Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

It has been years since Auden has slept at night. It all started when her parents started fighting, and even though they have moved on and gotten a divorce, Auden is still an insomniac.

The summer before she heads off to college she is give a choice. Spend the summer at home with her professor mother and get a head start on her college reading or go off to the small beach town where her dad, step-mom and new baby sister, Thisbe Caroline, live.  Hoping for a chance for a carefree summer and to escape the craziness of her mother, Auden opts for the charming beach town. What she gets though is not what she expects.

Auden is quickly introduced into the world girls and the normal teenage life – something she completely missed out on growing up with her demanding mother. Theirs talk about clothes, make up, boys, and more boys, and Auden isn’t sure if its really what suits her, especially the girls at her job. Then Auden meets Eli, a fellow insomniac and absolutely adorable guy. He soon introduces her to the nocturnal world of the small beach town and their friendship blossoms. Auden soon finds herself having quite the unexpected summer, but it may just be exactly what she needs to cure her insomnia.

Sarah Dessen is amazing, plain and simple. Her books are so lifelike and real that you can relate to them in an instant, her characters are beyond believable, and of course her style is just impeccable. ALONG FOR THE RIDE is definitely one of her best books, in my opinion, and the absolute perfect summer read.

The plot was extremely detailed, which made the story come alive. Every little street corner popped up right in front of the reader’s eyes and all aspects of the story were relatable, whether it be putting up the girly girls, riding a bike or learning how to act around your crush. All these regular activities really made the reader connect with the little beach town and made the book that much more enjoyable. Another aspect that made the book so good was even though the book was very realistic; it still felt like you were being transported to a parallel universe.

Now the characters, I think, are what made the book. Auden was extremely relatable, especially for me, and I couldn’t get over how well Sarah Dessen knows the teenage mind. I considered Auden more of a friend then a character early on in the book and really got to know her throughout the story. I also loved Eli. Dessen always comes up with really cute guy characters, but I think that Eli definitely is the best so far. It was really interesting to see that he had issues too and they added a small side story that kept the reader intrigued. I also loved how even the side characters, such as Thisbe, all had personality. This made the book come even more alive and it made the story hard to forget, as it felt like you were meeting realy people.

Overall this was a fantastic book that I highly recommend; it is easily one of my favorite books of the year. I cannot wait to see what Sarah Dessen has in store for us next, while we’re waiting though I suggest a re-read of all of her books!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

After Charlotte Miller’s father passes away she is left with the family mill and she is quickly loosing it due to debt. When the opportunity arises for Charlotte to make and sell golden thread she jumps on it. She feels like it is her chance to give her sister a future, livelihood for the town, and a way to keep her uncle away from stealing the mill. This golden thread also might just offer her a chance at true love and a lot of hope.

All things come with a price though. To get this coveted thread, Charlotte must strike a deal with Jack Spinner. The Miller family doesn’t have a good rep though with deals as they are the reason it is in so much trouble now. Charlotte has now found herself and all the ones she loves in a heap of trouble and is desperate to find a way out. Will she figure out her life in time and save the mill or will Jack Spinner get the best of her?

Oh my goodness was this book good. I literally could not put it down after I got started and was desperate for more with each page turn. Elizabeth C. Bunce definteiy made a stunning step into the world of YA with her debut novel. What I loved the most though about A CURSE DARK AS GOLD was how it was a retelling of Rumplestitsken, one of my favorite fairy tales, but was still completely original.

The characters definitely made the book outstanding. Charlotte was strong yet stubborn and the reader really got to know her as the story progressed. I found myself many a time cheering for her in times of trouble and sympathizing with her in times of sorrow. I also loved her relationship with Randall, it was sweet and strong and just oh so wonderful. Charlotte’s sister Rosie was also a handful. I could tell she was bursting with energy and she was so much fun. Even though she didn’t get a lot of face time, the reader still got to know her, and in my case came to love her. As for Jack, well I thought he was great as well. He was funny and tricky, the perfect bad guy.

The plot, as I mentioned before, was great. It was so unique that even if you know Rumplestilten by heart, you will still be surprised by many events and not really know what’s going to happen. There was so much adventure and romance and so many twists and turns that I was fascinated throughout the whole thing. The writing was also something spectacular. The imagey was so vivid that I could feel the dampness of the winter and the sun in the summer. The author also used a great vocabulary. The words were absolutely beautiful and they just completely floated off of the pages.

Overall I absolutely loved this book and it has definitely become one of my new favorite books. It was so new and wonderful that I strongly recommend it to absolutely everyone, especially those who enjoy fairy-tale retellings. I myself cannot wait for more from Elizabeth C. Bunce as I am convinced it will be just as good.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

According to Micah Wilkins lying is not an easy business. There is keeping up the different stories you have told everybody and then backing it up, oh and making sure that you don’t get caught is another biggie. Although she claims it is so difficult, Micah has become a fluent liar,  to the point of believing her own lies.  Her lies get her into quite some trouble though when her boyfriend Zach shows up dead. While she has the reputation of liar, this time she swears that she had no involvement in Zach’s death, but many people find it hard to believe. Will Micah finally learn to tell the truth for once, or will she just create more lies to cover up what really happened?

Throughout the ups and downs of high school and many unexpected twists, Justine Larbalestier creates a fantastic novel that is hard to forgot and even tougher to put down.

This book was absolutely wonderful. I truly enjoyed the entire story and thought the way it was written was extremely intriguing. This was the first time I had read anything by Justine Larbalestier, but I know she writes fantasy novels and such. Therefore I was a bit shocked with the realism this book contained, but then I soon came to find out that Ms. Larbalestier weaved her signature style into the story flawlessly and intensely.

The plotline of the book was incredibly interesting and jaw dropping. There was grief and sorrow as well as many laughs and giggles throughout the entire story. Although there were points where I was pretty sure I had the rest of the story figured out, there was always a twist to what I was thinking. As the book progressed the plot became more and more intricate, but the author still managed to keep things very clear to the reader with no confusion. The ending was absolutely perfect for the book.

As for the characters, I thought they were all really well developed. Even the characters that were only mentioned once or twice were described well and came alive off of the pages. For example, there was this one character, BRANDON, who we only met lets say three times, and you could just tell that he was one of the biggest perverts in the world. To me, this really made me enjoy the story even more because it got me involved in the world that the author created. I also loved the development of Micah. She is definitely not your average young adult girl character. For one she kind of resembles a boy and two she doesn’t really care what other people think. She was a great character though, as many of her lies were comical and she always left this lingering thought in your head as if she was really telling the truth. Throughout the entire story it felt like she was whispering her secrets into your ear.

Another very strong aspect of this book was the point of view the author created. Micah told the entire story and the reader learned all about her family history and the days leading up and preceding Zach’s death. Micah also “talked” to reader, asking if they really believed her and again making the reader feel that they were sitting there on the couch beside Micah listening to her life story. The author also created such a feeling of suspense throughout the whole book that it was near impossible to set the book down even for a minute. She also set the book up really nicely, making a very logical progression of events that made the story that much more intriguing.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thought it was just wonderful! I will definitely be reading more by Justine Larbalestier in the future, as she is a fabulous author. I recommend this book to anyone looking for an interesting and riveting read.


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