Welcome to yAdult Review, a space where two girls review novels from across the genres, from YA and MG, to fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and mystery, with a sprinkling of non-fiction too. We hope you enjoy your stay here as much as we enjoy ours.

Tag Archives: ALA 2014

20613491Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy #1) by Josephine Angelini
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Source: ALA 2014
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily’s other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected. – Goodreads

Review:

Oh Lily, I wanted to like you. I sympathized with you so much, until I realized how much of a Mary Sue you were and then I just wanted you off my page. The first two chapters of Trial By Fire when Lily is in present day Salem dragged for me so much to the point I debated DNF. While the book picked up when Lily entered New Salem, I found the whole book to be slow and not of much excitement to me.

What was of excitement for me, was Rowan. Rowan was snarky and didn’t really have time for Lily, but was also fiercely protective of Lily because he knew how Lily’s counterpart, Lillian, in New Salem really was. While I found Angelini’s writing to be strong, I also was bored throughout Trial by Fire, besides Rowan, I didn’t care about…anything.

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The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Release Date: June 6, 2014
Publisher: Orbit
Source: Audio from library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.” Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.– Goodreads

Review:

This book is one of those that is impossible to review. Because to talk about it gives anything away, but I will admit that the audio was amazing and made me want to keep listening to it. I went into this book knowing nothing about it because all of my friends wanted me to be surprised and I’m glad. Because the layers that Carey creates throughout this novel, I was honestly shocked until the very last moment.

22693178A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs #11) by Jacqueline Winspear
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Publisher: Harper
Source: ALAMW 2015
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Maisie Dobbs returns in a powerful story of political intrigue and personal tragedy: a brutal murder in the British garrison town of Gilbraltar leads the investigator into a web of lies, deceit and danger

Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability—and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England; her aging father Frankie Dobbs is not getting any younger.

But on a ship bound for England, Maisie realizes she isn’t ready to return. Against the wishes of the captain who warns her, “You will be alone in a most dangerous place,” she disembarks in Gibraltar. Though she is on her own, Maisie is far from alone: the British garrison town is teeming with refugees fleeing a brutal civil war across the border in Spain.

Yet the danger is very real. Days after Maisie’s arrival, a photographer and member of Gibraltar’s Sephardic Jewish community, Sebastian Babayoff, is murdered, and Maisie becomes entangled in the case, drawing the attention of the British Secret Service. Under the suspicious eye of a British agent, Maisie is pulled deeper into political intrigue on “the Rock”—arguably Britain’s most important strategic territory—and renews an uneasy acquaintance in the process. At a crossroads between her past and her future, Maisie must choose a direction, knowing that England is, for her, an equally dangerous place, but in quite a different way – Goodreads

Review:

I have never hidden the fact that I adore Maisie Dobbs and this book is no different. What I didn’t adore was the fact in the first 5% of the book I was almost in tears because so much sadness happened to Maisie and I really, really, really, just want Maisie to be happy. But throughout this book, Maisie does learn to be happy. Or a new version of happy. My heart still hurts of course.

22557272The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Release Date: January 13, 2015
Publisher: Penguin
Source: Audio from Library
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut. – Goodreads

Review:

My friend warned me when I started this novel. She told me I would have problems with it, but to stick it out til the end, so I did, because I trust her. But this was a very hard book for me to read. I couldn’t get into any of the characters. Everyone was the worst. I had problems finding that one thing that made me love the story. However, I will admit that Hawkins knows how to write a mystery. I was holding on til the very, very end in shock of what had happened.


17333253Ask the Passengers by A.S. King
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Source: ALA2014
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society’s definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to questioneverything–and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.

Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother’s pushiness and her father’s lack of interest tell her they’re the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn’t know the passengers inside, but they’re the only people who won’t judge her when she asks them her most personal questions…like what it means that she’s falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can’t share the truth with anyone except the people she imagines flying over her at thirty thousand feet, and they don’t even know she’s there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers’ lives–and her own–for the better.– Goodreads

Review:

A.S. King knows how to back a punch, which she does in Ask the Passengers. Astrid, lives in a small town and she doesn’t fit in. Astrid has fallen in love with a girl, Dee. This is nothing to be ashamed of; however, Astrid isn’t even sure she wants to be a lesbian, or in love with a girl. Not because it’s a bad thing, but because she lives in a small town, where rumors run rampant and the last thing she wants is the small town to talk more about her.

When it comes out that Astrid is dating Dee, Astrid’s BFF Kristina is heartbroken that Astrid wouldn’t tell her. It is never that Astrid doesn’t trust Kristina, it is that she doesn’t trust her small, judging town where you tell one person a secret and it hits three different high schools by dinner. What drives this novel is King’s ability to write true emotions. True, realistic emotions that stay with you for quite sometime, even if they are heartbreaking. Astrid’s family bothered me far more than I thought they would throughout this novel, because they are so worried about themselves, that Astrid gets lost in the shuffle.

To get away from this world, Astrid lays on her picnic table, away from her mother and her pushiness, her father’s lack of caring, and her sister’s problems. Astrid feels she has no one and to deal with this she sends love when she sees planes fly above her and she asks them her biggest questions. Like…is it okay to fall in love with a girl? Does everyone lie to their parents? Their best friends?

What King does is weave in the stories of the passengers on the plane and Astrid. Not all of the passengers interested me, but there were some I wanted to know more about. Or I wanted to hug them and tell them that everything will be okay. Even though it may not be okay. Astrid is over being controlled and finally she explodes at Dee and ask “If you love me, shouldn’t you be patient with me.” But it’s not just directed at Dee, it’s directed at everyone in her life. Her mom, her best friend, her sister, her teachers..herself.

Astrid really wants everything to stay the same, comfortable; even though she is not even close to comfortable. What she really wants to is leave this small town, and go to where she is welcomed. The problem is, Astrid won’t be comfortable until she accepts herself, something she works on throughout Ask the Passengers. During a class Astrid has, in which the teacher calls them the smartest and the brightest, they are three votes short of marriage equality and her best friend has lied to everyone and left her alone. To say Astrid is having problems loving and accepting herself, is the last thing

While I enjoyed Ask the Passengers, I did have one fairly big problem with the novel. My one big problem in this novel was Dee, oh Dee. I’m sure you’re a good person and Astrid sees you as this good person. But Astrid is good at saying no, and you’re good at telling her she means yes. That is no bueno. I would have enjoyed King to flesh that part out more. Is Dee the good person Astrid believes she is, or is she the person I believe Dee is?


20613635There Will Be Lies  by Nick Lake
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: ALA2014
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

In four hours, Shelby Jane Cooper will be struck by a car.

Shortly after, she and her mother will leave the hospital and set out on a winding journey toward the Grand Canyon.

All Shelby knows is that they’re running from dangers only her mother understands. And the further they travel, the more Shelby questions everything about her past—and her current reality. Forced to take advantage of the kindness of unsuspecting travelers, Shelby grapples with what’s real, what isn’t, and who she can trust . . . if anybody.

Award-winning author Nick Lake proves his skills as a master storyteller in this heart-pounding new novel. This emotionally charged thrill ride leads to a shocking ending that will have readers flipping back to the beginning– Goodreads

Review:

I shut this book and emailed my friend going “DUDE. THIS BOOK. DUDE.” I hate saying that this because I loathe when people go “THIS IS THE [INSERT ADULT BOOK] FOR YA PEOPLE!” BUT this book had such Gone Girl vibes as in from the first page I trusted no one. I’m also the person who tends to read the last page of a book (because I’m the worst, even with romance novels) but this is one that I waited on and I’m glad. I have no idea how to rate it because I’m still fairly confused and shocked by There Will Be Lies.

I’m also pretty sure that is a good comparison for how Shelby Jane Cooper felt, or at least how she felt by the end of the book. This book is such a mind game that you spend so much time trusting no one that by the end you’re like “WHAT DID I JUST READ!?”  That also means that this book is hard to discuss because almost anything you discuss could be considered a spoiler. But here is what I can discuss: the book takes place in Arizona, Shelby is very much of a loner, and she enjoys going to the batting cages.

I know, you want more, and that seems like a cop out, but in the vein of We Were Liars or Gone Girl it really is hard to discuss this novel without giving away big game changing moments. I know how annoying this is, but really, you just have to read it.

 


18196040The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Little Brown
Source: Netgalley
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Review: I tried to pick it up a few times and every time I just could not find myself to care. There are too many books in the world for me to read/care about. This was not one of them.

 

 

 

 

18106985Exquisite Captive (Dark Caravan Cycle #1) by Heather Demetrios
Release Date: October 7, 2014
Publisher: Balzer+Bray
Source: ALA2014
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Review: Never jumped off the page and excited me. It annoyed me more than anything. I may go back and pick it up in the future, but at the moment with my long TBR pile there are too many books out there.

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The Waking Dark by Robin Wasserman
Release Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: Little Brown
Source: ALA2013
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Review: I made it to 12% and was bored out of my mind. Maybe it’s wrong book, wrong time. I may come back to it later. But there were so many side stories it was hard to stay concentrated.


20409231Killer Instinct (The Naturals #2) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Source: ALA2014
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Seventeen-year-old Cassie Hobbes has a gift for profiling people. Her talent has landed her a spot in an elite FBI program for teens with innate crime-solving abilities, and into some harrowing situations. After barely escaping a confrontation with an unbalanced killer obsessed with her mother’s murder, Cassie hopes she and the rest of the team can stick to solving cold cases from a distance.

But when victims of a brutal new serial killer start turning up, the Naturals are pulled into an active case that strikes too close to home: the killer is a perfect copycat of Dean’s incarcerated father—a man he’d do anything to forget. Forced deeper into a murderer’s psyche than ever before, will the Naturals be able to outsmart the enigmatic killer’s brutal mind games before this copycat twists them into his web for good?

With her trademark wit, brilliant plotting, and twists that no one will see coming, Jennifer Lynn Barnes will keep readers on the edge of their seats (and looking over their shoulders) as they race through the pages of this thrilling novel. – Goodreads

Review:

I was so excited to find out that The Naturals series was continuing on. I loved and adored the first book, and while it was very much Criminal Minds in book form, I didn’t care. I ate it up and wanted more AND THEN THERE WAS MORE. Sadly from there it all went downhill.

While the characters were all still there, the story did not flow the same way as the first for me. I spent most of the novel confused about what was going on and trying to figure out why there were so many characters and then trying to keep track of all of them. I consider myself to be a fairly smart character, but I spent so much of my time trying to figure out who was who that I never could pick up the actual story with the murder. Which disappointed me, particularly after the first book, which hooked me right away. The plotting throughout Killer Instinct seemed off. I was interested in the new serial killer, which sounds super weird to type out, and I was interested in learning more about the Naturals, but I was never invested in them throughout Killer Instinct.

I was fine that the main focus on this novel was Dean and not Cassie, which makes sense as the new serial killer is a copy cat of Dean’s father, a man Dean wants nothing to do with. Of course to solve the crime, Dean will need to work with his father. A man he never wanted to see again. While I found the relationship dynamics between the characters to be fascinating, I spent so much of my time trying to keep up with the characters that the relationships often fell to the side for me and left me wanting more.

If there is a third book in the series, it will not unfortunately be because of the writing and the first book in the series, not Killer Instinct.


13579626Rooms by Lauren Oliver
Release Date: September 23, 2014
Publisher: Ecco
Source: ALA2014
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Deliriumtrilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant – Goodreads

Review:

Rooms is one of those books and I wanted a handful of my friends to read so that we could discuss it to make sure I got everything. This book will not make everyone happy, particularly those who are expecting Rooms to be like the author’s young adult novels. This is sexier, it is grittier, and while YA novels can definitely be all those things, this feels like an adult novel, not like Oliver’s former YA novels.

Rooms is the story of the Walker family who is forced to go back to the family estate after the death of the patriarch. His estraged family really stopped caring about him and are really only there for the inheritance. Told through various points of view, including two ghost Rooms is a haunting tale about what secrets to not only to a person, but also to a family. And what it takes to not only accept those secrets, but to also move on from them. How it’s often far harder than it should be. However, one of the problems with Rooms is the fact that there are so many points of views, it was hard to get a feel on any one character because you weren’t with them long enough to truly form an opinion. I was often bored with the characters, while the writing often had this poetic feel to it, the characters never did. Also, often the secrets never felt like these giant secrets to me. I understand why they would effect a family, but I didn’t understand why the family would tear apart in this particular way. I understood that by themselves the family had a lot they had to work through: alcohol, sex, suicide, but to me nothing felt like this giant secret that it was supposed to.

Rooms is Lauren Oliver’s first foray into the adult genre and her writing does not disappoint. The book itself however is another matter. Rooms is a novel about secrets and how secrets not only change a person, but how a person has to move on them no matter how much they hurt. While the novel was beautifully written in Oliver’s beautiful prose, this is a very firm adult novel that her young adult readers will want to remember.


20821376Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer
Release Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: ALA2014
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

If life were fair, Jam Gallahue would still be  at home in New Jersey with her sweet British  boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. She’d be watching  old comedy sketches with him. She’d be kissing  him in the library stacks.

She certainly wouldn’t be at The Wooden Barn, a therapeutic boarding school in rural Vermont, living with a weird roommate, and signed up for an exclusive, mysterious class called Special Topics in English.

But life isn’t fair, and Reeve Maxfield is dead.

Until a journal-writing assignment leads Jam to Belzhar, where the untainted past is restored, and Jam can feel Reeve’s arms around her once again. But there are hidden truths on Jam’s path to reclaim her loss.

From New York Times bestselling author Meg Wolitzer comes a breathtaking and surprising story about first love, deep sorrow, and the power of acceptance.– Goodreads

Review:

I finished this book last week and I’m still confused about it. This very rarely happens. I tend to finish a book and have a very firm opinion on the book. I sent a text message after reading this and went “Belzhar..I still don’t know.” My goodreads friends are polarized about it. Some thought it was the best book of the year and others can’t believe it got published. I continue to be firmly in the middle camp of I…I just don’t know.

The bones of the story are solid. Jam’s life isn’t remotely fair. Her British boyfriend, Reeve is dead and her parents have sent her to The Wooden Barn, the boarding school that is supposed to save her. What happens instead is that Jam is sent to Special Topics with a handful of her classmates and her life is forever changed. Part of their assignment is to write in this journal twice a week for the semester, that’s all. Just write. What happens though when they write is that they are taken to a different world. A happier world almost, one that they call Belzhar. In Belzhar, everything is different. It’s safe in a way and the person is in an alternative universe and they often become happier there. What the group finds out is the more time they spend in Belzhar (everyone has their own) is not everything is how it seems and quickly things can unravel. Including Jam’s life.

Near the end comes a twist bout Belzhar, and Jam’s life, it is understandably one that I can’t truly discuss but I will say that I wasn’t shocked. I saw it coming, and if I’m being honest with you, I rarely see twists coming and this one didn’t shock me at all. I’m not sure if it was Wolitzer’s writing, or the book in general but nothing about it particularly worked for me. It’s not a bad book persay, but it’s one that when I was asked to describe it to a friend I sat there going “Um…well..you see” and my friend stared at me because rarely am I at a loss of words when it comes to a book. Or any book.