14 January 2017

The Weight of Zero; Karen Fortunati

The Weight of ZeroThe Weight of Zero by Karen Fortunati
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm not an expert on teen depression, or even adult depression, so I'll take the author's word for her expertise and depiction of Cath's illness. It certainly felt real and was easy to relate to what was going on in Cath's life, including her fears not only of being ill (and the return of the Zero part of being bipolar) but also of what her former friends thought about her now.

My quibble is with her relationship with Michael. It did feel that her starting to come out of her shell with Kristal and the others in her group helped, but at times it was Michael and that relationship that - to me! only to me! YMMV! - read as though it was some magical device that would help "cure" her. While I did buy that those friendships and ties could help her reach some sort of peace with the reality of being bipolar and recognizing that Zero might return but perhaps was survivable, it kinda felt to me as though with Michael in her life, Zero would never return. Which did not feel real or plausible.

ARC provided by publisher.

Word of Mouse; Joe Sutphin

Word of MouseWord of Mouse by Joe Sutphin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cute Middle Grade fiction, but something felt a little off to this adult reader. Maybe the message about using mice in experiments didn't quite resonate? or maybe it was the sense that there should be some humor but it wasn't there?

ARC provided by publisher.

Life in a Fishbowl; Len Vlahos

Life in a FishbowlLife in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I loved Jack Tumor and The Truman Showand I've enjoyed Vlahos' writing style, so the three combined? Ok, I'll bite.

What made this a four was that this is appallingly all-too-plausible. Not the auctioning off of the life (although apparently Craigslist and eBay are constantly pulling similar things off their listings), but the way in which the reality tv program twists and distorts "cast" actions to goose ratings. So that particular hell was incredibly well described. That Jared made the decision without consulting his family and was allowed to sign all those contracts without them (or their signatures) didn't feel quite as real, but what do I know? My closest call with reality tv was being told that if I attended a HS graduation part for two students I tacitly gave permission to be filmed and shown on tv (note: I did not attend!). It's Jackie's response to all this, and her relationships with her parents, sister and online friend that really made the book.

Dropping it from a 5 to a 4, however, was some of the subplot (crazy billionaire guy really lost me). But the tumor? Loved the depiction.

ARC provided by publisher.

Caraval; Stephanie Garber

Caraval (Caraval, #1)Caraval by Stephanie Garber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My biggest problem with this is that I kept wondering what it would look like as a mini-series: the world of the Caraval would be so cool to actually see. There were minor annoyances (how the different Empires got started never being explained - which isn't important to the story itself, but I did wonder) and that this will be a series, but overall I really liked the story. Not sure I completely bought Scarlett as a heroine, or Tella's decisions, which seemed to be somewhat undermined at the end; equally not sure that the Night Circus comparisons are accurate. But the world created is incredibly vivid and I loved the allusion to Disney's "behind the scenes" reality and how different the Caravel world was from the usual settings.

ARC provided by publisher.

Boy Robot; Simon Curtis

Boy RobotBoy Robot by Simon Curtis
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

One or two too many stories, something I've noticed with series starters. We meet someone interesting, or start an interesting action, then jump to another and may not get back to that person/event for quite some time. UGH. It's not clever, it's not innovative, it's annoying.

As for the plot, standard dystopia with a delightful homophobic episode tossed in. Readers are almost as in the dark as Isaak, which really doesn't help.

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