Review: Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt

Title: Twerp

Author: Mark Goldblatt

Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: May 28, 2013

Source: Netgalley

Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary

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Summary

It’s not like I meant for Danley to get hurt. . . .

Julian Twerski isn’t a bully. He’s just made a big mistake. So when he returns to school after a weeklong suspension, his English teacher offers him a deal: if he keeps a journal and writes about the terrible incident that got him and his friends suspended, he can get out of writing a report on Shakespeare. Julian jumps at the chance. And so begins his account of life in sixth grade–blowing up homemade fireworks, writing a love letter for his best friend (with disastrous results), and worrying whether he’s still the fastest kid in school. Lurking in the background, though, is the one story he can’t bring himself to tell, the one story his teacher most wants to hear.

Review

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt lets the reader read the journals of the sixth grader Julian Twerski. His English teacher offers him the option of keeping the journals and writing about the incident that caused him to be suspended. Using the journal as a writing device is just brilliant. It lets the reader see into Julian’s life. It leads us to the incident that they are ultimately supposed to be about but not before the reader is ready to know what it is. To learn about his hopes and fears. Julian is so smart and funny but has the same problem many 12-year-old boys do. He doesn’t really understand girls. He sometimes makes bad decisions that backfire in horrible ways.

In each chapter, Julian tells a story of something that happens in his life. He talks about writing a love letter for a friend. Of course, this goes all wrong and the girl thinks he wrote it. Julian is unsure what to do in this situation and ends up going to his sister for advice. Julian worries constantly about no longer being the fastest kid in school. This is so important to him and it builds up to a final showdown at the Track and Field Day. Julian, as an adult, would likely look back on these two events and realize they are not all that important in the scheme of things. Yet, at twelve they are huge events and it feels real that they effect him the way that they do.

Eventually, we find out what Julian did to be suspended. It is ultimately shocking because by this point, we have gotten to know Julian. We know that he is a sweet kid that obviously made a huge mistake. It makes the story that much more difficult to read knowing that he is not just a bad kid. That he should have known better.

Twerp by Mark Goldblatt is a touching coming-of-age story that will transport you to 1969. It is well-written and an enjoyable read. I would highly recommend it to young readers (especially boys) because it is engaging and teaches a powerful lesson. Take charge, be yourself, and speak up when you know something is wrong before it is too late.

I was provided an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

In The Stacks (12)

What I added to my stacks (and stacks and stacks) this week. I am linking up with Stacking The Shelves by Tynga’s Reviews.

Netgalley

 

The Island by Jen Minkman

The Island by Jen Minkman

‘I walk toward the sea. The endless surface of the water extends to the horizon, whichever way I look.

Our world is small. We are on our own, and we only have ourselves to depend on. We rely on the Force deep within us, as taught to us by our forefathers.

If I were to walk westward from here, I would come across a barrier – the Wall. Behind it, there are Fools. At least, that’s what everyone says.
I have never seen one.’

Leia lives on the Island, a world in which children leave their parents to take care of themselves when they are ten years old. Across this Island runs a wall that no one has ever crossed. The Fools living behind it are not amenable to reason – they believe in illusions. That’s what The Book says, the only thing left to the Eastern Islanders by their ancestors.
But when a strange man washes ashore and Leia meets a Fool face to face, her life will never be the same. Is what she and her friends believe about the Island really true?

Or is everyone in their world, in fact, a Fool?

Purchased

 

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist #1) by Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist by Rick Yancey

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthorpe, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

A gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does man become the very thing he hunts?

I loved The 5th Wave so much, I plan on reading all of Rick Yancey’s other books.

The End Games by T. Michael Martin

The End Games by T. Michael Martin

It happened on Halloween.

The world ended.

And a dangerous Game brought it back to life.

Seventeen-year-old Michael and his five-year-old brother, Patrick, have been battling monsters in The Game for weeks.

In the rural mountains of West Virginia, armed with only their rifle and their love for each other, the brothers follow Instructions from the mysterious Game Master. They spend their days searching for survivors, their nights fighting endless hordes of “Bellows”—creatures that roam the dark, roaring for flesh. And at this Game, Michael and Patrick are very good.

But The Game is changing.

The Bellows are evolving.

The Game Master is leading Michael and Patrick to other survivors—survivors who don’t play by the rules.

And the brothers will never be the same.

Inferno (Robert Langdon #4) by Dan Brown

Inferno by Dan Brown

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

The worst part of owning this book is knowing that whenever I read (should be soon), I won’t get to talk about it with my husband. Dan Brown is one of the few authors that we both like but he is studying for the bar right now and won’t be able to read it until after the test.

Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Beautiful Chaos by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

Ethan Wate thought he was getting used to the strange, impossible events happening in Gatlin, his small Southern town. But now that Ethan and Lena have returned home, strange and impossible have taken on new meanings. Swarms of locusts, record-breaking heat, and devastating storms ravage Gatlin as Ethan and Lena struggle to understand the impact of Lena’s Claiming. Even Lena’s family of powerful Supernaturals is affected – and their abilities begin to dangerously misfire. As time passes, one question becomes clear: What — or who — will need to be sacrificed to save Gatlin?

For Ethan, the chaos is a frightening but welcome distraction. He’s being haunted in his dreams again, but this time it isn’t by Lena – and whatever is haunting him is following him out of his dreams and into his everyday life. Even worse, Ethan is gradually losing pieces of himself — forgetting names, phone numbers, even memories. He doesn’t know why, and most days he’s too afraid to ask.

Sometimes there isn’t just one answer or one choice. Sometimes there’s no going back. And this time there won’t be a happy ending.

Kindle

 

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer

Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren’t the most popular girls in school, they aren’t too worried. They know their real lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents)! But when an unexpected event shows them they’re missing out on the full high school experience, it’s time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge—and they will totally rock it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she’ll have to get over her fear of public speaking—and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes—until now.

These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want—but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for. . . .

Library

 

Just One Day (Just One Day #1) by Gayle Forman

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

When sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

I already read this one and have so many feelings about it. It is my first Gayle Forman book and get why so many people love her books.

Shadow And Bone (The Grisha #1) by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unraveling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?

Me And Earl And The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg’s mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia—-cue extreme adolescent awkwardness—-but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives.

And all at once Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.

What did you add to your stacks this week?

All cover images and summaries from goodreads.

Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Title: The 5th Wave

Author: Rick Yancey

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Source: Purchased

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Summary

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Review

I have to start by saying, I loved every second of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I wanted to lock myself in a room with a do not disturb sign on the door until I was done (sadly, it actually took me five days to read it because I have to do things like go to work and sleep.) I loved it so much that I might even recommend that you stop reading this review and get yourself a copy of The 5th Wave and start reading right now.

All that being said, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey is a book I had high expectations of going in. In case you skipped over the first paragraph of this review, my expectations were actually exceeded and it really does live up to all the hype. Starting with the characters, we have Cassie, her father, and her five year-old brother, Sammy. Forced to leave their home, the goal is to get to an Air force base where they have a better chance for survival. Cassie is fierce and independent. Rick Yancey lets us in on what Cassie is thinking and she is both smart and funny. The use of humor and sarcasm throughout The 5th Wave gives an otherwise pretty dark book, some levity. Eventually, Cassie is separated from her brother and she spends most of the book plotting to get him back.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey is broken down into sections that contain chapters in the voices of different characters. I loved this because it really lets you get to know the characters and what their motivations are. Not everyone is what they seem and getting to see into their heads, gives you a much better understanding of what is going on. The dire situation (hello, alien invasion and the world is ending) keeps The 5th Wave in constant motion. There is one lull for a love story but even that serves a purpose in pushing everyone forward.

I love how the different stories interconnect in ways that are surprising. There are quite a few places in The 5th Wave where I was very surprised by a turn of events. It forces the reader to be on the edge of their seat for the entire 480 pages and never lets up. Everything from the dialogue to the action is pitch perfect throughout. The only negative I can mention about The 5th Wave is the massive feeling of loss I have for having finished it and waiting who knows how long for the next book. So please, take my advice and get yourself a copy of The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I promise you will not regret it.

 

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

 

Waiting On Wednesday–Never Fade By Alexandra Bracken

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking The Spine that spotlights new releases that you are eagerly anticipating. This week I am waiting on Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken.

Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

Title: Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2)

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Expected Publishing Date: October 15, 2013

Goodreads

Summary

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

Why I’m Waiting

The Darkest Minds is an amazing book that I could not put down and it ends in a crazy way. I need to know the rest of the story. EW recently announced the cover of Never Fade and published an excerpt found hereNever Fade will be a dropping everything I am doing to read it kind of book and the excerpt only confirmed it.

Summary and cover image from goodreads.

My Top Ten Favorite Book Covers

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they pick a fun topic for a top ten list. This weeks list is Top Ten Books Favorite Book Covers Of Books I Have Read.

1. Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1) by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

This is probably my favorite book cover of all time. I mean, it is just perfect and so pretty. (Plus I really love this book and am dying for Star Cursed but that is a discussion for another time.)

2. Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

I loved all of the covers in the series but this one is my favorite.

3. Under The Never Sky (Under The Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi

Under The Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

This cover is just so electric.

4. Everneath (Everneath #1) by Brodi Ashton

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

Yes, a girl in a flowing dress has been done to death but I just love this one.

5. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road Cormac McCarthy

This cover is the so perfect for this book. Stark, bleak, and dark I cannot imagine it any other way.

6. Shiver (The Wolves Of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater

shiver by maggie stiefvater

I love how this cover captures the beauty of winter.

7. Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

Insurgent Veronica Roth

There is so much motion on this cover. It has the feel of the books, so much action.

8. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Beautiful and sad just like the book.

9. They Call Me Baba Booey by Gary Dell’Abate & Chad Millman

They Call Me Baba Booey by Gary Dell'Abate

I am a huge Howard Stern fan and love his long time producer Gary Dell’Abate. This cover makes me laugh every time I see it.

10. City Of Ember (Book Of Ember #1) by Jeanne DuPrau

The City Of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

So simple but really stunning. Love this book and the cover.

All cover images from goodreads.

 

Review: Nantucket Blue By Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howard

Title: Nantucket Blue

Author: Leila Howland

Source: Netgalley

Publisher: Disney Hyperion

Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

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Summary

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on–most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits–that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

Review

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland is the perfect book for summer. It evokes the feelings of being young and hoping the summer would be magical. That everything could change if you can get the right boy to notice you and spend the summer near the water. 

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland captures a summer in New England (and this New Englander loved the setting but I may be biased.) Cricket Thompson is in the summer before her senior year and is about to turn 18. She spends most of her time with her best friend Jules and her family until tragedy strikes. So what was meant to be an epic summer with her best friend, turns into a summer where she lives on her own and is forced to confront the feelings she has been hiding from.

Cricket is a very likeable and relatable character. She is hurt by her parents actions but is unsure how to handle it. As the child of divorced parents, I found this story line handled in a accurate way. Being almost an adult but having little control of those in your life can be difficult.

Nantucket Blue has a great love story where Cricket finally meets the right guy. This part of the book is so sweet and very swoon worthy. It also shows maturity on Crickets part when she has to choose between what is right in front of her and what she thought she always wanted.

Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland is a beautiful story about growing-up and learning to confront your problems. The love story is excellent and made it difficult to put down. The ending is ultimately satisfying and I was sad that it was over. I highly recommend picking up a copy of Nantucket Blue this summer. 

What You Will Find

  • Catty girls
  • Great setting
  • Cute boys
  • Great love story
  • Coming-of-age

I did receive a copy of Nantucket Blue via Netgalley but all opinions are my own.

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

In The Stacks (11)

What I added to my stacks (and stacks and stacks) this week. I am linking up with Stacking The Shelves by Tynga’s Reviews.

Netgalley

 

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

Or will she just go on living inside somebody else’s fiction?

I can tell just by looking at this cover, I am going to love this book.

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

It says quite a lot about Jeremy Johnson Johnson that the strangest thing about him isn’t even the fact his mother and father both had the same last name. Jeremy once admitted he’s able to hear voices, and the townspeople of Never Better have treated him like an outsider since. After his mother left, his father became a recluse, and it’s been up to Jeremy to support the family. But it hasn’t been up to Jeremy alone. The truth is, Jeremy can hear voices. Or, specifically, one voice: the voice of the ghost of Jacob Grimm, one half of the infamous writing duo, The Brothers Grimm. Jacob watches over Jeremy, protecting him from an unknown dark evil whispered about in the space between this world and the next. But when the provocative local girl Ginger Boultinghouse takes an interest in Jeremy (and his unique abilities), a grim chain of events is put into motion. And as anyone familiar with the Grimm Brothers know, not all fairy tales have happy endings. . .

Love that the cover is creepy. I love my fairy tale updates to be on the creepy side.

Kindle

 

Let The Sky Fall (Let The Sky Fall #1) by Shannon Messenger

Let The Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them.

Love the idea of having power over the winds. Throw in a forbidden romance and a kindle deal, I couldn’t say no.

The Luxe (Luxe #1) by Anna Godbersen

The Luxe by Anna Godbersen

Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.
Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions.
White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.
This is Manhattan, 1899. Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan’s social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City’s elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone–from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud–threatens Elizabeth’s and Diana’s golden future.

With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city’s gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan’s most celebrated daughter disappear…

In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.

Sometimes you need an indulgent read and I think The Luxe should fit the bill.

What did you add to your stacks this week?

Zenn Scarlett By Christian Schoon

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

Title: Zenn Scarlett

Author: Christian Schoon

Publisher: Strange Chemistry

Publication Date: May 7, 2013

Source: ARC from publisher

Challenge: Debut Author Challenge

GoodreadsAuthor

AmazonBarnes & NobleIndie Bound

Summary

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she’s learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she’s feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn’t enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she’s started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can’t deny what she’s feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what’s happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she’s actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients… or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year….

Review

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon is a fun and quirky sci-fi story about a girl who lives on Mars and is determined to become an Exovet (alien veterinarian). The first part of the book is full of descriptions of the exotic space animals that Zenn cares for at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic. To move to the next level in her training, she has to pass three tests. A mishap during the first test leaves Zenn questioning her sanity and those around her.

I really liked the character of Zenn, she works hard and is brave. She is smart and  passionate about becoming an exovet. The character of Hamish is interesting. He is pretty much a giant bug who acts as the cloisters care taker. He has difficulty thinking for himself and is constantly asking permission before doing the most menial of tasks. Zenn and Hamish have an sort-of friendship that gives Zenn Scarlett a bit of comic relief.

The middle of the book starts to pick-up as we learn more about the Martian political situation and why the neighbors of the cloisters may want it to close its doors. Zenn starts to put the pieces together and tries to find out who is behind the accidents and why. This was my favorite part of the story. I love a good mystery and Christian Schoon drops hints throughout the entire book to a much bigger, overarching story. 

Zenn does have a romantic interest in Liam, who helps around the cloisters. He is the only person her own age that Zenn has ever been friends with. I found this relationship sweet and it was nice to see Zenn open-up. (Liam is also a cat lover which to this cat lover, makes a guy so much more swoon worthy.)

I ultimately enjoyed Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon. The last half of the book was much more interesting than the first half, so hang in for it. The writing was very cinematic and I could easily picture Zenn Scarlett as a TV show. Overall, I would have preferred more action and fewer animals but still found Zenn Scarlett to be a solid read. The ending has a cliffhanger and left me wanting to know where this story is going. I would definitely read the next book in this series

This book was provided for me to review by Strange Chemistry. All opinions are my own.

Cover image and summary from goodreads.

Top Ten Books About Difficult Subjects

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they pick a fun topic for a top ten list. This weeks list is Top Ten Books Dealing With Tough Subjects.

War

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Review)

Suicide

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Review)

Cancer

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

Death

The Rules of Inheritance Claire Bidwell Smith

The Rules Of Inheritance by Claire Bidwell Smith (Review)

Addiction

Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes

Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes

Mental Illness

It's Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story by Ned Vizzini

Marriage

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

The Uncoupling by Meg Wolitzer

Domestic Abuse

This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

Rape

Speak by laurie Halse Anderson

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Review)

Abduction

Room by Emma Donoghue

Room by Emma Donoghue

Any books you would add?

 

Cover images taken from goodreads.

 

Wide Awake By Shelly Crane Giveaway

Wide Awake by Shelly Crane BN kobo iBooks

Title: Wide Awake

Author: Shelly Crane

Release date: March 23, 2013

Genre: Contemporary

Age Group: Young Adult

Event organized by: AToMR Tours

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Summary

A girl.
A coma.
A life she can’t remember.

When Emma Walker wakes up in the hospital with no knowledge of how she got there, she
learns that she’s been in a coma for six months. Strangers show up and claim to be her parents,
but she can’t remember them. She can’t remember anyone. Not her friends, not even her
boyfriend. Even though she can’t remember, everyone wants her to just pick up where she left
off, but what she learns about the ‘old her’ makes her start to wish she’d never woken up. Her
boyfriend breaks up with the new girl he’s dating to be with her, her parents want her to start
planning for college, her friends want their leader back, and her physical therapist with the hazel
eyes keeps his distance to save his position at the hospital.

Will she ever feel like she recognizes the girl in the mirror?

About The Author

Shelly Crane

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YA author from a small town in Georgia and loves everything about the south. She is wife to a fantastical husband and stay at home mom to two boisterous and mischievous boys who keep her on her toes. They currently reside in everywhere USA as they happily travel all over with her husband’s job. She loves to spend time with her family, binge on candy corn, go out to eat at new restaurants, buy paperbacks at little bookstores, site see in the new areas they travel to, listen to
music everywhere and also LOVES to read.

Her own books happen by accident and she revels in the writing and imagination process. She doesn’t go anywhere without her notepad for fear of an idea creeping up and not being able to write it down immediately, even in the middle of the night, where her best ideas are born.

Excerpt

He smiled that Mason smile that set me on fire all over. Then he put one hand on the other side on the hospital bed and the other lifted toward my face. I waited, bated breath, gulping, sweaty palms, fluttering eyes, the works. His face got so close before he stopped. I thought he had decided against whatever he was doing he waited so long. I began to pull back in disappointment, but he reached behind my neck gently and pulled me to him. The barest of touches was the best way to describe our first kiss. It wasn’t really a kiss at all. His bottom lip barely brushed my top one. When he leaned back and opened his eyes, he must’ve seen the
confusion and frustration in my face.

He chuckled. “I just had to taste that coconut…” he licked his lips, “but I don’t want to kiss you when you’ve been angry at me and I messed up our date. “He said ‘date’. Like…a date. “I want to kiss you when if we go another second without it, one of us will combust.”

My breaths were raging. I tried to calm myself. “I…” I failed.”

“I want to give you back your first kiss, the one that jerk stole from you. And I want it to be something that even a coma can’t make you forget.”

Giveaway

To win your very own eBook copy of Wide Awake by Shelly Crane, please follow the instructions below in the Rafflecopter. The giveaway is open internationally and the winner will receive a coupon code for Smashwords to download an eBook of Wide Awake by Shelly Crane.

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