YA book reviews, reading and recommending since 2009

Archive for September, 2010

Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala

Tell Me A Secret by Holly Cupala
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 22nd 2010
Buy it from: Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!)
Gold star (4/5 stars)

Synopsis: In the five years since her bad-girl sister Xanda’s death, Miranda Mathison has wondered about the secret her sister took to the grave, and what really happened the night she died. Now, just as Miranda is on the cusp of her dreams—a best friend to unlock her sister’s world, a ticket to art school, and a boyfriend to fly her away from it all—Miranda has a secret all her own.

Then two lines on a pregnancy test confirm her worst fears. Stripped of her former life, Miranda must make a choice with tremendous consequences and finally face her sister’s demons and her own.

In this powerful debut novel, stunning new talent Holly Cupala illuminates the dark struggle of a girl who must let go of her past to find a way into her own future.

Review: Every once in a while, a good book comes along and sweeps me away. Tell Me A Secret is one of them. Tell Me A Secret is an excellent character-driven book. It is because of Miranda that this novel shines so brightly – because of her frank, painfully honest voice. Told in the point of view of a pregnant teen, this novel was heartwrenching, utterly saddening yet full of hope. Hope that Miranda will overcome the ordeal and move on, and become the best teenage mother out there.

Throughout the novel, there were many flashbacks to scenes before the pregnancy and when Xanda was still around. They were interesting to read about and I appreciated how they were woven into the story and fit nicely in place. Miranda’s interactions with her family (especially with her mother) were heartbreaking but wholly genuine, as is her relationship with her school friends. Her family problems were relateable and well depicted. In a book like this, the parent role is important so thankfully there were no absentee parents. Everything was brilliantly done and I applaud to Cupala! She has written a book that touched me deeply and it was one that actually that made me care so much for the characters’ future.

As the book progressed, the layers are slowly peeled back and we see the true colors of some of the characters. In some ways, readers could see it coming but to see it actually happening was very saddening. In the end, Cupala wraps the story up nicely, giving room for readers to imagine how Miranda’s future will be like but at the same time reassuring readers that the worst is over and life will get better. However, I do have to complain that sometimes the flashbacks were confusing and I had to refer back occasionally to see if Miranda was talking about the past or present.

Overall, I absolutely loved this novel. Cupala perfectly captured the turbulent roller-coaster ride of being a pregnant teen in spare, truthful prose. Readers will be taken on a truly unforgettable journey. You’ll probably enjoy this book if you liked Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (in a way, Miranda, reminds me of Melinda in Speak), Jumping Off Swings by Jo Knowles and After by Amy Efaw.

Now that you’ve read my review, why not check out the amazing trailer?


In My Mailbox (59)

Can you believe September is almost ending? I can’t. 😦 I wasn’t intending on doing IMM this week but I had some free time so I decided to do it after all. Some books below are borrowed and some are bought/received.

In My Mailbox:
Guardian of the Gate by Michelle Zink (Yay! The long awaited sequel is finally here!)
The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa ( I absolutely LOVED the first novel, The Iron King, and it’s one of my top books on faeries.
City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare (Who can resist the Mortal Unstruments series after reading the first book? Definitely not me. 🙂 )
Glimmerglass by Jenna Black
The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May, & June by Robin Benway
The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff (Big thank you to the person who sent it. You know who you’re!)

I’m in a midst of reading The Replacement and I’m loving it. Maggie Stiefvater does not lie! This book should be read aloud after dark at a whisper.

Mockingjay: the verdict

Be warned that this post contains LOTS AND LOTS OF SPOILERS. This is a long overdue post but I think by now all Hunger Games fans would have read Mockingjay.

Click to read more after the jump.


Linger contest winner!

A while back I was part of the LINGER blog tour and gave away a copy of Linger.

Here is the lucky winner:
Steffi aka @lostemilie on Twitter

Congrats! 🙂

If you didn’t win and not sure whether you should read the Mercy Falls novels, please check out my reviews of Shiver, Linger and 10 things I like about Linger. They are undoubtedly one of my favorite YA paranormal novels.

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publication Date: September 14th 2010
Bronze star (2/5 stars)

Synopsis: Avery Hood is reeling from the loss of her parents–and the fact that she can’t remember what happened to them even though she was there.

She’s struggling to adjust to life without them, and to living with her grandmother, when she meets Ben, who isn’t like any guy she’s ever met before.

It turns out there’s a reason why, and Ben’s secret may hold the key to Avery finding out what happened to her parents…

But what if that secret changes everything she knows about–and feels for–Ben?

Review: I was first interested about this book when I heard that a popular YA author wrote it. I’ll give you a hint, her initials start with E.S. However, like her contemporary novels, there were a lot of hyphens used in this book. Due to the excessive use of hyphens, the writing became repetitive. I found it extremely unnecessary to include hyphens every now and then? Other than that, I was fine with Devlin’s writing. Sadly, the spark just wasn’t there for me with this book. Avery came off as a stiff, one-dimensional person. The writing made her appear whiny and, honestly, I did not care who murdered her parents because the whole book seemed like it was going nowhere.

Avery’s parents were murdered, she tries to get on with life, she meets a new guy, but wait, he has a secret! I don’t mind the setting but the whole aspect of meeting a new guy who is mysterious and may harbor a huge secret is very very cliche. Oh and they are connected. With no proper explanation even at the end of the book. I understand that Ben is the bad boy in this novel but there was no explanation for Avery’s instant attraction with him. I don’t want to give too much of the plot away but the romance was poorly handled. I didn’t understand how Avery’s feelings could change so quickly.

This story had so much potential but I didn’t feel that it quite reached it. In the beginning, Avery was determined to find out who murdered her parents, yet she did not do much to find out. In the end, she just snapped her fingers and said “… is the murderer! Arrest him!” I’d be lying if I said I was convinced that that person was the murderer.

It may seem like this book was a total disappointment but it’s redeeming quality was Avery’s relationship with her grandmother. Their interactions were nicely described in the book and well elaborated. Overall, my expectations for Low Red Moon weren’t reached and several times I was tempted to put down the book and never pick it up again. I don’t know why several reviews kept comparing Low Red Moon to Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver. Yes both books are about werewolves and there’s romance but that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

Cornelia Funke’s RECKLESS web launch live tonight!

Cornelia Funke fans, listen up! YOU are invited to watch Cornelia Funke’s ‘Get Reckless’ Launch live on tonight, Tuesday September 14th at 6.30pm GMT. You can join in this very special event, simply by logging on to www.recklessthebook.com on at 6:30 PM this evening and click on the green button.

Cornelia Funke – the beloved and bestselling author of The Thief Lord, Dragon Rider and the Ink trilogy – goes behind the mirror for a once in a lifetime theatrical storytelling event. Join Cornelia and special guests, including British film producer Lionel Wigram, Reckless co-creator, executive producer of the Harry Potter movies and producer/co-writer of the Sherlock Holmes film. Together they will pull back the curtain on the creative process and give fans an intimate look at how the world of Reckless came into being. With exclusive live readings, specially composed music and secret revelations!

If you are a Cornelia Funke fan and would like to be part of this very special event, do log in and watch it all unfold before your very eyes!

In My Mailbox (58)

I haven’t been doing IMM lately so here’s about three weeks worth of books. Oh and this is my first IMM of September. Isn’t this month a great month in YA? So many fabulous releases:
The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, Losing Faith by Denise Jaden, Extraordinary by Nancy Werlin, The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff…

In my mailbox:
Forget You by Jennifer Echols
One Night That Changes Everything by Lauren Barnholdt
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins x2 (one library copy and one from Book Depo)
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Siren by Tricia Rayburn

Some books above were bought, some borrowed but none were for review.

What did you get in your mailbox? Read anything good lately? I quite enjoyed Forget You and One Night That Changes Everything. Oh and MOCKINGJAY, OMG!!!!!!!!! Peeta!!!!! Okay, fangirlying over.