Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

The Day Before
Amber arranges to spend the day before (an event revealed about half way in) alone.  At the aquarium she meets Cade who is doing the same thing.  There is an immediate attraction and connection between them and so they spend the rest of the day together.

Starting a book late at night is a bad idea.  Especially one as enthralling and page turning as "The Day Before" as I could not put it down until I finished it.  Amber is a likable person dealing very maturely in a sad and unfortunate turn of fate but we hope with the love and support of her family and her new relationship with Cade she will make the best of a bad situation.

Written beautifully in verse Lisa Schroeder has Cade and Amber dealing with life experiences not many teens have dealt with in life or in books.  When Cade's reason for spending the day alone is revealed it touched close to home for me.  The references to movies and music made me smile and Schroeder cleverly used them to help move the story along.  Recommended for reluctant readers as it is fact paced.  Recommended for those looking for a little romance and or family/friendship story.  Truly a remarkable book.  Read as an ebook courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams

Now Is the Time for Running
Imagine witnessing the brutal beatings and murders of your family and village.  All you have left is your brother, although older than you he has the mind of a child.  With a homemade soccer ball, and his brother's special box, Deo and Innocent head to South Africa in search of peace and the possibility of finding the father they never knew.  The trek from Zimbabwe to South Africa is tough including crossing a hazardous river and a dash through a dangerous animal preserve .  These scenes are two of the best I have ever read before.  Without spoiling, I do want to say Innocent's stash of goodies in his box is brilliant.

This is a difficult yet must-read book encompassing topics such as political cruelty, refugee abuse, drug addiction and a young boy devoted to his mentally disabled brother. Deo is a character that we care deeply about.  It is quite violent at times. When given the chance to play soccer and compete in a tournament to get his life on the right track you will be cheering Deo on as I did.  A stunning piece of historical fiction.  Recommended for those who enjoyed A LONG WALK TO WATER by Linda Sue Park reviewed here and Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai reviewed here which are written for younger readers but in a similar vein and fans of historical fiction and adventure.  Read as an ebook arc courtesy of Hatchette Book Group via Netgalley. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went
"Where She Went" takes place three years after "If I Stay" ends and flashes back and forth quite often.  It is told through Adam's point of view and focuses on what he went though after the accident that killed Mia's family and the three years since Mia left for Juilliard and New York and "dumped him."

Adam makes us see that being a rock star is not always so glamorous.  Being in the limelight, having a movie star girlfriend, being recognized everywhere he goes can't erase his feelings for Mia and the hurt that is eating him up.  Adam has a strong voice and it's interesting hearing this love story with his lyrics and thoughts.

I enjoyed this as much as the first book and although not necessary to read "If I Stay" first it is suggested to do so.  Read as an ebook arc courtesy Penguin's Young Readers Group of via Netgalley.

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

 The Last Little Blue Envelope
Starting off a few months after 13 Little Blue Envelopes ends, The Last Little Blue Envelope is a worthy sequel.  I would recommend reading the first book first although it is not absolutely necessary.  Maureen Johnson does a good job of filling in the blanks for a new reader.

Ginny heads back to London when she is contacted by Oliver who has acquired the last envelope after it and Ginny's belongings were stolen from Greece.  Her uncle Richard is thrilled to have her for the Christmas holiday and although her love interest Keith is now involved in another relationship he is also happy to see her.  Oliver blackmails Ginny for half the profit to give her the information from the 13th letter.   Keith, his girlfriend, Oliver and Ginny set out for an adventure through Europe to obtain the pieces needed to assemble the final work of art.

This is a face paced story and Ginny is a very likable girl.  The other characters are well drawn and make a funny foursome traveling in a tiny little car (Ginny is stuck in the back seat with Oliver who is 6 feet tall) and readers will laugh at Keith's actions towards Oliver.  Although Oliver and Ginny start off on bad terms it is easy to see the ice beginning to melt.  Johnson's writing makes you feel like you are dining in a cafe in Paris, walking along a canal in Amsterdam, or stranded with a broken down car in a field of sheep. While the ending is satisfying I wouldn't be surprised to see another book about Ginny and her college adventures.

If you enjoyed the first book you will certainly enjoy this one.  If you like adventures stories, light romance, light humor or stories in Europe this book is for you.  Read courtesy of HarperTeen via Netgalley.