Quick Review: The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis

female of the speciesPlot in a sentence: Alex’s sister was brutally killed 3 years ago and the suspected killer went free… until Alex takes justice into her own hands. “The female of the species is more deadly than the male.”

Recommended age: 14 and up (some frank descriptions of violence, sex and sexual assault)

Who will love this book:

  • Readers who like dark, realistic stories.
  • Fans of Dexter.

What I liked about this book:

  • Like Jack and Peekay, I find Alex interesting: her unconventional ways of thinking and spending her time and the rage and violence within her.
  • The character of Branley because she could be the “bitchy slutty girl” that you see in so many High School stories, but there is a lot more to her.
  • The criticism of rape culture and slut shaming.
  • The focus on animal rescue: Alex and Peekay meet at a shelter and Alex’ gentleness towards the animals contrasts with her relationship with people.

The ending disappointed me a little, I won’t say why to avoid spoilers. Those who read it, do you agree?

If you liked this book, read: I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga is about the son of a serial killer who also has a dark side and a tendency towards vigilantism.

i hunt killers

What I Read This Week

Also:

  • The Goddamned, volume 1 by Jason Aaron
    • A gritty, exciting tale of Cain and Noah in the time after the fall of man and before the flood. But the hardest part of this world isn’t the violence but the lack of hope that people can be good, can overcome the horrible world they live in.
  • Kill or Be Killed, volume 1 by Ed Brubaker
    • A young man survives a suicide only to be coerced by a demon to kill at least one terrible person by month or die himself. Add in an unreliable narrator and Brubaker and you have an engaging tale.

Quick Review: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

ChallengerDeep-final-cover-hi-rezPlot in a sentence: Caden Bosch is a brilliant High  School student who has been starting to act oddly… but he is also on a ship headed for the Marianas Trench, the deepest and most mysterious point in the ocean.

***STARRED REVIEW***

Recommended age: 13 and up

Diversity:

  • Mental illness: the main character has schizophrenia and we encounter youths with other mental illness.

Who will love this book:

  • Readers who want to better understand those who experience the world differently.
  • Fans of fantastical, high sea adventures… real or otherwise.

What I liked about this book:

  • Everything! Between this and Scythe, Shusterman is a new favorite author of mine. But I suppose that’s a terrible review. 😉
  • Shusterman gives us an honest, nuanced vision of living with mental illness without the stereotypes and fear mongering. As someone with a mental illness of her own, I truly appreciate it.
  • The back and forth between Caden’s life dealing with increasing paranoia and delusion and his ship board adventure. It was quite fun looking for the links between the two narratives, even though there isn’t a one-to-one correlation.
  • The illustrations by Shusterman’s son, which are fascinating and give an interesting glimpse into his thoughts.

If you liked this book, read: Calvin by  Martine Leavitt for another teen with schizophrenia on an unusual adventure.

calvin

Quick Review: Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid

Never always sometimesPlot in a sentence: When best friends Julia and Dave started high school, they vowed to avoid the cliches so they made a live of things never to do, but  with graduation approaching, they decide to do all the nevers. Dave already has a head start: he;s been secretly pining for Julia for years.

Recommended age: 14 and up (some frank descriptions of sex)

Diversity:

  • GLTB+: A main character has two fathers.

Who will love this book:

  • Fans of John Green and other High School stories about teens coming to understand themselves and others better in the pursuit of love.

What I liked about this book:

  • The characters grow and change. I didn’t actually like Julia much, she’s condescending and mean and refuses to see people as John Green would say”complexly”. Dave, while more likable, does something pretty terrible. But they learn, as I’d like to think real people do.
  • It avoided tired romance tropes (though Alsaid had me worried for a bit). And the main romance gave me some warm fuzzies.
  • The plot to seduce a teacher aside, they do get up to some fun hijinx.

If you liked this book, read: Naomi and Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan for more lists and strained friendships.

no kiss list

 

What I’ve been reading in 2017

Hi readers!

I apologize for the long silence; life got the best of me. Bottle  feeding kittens, renovations, multiple moves and a root canal conspired to keep me from my reviews. But these things couldn’t keep me completely from reading.

Look for upcoming reviews of :

  • Scythe by Neil Shusterman
  • The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
  • Challenger Deep by Neil Shusterman
  • Swan Riders by Erin Bow
  • Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid
  • Swarm by Scott Westerfeld
  • A World Without You by Beth Revis
  • Golden Sun by Pierce Brown
  • Helter Skelter by Curt Gentry and Vincent Bugliosi

I’ve also been listening to a ton of podcasts, most of them true crime. Let me know if you’d like me to review them!

2016 in Books in Review

2016 has not been a great year for celebrities or politics. I believe dumpster fire is the best description. But books will always be there for you! I’ve read a lot of great sequels and discovered a lot of new favorite authors, so here is 2016 in books in review!

Favorites of 2016

Favorite MG novel: The Hidden Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Favorite YA novel: My Sister Rosa by Justine Larbalestier

Favorite adult novel: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Favorite Canadian novel: Every Hidden Thing by Kenneth Oppel

Favorite sequel: The Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Favorite book in translation: The Three Body Problem by Ciu Liu

Favorite audiobook: Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith

Favorite re-read: The Xenogenesis series by Octavia Butler

Favorite comic: Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur by Amy Reeder

Favorite manga: The Heroic Legend of Arslan by Hiromu Arakawa

Statistics

Total books read: 115

Unfinished: 11  (Because it’s ok not to finish books. The librarian says so.)

Audiobooks: 62

Fiction: 112

Non-fiction: 3 (not a big year for non-fiction)

Comics and manga: …more than I want to count right now.

Top authors:

  • Agatha Christie: 16 books
  • Octavia A. Butler: 7 books
  • Diana Gabaldon: 6 books
  • Jane Austen: 6 books
  • Ally Carter: 3 books
  • Robert Galbraith: 3 books
  • Jonathan Stroud: 3 books
  • Scott Lynch: 3 books
  • Rhys Bowen: 3 books