Wednesday, June 27, 2018

No Summit Out of Sight by Jordan Romero

No Summit Out of Sight is an inspirational YA memoir about mountain climbing. This young adult non-fiction book is perfect for teens for a required high school summer reading assignment. I used No Summit Out of Sight last year for my assignment, and it worked very well.

This story features Jordan Romero, the youngest person to climb the Seven Summits at the ages of 10-15. The Seven Summits are the tallest mountains in all seven continents of the world. When Jordan Romero was in fourth grade, he saw a mural at his school showing all of them. He thought about how cool it would be to stand on the top of all of them, seeing the world. And thus, his goal began. With the help of his parents joining along, he eventually became the youngest person to climb all seven. This book is his inspirational account of all the hard work and determination it took to succeed.

This book is great for assigned summer reading tasks because the book has a simple plot with easy to understand language and concepts. The characters are clear and easy to interpret. There's not much reading in between the lines that is needed to write a good analytical essay on No Summit Out of Sight, as tidbits of inspirational quotes are on nearly every page and the narrator writes down all of his thoughts and observations.

The book felt too good to be true. It also felt more like a timeline of events than a story and lost my interest at times. The book is not very deep, and is lacking three-dimensional characteristics. It could have been written better and contained some details that were not relevant to the main idea, but it is still a fun read on your own time.

This book is very inspirational and teaches lessons about goal setting, breaking huge goals into smaller steps, thinking positively, and celebrating small victories. These are just some of the messages gained from reading this book. Physically, this journey was exhausting and when his body wanted to give up, his mind saved him. The fierce determination he had to complete his goal proved that "mind over matter" really does exist. No Summit Out of Sight is very relatable to kids all around the world, given that he started his goal at just the age of 10.

I recommend this book!

Title: No Summit Out of Sight
Author: Jordan Romero
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 368
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Monday, June 25, 2018

Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross is the first book in a YA dystopian series about hacking and virtual reality. Teenager Emika Chen is a brilliant hacker and bounty hunter, surviving on her own. It is a hard life, and she has no money left, and is about to get evicted out of her apartment. Desperate to earn money, she hacks into the opening game of the Warcross Championships, hoping to pay her rent. Instead, she accidentally glitches into the battle, visible to billions of people all over the world and making headlines.

Instead of being arrested, Emika gets recruited by the virtual game's creator, Hideo, to be a spy and catch Zero, a criminal. She is taken to Tokyo, and earns a spot on the Phoenix Riders, an elite team, gaining fame and fortune one cannot even dream of. Her happiness soon fades as she uncovers a plot that will destroy Warcross and its empire forever.

I enjoyed every single page! I love the writing style, the characters, and the setting. The whole book is so well written. There are some really fun plot twists, and I love how the mystery progresses and the foreshadowing. I guessed most of the book, but the ending? I think my jaw fell to the floor with the ending realization/cliffhanger. The battle/action scenes were so developed that I actually felt scared, and present as an avatar in the game standing next to her.

I love how Emi stands up for what she believes in. She is so powerful, smart, head-strong, and caring. She has a criminal record for doing the right thing and sticking up for her friend! She never lets things scare her or break her down. And when she does break, it is real and raw and so tender that the reader wants to cry. I also enjoyed her transition from being on her own and relying on herself to relying on a team. It was great to watch her learn the value of teamwork.

I cannot wait to read the next book, WildCard, which will be released on September 18, 2018!

If you are interested in virtual reality, I also recommend that you read Virtual Grunt!

Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Pages: 353
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley by Shaun David Hutchinson

After reading At the Edge of the Universe, I was ecstatic to read The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley, a YA realistic fiction book about grief written by the same author. Death is everywhere. It is a hospital, after all. However, for Andrew it is more personal than that. He was driving the car when the accident happened, ending the lives of his parents and his sister.

This hospital is the last place they were alive. So Andrew lives in the abandoned part of the hospital at night, then serving food in the day and hanging out with the nurses and the patients, refusing to let go of the past. Andrew feels that he is to blame for the deaths, and that he should be dead, too. That is, until he meets Rusty, another patient who is the victim of a hate crime. For once he can see a future for himself, and the two start to fall in love.

I enjoyed the comic book that he drew in half the pages. Patient F, his imaginary superhero, is a mirror image of him. I loved the juxtaposition of that. Patient F is the story of a superhero who has the powers of the universe. His parents were killed, so he goes back in time, putting his parents souls into other people's bodies to save them, then doing it again and again when they died, protecting those people as if they were his real family. This is just like Andrew. His family was gone, but he saw them in other patients and tried to protect them, refusing to let go of the past.

I also loved the personification in labeling death as a person, and the foreshadowing of Death coming for him. The five stages referenced in the title are the famous stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley clearly shows that these do not have to happen in order, and that you cannot truly predict one's grief. He almost went backwards at times through the cycles, or experiencing them all at once. Andrew's character development was extraordinary as he slowly begins to deal with all his emotions, including love. The LGBT romance was worked in nicely, and there was no awkwardness to it at all. Unlike other books where there is a lot of discussion and confusion, this was just go-with-the-flow, and truly beautiful.

I highly recommend this book, and I cannot wait to read another book of the author's, We are the Ants.

Read my review of At the Edge of the Universe, which was also written by this author.

Title: The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley
Author: Shaun David Hutchinson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 297
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, June 15, 2018

Wake by Lisa McMann

Wake is the first YA book in a paranormal mystery trilogy. Janie has a gift and a curse. Against her will, she has been getting sucked into other people's dreams ever since she was eight years old, creating endless torture day and night. After being transported into one nightmare too many, she opens up to Cabel, a boy at her school. He comforts her, and protects her. But he has secrets of his own, and they might be the key to Janie learning to control her powers.

This book was amazing and is a fast-paced thrill! It was creepy and frighting at times, but so captivating and full of suspense and anticipation! I enjoyed the concept, which is fascinating and unique. If you think you've got a secret or really hate your life, read this book and discover how truly awful life could be. The mystery part of the book is a huge surprise and I loved the twist at the end! I was surprised when the book ended, and I was so immersed into their world that I actually forgot where I was when I finished reading.

Janie is very strong. I don't know how in the world she manages a 3.8 GPA while dealing with all this day and night. Cabel is an amazing guy and I loved seeing him help her recover and navigate the scary nightmares. Janie is perfectly imperfect and realistic. She makes a lot of mistakes and makes questionable decisions but at the end of the day she is human (I think) and is going through a lot. She cries more than any other character in the books that I have read, and it makes my heart ache for her. 

I highly recommend this book! I am excited to read the next book in this trilogy, Fade, and I look forward to seeing how Janie's powers progress!

I would say that the book is for older readers given that some of the dreams she is sucked into involve mature actions and descriptions. 

Title: Wake
Author: Lisa McMann
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 210
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Breathing Room by Marsha Hayles

Breathing Room is a middle grade book about a girl's experience in a Sanatorium to cure her tuberculosis. Evvy Hoffmeister is just one of the hundreds of thousands of children sent to Loon Lake Sanatorium in the 1940s. At just 13 years old, the process is very scary, especially when death is just around the corner. But with the help of her new friends, Sarah, Pearl, and Dena, she finds the strength to fight the illness.

I learned a lot about tuberculosis and I was shocked at some of what the girls went through. Old forms of medicine consisted of risky surgical procedures. We should be truly grateful for the extent and power of medicine today. I also really liked the posters, flyers, propaganda, and other historical illustrations that added to the story and showed the culture of America in that time period.

I loved the backdrop of WW2 and the elements of Judaism and fear, a nice opening into the past. I have not read many books like this one and I was captivated with the girls' journeys of getting better or getting worse. The book was sad and alarming at the deaths and extent of the illness.

However, in the midst of all the death around them, the girls at least had each other, and the friendships that were formed were so sweet. The book contains a great theme to always keep fighting for your life and always look ahead into the future and be positive. This is a unique read for girls of all ages!

I am glad I bought this book and I would gladly read it again! I highly recommend this book!

Title: Breathing Room
Author: Marsha Hayles
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Pages: 256
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

The Light of the Fireflies by Paul Pen

I got The Light of the Fireflies for free on Amazon for World Book Day on April 28th. Only now did I finally read it. This story is quite interesting to say the least.

The book centers around the youngest boy of a family who is living in their basement and will not go upstairs, due to an "incident" involving his older, mentally ill brother. The boy, whose name is never provided, is growing quite suspicious of the family and the abuse of his sister. As he starts to understand some of the lies his family has been feeding him for years and years, he wants to leave.

My first complaint is how none of the characters have any names! So that made the story confusing at times. I also cannot agree at all with the themes or the ending, or the tone of the book, which felt sexist and absurd. The girl who is mature, selfless and sensible is abused by the family and blamed, all while the eldest son, who is awful and evil and a criminal is protected and loved? The story is completely backwards and sad.

In some parts of the world it is like this where women are treated like garbage but instead of acknowledging that it is wrong and giving a lesson, the main character reflects years later and defends his parents and says that family always comes first? The daughter (who deserves a name!) is family, and she deserves protection. Readers enjoy the main character, the youngest son, and expect him to become better than his family, but yet becomes poisoned by their thoughts and fails to get away when he has the chance.

There are essentially two points of view for this book. Either the importance of family goes above criminal actions, or doing the right thing is the most important, no matter how painful. However, both do show how our upbringing impacts how we view the world and the moral choices we make. The Light of the Fireflies is surprisingly very well written, and the mystery drew me in a lot. I also do think that the book was fascinating, and it was a very captivating read. While I dislike the main idea and theme, it was a decent book.

Even though I disagree with the main idea, I do sort of recommend this book.

Title: The Light of the Fireflies
Author: Paul Pen
Publisher: AmazonCrossing
Pages: 338
Series: No
Rating: 3 Stars

Friday, June 1, 2018

The Helm of Darkness (War on the Gods Book 1) by A.P. Mobley

The Helm of Darkness is the first book in a YA Greek mythology trilogy. This book was sent to me by the author and will be released on June 3, 2018.

The Greek gods are real, and they are angry because humanity stopped believing in them. To take control, the Gods created a storm that destroyed most of humanity and allowed them to rule once again. Andy and Zoey are two teenagers who are killed in the storm. However, thanks to a demigod's sacrifice, they are awakened 500 years later to help lead a war against the Gods and take back the rights of humanity. With the help of two demigods, Diana and Spencer, they must travel to the underworld and steal the Helm of Darkness from Hades.

These are ordinary kids who just lost everybody and everything they knew and loved, thrust into a war that they handled with surprisingly vast amounts of mental strength. They are just mortals, normal teenagers. There is no god-complex about them, and they don't have any powers, which makes the story more interesting and is a differentiator to most other books in the mythology space. Each of the characters also have had something traumatic or tragic happen in their lives, and it is interesting to witness how their past shapes their future roles and decisions. 

I enjoyed seeing a darker side to the Gods. Mostly in books and in real life, we picture Gods as being heavenly light and pure with good intentions. I liked how the readers for once see the greedy, hateful, controlling side as well. There is always two sides to a person, and I enjoyed guessing which Gods were actually trustworthy and relatively good. I also liked all the different scenery and the variety of the places that they went. I was able to picture almost their whole world. The imagery of that storm was intense and captivating as well as the word choice and usage. The metaphors were really good, and I loved the repeated fixation with the word "myth."

I highly recommend this book and cannot wait to read the next book in the series, Poseidon's Trident!

Title: The Helm of Darkness
Author: A.P. Mobley
Publisher: Sea of Ink Press
Pages: 268
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...