Friday, January 29, 2016

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7s is an inspirational book about overcoming pain and the meaning of family. Willow Chance is a genius. She is obsessed with counting by sevens, medical conditions and plants. After getting a perfect score on the state exam in 17 minutes, her principal thinks she cheated, and refers her to the school counselor. There, she gets her first friend, Mai Nguyen. They bond over speaking the same language. Willow has never had a friend before, and her life starts to get better.

Then it got worse. Willow's parents pass away from a car accident, and she is an orphan. She pushes through the grief by helping others, and with the help of a taxi driver, Mai, and her counselor, she learns the true meaning of family and friendship.

I liked how Willow pushed through the pain of losing her parents. Instead of focusing on what she lost, she focused on what other people lost, and plants. Instead of sitting around and crying, she used the pain to her advantage. I also liked the little stories about other people. I liked the taxi driver and the little details about him. The tiny details made a difference in the overall tone of the book.

The thing I did not like was that I wanted more of the genius part. I would have liked to go in deeper with the exam and the principal. I also would have liked more of Willow's feelings and less of her actions. It was difficult for me to connect with her.

I recommend you read this story.

Title: Counting by 7s
Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Publisher: Dial Books
Pages: 380 pages
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Courage for Beginners by Karen Harrington

Courage for Beginners is an inspirational middle grade book about being yourself and overcoming obstacles. Mysti Murphy has a difficult life. Her mother has agoraphobia, which means she is scared to leave the house. So everything that involves going outside, her father does. That all changes when her dad falls out of a tree and hits his head. With him in the hospital, it is up to Mysti to take care of the family.

Meanwhile, Mysti has just started seventh grade, which is not going the way she planned. Her only friend has left her for an "experiment" where he is a hipster. Mysti loves to daydream and pretend she is a character in a book, but that is not the best help in real life.

I loved Mysti's character. She feels like a character in a book, and she loves to be happy. When someone is sad, she tells them a joke. Her energy and creativity are contagious. If I were in her school, I would want to be her friend. Mysti really stepped up and helped out, and that is inspirational to me. Courage for Beginners is very realistic, and it shows some of the conflicts that you wouldn't see just by looking at someone.

However, the one issue I had with the book was that nothing got solved. There was an ending, but it was quick and accomplished nothing. It felt to me that someone just ripped out the pages at the end. 

I do recommend you read this book. 

Title: Courage for Beginners
Author: Karen Harrington
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 304 pages
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Death Cure (The Maze Runner Book 3) by James Dashner

The Death Cure is the third and final book in the dystopian YA Maze Runner trilogy series. The WICKED tells them that most of them are immune to the flare. They also say that the trials are over, and they want to give everyone their memories back. Thomas, however, remembers more than they think, and what he remembers tells him to not believe a word they say. While everyone else gets back their memories, Thomas, Newt, and Minho refuse. Thomas will do anything to save his friends, but the truth is more dangerous than everyone thought, and will be what will save the world- or destroy it.

The Death Cure had a lot of action and suspense. I was hooked onto what Thomas would do next. I also liked that Gally was back in the story. I am not sure if I can forgive him for what he did, but that just made me like the book even more. A lot of things happened in the book, and I was excited for the end.

That was a big mistake. I am so mad at James Dashner for the end. It was rushed and confusing. I also really disliked which character didn't survive! I can think of at least three different endings to the series.

Overall, I think the series was worth reading.

Read my reviews of the other books in this series:

Title: The Death Cure (The Maze Runner Book 3)
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: 325 pages
Series: Yes, Book 3
Rating: 3 Stars

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave Book 2) by Rick Yancey

The Infinite Sea is the second book in the YA dystopian trilogy The 5th Wave, also a movie that hits theaters on January 22, 2016. Cassie Sullivan and her friends survived the first four waves, but the fifth is still in progress, and they are wanted dead. Meanwhile, Evan is recovering from his injuries with Grace, desperately trying to get away and back to Cassie. At the same time, Ringer is taken by Vosch, who reveals a huge secret to her.

While I loved the first book, the second book was a huge disappointment! It was appealing that we got to hear from Ringer's side of things, and the analogies about chess were very interesting. I liked the new characters, Grace and Razor. The relationship between Grace and Evan was fun to watch.

I thought the pace of the book was very confusing. The unimportant parts were so drawn out and long, and then all of a sudden the important part happens and it goes by in a page! It's like, "What just happened?"

I will not give any spoilers to the people who have not read this yet, but I have to say how confused I am at the secret that is revealed. I think it was supposed to clear misconceptions, but it left me wondering and filled with countless questions. In my opinion, the series would be way better off if it stuck to its original story.

I recommend that you read the series, and I will definitely read the final book, The Last Star, when it comes out on May 24, 2016!

Read my review of the first book in the series, The 5th Wave.

Title: The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave Book 2)
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 300 pages
Series: Yes, Book 2
Rating: 2 Stars

Monday, January 18, 2016

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave movie hits theaters on January 22, 2016, and is based on this captivating YA dystopian book. I always believe in reading the book before watching the movie. One of my favorite quotes is by J.W. Eagan, "Never judge a book by its movie."

In The 5th Wave book, Cassie calls the aliens "Others." They have been attacking Earth in waves. In the first wave, they stopped technology. In the second wave, they caused tsunamis. In the third wave, they used birds to spread an advanced form of Ebola. In the fourth wave, it was discovered that the Others could go inside humans and control them.

As the fifth wave approaches, the Others take all the remaining children to a military compound. Cassie's younger brother, Sammy, was taken as well, and he is being trained by Cassie's crush from school, Ben. Before Sammy left, Cassie promised to come after him. She will do anything to keep her promise and rescue Sammy, even if it means she might lose her life trying.

The 5th Wave was non-stop action from the beginning to the end, and I loved every second of it! There was never a stopping point; it was always going and reaching new conflicts. The minute one was solved, another one came. It was interesting to have a dystopian book that was not just conflict with other humans, but had alien forces as well. I also liked that as the world was falling apart, the characters still joked about when it was normal. I enjoyed that the people didn't completely change in the face of chaos.

The only thing I didn't like was that it was slightly confusing in some parts. The narrator switched, and sometimes it was hard to tell who was talking. The beginning was also confusing, as it didn't really explain anything for about 20 pages.

I cannot wait to watch the movie! Follow me on Twitter to see how I think the movie compares to the book. I cannot wait to read the next book, The Infinite Sea! 

Thank you to my English teacher for letting me borrow this book!

Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 457 pages
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner Book 2) by James Dashner

The Scorch Trials is the second book in the dystopian YA Maze Runner series. Thomas and his friends made it out of the maze. It turns out that the others did, too. There are two mazes, and one was for girls, while one was for boys. Teresa is taken and put with the other group, and Aris is put with Thomas’s group. The two groups are challenged with the second trial to cross the Scorch, a desert in one of the most burned sections of the world, to reach a safe haven 100 miles away.

I had very high expectations of The Scorch Trials. However, I felt the story lacked interest and was dragged out much longer than it needed to be. There was also not much variety. In this book, 29 times the phrase “and he finally slept” was used at the end of a chapter or paragraph. I also felt that the romantic interest from Brenda to Thomas was not necessary, and was a distraction. Teresa confused me in this book. How she acted did not make any sense, and I think the explanation could have been developed a lot better.

What I did like, however, is the two groups. I loved how there was also a girl’s group, and it made a lot more sense than just having boys in the experiment. I also liked how it was a completely different situation than the maze. They were out in the open where anything could happen, which is very different than having walls around you.

I definitely recommend you read this book and the series, but not with very high expectations.

Read my review of the first book in the series, The Maze Runner.

Title: The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner Book 2)
Author: James Dashner
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 368 pages
Series: Yes, Book 2
Rating: 3 Stars

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

Stung is an intriguing YA dystopian book that has a sequel. Fiona can't remember going to sleep, but she wakes up in clothes she does not remember putting on, her house is a mess, she has a tattoo of a spider on her right hand and cannot remember anything from the last four years. The honeybee population was the cause of a horrible disease. The government tried to make a cure. But instead the vaccination turned people into ferocious, deadly beasts. Fiona has ten legs on her spider, which should make her the most dangerous, but she is normal.

Fiona is wanted, since she is the only one who woke up from the coma, and is not a beast. She runs away in an attempt to not be captured, because everyone knows that once she is captured, it is highly probable that she won't make it out alive.

Stung is one of the best dystopian books I have ever read! I loved the hint of mystery relating to her lost memory. I also loved Fiona's character. Everything is different when she wakes up, but instead of crying about it, she takes care of herself and tries to survive. That is the type of determination in a character that I really like!

Honestly, the cover kind of scared me. That huge needle may scare off some teen readers, but the story is not scary at all. Although the romance was a little bit exaggerated, it made sense given the circumstances. I liked how the story ended. It was not a major cliffhanger, but it still made me excited for the next book.

I definitely encourage teen readers to read this book, and I cannot wait to read the sequel, Cured.

Title: Stung
Author: Bethany Wiggins
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 2
Pages: 304
Rating: 5 Stars

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