Tag Archives: boring

Eleanor Herman’s Empire of Dust – book 2 of the Blood of Gods and Royals series

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Eleanor Herman’s Empire of Dust – book 2 of the Blood of Gods and Royals series

Eleanor Herman’s Blood of Gods and Royals series has a lot of similarities to Game of Thrones:  Lots of players with torn loyalties, a queen mad for her son’s power, and setting fraught with violence and magic.  Alexander the Great’s life is a pretty fascinating story as well, with plenty of strange and unusual elements that read more like fantasy than reality.  I should have loved this series. However, the first book, Legacy of Kings, almost put me to sleep.  It was plagued with too many characters and a dull narrative style.  Empire of Dust, the second book, felt a lot more compelling, but it still managed to bore me.  I gave it three stars.

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Goodreads Summary

In Macedon, war rises like smoke, forbidden romance blooms and ancient magic tempered with rage threatens to turn an empire to dust

After winning his first battle, Prince Alexander fights to become the ruler his kingdom demands—but the line between leader and tyrant blurs with each new threat.
Meanwhile, Hephaestion, cast aside by Alexander for killing the wrong man, must conceal the devastating secret of a divine prophecy from Katerina even as the two of them are thrust together on a dangerous mission to Egypt.

The warrior, Jacob, determined to forget his first love, vows to eradicate the ancient Blood Magics and believes that royal prisoner Cynane holds the key to Macedon’s undoing.

And in chains, the Persian princess Zofia still longs to find the Spirit Eaters, but first must grapple with the secrets of her handsome—and deadly—captor.

New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman entwines the real scandals of history with epic fantasy to reimagine the world’s most brilliant ruler, Alexander the Great, in the second book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

My Thoughts

Empire of Dust is more engaging than the first book, and those who enjoyed Legacy of Kings will enjoy this one as well.  However, the same issues many readers had with the first book are still in play in the follow up.  The biggest one is that there are just too many characters, and moving between them in brief segments makes it hard to connect with any of them.  Several times I thought it would be so much better if one character carried the bulk of the story, even if it would also narrow the broad perspective that a large cast can bring to a situation.  That being said, I was able to ignore that problem more easily than I have in the past.  The individual story lines are more compelling this time.  The big battle scene was interesting and had elements I thought were fun and yet still believable.  The magical elements, while still a bit wobbly, are clearer and more focused.  There are certainly several times when readers will feel that the story is moving ahead and sometimes those come with a nice moment of serendipity.  I still think that fans of George R.R. Martin – those who actually read his work, not just watch it – are the ones who will enjoy this series the most.  They know how to weather dragging story lines and a huge cast of characters, especially when there are some rewards at the end.  My verdict is that this is slightly boring, but it is appropriate for high school readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Burning Glass

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Burning Glass

I didn’t think this was a bad book, and I think there will be readers who enjoy it. The concept is really cool, and I initially found it very compelling. However, in the end, I had to fight to keep myself reading because I just wasn’t invested in the characters or the outcome. I have a feeling that most of my high school readers would lose interest fairly quickly. I only gave it three stars.

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Goodreads Summary

Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.

Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, and she can’t always decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.

As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the charming-yet-volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.

My Thoughts

I thought this book was rather dull.  The politics bored me and the intrigue was predictable from the beginning.  There is a lot of talk about equality and the archaic class system of a monarchy, but readers are never really given a personal connection to the horrors of the faceless, nameless mass of people that suffer the most under the rule of the Emperor.  It is clear that there is a problem with the system, but since it is so removed from the action, it just doesn’t feel as urgent and necessary as it should. There is only one character that we get to know personally who represents the mistreated masses, and she lives in the castle and is given relative freedom.  The true horrors are vague and expected – hunger, forced military drafting, slave-like conditions.  The people who are suppose to be in charge of the revolution dither around a lot, so the majority of the book builds up and then lets readers down when there is no follow-through.

The protagonist was hard to really connect with because she was a vessel for everyone else’s emotions, maybe. Neither she nor I seemed to be able to distinguish where her feelings ended and those of the other characters began.  While that is the point, this would have been more successful if there had been some clear rules about how the empathy worked.  She came across as indistinct and the “love” she felt for the men she encountered was never clearly, sincerely her own.  I also kept wondering why someone didn’t force their feelings on her and just have her assassinate the emperor – it was clear that she could be induced to act on someone else’s will, but her control inexplicably changed when she got to the palace (I think I was suppose to believe that her connection with the prince was the factor that changed her, but I wasn’t completely sure).  Again, the rules just weren’t clear enough for me.

Again, just because I didn’t enjoy it doesn’t mean you won’t, but it will put some folks to sleep.  Language and situations are appropriate for high school and beyond.

I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Almost King almost put me to sleep

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The Almost King almost put me to sleep

If you have read Lucy Saxon’s Take Back the Skies, there is a chance you want to read the companion book.  The Almost King is set in the same place, but the character it follows is not connected with those in the first book.  I have not read the first book, and I was able to read it as a stand alone title, but I have to wonder if that resulted in my lack of interest in this book.  I would have abandoned it about a fourth of the way through had I not committed to a copy from the publisher, but others may feel differently.

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Goodreads Summary

Aleks Vasin is the youngest of four brothers, each with his path mapped out. But Aleks doesn’t want to work in his father’s shop and live with his family in a village in the westernmost corner of Siberene. And when he hears his parents fretting about money, he decides to save them the cost of his keep and leave.

First he heads south – though everyone tells him not to – to Rudavin, headquarters of the kingsguard, and he signs up for the army, little knowing what brutality it entails. After only a few weeks, Aleks realizes that this garrison is full of liars and thieves; he’s signed away four years of his life to a commander who steals his money and a captain who’s already hurt Aleks’s beloved horse. This is not a noble destiny.

After a brutal beating, Aleks escapes, hoping to find safety and a new life somewhere in the north. And there, this deserter finds love, adventure, and a skyship in which he might just prove himself a hero after all – if he can evade the soldiers who seek to capture him.

Prepare for another sweeping adventure in this second book in a unique six-book series. Each book is set in a different land within the Tellus world, with repeating characters and related, nonlinear storylines that combine to create a one-of-a-kind, addictive reading experience.

My Thoughts

This was a rather dull read for me.  Too much time was spent developing characters and scenes that were not relevant to the adventure, so the pace was slow.  I didn’t connect with the characters, sometimes because their motivations were muddy and sometimes because the dialogue was stilted and didn’t do much to help me discern their emotions.  The romance was not very compelling, and more time was spent introducing the romantic interest’s aunt than really explaining the attraction between the two characters.  The ending was not what I expected and felt a bit like a begrudging Dues Ex Machina.  Overall, this is a monster of a book that I can’t see my high school readers finishing.  Language and situatations are appropriate for grades 7+.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Square Root of Summer – YA contemporary about a summer of love, grief and wormholes in the fabric of time.

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The Square Root of Summer – YA contemporary about a summer of love, grief and wormholes in the fabric of time.

I wanted to love The Square Root of Summer.  It had math and science and a type of time travel and a cover to die for.  Unfortunately, it felt like a chore to read.  My opinion is certainly not that of many other reviewers.  While I gave it two stars, it got almost four stars on average on Goodreads.  To each his own.

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Goodreads Summary

This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It’s a little bit like a black hole. It’s a little bit like infinity.

Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she’s hurtled through wormholes to her past:
To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn’t even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.
Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie’s past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone’s heart is about to be broken.

My Thoughts

This is a book I definitely recommend you sample before you buy.  The fragmented narrative is hard to follow even before the author introduces the timeline.  There are no real cultural norms to help you gain stability.  The family structure, the mix of languages, and the unfamiliar setting all make it difficult to find a starting point to forge connections with the story or the characters.  Honestly, after tackling the first twenty percent, the only thing I understood was the math and science, and I’m certainly not advanced or even proficient in those areas.  The unrelenting rainy day that is the narrator is not very compelling, either.  I wanted to give up on this book almost immediately, and I suspect that I’m not going to be alone.  I can’t see this being a hit in my high school classroom library, even among my deeper thinkers, because it is just not very fun to read.  I found the ending moderately satisfying, but, I’m not sure it was worth the work it took to get there, and I was a little disgruntled that all the science and math amounted to not much in the face of a somewhat woo-woo (that is my mystical sound effect) explanation in the end.  Language and situations are appropriate for grades 9+, but I’m not sure if it would hold an average high school reader’s attention.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The 13th Continuum

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The 13th Continuum

The 13th Continuum is another YA dystopian, meaning it didn’t add much to the genre.  Weak characters and a lack of logic made for a rather dull read.  Die hard dystopian devotees will still probably find it hard to pass up, but if you are over it, you won’t miss much here.  As usual, there are other reviewers who thought it topped sliced bread, but I gave it three stars.

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Goodreads Summary

One thousand years after a cataclysmic event leaves humanity on the brink of extinction, the survivors take refuge in continuums designed to sustain the human race until repopulation of Earth becomes possible. Against this backdrop, a group of young friends in the underwater Thirteenth Continuum dream about life outside their totalitarian existence, an idea that has been outlawed for centuries. When a shocking discovery turns the dream into a reality, they must decide if they will risk their own extinction to experience something no one has for generations, the Surface.

My Thoughts

While I liked the idea of this book, I didn’t actually like the book. First, it didn’t feel polished. In particular, the pacing seemed off. I’m not sure if it was the amount of detail that was included in the social structure of the world or if it was really the result of trying to establish relationships between characters, but the fallout was that it slowed the story to the point that I began to lose interest. I thought it was smart for the author to incorporate the second colony because the appearance of Aero recaptured my interest for a while.

Second, the plot was problematic for me. I was never really clear about what motivated Aero’s colony, so I struggled to find the logic in the conflict.

Finally, I never really connected with any of the characters. Myra was an adequate character, but she didn’t really have any sparkle or wit about her. I liked her dedication to her family, but she was bland. Aero was a little more interesting because he was contemplating the negatives in his society but he was also able to show the advantages he felt he gained from the system. I found that much more intriguing than a character placed in an obviously flawed society. The relationship between these two was way too accelerated and I didn’t understand the logic behind that. Overall, this just wasn’t a book I connected with, and I don’t think it is engaging enough to keep my high school students interested, though the premise will certainly catch their attention. Language and situations are appropriate for middle and high school readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

 

Ashley Mansour’s Blood, Ink & Fire – YA dystopian set in a world without books

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Ashley Mansour’s Blood, Ink & Fire – YA dystopian set in a world without books

As an avid reader and an English teacher, I really was rooting for Blood, Ink & Fire.  My worst nightmare would be a world without books!  It takes a lot for me to admit that, in the end, it felt like a depressing and pointless read.  I’m taking a bit of a beating on my Amazon reviews for this opinion, though, so maybe I just didn’t get it.  Maybe you, too, will think I’m a big ole idiot for not embracing this book, but I stand by my two star rating – this book just didn’t do a thing for me as a reader.

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Goodreads Summary

Imagine a world without books…

In the future, books are a distant memory. The written word has been replaced by an ever-present stream of images known as Verity. In the controlling dominion of the United Vales of Fell, reading is obsolete and forbidden, and readers themselves do not—cannot—exist.

But where others see images in the stream, teenager Noelle Hartley sees words. She’s obsessed with what they mean, where they came from, and why they found her.

Noelle’s been keeping her dangerous fixation with words a secret, but on the night before her seventeenth birthday, a rare interruption in the stream leads her to a mysterious volume linked to an underworld of rebel book lovers known as the Nine of the Rising. With the help of the Risers and the beguiling boy Ledger, Noelle discovers that the words within her are precious clues to the books of the earlier time—and as a child of their bookless age, she might be the world’s last hope of bringing them back.

Blood, Ink & Fire is a gripping, evocative tale that asks, who would we be without books?

My Thoughts

In a nutshell, I was bored.  I think a big part of the problem is that the plot hinges on a quest that doesn’t really have a clear purpose.  I never really understood what Noelle was suppose to do if she succeeded, so I didn’t really care if she did.  If you are going to create a quest for your hero, he or she needs to either make a big impact when hitting the finish line, or the journey needs to count for something.  This journey didn’t help the character grow, and it certainly ended in a way that took the wind out of my sails.  That being said, it wasn’t all bad.  The setting had some real potential, and it felt a bit like Alice in Shakespeareland, which was cool.  And, I liked the romance.  It wasn’t my favorite type of love story, bittersweet, but I did understand how the circumstances created a bond that Noelle was reluctant to relinquish.  Ultimately,  the negatives outweighed the positives for me in this book.  I can’t see my high school readers getting through this one because I would have stopped at 30% if I hadn’t felt obligated to finish it since I requested it.  Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  

The August 5 -don’t judge this book by its awesome cover. You’ll just be disappointed.

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The August 5 -don’t judge this book by its awesome cover. You’ll just be disappointed.

I’ll admit the cover and summary for The August 5 had me envisioning a really awesome book. It didn’t take long for me to realize this was more of a middle school read than a YA book, but it took longer for me to understand this really was going to be a very dull read.  It is so boring I was impressed I got through it. I will be more impressed if the intended audience can get through it.  Someone misplaced the memo that reminds writers that, while rebellion is interesting, the politics behind it are usually sleep inducing. I still gave this book three stars – it did have its moments, but readers who think they are about to read the next Hunger Games will be disappointed.

The August 5 publishes Tuesday, November 10, 2015

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Goodreads Summary

In a world rocked by revolt, your worst enemy can become your greatest hope

Fourteen-year-old Tommy Shore lives a life of privilege: he has the finest clothing, food, and education available and servants to take care of his every whim. He is the son of the chief administrator of Aeren-the most important man on the islands. Fifteen-year-old Tamsin Henry has grown up knowing only poverty, but she is the daughter of a revolutionary who longs to give her and their people more.

Ordinarily, Tommy and Tamsin would never cross paths, but on the day of a violent and deadly revolt, chance brings them together. Now the world waits to hear the fate of the August 5, five men led by, and including, Tamsin’s father and captured during the uprising. As tensions between the government and the rebels escalate, Tommy uncovers a brutal truth about his father. How will he ever get Tamsin to trust that he wants to help her cause, when she believes he stands for everything she’s fighting against?

My Thought

I really looked forward to reading this book because it sounded like it would be full of action, smokey rebellion and two teens fighting to change their world.  While all of those elements were indeed part of the story, the majority of the book focused on politics, and it was boring.

The plot started off with a bang but then it got dredged down with political manuvering.  A lot of the plot was spent reiterating the point that the current power structure was bad, something readers and even the characters recognized before the first two chapters were finished.

Tommy, the protagonist from the upper level of society, didn’t have to uncover any shocking secrets about his society or his father.  There was no journey of growth or slowly blooming horror as more corruption emerged.  He knew from the beginning that his dad was a pretty awful person, so why did the author spend all that time making Tommy see more examples of how corrupt his father and his cronies really were?  On top of that, Tommy had very easily weighted internal conflicts.   He had no desire to please his father or live up to expectations.  I think that is the heart of the problem here.  Tommy had nothing to lose besides things he didn’t value, so when he was faced with a conflict between doing what his father expected and doing the noble thing, it was pretty clear which way he was going to go.

Tamsin, the character from the lowest level of society, was also placed in a similar situation.  Effort was made to make it clear that she didn’t have anyone she wanted to impress except her own rebel father.  No one knew who she was, so it wasn’t like they were threatening to hurt anyone she cared about if she didn’t toe the line.  People she cared about were going to be hurt anyway, so what was there for her to lose?  Because of the lack of real conflict in the conflicts, it is hard to feel any suspense or anxiety about what choices these two good guys would make.

Overall, I think a lot of my high school readers will become bored by the politics and put this book down.  I certainly felt that way less than a third of the way through.  Language and situations are appropriate for middle school and beyond.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Valhalla is one of the most violent and action packed YA books I’ve ever read, but it is also one of the most boring.

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Valhalla is one of the most violent and action packed YA books I’ve ever read, but it is also one of the most boring.

Valhalla reads like a book a computer would spit out if you fed it all the scifi and action reads of the last few decades and told it to write a book.  It has no soul.  Two stars and an emphatic warning not to waste your time.

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Goodreads Summary

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Violet MacRae is one of the aimless millions crowding northern Scotland. In the year 2330, where war is obsolete and only brilliant minds are valued, she emerges into adulthood with more brawn than brains and a propensity for violence. People dismiss her as a relic, but world peace is more fragile than they know.

In Valhalla, a clandestine base hidden in an icy ravine, Violet connects with a group of outcasts just like her. There, she learns the skills she needs to keep the world safe from genetically enhanced criminals and traitors who threaten the first friends she’s ever known. She also meets Wulfgar Kray, a genius gang leader who knows her better than she knows herself and who would conquer the world to capture her.

Branded from childhood as a useless barbarian, Violet is about to learn the world needs her exactly as she is.

My Thoughts

It is rare to find a book so full of action and yet so boring at the same time.  I blame this on the author’s writing style.  The overly-detailed descriptions and straight-forward narrative voice quickly proved monotonous.  I never connected with the protagonist, mostly because her every action and choice was so clinically described that I felt like I was reading a lab report.  The premise is promising, and this author managed to get it all down, but there is no voice or style present in the writing.  It creates a distance that turns what should have been a very engaging action book full of blood and violence into a history channel documentary turned sleep aid for the insomniac.  Part of the problem is a lack of flow.  The story sort of encapsulates events and confines them into chunks that don’t easily connect as a whole story.  The decision to describe minutiae, like every level in Valhalla and the accent and appearance of every minor character,  is equally problematic to the flow. The romance seems to have been tacked on as an afterthought and, for me, contradicted some of the charateristics the author worked so hard to emphasize in the protagonist.  Overall, there was very little I enjoyed about this book, and I would struggle to find a reader I would recommend it to.  Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers, though I can’t see many of then sticking this one out.  I would have abandoned it at 25% if I hadn’t felt obligated by my request to read and review it.

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Once Upon A Time: Red’s Untold Tale left me underwhelmed

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Once Upon A Time: Red’s Untold Tale left me underwhelmed

I thought this was going to be a general re-telling of a fairy tale classic, but it is actually connected to the show Once Upon A Time (I was given a different summary than the one on Goodreads which is a lot clearer about that). I wasn’t really impressed as an adult reader, and even adult fans of the show will probably be disappointed, but middle school readers might think it is just right.  Three stars from me, but the reviewers at Goodreads scored just under four stars.

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Goodreads Summary

Red is 16 and lives with Granny in a cottage in the village, where boarding up the house and hiding during Wolfstime is a means of survival. Red help’s Granny with Granny’s baked good business, catering as well as door-to-door sales.

Red has a constant internal battle between her wild side and her strict, overprotective upbringing, and the issue of “control” as she discovers she has a hot temper when the “mean girls” push her too far. (“When we learn to control it, we needn’t fear it,” Rumpelstiltskin says in the series.) She has flashbacks to her 13th year when she received her cloak and the nickname “Red.”

She is plagued by nightmares that she doesn’t understand, but the Once Upon a Time fans will recognize them as her wolf side coming out.

Red balances the difficult times with Granny at home and the girls at school with an emerging and satisfying romance with Peter.

My Thoughts

This book is definitely going to be most appealing to middle school readers.  The conflicts are firmly middle school territory – mean girls, jealousy, disagreements with Granny.  Red is angsty and impulsive.  She has an irritating habit of doing the opposite of what she is told because she thinks she knows best, and that leads her to drugging Granny so she can sneak out, stealing so she doesn’t have to explain how the mean girls got the better of her, and wandering into the woods at the height of wolf season to make a deal with a strange magician.  I found the pace to be a little slow, and my interest drifted as Red mostly got tormented or yelled at by Granny for a majority of the book.  Peter admired her and had a knack of showing up just when she needed him most, and their slow blossoming relationship is sweet if unrelentingly G rated.  I think that this book is trying to give fans of Once Upon a Time an origin story for Red, but I haven’t seen the show since the first season, and I didn’t really connect it to the show until I finished reading.  Perhaps avid viewers would find this story fascinating, but I thought it was fairly mundane and dull.  Through flashbacks, readers learn about how Red got her nickname and how she came to own her red riding hood.  In the course of the story, readers also discover a little about Red’s parents and their deaths.  I’m not sure if anyone really desperately wanted this  background information because most of it can be inferred, but just in case you did – here.  As an adult reader, I was underwhelmed.  A lot of the story seemed very ordinary and nothing about Red really stood out as a narrative voice.  The plot line is rather predictable, and the resolution is sweet enough to give you a tooth ache, but wholly unrealistic.  I can’t help but think that this book is forgettable in a genre full of more memorable and distinct female fairytale protagonists.  I can’t even begin to guess how much context is lost on me simply because I haven’t followed the show, but I can’t help but imagine that adult readers who look to this book because of their love of Once Upon A Time will be a little disappointed.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

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Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

This writer isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea.  I knew from her last novel,  This Song Will Save Your Life, that Leila Sales wasn’t afraid to shun the warrior woman in favor of a more realistic, passive protagonist. It wasn’t really surprising to find that her second book featured a girl who felt like she was at the mercy of everyone around her.  I think that there are a lot more girls who will see themselves in Arden than, say, Katniss Everdean.  I thought the beginning of this book was boring, but the ending made up for it.  I did give it three stars, but they were a good three stars.  In my opinion, this is a book you snatch up from the library, but I’m not sure it is a hardback you need hanging around forever.

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Goodreads Summary

From the author of This Song Will Save Your Life comes a funny and relatable book about the hazards of falling for a person you haven’t met yet.

Seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley is recklessly loyal. Taking care of her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But she’s tired of being loyal to people who don’t appreciate her—including her needy best friend and her absent mom.
Arden finds comfort in a blog she stumbles upon called “Tonight the Streets Are Ours,” the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter. When Peter is dumped by the girlfriend he blogs about, Arden decides to take a road trip to see him.
During one crazy night out in NYC filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

My Thoughts

Arden’s crippling weakness is her belief that she is meant to nurture, even when it costs her more than she should reasonably give.  Her journey in this book is about learning to balance personal needs with self-sacrifice.  The problem was that the author took almost half of the book to set this journey up.  The exposition is entirely too long, and I quickly grew tired of the story, but the second half of this novel is entirely the opposite.  Once Arden actually decides she has had enough, the pace quickly becomes much more engaging.  Her one night in New York is just as fun, unpredictable, and enlightening as any reader could want.  I think this author excels when the time frame is compressed, and I hate that the endless weeks leading up to the important night might have readers stopping before they get to the best part.  The ending left me feeling good, so I was left with a positive impression of this book as a whole.  I think this story can appeal to a wide audience.  There are any number of nice, selfless girls who will see themselves in Arden, and they can also see that you don’t have to change who you fundamentally are as a person to get what you want and need out of life.  That is an honest and realistic message that many readers can take to heart.  There is also a message in there about seeing all sides of a story.  Arden invests her time in a blog, and she becomes attached to her idea of what the author is like without having any real interaction with him at all.  This is an all too common experience in the digital age – people feel like they have a relationship because they are interacting emotionally.  It can lead to some very dark and dangerous places.  I’m not altogether sure that this book stresses exactly how dangerous Arden’s actions were, it actually romanticized it to some degree, so even though she learned the lesson about beware the people you believe on the internet, I wasn’t convinced she learned the beware of people you meet on the internet lesson.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.