Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: 2013 Books

Top 10 Tuesday again! This week's theme is 'Most Anticipated Books of 2013'. There are loads I could have picked, but here are the ones I like that have covers. If you want to know more, add me on Goodreads. Happy reading!

1. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (June 4th)

2. This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith (April 2nd)

3. Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook (January 29th)

4. Golden by Jessi Kirby (May 14th)

5. Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown (May 21st)

6. Riptide by Lindsey Scheibe (May 8th)

7. Flowers in the Sky by Lynn Joseph (March 5th)

8. The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr (May 7th)

9. Things I Can't Forget by Miranda Kenneally (March 1st)

10. How My Summer Went Up In Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (May 7th)

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

"Jellicoe Road" by Melina Marchetta

At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.

Gahhh I loved this one so much! Why have I not jumped on the Australian YA bandwagon before? Everything about Jellicoe Road was beautiful: the writing, the setting, the characters. I honestly can't wait to read more of Melina Marchetta's work and I'll definitely be re-reading this one. P.s. I wept like a baby during the last few chapters of the book, dear lord, Melina Marchetta knows how to pack in some raw emotion. Make sure you have a tissue box to hand when reading this!
But first, the deal. Jellicoe Road is the story of Taylor Markham, a seventeen year old girl abandoned by her mother (when she was eleven) on the Jellicoe Road, a scenic route near Sydney. She attends the Jellicoe School, and is embroiled in the seemingly never-ending territory wars with the Townies (those who live in Jellicoe) and the Cadets (who visit from Sydney annually for training). The fact that she actually doesn't care about anyone at first doesn't help her situation, given that the annoying Richard is planning a takeover coup, and the leader of the Cadets is Jonah Griggs, who is involved in Taylor's past. Running through the story are snippets of Taylor's friend Hannah's manuscript about five kids in the eighties who met their fate on the Jellicoe Road. They're somehow entwined in Taylor's life and there's a big mystery here! 
Taylor is totally bad-ass. She kind of scared me with how fearless she was, but she definitely had a softer side that is revealed during the course of the book. I really liked her, despite her erratic nature and general moodiness. I also liked Raffaela, her best friend; Ben, her other best friend; and the others, like Santangelo & Jessa McKenzie. NOW WE MOVE ONTO JONAH GRIGGS. Swooooon. The love I have for him is just... wow. The tension between him and Taylor is off the scale so many times, and their romance was so gorgeous it choked me up. 
The adults in this story were completely enigmatic. I had a hard time understanding all the links and reasons and everything, but when I figured out the mystery, I kind of knew it had been there all along. Why did Hannah disappear? Who the heck is the Brigadier? How are Taylor and Jonah linked? What about Taylor's mum? YOU'LL HAVE TO READ IT TO FIND OUT!!
Overall, I highly recommend Jellicoe Road and this may have just been moved up to my favorite books of all time list. I have so much love for this book, it's unreal.

Rating: A+

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

"Story of a Girl" by Sara Zarr

When she is caught in the backseat of a car with her older brother's best friend--Deanna Lambert's teenage life is changed forever. Struggling to overcome the lasting repercussions and the stifling role of "school slut," she longs to escape a life defined by her past. With subtle grace, complicated wisdom and striking emotion, Story of a Girl reminds us of our human capacity for resilience, epiphany and redemption.

Story of a Girl was incredibly realistic. In every high school, there's always "that girl". The one everybody calls a slut. (I hate this word. It's so ugly and demeaning.) The one who has their life twisted and manipulated so it's some kind of joke, and everybody finds it funny to tell their own version of the story. Deanna Lambert is said girl.
Deanna was thirteen years old when her father caught her with Tommy Webber, a seventeen year old junior, and supposed friend of her brother. What I really have an issue with is the fact that she was thirteen - how many thirteen year olds really know what sex is and means? Deanna clearly didn't, and ever since then her fellow students, strangers in town, and her own father have called her a slut.  Her dad even suggests at one point that she'd slept with her 46 year-old boss. It's not true, but the fact that he'd think it sickens me. This book is one of those quiet novels: uncluttered, simple, but deeply affecting.
I liked Deanna. Most people would say she was a bad friend, a skank, a loser. She was a bad friend, but this made her feel authentic. All her deep flaws were realistic and these are flaws that many of us have, sometimes without even realising it. I also liked Stacy, Darren, Jason, and Lee. Darren was Deanna's older brother, and he stuck up for her when nobody really did. Stacy was his girlfriend, and they had a baby daughter, April. These three were constantly belittled by Darren's father, whom I wholly disliked, but they stuck with it, even when it got tough. Stacy was a very straightforward girl and I liked that. Even though they made mistakes, they pulled through at the end.
Jason and Lee were Deanna's best friends. Jason had always been there for Deanna and Lee was kind of new. But things were awkward now Lee and Jason were dating, and Deanna definitely felt like the third wheel. I like how their situation was resolved, and I hoped they would stay friends and fall back together. I appreciated the way Deanna's situation was resolved, and how she stood up for herself in the end, to try to make herself feel like a better person.
I really admire Sara Zarr's writing style. She gets straight to the point, and tells Deanna's story in the way that it is a story. She's not biased, and she doesn't try to sugarcoat things; she just tells it like it is. I guess people who reviewed this book didn't like that, but I think it's the best way to tell a story. She also makes characters like Deanna's parents three-dimensional and realistic - they're not underdeveloped or hollow; that's what real people are like.
I would have preferred it if the book had been longer. I think this would have added extra dimensions to Deanna's story. That being said, I can't read to read more Sara Zarr novels in the future.

Rating: A

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Top 10 Tuesday: Favourite book covers

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme is... free choice! I've decided to choose my favorite book covers, and I think they're all really gorgeous. But just so you know, there aren't any Paranormal or Dystopia or Fantasy covers included, because a, I'm not an avid reader of these genres, and b, I find most of them pretty repetitive and over-used. So, without further ado...

1. The Waiting Sky by Lara Zielin

I go on and on about this cover all the time and I've even mentioned it my friends. It's just lovely and really captures what the story is about.

2. Hold Still by Nina Lacour

This cover is from the paperback edition and is freaking beautiful. The colors, the way the font appears to be moving and staying still at the same time, the girl's position, and the way she looks a lot like the main character, Caitlin, makes it perfect. Also, readers of the book will know that this fits a scene in the book...

3. Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

I haven't read this one, but that cover has really caught my attention. It's so spooky-looking and a bit creepy, really, but it's also really beautiful.

4. The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

I think this one really captures the essence of what Mia becomes in the novel: carefree, happy and in love. The beach fits the summer theme and the font is unobtrusive but important. 

5. But I Love Him by Amanda Grace

The cover of "But I Love Him" is thoughtful, intense and sharp. I love the effect that the glass makes in the sharp of the jagged heart, and the font is quite creepy. The colors are lovely.

6. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

This one screams "summer!" in a good way. In the best possible way, actually. The couple are obviously highly attractive (they always are on books), but I love the way the light falls on them, what the fence implies (love implication, ya'll) and the sun looks very pretty.

7. Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

This one is so pretty, I could put this on my wall. Everything about is gorgeous: the rainbow effect, the London background, and the way the couple are standing. Top marks!

8. The Book of Broken Hearts by Sarah Ockler

This one is SO CUTE. The writing, the flower, the heart-shaped pages, they're all freaking perfect. This one is like a cupcake in book cover format!

9. Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

This one is heartbreaking. The tagline makes me ache, and the heart with the bite is just so beautiful and painful. 

10. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

This is the hardcover edition, and I think this one is SO GORGEOUS, words cannot describe it. The sky, the font, the hearts, I'm in love.

What are your favorite book covers? Happy reading! A xoxo