Saturday, June 30, 2012

Review: Want by Stephanie Lawton

Story Synopsis:

Julianne counts the days until she can pack her bags and leave her old-money, tradition-bound Southern town where appearance is everything and secrecy is a way of life. A piano virtuoso, she dreams of attending a prestigious music school in Boston. Failure is not an option, so she enlists the help of New England Conservatory graduate Isaac Laroche.
Julianne can’t understand why Isaac suddenly gave up Boston’s music scene to return to the South. He doesn’t know her life depends on escaping it before she inherits her mother’s madness. Isaac knows he must resist his attraction to a student ten years his junior, but loneliness and jealousy threaten his resolve.
Their indiscretion at a Mardi Gras ball—the pinnacle event for Mobile’s elite—forces their present wants and needs to collide with sins of the past.
Will Julianne accept the help she’s offered and get everything she ever wanted, or will she self-destruct and take Isaac down with her? (From Goodreads)

My Review:

One of the greatest joys of reading, for me, are those moments when you get so caught in the story you lose track of time. Want is one of those books. I literally stayed up until two am, unable to put it down. I thought about it all the next day and rushed home to finish reading it.

The main character in Want is Julianne, a complex, interesting, and immensely talented seventeen-year-old. She faces a horrific home life, the psychological impact of which made her a very real and believable character. Her relationships were highly complex, and with her absent-yet-in-the-house father, her mentally ill mother, and her beloved brother away at college, you get a sense of how truly alone Juli is. Whisked into making adult decisions, she must learn to fight for herself to go after her dreams.

While I realize that love triangles are common in young adult fiction, the love triangle in this book still managed to turn me inside out. I was enticed, frustrated, caught up, and even a bit wary at times of the direction things were heading. I oscillated between being on Team Isaac and Team Dave, both of whom were gorgeous in their own way. Right up to the end of the book, I wasn’t sure which side I was on, because I had empathy for both men and understood her attraction to them, despite the taboo of the age differences. I even held my breath a few times as she made some tough choices in what felt like a very intense and yet profoundly realistic story.

This story opened my eyes to how exciting contemporary YA romance can be. It's a great read, and while it's in the Young Adult category, the adult themes of this book make it more suitable for readers 16+.

Rating: 5 stars
Rated by: Lisa

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Story Synopsis:

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?


My Review:

Let me start off by saying that I'm not a huge fan of Zombie movies, with the exception of Shaun of the Dead). I've never had the stomach for the rotting dead thing. But this book came to me highly recommended, and I can see why!

I devoured this book--um? like a zombie does brains? (sorry!) I literally couldn't put it down. Ryan is a very poetic writer and her portrayal of a world after the zombie apocalypse, a village ruled by the Sisterhood and the Guardians, is chilling and deep.

Through her protagonist, Mary, Ryan shields us from the gore of zombies  to give us a powerful story of love and the desire for freedom. Betrothed to a man she doesn’t love and in love with a man she cannot have, his brother, Mary yearns for an elusive world beyond the village walls, one with a vast ocean beyond the forest of hands and teeth.

Mary's yearning, the chilling depth of the world she lives in, and Ryan's elegant prose kept me engrossed in this story until the end. If you're a fan of zombie fiction, this novel is an amazing read. If you're not, this novel may just change your mind.

Rating: 5 Stars

Rated by: Lisa