Boy called Ash waits for the return of his parents, singing a forbidden lullaby to remind him of them. And doing his best to avoid his very, VERY grumpy yeti guardian, Tobu. But life is about to get a whole lot more crazy-adventurous for Ash. When a brave rescue attempt reveals he has amazing magical powers, he’s whisked aboard the Frostheart, a sleigh packed full of daring explorers who could use his help. But can they help him find his family.
I was slightly nervous going into this book, since middle grades can be hit or miss for me. This book was an okay read, but nothing too special. The overall plot was interesting enough, and was engaging at times. But I did find my mind wondering quite a bit while listening to it. And, that lead to a much slower reading experience.
The main character, Ash, was way to naive and stubborn. Sure, he is a young boy but he kept ignored the warnings of the people closest to him. When I was a kid, it was nice to know there were people looking out for me. It seemed as though his only agenda was to find his parents, and he didn’t care who lead him to them.
The supporting characters were a fun bunch. I enjoyed the character of Tobu, Ash’s yeti guardian. I would love to learn more about him and his past, especially since the story only gave us a little glimpse into his life.
“Gather round, children, and you will see something so awful it may turn your hair as gray as mine.”
Besides the fantasy aspects, the book had some funny moments. I wouldn’t say there were a ton of laugh out loud scenes, but there were some parts that did make me laugh. However, it was primarily a mystery and fantasy story that left you with way more questions than answers.
Still, the story as a whole was super predictable. Within a few chapters I could tell what was going to happen. There was a twist ending that I didn’t see coming. But it was neither a jaw dropping twist, nor very shocking. It was more like an interesting turn of events that is supposed to make you want to pick up the sequel.
This is a trilogy, but I can’t defiantly say if I will read the other two books. On the one hand, I want to see how the story ends. However, I don’t feel that I am all too invested in the story to continue with it. This isn’t a bad book at all, and I know that it is some people’s favorite trilogy. It just wasn’t something I would read again, but I’m still glad I picked it up.
Have you read and liked the ‘Frostheart’ trilogy? Should I read the rest of the books? Let me know in the comments below.
A bookish Filipino-American girl who crosses paths with the innkeeper’s aggravating nephew–but when they accidentally switch phones, their newly discovered secrets draw them together.
With a title like ‘The Holiday Switch’, you’d think this going to be some swap story. However, it has little to do with an actual switch. The main character, Lila, has worked at the cozy local inn for a while, and fancies herself as their best employee. But everything changes, when over winter break, she has to train a new employee, Teddy, who happens to be the nephew of inn’s owner.
First off, this is not some cute enemies-to-lovers swap story. The switch happens fairly early on when the two accidentally swapping phones. However, this gets resolved in a day. That being the end of any switch plot line. While they have each other’s phones, for literally just a few hours. They learn each other’s most deepest secrets.
Lila is hiding her book blog from her overprotective, non-social media loving parents. Teddy has a secret passion of rock climbing that he is very serious about, but he is afraid his family will think it is too dangerous.
“Sometimes it takes a snowstorm to bring two people together, but sometimes it takes one person—and someone you least expect—to help save the day.”
The plot took awhile to get into, and for the first half of the book, I wasn’t invested in the story or supposed romance that was going to happen. I didn’t feel any connection between Lila and Teddy. Sure, Teddy wasn’t the best worker, and was preoccupied with his rock climbing training. But, I found that Lila judged him right off the bat. It seemed that she didn’t like him, because he took away her chance to get extra hours working at the inn. In short, she was just being petty and bitter. Didn’t she ever hear not to judge a book buy it’s cover? Which is ironic seeing as she is a book blogger.
Speaking of her book blog, throughout the book there were review excerpts that she wrote on her blog. It was a nice touch, yet most the books where rated 4 or 5 stars. A little more diversity ratings would have been nice, since not every book can be a 4 star read. However, if all her books are that good, then she is one lucky reader.
This book does focus a lot on both their secrets. And, sharing these secrets help them form a bond. Still, I felt like their friendship and relationship came out of nowhere. Did they even like each other? Or did the mutual agreement to keep each other’s secrets make them want to be together. It really seems like it could be the latter.
As for the side characters, they were all very one dimensional. The author put less thought in everyone surrounding Lila and Teddy. I know a book needs it’s lead, but I like a well round group of supporting character as well. It wasn’t necessarily a bad book, it just wasn’t anything new or exciting. It was pretty forgettable. And overall, there was rather little romance involved in the story.
Also, one of my biggest pet peeves in books is the portrayal of writing as a career. In most every book where a main character wants to be a writer, there is one person that doesn’t believe it is a real career. Seriously, it’s 2022, if people can make a living on social media, then you can be a successful writer. Than again, maybe these authors were judged for their career choice, and are speaking from personal experience.
Please keep in mind that this solely my opinion. I try to be transparent and honest in my reviews. But, I would never want my reading experience to shy you away from reading a book that interests you. If you have any positives about the book, leave them in the comments. If you want to like and share this post, that would be amazing. And, follow my blog for all things bookish, and more!
The time has finally come to talk about my favorite books of 2021! I managed to read a lot of books this year. Well, a lot for me. And while I wouldn’t classify my reading year as amazing, some of the books that were top-tier reads. I decided to start at number 11 and work my way down to number 1. Also, I have a review up for, almost, all the books on this list, so if you want to know my in-depth thoughts on any of them, please read my reviews.
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
This is, I believe, the first young adult sci-fi that I have ever read. The premise and character intrigued me, and the ending left me wanting to continue on with the story. I think it was a good way to easy myself into the fantasy genre. It was a cool read that managed to squeak its way on to this list.
Legendborn by by Tracy Deonn
I wasn’t to thrilled to pick this book up, since it is a YA fantasy story. If you have read my blog for any length of time than you know me and fantasy aren’t the best of friends. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the plot, and the twist ending was fascinating. I am curious to see where the story will go from here. Overall, the excitement I got from listening to the story was why it got the number 10 spot.
Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
This is actually a book that I started back a year (or so) ago. But, I put it down and never picked it back up. That is, not until this year. I don’t know why I wasn’t engaged in the story the first time around, because I thought the plot worked well! There were also a lot of funny moments throughout the book. I would love to read more from this author, since her writing style was simple and effective. It isn’t the best book of all time, but I enjoyed it enough for it to become a favorite of 2021.
One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus
I read many YA thrillers this year, and many of them were great reads. However, this book was a roller coaster ride, without being too crazy. Truthfully, I felt like I was reading a Lifetime mystery movie, which I am not mad about. I love Lifetime and Hallmark movies, so I think that is one of the reason I enjoyed the book. But the ending is what really too this book to the next level for me. Some might call it predictable; I call it shocking. Which is probably why Karen M. McManus has become a new favorite author of mine, and this book is one of my favorites for the year.
You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Lucky number seven! This YA contemporary was cute, but not in a cheesy way. I liked how the story played out, and the female-female romance was very sweet. The main character, Liz, was relatable, and by the end of the book, began to stand up for herself. She had a lot going on at home, but handled it with so much strength, while hiding her anxiety. I think it is important to remember that we are the lead character of our lives, not a supporting role, which Liz eventually realized as well.
On The Fence by Kasie West
I love me some Kasie West, but I hadn’t picked up any of her older work until 2021. This is your classic best friends to lovers story, which is always a favorite of mine. Who am I kidding, Kasie West’s name on the cover usually means it’ll be a favorite for me. I liked the romance aspect, and that the main character was the typical pretty girl. There was also a mental health plot that was interesting, as well. It was a simple story, and it made me happy so number six it is.
The Afterlife Of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand
This was a reread for me, but this year it became one of my favorite books. Hence it being in my top 5 books of the year. Not sure, what head space I was in the first time I read it, but now it has officially become a yearly holiday read for me. It is a YA retelling of ‘A Christmas Carol’ with a unique twist. I think that just about anyone who knows the classic story would surely get a kick out of this book.
Toy Makers Apprentice by Sherri L. Smith
This is one of the last books that I read in 2021, and I am glad I discovered it. It is a middle-grade ‘The Nutcracker’ retelling that jumps right into the story from the get go. The plot is captivating, and I couldn’t put it down. It is such an original take on the classic story, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. I don’t know why more people aren’t raving about this book. It was very close to being higher on this list, but I read other books that were a little bit better.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong
This is a book that is getting a lot of buzz, so obviously I had to read it. The book is a take on Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliette’ set in Shanghai. After reading the book, I completely understand the hype. At first, I was a little confused. But once the story got going, it was, in a word, amazing. I don’t know how the author took Shakespeare’s classic story and turned it upside down while still making that connection to the original. I loved it! And evidently, others do too. And, to think I almost forgot to add it to my favorite books of the year. What was I thinking?
If I’m Being Honest by Austin Siegemund-Broka and Emily Wibberley
I think it is funny that this book made the list, since I was so close to DNFing it. Nevertheless, this book has become a contemporary favorite of mine. The main character was blunt and confident, but learned to be a better person, all on her own. She thought that she had to “tame” herself to get a guy. But really, she need to be better for herself, and nobody else. As said by Dr. Seuss, “Be who you are and say how you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”
Five Feet Apart by Mikki Daughtry, Rachael Lippincott, & Tobias Iaconis
I don’t know if anyone expected this to be my top book of the year, because I sure didn’t. I think I mentioned this in my review for the book, but this story broke me. The plot is incredible and heartbreaking all at once. Your emotions will be all over the place while reading the book, which was probably the authors intention. I am going to warn you that the ending will make you cry, and probably break you as well. In my opinion, it is a love story that everyone should read.
Those are all my favorite books of 2021, and I am excited to see what will make the list next year. Let me know your favorite books of the year, and don’t forget to check out my reviews on the these books.
Title: The Afterlife Of Holly Chase Author: Cynthia Hand Published: 2017 Genre: YA/Contemporary/Holiday Rating:
On Christmas Eve five years ago, seventeen-year-old Holly Chase was visited by three Ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways. She didn’t. And then she died. Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge—as their latest Ghost of Christmas Past. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year’s Scrooge is different. This year’s Scrooge might change everything.
I was very excited to read a YA version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”. This is a story that has been told many different ways before, and for good reason. A Christmas Carol embodies not only the spirit of Christmas, but also teaches us that we should remember the past, live in the present, and hope for a good future. However, the story is always about an older depiction of Scrooge.
A book that follows a teenager, especially a girl, intrigued me. At first, Holly was an unlikable Scrooge who was too self involved to care about the lessons that the ghosts were trying to teach her. She had lost her mother, and grew distant from her father. She was raised by her bitchy stepmother, which turned Holly cold. However, as the story went on, we learned a lot about Holly. She was regretful, and truly lonely. You could see that there was a good person hidden with in her Scrooge-like exterior.
Because Holly ignores the ghost, she is forced to become the new ghost of Christmas past after her death. But when teenager, Ethan, is chosen as the newest Scrooge. Holly is instantly drawn to this younger, teenage version (as was I). The thing that made Ethan different than other Scrooges, even Holly, was that he still wasn’t all that heartless. True, he was stuck-up, self involved, and thought that money was all that mattered. But, he still managed to show kindness at times.
“My fortune read, ‘It’s never too late to become what one could have been’.”
There were moments throughout the story where I felt bad for Holly and Ethan. You want them to get a happy ending with each other. They both had been through things that contributed to their lack of compassion. But, their shared hardship doesn’t excuse their actions. Especially Holly’s, who was being a bit thoughtless in her communications with Ethan. She was being reckless because she found him cute and interesting. His journey wasn’t about her, but she somewhat made it about herself by only thinking about what she wanted and not focusing on thawing his cold heart.
Still, the love-story aspect was very cute. I understand why Holly and Ethan were attracted to one another. They were both unkind people that had a secret desire to change and be better people. But, they didn’t know how after all the mistakes they had made. Although, the love-story was a big part of the plot, it was the fact that isn’t was a real love-story that made this book so special. This was overall a great, heartwarming story.
The ending was incredible, shocking, and inspiring. It gave me all the feels of “A Christmas Carol”, while still managing to separate itself from the original story. However, from the beginning, the story has always begged the question, “Can people truly change?” I, for one, believe that changing yourself is a choice. One must decide if they want to make that choice.
Do you enjoy the story “A Christmas Carol”? What’s your favorite retelling of it? As always, don’t forget to like and share this review, and follow my little book blog for more content!
When Finley Brown returned to her hometown of Christmas, Oklahoma, from boarding school, she expected to find it just as she left it. Christmas hasn’t changed much in her sixteen years. But instead she returns to find that her best friend is dating her ex-boyfriend, her parents have separated, and her archnemesis got a job working at her grandmother’s inn. And she certainly didn’t expect to find the boy she may or may not have tricked into believing that Christmas was an idyllic holiday paradise on her grandmother’s doorstep. It’s up to Finley to make sure he gets the Christmas he was promised. This is Finley’s Christmas. It’s about home and family and friends and finding her place, and along the way she also finds the best Christmas present of all: love.
I was excited to pick up this book, since it was a Christmas contemporary set in Oklahoma. I have family from Oklahoma, and my mom grew up an Okie. However, the book left a bad taste in my mouth, because the author portrayed Oklahomans in a very stereotypical way. Tracy Andreen grew up in Oklahoma, so this could stem from her experience there. Or, the stereotyping was simply supposed to be a joke.
In the book, Finley, returns home for the holidays after spending the semester at an elite boarding school. She spends the holiday season coming to terms with the things that occurred while she was away at school, all while working at her grandmother’s inn. Things get mess when her snobby British schoolmate shows up at the inn with his aunt for the perfect Christmas holiday.
In the book, we meet characters that sound and act like dumb hicks that never left their small Oklahoma town. It seemed like most the girls end up getting pregnant in high school, or at least that how it was with Finley’s family. And, sure Oklahoma is known to be a religious state, but I wouldn’t classify everyone as judgemental.
Moving on, Finley wasn’t enjoyable to read about and, in the audiobook, she had an overly southern accent. Not all Oklahomans have an accent, but apparently in this book they do. Also, the love story didn’t work for me one bit. I didn’t get an ounce of chemistry from them. It felt forced, and I wasn’t buying the enemies-to-lovers story the author was selling.
“Three percent Neanderthal wasn’t it?”
Rather than hate-to-love it was an unexpected romance story. The two didn’t even know each other well enough to hate one another. Perhaps if this was a dual perspective story where we heard from Finley and her love interest, Arthur, I wouldn’t have had such a negative opinion on the romance.
Furthermore, the plot was predictable from the get go, but not in a cute Hallmark movie way. More like a Disney Channel movie that is trying to be relatable and cute. About halfway through the book, I knew exactly how everything was going to turn out. I don’t always mind this, but it is more annoying when the story already isn’t captivating me.
Besides the holiday romance and family drama, the book’s message is that life is tough. Things are hard, but you shouldn’t give up. If you fall down, get back up and try again. Although, I think this is a good message, the book didn’t deliver it well. True, one shouldn’t give up because something is hard. But giving up shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing.
Sometimes we do things that might not turn out the way we hoped. They might be too hard, or just give us stress. It is always okay to say ‘I can’t do this.’ Not every choice you make will be right, but it is better to do what is best for you, than to do something because you feel obligated to. Honestly, life isn’t that black and white, and you should make the best decision you can for yourself.
As you can tell, I had such a great time reading this book. Okay, bad joke. This book was a big letdown, and wished I had DNFed it. Still, if you liked this book, then I am happy for you. I think that I probably rambled way too much in this review, so, sorry (not sorry). Anyhow, give me a like, a share, and a follow.
Author: Kara McDowell Published: 2020 Genre: YA/Contemporary/Holiday Rating:
Sliding Doors meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in a sweet, smart holiday romance about a girl who decides to stop letting her anxiety stand in the way of true love.
I saw this book in stores last holiday season, and the cover intrigued me. I went into the book completely blind, since all I knew was that it is a YA contemporary that’s set at Christmas time. But, this book threw me for a loop. We jump straight into the plot from the get go, and learn all about the main character, Paige. She is an extreme worrier, who is paranoid to make a decision. She overthinks every choice, and gets anxiety when thinking about the effects her choices can have on her life.
In the book, we follow Paige as she spend Christmas with her best friend, and long time crush, Fitz. However, we also follow her to New York where she spends the holiday with her mom. The book showcases alternating time lines where the reader gets to see the outcome of both choices. At first, I was completely confused, because she was on a plane to New York. Then suddenly, Fitz was picking her up so she could spend Christmas at his family cabin.
As the book went on, I got use to the dual storylines. It was a cool concept, and with such an indecisive main character, I understood why the author chose to go this route. Still, I didn’t feel like the whole dual timeline works in a book. I have seen movies with this type of plot, and prefer it in films and shows rather than books. Yet, even in live-action, the lines between both paths can become blurry.
This was supposed to be a friends-to-lovers story, which I think got lost along the way. At one point, I was rooting for her to end up with another potential love interest. Paige was way too invested in Fitz, which was slightly annoying. Her crush wasn’t subtle or cute, but obsessive and desperate. She was pining so hard for her best friend, who was a serial dater. We do learn a lot about Fitz and the reason behind his relationship habits, but by then, I already wasn’t a fan of his character.
Something that the author did remarkably well was the mental health representation. Like Paige, I suffer from mental health disorders, anxiety being one of them. I completely understood her thoughts and worries in a way that only someone who also feels that way can. She thought that her brain was broken, and was scared that her illness was a burden to those around her.
“Rabbit holes are my specialty. I live and breathe in them.”
There are many times when I have felt the exact same way. It took me a long time to understand that my brain isn’t broken, but it does work differently than others. If anything, this is a self love story about coming to terms with your mental health struggles, and realizing you don’t have to let them control your life.
As for the two time lines, I’m not sure which one I enjoyed more, but I did find the ending thought provoking. It begs the question that all things will ultimately turn out the way they’re supposed to, no matter the path to you chose. It’s an interesting concept. One really has to wonder if fate does play a big part in our lives and decisions.
As a whole, the characters and plot weren’t my favorite, but I wouldn’t categorize the book as a disappointment. Have you read this book? Do you like alternating timeline plots? If you are a fan of reviews, give this post a like and a share. And make sure to follow the blog for all my post notifications.
Lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid have never been on the same team. So when their school’s art budget faces cutbacks, of course Natalie finds herself up against her nemesis once more. She’s fighting to direct the school’s first ever student-written play, but for her small production to get funding, the school’s award-winning band will have to lose it. Reid’s band. And he’s got no intention of letting the show go on. But when their rivalry turns into an all-out prank war that goes too far, Natalie and Reid have to face the music, resulting in the worst compromise: writing and directing a musical. Together. At least if they deliver a sold-out show, the school board will reconsider next year’s band and theater budget. Everyone could win.
From the synopsis, you get the sense that this is going to be a cute hate-to-love contemporary. However, the book didn’t read like one, which was slightly disappointing. Natalie and Reid’s feud started when they were in middle school, over their equal love of the clarinet. Natalie eventually found a love for theater and writing, leaving music to Reid and losing the bond she shared with her dad.
The main protagonist, Natalie, is very flawed. I didn’t enjoy how her imperfections are pointed out throughout the story, by other people close to her. She did need to hear some of these comments, but people, especially her friends, shouldn’t have been so blunt. This being said, I am unsure if we were supposed to sympathize with Natalie and find her relatable. Or, if she was intended to be an unlikable character. Because, I’m still on the fence about my opinion of her. As for Reid, her love interest, he was very pleasant to read about. His personality was relatable, and he didn’t come off as obnoxious. He knew that he was talented, but didn’t brag about it. His parents didn’t support his dreams, so he tried his hardest to prove that he was talented enough to make music as a career.
When we first meet Natalie and Reid, their interaction is rather snarky, but I found Reid to be fairly civil. It was Natalie that turned everything into a competition, and Reid was just along for the ride. This could be due to the fact that Natalie felt that Reid had replaced her in her fathers eyes. But this wasn’t Reid’s fault; she had misplaced anger. Natalie created a lot of drama and problems for herself. She never asked anyone before jumping to conclusions, and was seriously over-dramatic. Reid was trying to compromise, but she dismissed all his suggestion.
“I will never be enough for you.”
Nevertheless, I found myself empathizing with her at times. Despite all the drama, her feelings were valid. She was basically screaming out for her dad’s affection and getting shrugged off everytime. By the end of the book, I still didn’t see much growth in their relationship. Still, the message of following your dreams was a highlight in the story. A person can have a career they enjoy and still make a decent living. You might struggle, but everyone has struggles, even if they aren’t career related.
One odd plot point was the play theme, a ‘Frozen’ retelling. The author’s idea for a play – based off the animated film- that had a more important message was cute. But ‘Frozen’ just feels a little more middle school to me. Although, I am probably biased, since I am not a big ‘Frozen’ fan. I did want to mention that there is some Jewish representation in the book, but it doesn’t play a major role in the story. In short, the book didn’t feel like a true enemies-to-lovers, but more of a message about following your passion, and letting go of preconceived opinions of someone. If you are looking for a middle-of-the-road young adult contemporary, then give this one a read.
If you enjoyed this review, give the post a like and a share. I have many reviews up on the blog, and more to come, so follow the blog to get notified whenever I post.
Author: Rachel Cohn, David Levithan Published: 2010 Genre: YA/Contemporary/Holiday Rating:
Synopsis Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?
The book was exactly how I anticipated it to be, yet there were some twists and turns that I didn’t see coming. In the book, we follow Lily, who is an adorably awkward teenage girl having the worst Christmas of her life. Her family have all made other Christmas plans, leaving her with her older brother who is more focused on his holiday romance than spending time with his kid sister. Dash on the other-hand isn’t a fan of all the holidays opting to spend Christmas alone. These two very different teens meet by fate, kind of, and embark on the cutest love-story.
This is a dual perspective story where we get to hear from Dash and Lily. And, I am happy to say that I enjoyed both sides of the story equally. Lily is a fun character to follow, because even though she isn’t having the merriest Christmas, she is determined to stay joyful. She is shy and socially awkward, which I found to be very relatable. Dash dared her to challenge herself and step out of her comfort zone. And, to not be so afraid to be seen by the world. I know that was swooning hard over Dash, so there is no question to why Lily fell for him.
Dash reminded me so much of Holden Caulfield. He is cynical, moody, and a bit of a know-it-all. He doesn’t let anyone see his soft side, and is scared to let anyone get too close. Dash is lonely and wants to find ‘his person’ but isn’t sure there’s someone out there for him. Lily changed his outlook on a lot of things, including the holidays. I think he realized that maybe Christmas isn’t so bad if you have someone to spend it with.
It was fun watching the story unfold, and I kept wondering what the next dare would be. For a large portion of the book, they only converse through a red notebook. There is something sweet about falling for someone by their words, not their looks. Which just so happens to be how I fell in love with my husband. Still, I couldn’t wait until they finally met in person.
“I want to believe there is a somebody out there just for me. I want to believe that I exist to be there for that somebody.”
The story does a good job of showcasing how we all place people on pedestals. This is especially true when we only have a mental image of someone. Dash and Lily both got to know one another, but they still had unrealistic expectations. No one will ever be exactly how you envisioned them, but that’s okay. The story demonstrated that we can, and should, overcome our preconceived notion of somebody, and to get to know the real them.
The story had some flaws, as most do. One being that Lily was very confusing at times. She wanted Dash, but didn’t mind pursuing someone that she didn’t even like. I understand that Dash was just the guy in the notebook, but I would think that all his attempts to break her out of her shell would make her more brave. I want her to go get the guy, and not settle.
Dash annoyed me at times, because he could be really stuck-up. Without spoiling anything, there was a scene close to the end of the book where Lily messed up big. Dash was unforgiving, and it made me slightly annoyed, considering they hadn’t even met at that point. Cut the girl some slack.
As for the ending, I think it was simple, and wrapped everything up with a nice bow. The story as a whole was exciting, cute, and it took place in New York City! Spending the holidays in The Big Apple, even through a book, is fabulous. If you have read the book, go ahead and leave your rating in the comments. Also, follow the blog – all the cool kids are doing it!
Synopsis In horror movies, the final girl is the one who’s left standing when the credits roll. The one who fought back, defeated the killer, and avenged her friends. The one who emerges bloodied but victorious. But after the sirens fade and the audience moves on, what happens to her?
This book had been extremely hyped up, which made me eager to pick it up. As a horror movie lover the plot sounded right up my alley, yet I did have my reservations about it. The plot centers around a group of the last girls standing. Each girl has faced some horrific event, but made it out alive. They all attend a support group, because nobody understands the struggle of being the one that survived, except others that have done the same.
This book did take a bit to get into, but I think that was a personal thing. Adult fiction isn’t something I generally read, so I was going into it with a young adult reader mindset. We follow Lynnette Tarkington, a final girl that survived a massacre as a teenager, essentially by playing dead. Because she didn’t fight to survive others don’t see her as a ‘true’ final girl. She was a decent character, with a lot of dimensions to her. You could tell that out of all the girls in the support group, she struggled most with reintegrating into society. I wouldn’t say that she was a protagonist that I enjoyed reading about, but I did understand her issues.
As for the other girls, they were a diverse bunch, and each had their own emotional scars from the fearful events they had to face. Some of them tried to put the past behind them, while others tried to do good. One used substances to cope with the nightmares. Throughout the story, it was evident that despite all the time they spent together, they weren’t very close to each other. I attribute this to girls not wanting to get close to people and having to risk losing them.
“Isn’t the point of therapy that one day you don’t need it anymore?”
There were many nods to classic horror movies that I know and love. However, it wasn’t as if the author took these events right out of the movies. And, though one could spot the movie similarities you could tell that they were used solely as inspiration. My favorite horror movies have actual plots, and not just killing for the sake of killing. This book balances mystery and horror well. The mystery was interesting, and had me changing my suspects throughout the story. When I thought I knew who the killer was, the author would add something that made me rethink my initial guess.
The book wasn’t necessarily slow, but it wasn’t fast paced either. It fell somewhere in between. However, the second half of the book picked up the pace significantly. The last half was probably the easiest to get through, too. In all honesty, I would most likely have DNF’ed this book if not for the hype surrounding it. But, I’m glad that I stuck with it, since the ending really shocked me. The author did a great job, with a twist ending that I never saw coming. I found the moral of the story to be about tragedy, and it’s effect on people. We cannot guarantee that bad things won’t happen, but when they do, we only have two choices. Live in fear that they will occur again, or try to move on and live life. The author did a fantastic job conveying such a heavy message.
I wouldn’t call this a favorite book, since I expected a lot more from it. Also, I can also say with fair certainty that I won’t reread it, but I am happy that I gave it a chance. It will be interesting to see what this author will release next. I might read another one of their books in the future. In the comments, tell me know if you agree with the hype surrounding the book. And, be sure to give this post a like so that I know you enjoy my reviews.
Synopsis For fans of Sadie and The Cheerleaders comes an all new thriller about a boy who turns up dead under suspicious circumstances and the one girl who may be the key to solving the mystery of his untimely death.
This was interesting read, and I didn’t except the story to go this way. From the synopsis, I thought that it was going to be a psychological-mystery thriller. However, it was more of a drama/contemporary/mystery, but with other serous topics woven into the story. I don’t mind when stories deviate from the description, but it was a shock to me. I think that one reason that I didn’t mind the plot difference was the fact that the writing was very nice. It wasn’t to info dumpy or mystery heavy. Those things don’t bug me, but it was a welcome surprise that worked well in this case .
Ivy, who is the main protagonist, at the beginning of the book, has returned home from summer vacation. Her best friend Morgan is having a hard time after discovering the body of her special needs co-worker Ethan. When Morgan starts to withdraw from Ivy, she tries to do everything in her power to help her friends. Morgan’s only request is that she find out more about Ethan’s death. Ivy, Morgan, and Ethan worked at Fabuland, which is owned by Ivy’s dad. Her parents are divorced, and she has one older brother that has become more estrange from his family.
Fabuland – and Ivy’s dad – are both a major factor in the story. We got to learn a lot about her dad, and also her parents’ relationship. Her dad is selfish, condescending, arrogant, and unethical. As for Ivy, I didn’t find there to be much depth to her character. The author told us a lot about her family life (which plays a big part throughout the plot). However, I didn’t get good sense of Ivy’s personality. Sure, I learned that she was hard working, loyal and timid. But, I wanted there to be more to her character.
“In my dream, it only hurt for a second and then it was over.”
The supporting characters were mundane, and like Ivy, there wasn’t much depth to them. They all just blended together. I didn’t necessarily hate any of them, I just didn’t get a good sense of who Ivy’s brother or mother were. The most well written character was Ivy’s father, which I understand, since he is very significant to the story. I had never read a character like him before, and it was interesting to see the author’s take on that ty. He was horrible person, but she wrote him as someone that thought they were one of the good guys.
The plot jumped around a lot, and there were times that I had no clue where the story was going. I didn’t know how the author was going to connect everything, but she managed to make the multiple story-lines come together. The ending wasn’t jaw dropping, but it was at least slightly unexpected. It felt very ‘real world’ in my opinion, and the plot kept things down-to-earth. I sympathized with Ivy by the end of the book, since her life unraveled right before her eyes. The story leaves you wondering how someone can be a bad person, and yet you still love them? Is it right to love someone that has done atrocious things? I think that the answers to these questions aren’t black and white. You will never know if the choice you make is best. All you can do is make a choice and live with it.
I always want to mention the trigger warning for books with sensitive subject matter. This story has many important trigger warnings, so I recommend you visiting BookTriggerWarnings.com to see them all. Let me know if you have, or want to read this book. I know that it hasn’t been well received, but don’t let that scare you away. If you want to make my day, follow the blog to get notifications about new posts.