jail.  After her Facebook page became Exhibit A in a tragic national news story about cyberbullying, Tori can’t help but suspect that the caller is a fraud.  But what if he’s not?  Her words alone may hold the power of life or death.

With the clock ticking, Tori has little time to save a stranger – and maybe redeem herself – leading to a startling conclusion that changes everything…

I read Random while it was available on Pulse It. I was originally alerted to this title by a friend’s review earlier this year, so I was excited when it was available to read on Pulse It.

I haven’t read many other YA books on this topic, and I think it’s an important topic to cover. I was also intrigued that this particular title is told from the point of view of the bully, but in a way, it was also very frustrating, because Tori clearly doesn’t feel any remorse or feel like she was in the least responsible for what happened to someone she used to consider a friend. I couldn’t understand that at all, and I will admit that I had a REALLY hard time with that over the course of the story. I won’t say how things turn out for Tori or if her attitude changes, but this was something I really struggled with over the course of this book. Tori was very ME ME ME, and I hated it.

While I had a very complicated relationship with the main character of Random, I really enjoyed this book from a writing standpoint, and I liked the concept of the story. I also liked how the book showcased the way Tori’s actions affected her family. I thought that showed at least one side of the repercussions of what Tori had become involved with, even if Tori herself didn’t seem affected in a lot of ways. Overall, I enjoyed this despite my issues with Tori, and I think that it’s worth giving it a shot! I’m definitely looking forward to reading more of Leveen’s books in the future.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Review: The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery

The 100 SocietyPublished: September 4, 2014 by Hodder Children’s
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 317

For sixth-form student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a game; it’s an obsession.  Having convinced her five friends at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the game: tagging 100 locations around the city.  With each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become.  But when the group catches the attention of a menacing stalker – the Reaper – he seems intent on exposing their illegal game, tormenting Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory doors with his ominous tag.

As the once tight-knit group slowly unravels, torn apart by doubt and the death of a student, they no longer know who to trust.

With time running out, Grace must unmask the Reaper before he destroys everything she cares about for ever…

I have really mixed feelings about this book. I enjoyed it enough to finish it in a couple of days, but I had a lot of issues with it, too. The beginning of the book was pretty interesting and wonderfully creepy, but after that, it lost a lot of steam. The pacing slowed down quite a bit and I found myself feeling like I didn’t necessarily need to continue on, but I did, and while the pacing does pick back up quite a lot, the book was unfortunately missing a lot of things that I craved from this story.

I wanted a lot more background about The 100 Society, Clifton Academy, Grace’s family and life in general, Grace’s friendship with Daniel, and Grace herself. The supporting characters had their quirks and stood out from each other well enough, but more about them would have been nice, too. What we were given was pretty basic on all counts. I was initially super overwhelmed when all of Grace’s friends were introduced within a couple of pages of one another, as well, haha. I was left reeling, though, when I realized probably three-quarters of the way through the book that I had no idea what Grace looked like. I realize that readers will read a description and still apply their own mental image of what the characters look like, sometimes regardless of the description on the page, but not knowing what Grace looked like made it kind of hard for me to visualize some scenes, even if I put my imagined Grace in the scenes in my head.

I really wanted to know more about The 100 Society, the group’s previous tags, and more about Grace’s brother’s history with the 100 Society. I think that could have been really interesting to help the reader draw some parallels between their involvement, but we weren’t really given enough information to do that.

I also had a hard time believing some of the situations/characters’ reactions in this book, and found it extremely frustrating as a reader that a lot of the drama in the book could have been avoided if someone had just alerted the proper authorities. I get that they could have been expelled, but at a certain point, I think being expelled would be preferable to the alternative… but apparently these characters didn’t think so!

There was also the inclusion of a YA trope that I really hate, and it felt really tacked on in this story, and that was a major disappointment for me. :(

All of my issues aside, though, The 100 Society was a fun read, and though the pacing may not have been the most consistent thing about it, it was still a pretty quick read regardless. I’ll admit there were a few reveals surrounding the mystery that left me very confused and trying to do mental gymnastics to match my guesses with what Grace was thinking, but overall I enjoyed it. So in the end, I guess I had a lot of issues with this book… but still liked it.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you for the opportunity to read this book!

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars