Book of the Week: Requiem

Note:

I’ve had some complaints from people (I feel kind of complimented that enough people read the blog to actually complain…) that I post spoilers when I do my Book of the Week reviews. I do the best that I can to not post spoilers but for the most part, rx there are going to be spoilers. I try to warn beforehand but I don’t always. I am sorry if I have ruined books for some people, viagra 60mg but I do post that. If it becomes a problem, I can start posting a blanket warning in front of each Book of the Week post. Anyway, enjoy!

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In just two days, I will be heading down the freeway to the Mission Viejo library to meet Lauren Oliver, the author of the fantastic novel, Before I Fall, and her dystopian best seller, The Delirium trilogy.

I’ve been to this library twice for author events, to meet Meg Cabot (for the fourth time…I kind of stalk her…) and to meet Cassandra Clare (who, incidentally, I will be meeting in the same spot later this month!). They seriously rock, I have to give mad props to Allison Tran, the teen librarian, and A Whale of a Tale bookstore, for setting up such epic events.

Moving on though, Lauren is hitting the road to promote the last book in her Delirium trilogy, Requiem, which just came out this past Tuesday, the 5th. Of course, I picked it up that day and finished it by that night, somehow managing to do that in between my four hour physics class and my nanny job.

And I thought, in honor of the fact that I will be meeting her for the first time on Sunday, this week’s Book of the Week should be dedicated to her.

On another side note, her hit trilogy will be hitting TV screens most likely this fall, as it has been optioned by Fox and casting has already begun. Emma Roberts, of Nancy Drew and Unfabulous fame, has been cast as Lena Haloway. Gregg Sulkin has been cast as Julian Fineman, and Daren Kagasoff, also known as Ricky from The Secret Life of an American Teenager, will be playing Alex (not sure how I feel about that). Lastly, it was just announced Jeanine Mason will be playing Hana Tate.

So here you go:

Requiem by Lauren Oliver

9780062014535_0_Cover

Genre:
young adult, romance, dystopian

Part of a Series?:
Yes, the third book and conclusion to the Delirium series

You May Like it If You LIked:
Matched series, Divergent series, the Hunger games series

Plot Summary:

In the Delirium series, we meet Lena, an almost eighteen year old girl who lives in a society much like ours except one really major difference: love is a disease (amor deliria nervosa) and everyone must get cured at their eighteenth birthday. Then they will be sent off to college, and paired with someone who matches them logically, and will be married. Romantic, right? Lena is ready to be cured, can’t wait to be cured,especially since her mother died, killed herself when she was overcome by the disease. That is, until she meets Alex and contracts the disease. With this, Lena starts to question whether love really is a disease. The trilogy follows Lena as she discovers truth and lies about the society she lives in, and the truth of her mother’s death, and it doesn’t take long before she is involved in a rebellion (because what’s a dystopian novel without a little rebellion?). Requiem is the final chapter of this trilogy and is the story of the resistance. The first two books have led up to this point.

The Good:

There is good in this novel. I swear that there is.

First off, Lauren Oliver is a good writer. The girl has talent and the story was there. I really liked her story. At first, I felt that instant similarity between Delirium and Matched by Ally Condie. I do, however, think the books go into different directions. I think Oliver had a really strong story; it just wasn’t executed well. Dystopian novels are nothing new, especially nowadays but Lauren Oliver had a slightly more unique idea and I do admire her for that. In the Matched trilogy, you are allowed to love. Sure, they pick who you love, but you’re allowed to love. Love exists in all these other dystopian novels, even if its not in the most romantic sense. In these books, love is a disease and you’re cured into indifference, living your life with someone on the basis that you are creating a new generation and thats it. I do think she had a very good starting point but I don’t think it was executed as well as it could have been.

I also really liked that even though it starts off about love, it doesn’t end that way. It could have gotten super cheesy, super fast (although, it does get cheesy). The rebellion isn’t really about love, but about the idea of choice. They want the freedom of choice, even if it is the wrong choice. They aren’t preaching love, but they are preaching free thought. Even though the idea of free thought in a dystopian novel isn’t exactly new but it was unique in this story. I wasn’t expecting the rebellion to have free choice, even the wrong choices, as their belief. I would have expected it to be love.

I even liked the alternating points of view, mostly because the other point of view we get in the story is the point of view of Hana, Lena’s best friend from when she was part of the society, the valids and not the Invalids. Hana is on the exactly opposite side of where Lena is; she is still in society and she’s been cured of the disease. You see things from her point of view, and how she feels sort of blissfully empty and painless without all those confusing feelings you feel when you’re only a teenager. I still think that I would be on the side that Lena is on, because no matter how much love HURTS at times, its worth. And it is nice to have your own choices, to mess up and  all that. But I liked being able to see Hana’s side; it gave some humanity to the other. I feel like we never really get the other side when reading a dystopian novel. In the Delirium trilogy, Hana gives us some humanity because even though she is cured and she can’t really fully love anymore, and she doesn’t feel like she used to but she still cares. She feels the cruelty from her future husband and she feels enough to want to help Lena’s family.

The Bad: 

With the good being said, it’s time to move on to the bad. Lauren Oliver was on a roll to making me feel better about Requiem versus the previous book, Pandemonium. The whole premise of Delirium is that Lena discovers that love is not a disease and she falls in love with Alex. Then Alex dies, and in Pandemonium, she starts falling for Julian. Now other than my reader’s loyalty to Alex, I just felt it ruined her point. Especially when we learn Alex is NOT dead and Requiem has the dreaded love triangle. I find love triangles to be fairly annoying and unnecessary to begin with but it bothered me a lot more here. It seemed to fall into society’s ideas of love as a disease and causing irrational thoughts and chaos. Lena is ready for the cure in Delirium, she wants it, and falling in love isn’t easy for her. For a long time, she feels like she is contracting the disease…so I find it hard to believe that she would just love two different boys like that. Or if she really did, she would have thoughts of the disease because she was trained to believe that her whole life.

I also had an issue with how quickly she was able to work things out with her mom. She has thought her mother dead for years, and she finds out this is not true in Delirium, that she has broken out of the prison where she was kept for many years. She has to be bursting with so many questions and confused feelings. She has to be angry. I don’t think that she would have forgiven her mother that easily and would have developed a relationship with her that easily. I do think forgiveness, and love would come but just not as soon as it did. It just seemed too unbelievable to me.

Which means me to my least favorite thing about the book; it just ended so quickly. There was all this build up; all this moving around. There was a battle basically when they tried to destroy the dam to bring water back to the Invalids. Then they made all their way back to Portland and the battle that ensued there…it was just, it was really fast! Everything just seemed to happen so fast. One minute, Hana is getting married, then she’s not and she’s “capturing” Lena and letting her go, and letting her husband die in the bomb implanted house. Lena went from kind of having a relationship with Julian to suddenly realizing she loves Alex and he loves her and they’re going to be together. She finds her cousin, Grace, and saves her. They tear down the wall that separates society from the Wilds and the book ends with everyone celebrating. It just seemed really really fast, and not very realistic. I felt like it was a lot of build up and not a lot of action. I think rebellions take a lot more work than what happened. I think it was going well and going in the right direction, it just ended entirely too quickly.

Rating?:

3 out of 5 Stars

Recommended or Not:

Yes, if you’ve already read Delirium and Pandemonium and you’d like to read the end. I do recommend the trilogy though; Lauren is a great writer and has the potential to create great stories. I hope to see more from her soon.

However, I definitely recommend reading her novel, Before I Fall, because its fantastic!

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I can’t WAIT to meet Lauren Oliver on Sunday and I will definitely have a post for you guys soon after to share what it was like and what she revealed about new projects and the new TV show!

Book of the Week: Clockwork Prince

Hello all.

Hope you are all having a WONDERFUL week this week. I definitely am. I am mostly having a good week because everything has just been so good lately. There’s been a ton of awesome TMI and TID (Cassandra Clare) news, recipe with stills released from the City of Bones movie and the newly released book trailer for Clockwork Princess, viagra dosage the final Infernal Devices novel.

I recently went to Gallifrey One, look the Doctor Who convention, which was a ton of fun. My birthday is less than a week away, and that is insanely exciting. I was finally picked for World Book Night, where I hope I get to hand out either Percy Jackson or Looking for Alaska.

In the next few weeks, new books will be released by both Lauren Oliver and Cassandra Clare, and I’ll be meeting both very soon after. I will be seeing Andrew McMahon in concert, going to Anaheim for Wonder Con and watching brand new episodes of both Doctor Who and Game of Thrones.

So much excitement.

And because one of my favorite authors, Cassandra Clare, is releasing her final installment of the Infernal Devices series, Clockwork Prince, in less than three weeks, I decided it would make a fantastic Book of the Week to do the previous book, Clockwork Prince.

So here it is.

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork-Prince-CVR

Genre:
young adult, romance, contemporary fantasy

You May Like if You Liked:
The Mortal Instruments series, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, Tithe by Holly Black

Plot Summary:

In Clockwork Princess, we meet Tessa Gray, a normal New York girl, coming to London to live with her brother, Nate. She ends up kidnapped and soon learns she has the power to shift herself, become an entirely different person, as long as she’s holding something of theirs. When she is rescued by Will Herondale, she is brought into the Shadowhunter world, where she learns of that world and that her brother isn’t all what it seems. She’s different, and she doesn’t fit into the normal classifications that the Shadowhunters know: demon, vampire, warlock, werewolf or fae. In fact, Tessa seems to be one of a kind. And she’s wanted, wanted desperately by a man by the name of Mortmain, going by the Magister. She is left with a ton of questions, about her life and her presents and who or what she really is. The Shadowhunters are left with a crazy mad man, equipped with strong automatons, ready to do whatever he can to take over London and to take Tessa back. She meets friends in the form of Shadowhunters Charlotte and Henry Branwell, Will Herondale, Jem Carstairs and Jessamine Lovelace, humans like Thomas, Agatha and Sophie Collins and warlocks like Magnus Bane.

In the sequel, Clockwork Prince, the Institute in London is left kind of in shambles. Two of their very loyal servants are left dead by Mortmain’s hands, Nate has been revealed as a spy and nothing seems to have been accomplished. To make matters worse, Benedict Lightwood is making a bid to take the Institute away from Charlotte Branwell and has made this demand: that she must find the Magister in a fortnight. Everyone is needed to pitch in and things are starting to be revealed: there’s another spy in the midst, Benedict Lightwood isn’t exactly what he’s made out to be…but his sons are a different story. We learn more of Will’s past and we see Jem and his sickness in a way we’ve never seen before. And we see Tessa struggle: struggle to come to terms with her brother’s hatred of her, her love for two incredible boys, and her determination to discover herself.

The Good:

Though my heart always belongs to the Mortal Instrument series, the Infernal Devices were just written better. I am a TMI fan through and through, mostly because I discovered her books when I was going through a ridiculously hard time and those books were my saving grace. I grabbed on to them and held on, and fell in love with the characters and story. I still adore these books; they’ve done for me what a lot of books haven’t. I understand they are a version of a fan fiction that Cassandra did once upon a time, and that’s a whole ‘nother story. I honestly do not get why people give Clare such a hard time. I don’t think she copied the worlds of Harry Potter and such, like people say. I love this series.

But the Infernal Devices are a series all on their own. This is a work of her own imagination and you can see that. They are written very well and the story is captivating. There is something about Victorian England that captures your attention. You can’t help but be drawn in by the gentleman and lady lifestyle, the clothes, the behaviors, and all that sort of thing but you also see the beginning of the changes, with women fighting for their rights and the working class protesting their work conditions and that sort of thing. Clare chose a good era to produce these prequels to the Mortal Instruments series.

What I liked about this book was that it bounced back and forth between the different stories that were going on in this novel. Everyone has a story, everyone has an issue. Tessa is being hunted, and for reasons she still doesn’t understand. She hasn’t even begun to understand herself quite yet. Will is searching for a cure for his deepest and darkest secret. Jem is facing his mortality and his illness head on, as well as his love for Tessa. Charlotte has a huge weight on her shoulder, to find Mortmain before she loses the Institute. Jessamine doesn’t want to be a Shadowhunter; she wants a mundane life with a mundane love. The stories that are all going on at the same time weave together to make a fantastic novel.

I also like the strength of all the characters. I love that we get to see so many characters and their depth. I love that there are strong female characters, not only in just Tessa and Charlotte, but also in the servant girl, Sophie. I love that we learn more of all the characters in this book. We learn so much more of Will Herondale than we learned in the last book. I love a bad boy; I tend to go for the bad boys but Will almost seemed too bad. Jace Lightwood of the TMI series was sarcastic and biting but he wasn’t cruel. In Clockwork Prince, we learn much more of his past and why he acts this way and he won me over quickly.

I also like that Cassandra is really building up the anticipation of the ending. She gives you a second book that leaves you panting for more, if only because you want more sexy scenes like the one between Tessa and Will on the balcony. My god, I had to splash my face with cold water after that one. But you’re dying to know what happens to Jem and Will, you want to know that Charlotte and Henry’s baby is going to be okay, you want to know all about Tessa and what and who she is. You want to know what Mortmain’s grand plan is. Clare builds up suspense in the best way possible. She leaves you wanting more, wanting to know more about everything, and she spins a lovely romance in several characters. She leaves a ridiculous cliffhanger with the appearance of Will’s long lost sister, Cecily, who shows up at the Institute, wishing to be trained as a Shadowhunter.

The Bad:

I love Tessa Gray, I do. And I adore Jem Carstairs, for all his goodness, his sweetness and his maturity. And I am half mad in love with Will Herondale. But the one downturn of this book is the love triangle. I don’t like love triangles and I try to avoid books with them, but nowadays you’re hard pressed to find a book that doesn’t have one. So that kind of sucks.

One thing I can say is though, you have to kind of get over the fact that there are love triangles there as long as the story is okay without them. If you can remove the love triangle and still have a very strong story, then you’re in a good spot. While the love triangle drives me absolutely mad, there is an extremely well thought out and strong story in this novel and it makes up for it. Sure Tessa is being wooed (in very sexy ways) but she is also very focused on the problems at hand: Mortmain, his plans and his plans for her, and finding out more about herself. That is the most important thing at hand.

Also, at the end of Clockwork Prince, Tessa becomes engaged to one of the boys, which is a very strong move on her part. She has made a decision, or at least it seems so. I still feel the question of Will or Jem? will be present in the third installment but for all intents and purposes, Tessa has stood her ground and made a choice.

Rating?:

I give this book a 4 out of 5 Stars.

Recommended Or Not?

Definitely. Obviously, please please go pick up Clockwork Angel before you read this, but you won’t be disappointed. It has everything that a young adult fantasy needs: action, adventure, mystery, drama, strong male and female characters, romance, the works.

 Even if you’ve read the Mortal Instruments and weren’t a fan, I still encourage you to read this series. This series is her finest work, and I only hope that she continues to get better and better. You will not read this series and be disappointed, I can guarantee it.

The fact is, while the Mortal Instruments holds my heart, Infernal Devices is the diamond of Cassandra Clare’s writing. They are written very well and have a wonderful and new story. While people can claim that TMI is based on a fan fiction, Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince stand on their own and really help Cassandra Clare to stand out as a strong author.

Book of the Week: Legend

Its been a pretty awesome week for me. I’ve really realized how much AWESOME is coming this year. Cassandra Clare alone is bringing a ton of awesome this year, this web if you read my blog post yesterday. So many movies (City of Bones, order Sea of Monsters, drug Ironman 3, The Hobbit 2, Catching Fire, Monsters University, 42, and on and on) are coming out, and books. Fall Out Boy is back together; I get to see my music god, Andrew McMahon, back in concert.

So much awesome. Its also been awesome in my reading this week.

I’ve been looking forward to sharing this book with you guys ALL WEEK.

I’ve fallen really behind on my 200 books goal. It was my first week back at school, and I’m working extra hours at work this week so not a lot of time for casual reading. Kind of makes me sad, I was on a roll!

But anyway, the last book I finished was Prodigy by Marie Lu. Right before that, I read the first book, Legend. And I was pretty blown away. I knew immediately that I wanted it to be the Book of the Week.

In a world of dystopian novels, an absolute explosion of dystopian novels, this one stands out, most definitely.

So I give you, this week’s Book of the Week.

Legend by Marie Lu

jjj-book-club-november

Genre:
dystopian, young adult, mild romance

You May Like if You Liked:
The Hunger Games, Matched series, The Maze Runner series

Plot Summary: 
Its the United States of the Future, after things have started falling apart. Global warming is more than just a thing to come, its here and its destroyed many countries. Whats left is a few countries here and there. One is the Republic of America, a militant country, keeping their citizens in line for survival of the fittest. Two young people of this nation are June and Day, living on completely opposite spectrums.

June is of the wealthiest class in Los Angeles, and of the most intelligent as well. She’s scored a perfect score on her Trials, which has never been done before, and is close to graduating college at 15 years old. She worships the Republic and what it stands for. She wants to follow in her older brother, Metias’ footsteps and become a soldier of the Republic. She has everything she could possibly want; a nice home, good food, a new vaccine every year for the growing plague, and a purpose in life. That is, until her brother Metias is murdered and she’s suddenly on a chase to find the notorious criminal, Day, and bring him to justice.

Enter Day. Day came from the poor neighborhoods of Los Angeles, and when he scores an impossibly low score on his Trials, he’s taken away to the labor camps. Five years, at 15 years old, he’s a criminal on the run, fighting to survive the streets and fighting to provide for the family who thinks he is dead. His escape from the Republic and his knowledge of what really happens at these “labor camps” has given Day a reason to be very, very mad at the Republic. When his brother contracts the plague and his family has no way of paying for the cure, he does everything he can, even running headfirst into Republic soldiers, to save his brother’s life.

The novel is told in two different points of views, June and Day, as their two stories intertwine and collide, providing two very different stories of their lives in the Republic of America.

The Bad:

To be 100% honest, there wasn’t a lot of bad to me. I mean, I can’t even think of anything bad. The only bad I could maybe find for those people really looking for a “bad”, is that its another dystopian romance. However, it stands out in the dystopian novel world, in my opinion at least, and the romance is very small and very subtle. Its not overwhelming, like most books seem to be nowadays.

The only bad in my opinion was that it was soo good, and the sequel was good and the third book probably won’t be out for another year, at least, and I’m not good with waiting.

The Good: 

Marie Lu tells her version of a dystopian society in a way that comes across at maybe not 100% original but is a breath of fresh air when compared to others. There’s a lot of United States history and backstory of this; instead of just hinting that the society used to be the democratic USA, they say it was, and the Republic saved them from the mess that it was. You have the Patriots, and the Colonies, two separate rebel forces, reminiscent of the old ways.

I also like the characters as well. Day is the bad guy for much of this novel, but because you get his side of the story as well as June’s, you don’t see him as a bad guy. When you learned what happened to him, what really happened to him after he failed his Trial, you’re glad that he has been stealing from the Republic and causing mayhem. You want him to find the plague medication to give to his younger brother, you want him to make money to help his family. When it comes out that Metias is dead at the hands of Day, I couldn’t believe it. I thought, its an accident. He threw that knife to stop him but he would never kill him.

Then you have June, who honestly I couldn’t stand, because you’re getting Day’s side of the story and you’re watching June hunt down Day, even though she’s wrong. She doesn’t know she’s wrong and as you watch her discover more and more things about the Republic, like the truth behind her brother’s death, and her parents’ deaths from when she was a child, the truth about Day’s Trial score and the reason his brother is so sick. You watch her see the truth, but unlike a lot of the heroines of other novels that just see the truth and immediately change their loyalties, you see some realness in June. She’s been raised her entire life for the love of the Republic and the loyalty to the Elector Primo. She has been bred to become a loyal soldier and she’s good it. She struggles with the truths. When she makes the decision to help Day, its because she can’t stand to have someone punished for a crime they didn’t commit. She doesn’t become a rebel against this dystopian society so quickly as Lena or Cassia do in their novels.

Plus its just a good story. The Republic of America, combined with the Colonies and the Patriots, are all so confusing and you can’t figure out who is bad and who is good. Because you’re getting two very different viewpoints of a similar story, you’re having a hard time deciding who is wrong and who is right. The mysteries build up. You see June mourn her brother, and you’re so sad because he was all she had and you want someone to pay for it, but you see Day, and his struggles and you obviously don’t want him executed. There’s so much going on here. Neither one of the characters is a rebel, even though the society isn’t what it is made off to be. Day is just struggling to survive and doesn’t care about the politics of it all; his family comes first. June reveals truths about the perfect society that she loved but she has a hard time grappling with them, and her loyalty.

Rating: 

I give it a 5 out of 5 stars. The book has fresh characters, a fresh story and it made me want to immediately go out and buy the very recently released sequel, Prodigy, which I did and finished in a day or two. Now I’m dying for the next one.

Recommended or Not?

Definitely. I recommend for those who like young adult, dystopian novels but are looking for something new to read. Its fresh and fun. It has enough action without sacrificing character development, enough romance without sacrificing the entire story, enough rebellion without sacrificing the reality of it. This is good for both GIRLS and BOYs as well, whereas a lot of dystopian novels nowadays are more fitting for girls. Definitely go out and pick up this book.

Book of the Week: The Matched Trilogy

Its that TIIIIIIIIIIIME of week again. Book of the Week time. I’m writing this earlier than I actually need to because I’m tired and I’m not feeling well (a cold totally *would* attack me just days before I start my spring semester) so I figured, salve well, this might as well do my Book of the Week post.

I’m feeling massively productive this week. I cleaned my room. Thats a huge accomplishment all its own.

I also finished the sixth season of Gossip Girl.

And I’ve managed to read 16 books this month, which keeps me on track with my 200 book goal for the year 2013.

So I’m in a good mood :)

Moving on, I was going to do Matched by Ally Condie for the Book of the Week. However, with reading sixteen books basically back to back, its been awhile since I actually read Matched, or so it feels like. I’ve read the remaining two books in the trilogy since then. So for the first time, I decided to review a whole trilogy.

I’m also changing up how I do Book of the Week. Let me know if you like it, or if you enjoy the old way better.

Book of the Week:

The Match Trilogy by Ally Condie

matched-trilogy

Genre:
Young adult, Dystopian, Romance

You May Like it If You Liked:
Hunger Games trilogy, Delirium trilogy

Plot Summary: 

The story takes place in the Society, a place not really unlike the city you live now, except for that everything is monitored: your food, your conversations, your school and so on. You only have so many choices as your free time activity. Your career is chosen for you. There are 100 songs, 100 books, 100 paintings, 100 poems, all deemed appropriate for the society. You live until you are 80, and then you die. And you marry who the Society deems your perfect Match, to continue a perfect society, free of disease, free of complications. Its Cassia’s sixteenth birthday, and lucky enough for her, its the same day as her Match banquet, the day she finds out who she will spend the rest of her life with. And as luck would have it, it turns out to be her best friend, Xander. Things couldn’t have been more perfect.

But then Cassia’s grandfather is scheduled for his death, and before he dies, he gives Cassia a poem, a poem that isn’t one of the 100 Poems and it has Cassia hooked.

Then Cassia joins a hiking club, and is suddenly spending a lot of time with Ky, a mysterious and handsome boy who Cassia can’t help but noticing. Soon, they’re becoming closer and closer, sharing a secret poem, in the case of Cassie, and learning the art of handwriting, from Ky. Slowly, Cassia realizes she’s in love with Ky and the Society isn’t all what its supposed to be. Its not long before they’re all caught up in rebellion: Cassie, Ky and Xander.

The Bad:

There wasn’t much bad to it. Crossed, the second book in the series, was very slow. There wasn’t a lot going on in the book, to me, anyway and I was just kind of waiting for SOMETHING to happen. It was a lot of information, not a lot of action. It seemed like a build-up book for the last book, Reached. So that was incredibly frustrating because it wasn’t a short book so I had to push myself through some of the parts of Crossed. However, Reached picks up right at the core of Rebellion, for all the characters, so it is a lot different and keeps you going.

I had one teensy issue with the fact that it reminded me A LOT of Delirium by Lauren Oliver. In Delirium, love is a curse, a disease and when you turn 18, you get the cure, and you get matched with someone who is compatible for you, and will help create a stronger race. Lena is all ready to receive her job, find out who she is going to marry, and get the cure…until she meets Alex, and falls in love. Then she questions the society she lives in and how its run. The parallels between Delirium and Matched bothered me for awhile, which is why I didn’t read Crossed right away. However, Crossed and Reached go in a different direction than Pandemonium, the Delirium sequel, so I got over that pretty fast.

The Good: 

I actually really liked this series. I had held off for awhile, because when I saw the covers, I admit I was like, ugh another dystopian romance novel and ugh can we move on? I so need to grow up  haha. It turned out to be a seriously great series. A lot of the things that I have grown to expect from young adult lit books weren’t really there, and that was the most impressive part.

The love triangle? Basically nonexistent. Although there is a hint at one, it doesn’t even take up the novel in the slightest and there is never a question throughout the novel of who has Cassia’s affection.

The novel focuses on the idea of the Society and the things that they’ve been hiding. It focuses on the Rebellion, but it also shows that even Rebellions aren’t perfect. I think that was a big thing that I liked about it. It reminded me a little of Hunger Games. Katniss recognizes that President Coin isn’t really THAT much better than President Snow. It doesn’t present the Rebellion as 100% good and as of having a RIGHT to take back the country. It has flaws, and this one has major flaws. To orchestrate the sort of problem that they did, because they owned the solution seems wrong. Especially when it doesn’t really go according to plan. I know thats extremely vague but I’d rather not kill the novel for you.

The point is, I really like the story that Ally creates. She presents many different factors and people into the Society. Its not just the Society and the Rebellion, there are other people who can’t decide what they want, or they have decided they don’t want to support either. The people aren’t black and white, they’re gray and I love it. I feel like Condie presents a realistic dystopian novel. She shows what it would be like to have a real rebellion and have it lose control. The rebellion doesn’t go all as planned, and its very true to life. Things don’t quite work out the way you wish they did, or the way you planned them to.

I also really like the characters that Condie creates. They’re all strong characters. Cassia is a strong female character; making decisions on her, focusing on the Rebellion because SHE wants to, not because of Ky or Xander or anyone else. Even though she’s young and is totally allowed to feel confused, she knows from the beginning who she wants to be with and doesn’t ever deter from it. Ever. She shows strength and resilence in every mission and every goal she tries to accomplish. She’s extremely intelligent, along with Xander and Ky. They’re all strong, unique characters. They have normal teen feelings but they stay focused on the prize the entire novel.

All in all, the novel presents a good young adult dystopian novel and I’ve been kind of craving that for awhile.

Rating: 

4 out of 5 Stars for the entire series. I’d probably give a 4 to Matched and Reached, and 3 to Crossed.

Recommended or Not?

Definitely recommended especially if you enjoy a good young adult, and you enjoy a good dystopian novel. Especially a recommendation if you are over love triangles.

New Adult-Unnecessary Genre or Good Marketing Term?

So, advice with A Little Less than Famous published, illness I’ve been hearing more and more about this new term or genre that people have being using to describe my novel. This new genre, buy more about if you will, is called “new adult”.

I had a general idea of what new adult meant but I decided to go out there and do a little bit of research and find out more about what it meant. This is straight from the wikipedia page:

“New-adult Fiction or post-adolescent literature is a recent category of fiction for young adults first proposed by St. Martin’s Press in 2009.[1] St. Martin’s Press editors wanted to address the coming-of-age that also happens in a young person’s twenties. They wanted to consider stories about young adults who were legally adults, but who were still finding their way in building a life and figuring out what it means to be an adult”.

Now, that sounds EXACTLY what my kind of book does. Young Adult literature is often times encouraged for the ages of teenagers, the 13 to 18 year old range. Of course, people of all ages read it and I’ve already discussed why in previous posts. However, the characters are usually of this age group and have the experiences of teens in that age group.

New adult is about writing in the same kind of manner, but having more adult characters. Sure, teens are drinking in young adult literature, and having sex, but a character in a new adult novel is doing the same thing, but is legally able to do that…and yet they are still learning and coming-of-age in the same way that the characters of a new adult novel does.

Because, what I’ve noticed about a lot of general fiction novels about 20-something year olds is that they tend to have mostly everything figured out. Oh, sure they have their conflicts, because it wouldn’t be a story without a conflict. But the conflicts tend to be in already established careers, in finding a home or a husband, in babies and hitting their 30s. What a lot of those novels fail to realize is…20-somehting year olds are still learning about themselves in the same ways that a teenager is. I’m nearly twenty five years old and trust me, I still have NO idea what is going on. I have no career, I’m not married, I still live at home, I’m no where near having a child, I dont’ feel that much different than I did when I was 17.

So I can get the idea of classifying these novels in a different category. They aren’t quite young adult and they aren’t quite general fiction. Its a good marketing tool. Some adults, especially those in the 20-30 age group, are turned off by the term young adult or adolescent literature because it brings to mind the ages of 13-16, a child. But young adult literature is very, very enjoyable and is in a golden age right now so it has its appeal. By packaging a young adult novel as a “new adult” novel, all of your favorite things about a YA book but with some older characters and more adult scenes and problems, you can bring in a whole new batch of readers.

As a writer, I like the idea of it. For the past year and a half that I’ve been writing, editing and publishing A Little Less than Famous, I’ve considered it a young adult novel. However, when people have asked me if its okay for their 13 or 14 year old daughters, nieces, friends, etc. if its appropriate for them to read, I have to hesitate. The fact is, there are more adult themes in this novel. Sex isn’t just hinted at, as it is in a lot of young adult novels; there are actual sex scenes. McKinley has sex. She drinks. She says bad words. But she’s 22/23 years old and she’s a legal adult. She can make the sort of decisions that she does in the novel.

As a writer, the term “new adult” is helpful, especially to those who already understand what it means. It’ll help point out to potential readers that this book holds more mature content than a usual young adult novel does. I would hate for a young teen to pick up this book, not knowing that there are sex scenes, and then suddenly, I have an angry email in my inbox about an upset parent. I can understand this term as a writer, and as a marketing tool.

As a reader, however, I’m just confused. I feel like its unnecessary and confusing. Like, “new adult”? Aren’t there already enough genres in this world to keep me confused already? I have young adult and independent readers and childrens, and literature and general fiction and chick lit and fantasy and science fiction and non fiction and on and on and on. Its very confusing. As a reader, I don’t care if its too adult for young adult literature and not adult enough for general fiction. Maybe you could just call it mature young adult literature. Maybe, if parents are that concerned on what their teens are ready, they should monitor the content. I know that I make it clear in my description of A Little Less than Famous that McKinley is in her 20s and therefore, will have sex, and drink and do adult things.

It also makes me think that its a way to lend legitimacy to some young adult novels. I think young adult literature gets a bad reputation at times because of the growing popularity of it, and the increase in bad young adult literature. YA is very popular but is often viewed as fluffy or “easy” literature. Maybe by creating a new genre and placing themselves in that genre, authors are trying to break away from that negativity and open themselves up to new audiences? I’m not really sure. I do think that if people are worried about that, they shouldn’t be. If their book is good, it’ll stand on its own without worrying about what genre it is. Despite the fact that young adult literature does get a bad rap, you still can hear the praise for John Green and for Libba Bray, Rae Carson and James Dashner. There are still fantastic authors in the young adult literature genre and are doing fine classifying themselves that way.

I guess the more that we grow and the more that we write, the more genres that will appear. Before it was just plain literature. Then we had children’s literature, and science fiction and fantasy. Romance novels came to stand on their own. Graphic novels came about and young adult literature hit the stands. We’re constantly growing in the world of books and I definitely can’t complain about that. The more that people read, the more that there are good books are available. If creating a new genre “new adult” helps to get more authors out there and if it helps me to establish myself as a writer, well, I guess that I’m okay with that.

What do you think of the term “new adult”? Do you like it? Do you think its helpful? Do you think its simply just a marketing term or do you think its completely unnecessary? Let us know, as always, in the comments.

Book of the Week-Looking for Alaska

As a huge supporter of young adult literature, for sale John Green is one of the authors that top my list. John Green is definitely an example of how young adult literature can be used as a viable source of literature and SHOULD be used in classrooms.

Moving on though, its been forever since I did a Book of the Week post because, sadly, I was so busy between Christmas and all the birthdays that I have going in December and I literally had no time to read anything. But now that I still have a month left of glorious winter vacation before I hit the books again in school, I can consume all the books that I received as Christmas gifts.

One of those books was Looking for Alaska, by John Green.

Which leads me to our book of the week.

Looking for Alaska by John Green

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In this award winning novel by John Green, we meet high school junior, Miles also known as Pudge, who decides to go to a boarding school in Alabama because life at home is just normal and boring. He doesn’t have any friends; no one even shows up for his going away party. And he’s obsessed with last words; he can recall the last words of countless famous people and he knows that he can’t get those kind of events, those kind of words living at home, where nothing happens.

So he goes to boarding school, where on his first day, he immediately is pulled into the world that is created on that campus. He becomes friends with his roommate, Chip aka the Colonel, which gains him friends with Takumi and the extremely beautiful and kind of crazy Alaska Young. How could Pudge resist? Of course he falls in love with her! How could he not, how could anyone not? Soon there are pranks to pull, classes to ditch, a lenient but kind of scary headmaster to avoid and some seriously teen awesomeness to experience.

The Good or The Bad:

Honestly, I feel like I should have read Looking for Alaska before I read The Fault in Our Stars. The Fault was a one of a kind book that literally broke my heart and changed the way I see young adult literature… again. It was a unique story in the very familar world of teenage life. It was the third book I had read by John Green: I love An Abundance of Katherines and Paper Towns was an extreme let down. There just isn’t a book like The Fault in our Stars.

That being said, I really enjoyed Looking for Alaska. I like the story of boarding school…there’s something awesome about kids and teenagers basically having the run of the place without the influence of parents around all the time. Why do you think Harry, Hermione and Ron got into so much trouble while tucked in away in wizarding boarding school? No parental guidance, just a bunch of teachers who are too busy knocking back firewhiskey (or normal) in their offices late at night to notice the mischief that is so clearly going on.

I really like Miles a.k.a. Pudge too. He’s a typical teenage boy, playing video games, smoking cigarettes, eating bufriedos, and so on. Pining after the insanely beautiful but completely unattainable Alaska Young. Getting his first blow job by the hot Romanian student. I love Pudge.

I didn’t like Alaska at all. I don’t know why but something about her drove me insane. I loved Pudge and Takumi and Lara and the Colonel and I could understand the allure of Alaska Young but she was hot and crazy and maybe that’s extremely appealing to most guys or something but she was insane. And everyone loved her; maybe that was the point. She had losses early in her life and sometimes she made mistakes and she didn’t know how to handle when she did. I could understand that and I can understand being so extremely confused by just being a teenager, with all those emotions.

But a lot of what happened to me, as far as storyline, was very predictible to me. I didn’t feel the kind of shock and heartbreak that I felt in other books. When (SPOILER) Alaska Young ends up dead in a car crash, I wasn’t surprised in the least. People said they cried like crazy when that part happened but I feel like I didn’t even flinch in the slightest. I mean, sure, I was sad but it didn’t feel like anything I felt when I read the Fault in Our Stars. Maybe I would have appreciated Alaska more if I had read it before The Fault, but that’s the way I read it and Alaska just didn’t reach me the way that Hazel and Augustus did.

I did like all the pranks pulled by people; they were totally fun. I didn’t pull off any pranks whatsoever when I was in high school, mostly because I was kind of shy and social afraid of doing anything that might actually be fun and I didn’t really know any people that would partake in anything like a school prank. So the pranks that I read in this book, like putting hair dye in people’s hair gel and firecrackers and sending out false progress reports and bringing a stripper to a speech day. All fantastic and classic. LOVED it.

Honestly, I did enjoy the book. I read it in one day and I only do that for a book that I am actually interested in and its still a GOOD book but it felt depressingly flat after The Fault in Our Stars and maybe people built up this book so much in my mind that I had extremely high expectations. I definitely recommend that people read this book but I wouldn’t recommend reading it after the Fault if you enjoyed it as much as I did. Like…I literally worship that book so maybe I’m just the slightest bit biased when it comes to judging these books.

The point is, its a great book and it’ll have you glued to the pages through out the entire book. Miles is a fun character and I honestly cracked up during his very blow job because, seriously, it was HILARIOUS! You’ll crave a bufriedo (fried bean burrito) because it sounds both artery clogging and absolutely delicious. You’ll want to take religions with Dr. Hyde because he makes the ideas of religion seem extremely interesting, even for a staunch atheist like me. I want to go to boarding school now, and I want to light firecrackers outside the headmasters’ house and go camping in the rooms and get chased by the evil swan. This is a great, great book and I’m definitely a John Green backer.

What did you think of Looking for Alaska?