Saturday, June 20, 2015

Summer Reading (So Far)

I always read a lot of books right at the beginning of the summer. Since I've been busy with school for a long time, it's the first few weeks of June where I really go on reading binges. And since I've read so many so far (14 since June 2), I thought I'd do some mini-reviews.

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith
Synopsis: After a typo sends Ellie's e-mail to a stranger, she and Graham (the stranger) begin exchanging e-mails. Graham turns out to be a movie star who is shooting a movie in her New England town.
Thoughts: I read this for the first time a few years ago, and it just felt like summer to me. So I figured my first day of summer vacation would be well-spent with this book. Aside from the suspension of disbelief and the stranger danger, it was just as cute and summer-y as I remembered.

Off The Page by Jodi Picoult and Samantha Van Leer
Synopsis: This is a companion novel to Between the Lines. Oliver is a fairytale prince who has just escaped the pages of his book to be with Delilah. But things can't stay perfect forever--welcome to the real world.
Thoughts: I had some trouble remembering the characters from Between the Lines, but I was told it wasn't necessary to have read that first, so I figured I would be fine. (Since I had read it, I would still end up ahead, right?) However, this made it kind of hard to care about the characters, since I didn't always know who they were. If you're reading this with Between the Lines fresh in your memory, I'm sure some of these problems get cleared up. But the way I read was a little disappointing.

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
Synopsis: Alex has schizophrenia. She has to navigate her new school and figure out what's true and what's not.
Thoughts: Up until the end, I was thinking this was more of a "meh" book. It was good, but not excellent. But the end made up for that--I can't go into too much detail due to the plot twistiness of it all, but the unreliable narrator made for interesting developments.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Synopsis: The sequel to To All the Boys I've Loved Before. I'm going to leave it at that so I don't spoil the first book for you.
Thoughts: Very cute. After a difficult school year and so many final projects, tests, exams, etc. in May, I was definitely ready for this type of book. At any other time, I may have been annoyed by the fluffiness of this book, but I was in the right mood.

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
Synopsis: A cruise ship sinks, and three people survive. However, two of them refuse to talk about the masked men with guns that attacked the ship, causing this disaster. So the other survivor takes on the identity of her best friend (who died in a lifeboat, waiting to be rescued) and begins to plan her revenge on the people who caused the "accident."
Thoughts: There was a lot of suspension of disbelief in this one. And I really wanted to see the protagonist do more (considering her journal full of revenge plans, the scenes in which she carried them out were few). However, I enjoyed the feel of this book--glamorous and twisted and a little dark.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
Synopsis: Greg befriends a girl with cancer. But he makes it clear that it is not one of those cancer books where you'll learn a lesson and feel enlightened about living and dying by the end.
Thoughts: If I laugh at things in books, it's usually just a chuckle. But this one had me laughing out loud so hard I had to put the book down for a minute.

Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken
Synopsis: The sequel to The Darkest Minds. Again, I won't go into detail due to spoilers.
Thoughts: Time passed between the first and second books, and because of this, the main character was in a completely different place--physically and emotionally. I was on board by the halfway point, but that made for a very slow first half. It just didn't feel like a continuation of the story; it felt like a new story.

Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Synopsis: An elderly man dies and his family goes to clean out the house. But there are still ghosts living in the rooms.
Thoughts: This one was interesting to me because of the multiple points of view. I liked how everything tied together all the way through the book--you weren't constantly waiting to see how everything matched. However, this made the one thing that didn't seem to tie in stand out, and the resolution given to this plot point disappointed me (Because it isn't revealed until the end, I can't tell you what this is, but if you've read it, you probably know what I'm talking about).

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
Synopsis: A girl scheduled for execution becomes the food taster for the Commander.
Thoughts: I loved this book. I flew through it, completely caught up in the language and the world Snyder created. I can't even really begin to describe the world, so I'll just leave you with the recommendation--read this book.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Synopsis: A young man wishes to be young forever and have a portrait of himself age instead.
Thoughts: I don't know how to explain what I liked about this one, but I really did enjoy it. I can't say I liked the characters--they were all corrupted and twisted. I can't say that I liked the story--it doesn't exactly create happiness or even optimism. I think it was the writing style that I loved. And, even though I didn't like the characters, I did feel attached, at least a little bit.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Synopsis: Reynie, Kate, Sticky and Constance are highly gifted children who join Mr. Benedict to attempt to overthrow the evil plans of an evil man.
Thoughts: This was another re-read, and this was another one that was just as good as I remembered--if not better.

Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke Allen
Synopsis: The first four issues in Lumberjanes, a comic about girls at a camp.
Thoughts: I really wish I knew what was going on. Aside from feminism and humor and adventures, that is. There's something going on that isn't dealt with in the first four issues (of course, because what's going to happen in the rest of the series then?), and I just wish I had more. So, I'll be picking up the next few as soon as I can.

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher
Synopsis: Ana, a straight A student who never gets in trouble, and Zak, a pretty cool geek, end up at a sci-fi convention for an insane night.
Thoughts: I absolutely adored this book, until I rated it on Goodreads and saw the multiple negative reviews pointing out issues with it that I hadn't noticed. Of course, I still like the book, but the reviewers had some points. I was caught up in the adventure of it and glossed over some of the issues. I don't know, does that say more good things or bad things about the book?

99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Synopsis: Molly goes back to her hometown for the summer...also home to her ex-boyfriend, his brother, with whom she cheated, and their sister, who hates Molly (can you blame her?)
Thoughts: I know as a reader, you're probably supposed to sympathize with Molly, and I sometimes did, but overall, I was less than thrilled with her choices--the ones made before the novel began and the ones made during the novel.

It's been a good few weeks for reading. I hope the rest of the summer goes this well!

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