Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan | Book Review

Posted September 2, 2015 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 7 Comments

Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan | Book ReviewDaughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan
Published by Dutton Juvenile on May 25, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 375
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher (Netgalley)
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5 Stars

I’m the daughter of murdered parents.
I’m the friend of a dead girl.
I’m the lover of my enemy.
And I will have my revenge.

In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

Sharp and incisive, Daughter of Deep Silence by bestselling author Carrie Ryan is a deliciously smart revenge thriller that examines perceptions of identity, love, and the lengths to which one girl is willing to go when she thinks she has nothing to lose.

I’m on a major mystery/thriller kick right now, and I’m all about conspiracies! I’m not usually a fan of revenge, but this is revenge for a good reason so I LOVED it. Daughter of Deep Silence is filled with ominous, creepy, obsessive revenge. Basically, it was amazing. I’m doing a small review for this title because I don’t want to give anything away. The synopsis is very vague for a reason, and I intend to provide only my opinions. So don’t worry! Reading my review is totally safe, even if you’re the type who likes to discover books on your own, rather than read a review that basically tells you the entire plot. Seriously. I just read a bunch of reviews on Goodreads and they are just not safe!

We start out on the Persephone, a luxury yacht at sea. Everything is fine, and then disaster strikes. I was immediately engrossed in this story, and was completely on the edge of my seat. It starts out with a huge bang and gets more and more crazy and mysterious as the book continues and Frances’s life continues at home. Frances is a very hurt, very complex, very lost and rage-filled soul who has her heart set on finding answers. She will stop at nothing to find these answers, no matter the cost. And I’m not kidding. There were times I hated her and there were times I absolutely loved her. Her past is heartbreaking, her present is a lie, and her future could go in so many different directions depending on her actions now. There’s a bit of romance, but mostly the suspense is the frontrunner. My only qualm is that I wish there was more of a gradual build-up to the climax instead of the huge info dump and a quick ending I got. I’m the kind of person who likes to guess and form opinions, but I needed a few more clues than I was given.

All in all, I was extremely pleased with Daughter of Deep Silence. I loved every second, and was sad when it was over. Sure, it was a little unbelievable in places, but that’s why this is a novel instead of a memoir. This story would never happen in real life, but neither would Jurassic Park. I love the author’s writing style, and am seriously considering reading her backlist because I was completely entranced. Carrie Ryan is an amazing author! Definitely give this book a shot if you’re looking for a little suspense that won’t keep you up all night in sheer terror.

5 Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green | Book Review

Posted February 16, 2015 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 5 Comments

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green | Book ReviewThe Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Published by Dutton Juvenile on January 10, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Pages: 286
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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4 Stars

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning author John Green's most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love.

I can’t believe I read this. I can’t BELIEVE I read this. I had vowed to never, ever read The Fault in our Stars because I hate crying and being sad and cancer. And being the perfectionist, type-A student I am, I finally did. If the love of my life had asked me to read TFioS, I would have said no. But when my grade’s on the line I’ll pretty much do anything that isn’t illegal and/or against my moral code. Haha. So yay! Now I’m cool and I’ve read the book, and I only cried a little (but that’s because I read the spoilers because I’M SORRY, but in addition to being a perfectionist I’m also a planner. So sue me.). Anyway, so much has been said and re-said about TFioS so I’m not going to do a full review like I usually do. Here are my thoughts!

– I think The Fault in Our Stars‘s biggest selling point (aside from the sweeping romance) is that suffering is a part of life sometimes, and people go through things that are not fair. It’s part of life. We all go through a lot of suffering, and while it might not be as huge as cancer, loves are lost and devastating things happen (big or small). I remember times where I felt convinced that my life was over for one reason or another. The Fault in our Stars really puts everything into perspective and gives readers a chance to think about their own lives. I thought a lot about what I would do if I knew I was terminal. I wondered how I would change or how I would re-prioritize my life.

– The story is unique because the romance feels so realistic and true. Hazel and Gus are dying, so they have risen above time just to be in the moment. I love their story, and I love how they fell deeply for one another. And, oh, Augustus. I love his personality.

– Hazel’s voice is so poignant and strong, even though she’s scared. Her maturity matches that of someone who has had to grow up faster than average in order to live her entire life in a too-short period of time.

– Hazel’s thoughts about love and life are so real, especially for someone that is dealing with something horrible. I identified with her in many ways because I have debilitating diseases that have altered my life. I’m not terminal, and I’m not in danger of becoming so, but I understood her reflections. It’s unbelievably scary and confusing to live in pain, and John Green writes like he has been through it. He writes Hazel and Gus like he knows what it’s like to be them. He conveys such perfect emotion. 

– The romance is so sweet. I had a perfect fairy-tale love story as a teen (obviously it was far from perfect and we went our separate ways), and I was told all the time that I couldn’t possibly know what love is like. I appreciate that John Green understands that teens can know. And they can have a deep love story. I love it when an author respects their audience like that, and does not put characters in their book that tell teens how wrong they are, and how their feelings aren’t true.

The book gave me hope. The jokes and the sarcasm and the funny jabs are a reminder that you can always have hope, even in dire circumstances. I loved that message.

All in all, The Fault in Our Stars really spoke to me. Readers do not have to be suffering from cancer or even know someone who has/had cancer in order to relate. The book is about living and loving and enjoying the time you have. It’s about hope. I think everyone should read this book because the messages of the necessity for suffering, the realities of cancer, living in the moment, hope, and love are so strong and beautifully delivered.

4 Stars

Atlantia by Ally Condie | Book Review

Posted November 6, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 3 Comments

Atlantia by Ally Condie | Book ReviewAtlantia by Ally Condie
Published by Dutton Juvenile on October 28, 2014
Genres: Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (ALA)
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4 Stars

Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above—of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self—and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden—she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths.

I’ve been looking forward to a new novel from Ally Condie for quite some time, so I dove in to Atlantia as soon as I could! It took me a little while to fully immerse myself in the story, but I ended up really liking Atlantia. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. I’ve always been a huge fan of books that take place underwater. Atlantia is a beautiful, self-sustaining, world under the sea that actually sounds a lot like Venice, believe it or not. They have canals and gondolas, and the city is colorful with lots of shops and places to visit. There’s a market in the depths of the city, plus an arena for after-curfew swimming competitions (I found the swimming arena rather random and out of place, though.). Basically, the city is unique and very fun to read about.

2. Rio is secretly a siren, who has had to hide her true voice from everyone in order to keep herself safe. Siren voices are very powerful, and can be used as weapons. Sirens are more rare now, which puts Rio in even more danger. When I heard siren, I immediately thought of mermaids. Sirens are human beings with special powers, though. I liked this unique twist!

3. Rio has always wanted to live Above, but when their mother dies she promises her sister, Bay, that she will choose to stay Below during the choosing ceremony (which is very similar to Divergent’s faction choosing ceremony). On the day of choosing, though, Bay announces she is going to the Above. Since only one child from each family can go Above, Rio is stuck and hurt. Alone forever. Rio starts planning her escape, and will stop at nothing to journey to the Above. This is where you see Rio’s stubborn, persistent, dare-devil personality. I really liked her!

4. Obviously, everyone is hiding something. There’s a lot of lying, and it’s hard to know who to trust. Rio’s aunt kind of takes her under her wing and mentors her, but this aunt is shady. Everyone is. And there’s a lot of secrets about Rio, her family, and the politics behind the separation of the Above and the Below. How did these people end up Below? Why is there no traveling between worlds? What’s the point of a city below water?

5. I loved the worldbuilding and Ally’s writing is descriptive and lovely.

6. I was so hoping for more romance between Rio and True.

7. Throughout the entire book I was expecting a sequel, so to find out it’s a standalone was kind of exciting. In a YA world full of trilogies and series, it’s nice to find a standalone. At the same time, though, Atlantia was wrapped up so quickly that I wish we were getting a sequel. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.

Overall, I really enjoyed Atlantia. I love underwater settings, and Ally’s writing and really enjoyable to read. I’m excited to see what she chooses to do next! I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a good dystopia. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I feel like dystopias are becoming pretty formulaic and predictable. Atlantia is very unique, though, and breathes new life into dystopia.

4 Stars

Just One Year by Gayle Forman | Book Review

Posted October 18, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 10 Comments

Just One Year by Gayle Forman | Book ReviewJust One Year by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #2
Published by Dutton Juvenile on October 10, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gift
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The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.

I loved Just One Day SO much. It is one of my favorite books ever! Just One Year was probably my most anticipated release this fall, and I was dancing around the house when my hardback arrived in the mail. I guess I was expecting something completely different from it, because I am so disappointed. I was hoping for a sweeping romance like the first book, which is not at all what I was given in Just One Year. Anyway, my main points are bolded.

1. This book was not a bad book at all. In fact, it was wonderful. Granted, there were a few passages that moved slowly and caused me to skim a page or two here and there, but I really enjoyed learning about Willem and what happened to him at the end of Just One Day. If I had not gone in with such high expectations, I know I would not have been disappointed. Gayle is a wonderful writer, and she creates amazing stories. Just One Year was great! I just wanted something completely different than she gave me with this book.

2. I connected with Allyson so much in Just One Day, and did not realize until I read Just One Year just how much I liked her. I missed her so much in Just One Year, and found I did not like Willem as much without her around to bring out the best in him. I think that was the point, though. We are meant to see Willem’s struggle, and who he is without Allyson in order to make us want him to find her. I longed for their reunion just as much as he did.

3. I liked the new characters we got to meet. Willem’s mom was endearing, and I enjoyed getting a glimpse into their tumultuous relationship. I liked Willem’s friends, particularly the one who went on part of Willem’s journey to find Allyson. I honestly can’t remember how to spell his name. Haha.

4. I was not the biggest fan of everything Willem did while he was looking for Allyson. I guess I had built him up as Mr. Perfect in my mind, so when he started sleeping with different women and doing drugs, I was so disappointed in him. My heat broke a little as I learned who Willem really is.

5. I enjoyed traveling with Willem on his journey, and I most of all enjoyed watching him learn so much about himself while he was gone. I’ve said it once, and I will say it again: traveling is the most magical way to discover yourself. I loved his happenings in Mexico, his return to India and the reasons behind that, and the string of events that brought him back to Holland. He went through a lot during this year, and even though I had a hard time with some of his choices, I could not help but cheer for him as he figured out what’s best for himself.

6. The ending made me really mad. Haha. I had originally been hoping that Just One Year would pick up right where Just One Day left off. Perhaps Willem would open his door, see Lulu standing there, hug and kiss her like crazy, and then tell her about his year. I would have loved to hear her input on his journey. I would have loved to see a ton of romance. I quickly discovered that would not happen, so I started hoping that the book would be long enough to have some time devoted to their reunion. I was at least hoping for an epilogue! There’s no after. I kind of feel abandoned now. Just as Willem left Allyson with no explanation, these two left me with no explanation.

I finished Just One Year almost a week ago, and I’m still having a hard time processing it. I almost decided to not even write a review. I figured I needed to, though, so I can come back to it someday and remember how I felt and see if I feel any differently as time goes on. I’m not giving it a star review, though, since I just don’t know how I feel. Honestly, my expectations were way too high. It’s like going on a date to a fancy restaurant with the love of your life and thinking he’s going to propose, but instead he dumps you. If I had gone into this book with no expectations, I would have been able to appreciate it for what it is rather than be disappointed in what it isn’t. Really, the only criticism I have is that it was not what I wanted, and it is not what my heart wanted.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Book Review)

Posted January 10, 2013 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 8 Comments

Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Book Review)Just One Day by Gayle Forman
Series: Just One Day #1
Published by Dutton Juvenile on January 8, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Gift
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5 Stars

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.

Holy crap. That’s what I said, people, when I shut this baby after tearing through it at lightning speed. This is the kind of book that leaves you feeling intimidated by trying to write a review, because nothing you say will be what you actually wanted to say. I just have this feeling I’m not going to like my review, so I’ll try to make it short and sweet. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Can I just say right upfront that I want this day to happen to me? I love traveling, and I particularly love Paris. I could picture Allyson and Willem on the train, walking the streets of Paris, eating crepes, gazing over the river, even walking past all the vintage items in boxes and paintings and key chains from street vendors. Gayle brought Paris alive for me again, and so many memories came flooding back from my time there. I loved that they did not do the typical touristy things, though. They experienced Paris in a way that most people who only have one day there don’t. I want to do what they did, and I want to find a guy like Willem to be right there next to me. This day was a whirlwind of amazingness.

2. The wanderlust monster has been reawakened in me! Where can I go next? The travel and scenic descriptions were amazing. It’s like I was there.

3. I love the whole leave your life behind, get totally lost, and end up finding yourself mentality. Wanderlove had a similar feel, and I just love books that make me want to discover myself and the world I live in. I feel like an author has done something amazing if they can inspire me to do something.

4. I felt every single emotion possible in this book. What a roller coaster! I went from feeling on top of the world to absolutely heart-shatteringly sad for my beloved characters. I’ve seen quite a few reviewers say, “I felt ALL THE FEELS.” It’s so true. Never has a single statement summed up a book so well.

5. I love Allyson. She is so real, and spoke to my soul many times throughout the story. I felt for her and loved reading about her journey to self discovery. Her alter ego, Lulu, made me so proud. I loved watching her incorporate Lulu into her own life. Willem is amazing. He’s everything I hoped to find when I went to Holland. Haha. Either I went to the wrong places, or he’s a diamond in the rough. I am so excited to read his story, Just One Year. I have this feeling that I will love it more than Just One Day. He and Allyson together are magical.

6. This story is so beautiful. I mean, this is the bottom line here. The writing is gorgeous, the emotions are so wonderfully expressed, the scenery jumps off the pages, the people are so real, the feelings are so deep, and the eagerness and excitement are electric. There were so many amazing quotes. I could not get enough of any of it.

7. I’m a Gayle Forman fangirl for life. This was my first book of hers, but I think I need to go buy all the others.

For fear of spoiling anything, I’m going to end my review with a few blanket statements. Just One Day is a new favorite of mine that you MUST read. I love this book beyond words, and I love that it has inspired this introspective look at my own life. If you love romance, self-discovery, travel, and emotional roller coasters (which usually I hate), you’ll love Just One Day.

And for your reading pleasure, here are a two of my favorite quotes:

“I think everything is happening all the time, but if you don’t put yourself in the path of it, you miss it. When you travel, you put yourself out there. It’s not always great. Sometimes it’s terrible. But other times…” He lifts his shoulder and gestures out to Paris, then sneaks me a sidelong glance. “It’s not so bad.”

I think you’re the sort of person who finds money on the ground and waves it in the air and asks if anyone has lost it. I think you cry in movies that aren’t even sad because you have a soft heart, though you don’t let it show. I think you do things that scare you , and that makes you braver than those adrenaline junkies who bungee-jump off bridges.

5 Stars