Today’s post comes from the Beta Books club at my library, which reads, reviews, and generally has a grand time discussing ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies) of upcoming teen books. Our review form includes a cover discussion, space to share thoughts on the book, and 1-5 star rating. Thanks to today’s reviewers for agreeing to share their thoughts on The Hub! SPOILER ALERT: Some reviews mention plot points.
Book: The Dream Thieves: Book II of the Raven Cycle, by Maggie Stiefvater
What did you think of the cover? I love the cover, and I definitely think it matches the story. Ravens are a major part of the book, so I think it’s great that they’re included too.
What did you think of the book? This sequel actually surpassed my expectations. The first book, The Raven Boys (a 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults Top Ten winner), was actually more of a mediocre read for me, so I was pleasantly surprised at how much I loved the second one. While the beginning did start off a bit slow, and took some time getting into it, The Dream Thieves is worth sticking with and reading to the very end. It’s too hard to talk about this book without giving anything away, but I can say that it was filled with an intricate plot, complex characters and beautiful writing. There was so much more depth to the raven boys – Ronan, Noah, Adam and Gansey – this time around. We’re given more insight into how they feel and think, and all of the secrets they possess. The Gray Man was also one of my favorite aspects of the story. He was complicated, fascinating, and just really grew on me. He was the best villain I’ve read in a story in a long time.
I would recommend The Dream Thieves to a friend, especially to someone who was disappointed with the first book, because this book will make you look at the series with a new eye.
When you read a lot of YA over several years, you start to notice things. At least if you’re me. Sure, you notice some plot and character formulas at work, but that is to be expected. And yes, some books obviously resemble each other — which is good, because it helps us compile read alikes!
That’s not what I’m talking about though. I’m referring to a funny and lesser understood phenomenon. I make associations. Basically, I’ve begun matching trivial little details of different books. What’s the use of this? I don’t really know if there is one. Sometimes it does seem like an interesting sociological phenomenon. Like when two film biopics of the same person come out within in a few months of each other. Everyone thinks, Why Hitchcock? Why now? Other times, it doesn’t seem to mean anything; it’s just coincidence. (I’m not a detective, so I’m allowed to believe in coincidence).
Anyway, dear readers, I’m going to share some of these strange associations with you now. I can’t remember all of them, but here are a selection for your entertainment.
Three books where the mother is a highly successful romance writer
Has a book ever made such a deep impression on you that you thought you’d like to visit its fictional world? How would you fare if you were physically transported into a story in another time and place? Some recent YA books ask and answer these questions, mixing time travel with alternate retellings of classics.
In Little Women and Me by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, high school freshman Emily March is the middle sister, always coming up short in the sibling rivalry game. An English class assignment asks her to describe one thing she’d change about a classic novel. She picks childhood favorite Little Women, which she would improve by letting Beth live and Jo marry Laurie. While paging through the book, Emily is literally sucked into the story, back to 1860s New England. Once again, she is the middle daughter and in competition with a sister (Jo) for the affections of the only hot guy on the scene (Laurie).
Emily seems to have been a member of this March family forever, but she has to puzzle out her place without letting anyone know she’s from the future. She also has to learn how to be a teen in the Civil War era and to adjust to Marmee’s Victorian style of child rearing. Most of all, she needs to figure out how to return to her proper time and place. Can Emily change Beth and Jo’s fates, and should she? The author leaves us guessing until the last few chapters and ties things up with clever twists that most readers won’t be able to anticipate.
They say only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. While some characters in young adult novels definitely have to worry about the first (I keep hearing about this book called The Hungry Games? Or was it The Hunger Names? Have you guys heard about it?), most teen chacters only have to worry about the second. Lots of teens in young adult novels work in movie theatres or at restaurants. These characters, all featured in books that came out in 2011, will have something a little more unusual to put on their 1040s: