The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan: So. Many. POVs.

the realm of possibilityTitle: The Realm of Possibility

Author: David Levithan

Genre: YA contemporary – verse novel

Length: 210 pages

Published by: Text Publishing Australia

Source: Received for review (thanks, Text!!)

Blurb:

One school. Twenty voices.

Endless possibilities.

There’s the girl who is in love with Holden Caulfield. The boy who wants to be strong who falls for the girl who’s convinced she needs to be weak. The girl who writes love songs for a girl she can’t have. The two boys teetering on the brink of their first anniversary. And everyone in between.

As he did in the highly acclaimed Boy Meets Boy, David Levithan gives us a world of unforgettable voices that readers will want to visit again and again. It’s the realm of possibility open to us all – where love, joy, and the stories we tell will linger.

There are…so many people in this book. Twenty of them, in fact. And since it’s in verse, and it’s only 210 pages, that’s like…

Hang on, let me maths.

That’s like 10 pages per person. Which meant that I did not connect to ANY of the characters.

I like David Levithan. I do.

every day will grayson, will grayson every you, every me

This is the fourth book I’ve read by David Levithan.

I LOVED Every Day.

Really liked Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Kind of. But that might be because I’m biased towards John Green.

Every You, Every Me was interesting but kind of unmemorable. It had photos, though. That was cool.

So he’s a kind of hit and miss author for me, but in every book I read of his, I really want to experience a book that hit me as much as Every Day did (side note, what’s with two of his books starting with Every?). But apparently verse novels just aren’t for me.

The only other verse novels I’ve read are Run by Tim Sinclair, Tricks by Ellen Hopkins and Perfect, also by Ellen Hopkins. I do not have an inner poet. I am not a fan of poetry. You’d think that I would have stayed away from this book because of that.

BUT I BELIEVED IN DAVID LEVITHAN.

And I still do.

And don’t get me wrong, there were parts in this book I DID like. Some of the writing was so, so beautiful. My favourite POVs were

1) Where there was the girl who wrote everywhere.

and

2) The sisters who were lying in the backyard.

I just really struggled to connect to the story.

Like I didn’t…I didn’t get what the POINT was. Obviously other people did because it has a lot of amazing reviews. But it just wasn’t for me.

I think the best approach with this book is to focus on the writing whether trying to keep track of every character’s story – which is what I tried to do. Because the writing IS really beautiful, and if it was, say, 3 POVs, I could have really loved it. But I don’t do well with multiple POVs in general – I like sticking with maybe one or two characters, and getting to know them.

I think verse is a really interesting format to tell a story through. But in this instance, it just made it even harder to connect to the story. I wasn’t invested in the characters. It was written in a way that seemed like everything was supposed to connect into one larger story, but it just…didn’t. As soon as I’d finished reading one character’s story, I pretty much forgot about it.

Despite all that, David Levithn IS a good writer. You can see that in some of these stories, in some of the lines that I read a few times over because woah, they were awesome. I think this is just the wrong format for the story he was trying to tell, and I just couldn’t connect to it.

But if you like Ellen Hopkins, or beautiful writing, or verse novels, this is definitely a book for you.

 

Rating: 2.5/5 Wonderkitties

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And tell me: have you ever read a novel in verse? What are your thoughts on them?

More Than This by Patrick Ness: Mind Equals Blown

Title:more than this More Than This

Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: YA thriller/sci-fi/dystopian/I don’t even know how to categorise this book

Length: 480 pages

Published by: Walker Books

Source: received for review (THANKS, WALKER BOOKS, I LOVE YOU)

Blurb: 

“Books are often described as ‘mind-blowing’ but this is one of the few books in which, while reading it, I have exclaimed aloud, ‘Oh. My. God.’ on multiple occasions … Just read it.” 
John Green

A boy drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments. He dies.

Then he wakes, naked and bruised and thirsty, but alive.

How can this be? And what is this strange deserted place?

As he struggles to understand what is happening, the boy dares to hope. Might this not be the end? Might there be more to this life, or perhaps this afterlife?

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Yeah, so um, if you haven’t already figured out, this book KIND OF blew my mind. So let’s start with plot, because that’s the most memorable part of this book.

It’s very hard to categorise this type of book into a genre. It crosses into several genres, and that’s really exciting to me. For some reason. There are elements of sci-fi, dystopia and thriller, and lots of philosophy, and…yeah, it’s lots of things. It’s very difficult to say much about the plot, because most of what I can say would be spoilers. Throughout the book, different parts of the story unfold, and at some points my mouth was literally gaping open. This dude sure knows how to create tension.

But at the same time, it did have quite a slow pace at the beginning. I mean, this is a rather large book – it’s like 500 pages, guys. The beginning took a long time to start getting exciting. There was a significant amount of description, speculation and Seth’s loneliness. That’s why, in the end, I took a star off.

CHARACTERS, THOUGH. So we have:

Seth. Seth is our main character. He beats himself up a lot. I feel pretty sorry for him. All that stuff with his brother is HEAVY. I’m not saying anymore, though. My lips are sealed.

Thomasz. Unfortunately my brain is stupid and kept pronouncing his name as “Tom-arse.” Which is not quite right. He’s so funny! He’s a lot younger than the others, and frankly adorable. Also he’s Polish and that’s quite cool.

Regina. Now she is awesome. I’m pretty sure the book could have been from her perspective just as easily as Seth, because she just jumps off the page, she’s so well-written. She’s got attitood, guys. And she gives Seth the tough love he really needs.

Gudmund. So he’s from the “real world,” before Seth died. I mean, real world is debatable, but just…let’s go with that. Seth is gay, and Gudmund was his boyfriend.

YAY DIVERSITY. I’ve been banging on about diversity for ages (I’m sure you’re sick of me hearing about it). This checks the awesome boxes because a) it’s a fantastic read and b) it doesn’t focus purely on their diversities.

There was also a nice realistic element to this story. We got to see glimpses and flashbacks to Seth’s life, and the friendships/family relationships/romantic relationships there. Reading about Seth’s brother Owen was so sad.

The POV was different to what I normally read. It’s in third person, which is usual, but present tense. I’ve read a couple of those books that I absolutely HATED, because it seems to distance the reader. But in this, the writing style managed to give the story an air of mystery and a literary feel.

Also, JOHN GREEN recommended it, okay? THIS GUY:

And he said “just read it.” So I did. (he has great recommendations, by the way)

Oh oh oh I also forgot to mention that this books wins the award for “Most Amount of Times the Title Is Used in the Actual Book.” They said “more than this” quite a lot. I’m impressed with such a versatile title.

Overall, this is a powerful, philosophical read, with incredible writing and diverse characters. How does it end? You’ll have to decide for yourself.

Rating: 4/5 Wonderkitties

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The Minnow by Diana Sweeney

Title: the minnowThe Minnow

Author: Diana Sweeney

Genre: YA contemporary

Length: 256 pages

Published by: Text Publishing

Published on: 28th May 2014

Source: received from Text Publishing in exchange for review (thanks, Text!)

Blurb: 

Tom survived a devastating flood that claimed the lives of her sister and parents. Now she lives with Bill in his old shed by the lake. But it’s time to move out—Tom is pregnant with Bill’s baby.

Jonah lets her move in with him. Mrs Peck gives her the Fishmaster Super Series tackle box. Nana is full of gentle good advice and useful sayings.

And in her longing for what is lost, Tom talks to fish: Oscar the carp in the pet shop, little Sarah catfish who might be her sister, an unhelpful turtle in a tank at the maternity ward. And the minnow.

The Minnow is a moving and powerful coming of age story with a whimsical element that belies the heartbreaking truth of grief and loss. Tom is a character you will never forget.

Like all before me, I love this cover SO SO much. In the paperback version (you can’t really see just from the image) some of the images on the front are silver and shiny. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to read it. The others were that 1) it won the Text Prize in 2013,  2) it sounded amazing and 3) Text’s books have never disappointed me.

And I’m glad to say that I was not disappointed.

Ways to describe The Minnow: beautiful writing. Breathtaking imagery. Questions of reality. Counting sheep. An unusual protagonist. Past and present. And, of course, the Minnow.

So Tom is our protagonist. It’s a nickname – her real name is Holly, but I won’t tell you why she’s called Tom. Not that it’s a spoiler, but you can read for yourself why she’s called that. And I love Tom. She’s a character you wouldn’t see in any other YA book. She talks to fish (and they talk back). She talks to some of her dead relatives, especially her Papa. She talks to her unborn baby, whom she calls the Minnow. This created a sense of magic, I suppose, and is one of the most unique forms of storytelling I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.

A lot of it was just so calming. 

Not that the story was calming, exactly. There was a lot of heartache and sadness and confusion. I mean, Tom’s a fifteen-year-old girl who’s pregnant – that’s not the easiest thing to go through. But the way the story was told, the slow pace, the heavy use of water-based imagery made for a really lovely read.

I should explain the counting sheep thing. I mentioned it before in how I would describe The Minnow. It was just a short section, but for some reason I really loved it. You know how counting sheep is supposed to make you fall asleep? This books describes an alternative version. Not sure why I’m devoting a whole paragraph to it, but that’s just one of the many examples of things that are re-imagined, the versions of reality that are recrafted to create this utterly incredible debut.

It made me want to be a better writer. In one of my first drafts, the main character has a pet spider who she talks to. It’s contemporary YA, and that’s the only non-realistic thing in it. I kind of thought that wasn’t allowed. But this book breaks all the rules, and I’d love to experiment with surrealism, which I’ve encountered often in drama but rarely in YA contemporary.

Then there’s the Minnow! I mean, the book is named after the Minnow. She is Tom’s unborn baby. Tom talks to the Minnow, and she talks back, and it’s generally just adorable and different. Throughout the book, there’s no explanation about why/how/if Tom is actually talking to dead people and fish, but that just adds to the mystery and whimsy. Don’t overthink it! Just go with the flow. 

It was a little confusing at some points, and I think some things could have done with more explanation. It’s a difficult balance when you write a novel this unique, because if you explain TOO much, it loses that incredible writing quality. But I think even a tiny bit more explanation, or even transition into the past/present, would have helped.

If you enjoy characters over plot, talking to animals and beautiful writing, you should definitely give it a go.

Comparison books: 

bird crystal chan girl saves boy

Bird by Crystal Chan and Girl Saves Boy by Steph Bowe – both Text books, both unique and incredibly well-written.

Rating: 4/5 Wonderkitties

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Skyscraper Syndrome: When Books Disappoint

Fun fact. My favourite word is skyscraper. I mean, when you really think about it, the word is so poetic.Today I’m going to talk about Skyscraper Syndrome, which is something I completely made up.

You know when someone recommends a book to you, or it’s really popular, and you’re just SO EXCITED TO READ IT?

And then you read it, and you try to like it, but it just…disappoints you?

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The logic behind naming it “Skyscraper Syndrome” is that the idea of this book is built up in your mind, and people just keep building on it, until it’s so tall that NO book is going to be able to live up to that expectation. Which I think is sad, because maybe you would have liked it otherwise.

Sometimes, our favourite books are the ones nobody has ever heard of – we’re surprised they’re good, because we haven’t heard of them before, and because of that, we end up liking them even more.

Bear in the Big Blue House

(side note: does anyone remember this show? I used to love it! Welcome, welcome, welcome to the big blue house…)

Here are some examples of books where I fell into the trap of Skyscraper Syndrome:

1) Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

*wails* I’m so sorry, everyone! I tried to love it, I really did.

2) The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

I read the first…four, I think? And I liked them a little, but to be honest, only because I felt like I had to.

3) This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

So many people love this author! I didn’t really enjoy this book at all.

4) If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Don’t get me wrong – I really did like this book. But I read reviews of how people were sobbing, how it changed their lives…I just feel like I missed something.

But here’s the thing: these books are by no means bad. Often, it’s more a reflection of the reader, not the writer. I mean, writers put a lot of effort into writing. I would know. I’m not even published and it takes a lot of effort.

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And then there are the books where I’m so glad Skyscraper Syndrome didn’t affect me negatively. Books like:

– The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

– Harry Potter by J K Rowling

– The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

– Splintered and Unhinged by A G Howard

All of these books could have induced the dreaded Skyscraper Syndrome. They are all hyped to the point of ridiculousness. I’m not sure why it occurs, or which books it affects most. Maybe it’s to do with your mood at the time, or the movement of the planets. Maybe the genre or pet peeves. There are a million possibilities.

I don’t really think there’s a way around it, because people are always going to be recommending books for me, and for the most part, people’s suggestions are great.

Does Skyscraper Syndrome affect you? 

How to Keep a Boy From Kissing You by Tara Eglington: a cute, fluffy read!

Title: how to keep a boy from kissing youHow to Keep a Boy From Kissing You

Author: Tara Eglington

Genre: YA contemporary

Length: 384 pages

Published by: HarperTeen Australia

Source: I bought it!

Blurb: 

Sweet sixteen and never been kissed – and that’s the way Aurora Skye wants it to be. She’s too busy finding Potential Princes ™ for her two best friends, counseling her sensitive New Age dad and dealing with the unexpected return of her long-absent mum. But always in the background there’s Hayden Paris, the boy next door, the bane of Aurora’s life. Smart, funny, and always around to see her at her worst, he ‘gets’ her like no-one else … and that’s what makes him so infuriating. When Aurora and Hayden are coerced into the lead roles in the school production of Much Ado About Nothing, things can only get worse. How is Aurora going to save her first kiss for the secret admirer who wooed her with poetry and a spectacular bunch of flowers on Valentine’s Day if she doesn’t know who he is and she’s obligated to lock lips with Hayden in the play’s final dramatic clinch?

I could totally picture this book as a movie. One of those guilty please, chick-flick movies you watch over and over again (my favourites are Wildchild and Pitch Perfect, by the way). It’s rare to find this kind of thing in a book, and I really, really enjoyed it.

Things I loved were:

1) Our protagonist, Aurora Skye. She’s so sweet and…well, kind of deluded, but I loved her. She reminded me of Cress from, obviously, Cress.

2) The New Age Dad. He cracked me up.

3) The interpretative dance teacher. In the scenes with her, I actually laughed out loud. OUT LOUD, people.

4) Jeffrey. He’s a side character but everything he had to say was freakin’ hilarious.

5) The adorableness. Hayden is just the cutest love interest ever. I kept picturing Skylar Astin…

WHICH REMINDS ME.

6) Theatre! I’m a bit of a drama nerd myself, and hearing about all their rehearsals was a lot of fun. I haven’t read too many books with a stage production as a main theme. It’s pretty unrealistic that they got a Shakespearean production together in three weeks (we get more than double that to do a ten-minute scene). But I stoically bore this unrealistic-ness.

7) CATS!

(why yes, this WAS an excuse to post gifs of cats. You’re welcome)

Yeah, so, if you haven’t figured out I like cats, you should check out my rating system. I use Wonderkitties, from the time I dressed my cat up like Wonderwoman (he didn’t mind). I have three cats: a tabby, a Birman and a ragdoll. Before I even read this book I had a lovely conversation with Tara Eglington about cats, so…basically I was going to love this book no matter what.

It will appeal to people who love The Princess Diaries, because Aurora was very similar to Mia. And also fans of the chick flicks I listed above.

There are a few things that could have been improved, but I’ll keep it brief because the pros much outweigh the cons.

Friends could have been developed more. I didn’t really relate to any of them, because they were almost stereotypes.

Ending was quite predictable. But I forgive this one, because it was adorable.

It was a bit long for such a light YA contemporary. I mean, man, it’s like 400 pages. Some of it moved a bit slowly – I think it could have been condensed more.

– The setting was a little unclear. The characters don’t wear uniform, and fair enough, there’s a school near me like that. But I thought this was set in America to start with, especially since they go to Jefferson High.

But don’t let those things put you off, by any means! It’s basically a really good chick flick in book format. Plus, cats. Go read it!!!

Oh, and also, Aussie authors rock. Just sayin’.

Can’t wait to read the next book!

Rating: 4/5 Wonderkitties

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Book Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

ImageTitle: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: YA sci-fi/ fairytale retelling

Length: 454 pages

Published by: Macmillan

Source: borrowed from school library

Blurb: 

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Note that there MAY be slight Cinder spoilers in this review.

Hurrah for not having second book syndrome! I actually think having the two narrators helped with that, because the addition of a second story thread just made things all the more interesting.

 

Highlights

– New characters! Thorne was a nice change from all the serious characters, and Scarlet was really different to Cinder. Wolf was the one I couldn’t figure out for most of the book, but my lips are sealed any further.

– Old characters! Cinder was still there, still as awesome as ever. I still hugely ship her and Kai. Just saying.

– More fairytales! I LOVED how Marissa Meyer incorporated the Little Red Riding fairytale, with Wolf and the grandma and everything. It’s just such a great mash-up, as I think I mentioned in my review of Cinder.

Both of these books have been really fast reads for me, and that’s generally an indicator that I’m hooked.

Since this incorporates Scarlet into things, I expected her to have more chapters than Cinder. But I wanted Cinder’s chapters! They were so good, and Thorne is hilarious. Especially towards the end. I couldn’t stop laughing whenever he corrected “Cadet” to “Captain.” Bit full of himself, isn’t he?

And we get to see Iko again! I won’t say anymore than that, but those who’ve read it know what I mean 😉

Both plots were great. Setting could have been used more, I think. I mean, China and France? There are some serious opportunities for awesome description there, but it wasn’t used very much.

Did I mention Thorne?

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Really the only reason I’m not giving it 5 stars is because I only save that for books that blow me out of the water. I loved this, and you probably will too, but it didn’t reach that level for me. 4 stars is still re-read-worthy, although first I have to read Cress (take that, book-buying ban!).

I really loved how the two stories wove together. To be honest I thought they would come together sooner, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Also, the way Meyer distinguishes between all the characters is amazing, and they all have such distinct personalities. Loved that there was more of the Lunar glamour, and the ship was really cool too. There were some pretty terrifying moments, great plot twists, and overall a fantastic addition to the series. Scarlet the character didn’t impress me as much as Cinder, but that doesn’t surprise me – I mean, Cinder’s awesome.

Can’t wait to buy and read Cress!

Rating: 4/5 Wonderkitties

ARC Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

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Title: On the Fence

Author: Kasie West

Genre: YA contemporary

Published by: HarperTeen

Release date: 1st July 2014

Source: received in exchange for review (thanks SO much, HarperTeen Australia! You rock!)

Blurb: 

She’s a tomboy. He’s the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn’t know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she’s got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she’s falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

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^^^ Me when On the Fence arrived in the mail. Basically.

While reading it:

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But how to review it?

Okay, let’s start with

PLOT

Awesome things include:

– Charlie’s brothers chucking her into a mud puddle

– Awesome trivia games over the fence

– Glimpses of characters from The Distance Between Us

– Guys trying to come up with four items of make-up (hilarious)

CHARACTERS

Charlie’s brothers are awesome. In fact, they were the highlight of the book. They’re always teasing her and are really sweet and funny. Gage is my favourite.

Our main character is also great. She’s a tomboy and that becomes a bit of an issue for her, with the whole struggling to be a girl without her mother thing. She’s a really well-written character.

Braden, I feel, we could have seen more of. Despite his and Charlie’s “fence chats,” I didn’t know that much about him.

OTHER STUFF

If I was smarter I could probably categorise this stuff, but I don’t want to because I just want to fangirllllll.

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Loved how protective her dad was. Loved the added family dilemmas. Loved her part-time job and Linda’s reading of her aura. It’s a beautiful story about family and friends and love, right up there with Anna and the French Kiss. This is only the second book I’ve read of Kasie West’s, but MAN. I am HOOKED. I simply must read Split Second  and Pivot Point now (did I do those in the wrong order??).

The romance was pretty light, actually, and I loved how much the family played a part. My favourite bits were those with all of her brothers, goofing around and generally being idiots. The beginning is a perfect example of this.

ONLY COMPLAINTS were that the whole thing with her Mum felt kind of like it came from nowhere. And Braden became a bit jealous. But hey, I can ignore those things. I mean, I have complaints about Harry Potter too (*cough*19yearslater*cough*).

I’m totally up for a reread.

I couldn’t wait to review this. I just HAD to share with everyone how awesome it was.

 Rating: 5/5 Wonderkitties

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Book Review: Splintered

 

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Title: Splintered

Author: A G Howard

Genre: YA dark fantasy (retelling)

Length: 371 pages

Published by: Thames and Hudson

Source: received for review from Thames and Hudson (thank you!!!)

Blurb: 

 Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.


When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family.

I mean, even from the synopsis you know this is going to be awesome. I was SO excited to read this, and I think for that reason I was perhaps a tiny bit disappointed. I loved it, but I also wanted to love it more. If that makes sense.

My favourite parts of Splintered were the ones that were faithful to the original story but twisted in some way.

Like falling through the rabbit hole. This is a personal preference, but I would have liked to see more of the original elements – it seemed like there wasn’t enough of that. I loved the author’s twists on these, when they appeared.

Other things I loved:

1) The ocean of tears

2) The tea party

3) Morpheus

4) The madness of Wonderland

5) The sheer imagination of the world, which was incredible

Actually I’ll expand on that point a bit, because I feel like it’s worth mentioning how imaginative and innovative A G Howard’s Wonderland is. It’s darker, and twisted, and fantastic. The descriptions of characters we know and love changed them forever, and it was easy to see how the original story could fit into this “darker, funkier” tribute. There’s definitely that undertone of weirdness in Alice in Wonderland – I think Lewis Carroll’s writing in general lends itself to creepiness. It wasn’t all flowers and butterflies, that’s for sure..

(note: I actually love the cartoon Alice in Wonderland. I’m not bashing it)

I think if you’re writing a retelling, it has to be different to the original in a way that doesn’t diminish how amazing the original is. Because Alice in Wonderland is pretty spectacular. I want to write my own version, actually, but that probably won’t happen for a while. If it does happen, I’m totally having a Blood Orange Queen instead of a Red Queen.

Oh and also, let’s talk about the cover! Yes, this cover is amazing! I just love LOOKING at it.

Characters:

Alyssa. Alyssa is a great protagonist. She’s quirky and artistic and Wonderland brings out the weirder side of her, which I love. She’s definitely VERY different from this Alice:

Jeb: Jeb was kind of boring. He didn’t have much of a personality.

Morpheus: Hells yes to the moth dude! He was manipulative and technically a villain, but I loved him. He kind of reminded me of David Bowie from Labyrinth.

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I didn’t really see the point of the love triangle, though. It didn’t add anything for me (but I wouldn’t take my word for it, since other people say it’s one of the best love triangles they’ve ever read. I’m just a really cynical person).

I also didn’t really like the middle of the book. The pace dropped off a bit and it got kind of slow.

But overall, I loved it. I’m sure this will be one of those books that I love even more with a re-read, but this time I’m giving it four stars.

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Book Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Cinder (#1 of The Lunar Chronicles)

Author: Marissa Meyer

Genre: YA sci-fi/ fairytale retelling

Published by: Macmillan

Length: 387 pages

Source: borrowed from school library

Blurb: 

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

I put off reading this for as long as I could. Mostly because my sister likes it and that MUST mean it’s awful. But after hearing soooo many people rave about it, eventually I had to see what all the fuss was about.

And it turns out the fuss is not ludicrous, because I loved it! In fact I’m going to make a list of the things I loved about it because lists are great:

1)      I loved Peony and how she wasn’t an awful stepsister.

2)      I loved that it was set in New Beijing – diversity FTW.

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3)      I loved that Cinder was a mechanic; you don’t see that very often in YA.

4)      I loved that it’s a fairytale retelling in a sci-fi book with some elements of magic (although that’s explained as science anyway).

5)      Cinder is just a great character.

6)      So is Iko.

7)      And Kai.

8)      Marissa Meyer made me hate Adri more than I have ever hated a character ever. Well, that’s not true because Umbridge. But Adri came very close!

Buuuuuut, there were things I didn’t like as much.

Mainly, I guessed the end plot twist right at the start of the book. I mean, come on.

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And that was even with my sister’s misleading comments of “no, you’re completely wrong.” Sophie, if you’re reading this that was rude.

Also, towards the end of the book there’s reference to a “coy” pond. I mean, really. I laughed out loud and it was quite a tense moment (yes, I’m nitpicking GREATLY, but incorrect grammar annoys me).

I also would have liked to see more of the Chinese culture, since not much of it was in the story. But overall, I really really liked it. On with Scarlet!

Rating: 4/5 Wonderkitties.

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Review: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E Lockhart

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Title: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks

Author: E Lockhart

Genre: YA contemporary

Length: 345 pages

Published by: Disney-Hyperion

Source: borrowed from the library

Blurb: 

 

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:

Debate Club.
Her father’s “bunny rabbit.”
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.

Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.

Frankie Laundau-Banks.
No longer the kind of girl to take “no” for an answer.
Especially when “no” means she’s excluded from her boyfriend’s all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she’s smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew’s lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.

Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.

This is the story of how she got that way.

I was excited about this book because people have said good things about it. I got it from my local library in large print (it’s massive print, actually) and…woah, the title is a mouthful, right? Let’s talk about it in terms of Frankie. Actually, if I said that to Frankie she’d probably be like:

Except, replace “Nymphadora” with “Frankie.” Basically, the premise of this novel is that Frankie doesn’t like being the “Fluffy Bunny.” She wants people to think she’s…I don’t know, fierce or something? She infiltrates some stupid boy club and gets them to do pranks. She’s a feminist, which I liked, and calls everyone out on their sexist stuff, but she does it in a really annoying way. I mean, I’m a feminist as well, but I don’t yell and scream at people for saying things they don’t know are wrong.

I also had a problem with Frankie’s boyfriend; namely, it seems like she hates him and loves him at the same time. They had no chemistry whatsoever. He’s constantly dismissive of her, and she’s always internally monologue-ing about how he doesn’t see the real her.

The things I liked were few and far in between. I liked the descriptions of the pranks. I liked the beginning. That’s about it.

I did not like the style of narration: it was third person omniscient and broke one of the biggest “rules” of writing: it told instead of showed, like the whole thing was just narration. What’s more, it was really pretentious narration. Why does it need that?

Literally, it was like the writer saying, “look at me, I use fancy words and I’m clever.” Because the writing is clever, I can’t deny that. But it really annoyed me that the author had to be so obvious about it.

So really, I didn’t like most of the characters. I didn’t like the narration. The ending was a let-down and an anti-climax. The secret boys’ society was stupid (I mean, Frankie could have just started a girls’ club – what’s wrong with that?).

I really wanted to like this but I just couldn’t.

Rating: 2/5 Wonderkitties

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