Friday, April 18, 2014

Allegiant--Veronica Roth


Title: Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperCollins, 2013.
Pages: 526 p.
Source: Purchased Kindle ebook
Compensation: None


Allegiant picks up where Insurgent leaves off. While I generally try to avoid spoilers here, it's harder to do when reviewing a sequel. Rest assured I will not give away any surprises from Allegiant, but details from Divergent and Insurgent may be revealed. If you haven't read them yet, consider yourself warned. 

When we last left Tris and Tobias, she had betrayed him to work with his father to expose the truth the Erudite wanted so very much to hide and at the very last minute Tobias decided to trust her over his mother and helped to expose that truth. That the people outside the wall put them in there to help them develop into Divergents and that when there were enough of them they should open the gates and help the people outside the wall. The decision to stay or to travel beyond the wall is made a little difficult when Tobias's mother imprisons Tris and her friends. She is released and they make plans to escape the city and see what's on the other side of the wall. Once there they discover that things aren't quite what they thought--as usual--and Tris and Tobias face the ultimate test of their relationship. 

This final installment in the trilogy is told in alternating viewpoints, which makes perfect sense for the story. We've always known Tris's motivations and feelings, but only saw Tobias through her. Alternating the narrators lets us see both of their thoughts and decisions and fears. There were times when I briefly forgot who was narrating what, but for the most part I could keep track. 

I know there has been a lot of strong opinions about the ending of the book. While trying to avoid spoilers as much as possible here, I will say that I think it ended the way it needed to. Not that I was happy, not that I didn't feel emotionally wrecked afterwards, but that the ending remained true to the story and the characters. I liked this one just as much as the others and read it just as quickly. 

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Insurgent--Veronica Roth


Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins, 2012
Pages: 404
Source: Library ebook
Compensation: None

I was a little late to reading Divergent which actually worked out well since I didn't have to wait for the next two books to be written. Sometimes procrastination works. I loved Divergent (and the movie!) and had high hopes for the rest of the series.

I wasn't disappointed.

Insurgent picks up where Divergent leaves off. While I generally try to avoid spoilers here, it's harder to do when reviewing a sequel. Rest assured I will not give away any surprises from Insurgent, but details from Divergent may be revealed. If you haven't read it yet, consider yourself warned. 

Tris and Tobias have escaped Erudite's clutches and Dauntless' treachery for the freedom of Amity. Although they are able to rest and heal at Amity, they quickly realize that they are not truly safe anywhere. They narrowly escape Amity and after boarding a train, discover a secret connection to the Factionless. From then on Insurgent is like a wild train ride of suspicions and distrust as Tris and Tobias try to save their people and not lose themselves in the process. There are so many twists and turns and moments when it is just literally impossible to stop reading.

I enjoyed this book just as much as the first and found it very hard to put down. "Luckily" I had the stomach bug which forced me to lay down for quite a few hours and I was able to devour this book in just one night. Although I was on the waiting list for the library ebook for the next one, I gave in and purchased Allegiant roughly 5 minutes after finishing Insurgent.

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Prep School Confidential--Kara Taylor


Title: Prep School Confidential
Author: Kara Taylor
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books, 2013.
Pages: 322 p.
Source: Library
Compensation: None

Anne Dowling is a privileged spoiled rich kid who is used to talking her way out of any problem she encounters. Then she accidentally sets her school on fire and discovers there are some things you can't talk your way out of. The native New Yorker is sent to a boarding school outside Boston to finish out her school year. She's not quite sure how she's going to survive the boredom of prep central but things get less boring when her quiet unpopular roommate is found murdered in the woods outside the school. Anne decides she owes it to her roommate to uncover the truth of her murder and winds up uncovering a whole lot more.

Anne is a sassy, smart, fun character and Prep School Confidential is a quick action-packed read. Suspenseful and entertaining, teens who are fans of Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl and the all the other prep school TV shows will gravitate towards this series.

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Bareknuckle Series


Title: Bareknuckle Series
Author: various
Publisher: Darby Creek, 2014
Pages: varies
Source: VOYA
Compensation: None


Bareknuckle is an exciting new hi/lo series perfect for reluctant reader boys. Each book tells a different story set at an underground boxing club in the 1870s. Although boys will be most interested in the very violent fighting, each book also throws in some history and moral lessons. Descriptions of the fights are very visual and auditory and suck in readers who love picturing loud cracks as bare knuckles hit broken noses. Squeamish readers might not be as thrilled, but most boys will be drawn to the fighting sections. Although the series is aimed at reluctant readers, it is exciting enough to interest voracious readers as well. In Nathan Sack’s The Big Fix readers are introduced to underground boxing when young journalist George Choogart travels to New York to uncover corruption in a post-Tammany city. The Woodrat is established as a popular fighting club. Fighter’s Alley by Heather Duffy Stone tells the story of a young boy determined to enter a high-stakes boxing tournament and try to keep it a secret from his father who is running for mayor. Slavery and immigration are backstories in Gabriel Goodman’s Lightning’s Run. Jewish immigrant Hiram and former slave Lightning join forces at the Woodrat to fight against bullies, both big and small. The Bareknuckle series would be a worthy addition to middle school libraries and libraries serving the tween (4th-6th grades) population.

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