05 February 2016

Some of the Parts; Hannah Barnaby

Some of the PartsSome of the Parts by Hannah Barnaby
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Unclear whether the theme was teen guilt or some statement on organ donation.

ARC provided by publisher.

The Secret Language of Sisters; Luanne Rice

The Secret Language of SistersThe Secret Language of Sisters by Luanne Rice
My rating: 3 of 5 stars\

Rounding up because the ultimate message (Don't text and drive. Ever) is important - my school is behind the #textlesslivemore initiative. But the story itself falls short for me: Tilly is scapegoated and treated poorly, the treatment felt far too hopeful for what most 'locked in' victims will get, and why did Roo have to be a talented photographer? Wouldn't the story have worked just as well if she was average?

ARC provided by publisher.

Children of the Revolution; Peter Robinson

Children of the Revolution (Inspector Banks, #21)Children of the Revolution by Peter Robinson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some great scenes (the one between Annie and Gerry is priceless) mixed in with an ok mystery. Once again, I thought I'd solved it and knew whodunnit and why but noooo. I was wrong. Who could ask for anything more? Oh, and those playlists.

So why only four stars? The Marxist dialectic and all the pseudoinetllectual stuff got a little boring after a while. We got it. These people met or worked at uni. Enough.

31 January 2016

Audacity Jones to the Rescue; Kirby Larson

Audacity Jones to the RescueAudacity Jones to the Rescue by Kirby Larson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Really not sure what to think here - at times I admired it, but most of the time I was just confused about what the Big Caper was, why Audacity was part of it and how the other Wayward Girls fit in.

ARC provided by publisher.

The Memory of Light; Francisco X. Stork

The Memory of LightThe Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I loved Vicky's voice: her pain and depression were clear to readers. Her father's inability to connect with her and see her for who she is, not who he wants her to be, is also clear and the reasons become painfully clear later. But the time spent in Lakeview just rang so false that it negated much of the book for me. Any doctor that played that fast and loose with my privacy? Or who seems to have disregard for real processes regarding teens in a mental ward? No hospital would allow that because of possible lawsuits, let alone her malpractice insurance rates would be astronomical. The author's note, where he talks about writing this to help teens who may also be considering suicide shows good intentions but the execution really worries me.

ARC provided by publisher.

Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye; Tania del Rio

Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing EyeWarren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye by Tania del Rio
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Oh how I wish there'd been more description of the Warren Hotel! Instead, there's a lot of action, much of it repetitive or reminiscent of other books in the "downtrodden orphan coming out on top" genre. Some of the more interesting bits seem rushed, detracting from the book. Take, for example, Paleface: menacing, speaking only via cards and for some reason ignored for whole sections while other (the rest of the guests) take center stage which mutes the affect Paleface might have had.

ARC provided by publisher.

Little White Lies; Brianna Baker

Little White LiesLittle White Lies by Brianna Baker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm rounding this up because Coretta's voice really does sound like a 17-year-old (at least, it does sound like many of my students). But why the author took this where it ultimately went is beyond me... Karl (the ghostwriter)'s POV swamped Coretta's, and the Skools were just too creepy. Had this stayed with the premise of a black teen's take on sh*t her parents say on a blog that goes viral and requires a ghostwriter, an action that ultimately backfires, it would have been a much stronger book.

ARC provided by publisher.

25 January 2016

The Way I Used to Be; Amber Smith

The Way I Used to BeThe Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sadly, I suspect that there are more girls than we know who have been in a similar position and if this book can help... Having said that, there are some flaws. Flaws like, why doesn't anyone notice and bug Eden about the really obvious changes in her life (yes, there's teen rebellion/change but really? no one says anything?). Flaws like, the happy ending is so short while the down/depressed/destructive parts are 90% of the book. It makes the "things may actually work out" part feel rushed and implausible.

ARC provided by publisher.

22 January 2016

Shallow Graves; Kali Wallace

Shallow GravesShallow Graves by Kali Wallace
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What would you do if you woke up one morning, in a grave, knowing you somehow are dead? And then find out that there are others like you, hunted by a cult? That's what Breezy contends with during this book. Questions of identity, trust and even love are addressed along with the supernatural elements, and done in such a way as to make us feel that this is a "normal" world, one that readers inhabit. There's a potential love triangle, or something close, which lost points, and the ending was a bit of a let down given that this isn't part of series.

ARC provided by publisher.

Don't Get Caught; Kurt Dinan

Don't Get CaughtDon't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This has a The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks feel to it, only with a male main voice. The goal is to subvert (or embarrass, or take over) the work of the Chaos Club, mastermind pranksters at school. Why? Because Max, a heist movie fan, was set up by the Chaos Club and they must pay. The question is, of course, did they actually do it? or is there someone else at work here?

My worry is that readers will try to emulate some of these pranks and having worked at a school where there was a prank that went wrong (ok, several pranks went wrong) that just seems irresponsible.

ARC provided by publisher.