I’ve just come back from a relaxing holiday abroad and took several books with me on my kindle, all of which I enjoyed:
Selection by Kiera Cass:
“For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.”
This book was set in the future when a government/leading royal family had set up a country (where America used to be) to keep peace. It has some similarity to divergent in that all the people are in factions so to speak. However, the factions are numbered and the numbers represent class instead of values so that’s where the similarity ends. The main character America gets chosen for the selection which is like a dating hunger games where a young woman from each area competes for the prince’s hand in marriage. It was interesting to see the event from her perspective as she displays slightly unusual views on the whole proceedings. It was a good read although the storyline lacked, well, a storyline. Perhaps I feel this way as it was the first book in a series and it didn’t reach the end; but I feel like the book didn’t really go anywhere. I shall still be reading the next one to see if it does, as it was still a good book. Definitely a romance novel and I would still recommend it. 3/5 rating.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater:
“Blue Sargent, the daughter of the town psychic in Henrietta, Virginia, has been told for as long as she can remember that if she ever kisses her true love, he will die. But she is too practical to believe in things like true love. Her policy is to stay away from the rich boys at the prestigious Aglionby Academy. The boys there — known as Raven Boys — can only mean trouble.”
I’ve read books by Stiefvater before now and enjoyed them, so I wasn’t disappointed with what I found here. The book is co-narrated by a girl called Blue who’s mother and family are fortune tellers, and by a boy called Gansey who goes to the ‘posh school’ in town. Gansey is following a legend to find the ley lines to try and discover a lost king who will grant him a favor. Meanwhile Blue has been told since she was little that if she kisses her true love he will die. The book follows the two characters separately until they inevitably meet. However, the story twists away from what you might expect with several plot twists. Once again this book is the first in a series, but unlike Selection, the storyline so far has been jam packed and full of action. Will definitely be reading on! 4/5 rating.
City of Bones by Cassandra Clare:
“When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder― much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing―not even a smear of blood―to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know…”
I loved the plot twists and action in this book! From the start we are thrown in at the deep end when the main character Clary sees a demon killed by shadowhunters (who she shouldn’t be able to see). She walks away from the experience trying not to think about it when her mum disappears and she is unable to keep her life ‘normal’. The story uncovers new friends, long lost family, and even a little romance in the battle against good and evil. However with all that happens, Clary has trouble deciding who is who, and who to trust. The book progressed with speed with no dull moments and although it is part of a series, the was a satisfactory ending point. 4/5 rating.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein:
“When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. They’ll get the truth out of her. But it won’t be what they expect.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from a merciless and ruthless enemy?”
I loved this book! It is a story of a war prisoner (WW2) shown as her written confession to her captors the gestapo. As well as her story and events leading her to where she is, the prisoner adds details of her time as a prisoner. Eventually the story changes perspective, and with a new character narrating, new information changes perceptions and completely changes the book. It was a very emotional book, and I have in no way done it justice with my review. I loved the detail the author included to make it seem so realistic which further added to the mood of the book. It was quite stressful in places, but a very good read! 5/5 rating.
When you were here by Daisy Whitney:
“Danny’s mother lost her five-year battle with cancer three weeks before his graduation-the one day that she was hanging on to see.
Now Danny is left alone, with only his memories, his dog, and his heart-breaking ex-girlfriend for company. He doesn’t know how to figure out what to do with her estate, what to say for his Valedictorian speech, let alone how to live or be happy anymore.
When he gets a letter from his mom’s property manager in Tokyo, where she had been going for treatment, it shows a side of a side of his mother he never knew. So, with no other sense of direction, Danny travels to Tokyo to connect with his mother’s memory and make sense of her final months, which seemed filled with more joy than Danny ever knew. There, among the cherry blossoms, temples, and crowds, and with the help of an almost-but-definitely-not Harajuku girl, he begins to see how it may not have been ancient magic or mystical treatment that kept his mother going. Perhaps, the secret of how to live lies in how she died.”
This book was the story of how Danny finds himself again after his mother dies of cancer and he is left an orphan just after his graduation. The author really captures the depth of his grief through his thoughts and actions and sets the tone of the book well. As he embarks on a journey to find answers, he gains new friends and tries to ignite old romance too. Finding new things out about his mother also unlocks doors about his ex-girlfriend Holland who he still deeply loves. A plot twist near the end was exactly what the book needed and set up the perfect ending. It was a beautiful story of loss and friendship, and was very emotional. 4.5/5 rating.