January Mini-Reviews

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I had a pretty good reading month to start off 2018. I read 5 books which is more than I read during an average month last year, but I hope to read more books each month in the future. I waited so long to write this post because I was planning to write a full-length review for each book, but with all of my schoolwork I don’t think that’s going to be possible so I thought I would write a mini-review for each of the 5 books instead. Below is a synopsis and short review for each book in the order that I read them.

 

1. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

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Synopsis:  My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla. But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly. Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My thoughts:  I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book; they even made it into a movie. Unfortunately, I was pretty disappointed. There were a few aspects that I did like: the concept, the format, most of the characters, and the banter between Maddy and Olly. My least favorite thing about this book was how unrealistic it was. Throughout the book, I was so focused on how far-fetched everything was that it made it hard to enjoy the story. I know this is an extremely unpopular opinion and I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone who enjoyed this book; it just wasn’t for me. I did decide to give Nicola Yoon another chance since The Sun Is Also a Star is the BookCon book club book (wow, what a mouthful) for the month of February and I enjoyed that one much more. (This is the only book I read in January that I wrote a full review for and you can find it here.)

Overall rating:  1/5 stars (*dodges rotten tomatoes*)

 

2. You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone by Rachel Lynn Solomon

you'll miss me when i'm gone

Synopsis:  Eighteen-year-old twins Adina and Tovah have little in common besides their ambitious nature. Viola prodigy Adina yearns to become a soloist—and to convince her music teacher he wants her the way she wants him. Overachiever Tovah awaits her acceptance to Johns Hopkins, the first step on her path toward med school and a career as a surgeon. But one thing could wreck their carefully planned futures: a genetic test for Huntington’s, a rare degenerative disease that slowly steals control of the body and mind. It’s turned their Israeli mother into a near stranger and fractured the sisters’ own bond in ways they’ll never admit. While Tovah finds comfort in their Jewish religion, Adina rebels against its rules. When the results come in, one twin tests negative for Huntington’s. The other tests positive. These opposite outcomes push them farther apart as they wrestle with guilt, betrayal, and the unexpected thrill of first love. How can they repair their relationship, and is it even worth saving?

My thoughts:  I cannot tell you how much I LOVED this book. Not only was the concept intriguing, but the entire book was handled in such a skillful manner that it is hard to believe that this is Solomon’s debut novel. The writing is beautiful, the characters are three-dimensional, and the relationships are so complex. I even liked the alternating points of view and the romance even though both of these aspects can be very hit-or-miss for me. This book also did an amazing job of handling some really heavy issues: disease, death, grief, guilt, betrayal, sexuality, and religion. Most importantly, You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone makes you grateful for what you have and reminds you not to take your family and your health for granted. Overall, I devoured this story because it was so addicting and I simply did not want to put it down.

Overall rating:  5/5 stars

 

3. Nice Try, Jane Sinner by Lianne Oelke

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Synopsis:  The only thing 17-year-old Jane Sinner hates more than failure is pity. After a personal crisis and her subsequent expulsion from high school, she’s going nowhere fast. Jane’s well-meaning parents push her to attend a high school completion program at the nearby Elbow River Community College, and she agrees, on one condition: she gets to move out. Jane tackles her housing problem by signing up for House of Orange, a student-run reality show that is basically Big Brother, but for Elbow River Students. Living away from home, the chance to win a car (used, but whatever), and a campus full of people who don’t know what she did in high school… what more could she want? Okay, maybe a family that understands why she’d rather turn to Freud than Jesus to make sense of her life, but she’ll settle for fifteen minutes in the proverbial spotlight. As House of Orange grows from a low-budget web series to a local TV show with fans and shoddy T-shirts, Jane finally has the chance to let her cynical, competitive nature thrive. She’ll use her growing fan base, and whatever Intro to Psychology can teach her, to prove to the world—or at least viewers of substandard TV—that she has what it takes to win. 

My thoughts:  This was the funniest book I’ve read in… well, pretty much ever. The plot was fun and fast-paced, and the characters were hilarious. I don’t always enjoy books written in a journal format, but it worked well in this case and it makes a lot of sense considering the Lianne Oelke’s writing process (which I learned about at her book signing and you can read about here). This is another book that deals with important topics such as depression and religion, and it even discusses what it’s like to lose faith. However, it manages to touch upon these issues in a humorous way. I highly recommend this book to anyone who’s looking for a laugh or even just an interesting story, and I will definitely be reading anything this author writes in the future.

Overall rating:  5/5 stars

 

4. Geekerella by Ashley Poston

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Synopsis:  Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic science-fiction series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck and her dad’s old costume, Elle’s determined to win – unless her stepsisters get there first. Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons – before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he has ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake – until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again? 

My thoughts:  This was my first retelling of Cinderella – at least in book form. I should mention that A Cinderella Story is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time, so I was constantly struggling not to compare the two because nothing will ever live up to that film for me. That being said, it was unique and enjoyable in it’s own way. My favorite aspect was the appreciation of fandoms. This book really promoted the idea that you should embrace who you are and let your inner-nerd shine, which I was all for. I also liked the main characters: Elle, Darien, and Sage. I even liked the cover, which is a super unpopular opinion but I like pretty much anything that has purple on it haha. Overall, this was just a really quick, feel good read. The only reason I deducted stars is because although I liked this book and thought it was really cute, I didn’t absolutely love it and I doubt it will have a very long-lasting or profound effect on me.

Overall rating:  3/5 stars

 

5. Renegades by Marissa Meyer

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Synopsis:  The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew. Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

My thoughts:  I almost didn’t finish this book because it felt SOOO slow in the beginning but I pushed through because it was the BookCon book club book for the month of January. Luckily, things picked up about halfway through and I enjoyed the action that followed. I really liked the concept and setting – a dilapidated city that superheroes (the Renegades) are attempting to rebuild and reestablish some type of order to while villains are trying to take the Renegades down. It’s certainly not a unique idea but the characters and plot made it stand out. The characters themselves were all memorable and diverse. I especially liked Adrian – we need more romantic and chivalrous boys like him in the world. Renegades provided an interesting perspective on the moral fight between good and evil and it makes you question which side, if any, is right. Overall, this was an enjoyable read after getting through the slower first half and I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel.

Overall rating:  4/5 stars

 

Well, those are the books I read in January. Let me know if you’ve read any of them and what you thought! 🙂

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