Alistair Grim's OdditoriumTitle: Alistair Grim’s Odditorium
Author: Gregory Funaro
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: Jan 2015
Pages: 432
Place on Hold 

This book is set in England around 1900 and is told through the eyes of a 12 year old chimney sweep named Grubb.  Grubb has a terrible life until he stows away in the carriage of Alistair Grim while running from trouble. Through out his journey Grubb encounters all sorts of mystical beings such as fairies, banshees, dragons, and Odditoria.

I really enjoyed this book. It had action, magic, and DRAGONS (sorry I really like dragons). Also it reminded me of the first few Harry Potter books which gives me hope for the books to follow. Yes, you read that right this will a series. I recommend this to anyone who likes fantasy and magic. If you enjoyed the Harry Potter series then you’re going to enjoy Alistair Grim’s Odditorium as well.  I give it 4 out of 5; it’s not a perfect book but it’s up there and I would totally read it again.

DamagedTitle: Damaged
Author: Amy Reed
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: Oct. 2014
Pages: 384
Place on Hold 

Synopsis: Kinsey’s best friend Camille was killed in a car accident while Kinsey was driving. Plagued by guilt and haunted by Camille’s ghost she goes on an impromptu road trip with Camille’s boyfriend to try and escape.

I really wanted to like this book. I love the author and I’ve liked all of her past books, but this one just didn’t do it for me. My main problem was the whole “Camille’s ghost ” thing which ended up being a huge part of the book. I understand that her ghost was probably meant to represent Kinsey’s guilt and feelings about Camille. However, it was poorly done simply because the book became all about getting away from the ” ghost”. The fact that Kinsey had spent her entire life running from her problems and pushing away her emotions was really counter productive. It wasn’t anything new that she wanted to get away from this ” ghost”, it was what she always did. There really wasn’t any character development or growth because nothing changed. Kinsey spent the whole book running, like always, until she was finally able to let the ghost go, not the actual internal problem, the ghost. It just got old after a while.

Another problem I had with the ghost situation was just when you were sure that Camille was truly just Kinsey’s feelings manifested the author would blur the line. There where times when Camille’s ghost would leave physical marks on her and I have no idea how I’m supposed to take that. Was Kinsey harming herself ? Was she imagining things ? Was Camille an actual ghost and if so why would she act so differently than she had in life ? I have no idea.

This book just left too many questions unanswered. Why did Camille like this guy at all ? Why was she changing before she died ? What the heck is this guys story ? Why is Kinsey’s grandmother so evil ? What happens to her mother, who is clearly mentally ill ? There are so many loose ends that didn’t get tied up and that bothers me.

My last major problem was the relationship Kinsey had with Camille’s boyfriend. So let me get this straight, you think you’re being haunted by the vengeful ghost of your dead best friend and you think the solution to that is to run away, across the country, with her boyfriend ? I don’t see the logic there. I felt that their relationship was odd and totally unnesecarry. Why spend an entire book building a bad relationship between two characters we know nothing about only to have them spilt up at the end of the book ? I’m sure someone can find an English teacher that will tell me it’s meant to represent that the chapter of her life is over or something, that doesn’t mean I have to enjoy it. Their relationship was really unhealthy because they were both very unstable. I also didn’t like that she needed him. I mean she’s a girl, therefore she could not possibly escape her bad home life and battle her personal demons without an attractive male character there to facilitate it. I scoff at the thought. Just go along with it honey, he might be moody and potentially crazy ,but he’s going to get you out of there !
We need YA lit to show us how ridiculous that sounds, not to perpetuate it.

All in all this was an okay book. I really liked the premiss of it, I just felt that it could have been better executed. Less ghost and more character development would have made for a much better book.

Trust Me, I'm LyingTitle: Trust Me I’m Lying
Author: Mary Elizabeth Summer
Publisher:  Dealcorte Press (Random House)
Release Date: October 2014
Pages: 328
Place on Hold 

In trust me, I’m lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer a girl named Julep Dupree attends a top class private school in Chicago. St. Agatha’s is filled with all the right people to fund her tuition, unintentionally of course. Julep is the girl that they go to when they need something fixed, the schemes get her good money. Until she comes home to a destroyed apartment and her con artist of a dad missing. With the help of friends Julep follows a trail of clues her father leaves behind to help her find what the mob is looking for.

This is the kinda book that took me about 2 days to read. It would of taken me one but I got interrupted. I would give this book 5 stars and would recommend to anybody who loves mystery novels with a twist and enjoys love triangles.

20601687Title: Even in Paradise
Author: Chelsey Philpot
Publisher: HarperCollins
Release Date: Oct 2014
Pages: 368
Place on Hold 

When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St.Annes at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senators daughter.Most people do…or think they do. Charlotte certainly never expects she will be Julia’s friend.But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger-than-life new girl’s world-a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties,palatial vacation homes,and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for,Julia’s handsome older brother ,Sebastian.But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future,Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy.A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden…until now.

I really loved this book. It is very brilliantly written and will capture your attention from cover to cover.”Even in Paradise” is beautiful in a sad, but hopeful way. The characters and setting is very original, and essential to the story. In the beginning, when Charlotte and Julia first meet and become friends, Charlotte sees Julia’s life as glamorous and perfect, but as she gets pulled into Julia’s world, she sees that Julia’s life is far from perfect. Everyone sees the Buchanan family as the flawless family that has it all,and that is the facade that they want everyone to believe, but the family underneath the surface, the real Buchanan family, is held together by breaking pieces. This book is about friendship, family, and love, but it is also about breaking, and the hope that comes with breaking-the hope for a new beginning. “Even in Paradise” keeps you on the edge of your seat, with secrets, humor, and charming characters that are very relatable. The ending to this book is surprising, and it doesn’t exactly have a happy ending, but it has a very real ending. The book teaches the reader that sometimes, things are broken beyond repair, but there is always hope for the future. This book also teaches the reader that everyone is fighting their own battles and everyone has problems, even in paradise. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes real, relatable, but also original stories. This book is a story of friendship, a story about family, and a love story all rolled up into one.

18811323Title: I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister
Author: Amélie Sarn
Publisher: Delacorte
Release Date: Aug. 2014
Pages: 152
Place on Hold 

Synopsis: Sohanes sister Djelila is dead. She was murdered by a gang of boys because she chose to reject the Muslim customs. Sohane was expelled from her school for choosing to embrace them. Now that her sister is gone Sohane must come to terms with her grief and her guilt. During Djelilas last days Sohane felt that they couldn’t have been more different, now she comes to realize that their problems have always been the same.

I absolutely loved this book. It was powerful and I think it will help raise awareness of the issues facing women. This story is fiction but the violence against girls and women is real. There wasn’t a moment of this book that I didn’t love. It was beautifully written and the message it sends is perfect. This is one of my new favorite books and I want every one to read it. I want ever girl to recognize that what they wear is their choice and that they should wear whatever makes them happy and comfortable. I want every boy to recognize that every girl has a right to wear whatever they please without comment, harassment or judgement. This book conveyed that message in less than 150 pages and it was amazing.

One of the great parts of the book was the perspective. The story was told as Sohane talking to Djelila after her death. It was so beautiful for Sohane to deal with all of her grief, guilt and anger by talking to Djelila. It also allowed the reader to get a deeper look at their relationship and it demonstrated that the issues facing women don’t just come from men, they come from the social stigma that women also perpetuate. I loved that the book brought up this point. Sohane and Djelila loved each other dearly but there was a lot of judgment between them. You know the problem runs deep when Sohane can believe that Djelilas harassment is partly own fault. The scene where she comes to realize the error of that thinking is wonderfully written. It reads

I wanted to protect you, but from what? I did not recognize the enemy. I wanted to protect you, but I let vicious people attack you. I let Majid and his gang hurt you. I was too sure of myself. I wanted to protect you; I did not understand. I was so sure I was right. And if I was right, you had to be wrong. Enemy sisters. I didn’t want it to be that way. But the only way to be close to you was to put you on the right path. I thought you were lying to yourself, that you were betraying your family, your roots, your god, out of boldness. I was your big sister. And I was going to bring you gently back to reason.
God forgive me.
Arrogance is is sin.
I wanted to protect you and you
are dead.

And that is one of the most well written and hauntingly beautiful things I’ve read.

The author also discussed feminism in this book which I really appreciated. Many people have the misconception that feminism is anti-man and anti-femininity when that just isn’t true. The author points out that feminism is about being equal to men and choosing for yourself how to look and act without fear of judgement. Both Sohane and Djelila were self admitted feminists. They were just on opposite ends of the spectrum. Sohane wanted to choose to cover up and Djelila wanted to choose to uncover.  Nothing is wrong with either choice. It should be their right. Only it isn’t. They are ridiculed and murdered for their decisions. Part of Feminism is the belief that they should have the right to choose, regardless of the choice they make. I love how well the book exemplifies this point.

My favorite thing was that the book pointed out all these issues without commenting on them. The author left it up to the reader to recognize that the assumptions aren’t true and that the situations aren’t just . No one who reads this book will side with Djelilas murderer or Sohanes school board. No one will think that it’s okay that Djelila was called a slut for the way she chose to dress, so why do we do it in real life ?

This was a really profound book that will make people think. It was beautiful, amazing and sad. I give it one billion stars and I highly recommend it.

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