Sep 24, 2013

Review: Cut by Patricia McCormick

Title: Cut
Author: Patricia McCormick
Rating: 
 (3/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 151 pages
Published February 2002


"'A tingle arced across my scalp. The floor tipped up at me and my body spiraled away. Then I was on the ceiling looking down, waiting to see what would happen next.' Callie cuts herself. Never too deep, never enough to die. But enough to feel the pain. Enough to feel the scream inside. Now she's at Sea Pines, a 'residential treatment facility' filled with girls struggling with problems of their own. Callie doesn't want to have anything to do with them. She doesn't want to have anything to do with anyone. She won't even speak. But Callie can only stay silent for so long..."

I thought this was a good book, and there wasn't really much to dislike, but...the ending. The ending is what I had a bit of a problem with. It felt pretty inconclusive. It was hard to find the plot. However, don't worry. I'll get to that part in a second.

As for the beginning of the story, it didn't really seem like anything that special to me. I've read a couple of books where the main character is sent to a mental facility to "get better," and the only part that seemed different about this story is that the character wasn't putting up a fight the entire time...unless you count the silent treatment as putting up a fight.

Callie's silence was pretty intriguing, especially since there were a couple of points in the story where she so desperately wanted to open her mouth and let the words out--sometimes, she forced herself not to. Other times, she didn't even remember how to speak.

Based on this, you'd expect that when Callie finally starts talking, it'd be this grand thing, right? A big revelation. A huge turning point in the story. Well, I'd thought so too, and I was wrong. Callie starts speaking, and everyone acts like not a single thing has changed. I was like, "??????????????"

Alright, now the ending. The ending was just so...I don't even have words for it. I was genuinely shocked that my novel had run out of pages. All I kept thinking was, That was it? That's the end of this novel that gets four-and-five-star reviews and has been raved about by practically every important author/reader in the world?

Don't worry, I won't spoil the ending for you. I'm not that mean. But if/when you read the book, just think for a second. The ending was so bland. So inconclusive. I have so many questions! Here are a few questions that were on my mind when I finished the book. If you haven't read it/finished it yet, skip the bullets!

  • What the heck happens with Callie? Does she get better? Worse? An excerpt or an epilogue would have been nice!
  • What exactly is Amanda's story? McCormick is very vague about her. I think that she's supposed to be painted to be an important character, but I don't really know.
  • Is this whole book a letter to Callie's therapist? Or was I supposed to be the therapist? Literally made no sense to me.
  • Does Callie's family patch up their problems? I don't know about you, but I kind of wanted to know that part.
  • Does Callie get in ANY kind of trouble for running away (even if it was only for a few hours)? Come on, I wanna know!
I have a feeling that whoever is reading this review probably thinks it's another bashing one. THAT ISN'T THE CASE AT ALL! I was very interested in this book, although I will admit that there were some aspects which I didn't like.

If any of you have any answers for my unanswered questions of Cut, have questions of your own, or would like to tell me what YOU thought, feel free to drop a comment in the box down below!


















Sep 19, 2013

Review: The Future of Us

Title: The Future of Us
Author: Jay Asher
Rating: 
 (4/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 356 pages
Published November 2011




"It's 1996, and Josh and Emma have been neighbors their whole lives. They've been best friends almost as long - at least, up until last November, when Josh did something that changed everything. Things have been weird between them ever since, but when Josh's family gets a free AOL CD in the mail,his mom makes him bring it over so that Emma can install it on her new computer. When they sign on, they're automatically logged onto their Facebook pages. But Facebook hasn't been invented yet. And they're looking at themselves fifteen years in the future.

By refreshing their pages, they learn that making different decisions now will affect the outcome of their lives later. And as they grapple with the ups and downs of what their futures hold, they're forced to confront what they're doing right - and wrong - in the present."


This book...wow. It wasn't totally five-star worthy, but I think that four stars is a pretty decent rating. The plot is something totally different than what I've read in the past, which is good--I always say that I love reading things that are different from everything else. In a society like this one, there are just no more creative, original ideas left--or so we think. The Future of Us proved me wrong on that one.

So as the description says, it's 1996 and Josh and Emma both accidentally download Facebook onto Emma's computer. Since it's 1996, they have no idea what Facebook even is--so when they find their future selves and see pictures, spouses, and status updates, you can imagine things are weird.

Josh's life looks totally awesome. He's married to the hottest girl in school and has twins. Emma's life isn't looking so great--she's stuck with a no good, cheating husband. And no matter how many times she tries to change her future, every husband she seems to get is a dud.

Now, a question for all of you: If you had a chance to peek into your future and you weren't happy with it, how far would you go to change it? Not to spoil anything for any of you, but Emma goes to some extremes. Every time her future Facebook page changes, she gets all excited--who will she be married to now? Did she drop that cheating jerk? How many kids does she have?

The story in its entirety was pretty good. The writing wasn't bad, but the ending felt a bit spotty to me. Some questions were left unanswered, which totally bugged me. (An example of that is the sentence in big, block, captial, bold letters in the next paragraph.) But in the end, I really really liked this book. As mentioned a million and one times, it has a different plot, and I LIKE DIFFERENT. WOO!

ALSO, LET'S NOT FORGET TO MENTION THE FACT THAT (*SPOILER ALERT*) KELLAN IS APPARENTLY GOING TO GET PREGNANT SOON AND THEY NEVER SAY WHAT HAPPENS TO HER WITH THAT.

Sorry, just a bit of book frustration there. Anyway, you should definitely check out The Future of Us by Jay Asher. You won't regret it!























Sep 17, 2013

Review: Wintergirls Laurie Halse Anderson




Title: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic, Contemporary 
Page Count: 279
Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Summary~

“Dead girl walking,” the boys say in the halls.
“Tell us your secret,” the girls whisper, one toilet to another.
I am that girl.
I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through.
I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.


Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend’s restless spirit.

In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple-award-winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery.


------------------


My god. This book. The realness of it, to think that there are people that go through this everyday. I can't. This is a book that every teenage girl should have to read. Being a topic that is in out face now of days I think it would be beneficial for others to read this before they go and attempt it themselves. 

The book was written in a form I am not familiar with, so I wouldn't be able to tell you. But things were repeated and it made it have and eerie effect. In my opinion that is. 

     "“Why? You want to know why?

      Step into a tanning booth and fry yourself for two or three days. After your skin bubbles and peels off, roll in coarse salt, then pull on long underwear woven from spun glass and razor wire. Over that goes your regular clothes, as long as they are tight.
 

      Smoke gunpowder and go to school to jump through hoops, sit up and beg, and roll over on command. Listen to the whispers that curl into your head at night, calling you ugly and fat and stupid and bitch and whore and worst of all, "a disappointment." Puke and starve and cut and drink because you don't want to feel any of this. Puke and starve and drink and cut because you need the anesthetic and it works. For a while. But then the anesthetic turns into poison and by then it's too late because you are mainlining it now, straight into your soul. It is rotting you and you can't stop.
 

     Look in a mirror and find a ghost. Hear every heartbeat scream that everysinglething is wrong with you.
      "Why?" is the wrong question.
      Ask "Why not?” "  ~ Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

Lia's struggles are scary real. Laurie made you feel as if you were in Lia's position. My feelings towards the book are indescribable. Weight is something I deal with all the time but I could never starve myself to the extent of 97lbs. What shocked me most though was that Lia wanted to go even LOWER then that! 

I wish there was a second novel or short story to this to tell you what Lia became after her treatment. If she is actually better, or "thawed" as she put it in the novel. I want to know what happens in her life. But I guess that is up to my imagination. 

I got asked by a friend if I would find this book supernatural. No, I would not. I believe that Cassie was a figment of Lia's imagination. I believe Lia wanted the help she needed all along but wouldn't admit it to herself. So by making up Cassie she created a figure to convince her that she needs help. In the end though Cassie leaves Lia as she is dying. Alone, in a motel room. Just like her best friend. (***Spoiler: Lia doesn't die!***) 

Though Lia's and Cassie's friendship ended long before Cassie's death she did call Lia 33 times that night. None of which Lia answered. Another thing that I believe she made up Cassie for was to ease her guilt of not helping her ex-best friend when she needed her most. 




RATING: 




















Sep 14, 2013

Review: The Ruining by Anna Collomore

Title: The Ruining
Author: Anna Collomore
Rating: 
 (2/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 313 pages
Published Febuary 2013




"Annie Phillips is thrilled to leave her past behind and begin a shiny new life on Belvedere Island, as a nanny for the picture-perfect Cohen family. In no time at all, she falls in love with the Cohens, especially with Libby, the beautiful young matriarch of the family. Life is better than she ever imagined. She even finds romance with the boy next door. 

All too soon cracks appear in Annie's seemingly perfect world. She's blamed for mistakes she doesn't remember making. Her bedroom door comes unhinged, and she feels like she's always being watched. Libby, who once felt like a big sister, is suddenly cold and unforgiving. As she struggles to keep up with the demands of her new life, Annie's fear gives way to frightening hallucinations. Is she tumbling into madness, or is something sinister at play?"

I started off liking this book, but the ending (which I will eventually get to) really just didn't cut it for me. I was extremely dissatisfied with everything that went on after the midway point of the book.

So, back to the beginning. I liked it. I really did. Annie's haunting past and the death of her younger sister Lissa shook her up, which made sense. She escaped her shack of a house to go live in this fabulous house as a nanny for this woman Libby Cohen. In the beginning, Libby is really kind to her. She gives Annie beautiful clothes, a brand new phone, and a room in the beautiful house.

Then, things suddenly begin to turn weird. Libby keeps calling Annie "Nanny," but then denies it. (Note: I may not be entirely accurate with this part. There was an extremely blurred line between what Annie was seeing/hearing and what was really happening.) She's incredibly cold and snappy to Annie, and then out of nowhere, she'd be all nice to her again. This is the part where I started to dislike the book,  because it started to make absolutely no sense.

So, naturally, Annie goes crazy. She starts doing things she can't remember (like eating tons and tons of food at night and leaving it out to rot), buying things from the drugstore and then being surprised when the receipt matched up with her credit card, and forgetting to take care of Zoe (Libby's daughter) and then getting in huge trouble. Annie doesn't understand--are these things really happening, or is Libby trying to make her crazy? And if she is, why would she do that?

Once Annie's situation gets bad enough, Libby offers to get her serious mental help to make her better. Annie reluctantly agrees because, of course, this is Libby--the woman she idolizes and may have a mean streak but will always love her. Then, while Annie is stuck inside the mental hospital, there is a huge plot twist--the reason why Libby took such interest in Annie all along. Don'r worry, guys. I won't ruin that part for you.

After all of that stuff goes down (in which I was insanely confused and didn't understand most of what was going on), there comes the epilogue. The entire next paragraph will contain major spoilers, so if you haven't read the book already, I suggest skipping that one.

In the end, Libby is sentenced for life. Collomore doesn't even explain what happened between Annie leaving the hospital and Annie waking up in bed with Owen who-knows-how-long later. Excuse me?? One minute, Annie is being checked out of the hospital, teetering over the brink of insanity--then she's all of a sudden in this happy perfect life and Libby is gone and she wants to see Zoe and all will be well. That's my biggest pet peeve about books. The ending needs to progress! It gave me the impression that Collomore just rushed the ending...and an ending should never be rushed.

I took this book out of my library because the description seemed very interesting, and I thought it was going to be a great book. Writing wise, Collomore isn't bad. I think the flaw in this book was the plot development. I really wasn't satisfied. :-(

Well, that's all that I'm going to write about for today. Sorry that reviews won't be up as frequently for awhile, since school started and Amber and I are going to be weighed down with that!










Sep 10, 2013

Review: The Shade of the Moon by Susan Beth Pfeffer


Title: The Shade of the Moon
Author: Maureen Johnson
Rating: 
 (1/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 2013

Book #4 in The Last Survivors series


I started off thinking I was going to like this book, but I really didn't. Here's what it's about, for any who don't know:


"It's been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?"

I can start by complaining that I was not able to find out what number book this was in the series (while I was standing around like an idiot in the library) until I got home and found out no, this wasn't the second book. IT WAS THE FOURTH. Yeah, I skipped an entire two books. At first, I thought that skipping two books (basically reading the first and what's hopefully the last) would be an issue, but after starting, I realized that it wasn't. I didn't miss a thing. The same plot was going on since last time. Quick note: I didn't like the first book all that much, so why in God's name did I decide to keep reading this series?!


Anyway, as you can already tell, there are some things that I didn't like.*
First of all, Jon meets this Sarah girl and talks to her all of three times total and then suddenly he's kissing her and telling her that he loves her. Um, excuse me, what???? They hadn't been known each other a week. Totally fake. Very disappointed. Certain authors are great at constructing love, and I guess Pfeffer just decided to throw in a love story into an apocalypse book, but it was just too much going on and didn't really work out all that well.


Also, the (SPOILER ALERT) situation with Miranda and her baby. Okay, she has a baby and it's born and she's told it's deformed and dead. Sad, but kinda expected. Then Miranda comes home distraught, yadayadayada, needing weeks to recover...

...About a week later, she's chatting up Jon and hatching a plan to get her living baby back, since she was lied to (yeah, another unrealistic thing). Okay, that part DOESN'T make sense. Isn't she supposed to be crying and distraught and sad and missing her baby???

The plan for getting the baby back (i.e. WALKING INTO THE HOUSE OF THE BABY'S ADOPTIVE PARENTS DRESSED AS PRETEND, UNDERAGE DOCTORS AND THEN JUST WALKING OUT OF THE HOUSE WITH THE BABY) was not thought through. So many things could've gone wrong. Come on, Pfeffer, I sorta liked the first book in this series. The whole series is definitely really creative. But you have a problem with coming up for a successful escape plan?!

As for the series in general, I liked the first book best...this one definitely wasn't good enough and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else, though.

Well, that's really all I have left to say about this book, since I really didn't enjoy it and I don't want to ruin anyone else's mood besides mine today! Oh, and school finally started up again, and it'll be a bit harder for me to get reviews up, but don't worry people, they will be up!



*-Although I'm not fond of giving negative reviews, I promise that I will always put up my true thoughts about a book after I read it. Unfortunately, this book didn't sit well with me, although I still respect Pfeffer for publishing it. However, I will not in any way, shape, or form hold back my true opinions of this book. If you don't like negative reviews, sorry! :-(






Sep 2, 2013

Review: 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson

Title: 13 Little Blue Envelopes
Author: Maureen Johnson
Rating: ★★
 (3/5 Stars)
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published August 2005




"Would you follow the directions?

Would you travel around the world?

Would you open the envelopes one by one?


Inside little blue envelope 1 are $1,000 and instructions to buy a plane ticket.

In envelope 2 are directions to a specific London flat.

The note in envelope 3 tells Ginny: Find a starving artist.

Because of envelope 4, Ginny and a playwright/thief/bloke–about–town called Keith go to Scotland together, with somewhat disastrous–-though utterly romantic–-results.

Everything about Ginny will change this summer, and it's all because of the 13 little blue envelopes."


This was definitely a weird and quirky book, but I liked it. There were a couple of things that bothered me, which I'll get to in a minute, but in the book's entirety I think that Johnson found a creative, unused idea (which is a difficult thing to do in a world like ours, which has so many books!) and she found a way to rock it pretty well.

So, like it says above, Ginny's Aunt Peg sent her thirteen envelopes, with instructions in each. Aunt Peg is no longer there to help her out, so Ginny's on her own in tons of foreign countries, traveling Europe with nothing but the envelopes and anything she can shove inside of her hideous backpack.

There were a couple of parts about this book that kind of threw me off a little bit.

#1--Ginny seemed so emotionless to me. To me, it felt like she was just doing these things. No complaints, no comments, no thoughts. Aunt Peg told her to go there and look at that. She went there and looked at that. I didn't really get to know Ginny as a character. She sort of just did things. No insight on to who she is.

#2--There is absolutely NO mention (or at least, I didn't find it) of what Ginny's parent's thought about their seventeen year old daughter traveling to Europe without ways to contact them (except for letters) all by herself, armed with thirteen little blue envelopes. ?????????????

#3--Ginny+Kieth=? Ginny and Kieth were total strangers, and then totally out of the blue, he kissed her. And followed her to some places. And made out with her. And told her that he knew she was going to have to leave London at some point. Still, he never clarified what they were. Ginny never thought much of it either. She's gone for about two weeks without a single word to him, then she's back in London and poof--they're together. (Maybe?)

This was a really interesting book to read, and I did enjoy it even though I was thrown off by certain points. However, the sequel, The Last Little Blue Envelope, came out six years after the prequel. WHAT?

Also, as good of a book as this was, I just don't feel like drudging through the sequel, so I think I'll leave off with this story where the first book dropped me off.

Well, that's all I'm going to review for today. Check back soon for my next review, which will be on The Scorpio Races. :-)