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: publisher: harperteen

25817407The Siren by Kiera Cass
Release Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: ALAMW16
Rating: starblank_starblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

From Kiera Cass, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Selection series, comes a sweeping stand-alone fantasy romance.

A girl with a secret.
The boy of her dreams.
An Ocean between them.

Years ago, Kahlen was rescued from drowning by the Ocean. To repay her debt, she has served as a Siren ever since, using her voice to lure countless strangers to their deaths. Though a single word from Kahlen can kill, she can’t resist spending her days on land, watching ordinary people and longing for the day when she will be able to speak and laugh and live freely among them again.

Kahlen is resigned to finishing her sentence in solitude…until she meets Akinli. Handsome, caring, and kind, Akinli is everything Kahlen ever dreamed of.

Falling in love with a human breaks the Ocean’s rules. But for the first time in a lifetime of following the rules, Kahlen is determined to follow her heart. – Goodreads

Review:

I wanted to like this book. I did. But it took me over a month to read and that’s not a good sign. The Siren was a complete and utter snoozefest. Shortly through reading about 50 pages of this book, I texted my friend telling her it read like it was Cass’ first book. I want to make it clear, there is nothing wrong with that. There are many debut books I adore, but The Siren  was not one of them. I am aware of the fact that this version is completely different than the original book she wrote, but that actually worries me more.

The Siren is the story of Kahlen and her instalove boyfriend, Akinli and here’s the thing: the instalove does not work. If it was a Disney movie, the instalove would have worked. But Cass never made their love work for me, to the point I thought it was pulling the story down. I would have much preferred a story about Kahlen finding herself because that I could have seen working.

What also didn’t work was Her. Her was too much like God for my liking and the parallel was not working for my liking and made me extremely uncomfortable. What also made me uncomfortable was how “perfect” Akinli was. There seemed to be no substance to him and I was not a fan of that. Give me a reason to root for you! Too often parts of The Siren were idealized and were not working for me.

While I was looking forward to reading a light, fluffy, read. I was highly disappointed and let down that it was anything but that.



15806868Towering
 by Alex Flinn
Release Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: e-book from library
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

High in my tower I sit. I watch the birds fly below, the clouds float above, and the tall green forest stretch to places I might never see.

Mama, who isn’t my mother, has kept me hidden away for many years. My only companions, besides Mama, are my books—great adventures, mysteries, and romances that I long to make my reality. But I know that no one will come to save me—my life is not a fairy tale after all.

Well, at least no one has come so far. Recently, my hair has started to grow rapidly and it’s now long enough to reach the bottom of the tower from my window. I’ve also had the strangest dreams of a beautiful green-eyed man.

When Mama isn’t around, I plan my escape, even if it’s just for a little while. There’s something—maybe someone—waiting for me out there and it won’t find me if I’m trapped here Towering above it all. – Goodreads

Review:

I am here for your YA fairytale re-tellings. Give me all of them! This is why I was so excited to read Towering by Alex Flinn. Told in multiple POVs Towering is the story of, Rachel, who is stuck in a tower, Wyatt who is dealing with his own demons and Danielle’s diary entries. From Long Island, Wyatt is forced to move up north, to live in a small no-named town and live, with who we are lead to believe, is the town crazy, Ms. Greenwood. It’s a dark and drafty old house and the first thing he sees is a ghost.

You came here to get away from your problems, but instead, you’re stuck with an old lady and her long-dead ghosts” — pg 57, ebook

And that’s when we find out Wyatt’s demon is the fact that his best friend has recently died. His best friend has recently died and now he’s stuck in a home with, currently, no working wi-fi and cell reception. Wyatt isn’t too sure if he’s better off here.

“If you’re not the hero, does that make you a villain?” — pg 175, ebook

To be honest, there was nothing overly exciting about this book. What kept me hanging on was ultimately how the three POVs looped and weaved together. What ultimately happened was one of my least favorite YA tropes–instalove. (YAY!)

“I loved him. Though we had barely met, there was some power greater than me, greater than all, that bound him to me” — pg 260, ebook.

Ultimately this book fell flat for me. I wanted to love it. But in the end it was to convoluted for me to buy into the plot line, or the love story.


20922826What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler
Release Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss
Rating: starstarstarstarstar (4.5)
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Kate Weston can piece together most of the bash at John Doone’s house: shots with Stacey Stallard, Ben Cody taking her keys and getting her home early—the feeling that maybe he’s becoming more than just the guy she’s known since they were kids.

But when a picture of Stacey passed out over Deacon Mills’s shoulder appears online the next morning, Kate suspects she doesn’t have all the details. When Stacey levels charges against four of Kate’s classmates, the whole town erupts into controversy. Facts that can’t be ignored begin to surface, and every answer Kate finds leads back to the same question: Where was Ben when a terrible crime was committed?

This story—inspired by real events—from debut novelist Aaron Hartzler takes an unflinching look at silence as a form of complicity. It’s a book about the high stakes of speaking up, and the razor thin line between guilt and innocence that so often gets blurred, one hundred and forty characters at a time. – Goodreads

Review:

This book is a hard one to review, not because it’s a horrible book (it’s not), not because of the subject matter, or the writing or anything like that but because it was so well done. Hartzler used his first fiction book to tackle a tough subject, what happens if you’re at a party and someone is raped. Is staying silent the best thing? Should you question the status quo?

In What We Saw, Kate Weston is a normal teenage girl in a small down. She is trying to figure her life out in Iowa when everything changes. Not only does she get a boyfriend, someone she has known all of her life, but also a girl she knows accuses four boys from the basketball team of rape. Basketball in this town is God. It’s actually bigger than God, and these boys are looked upon as those who can get away with anything. They are literally untouchable.

With an unflinching writing style, Hartzler tackles not only high school, but also family, friendships, and what people do when they disappoint you. Kate was fine with her life. She was content with everything.

For a little while, I was just a girl watching her boyfriend playing backetball –excited and cheering -and wishing things could always be just that simple. —eARC 91%

But the more that people talk about the night of John Doone’s party the more Kate can’t just sit still. Even though her father request that she essentially stays complaisant she can’t. Kate actually becomes a vocal feminist for how wrong this is, particularly when it comes out that there was a video of the night, not just photos. And wait, where was Ben that night? Because he went back to the party right?

I found it fascinating that Hartlzer didn’t take the side of the girl who was raped. What We Saw is unnerving view of life on the outside, being one who wasn’t effected, but actually was effected more than they expected. Hartzler doesn’t take sides, what he does is create this world that the reader feels part of and feels pulled into. I started this book and finished it within 24 hours. Heck, even now I want to know more about what happened. I found it to be that good. This book won’t be leaving me for quite sometime.


22918050The Heir (The Selection #4) by Kiera Cass
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won Prince Maxon’s heart. Now the time has come for Princess Eadlyn to hold a Selection of her own. Eadlyn doesn’t expect her Selection to be anything like her parents’ fairy-tale love story. But as the competition begins, she may discover that finding her own happily ever after isn’t as impossible as she always thought. – Goodreads

Review:

I actually would have read this quickly after the original trilogy; however, the audiobook hold list often leads my fate. The Heir begins about two decades after The Selection and is the story of America’s first born, a daughter, named Eadlyn. Eadlyn is very much the opposite of America. She’s not warm, friendly, and doesn’t really have a thought outside of the box much like America did. America is very concerned about sunning outside, dress making and generally herself. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, the fact she is the next person to rule the country it’s semiproblematic when she does not worry about the fate of others.

Eadlyn is the first girl to rule her country and yet all she can do is complain about the fact that she’s older than her twin brother by seven minutes and those seven cruel minutes make her the older one that leads. Something she doesn’t want. She doesn’t care about those that live in the country. She doesn’t work. There isn’t one scene in The Heir in which she works. She’s proudly doesn’t work. While she’s not working, her father, Maxon, is proudly changing the country that America and him grew up in.

However, everyone is not so happy with the changes the King and Queen have made. There are many who are actually upset with the lack of caste system and because of this there is a bit of uproar occurring, much like the one that occurred in the original trilogy. Because of this uproar, King Maxon has begun to encourage Eadlyn to begin her own selection process.

To put it nicely Eadlyn fails at the selection process. Whatever she thinks is right, is wrong. Whatever she thinks is wrong, is right. And I get where Eadlyn is coming from. I have those own moments in my life often. It makes her human, but it also makes her seem like an ass to the public and she has no idea what they public hates her (they throw things at her on a parade).

I spent a lot of this novel wishing Cass would have focused on the true love story. I felt I called end game very early in the book and I would have preferred a story focused on them. I think The Heir could have been a better book if it would have stayed focused on them.

Will I read/listen to the next book? OF COURSE I WILL.


17234658A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1) by Claudia Gray
Release Date: November 4, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Personal//Audio from library
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure. . – Goodreads

Review:

Real talk: I was in a book rut for about a month. A month of not being able to finish a book is..weird. Particularly for someone who reads…a lot. Because I’ve been sick for the past month finishing a book has not been a priority. Which is weird for me. Because reading is always what I know. This time life was full of sick and starting books but not finishing them because podcasts worked better for me. Basically I was confused. But since I’m on the mend, here I am. However, when I was at ALA this past month, my roommate talked up the book series A Thousand Pieces of You. If I’m being honest it was in part due to the covers. My friend and I adore the covers of this series, but I never got past those covers. You know how to be read piles are…they grow.

Then the book was described to me and I decided to finally read it. Thank you dear friend telling me to read this book. I got out of my book funk! It was so nice to finish a book! I felt powerful!

A Thousand Pieces of You is the story of Marguerite Caine, a girl who’s parents are physicist and known for their radical achievements. Something Marguerite knows she can never achieve, she is far more into the arts than the sciences, and that is something that her parents are totally okay with (which is awesome to see). It was also awesome to see parents being actual parents in a YA novel.

That being said, this is not a typical YA novel, because I found it to be an interesting multi-layered story that took place in many universes. Gray took us from present day USA to a London that is really close to ours, to a Russia that couldn’t be farther apart from present day Russia if we tried. Then we circled and came back to the USA, but again, wasn’t exactly the same. Through use of Marguerite’s parents and their creation of the firebird one is able to jump universes, this leads the reader to not know where they’re going to end up when they flip the page.

I also found Marguerite to be a true, fleshed out character. She was strong, she dealt with two boys, but it was never a true romantic triangle, it was Marguerite being a teen and figuring her shit out. Which is something that many go through.

This is one of those books I was drawn into right away, in part due to the audiobook. The narrator brought this book to life. Becasue the book takes places in various locals: London, Russia, United States, the internal converstations were always in American English, but when in London, she spoke with the proper accent. Something, if I was just reading would not have been the same.


22718684Blood Will Tell (Point Last Seen #2) by April Henry
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt
Source: Publisher (THANKS!)
Rating: DNF. Page 165
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

When a woman’s body is found in a Portland park, suspicion falls on an awkward kid who lives only a hundred feet away, a teen who collects knives, loves first-person shooter video games, and obsessively doodles violent scenes in his school notebooks. Nick Walker goes from being a member of Portland’s Search and Rescue team to the prime suspect in a murder, his very interest in SAR seen as proof of his fascination with violence. How is this even possible? And can Alexis and Ruby find a way to help clear Nick’s name before it’s too late?

April Henry weaves another page-turning, high stakes mystery in Book 2 of the Point Last Seen series.  – Goodreads

Review:

One of my favorite books of 2014, was The Body in the Woodshowever Blood Will Tell was not one of my favorites of 2015. Unfortunately the love and appeal of the series that Henry had suck me into this series did not carry through this book for me. Blood Will Tell actually fell extremely flat. From the multiple POVs, to the story line, I unfortunately stopped caring. I was actually planning on finishing it, but I put it down and never remembered to pick it back up. I may pick it up again, but it won’t be anytime soon. I am interested in what happens to Nick, and probably wouldn’t have minded if this whole book was from his point of view, that may have helped the pacing for me.

 

22860020Denton Little’s Deathdate (Denton Little #1) by Lance Rubin
Release Date: April 15, 2015
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Source: Audiobook from library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Fans of John Green and Matthew Quick: Get ready to die laughing.

“Denton Little’s Deathdate” takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day on which they will die. For Denton, that’s in just two days–the day of his senior prom.

Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle–as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend’s hostile sister. (Though he’s not totally sure–see, first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is “this” what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters. . . . Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.

Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager’s life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.  – Goodreads

Review:

I’m not sure why I put this on hold at the library but I believe if I would have read the blurb I probably would not have put it on hold. The whole “fans of John Green” generally puts me off. Sad but true. And there was nothing wrong with this particular book; however, it is very clearly not an Ashley novel. It is an interesting concept though, what would you do if you knew what day you were going to die? Would that change anything?

As an audiobook this was fascinating because so many parts are painfully awkward and actually listening to them was painful, which made the book and the soon to be death…real. While I did enjoy Denton’s friendships, particularly with his BFF Paolo, I just was not overly drawn into the story. From the purple mark that was covering Denton and his friends, to the fact I ended the book with more questions than answers. That being said, the friendship between Denton and Paolo was so painfully real that I would love to have more of them.

18484774The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer
Release Date: April 15, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Audiobook from library
Rating: starstarblank_starblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Part Hitchcock, part Hinton, this first-ever stand-alone novel from Heather Brewer, New York Times bestselling author of the acclaimed Chronicles of Vladimir Tod series, uses classic horror elements to tell a darkly funny coming-of-age story about the dangerous power of belief and the cost of blind loyalty.

When Stephen’s dad says they’re moving, Stephen knows it’s pointless to argue. They’re broke from paying Mom’s hospital bills, and now the only option left is to live with Stephen’s grandmother in Spencer, a backward small town that’s like something out of The Twilight Zone. Population: 814.

Stephen’s summer starts looking up when he meets punk girl Cara and her charismatic twin brother, Devon. With Cara, he feels safe and understood—and yeah, okay, she’s totally hot. In Devon and his group, he sees a chance at making real friends. Only, as the summer presses on, and harmless nights hanging out in the cemetery take a darker turn, Stephen starts to suspect that Devon is less a friend than a leader. And he might be leading them to a very sinister end. . . .  – Goodreads

Review:

 

The Cemetery Boys is my first Heather Brewer novel and unfortunately while I believe every book has a reader, I am not this books reader. I am also in a mood where I don’t like any book. But that is my own thing I’m dealing with. The Cemetery Boys is the story of Stephen, a boy who just had to move to a random, small town that no one lives in (really, population is 814..or now 816.) Stephen makes it very clear that it is a backwards town and he feels very uncomfortable there, which I understood because reading about the town made me extremely uncomfortable.

But that uncomfortable town, and Stephen’s backstory explain why Stephen makes a lot of the choices that he chooses. He really is just trying to survive, even if that is making obvious poor life choices. He’s still a teenagers and teenagers make poor life choices. Hell, adults make poor life choices. It’s a good book and extremely relate-able, it just didn’t work for me.


15844362The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass
Release Date: May 6, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Audio from Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants. – Goodreads

Review:

The One starts off with a bang. Literally a bang from a rebel attack. What’s interesting is how much America wants Maxon the person, not Maxon the prince. Not realizing that, you know, they are one in the same. Maxon still makes me laugh by calling America out on her bullshit. It’s also heartbreaking to see how Maxon’s father, the King, continues to be a major asshole.

The One is very firmly a last novel in the series. What I found interesting was how much extra in the world building aspect occurred. We learned more about the country’s history and how the country became the country that America lives in. There is also action in this novel. From rebel attacks to gun fights, Cass wrote them all. Of course she also wrote about love.

At 25%, finally, finally America figures out she loves Maxon. Not a little bit. But finally jumps in and feels herself covered in his love. Then of course, he becomes closed off because his life is changing. What continues to be annoying is the fact neither one of them will say that they love each other. Each refuses to be the first person and because of this there is a lot of awkward gazes. He demands that she says that she loves him, she refuses until he gets rid of the other girls, he refuses to get rid of the other girls until she says she loves him.

Meanwhile, on the Aspen front, he is still annoyed that America is changing and constantly judging her while also “assisting” her. And although she now loves Maxon, she is still thankful to have a friend in Aspen. As a reader, it’s also painful to see that America hasn’t been honest with Maxon about Aspen, which one knows will probably come back to bite her. However, what did change however, was the friendship between the group of girls. Slowly as the game is crumbling, the girls bond together and actually become friends. It was nice to see the women become friends, and not consistently tearing each other down.

Family dynamics are also strong throughout The One. From Maxon’s family, including the asshole King, and the nice Queen to America’s family who in their own way are assholes. But in their own way, all families are assholes, it is what makes your family yours. Plus, family hide secrets from each other, and the family’s in The One are no different. It was refreshing to see.

Throughout this series, Cass is able to convey a range of emotions between friends and family that even if I don’t enjoy what’s going on, I understand and am thankful for her ability to convey those emotions.