Tear You Apart by Sara Cross

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Cursed with a Snow White curse, Viv knows there’s little she can do to escape her fate. One day her stepmother will try to poison her, and she will have to wait for her prince charming to rescue her. Waiting around for her stepmother to kill her would be bad enough, but also has to deal with the fact that her best friend and sometimes boyfriend, Henley, is cursed to be her Huntsman. One day, Henley will either let Viv run into the forest, leaving him forever, or will cut out her heart for her stepmother.

Wow. This book is amazing! I love seeing the the Snow White fairytale in a unique new light, and I was never sure how things were going to turn out. This book is just so imaginative and creative — I love it! I also love that we get to see different perspectives of the fairytale characters. Yes, the evil queen is evil, but she certainly has her reasons. Also, “happily ever after” endings may not actually be that awesome. If you enjoy fairytales, or just weird, interesting storylines, pick this one up for sure!

Rating: 4.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

 

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City of Bones Full Analysis

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Clary has a pretty average life – friends, school, and an overprotective mom. But all that changes when she stumbles across what she believes is a boy getting mugged in a nightclub. It turns out that the boy, Jace, is a Shadowhunter — an otherworldly being charged with saving humans from demons. Suddenly, Clary is swept up in the Shadowhunter world. Her mother is kidnapped by a demonic force, and Clary must battle demons, solve ancient mysteries, and learn truths about her past that she never expected.

Though there’s not much depth to this novel, it is super entertaining. The characters are all well-written, and Clare does a good job of making you care about them. I also totally didn’t see the big twist coming in this novel, so get ready for that. If you love it, there’s a ton of books in the series and this first book provides excellent set up for what comes next!

Rating: 4/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

 

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

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Separated from their parents, Molly and Kip are Irish immigrants who struggle to survive on the streets of England. When Molly finds employment at an old manor house, she believes their fortunes may have finally changed. But, upon arrival, the house is not all it appears to be. Dilapidated and crumbling, it’s clear from the house that its owners may not be the wealthy landowners they claim to be. What’s more, when cleaning the house each morning, Molly finds the same set of dirty footprints tracking the floors — footprints that couldn’t belong to any of the family members. Molly and Kip soon find that there’s more to the house than they bargained for, and they must do everything they can to escape their situation with their lives.

If you like spooky ghost stories, this one is pretty good. BUT, it’s not the best I’ve read. To me, it seemed like the plot dragged a bit, especially after the big secret reveal. There’s plenty of action, though, and the characters are all really well done. Pick this one up, especially, if you’re a fan of historical fiction. It’s a good one — just not my absolute favorite.

Rating: 3.5/5

*ALA Notable Children’s Book, 2015

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here. 

 

Swim the Fly by Don Calame

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Matt and his friends set a goal each summer. This summer, the goal is to see a naked girl in real life — no pictures, no internet. Aside from his misadventures encountered while searching for an elusive naked girl, Matt is also struggling to impress his swim-team crush, Kelly. In an attempt to get the girl, Matt volunteers to swim the fly at his team’s meet. The only problem is that the fly is the hardest swimming stroke, and Matt has never competed in the event before. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Matt’s summer is filled with hilarity, near-misses, and some serious consequences.

If you’re looking for a hilarious read, this is it. The plot is a bit (ok, a lot) predictable, but the characters are incredibly funny. I laughed out loud more than once when reading the book (and I don’t do that often). Pick this up if you’re in the mood for a light, not challenging read that will keep you entertained.

Rating: 4/5 

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

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Typical southern belle, Harper Price, has the perfect life. She’s involved in almost everything in school, has the perfect boyfriend, and is homecoming queen. All that changes, though, when Harper interrupts an intense battle between two teachers at her school. When one teacher is killed, he transfers his powers to Harper. Harper becomes the paladin (protector) of an ancient order, and now possesses ninja fighting skills. Now, instead of cotillion practice and shopping, Harper’s life consists of battle training and trying to hide her new life from her perfect boyfriend and best friend. She must find a way out of this new existence, before she loses everything she cares about.

I really didn’t think I was going to like this book. I had zero connection with the main character — she was all about makeup, clothes, and being the most popular girl. BUT, as the book progresses, she completely transforms. Not only did I end up loving Harper, but there’s a ton of action in the story, and a pretty cool plot twist at the end. I’m definitely ready for the next book in the series!

Rating: 4.5/5

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.

 

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy

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Earth has been invaded by aliens. No one knows why they’ve come, but it’s obvious that they want to wipe out the human race completely. First, they cut off all electronics. Next, they send devastating explosions. Then, they sweep the world with an incurable virus. The ones who survive may seem lucky, but Cassie doesn’t feel that way. Having lost her mother to the virus, her father to an attack, and now separated from her brother, Cassie is alone. Alone, but determined to find the last person she loves. She must do everything she can to get to him, or die trying.

This book has a lot of hype (the movie will be coming out soon), but I didn’t love it. Alien invasions aren’t my thing, so I’m not surprised this wasn’t my favorite — but still. It just wasn’t super exciting, though the way the ending came together was pretty cool. If you love aliens/zombies/dystopian fiction, give it a shot — you might love it!

Rating: 3/5 

*YALSA Teen’s Top Ten, 2014

For full analysis (including flags and SPOILERS) click here.