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Review: The 100 by Kass Morgan

The 100 (The Hundred, #1)Published: September 3, 2013 by Little, Brown
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 323

This review is for the first book in the series The Hundred.

In the future, humans live in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth’s toxic atmosphere.  No one knows when, or even if, the long-abandoned planet will be habitable again.  But faced with dwindling resources and a growing populace, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland… before it’s too late.

Now, one hundred juvenile delinquents are being sent on a high-stakes mission to recolonize Earth.  After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet they’ve only seen from space.  Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community.  But they’re haunted by their past and uncertain about the future.  To survive, they must learn to trust – and even love – again.

This book had an awesome premise. One hundred criminals are sent to Earth to determine if humanity can return there after being ravaged by some kind of nuclear attack three hundred years before. Sign me up! …unfortunately, what The 100 promised in its blurb is not what it delivered, and I was majorly disappointed.

For a book with just over three hundred pages, The 100 covers four different POVs. While I normally don’t mind multiple POVs in a story, four is too many for a book this short. The reader doesn’t really get to spend enough time in anyone’s POV to really get to know them, so as a result, I didn’t find myself attached to anyone. I generally need to be engaged with the characters to enjoy a book, so that was a major problem for me personally. Some of the main characters are flat-out unlikable, and others just aren’t developed enough for me to care.

The reader is also given very little to go on in terms of the two major settings in this book. The Colony is split into three sections: Phoenix, which seems to be for the richer or otherwise more privileged inhabitants of the ship, and Walden and Arcadia, where the poorer or more disadvantaged people live. Other than giving us the information that there is a bridge between the sections of the ship and that each section has a market and residential areas, I finished the book not really knowing what anything looked like or what the general layout was other than that there is a bridge (somewhere) and there is more than one level. There is also one section of the entire ship that we only know of by name and know pretty much nothing about, and none of the characters visits it across the entire three hundred pages of the book, which made me wonder why the ship was split into three parts in the first place, if one of them is basically not even in the book.

It’s also heavily hinted that the Earth the hundred criminals are landing on is going to be a savage, dangerous place, but the reader is given almost no details to differentiate it from Earth as we know it today. The surrounding area the hundred live in is also fairly vague. I never really got a feeling for where they end up living, other than knowing of a few landmarks that are some vague distance away. In the end, what could have been a really interesting, awesome setting just turns into a vague blob with some not-so-vague blobs around it.

It is also important to note that while The 100 frames itself as a science fiction novel with some romance novels, it is more of a romance novel taking place in a sci-fi/post-apocalyptic setting. The focus is definitely first and foremost on the romance, and everything else takes a backseat, to the book’s detriment.

The writing itself wasn’t bad, and I think I could have enjoyed the book had it trimmed the POVs down to two (one on Earth and one on the Colony would have been fine) or even just one, but as it is, I couldn’t get to know any of the characters or the place, which made it really hard for me to care about what was happening. :(

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: 1 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

Review: Odeful by Jennifer Recchio

OdefulPublished: February 27, 2014 by Createspace
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 38

In this collection of poems about coming of age in the modern world, critically acclaimed author Jennifer Recchio takes on such thrilling subjects as math, groceries, and oil changes.  The collection includes poems that have been published in online magazines such as Word Riot and Defenestration, and other poems that have never been seen before.

I’m not a big reader of poetry, but when I saw Odeful on NetGalley, I was intrigued enough to give it a try. There are several different types of styles here, so if one poem isn’t to a reader’s fancy, the next may be more appealing.

I hadn’t read a poem anthology on my Kindle before, so I did need to change the font size, unlock the screen, and turn my Kindle so the display changed, in order for the line breaks to match what the author originally intended, so I would recommend that to anyone reading on an eReader. If that isn’t done, it can be difficult to tell where a line break is intended and where the previous line is simply spilling over into the next. I read this one a couple of times before reviewing, and I think it was worth the reread – knowing where a poem is going to go when I start helps ground me a bit.

The poem “Cliches Get Stuck Under Your Fingernails” is my favorite from this collection, with a kind of twist at the end that I didn’t see coming, but there were several others that I enjoyed as well. Recchio touches on a wide range of subjects in her anthology, among them the lives of characters in commercials after the commercial ends, from her poem “After These Messages.” While I couldn’t recall every commercial she referenced in that particular work, I still found it amusing, and it wasn’t something I personally had thought about before. “Dangerous Things,” a poem about writing poetry, also interested me as someone who mainly writes prose, and the lines about “bloody deleted chunks” of prose being thrown away while poetry “boils out of the atmosphere” really stood out to me. Some of Recchio’s imagery is really vivid, and I loved lines like that.

Odeful is a very short collection, but there is a lot to like here, and I think between all the different styles and subjects, there is probably something for everyone. I’d say it’s a good starting point for someone just getting into poetry, or someone just trying it out. Like with any anthology of stories or poems, some of Recchio’s works spoke to me and others didn’t, but overall, I found it to be a fairly enjoyable collection.

I received a copy of this collection from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: The Camelot Code by Mari Mancusi

The Camelot CodePublished: April 16, 2014 by NLA Digital LLC
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 295

All fourteen-year-old gamer girl Sophie Sawyer wants to do is defeat Morgan le Fay in her favorite Arthurian videogame.  She has no idea the secret code sent via text message is actually a magical spell that will send her back in time to meet up with a real life King Arthur instead.

Of course, Arthur’s not king yet – he hasn’t pulled the sword from the stone – and he has no idea of his illustrious destiny.  And when a twist of fate sends him forward in time – to modern-day high school – history is suddenly in jeopardy.  Even more so when Arthur Googles himself and realizes what lies in store for him if he returns to his own time – and decides he’d rather try out for the football team instead.

Now Sophie and her best friend Stuart find themselves in a race against time – forced to use their 21st century wits to keep history on track, battle a real-life version of their favorite videogame villain, and get the once and future king back where he belongs.  Or the world, as they know it, may no longer exist.

I worked toward a medieval studies minor in college, so I’m fairly familiar with the story of King Arthur, though I haven’t read those stories in quite some time. That said, The Camelot Code was a nice trip back into that world, and gave me a bit of a refresher on the legend, too.

I thought this was a fun novel, though I’m not sure I would personally describe it as YA – it read more like a middle grade novel to me – but I still enjoyed the story quite a bit. It was humorous in parts, and ridiculous in others, but not in a bad way. It also has a pretty large cast of characters, and while some of them could be a bit stereotypical, some of them also broke away from those stereotypes fairly cleanly, and I liked that. It was amusing in the right parts, and I enjoyed the MMO aspect, though I think several of the terms might go over the head of someone who wasn’t familiar with them, since the terms weren’t really explained that I can recall.

The dialogue felt a bit stilted at times, but over the course of the book, it improved. I did find a few things a bit awkward – I thought the culture shock for both characters from the past and from the present would be a bit more pronounced, and they all seemed to get over it fairly quickly, and I also found it a bit odd that everyone just assumed that because Arthur and Guinevere were from England, they wouldn’t really be acquainted with a lot of modern things. That was definitely strange and not very realistic, haha, but those issues aside, there was a lot to have fun with here. The nod to Medieval Times definitely made me smile, having been there a few times myself, once fairly recently.

Overall this was a pretty fun book, and while it read a bit younger than I was expecting and I had a few issues with how things were handled, it was an enjoyable read, especially for someone familiar with the legends of King Arthur. I didn’t realize it wasn’t the first in its series, so I might check that out at some point!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: Riot by Sarah Mussi

RiotPublished: May 1, 2014 by Hodder Children’s
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 352

Years of cuts have devastated Britain: banks are going under, businesses closing, prices soaring, unemployment rising, prisons overflowing.  The authorities cannot cope.  And the population has maxed out.

The solution: forced sterilisation of all school leavers without secure further education plans or guaranteed employment.  The country is aghast, but the politicians are unshakeable.  No more free housing for single parents, no more child benefit, no more free school meals, no more children in need.

It’s time for the young to take to the streets.  It’s time for them to RIOT.

At the beginning of Riot, I was in love. I loved everything. I loved the premise. I loved the writing. I loved Tia’s voice and I wasn’t expecting it to go where it did in the early pages. But somewhere along the way, the book seemed to step back from its original idea and went somewhere else. Riot is kind of a political thriller, but it takes a big step beyond its original premise. I eventually decided I was okay with that, but it wasn’t what I thought I was getting into, so on that front, I couldn’t help but be at least a little disappointed.

I liked Tia a lot. I liked that she was naive in some ways and not in others, though at times it got a bit frustrating because she wasn’t cluing in on things when she should have been, but overall I thought she was an interesting choice of heroine for this type of book. I didn’t think the dynamic it created between her and Cobain was very original, but it did help form a kind of dichotomy between them. I liked the way Mussi demonstrated their different methods of dealing with what was thrown at them.

I liked the book’s spin on social media – I thought it was an interesting idea, and while I wasn’t entirely convinced, it definitely intrigued me. I would have liked it if the book could have gone into the origins of Darknet7 and the ADAM and EVE stuff in more detail, but I guess that isn’t really what the book was about, so I’m sort of okay with what we got.

There were some religious undertones throughout the book that felt okay at first (with the ADAM and EVE stuff, and a few other things), but by the end of the book, they were more frequent and I will admit I was left feeling a little lost and confused by all of it. There were a few times that the book got a bit carried away with technical stuff and I lost track of what was going on as well. Tia talks like she knows what she’s talking about, but the hows and whys aren’t really explained at all, and while I was okay with that to an extent, it also made for some very confusing passages.

I will also say that I disliked the romance. I liked Tia and Cobain as characters, and liked their interactions and the way they treated each other in general, but to put a romance between them in this book felt very tacked on and I couldn’t really get past that. I did roll my eyes a bit at the constant “cat-green eyes” mentions early on in the book, though. I don’t think that’s something I would have focused on if I had been so afraid of or intimidated by someone with his reputation, haha, so I had a hard time finding that aspect very believable. I was also a bit disappointed with the ending for reasons I won’t get into in this review; it does bring things together, but not in the most satisfactory fashion.

In the end, though, Mussi’s writing made me really happy, and that made me really like this book. I loved Tia’s almost-stream of consciousness voice, and I… just loved it. I can’t really describe it any other way. It felt genuine to me in a lot of ways. I am definitely interested in picking up more of her books in the future.

Overall, while Riot pulls you in with one idea and then goes running with another, I thought it was a really interesting ride, though brutal at times. I had a hard time putting it down and definitely found my mind wandering during shifts at work, wondering what was going to happen next.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Review: Disconnected by Lisa M. Cronkhite

DisconnectedPublishing Date: June 3, 2014 by the Poisoned Pencil
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 200

Milly has tried hard to keep herself together since the death of her parents, but being bullied by Amelia Norris is pushing her over the edge.  Amelia even dares Milly to hurt herself.  Though she tries to separate herself from her tormentor and find out the truth about her parents’ death, it’s impossible.  Because Milly is Amelia Norris.

I picked this up on NetGalley because I thought the blurb was interesting and I was looking forward to seeing how the author handled the story; however, the story was focused a lot more on the mystery of the main character’s past than it was on her mental illness. I also wasn’t entirely sure how accurate some of the information regarding her illness was, which made me a bit uncomfortable. I was overall looking for a book that would explore Milly’s life with mental illness more than her past, so I was disappointed in that regard.

The mystery in the story was interesting initially, but over and over, the author piles up questions and potential leads without Milly actually attempting to follow those leads, and I found that really frustrating as a reader. Several times she comes across a clue, then seemingly forgets about it altogether while focusing on something unrelated, and then doesn’t remember it until quite a lengthy period of time later. Things like that didn’t really seem to serve much purpose to the story, especially when the clue just adds more questions to the pile. While those questions are eventually answered, it was pretty much done all at once instead of with a trickle of information and answers, so some readers might get frustrated with the book before reaching the payoff. I felt things could have been improved by stretching it out over a longer period of time so it was a bit less overwhelming. There was one major thing toward the end of the book that really bothered me because it wasn’t really justified or explained in a way that satisfied me, but I won’t get into it in this review since it’s a pretty major spoiler.

The characters are a little bit lacking. I felt distanced from Milly throughout the novel, even though the story is told in first person. Her voice didn’t seem 100% authentic to me and I struggled with that a lot throughout the book. I wasn’t super invested in the romance angle of the story. When Blake was first introduced, I thought he was interesting, but he isn’t in the book much, and therefore isn’t developed much, either. I also found Milly’s friendship with her best friend, Beth, to be kind of strange. We’re told over and over that Beth is Milly’s best (and only) friend, and that Milly is afraid of losing her, but from the start, Beth seems like a pretty bad friend, and the reader is never shown the “better days” of their friendship, so we’re left wondering why they were friends in the first place. There was also some slut-shaming that was entirely unnecessary.

I liked a lot of the imagery in the book, and a lot of the descriptions of nature are beautiful. I appreciated that the book looked at mental illness through a teen’s eyes, but I wished the book had been a bit less harsh when it came to some topics (such as the slut-shaming) and a bit better researched in others, considering the content. Ultimately, there was the potential for an interesting story here, but it fell short for me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Review: We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt

We Are the GoldensPublishing Date: May 27, 2014 by Wendy Lamb Books
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 208

Nell worships her older sister, Layla.  They’re one unit, intertwined: Nellayla.  As Nell and her best friend, Felix, start their freshman year in high school, on Layla’s turf, there’s so much Nell looks forward to: Joining Layla on the varsity soccer team.  Parties.  Boys.  Adventures.

But the year takes a very different turn.

Layla is changing, withdrawing.  She’s hiding something, and when Nell discovers what it is, and the consequences it might have, she struggles.  She wants to support Layla, to be her confidante, to be the good sister she’s always been.  But with so much at stake, what secrets should she keep?  What lies should she tell?

I saw the e-mail from NetGalley about this book, checked out the mini-summary in the e-mail, read the first line of the blurb -Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart. - and I was basically like, “YES, read now, send to Kindle.” So other than that very vague line and little else, I had no idea what I was getting into, and I liked that.

I loved Nell’s voice. She was pretty unique and I liked her connection to her sister, though time and time again, I got the sense that it wasn’t completely mutual, or that maybe it had been in the past, but wasn’t anymore. Because of that, I kept wanting to see more of the bond that Nell felt she had with her sister, since I felt like we as readers didn’t see it very often. I’m sure some of that was the usual “little sister being annoying” thing, but since the story was being told from Nell’s point of view, it was hard for me to tell which was which. Regardless, I did like their relationship, or at least, Nell’s view of it. I’m a twin and I kept reading Nell and Layla as twins, even though they weren’t, but they had a relationship that made me feel like they were. I loved that the book read as her talking to her sister, referring to Layla as “you” and little touches like asking if she remembered certain details or events.

I loved the way Nell’s relationship with Felix was introduced, and I loved his role as her best friend. I liked that Nell and Layla’s parents were much more present in the novel than parents are in a lot of other YA, despite being so wrapped up in their own lives that they didn’t seem to be aware of what was going on with their children.

There is also an implied comparison between the Golden sisters and the Creed brothers, two teenage brothers who die before the time the story begins, which I liked the idea of in theory, but I’m not sure I liked the execution. Nell imagines the ghosts of these two brothers and sees them around her and talks to them, but I didn’t get the impression that she was close to them when they were alive, so it didn’t really make sense to me that Nell interacted with them so much in her head after they’d died. I didn’t feel like it was necessary to the story and didn’t understand why Nell couldn’t come to the conclusions she reached in interacting with them on her own. I guess she was doing that on her own, in a way, since she’s not actually speaking to their ghosts, but I didn’t like the way it was portrayed. It felt, to me, like it took away that those choices and thoughts were Nell’s and not someone else’s.

I found the open ending to be fairly frustrating. I was sitting there, reading away, loving this book, then I saw the Kindle was at 96% and I was like, oh no, and then I saw it was at 99%, and I was like, OH NO, but overall, I was satisfied with this read and I really enjoyed it, seeing that I read it in one sitting, which is pretty rare for me. Yes, it’s a short, fast read, but that’s not a bad thing. I liked that despite the other things going on in the novel, the relationship between the two sisters was the main focus, and the book never lost sight of that. A definite thumbs-up from me!

I was pre-approved for this title by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Review: The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and NowPublishing Date: April 8, 2014 by Delacorte Press
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 288

Follow the rules.  Remember what happened.  Never fall in love.

This is the story of seventeen-year-old Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve.  Except Prenna didn’t come from a different country.  She came from a different time – a future where a mosquito-borne illness has mutated into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in ruins.

Prenna and the others who escaped to the present day must follow a strict set of rules: never reveal where they’re from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside their community.  Prenna does as she’s told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will one day ravage the earth.

But everything changes when Prenna falls for Ethan Jarves.

The first thing I really liked about The Here and Now was that it was not quite as focused on the romance as the blurb led me to believe. I tripped over a lot of the time travel stuff, to be honest – I spent too much time wondering about the plausibility of it and the implications of every action to 100% enjoy everything that was going on, but once I learned to let it go and just enjoy the story, it took me for a ride that didn’t stop until the book came to an end.

To say that I was glad the book was not as focused on the romance as I initially thought implies that I didn’t like the romance, but that actually isn’t true in this case. I have mixed feelings when it comes to a lot of romance (not just in YA, but in general), so I went into the book with that impression, and thankfully it wasn’t anything like I thought it might be. Prenna and Ethan’s romance is a breath of fresh air in the face of what I’ve gotten used to reading, and other than one bit where it made me uncomfortable, I really liked it overall.

I enjoyed Brashare’s writing style. I haven’t read any of her other book yet (just realized she wrote The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants!), but think I am more interested in reading the Sisterhood books now that I know what her writing is like. The words and sentences flowed really well and I liked Prenna’s voice a lot.

All in all, I had three issues with this book. The first (and biggest) was the time travel stuff. I know not every reader will be able to just push past it and take it at face value like I was able to, but I think that once you can, the story will be a lot more enjoyable (though the story still threw me for several loops that I struggled with, haha). The second was that the story takes a little while to get going, but once it did, I found it extremely difficult to put down. The third was a minor sideplot thing that wasn’t 100% resolved, and I WANT TO KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED, but I guess we’re not meant to know.

I would definitely recommend The Here and Now to anyone that’s able to look past the headache of the time travel stuff. It was really enjoyable and is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read so far this year!

I was pre-approved for this title by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Review: The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

The Mark of the DragonflyPublishing Date: March 25, 2014 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 400

Piper has never seen the Mark of the Dragonfly until she finds the girl amid the wreckage of a caravan in the Meteor Fields.

The girl doesn’t remember a thing about her life, but the intricate tattoo on her arm is proof that she’s from the Dragonfly Territories and that she’s protected by the king.  Which means a reward for Piper if she can get the girl home.

The only sure way to the Territories is the 401, a great old beauty of a train.  But a ticket costs more coin than Piper could make in a year.  And stowing away is a difficult prospect – everyone knows that getting past the peculiar green-eyed boy who stands guard is nearly impossible.

Life for Piper just turned dangerous.  A little bit magical.  And very exciting, if she can manage to survive the journey.

I haven’t read a lot of steampunk, but I do enjoy reading it when I have the chance, so I was excited thatThe Mark of the Dragonflywas a middle grade steampunk novel. While a lot of other commitments got in the way of my reading time, I ended up really enjoying this book. I was excited to read yesterday on her website that Johnson is writing another book that takes place in the same world!

Anyway, on to a discussion about The Mark of the Dragonfly. I found the world of Solace to be vivid and interesting. I loved the idea of forgotten items in other worlds falling through a rift of sorts into Solace. I also thought that while I didn’t get particularly attached to her, I thought Piper was a good character for this kind of story. I like her sass and how stubborn she was. (I also couldn’t help thinking of Anna as Anna from Frozen, even though I haven’t seen the movie.) I think my favorite thing about this book (outside of the steampunk elements) was Piper and Anna’s relationship. I enjoyed seeing how it developed over the course of the story. I also loved the descriptions of the different cities and areas that the characters traveled through. The ones where they actually spent some time were really vivid in my imagination and I really enjoyed how drastically different they all were from each other.

One thing I didn’t like, though minor, is that there are a lot of words used to describe animals and other things that are never really expanded upon to explain what exactly they are, and I found that a bit jarring. But that was a fairly minor thing. The only other thing I found a bit off was that Piper is supposed to be thirteen, and I think she says Anna is eleven or twelve, but neither character read that age to me most of the time. They seemed to be older characters who would sometimes seem to regress to what their actual age was supposed to be.

I am looking forward to more books being written about Solace and learning more about the world, but Piper and Anna’s journey was an interesting peek!

I was pre-approved for this title by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Review: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Don't Even Think About ItPublishing Date: March 11, 2014 by Delacorte Press
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 336

We weren’t always like this.  We used to be average New York City high school sophomores.  Until our homeroom went for flu shots.  We were prepared for some side effects.  Maybe a headache.  Maybe a sore arm.  We definitely didn’t expect to get telepathic powers.  But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking.  Our friends.  Our parents.  Our crushes.  Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy.  That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper.  That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we’ve kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests.  We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us.  We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs.  We always know what’s coming.  Some of us will thrive.  Some of us will crack.  None of us will ever be the same.

So stop obsessing about your ex.  We’re always listening.

Don’t Even Think About It isn’t a book I would have picked up on my own, but I decided to give it a shot since I was pre-approved for it through NetGalley. It ended up being a pretty fun read, though I did have a few big issues with it.

My biggest problem with the book was the number of characters that are covered in it. I liked the experimentation with the “we” perspective, and felt it worked to an extent, but I don’t think the book was long enough to cover all the characters very well. I don’t know that it necessarily meant to, but that was what I expected going in, since the book points out early on that all of these kids are telling the story, and I definitely didn’t feel like that ended up being the case. There were a few who got quite a bit of page time, and then others were brought up now and again, or mentioned a couple of times and then seemingly forgotten altogether. I also found it kind of funny/strange that despite the huge number of characters, there weren’t any that I could have related to as a teenager. On top of that, some of the characters were pretty stereotypical, and the book didn’t really dispel all/many of those stereotypes, which I found to be pretty disappointing. The book’s premise could have done a lot with that kind of thing, but the author didn’t really cover it that much.

I didn’t really buy the science of how the telepathy worked, but I tried to make myself look past that and just take it for what it was and enjoy the story, and while it didn’t entirely work, I managed well enough. I spent a lot of the book wondering what it was all going to lead up to, and I wasn’t super invested in the kids’ lives at first and what their little personal dramas were, but it all slowly grew on me.

I didn’t get super attached to any of the characters other than Cooper, but I liked him a lot. The book also made me think about what life would be like with ESP, and how it would make me feel if I could hear others’ thoughts or if they could hear mine. It’s definitely not something I’d want! But yeah, I wasn’t expecting this book to make me think about something like that, but it did, and I liked that about it. I was reading it before my shift at work today and thought about it until I could get back to it, so it has that going for it!

Overall, I kind of waffled between a 2.5 and a 3 for this one, but I settled on a 3. The book took a while to build up for me, but I didn’t want to put it down in the second half. There was one part that I found to be fairly predictable, but overall the book was enjoyable despite my issues with it, and in the end I’m glad I gave it a try.

I was pre-approved for this title by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book!

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars