Sunday, July 10, 2016

Random Required Reading Post

Hello, fellow people of Earth. How have you guys been? Good? Good. Sorry we haven’t been posting (we know we say that every time, but we still really, really mean it); we’re lazy.
Sooo, being that it’s summer and that we therefore have summer reading books, we were thinking that we could do a post on required reading books in schools. Sooooo, first we’re going to have a quick discussion on required reading books in general, and then we’re going to list our favorites/least favorites.
Also, we have a guest! Yayyyy! Let’s put our hands together to welcome our friend Ney! Yayyyyyyyy!
(Oh, and btw, we’re honestly not claiming to be experts or anything on required reading; we’re not like some super experienced education official people--these are just our opinions. Okay that’s it.)

Do you think schools should have required reading?
Ney: Only if there’s SparkNotes.
JC: Haha, Schmoop is better. But anyway, I think that summer reading books can be good--it just depends on the book. The books that have good themes and actually relate to our lives are good, but with some of the books that I’ve read in school, I don’t really get why we had to read them in the first place.
Kalee: I believe that required reading is important. Without it, we would never be exposed to different styles of writing and dark, yet realistic themes. I feel like we can learn more about ourselves and feel like we can relate to someone.
Ney: I don’t mind having required reading because I don’t read the books anyway.
JC: You’re just perfect for this post, Ney! Lol . . . aaaanyway, I agree with you, Kalee, but I also think that some of the books that we have to read are a waste of time (no offense to those super famous authors and playwrights that I just insulted). I think that if the English teachers ask for feedback on the required reading at the end of the school year, they should actually listen to what we have to say and maybe change the books we have to read accordingly if there are enough opinions opposing it. Okay, that’s all I have to say.
Kalee: I feel like most kids end up hating Shakespeare because it’s required reading. Pressure from school and teachers makes it extremely difficult to enjoy books with hidden meanings, because we are too busy trying to find the hidden meaning that the teachers want us to see. And that's it.

Awesome List of Required Reading Books (in order of awesomeness)

  1. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger - Holden is a really relatable character for pretty much anyone who’s ever been scared of change or felt alone. The book is full of important themes that exist in real life (loss, loneliness, general teenage irritability, etc.)

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - First of all, Scout is a really adorable character. Second, this book brings to attention the consequences of making snap judgements of other people without any real evidence (and, of course, how horrible racism is, whether it be in the past or present). We grow up with Scout and Jem, and we learn right along with them.

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain - Huck doesn’t always make the right decisions, which only makes him a more relatable character. This is a book about friendship, religion, racism, and individualism, and it’s a great read.

  1. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen - Although this book is a bit (read: a lot) wordy for my taste (this is JC by the way), it still has a fierce, relatable main character and a slew of hilarious and/or lovable side characters (and a few characters that you can’t help but despise). Some themes in this book are love, marriage, sisterhood, and feminism in a time where misogyny rules.

  1. The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams - The characters in this play are well-defined, and you can feel Tennessee Williams’ own guilt over leaving his family resonate through Tom’s emotion-packed narrative. (P.S. JC didn’t like this play)

  1. Eyes of the Emperor by Graham Salisbury - This novel gives an insight into the plight of Japanese Americans in the tumultuous WWII-era America. The voice of the resilient, relatable main character Eddy Okubo only makes the harrowing story even more moving.

  1. Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah - This story is both heartbreaking and uplifting, if that makes sense. Though the narrator (who just so happens to be the author) goes through some horrible experiences, her strength and resilience shines through. It’s a sad read, admittedly, but it’ll definitely be worth it.

Horrible List of  Required Reading (in order of horribleness)

  1. Butter by Erin Jade Lange - Horrible message, underdeveloped characters, disturbing plot, and a completely unrealistic ending. ‘Nough said.

  1. Lord of the Flies by William Golding - Okay, so a lot of people luuuuurve this book, but I just--omg, I couldn’t stand it. Seriously. A bunch of boys survive a plane crash onto a deserted island, only to have it all go to waste when they all start killing each other, basically. It was disturbing and horrible, and literally nothing good ever happens to the characters who actually deserve it.

  1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare - I know insulting the Bard is considered sacrilegious to a lot of people, but this play pretty much had no point. A bunch of hormone-loaded teenagers run into the forest, where a bunch of weird, pointless stuff happens. Then they all get happy and dance and get married. The end.

Okay, that’s it, folks! We hope you enjoyed this post (and Ney’s contributions to the conversation, lol) and that you’re all having a great summer vacation (for those of you in school)! Ta-ta for now :) <3

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lucky Few by Kathryn Ormsbee

Stevie, Max, and Sanger: keeping Austin weird.
Stevie Hart is homeschooled, but don’t hold that against her. Sure, she and her best (okay, only) friend, Sanger, will never be prom queens, but that’s just because the Central Austin Homeschool Cooperative doesn’t believe in proms. Or dancing. Still, Stevie and Sanger know how to create their own brand of fun.
Enter Max Garza, the new boy next door. After a near-fatal accident, Max is determined to defy mortality with a checklist: 23 Ways to Fake My Death Without Dying. Dead set on carrying out fabricated demises ranging from impalement to spontaneous combustion, Max charms Stevie and Sanger into helping him with this two-month macabre mission. But as Stevie finds herself falling for Max, it becomes increasingly difficult to draw a line between his make-believe deaths and her real life.

First of all, I wanted to say sorry because we haven’t posted anything since April. I don’t know about Kalee, but I really have no excuses for that except . . . I’m lazy? Yeah, that’s pretty much it. Sorry :)
Anyway, onto the review! This was kind of an insane book, which is partly why I picked it up at the bookstore. All the characters were super weird in their own endearing little ways, and the premise was . . . weird. In a good way. But still weird.
Let’s start with the main character, Stevie.
Oh, Stevie. Adorable, emotional, judgy little Stevie. Sometimes I wanted to rip out all of my hair and scream into your face, but most of the time I just thought maybe you needed a hug. These were a tough couple of months for you, huh?
No spoilers, but the stuff that happens in this book really puts Stevie through the wringer. She’s homeschooled, which, while not really the focus of the book, is an interesting premise that I haven’t really read too much about in the past. She’s also kind of an activist and kind of not. It’s complicated. What else? Let’s see . . . she likes putting people into boxes and firmly sticking little labels on them--”Blue Jean Jumper” and “Last-Chance Charlies,” among others, are her preferred labels for the different “types” of homeschooled kids. Throughout much of the book, she’s blissfully unaware of her judginess, which kind of drives me crazy. On the other hand, though, she’s cute and funny and fiercely loyal to those she loves--which brings me to our next topic: Sanger.
Sanger is Stevie’s best friend, and they’re basically in love with each other. Sanger would do anything for Stevie, and vice versa, almost to the point where they’re too dependent on each other. I loved it, though, and I seriously wish that Sanger existed in real life. She’s thoroughly entertaining, proud to a fault, and seems to be good at pretty much everything except expressing her feelings in a healthy, productive way. She also goes through quite a bit during the course of the book--I think she might show up more than the actual love interest, which is a nice change of pace--and she doesn’t always handle it well. Still, she’s a great friend and a really caring person underneath all of her bluster.
Max, aka Death List Boy, kind of caught me off guard. He’s weird and sort of morbid, but at the same time, he’s really sweet and funny and endearing when he wants to be.

“It’s such an insane story,” said Sanger. “Have you thought about writing a memoir?”
“Oh!” Max said, doing that thing where he spreads his arms wide, like a bird taking wing. “It is in the works. I’ve penned the first chapter already. It starts with a premonitory nightmare I had as a three-year-old.”
“I don’t even know if you’re joking, Max,” said Sanger, “and that is what I love about you.”

The whole death list thing is super weird, and he has his reasons, but it’s still weird. No question. Nevertheless, he and Stevie complement each other really well, even though they got off to a somewhat rocky start. I mean, he’s weird; she’s weird. He’s kind of messed up, and so is she. They’ve both had a fair amount of trauma in their lives, which gives them a bit of understanding of each other that they wouldn’t otherwise have.
In the end, despite the strange premise, I really liked this book--enough to reread it a few times, even. And, to give you a taste of the book’s awesomeness, I’ll leave you with another excerpt:

“All my other friends tell me you’re bad for me. I should listen.”
“I am your only friend.”
“See what you’re doing? Classic. You isolate me, like a wolf picking off the weakest baby seal, then taking it to a secluded spot and being all, ‘You don’t have any other friend like me, baby seal. Time to die.’”
“In what universe do wolves prey on seals?”
“You’re just fact-checking because you have no comeback to my most excellent analogy.”
“Your analogy sucks.”
“Speaking of which, I’ve got this great joke. Ready for it? Ahem. A seal walks into a club.”
“. . .”
“Get it? Get it?
“Not funny.”
Aaaand scene. *Cue the applause*
Wasn’t that great? It was great! . . . well, anyway, thanks for reading! You’re the best; mwah, mwah, ladidadida!
‘Til next time,
JC <3
P.S. I just wanted to add that Camp NaNoWriMo is coming up once again! It’ll be happening this July, and . . . yeah, I won’t force you to read another lengthy explanation of the whole thing. However, if you do want to read a lengthy, sort of confusing explanation of the whole thing, you can find it here. Okay, bye again! Thanks so much!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Rose Society by Marie Lu


  Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she flees Kenettra with her sister to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good when her very existence depends on darkness?

Bestselling author Marie Lu delivers another heart-pounding adventure in this exhilarating sequel to The Young Elites.

Synopsis and picture credit to

This book is so different from every young adult book I have ever read. The Rose Society is an extremely dark novel, told from the perspective of Adelina, who is basically a villain. If you like happy books with sweet romance, this book is definitely not for you. Your heart will slowly be breaking, but the alluring story will continue to draw you in, sadly leaving your heart broken by the time you finish this book.

I love Marie Lu's writing style, because it is easy to understand, yet she can easily wind a complex story. Lu's writing style is hypnotic. She combines short and long sentences nicely, giving the story almost a poetic feel. I love how she described emotions and the scenery in a very clear way, making it easier for the reader to become engulfed in the story.

Now, the characters. I feel there's very few likable characters. All the characters have their own hidden, mostly corrupt motives, making it hard to like any of the characters, who appear frequently through out the story. Maeve has good motives, but since the story is being told from Adelina's perspective, she is the enemy and we are supposed to be rooting against her. But the corrupt nature and conflicting interests of the characters make them feel more realistic and developed, seeing that no real person is completely good and sparkly. I have mixed feelings about Adelina as a main character.

Adelina's dark personality makes it difficult for the reader to root for her, because, well, she likes pain and killing people. Through out the novel, Adelina's hatred towards those betray her fester inside of her, turning the poor girl more evil. I often felt the need to slap some sense in to her and remind her that the killing of the people is kinda bad, no? She seemed more sadistic than in the last book, which is understandable.

There was some romance in this book, not a whole lot, but some. I don't want to say who love the love interest is, because it would spoil the book in more ways than one, but I will say that the romance, to me, seemed a little all of sudden and not 100% necessary.

  I recommend this book for people who are looking for something different to read. The Rose Society is the second book of the Young Elites and it contains the same dark themes found in the first book. In my opinion, I would find that this book would be more enjoyable if one re-read the first book as a refresher, before reading the second book. There are quite a few characters and it is hard to keep track of who exactly they are, without having read the first book recently. Something tells me that this book will not end happily, but I think the most satisfying ending to me would be if Adelina died at the hands of someone she wronged. (Just speculating) I think it would be a very fitting ending to a dark story and eventually the consequences of all of her evil actions needs to catch up with her.

Overall, I would give this book a 9 out of 10. Have a good day and I hope you enjoyed this review!

- Kalee

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Camp NaNoWriMo


JC: Hello, you beautiful human beings :) Soo, this isn’t a review or anything, it’s more like . . . an advertisement? A suggestion? A plea for help? Something like that.
Kalee: JC and I have decided to check out Camp NaNoWriMo even though we have no idea what it is, but it sounded fun. Fun is good. Writing is good. Fun and writing together is great.
JC: Okay, to start off, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It’s held every November, and if I understand correctly,  writers can participate in it and try to reach the 50,000 word count goal by the end of the month. So they had that, and then they started this thing called Camp NaNoWriMo, which is available year-round (if I’m not totally confused), though they have the word count goal writing competition things (almost like NaNoWriMo) during the months of April and July? I don’t fully understand it, but I think you can make your own word count goals for any writing project you want to do and monitor your progress. And then there are cabins, which are the main reason for our post.
Kalee: You make me look lazy with all of your long paragraphs. Anyway, cabins are basically group chats, where writers can socialize and motivate one another. JC and I have a cabin, but we are basically just having an extended group chat there, haha.
JC: Not even a group chat, honestly. Because Kalee and I are the only ones in there. So. Onto the plea for help part. We pretty much joined Camp NaNoWriMo so that we could interact with other writers, talk about problems that arise while writing, inspiration, story stuff, etc.

Kalee: And books. And books. And books, JC.

JC: Right, okay. Except . . . we’re the only ones on our cabin, so it’s kind of hard to talk to other people. And we’re kind of getting sick of each other. Just kidding. Ish.
Kalee: I'm offended, JC. Tsk tsk.
JC: Yep, yep, sorry. Aaaaaanyway, basically, the purpose of this post is to a) inform you guys about Camp NaNoWriMo (if you didn’t already know about it), b) recommend it to you--right, well, we forgot to recommend it to you. Basically you should join because it’s a really great writing exercise (or so I’ve read). It helps to get your creative juices flowing, so to speak, because the word count goal (whether you stick with the 50,000 word count goal or not) kind of motivates you to just get your ideas down onto the paper, worrying less about grammar and eloquence and more about just writing. Also, you can have the opportunity to talk to other writers who have similar problems and maybe some answers to questions you may have. Finally, we wanted to c) ask you guys (and gals) if you wanted to be in our cabin. We think it would be really fun to be able to talk to you guys about writing, books, all that good stuff.
Kalee: In general, JC likes reading and writing contemporary and romance. And fantasy related  stuff, too. I like fantasy and science fiction mostly. We are both teenagers of the teenage age.
JC: We also like dystopia.
Kalee: That, too. My username is @Kay T.
JC: Aaaand my username is @ohmybears. If you decide to join (you really, really should) and want to be in a cabin with us (which would be fun) and will ACTIVELY PARTICIPATE in the discussions (just to make it even funner), comment your username below or email it to We were thinking that it would be fun if teens join our cabin, but adults are cool, too. And if there are any infants out there, just surfing the World Wide Web, their tiny fingers poking at the keys--babies are cool, too.
Kalee: Thank you and we hope you'll join us.
JC: (Please join us) Okay, byeeeee! Ta-ta for now :) <3

Update: We have cabin mates now! Yay! So we're not quite as desperate as we were, though we have some spots left and would still welcome you guys into our cabin :) Either way, we still think that Camp NaNoWriMo would be a great exercise/experience for aspiring writers, and it's a great place to meet others who have similar struggles/obstacles to your own. Okay, thanks! Bye again! :) <3

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Allegiant (Movie) Review

After the earth-shattering revelations of Insurgent, Tris must escape with Four beyond the wall that encircles Chicago, to finally discover the shocking truth of the world around them.

Credit to

Gooooooood day, you worldly humans! It's that time again . . . group review time! Yay! Yay! We're getting the band back together again! Yay!
Overall Review (because we're too lazy to do the review in sections):
Kalee: I think Allegiant was better than Insurgent, but not as good as Divergent. (Slight spoiler but) Although the plot was confusing, I liked the part when the Pures went out to the Fringe to steal the children. I found the scene to be pretty powerful yet intriguing. What did you think?
JC: I thought (some of) the action scenes were better in this movie than the others--Four is amazingamazingamazing--but the storyline was kind of . . . super weird. The technology was really . . . super weird. It was just super weird. And, yes, I do agree that Divergent was the best movie of the series. 
Kalee: It was hard to keep up with the plot of the movie, because people kept on betraying other people. I can't sum up the movie in my head without becoming really confused. It didn't really feel like there was a lot of direction in the movie.
JC: Everything was happening really quickly, too. Tris and Four are supposed to have this big fight because of a difference in opinion over this thing (sorry, I'm trying not to spoil) but it seems like it took all of two seconds for them to form said opinions over said thing. And it also seems like as soon as any conflict was brought up, it was solved almost immediately.
Kalee: I liked that they did fight though, because it added tension and drama. I also liked Peter. He was funny, but he only cared for himself which kind of made him more funny. The movie did a good job of fleshing out the world of the Pures and the society seemed interesting.
JC: But I don't like it when they fight :(
Kalee: It added more development to their relationship.
JC: Sad Four and Tris a happy me does not make. But anyway--moving on, I thought that the characters kind of lost some of their seriousness and overall unhappiness in this movie. They seemed a lot less depressed, which is good, but it felt like an entirely different series. But that might've just been me.
Kalee: Tris was unproductive during the middle of the movie. She didn't do much to get plot moving until the end.
JC: I will say that there were some surprising moments. You can ask that lady that we were in the movie theater with. She gasped really, really loudly towards the end, so it must've been quite upsetting.
Kalee: There were a lot of "twists" that made it hard for my brain to comprehend. JC is talking about Christina so I thought I might mention her. She didn't do anything really BIG. She was just THERE.
JC: True, true. But she's still cool because she was cool in the books. Who cares about the movies, amiright? *goes for a high five*
Kalee: *emoji high five*
JC: I'm done here *drops mic*--all yours, Kalee.
Kalee: I can't really tell where the next movie is going, but I hope the ending stays true to the book. *lifts eye brows* This is completely unrelated, but I wanted to mention something about popcorn at the movies. A small bag of popcorn costed $6.50, but a kid's combo, which included (a lot of) popcorn, a small drink and a snack of your choice, only costed $6.00. The pricing seemed odd, but kid's combos are coolio.
JC: (she's just mad because she wanted the small popcorn) Alright, folks, that's it! My rating: 7.5 out of 10 (being generous here).
Kalee: I would give it 8 out of 10. It wasn't that bad.
JC: 'Kay, bye, thanks for reading! Farewell, my (our) friends!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton


Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he's crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?

To start off, I would like to thank JC for all of her blogging, while I was being lazy in the corner. Now onto the review!

I read this book on recommendation from a post-it note at the library. There was this wall filled with post it notes and book reviews. This is not the kind of book I would usually read, but maybe JC would. I read a couple of reviews and decided to pick up Royally Lost thinking it was going to be a cutesy novel where a prince falls in love with commoner girl. And that's what I got.

Royally Lost ended up being very predictable with characters that seemed just a little too perfect. A lot of the book was comprised of complaining about parents and insulting history. But this book wasn't bad and was an enjoyable, light read. Here's what bugged me throughout the book:

Perfect love interest
Nikolai was very very perfect. He just didn't have a perfect life. Although he was nice and charming, he didn't really do a lot wrong other than the running away from home thing.
 * spoiler warning *
However, Nikolai's parents eventually change their ways because they were wrong not Nikolai. There wasn't a lot of depth in the characters.

I don't like insta-love because it's usually a relationship first established because of a physical attraction rather than personality. Even though people do actually fall in love at first sight, it doesn't make for much of a compelling story. It's usually engaging to read about a couple of people who have problems and maybe don't connect at first. Perfect couples are nice, but not fun to read about.

Becca insulting history
The author clearly did research about European history, which I appreciate and respect. But Becca though. She had no respect towards history and just complained about how old everything was. It just made her seem rather ignorant and disrespectful. I was really hoping she would develop a little bit and learn to respect those who helped establish the foundations for the country she was in.

I was going to write something about how I liked the way the author researched about Mondovia, but it's not a real place.

Cliche stepmom situation
Father marries other woman, children mad because stepmom is not not real mom. I'm fine with reading about this trope if it's changed a little, unfortunately it was very predictable.

Becca's hostile treatment of Vicky made me not really like her character. All Vicky wanted to do was bring their family closer together, but Becca seemed unwilling to give Vicky a chance. (Admittedly, Becca's attitude was understandable, but still)

*spoiler warning*

 The ending was very picture perfect, and there was no moral to the story.
 Run away and lie to your parents, because you'll end up with the love of your life and your parents will change tradition for you and everything will be happy.
 I like picture perfect endings when the characters really deserve it, but most events in this book seemed too convenient and their problem were rich people problems.

 Overall, I would give the book 6 out of 10 stars. If you're looking for a cutesy romance that you may be able to read in one sitting.

Thank you for reading,

Friday, March 11, 2016

Made You Up by Francesca Zappia


Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook, and Liar.

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn't she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.

^ That pretty much sums up my thoughts on this book. It’s hands-down the most amazingestestestest book I’ve ever read in my entire life (sorry, Hate List, but it’s true). It was just . . . funny, and sad (occasionally COMPLETELY DEVASTATING) , and sweet, and JUSTSUPERSUPERSUPERAMAZING all at the same time. I don’t even know what else to say about it.
Where do I start?
The premise was really interesting. Schizophrenia is a condition that I’ve heard of, but I haven’t really gone out of my way to learn about it. The story’s about a girl who joins the “normal” world after years of experiencing things that are anything but normal--only to find that the life of an ordinary teenager isn’t always so ordinary. Some of the things that occur in this book are hard to believe, but I’m pretty sure that’s kind of the point. I had a hard time distinguishing what was real and what only existed in Alex’s head--I can’t imagine how hard it is for someone who’s more than just a spectator to it.
Zappia’s writing brings a humorous side to a somewhat dark topic. Her characters are complex and lovable (okay, not always, but even the less appealing characters had their reasons). The main character’s voice was both dark and light, both serious and hilarious, and totally and completely real. Mostly hilarious.

While Tucker stepped out back for his break, I commandeered his condiment armies. Gus’s cigarette smoke wafted toward the ceiling, pulled into the vent. The oscillating fan on the wall made the papers on the employee bulletin board flutter.
Halfway through my recreation of the Battle of the Bulge, I shook Finnegan’s Magic 8 Ball to find out if the German saltshaker would be successful in his offense.
Ask again later.
Useless thing. If the Allies had taken that advice, the Axis would have won the war.

I’m feeling like I really want to spoil something, but alas, I will abstain. I’m not even going to put a spoiler alert and then spoil it because if you’re like me, you may or may not ignore the spoiler alert and just read on (but that’s just me).
Anyway, I don’t know what else to say about this book. I guess I can say that . . . I loved it? I want to kiss it and hug it and marry it? Also the cover is super cool?
Yep, that should be about it. If you like books of any kind, or even if you don’t like books--READ THIS BOOK. The parameters for my recommendation: you have to be a living, breathing human (preferably with a heart, just so that this book can rip it out, stomp on it a few times, then put it back in and have a nice, long snuggle with it).
Rating: 9.5 out of 10.
Okay, that’s it, folks. Thanks for reading!
Till next time,
JC <3

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Opening Lines in YA Fiction

Hello! So I decided to write a post about the best opening lines that I’ve read in YA books, though these aren’t necessarily my top ten favorite books. Don’t judge a book by its opening line, kids (I guess). I do really enjoy a majority of these books, though, and I hope this list helps you to find some well-written books to read! :)

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson -- “This is how it all begins.”
    Because what better way to begin  the story than to literally tell the audience that the story is beginning? (P.S. I’m in the midst of reading this right now, but so far it’s pretty good, albeit a little strange. Review coming soon.)

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green -- “Late in the winter of my seventeenth year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over and over, ate infrequently, and devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death.”
    Well, I can’t just not include TFiOS in a post about great lines, now can I? This book is one of the best-written books I’ve ever read (and John Green is awesome, sharpie-covered face and all).

Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway -- “Oliver disappeared after school on a Friday afternoon, way back when we were in second grade, and small things seemed really important and important things seemed too small.”
    I think maybe I like this one because the author wastes no time getting to the chase. It’s intriguing because it brings to attention the fact that the main characters, Emmy and Oliver (obviously), went through a really tough time at a very young age.

Switched by Amanda Hocking -- “A couple things made that day stand out more than any other: it was my sixth birthday, and my mother was wielding a knife.”
    This one made the list because it’s an eye-catching line that exposes a moment in the main character’s past that deeply affected her, and this scene actually has a lot of significance in terms of the actual plot of the story.

Six Months Later by Natalie D. Richards -- “I’m sitting next to the fire alarm, and my best friend is going down in flames.”
    Um, that doesn’t sound very safe. Just pull the alarm, Chloe. (That’s my attempt at being funny.) I liked this one because although it doesn’t immediately jump into a super exciting scene, it does jump straight into the middle of a scene that shows the relationship between Chloe and her best friend. I also just think it’s a really nicely written line.

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson -- “The funny thing about facing imminent death is that it really snaps everything else into perspective.”
    The whole “imminent death” thing immediately caught my attention, and the casual way that the main character, Max, talks about the concept kind of exposes something about her personality and experiences right from the start.
Faking Normal by Courtney C. Stevens -- “Black funeral dress. Black heels. Black headband in my hair. Death has a style all its own. I’m glad I don’t have to wear it very often.”
    So this one is a little sadder than the rest, which makes sense because this is kind of a sad book, to be honest. But, like this line (or these lines, since I kind of cheated on the whole first sentence thing I was trying to go for, not first sentences), the story, although kind of dark, has a noticeable hint of hope in it that, in my opinion, helps to make it even better.
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer -- “I’d always welcomed war, but in battle my passion rose unbidden.”
    Again, I liked this line because it shows something about the main character. Calla is strong and always battle-ready, two of my favorite things about her. I also liked the wording in this sentence--“welcomed,” “passion,” “unbidden.”
Falling Into Place by Amy Zhang-- “On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s Laws of Motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.”
    I asked Kalee if I should put these lines in, and she asked me something like, “I don’t know. Does the book have a lot of science in it?” But no, Kalee, it doesn’t. It’s still a great book, though, and I really like Zhang’s writing. It’s poetic and flowing and I just think it’s really pretty (even though the subject matter of these lines and the book as a whole are not).
Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter -- “Had anyone told me that my entire life would change course between one heartbeat and the next, I would have laughed. From blissful to tragic, innocent to ruined? Please.”
    These sentences (I cheated yet again with this one, but I just couldn’t help myself) are really, really, really, really great, in my opinion. Although the subject matter is kind of heavy, a hint of the main character’s (and the author’s) humor shines through.

          Alright, that’s it! Feel free to leave a comment or email us--we’d love to hear your thoughts :) :) (Also I want to apologize for not posting in a really, really long time . . . sorry!)
Thanks for reading,
JC <3