Category: book reviews

Resurrecting Sunshine by Lisa A. Koosis {B O O K R E V I E W}

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Book : Resurrecting Sunshine
Author : Lisa A. Koosis
Expected publication: October 1st 2016
Medium : E-ARC
My Rating : 4.5/5

Blurb : At seventeen, Adam Rhodes is famous, living on his own, and in a downward spiral since he lost the girl he loved. Marybeth stage name Sunshine was his best friend from the days they were foster kids; then she was his girlfriend and his band mate. But since her accidental death, he’s been drinking to deal with the memories. Until one day, an unexpected visitor, Dr. Elloran, presents Adam with a proposition that just might save him from himself. Using breakthrough cloning and memory-implantation techniques, Dr. Elloran and the scientists at Project Orpheus want to resurrect Marybeth, and they need Adam to “donate” intimate memories of his life with her. The memory retrieval process forces Adam to relive his life with Marybeth and the devastating path that brought them both to fame. Along the way, he must confront not only the circumstances of her death but also his growing relationship with the mysterious Genevieve, daughter of Project Orpheus’s founder. As the process sweeps Adam and Marybeth ever closer to reliving the tragedy that destroyed them, Adam must decide how far he’ll go to save her.”

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Review

I received this E-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

“… we’ve gone past grief, past sadness, into a place of greyness, nothingness, limbo. A place where we don’t even have each other.”

This book was time consuming and worth every single second that I spent reading it. It takes up the themes of loss, of loneliness, creates a world where the impossible is made possible. Its set in the future where cloning and memory-implantation techniques exist. The protagonist is a guitarist (Adam) who is grief stricken after losing the person he loved most (Sunshine, Bandmate) and is given a chance to change it all. The possibility of bringing a dead person back to life and the consequences of it are the issues that this book deals with.

The plot is engaging and inventive. After a couple of chapters it was impossible to put it down because it was so vivid, the entire experience. One of the reasons why i could not just stop was because of the details and how they were revealed. There aren’t any introductions, or banners stating what is happening and what has happened. The story unfolds beautifully in its own mysterious way. That kept me concentrated because I had to keep looking for these details which came in as casually as a conversation with your best friend (just my way of looking at it). It has its fair share of nail biting incidents which sometimes will make you want to skip a few pages to just get to the part you’ve been anticipating for so long. Its not predictable which I really enjoyed. Cloning and other technologies that have been used in this novel also give one a fair idea of where the world is heading hence it was a dystopian-SF in its own ridiculous-yet-makes-sense way.

Its a gripping story of love, loss and friendship. Even though Adam’s aim was to bring back his lover, the book is not all about romance, rather its tragic. What ‘saving’ really is, is the question here and that has been beautifully answered by Adam who saves Marybeth in an unconventional yet beautiful manner.

I would recommend this to all YA lovers and anyone who is looking for a book with a deeper meaning.

Grand and Humble by Brent Hartinger

 

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First Published : January 1st 2006

Book : Grand and Humble
Author : Brent Hartinger
Genre: YA-Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
My Rating 3.5

Blurb : Harlan is the most popular kid in his high school, and Manny may be the least. And yet, Harlan and Manny both share the same sense of foreboding, that something is not quite right in either of their lives.

They have something else in common as well, even if they don’t know it. Fourteen years ago, when they were both three years old, a tragedy occurred–an accident that would link the two boys together forever, even as it ultimately drove them apart. It’s an event that both of them barely remember, but it haunts them still. Somehow both boys know that nothing will ever be right again until they can each unravel the secret of the terrifying instant that lies at the center of both their lives.

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Do you ever wonder what it might be like if you hadn’t made the choices you did? About the alternate outcomes of your alternate choices? These confusing did yous and did you nots is what this novel all about and I won’t lie, the book is intriguing , gripping and fascinating in some aspects but quite disappointing in others.

I read a novel with two things in mind which are the plot and character development. I live for round characters, the depths, the backstories and everything. The plot development is brilliant here. Readers will be amazed and shocked and believe me when I say this, it will confuse you to a point of no return. The characters though, not so much. The text was very much plot focused and the protagonists themselves were sidetracked. That’s what made me feel that the novel was incomplete in a few areas.

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But I’ll recommend this one because of the plot. It will amaze you, frustrate you and simply evade you. I so want to reveal the technique used in the novel but I am confused as well if the readers would like to find that on their own. So I won’t be spoiling it for anyone (not today at least). This one was a challenging one. I am glad to have stumbled upon it.

 

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Book: Every Last Word
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone
Genre: YA-Fiction, YA-Romance
Published: 16th June 2015
Rating: 4.5 stars

Blurb: Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can’t turn off.

Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn’t help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she’d be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam’s weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet’s Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more “normal” than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.


Review:

“If you could read my mind, you wouldn’t be smiling.

You will fall in love with this novel. Its heartbreaking but so good at the same time. Plus some good poetry (its very likeable).

Another one with Mental Illness, but I found myself respecting this one. It did not hold back any details. As mentioned above its about a high school girl named Samantha diagnosed with OCD. I haven’t encountered any OCD texts before so it was very new to me. I also have nothing else to compare it with so the review can’t be relative, and it won’t be fair either. But from what I read I can only say that it has some amazing poetry to introduce to its readers (I am telling you, the idea of a poetry club and a “The Wall” is super awesome), an in-depth description of a person’s life that might have some impact on you and make you consider how you tear others and a tad bit of romance that will light up your day because its depicted beautifully. Also the fact that it felt different and I wasn’t falling in love with the idea of some having OCD but actually sympathizing and wanting to understand how the character felt, made me feel that this novel was a good one.

The author also touches upon different areas that affect the life of a high school student and that very old saying “Choose your friends wisely” is brought out in the text as well. I know I should not be giving out spoilers, so I’ll just say this much that the twist at the end leaves you shell-shocked, and you might shock-cry. I did. So if you are planning on reading this, be ready with a box tissues if you’re a crier like me.

[I would recommend this one to everyone who has read Slammed by Colleen Hoover]

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

Book: The Weight of Water
Author: Sarah Crossan
Published: January 2012
Rating: 4 stars.

Blurb:

Armed with a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother head for England. Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother’s heart is breaking and at school friends are scarce. But when someone special swims into her life, Kasienka learns that there might be more than one way for her to stay afloat.”The Weight of Water” is a startlingly original piece of fiction; most simply a brilliant coming of age story, it also tackles the alienation experienced by many young immigrants. Moving, unsentimental and utterly page-turning, we meet and share the experiences of a remarkable girl who shows us how quiet courage prevails.


 Review:

When it comes to poetry what I have read is whatever that was offered in our course. So I had no clue of what I might find in this book, but what I found was worthwhile indeed. Firstly the cover is so pretty, which was one of the reasons I took this book (yes yes, judging a book by its cover).  Its a coming of age story written in poetic episodes with a very powerful message. The poetry is beautiful and eccentric somehow. I really like how Sarah Crossan has her way with words in this one. There is fluidity and you won’t lose connection with the plot. Another aspect that I really admired was that it all felt so real. The descriptions carried out are engaging and somewhere it does feel like you are seeing through the eyes of a 13 year old.
Hence this amazing story, I shall recommend to anyone who is looking for a short read with a fine plot, good poetry and a coming of age story.


This is sort of an extra, but this is my favourite poem from the book:

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Kenilworth Castle

We went on a school trip to
Warwick Castle
But I couldn’t believe in that place
– So symmetrical
So perfectly preserved,
So clean
It reminded me of Disney Land-
What I imagine Disney Land would
look like.

I could make no sense of its shine.

When I tell William he agrees.
We both think castles should be crumbling
After all those years,
To prove they have seen
Real History.
And history is struggle
And war,
We think.

So he takes me to Kenilworth
On the bus with him.
To see the ruins in the rain.

Elizabeth
Kept her favourite here, In Kenilworth.

And Time stood still when she
came:
The Great Clock Tower
Stopped
For her
And they feasted and frolicked
Elizabeth and her favourite –
Right here.

And its the most romantic place
I’ve ever seen:
Kenilworth Castle continuing to
Crumble, as it should,
In the rain.


Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway

Book: Emmy & Oliver
Author: Robin BenwayGenre: YA-Romance, Fiction

Blurb: Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?

Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.

She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.

Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.

He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.

Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?

Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.


 

Review

This was an amazing read. I got too tired of complicated YA romance books, that had to have something significantly “different” and this doze of normal helped me get un-tired. Things that you definitely need to look out for are witty conversations, humor and the trifecta (the awesome and loyal friendship that ties the three best friends). I would not go as far as to say that this is the best novel ever written, because I did  not find that to be the case, and if asked “Are you going to buy it?”, I might say no (read it on my cell-phone).

The author does not explore the relationship between the main couple as much as I hoped, the depth is lacking. I was also able to read the novel in about 9-10 hours so I kept feeling that everything was happening at once. Also the plot was interesting but it could have been better I feel. At some many places I went like:

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But I have to say that this story reminded me of Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless. That is another novel that I would recommend if you haven’t read it yet, but if you have then I suggest you read this one. It isn’t as good, I have to say it. But it has got its good points (I’m telling you, the witty conversations are cool).

My Rating: 3.5

 

The Stereotypical Freaks by Howard Shapiro

Author: Howard Shapiro
Published: 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction

Blurb : Four disparate high school seniors come together to compete in their school’s battle of the bands. Sharing a love for playing rock and roll, the members name the band “The Stereotypical Freaks” because they feel stereotyped by their classmates – smart kid, geek, star athlete and quiet weirdo… when in fact they know they are much more than those labels that have been placed on them.

When one member reveals life altering news, winning the competition takes on more of a meaning to each member. Scared and angry, upset and yet still with a lot of resolve they set out to win one for the good guys… will they?


REVIEW:

I have read a lot of Manga, its something I do whenever I am empty handed. This was something different, however somewhere I felt it was lacking. The story is a very typical and normal high school story, about outcasts and the stereotypes that surround them (hence the name). I don’t have any issues with the plot because its something to read the same type of novels again and again but something else completely to read a comic based on it. The graphic images (which were great by the way) aid your imagination or limit it, whichever way you want to look at it. But it gives you an image of your characters and hence knowing what one looks like also helps one connect with the characters in a different manner. Thats why I think the plot worked out for me in the end.

What went wrong for me? Well it was hasty. Everything was happening too quickly that somewhere I lost interest. But I still liked it enough to complete the entire novel. The second thing was the fact that there was a character dying in the graphic novel yet some how it didn’t feel like it until after the competition. Hence at many places it felt like there was a lack in the adaptability of the characters.  That somehow they never lived up to the emotion being expressed. Also there are some strips which are left blank in the sense there is no dialogue happening, just illustrations. Those were the times when I might have left it for another time to read, or just skipped to the next part.

Overall, I like the story and the characters too. The characters could be more round but I liked them anyway. If you’re too specific about the illustrations or if you are a frequent Manga or comic book reader then you might not like this one as much (however, its a cute story, if nothing new). But if you’re looking for music and band related stories, I would suggest you this one.

ALSO THIS GRAPHIC NOVEL HAS MUSIC SUGGESTIONS! I love music recommendations and embrace them very happily (specially if in a book). Thanks to this comic I listened to a lot of The Who, Tom Cochrane, Pete Townshend and Greenday. 😀

My rating would be 3.5 stars.

(or dangos)

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