Wednesday, December 28, 2016

House Arrest by K.A. Holt

House Arrest is a realistic fiction book appropriate for middle grade readers and YA readers about a 12-year-old boy who will do anything to help his brother. Timothy's baby brother (Levi) was born with Subglottic Stenosis that makes him unable to breathe normally. He had to have a tracheotomy done to insert a tube in his neck that goes directly into his windpipe. Unfortunately, germs and all kinds of viruses have the easiest access in the world into Levi's lungs. The medicine and medical bills are very expensive and puts huge financial pressure on their family.

His dad left one day and now the only one supporting the family is Timothy's mom. His mother is exhausted and there is barely enough money for food. Timothy's life was falling apart, and he only wanted to help. One day he saw a wallet lying around. He took it and used a credit card to buy a couple months worth of Levi's medicine. Now he has a year of house arrest and a court-ordered journal to write in where he has to prove that he is sorry for what he did. Throughout the book Timothy must come to realize that there are other ways to help his brother and the difference between right and wrong.

House Arrest was great! The book was written in poetry that made it even better. He even mentioned that one time. It is inspirational with the theme of family and sacrifice. Timothy was willing to do anything to help his brother. His mom wanted to take care of the family at all costs and constantly worked. Timothy wrote at one time that his life was pretty much house arrest anyways. He always stays at home and has to help and take care of Levi. Timothy pretty much gave up his life to help Levi. He also just gave up on school. He claimed that taking care of his brother is more important than doing his homework. The amount of emotion from Timothy was huge. In the beginning he steered away from emotion, but then he gave in and really started writing. The anger at his dad was tremendous.

The internal conflict was huge in the book. On one hand, he knows stealing is wrong. On the other hand, he knows that it would have helped. He was very determined to find help for his brother. There were sweet moments in the book, too. He has a crush on his best friend's sister, Isa. Their relationship was sweet and a little relief from the rest of his problems. House Arrest is a book that readers of all ages can enjoy. I would say that the reading level is middle grade, but the themes and the content can also be for YA readers.

The only thing I did not like was the ending. I need there to be a second book. There has to be! If there is not going to be a second book in the future, then the ending is really bad and shows no character development. It also has the biggest cliffhanger in the world. Now I have to make up my own second book story. That was easy, though. If I wanted to, I could write the whole second book right now.

UPDATE: There now is a sequel! Knockout was published in March 2018- I can't wait to read it!

I recommend that you read this book!

Title: House Arrest
Author: K.A. Holt
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Pages: 304 Pages
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, and Deborah Biancotti

Zeroes is the first book in a YA science fiction fantasy trilogy. These six teens have powers, and they consider themselves not to be heroes, but zeroes. Nate is Bellwether. He is the leader, and has the ability to change the desire of crowds. Chizara is Crash. She can destroy anything electronic. However, this power hurts her physically when she uses it. Riley is Flicker. She is blind, but she can see the world from other people's eyes. Thibault is Anonymous. Nobody can remember him unless they’re looking at him. Ironically, he is a very memorable character and a huge influence. Kelsie is Mob. She can change the mood of a crowd. It can make them happy and united. However, if her emotions slip, then the crowd can experience fear and anger.

Ethan is Scam. He has another voice that takes over. It knows everything about everyone. It can be effective if he wants something, but it gets him into trouble. Ethan's voice gets him into stealing money, and he goes to a bank to make an account. While he is in there, a bank robber comes in. To save his life, Ethan's voice starts taking. Things quickly get out of hand, and he becomes a huge interest to the police, and the world. The other Zeroes unite to help Ethan despite old rivalry. It turns out that the bank robber's daughter has powers, too, and this could change everything that they have ever known.

I love how much the other Zeroes look out for each other. They put aside everything and made it a top priority to keep Ethan safe. A thing that I loved the most is that unlike most superhero books or books about powers, this focuses on the negatives and the challenges that come with powers, not the benefits. Usually people think that it would be so cool to have powers, but lots of people probably do not understand the responsibility that comes with it.

Thibualt was my favorite character. I do not know how he coped with being forgotten. I would be so upset if people constantly forgot me. I liked how he was just outside the picture, like there and not there at the same time. There was a lot of drama between the characters, and that kind of took away from some of the action. However, I liked having the background knowledge and reading their thoughts about each other. I also really liked Ethan's voice. It was very interesting and entertaining to find out all this knowledge about all the characters, even the very unimportant ones. Some of the information was very funny.

I cannot wait to read the second book, Swarm!

Title: Zeroes
Author: Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 546
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: New YA Book Releases in Early 2017

One of the most exciting things about a new year is new books to read! Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish blog. If you want to participate, click here. The theme for this week is Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward to for the First Half of 2017.

I really want to read all of these exciting new YA books! This list is a mixture of YA realistic fiction, science fiction, and fantasy. Since I cannot decide which I want to read more, the following are in order by the expected release date, with the earliest listed first.

1. Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos
Expected Publication: January 3rd, 2017
Everything Jackie Stone says and does is on live television, 24 hours a day. Her dad is dying of a brain tumor, and they are on a reality television show called Life and Death

2. The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser
Expected Publication: January 3rd, 2017
The main character in this book, Amy, has the power that I have always wanted- the ability to physically go inside a book and interact with the characters inside!

Expected Publication: January 31st, 2017
I am so excited to read the second book in Soldier Girl! Frangie, Rainy, and Rio are once again on the front lines in battle, this time at Sicily, Italy. Read my review of the first book, Front Lines.

4. At the Edge of the Universe by Shaun David Hutchinson
Expected Publication: February 7th, 2017
Tommy and Ozzie have been best friends since second grade, and suddenly Tommy disappears from everyone's memory, except for Ozzie! Ozzie's theory: the universe is shrinking.

5. The Football Girl by Thatcher Heldring
Expected Publication: April 4th, 2017
This book is about what happens to a girl's life when Tessa decides to try out for the football team instead of the cross-country team.

6. Perfect (Flawed #2) by Cecelia Ahern
Expected Publication: April 4th, 2017
Perfect is the second book in the Flawed series where everyone has to be perfect, and those who aren't are branded flawed. In the second book, Celestine continues to fight for rights and equality. Read my review of the first book in this series.

7. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Expected Publication: April 4th, 2017
Noemi Vidal is a teen soldier from the planet Genesis that was once a colony of Earth, but now it is at war for its independence. After a surprise attack, Noemi gets stranded in space on an abandoned ship.

  8. Dreamfall by Amy Plum
Expected Publication: May 2nd, 2017
Cata Cordova's insomnia is so severe that she agrees to take part in an experiment, but while the procedure is happening, a malfunction occurs in the equipment. She, along with the six other patients, are stuck in a dreamworld with all their worst fears, and the only way to wake up is to face them.

9. Cold Summer by Gwen Cole
Expected Publication: May 2nd, 2017
Teenager Kale Jackson has time traveling powers, but he can't control them. He accidentally goes to WW2, where he is a soldier fighting. The next day he is back in his life, but he has been given PTSD, and there is a history article that states his name as one of the casualties of the war.

10. The Original Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig
Expected Publication: May 2nd, 2017
Ginny Moon is a teenager with autism who has just been given an amazing foster home. However, she does not understand why she can't be with her birth mom. The story shows the thoughts and confusion of a girl who just wants her real mom and a normal life. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Bluescreen (Mirador Book 1) by Dan Wells

Bluescreen is the first book in the YA dystopian series, Mirador. In Los Angeles in the year 2050, the world is controlled by robots, and almost everyone has a djinni. A djinni is basically a chip that is implanted in your head. Imagine putting the smartest computer in the world inside your brain. That's basically what it is, and for the people who have it, being online is their life. They can literally "plug in" to a virtual world and be anything they want. The problem? Privacy is a thing of the past, and everyone can find out anything, especially if they can code. 

Marisa Carneseca is a genius coder. She can hack basically anything, and get anything that she wants. Normally, she is just a normal girl who helps out in her family's restaurant and goes to school and hangs out with her friends online. Everything changes when her friend Anja gets her hands on a new drug called Bluescreen. It plugs into your djinni, and gives you a temporary "high". The problem is that then the user passes out and then sleepwalks for 10 minutes. When Marisa investigates the code written for it, she finds a secret that lands herself in a conspiracy that threatens everyone in the world, and she knows that she has to stop it.
I think that the year this book takes place is very unrealistic. 2050 is only 34 years later than we are currently, and to have robots and chips to implant in your head and all this technology would be pretty impossible to happen in that amount of time. In the book the cars are basically the same as what we have here. In a world with robots and virtual worlds they still have normal cars. Somehow I find that strange.

Also, the language was hard to understand. Not in the sense of reading level, but so much information is just thrown at the reader that it is hard to understand. There were so many names of things that I kept having to stop and try to remember what it is. No background information is given about anything, and a reader has to constantly infer. The characters are not very memorable. There is so much technology that it completely takes away from who the people actually are. I just read the book, and when I think of the characters, I literally have to think for a few seconds to remember who they are. That should not happen! 

However, there were a lot of things in the book that I love! For one, the cover. The cover gives a really cool look into the story. The character on the cover is Marisa, because of the robotic arm that she got after a car accident. One can obviously tell how she is feeling, and if you look closely, you can see streaks of electricity on the buildings and in the air in the background. The detail on her clothes and on the buildings is really quite amazing. 

The pace and plot were how every writer should write their books. The pace was perfect. It escalated in the right moments and deescalated where it should have. Right were I would go "wait, what???" Then it would actually slow down for a page so the reader can process what happened. There were a lot of twists that I never saw coming, especially with the different characters being evil or good. The sense of betrayal was convincing and fit in perfectly. 

The book also teaches how dangerous technology and social media can be. Everything can be tracked and you cannot delete every trace of what you post or take it back. What you post on chat rooms, anything can still be seen and traced and hacked. The book was basically a very escalated version of what can happen, and gives a painful reminder about what coders can really do. 

The setting was incredible, and I was able to follow and picture all of the settings. They went a lot of places, and I vividly remember every single one. The ending was a cliffhanger and it was not. It was in the fact that it left room for another book (which is coming) but it still gives an ending to the book and leaves the adventure with a satisfying ending.

I am quite torn about his book, so I will recommend it and readers can judge for themselves. The second book, Ones and Zeroes, will be published on February 14, 2017. I will be reading it!

Title: Bluescreen (Mirador Book 1)
Author: Dan Wells
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Pages: 352 pages
Series: Yes, book 1
Rating: 3 Stars
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