My friend Kate went to NCTE and got a bunch of books while she was there. When she posted a picture of all the books she got I jokingly listed a few of the ARCs that I would like to read. She was kind enough to loan them to me after she read them. They arrived just after finals so I've been able to devour them during the break. Here are my thoughts on Take a Bow, Everneath, Pandemonium and The Rivals.
As with Elizabeth's prior books Take a Bow captures the teenage years perfectly. This book is the story of four students in a performing arts high school. I wasn't a performer in high school but the majority of my friends were in choir or theater so much of the competition and drama that takes place in the book was very familiar to me. The joy, the passion, and the heartbreak was all spot on. These students journey to discovering who they truly are and what they really want to be is one that is familiar to everyone even if they aren't into the performing arts.
When I finished this book I had tears in my eyes and a huge smile on my face. I honestly loved or hated all the characters in the book. I can't really say more without spoiling anything but take my word for it you want to read this book. You will love it!!
One last note: I'm not a fan books that are written from multiple points of view. I find them to be confusing and very rarely do they flow well. I admit that I when I realized that Take a Bow was from more than one point of view I rolled my eyes and inwardly groaned. But I was very pleasantly surprised that I never had to question who was speaking, each character had a very distinct voice and the story flowed naturally.
Everneath a sad, desperate story about the repercussions of a bad choice. I am not usually a fan of sad books, they usually take forever for me to read, but I couldn't put this one down. The underlying story of the possibility of redemption, love conquering all, heroes and hope kept me turning the pages until late at night.
Everneath is not one of those books that will sweep you away from the world. It's not easy to read but it is well worth the journey. The story is beautifully written. The characters are the kind that you talk about as if they are real. And the lessons learned are ones that apply to everyone.
I'm really looking forward to where this series goes.
Oh, one last thing. Those of you that know me know that I am a fan of the bad boy. They are my weakness. I was very surprised to find myself rooting for the good guy this time.
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver is the sequel to Delirium, which I devoured in one sitting earlier this year. This series is a dystopian story where love is considered a disease and at age eighteen everyone receives the "cure". This medical procedure removes a persons ability to love. The idea of love being a disease is fascinating to me and these books do a beautiful job of exploring the repercussions of removing love from a society. I don't want to say much about this book because I don't want to spoil anything but I can say WOWZA!! Lauren managed to blow me away again! I loved this book! It's very different from Delirium but it's just as good. I loved seeing Lena figure out who she is now that she's out on her own and able to make her own choices. Based on my experience with Delirium I was fully expecting the cliffhanger ending but even knowing it was coming the end of the book made me say a few not very lady like words ;)
The Rivals by Daisy Whitney is the sequel to The Mockingbirds. I loved The Mockingbirds. I loved that it addresses the topic of date rape with class and respect without making the crime any less horrific. I wasn't sure what I would think of the sequel- how could the author top the emotional journey that takes place in The Mockingbirds? I was very pleasantly surprised that the next installment of Alex's journey was just as heartfelt and moving. Alex is still struggling with what happened to her last year plus she is dealing with the pressures of senior year and leading The Mockingbirds. Throw a boyfriend, a male friend who she's not sure how she feels about, a couple of bullies, an unsupportive school leader and her first big case with The Mockingbirds into the mix and you get a story that requires its main character to really figure out who she is, what she wants from life and where her loyalities lie. As with The Mockingbirds this book isn't always an easy read but the lessons learned are well worth the extra effort.
Huge thanks to Kate for giving me this little sneak peek at the books coming out next year! I loved each of these books. If these books are any indication, 2012 is going to be a great year for books. Make sure you add them to your to-read list!