Tag Archives: romance

We Are Still Tornadoes 

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We Are Still Tornadoes 

What a fun read!  We Are Still Tornadoes is funny and smart and sweet in all the right places.  This is a five star read that will engage a broad audience.  Lived through the eighties?  You will appreciate the references.  Just lived your first year away from home?  You will be so connected.  It wasn’t what I expected, but it turned out to be exactly what I wanted.


Goodreads Summary

It’s the summer of 1982, and for Scott and Cath, everything is about to change.

Growing up across the street from each other, Scott and Cath have been best friends for most of their lives. Now they’ve graduated high school, and Cath is off to college while Scott stays at home trying to get his band off the ground. Neither of them realized that their first year after high school would be so hard.

Fortunately, Scott and Cath still have each other, and it’s through their letters that they survive heartache, annoying roommates, family dramas, and the pressure of figuring out what to do with the rest of their lives. And through it all, they realize that the only person they’ve ever wanted to turn to is each other. But does that mean they should think about being more than friends? One thing is clear: Change is an inescapable part of growing up, and we share unbreakable bonds with the friends who help us navigate it.

My Thoughts

I’m always cautious about novels that are in the format of letters – it is easy to loose character voices or skimp on the  imagery when forced to rely only on the words the characters actually commit to the page.  I can honestly say that nothing was lost in this book.  Cath and Scott are vivid and distinct voices, and their letters make it easy to picture exactly what is taking place both within and between the lines.  I was quickly drawn into their dramas and their daily lives alike.  Their comraderie shines through every exchange, and it is charming.  The story their exchanges tell is a universal one – it is the story of growing up and seeing things through a new, more adult perspective.  While I think my high school readers will enjoy this book, it will really hit the mark with the new adults and beyond crowd because this is the audience who will better understand what Cath and Scott are going through the first year out of high school.  I’m adding it to my high school classroom library wish list, but this is also one I would definitely recommend to my adult friends, especially those who enjoyed Rainbow Rowell’s Attachments. Language and situations are appropriate for mature high school readers.

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

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If you liked Red Rising, give Jenny Moyer’s Flashfall a look

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If you liked Red Rising, give Jenny Moyer’s Flashfall a look

Jenny Moyer’s Flashfall had a premise that reminded me of Red Rising, one of my favorite books, so I was pretty excited to get my hands on it.  I wasn’t disappointed.  I definitely got vibes of both Red Rising and The Hunger Games from the opening scenes and the initial situation, but I’m also glad to say that this story really did have something new to offer fans.  There is all the rebellion, action, and adventure I crave, but there is also a fresh storyline with some unexpected developments.  I gave Flashfall four stars, but the more impressive endorsement is that I have had a hard time keeping it in my classroom library.  I recommended it to one kid, and I haven’t seen it on the shelf since – word of mouth has kept it in high demand.  I’m really surprised there hasn’t been bigger buzz about this one, so if you missed it when it published in November, it is worth your time to check it out.

 

Goodreads Summary

Orion is a Subpar, expected to mine the tunnels of Outpost Five, near the deadly flash curtain. For generations, her people have chased cirium—the only element that can shield humanity from the curtain’s radioactive particles. She and her caving partner Dram work the most treacherous tunnel, fighting past flash bats and tunnel gulls, in hopes of mining enough cirium to earn their way into the protected city.

But when newcomers arrive at Outpost Five, Orion uncovers disturbing revelations that make her question everything she thought she knew about life on both sides of the cirium shield. As conditions at the outpost grow increasingly dangerous, it’s up to Orion to forge a way past the flashfall, beyond all boundaries, beyond the world as she knows it. 

My Thoughts

Orion is a strong female protagonist with an admirable goal and a strong protective drive for the people she loves. She is easy to empathize with, and she is flawed enough to be believable.  The relationships in the story are engaging, and the romance is developed slowly enough to feel right.  I think the biggest draw for readers, though, will be the fast pace of the story – the action is pretty constant and the threat is real.  While I feel like the overarching world building is a bit fuzzy – I never quite understood exactly why Orion and her family were being used to mine this particular substance, or even where or when the story was set – I was still quite happy to just enjoy the story.  I will definitely be on the lookout for the sequel.  Fans of dystopia won’t be disappointed.    Language and situations are appropriate for grades 7+, but adult readers of YA can enjoy it as well. 

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

Wintersong by S. Jae-James might just enchant you

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Wintersong by S. Jae-James might just enchant you

I have had a long standing fascination with the Goblin King, and S. Jae-Jones’ Wintersong seemed like just the book I would adore.  I wasn’t far from the mark.  Fans of my childhood obsession, Labyrinth, and Christina Rosetti’s Goblin Market will find that Wintersong is the right blend of dark and light.  If you like the Stolen Songbird series or The Hollow Kingdom series, you will want to see what this book has to offer.  I will say this felt a little heavier than your average YA, something I wasn’t prepared for, but that isn’t necessarily a negative.  I gave this book four stars.


Goodreads Summary

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world. 

My Thoughts

This book is a lot of work to read.  The ornate writing is full of vivid imagery and the historical setting is carefull detailed and crafted, but those two characteristics will be a turn off for some readers.  The central issue, the gender of the main character, is going to be lost on many modern readers who don’t feel their gender really limits their options.  Still, it is a fairy tale bound to enchant, particularly older readers who grew up watching Labrinyth and thinking about the seductive goblin king.  The book does play heavy on the sacrifices that love demands, and that dramatic and heart-wrenching romance could appeal to teen readers, but this feels like a story that will appeal to adult readers of YA more than actual YA readers.  Some sensuality and situations means this is best for the older high school crowd.

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

The Impostor Queen 

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The Impostor Queen 

This isn’t a new story – it is clearly playing on the trope where the pampered/sheltered girl is forced to make her way in the world when a disaster thrusts her out of her comfort zone and into real life.  The story is recognizable despite the magical embellishment, but that is okay because I happen to like this trope.  The packaging may not disguise, but it does make a familiar story more appealing.   I gave this book four stars despite the fact that it got a little draggy at some points.

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Goodreads Summary

Sixteen-year-old Elli was only a child when the Elders of Kupari chose her to succeed the Valtia, the queen who wields infinitely powerful ice and fire magic in service of her people. The only life Elli has known has been in the temple, surrounded by luxury, tutored by magic-wielding priests, preparing for the day when the queen perishes—and the ice and fire find a new home in Elli, who is prophesied to be the most powerful Valtia to ever rule.

But when the queen dies defending the kingdom from invading warriors, the magic doesn’t enter Elli. It’s nowhere to be found.

Disgraced, Elli flees to the outlands, home of banished criminals—some who would love to see the temple burn with all its priests inside. As she finds her footing in this new world, Elli uncovers devastating new information about the Kupari magic, those who wield it, and the prophecy that foretold her destiny. Torn between her love for her people and her growing loyalty to the banished, Elli struggles to understand the true role she was meant to play. But as war looms, she must choose the right side before the kingdom and its magic are completely destroyed.

My Thoughts

Elli, the protagonist didn’t waste time being snotty and selfish about her changed circumstances – she comes across as a empathetic and genuinely good person almost from the start.  She may be a bit too good for some readers, but she was raised to see herself as a protector, first and foremost, of the kingdom, so of course she hesitates at plots that threaten to bring only chaos and destruction to her land.  And it is a fully realized world that she is tasked with protecting.  The social, political, and magical structure of this setting is well developed and thoughtful. It feels believable and, while it does have some problems, the people who populate it are as good and evil as any place you want to point to on a map today.  It wasn’t a stylized dystopian, and that is something I think most readers will appreciate.

Despite these positive points, I did think the pacing was a little slow.  It certainly devoted enough time to developing complex characters and relationships, and there is action throughout, but I found myself growing a little bored as I slowly peeled back the layers to reveal what was really happening – this is mostly due to the fact that the mentor figure disappears for several months in the middle of the book, leaving characters and readers in the dark.  This time was used to build a romance and to develop a nuanced cast, but it was a bit of a lull for me.

As far as the romance goes, it was one I enjoyed.  It was carefully staged to grow from friendship into something more intimate without jumping straight into instant devotion.  It had enough conflict to keep me engaged.  As a matter of fact, it was this relationship that kept me reading when my irritation at the stall in the bigger plot threatened my interest.

Overall, I think this book will appeal to many of my high school readers, particularly those who enjoy books like Sara Raasch’s Snow Like Ashes.  I’m adding it to my high school classroom library wish list.  Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers.

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

The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney – a light but engaging YA paranormal

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The Secret Life of Sparrow Delaney – a light but engaging YA paranormal

When I read the premise for this book, I thought it sounded a bit like The Raven Boys, one of my favorite books ever.  It promised a house full of generational psychics and a narrator desperate to live any other life.  It sounded promising, but the thing was that it only took a few minutes to forget what I wanted the book to be.  I just embraced what I was given – quirky characters, persistent ghosts, and a girl facing a crossroads.

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Goodreads Summary

In high school, the last thing you want is for people to think you talk to ghosts.

When Sparrow begins tenth grade at a huge new school full of strangers, she thinks her dreams of anonymity and a fresh start are finally coming true. No more following in her six older sisters’ footsteps. No more going to class with kids who’ve seen her grandma doing jujitsu in the front yard next to the headstones of her four dead husbands. And no more worrying about keeping her deep, dark secret hidden.

Sparrow makes a new best friend and has her eye on an irritatingly appealing guy in her history class. She feels like she’s well on her way to a normal life. But it’s another boy–a dead one–who wants Sparrow’s attention, and he won’t let her be till she’s helped him Move On.

You see, Sparrow Delaney’s secret is that she’s a psychic. And there’s one very persistent ghost who won’t let her forget it.

My Thoughts

The biggest strength of this book is the narrator, Sparrow, who manages to make her unique concerns feel universally understandable.  She is bent on resisting the path laid out for her by her grandmother, her spirit guides, and even the (mis)fortune of her birth – she is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter. She just wants to be normal, something most YA’s will understand.  I liked her voice, I loved her delightfully strange and interesting family, and I even understood her reluctance to let go of the lie she has used to shield herself for a decade.  The message, be true to yourself, might be an old one, but it is one that is paired well with Sparrow’s experience.

There isn’t really a mystery here – when folks show up as ghosts, it is clear they are dead.  We are even given a pretty clear picture of how.  The true question in this book is if Sparrow will cling to her story for the sake of being “normal” or if she will embrace the possibilities and purpose inherent in her gifts.

I genuinely enjoyed this book, enough to see if it had any companion books (not that I can find).  It isn’t the most complex story, and it definitely had a lighter tone than I expected, but it left me feeling satisfied and like the time I spent reading it was worth it.  I found this book on the Overdrive library that my high school maintains, so it was free (always a bonus), but if I had paid the $3.99 for the ebook, I still would have felt it was money well spent.  This is a clean read with no language and a chaste romance.  It is gentle enough for middle school readers, easy to connect with for older YA readers, and just funny enough that I found it engaging as an adult.

This book is available through Overdrive in the MHS library.

Jane Steele – Jane Eyre reimagined as a serial killer.  Yeah.  You want it.

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Jane Steele – Jane Eyre reimagined as a serial killer.  Yeah.  You want it.

Having taught Jane Eyre for several years, I found the premise of a serial killing Jane quite amusing.  I have often wanted to knock off a few characters myself, so it sounded like a good time.  It really was.  While this book does maintain some of the bones of the original Gothic romance, all of the stupid sentimentality and dithering heroine mess are pushed aside.  Of course, that means some of the major themes that made Jane Eyre a book of its time are missing as well, but this is, by far, a more satisfying read for a modern sensibility.  While this isn’t a YA read, so many YA readers felt tortured by the classic, I felt compelled to pass this on.

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Goodreads Summary

A reimagining of Jane Eyre as a gutsy, heroic serial killer, from the author whose work The New York Times described as “riveting” and The Wall Street Journal called “thrilling.”

“Young Jane Steele’s favorite book, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, mirrors her life both too little and too much…In an arresting tale of dark humor and sometimes gory imagination, Faye has produced a heroine worthy of the gothic literature canon but reminiscent of detective fiction.”

—Library Journal, Starred Review

“Reader, I murdered him.”

A sensitive orphan, Jane Steele suffers first at the hands of her spiteful aunt and predatory cousin, then at a grim school where she fights for her very life until escaping to London, leaving the corpses of her tormentors behind her. After years of hiding from the law while penning macabre “last confessions” of the recently hanged, Jane thrills at discovering an advertisement. Her aunt has died and her childhood home has a new master: Mr. Charles Thornfield, who seeks a governess.

Burning to know whether she is in fact the rightful heir, Jane takes the position incognito, and learns that Highgate House is full of marvelously strange new residents—the fascinating but caustic Mr. Thornfield, an army doctor returned from the Sikh Wars, and the gracious Sikh butler Mr. Sardar Singh, whose history with Mr. Thornfield appears far deeper and darker than they pretend. As Jane catches ominous glimpses of the pair’s violent history and falls in love with the gruffly tragic Mr. Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him—body, soul, and secrets—without revealing her own murderous past?

A satirical romance about identity, guilt, goodness, and the nature of lies, by a writer who Matthew Pearl calls “superstar-caliber” and whose previous works Gillian Flynn declared “spectacular,” Jane Steele is a brilliant and deeply absorbing book inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s classic Jane Eyre.

My Thoughts

At first, I thought this would be a dark mirror image of the classic tale, and that can be boring.  The events paralleled but with some twists.  Eventually, though, this work became its own, and I thought the last half was a spectacular adventure/mystery.  On top of that, this story has a much more exotic and engaging love interest.  (Sorry, Rochester, but you kind of always gave me the creeps anyway). This is really what got my stamp of approval. Without killing the suspense or even the angst, the author manages to create a very compelling , somewhat bloodthirsty and  thoroughly sigh worthy love story.

I thought this was a great romp through sacred literary fields, but there were some things that might keep you from having as much fun as I did.  First, the language is elevated and that means you have to think a little bit.  The same issue stumps many would-be readers of Jane Eyre, so I’m just putting it out there.  Second, there is a decidedly dark sensuality in this read.  Charlotte Bronte definitely didn’t use some of these words and images, so prepare yourself for some more modern expressions of sexuality.  Somehow these things seem so much more scandalous and wicked when placed in this context, so I thought it was a little shocking, but nothing I couldn’t handle.  If you are my grandmother and believe that we are all ruining the world with the acknowledgement that people have fantasies and sex, you probably can’t handle it.

Overall, I enjoyed this read enough to finish it in a day.  I think that it would make a nice parallel text and an interesting study in theme for a college class, but I’m not sure it would be as well received by my high school readers.  I would definitely consider it for a book club read because there are lots of topics for discussion.  I do think you can enjoy this book without having studied Jane Eyre, but watching the movie (the one with Michael Fassbender, of course) might help you make a few important connections and increase your appreciation for its rather irreverent twists.

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

The Star-Touched Queen – a fever dream of Indian folklore and mythology

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The Star-Touched Queen – a fever dream of Indian folklore and mythology

In The Star-Touched Queen,  lush descriptions and exotic details are paired with an epic and mythical feel to create a beautiful book with a really cool story nestled inside.  This book has both content and style, and yet I would hesitate to hand it to just anyone because the style will overwhelm some readers.

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Goodreads Summary

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

A lush and vivid story that is steeped in Indian folklore and mythology. The Star-Touched Queen is a novel that no reader will soon forget.

My Thoughts

It felt like a fever dream.  Things would inexplicably shift and I wasn’t always sure what had happened or why.  Neither was the narrator, and yet she kept forging ahead while I was left a beat behind, still trying to explain what she just accepted.  It reads like a lot of the world literature works I teach, and if you are not willing to just accept some strange elements popping up and go with the flow, it may leave you frustrated.  I think the biggest hurdle appears shortly before the main character faces a monumental decision, and as the story got murkier and more mystical, I felt that a lot of my high school students would close the book and move on.   That would be a shame because the resolution is satisfying, but I know my students well enough to say it would be the breaking point.  There is an audience for this book, and I certainly see it garnering awards.  I think it would be a great book to push readers to a new level.  However, I can’t see it being a book that gets more attention from YA readers than from adult readers of YA.  It is appropriate for high school readers.

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

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

If you know me and my books at all, you know I cannot resist a time travel story, and there have been many of them to choose from this year.  While this wasn’t my favorite (that was Into the Dim if you were wondering), it was certainly the one that provoked the most thought.  Complex and thoughtful, I believe this book will have a wide appeal.

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Goodreads Summary

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.

My Thoughts

This book has a slow start despite the action the protagonist finds herself thrown into within the first few chapters.  It gradually picks up steam, and readers who stick with it long enough will find a very compelling adventure full of love, betrayal, and time travel to far flung reaches.  Etta and Nicholas are the major players in this story, and their relationship is complicated by a variety of surprising elements that make for suspense and uncertainty right up until the final moments of the book.  While Etta is the protagonist, I actually think readers will find Nicholas the more complex and intriguing character – his backstory is heartbreaking and well developed.  He adds some needed diversity to the YA literary scene, and his situation will inspire some thoughtful consideration.  He will also allow this book to be one that my high school guys can enjoy as much as my high school girls.

Etta is a less well drawn character.  Her motivation in the book is  a little at odds with the initial image readers are given of her relationship to her mother.  She does, however, find a lot of growth as a result of her experiences and she has a determination and loyalty that will play well with the female YA demographic.  While I didn’t feel an intense connection with her, I think others will.

The plot is one that takes a bit of unravelling.  Readers will have to invest a bit of time to get the payoff, but I think it is worth the effort.  At times the romantic relationship took a frustrating amount of time, and that slowed the action, but it does create a more complex story and I think most YA readers will appreciate the time dedicated to developing this sub-plot.  I do think a bit more time could be spent explaining the time traveling concept, but it is clear enough for readers who can suspend disbelief and just roll with it.  My impression is that this is a purposeful lack of detail, one that will come into play as the series evolves.  I say that because the story does end with a clear arrow pointing towards more books. While it isn’t a terrible cliff-hanger of a “resolution,” it does leave the reader with unresolved conflicts, and that irritates some people beyond reason.  I wasn’t outraged, but I will be anticipating the next book starting today.

Overall, I think fans of all ages and both genders will find something to enjoy in this book.  I’m certainly adding it to my classroom library wish list and recommending it to fans of time travel and action reads.  Language and situations are appropriate for grades 7+.

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

In Mystique, Shari Arnold’s newest YA, you really can’t keep a dead guy down.

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In Mystique, Shari Arnold’s newest YA, you really can’t keep a dead guy down.

I really enjoyed Shari Arnold’s  Neverland.  It was magical and unexpected.  I had high hopes for Mistique, but I have to say I was disappointed.  While I liked the concept (big Les Revenants fan here), this story just didn’t come together for me.  However, this book, which does feel like a YA Stephen King concept, might really appeal to you.  I mean, essentially this whole town becomes the less evil equivalent of the Pet Cemetery, which is pretty cool.  I also do have to say that it got me thinking about how wild it would be if you had a town that could resurrect the dead, and Arnold does a good job of really making that chaos of hope and desperation come alive.

Mystique is publishing Tuesday, November 13, 2015.

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Goodreads Summary

Only Bauer Grant can pull off gorgeous while dead. But staying dead is another thing entirely. When he wakes up at his own funeral, the town of Mystique calls it a miracle, until it happens again. Something is bringing the residents of Mystique back to life, but what? Presley Caine finds herself caught up in the mystery when Bauer asks her to visit him. Presley can’t figure out why the most popular guy in school is so drawn to her. And when Bauer is kidnapped soon after, she looks to Bauer’s brooding best friend Sam, whose dad works for the powerful Mystique military base, for answers. In her quest to discover the truth, Presley’s relationship with Sam deepens, her feelings for Bauer are tested, and it becomes clear that her own mysterious past is somehow connected to these strange events. But is she strong enough to handle the truth when it is finally revealed?

My Thoughts

I think my problem really started with the things that left me feeling disbelief for too long at the very beginning of the book.  It started with a question about embalming – a small detail, but a really big stumbling block for me.  How can a kid wake up at his own funeral and not have his eyes glued closed or his lips sewn shut?  Did he still have a heart?  Didn’t they drain his blood and pump him full of chemicals?  Yes, these are the things I think about.  Anxiety takes many fun forms.  This is finally addressed chapters later, and a weak explanation was offered, but it was already too late.  I had lost a little faith in the story.  When that was compounded by the seemingly inconceivable insta-connection Bauer felt for Presley, I really struggled to stick this one out.  The connection was eventually explained, but, again, my ability to suspend disbelief was already gone.  I didn’t trust the story, and I just never really settled in after that.  I did still see a bit of what I most enjoyed about Neverland in this book – the relationship between Sam and Presely was one I could get lost in.  I think that is really what the author excels at – sweet and carefully drawn connections between her main characters.  However, I struggled with the relationships of her more minor characters in this book.  I think this is a result of the way Presely connected with them, which created a one sided and surface friendship, but it didn’t work for me.  Overall, I was able to enjoy the book when it focused on Sam and Presley, but I felt like when that focus shifted, I was reading a book that just didn’t quite gel.  Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers.

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