Book Review: Zac and Mia – A. J. Betts

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Title: Zac and Mia (2013)
Author: A. J. Betts
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 310 pages
Release Date: July 24, 2013
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

“When I was little I believed in Jesus and Santa, spontaneous combustion, and the Loch Ness monster. Now I believe in science, statistics, and antibiotics.”

So says seventeen-year-old Zac Meier during a long, grueling leukemia treatment in Perth, Australia. A loud blast of Lady Gaga alerts him to the presence of Mia, the angry, not-at-all-stoic cancer patient in the room next door. Once released, the two near-strangers can’t forget each other, even as they desperately try to resume normal lives. The story of their mysterious connection drives this unflinchingly tough, tender novel told in two voices.

Review

Plenty of people compared this to John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I didn’t really get that feel, but I could certainly see the similarities: two kids with cancer fall in love. The characters and personalities in Zac and Mia are different, though, so I’d say the story is quite different.

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Book Review: The Way I Used to Be – Amber Smith

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Title: The Way I Used to Be (2016)
Author: Amber Smith
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 384 pages
Release Date: March 22, 2016
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Goodreads Description

Eden was always good at being good. Band geek. Book nerd. Starting high school didn’t change that.

But the night her brother’s best friend rapes her, Eden’s whole world capsizes. What was once simple, is now complex. What Eden once loved—who she once loved—she now hates. What she believed was the truth, now lies. Nothing makes sense anymore, and she’s never felt so alone in her life. She knows she’s supposed to tell someone what happened. But she can’t.

So she buries it instead. And she buries the way she used to be.

Review

The Way I Used to Be is about the four years after Eden, our main character, then fourteen years old, was raped by her brother’s best friend. The book opens when this very thing was happening, although not too graphically, and dives right into the aftermath. When I first started reading, I thought I was going to be in for a really intense, surreal ride, but as it turns out, this was only sometimes true.

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Book Review: The Crown’s Game – Evelyn Skye

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Title: The Crown’s Game (2016)
Series: The Crown’s Game – Book 1
Author: Evelyn Skye
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 399 pages
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Goodreads Description

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

Review

I’ve been looking forward to reading The Crown’s Game ever since I read the blurb. Magical duels are something I’m interested in by default, and when the stakes are high, I love it even more. This book, however, was rather underwhelming and ended up being much more of a romance story than a fantasy story, which is a terrible, terrible shame.

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Book Review: Vicious – V. E. Schwab

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Title: Vicious (2013)
Series: Vicious – Book 1
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: Science Fiction
Extent: 364 pages
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Description

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Review

Guys. Guys. I think I’m in love with V. E. Schwab. After a full month without any five-star read, it was just so good to tuck into a book that was super fun, super addictive, and super gripping from the start to the end. I didn’t put Vicious down even once and pretty much finished it in one sitting. In a way, this book kind of reminds me of X-Men (which I love) in book form.

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