Sunday, April 28, 2019

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the End is a YA realistic/science fiction book about two boys who decide to make the most of their last day alive. In a futuristic society not too different from our own, people are notified by Death-Cast 24 hours before they die. Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both screwed up their lives and live in awful situations. Quite frankly, they never thought they'd have much to live for. When these two unhappy souls decide to spend their Last Day together, they aim to live for decades in a single night and accomplish their dreams, falling in love with each other in the midst.

I am very torn about this book for many reasons. One of my issues is the lack of background knowledge about the mysterious Death-Cast system. How does it know when people are going to die? Predictive analytics or a higher power? Plus, I was hoping for an inspirational vibe of trying to change fate, which left me disappointed. I also had major issues with the romance between the boys as it felt way too forced and unnatural.

However, I loved the characters and grew attached to Mateo. I also loved the balancing act between the personalities of Rufus and Mateo and how they changed each other. Rufus made Mateo more fearless and Mateo made Rufus more considerate and careful. They largely benefited from each other and I admired their bravery. They Both Die at the End was a beautiful concept and I personally love Silvera's writing style from More Happy Than Not. I loved the concept and the plotline, but the execution did not turn out as I hoped. That being said, I still enjoyed reading it.

I do recommend this book as it still tells a special story- just be sure to suspend your disbelief!

Click here to read my review of More Happy Than Not, also by Adam Silvera.

Title: They Both Die at the End
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 373
Series: No
Rating: 4 Stars

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Hidden (Hayling Cycle #1) by Miriam Halahmy

Hidden is the first YA historical fiction book in the trilogy Hayling Cycle. Fourteen-year-old Alix lives on Haying Island, a small island off the coast of England. During World War I, the community is blind to the terrors that occur in the Middle East. One day at the beach, Alix and her friend Samir find Mohammed, an illegal immigrant who was tortured in Iraq for helping the Allies. Not wanting him to be deported, the two young friends try to protect and hide him from the authorities.

I loved this historical fiction book! What I love the most about his book is the compassion for others that is developed inside the characters. Ignorance and stereotyping is wrong, and I loved how gradually even the people who I thought were the enemy became close allies. The toxic racist tone by many of the secondary characters at first was honest and revealing, and I was surprised how they changed their mindset. I love how the characters were able to set politics aside and look at Mohammad as a human being. I haven't read many books like this.

Immigration is an extremely relevant topic, especially in America with the current opinions of President Trump. These situations, fleeing war and poverty and torture happen way more than one can possibly imagine. I bet there is a 14-year-old right now somewhere in the world struggling with this same dilemma. Hidden is an extremely inspirational book that teaches the importance of caring for others and respecting those who are different from yourself.

I highly recommend this book and I cannot wait to read the next book in this series, Illegal. I am also interested in another book by the author, Behind Closed Doors.

Title: Hidden
Author: Miriam Halahmy
Publisher: Holiday House
Pages: 224
Series: Yes, Book 1 of 3
Rating: 5 Stars

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Kill Code by Clive Fleury

Kill Code is the first book in a YA dystopian series about corruption and abuse of power. I received this book from the author. In this dystopian society in 2031, global warming has decimated the Earth with increasing rising seas and deadly heat. The world is ruled by the few rich and powerful, supposedly hosting soap kitchens and helping the poor. Actually, all the NSC do is steal money and power for themselves. Tricked by massive propaganda, ex-cop Hogan Duran is excited to face the trials to join the NSC and help the poor community. As he becomes immersed in their world, Hogan discovers the truth and must try to fight back against their cruelty.

I absolutely loved this action-packed book! I was completely sucked into their world and I couldn't take my eyes off the pages! This book would make an excellent movie as the fighting scenes were perfectly executed and full of suspense. The intensity grew with each page, and I was anxious for them. I was sad when the book ended with an amazing cliffhanger. It is rather short book, so I was shocked at how the effectiveness of the pacing made it seem a lot longer.

The issue of the rich abusing their power is painfully obvious even today, so the predictions Kill Code makes are very realistic. I enjoyed how the concepts and technology felt crazy but still probable at the same time. I love how he and Ruby worked together as a team, defying the central idea of their society that everyone should fend for themselves. Hogan has a huge amount of empathy for others, something unique to the set of characters featured.

I highly recommend this book and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, Blood Code, which will be out before the end of the year.

Title: Kill Code
Author: Clive Fleury
Publisher: Tck Publishing
Pages: 148
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby

A Long Way Down is a YA realistic fiction book about a band of suicidal misfits who decide to help each other stay alive. On New Year's Eve, four people make their way to the roof of the Topper's House in London, prepared to jump off. Instead, the four of them decide to be friends and help each other sort out their lives.

I discovered A Long Way Down at my school library and was instantly intrigued. However, I extremely disliked this book and I barely finished it. The book was essentially a huge chunk of random dialogue with sarcasm and swear words. The characters were downright annoying. To me all of the character's attitudes and stigmas towards each other felt extremely offensive.

I felt that it completely underestimated suicide and made it seem like less of an issue than it is. Jess, the 15-year-old teenager, was extremely selfish and a major drama queen. She made the aspect of teen suicide laughable and downplayed the seriousness of suicide. I had absolutely no interest in any of the characters as they all felt bizarre and ridiculous. I honestly don't even see the point of this book and despite my hopes, it was not inspirational at all.

I do not recommend this book.

Title: A Long Way Down
Author: Nick Hornby
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Pages: 333
Series: No
Rating: 1 Star

Monday, April 1, 2019

An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder

An Uninterrupted View of the Sky is an inspirational YA historical fiction book about the corrupt justice system in South America. In Bolivia 1999, the government prosecutes and targets the poor, uneducated minority. When Francisco's father is falsely accused of harboring drugs, he is sent to prison. When their mother panics and abandons them, the seventeen-year-old and his little sister must move into the jail with their father.

It was tough to read because the situation was so desperate and desolate. The main reason I was able to get through this book was because of the enormous love between Francisco, his sister, and their father. Beyond the sadness of the beginning of the story, there was still a definitive form of hope that Francisco was able to power himself with. As saddening as this story was, Bolivia's prisons today still hold the same corrupt, dangerous conditions. As I started researching more about Bolivian prisons and speaking to my friend who was born there, the inspirational, uplifting feeling became replaced with sadness for the people still suffering there today.

Books such as these bring attention to issues that need to be solved, and I personally am happy that this book was written so that I could learn about his injustice. An Uninterrupted View of the Sky showed that one can overcome these odds and become successful, but the sad reality is that many, many more are still trapped in the world of crime and poverty- which is yet a reason why this book was written- to educate and encourage others to be activists and become involved in trying to fix the situation.

I highly recommend this book! I look forward to reading another book of the author's, Audacity

If you are interested in this book, I also recommend that you read Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope PĂ©rez as well as Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Title: An Uninterrupted View of the Sky
Author: Melanie Crowder
Publisher: Philomel Books
Pages: 304
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars
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