Wednesday, 31 October 2012

"The Waiting Sky" by Lara Zielin

One summer chasing tornadoes could finally change Jane's life for the better.

Seventeen-year-old Jane McAllister can't quite admit her mother's alcoholism is spiraling dangerously out of control until she drives drunk, nearly killing them and Jane's best friend.

Jane has only one place to turn: her older brother Ethan, who left the problems at home years ago for college. A summer with him and his tornado-chasing buddies may just provide the time and space Jane needs to figure out her life and whether it still includes her mother. But she struggles with her anger at Ethan for leaving home and feels guilty--is she also abandoning her mom just when she needs Jane most? The carefree trip turned journey of self-discovery quickly becomes more than Jane bargained for, especially when the devilishly handsome Max steps into the picture.

I really enjoyed The Waiting Sky. I think it was just what I'd been looking for. It wasn't too heavy or meaningless, and there weren't any really irritating main characters. Jane is seventeen and lives with her mother, who is an alcoholic, in Minnesota. Her older brother Ethan left home five years previously to go to University, and Jane feels like he abandoned them. Since then, she's had to cope with her mother's problems and has been neglecting herself, putting her mom's health ahead of her own life. That all changes when Jane, her mom, and Jane's best friend Cat are in a car accident when Jane's mom is driving drunk, and they're nearly all killed. Cat gives Jane an ultimatum - sort yourself out or we're not friends anymore. So Jane decides to go live with her brother in Oklahoma for the summer.
This is where the real story kicks in. Ethan is a METEOROLOGIST (awesome) and is a storm chaser. He's involved with this team (the Torbros) who go around Tornado Alley chasing tornadoes, in order to get scientific information. The team, who were great, were Stephen, Victor, Mason, Ethan, and Hallie. Stephen is the leader, basically, and wants it all to run smoothly. Victor is Stephen's brother and he's been suffering from PTSD after getting caught in a really bad storm and getting injured. Mason is the science geek type who runs the equipment, and he was cute. He was always trying to find a girlfriend on the road who liked sci-fi and the weather. Hallie was a Texas girl who liked alcohol - a lot. I liked her at first, but later on she started to irritate me.
(view spoiler)When she started dating Ethan, I knew this was a bad match. Jane tried to stop it, but obviously she couldn't, and got a load of "this is none of your business" etc.. Ethan was totally awesome, except when he got all self-righteous about what Jane should do regarding her mother. Also, Ethan was hot. ;-)
   I really liked Jane. She was smart, headstrong, and not afraid to stand up for herself. She really cared about her mom, despite her problems and the fact she was bringing Jane down with her.
(view spoiler)She always thought she was doing what was best and had her mom's best interests at heart. I'm really glad Jane stood up to her mom in the end, although I do think this could have been better resolved.  Her romance with Max was really sweet and well done, and Max was a great guy who obviously really liked Jane. It was lovely to see her open up to him and realise that he could help her, even when she didn't want to listen.
Finally, Lara Zielin's writing style was lovely. It was very atmospheric and she described the twisters with descriptive imagery and language. I also liked how she used the twisters to signify the chaos in Jane's life.
Overall, this was a fantastic read, and I hope to read more from Lara Zielin in the future. That cover is absolutely beautiful!

Rating: A

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: "Nobody But Us"

"Nobody But Us" by Kristin Halbrook

Bonnie and Clyde meets IF I STAY in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts.

They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run.

Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger....

When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.

Love story? Contemporary? Road trip? I'm in. Kody Keplinger's a fan (You know how much I loved The Duff), and Goodreads adds it's "perfect for fans of Nina Lacour(!!), Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr". This one looks like it's made of awesome. Unfortunately, it comes out in January 2013 - sad times.

Happy reading! A (aka tbb) xo

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

"Paper Towns" by John Green

Who is the real Margo?
Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificent, adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she opens his bedroom window late one night and summons him to join her on an ingenious campaign of revenge - he follows. After their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to find that Margo has not. Always an enigma, she now becomes a mystery and Q learns that there are clues to be followed in his search for Margo.

Let me start this review by saying I had pretty high expectations for this one. I LOVED The Fault in Our Stars so much, and John Green is awesome. So, I liked Paper Towns a lot. John Green is seriously talented. His writing is sharp and witty, but every now and again he adds that little bit of description that just adds to the depth of what you're reading. Paper Towns has a pretty simple plot. It revolves around Quentin Jacobsen, aka Q, a senior about to graduate from high school in Orlando, Florida. He's been in love with Margo Roth Spiegelman for as long as he can remember. After one night where he helps her in her campaign of vengeance against those who have wronged her, she basically drops of the face of the planet, and Q is left wondering where she went.
Quentin was a really great character. He was well-rounded, smart, and generally a nice guy, despite having moments of being totally self-absorbed. His friends Radar and Ben were hilarious, and I loved them. They added just the right amount of humor to any situation and some of the book's funniest moments were with these three together. Over the course of the book, Ben starts dating Lacey, a popular girl who Margo is friends with. Lacey was a really nice addition to the group and had her brilliantly funny moments.
Now, Margo. Margo was such a complex character who was really quite hard to like. Sometimes, she came out with these brilliant statements and I totally agreed with what she was saying, but most of the time she came across as being a bit of a self-obsessed bitch. I really couldn't understand why Quentin loved her so much, as she was pretty awful. I got really fed up in the second part of the book because all Q does is talk about her, think about her, and generally whine about where he thinks Margo might be. Yes, she might be dead, Q, but really? Has she ever properly given you the time of day? I think this is why it took me so long to finish it (Q's incessant pining for Margo). It annoyed the hell out of me, but I got through it, and the book got better. I absolutely loved the group's road trip, it was so entertaining and generally brilliant.
So, overall, I'd say that I really did enjoy this book, but I lowered the rating because of Q's Margo-induced whining, and the fact that she wasn't really worth all the hype. 

Rating: A-

Friday, 5 October 2012

In My Mailbox: Recent contemporary purchases!

So, viewers of the world, I update you again. Here's another IMM post and I hope you enjoy it. Hopefully you'll pick up some of these reads or you'll like my review. I'm kind of feeling book overload at the moment, but I can't seem to stop buying books, because there's so many fantastic ones out there. Happy reading! 

DREAMLAND by Sarah Dessen

Goodreads page

Main character: Caitlin O'Koren
Setting: USA
Released: September 1st 2000
Themes: Abuse, Family, Romance, Drama


Goodreads page

Main character: Jennifer/Jenna Harris
Setting: USA
Released: February 1st 2008
Themes: Family, Friendship, Romance, Psychological abuse

SPEECHLESS by Hannah Harrington

Goodreads page

Main character: Chelsea Knot
Setting: USA
Released: August 28th 2012

Themes: Friendship, Romance, Drama

GRAFFITI MOON by Cath Crowley

Goodreads page

Main characters: Lucy & Ed
Setting: Australia
Released: August 1st 2010
Themes: Friendship, Romance, Art, Poetry


Goodreads page

Main character: Tessa McMullen
Setting: USA
Released: May 25th 2010
Themes: Drama, Friendship, Thriller, Romance

STORY OF A GIRL by Sara Zarr

Goodreads page

Main character: Deanna Lambert
Setting: USA
Released: January 10th 2007
Themes: Coming of age, Family, Friendship, Romance

HATE LIST by Jennifer Brown

Goodreads page

Main character: Valerie Leftman
Setting: USA
Released: September 1st 2009
Themes: Death, Drama, Friendship

SAVING JUNE by Hannah Harrington

Goodreads page

Main character: Harper Scott
Setting: USA
Released: May 1st 2011
Themes: Death, Friendship, Romance, Music