Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Book Review: Buzz Books 2017: Young Adult Fall/Winter

I requested another collection of excerpts from Publishers Lunch when I saw the Fall/Winter 2017 was out for Young Adult. This collection contained 13 books. I had 3 of the books on my TBR, I added 6 more, and I skipped 2 because I couldn't get into them.

I was gifted this ebook via Netgalley.

Solo by Kwame Alexander [skipped]
Synopsis: Solo, a YA novel in poetic verse, tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, whose life is bombarded with scathing tabloids and a father struggling with just about every addiction under the sun—including a desperate desire to make a comeback. Haunted by memories of his mother and his family’s ruin, Blade’s only hope is in the forbidden love of his girlfriend. But when he discovers a deeply protected family secret, Blade sets out on a journey across the globe that will change everything he thought to be true.

I did try to read this, but poetic verse is not my forte, so I ended up DNFing it.

Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust [5 stars] - added to TBR
Synopsis: Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale

At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.

Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.

Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.

The synopsis is ten years long, but basically this is like a Snow White retelling. It's told in two perspectives, Lynet, a 15 year old, and her stepmother, Mina. It's told in two times, past and present. The excerpt was incredibly fascinating and I was hooked immediately. I am sure I would have found it eventually, but I was really excited to find a new book to add to my TBR via Buzz Books.

The House at 758 by Kathryn Berla [2.5 stars]
Synopsis: Sixteen year old Krista is still grieving the untimely death of her mother when her father's new girlfriend moves into their home. He's already moved on and wants Krista to do the same, but she's not ready to resume a normal life yet. Distancing herself from those around her, Krista spends all of her time obsessively watching a mysterious house, the house at 758.

When a fellow classmate, Jake, takes a sudden interest in her, Krista feels excited for the first time in two years, but feelings of guilt consume her, and she ends up pushing Jake away. It isn't until her grandfather makes a surprise visit from Venezuela that Krista is finally able to confront her grief and begin to let things go.

I was not fond of this one.

Your One and Only by Adrianne Finlay [5 stars] - added to TBR
Synopsis: Jack is a walking fossil. The only human among a sea of clones. It’s been hundreds of years since humanity died off in the slow plague, leaving the clones behind to carry on human existence. Over time they’ve perfected their genes, moving further away from the imperfections of humanity. But if they really are perfect, why did they create Jack?

While Jack longs for acceptance, Althea-310 struggles with the feeling that she’s different from her sisters. Her fascination with Jack doesn’t help. As Althea and Jack’s connection grows stronger, so does the threat to their lives. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

This one is a sci-fi novel where clones are the only people that exist until one clone creates a human after hundreds of years of them being "extinct". I am so curious to read more. It reminded me of Across the Universe and another book that I couldn't remember the title/author.

Everless by Sara Holland [4 stars] - added to TBR
Synopsis: In the land of Sempera, time is extracted from blood and used as payment. Jules Ember and her father were once servants at Everless, the wealthy Gerling family’s estate, but were cast out after of a fateful accident a decade ago. Now, Jules’s father is reaching his last hour, and she will do anything to save him. Desperate to earn time, she arrives at the palace as it prepares for a royal wedding, ready to begin her search into childhood secrets that she once believed to be no more than myths. As she uncovers lost truths, Jules spirals deeper into a past she hardly recognizes, and faces an ancient and dangerous foe who threatens her future and the future of time itself.

This had a slower start, but I ended up getting hooked.

All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis [4 stars] - already on TBR
Synopsis: In a world where every word and gesture is copyrighted, patented or trademarked, one girl elects to remain silent rather than pay to speak, and her defiant and unexpected silence threatens to unravel the very fabric of society.

Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks ("Sorry" is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She's been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can't begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she's unable to afford.

But when Speth's friend Beecher commits suicide rather than work off his family's crippling debt, she can't express her shock and dismay without breaking her Last Day contract and sending her family into Collection. Backed into a corner, Speth finds a loophole: rather than read her speechrather than say anything at allshe closes her mouth and vows never to speak again. Speth's unexpected defiance of tradition sparks a media frenzy, inspiring others to follow in her footsteps, and threatens to destroy her, her family and the entire city around them.

 Fascinated by a world where everything is copyrighted, trademarked, etc. The excerpt ended on such an explosive note!

The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis [4 stars] - added to TBR
Synopsis: The Swimmer. The Rebel. The Nerd.

All Ryan, Harley and Miles had in common was Isaac. They lived different lives, had different interests and kept different secrets. But they shared the same best friend. They were sidekicks. And now that Isaac's gone, what does that make them?

Will Kostakis, award-winning author of The First Third, perfectly depicts the pain and pleasure of this teenage world, piecing together three points of view with intricate splendour.

This one started out a little slow, but picked up quickly. I am invested in Ryan's story for sure.

The Gatekeepers by Jen Lancaster [3 stars]
Synopsis: Anyone passing through North Shore, IL, would think this was the most picture-perfect place ever, with all the lakefront mansions and manicured hedges and iron gates. No one talks about the fact that the brilliant, talented kids in this town have a terrible history of throwing themselves in front of commuter trains, and that there's rampant opioid abuse that often leads to heroin usage.

Meet Simone, the bohemian transfer student from London, who is thrust into the strange new reality of the American high school; Mallory, the hyper-competitive queen bee; and Stephen, the first generation genius who struggles with crippling self-doubt. Each one is shocked when lovable football player Braden takes his own life and the tragedy becomes a suicide cluster. With so many students facing their own demons, can they find a way to save each other—as well as themselves?

Inspired by the true events that happened in the author’s home town.

It wasn't bad, but it didn't really capture my attention. I don't think I will read this one when it is released, although I do think it would probably translate better in a finished copy. There were some texts from characters in between chapters and the formatting was weird in the galley.

Warcross by Marie Lu [5 stars] - already on TBR
Synopsis: From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Action-packed excerpt that makes me so excited to get my hands on a finished copy!

All Things New by Lauren Miller [4 stars] - added to TBR
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Jessa Gray has always felt broken inside, but she’s gotten very good at hiding it. No one at school knows about the panic attacks, the therapy that didn't help, the meds that haven’t worked. But when a severe accident leaves her with a brain injury and noticeable scars, Jessa’s efforts to convince the world that she’s okay finally crumble—now she looks as shattered as she feels.

Fleeing from her old life in Los Angeles, Jessa moves to Colorado to live with her dad, but things go from bad to worse when she realizes she’s seeing bruises and scars on the people around her that no one else can see. She blames it on the accident, but as her body heals and the hallucinations continue, Jessa wonders if what she’s seeing could somehow have a deeper meaning.

In her quest for answers, she falls for Marshall, a boy whose kindness and generous heart slowly draw Jessa out of her walled-off shell and into the broken, beautiful, real world—a place where souls get hurt just as badly as bodies, and we all need each other to heal.

Anxiety/panic disorder ridden MC...really liked the voice and interested to see where Jessa's story takes her.

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp [3 1/2 stars] - already on TBR
Synopsis: Days before Corey is to return home to the snow and ice of Lost Creek, Alaska, to visit her best friend, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town's lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she's a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter...

 It's a little slow to start but I have hope that it'll pick up because I am looking forward to this one.

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi [skipped]
Synopsis: In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts – lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt.

Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a royal, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves – and his own life.

A gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy.

Love Songs and Other Lies by Jessica Pennington [4 stars] - added to TBR
Synopsis: That's the thing about the past...
Back-of-the-classroom anonymity is all Cam wants from the tiny Michigan town he's calling home. A new life uninterrupted by the tragedy he left behind. Until he meets a girl who piques his interest and their relationship quickly turns into a confusing mix of friendship, musical adventure, and a love he didn't expect...or want.

... as soon as it's over, it can come right back
Two years after turning into the #1 Fan of the Breakup Anthem, Virginia "Vee" Miller is just looking for a fun, carefree summer. So she agrees to join a few of her old high school friends on a battling bands reality show tour bus. What she doesn't know is that they also invited Cam. Her first love, and her first heartbreak. Between playing fake-girlfriend to one band member and faking friendship-only interest in Cam, it's not exactly the fresh start she had in mind. Because Cam sees right through her, and his determination to win her forgiveness is causing its own TMZ-worthy problems for Vee. With cameras rolling, she'll have to decide if her favorite breakup anthem deserves a new ending. And if she's willing to expose her own secrets to keep Cam's under wraps.

This sounds like a good contemporary read. I liked what I read so far. :)

No comments: