ARC/Book Review: They Both Die at the End – Adam Silvera

Title: They Both Die at the End (2017)
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Extent: 384 pages
Release Date: September 5, 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

Review

I should’ve known what I was getting into with this book. I mean, with a title like They Both Die at the End, what else can you expect but to be thrown right into Heartbreak Central? As it turns out, however, there’s quite a little bit more in the story rather than tears and sadness — I think it’s what Adam Silvera does best. 😉

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Book Review: Goodbye Days – Jeff Zentner

Title: Goodbye Days (2017)
Author: Jeff Zentner
Publisher: Crown Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 416 pages
Release Date: March 7, 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Carver Briggs never thought a simple text would cause a fatal crash, killing his three best friends, Mars, Eli, and Blake. Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident and even worse, there could be a criminal investigation into the deaths.

Then Blake’s grandmother asks Carver to remember her grandson with a ‘goodbye day’ together. Carver has his misgivings, but he starts to help the families of his lost friends grieve with their own memorial days, along with Eli’s bereaved girlfriend Jesmyn. But not everyone is willing to forgive. Carver’s own despair and guilt threatens to pull him under into panic and anxiety as he faces punishment for his terrible mistake. Can the goodbye days really help?

Review

Jeff Zentner is the brains behind The Serpent King, a contemporary YA novel so realistic and unique, it’s still in the back of my mind a couple of months after reading it. Goodbye Days is his sophomore novel, and boy, does it also deal with some really, really tough issues. I mean, the premise alone is enough to send me into a loop of despair — and I tend to be quite unemotional when it comes to fictional characters!

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Book Review: Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Title: Strange the Dreamer (2017)
Series: Strange the Dreamer – Book 1
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Extent: 544 pages
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around – and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries – including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Review

Strange the Dreamer must be one of this year’s most anticipated releases. The cover is beautiful, the story sounds remarkable, and it’s written by Laini Taylor, a somewhat big-name author in the YA genre. My first attempt with her ended OK — I enjoyed Daughter of Smoke and Bone, but didn’t love it enough to continue — and I can safely say, thankfully, that I had a better experience with this book. 🙏

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ARC/Book Review: Noteworthy – Riley Redgate

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Title: Noteworthy (2017)
Author: Riley Redgate
Publisher: Amulet Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 336 pages
Release Date: May 2, 2017
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

It’s the start of Jordan Sun’s junior year at the Kensington-Blaine Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she’s an Alto 2, which—in the musical theatre world—is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody’s falling over themselves to express their appreciation. So it’s no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

Then the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Kensington’s elite a cappella octet. Worshiped… revered… all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Sun, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

Review

Early last year, Riley Redgate impressed me with Seven Ways We Lie, a book with not two, not three, but seven first-person point of views. Entertaining, quirky and surprisingly original, SWWL was very much a solid debut, which is why I have quite high expectations of Redgate’s follow-up. Enter Noteworthy.

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Book Review: The First Third – Will Kostakis

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Title: The First Third (2013)
Author: Will Kostakis
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Extent: 248 pages
Release Date: July 24, 2013
Rating: ★★★★☆

Goodreads Description

Life is made up of three parts: in the first third, you’re embarrassed by your family; in the second, you make a family of your own; and in the end, you just embarrass the family you’ve made.

That’s how Billy’s grandmother explains it, anyway. She’s given him her bucket list (cue embarrassment), and now, it’s his job to glue their family back together. No pressure or anything.

Fixing his family’s not going to be easy and Billy’s not ready for change. But as he soon discovers, the first third has to end some time. And then what?

It’s a Greek tragedy waiting to happen.

Review

The First Third is my first novel from Will Kostakis, and boy, was it pretty damn good. This is the story of Billy Tsiolkas, the middle son in a Greek family, and his quest in completing the three items on his grandmother’s bucket list: find his single mother a husband, find his older brother a girlfriend, and ‘fix’ his sullen, uncommunicative younger brother. With the aid of his best friend and a girl he meets at the hospital, Billy seeks to accomplish what his grandmother can’t while he navigates through various life problems.

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