A Teenage Vow of Silence

SPEECHLESSBig thanks to Harlequin Teen for sending me a copy of Speechless via The Book Bloggers of Ontario Meet-Up in exchange for an honest review.

When I picked up Hannah Harrington‘s Speechless, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But it really blew me away with its hard lessons and loveable characters.

Chelsea Knot is the popular girl’s best friend. Even if you’ve been out of high school for a while, you probably remember who the “popular” kids were. Maybe you guys were chummy or maybe they terrorized you. But as the bff, Chelsea tells her Queen Bee everything.

So when she walks in on two male classmates making out in the bathroom, she tells everyone at the party. Later that night, a couple jocks decide to beat one of their gay classmates until he is hospitalized. Chelsea finds out and spills the beans to her parents. After some pretty grim repercussions, Chelsea decides to take a vow of silence.

SPEECH_silenceI loved this story. Learning to keep your mouth shut is hard at any age. And while homophobia may be what started the conflict, the story is ultimately about finding yourself. Chelsea’s oath of silence is part punishment and part contemplation. In the end, she does more than realize her wrongs, she figures out what kind of person she really is: the kind that isn’t defined by popularity.

I recommend this for queen bees and wannabes, and every girl that knows what it’s like to be either.

 

SPEECH_sitwithSPEECH_lohan

Photo credits: diaryofahouseelf.wordpress.com, herblog.com

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Reading Sever (Book III) of The Chemical Garden Trilogy

SEVERIt’s no secret that I love Lauren DeStefano’s The Chemical Garden Trilogy.

I’ve already written rave reviews for Wither (Book I) and Fever (Book II) and I knew it’d be a long wait for the last book Sever.

But the book blogging gods were on my side and I received an ARC of Sever last month. I am currently writing with bloodshot eyes because I started reading Sever last night and can’t put it down.

Somebody stage an intervention. After I’m done. I have about 100 pages to go.

The book has already answered a lot of outstanding questions from the other books. For one, we’ll finally learn what Chemical Gardens are AND we’ll find out more about Rhine’s parents. Have I said too much? My review will be posted early in the new year.

Oh and I asked DeStefano what her plans were after Sever is released and she mentioned something about a “Super Secret Story”. Look forward to seeing more from her.

Sever is scheduled to be out on February 12th, 2013 and it’s totally pre-order material.

apples

Photo credits: pinterest.com, scrubsandpearls.tumblr.com

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Likeable characters but too many gods in Starling

Thank you to HarperCollins for giving me a copy of Starling in exchange for an honest review.

Out of my massive bag of goodies from the Ontario Book Blogger Meet-Up, I picked up Lesley Livingston’s Starling first. And to be honest, there was no particular reason for this – I was heading out to a specialist appointment and I knew there would be waiting. And well, the doctor didn’t disappoint. After two hours in his waiting room, I was half way through the book. Gotta love YA.

I thought Starling was pretty good – not amazing, but good. The cast of characters are likeable enough. Mason Starling’s amazing fencing skills and extreme claustrophobia (which comes with a pretty awful back story) made me want to root for her. I even liked Calum, the beautiful boy who will now have to live with a scar on his face from fighting weird monsters.

The nod to Norse mythology and the Ragnarok a.k.a Viking apocalypse also added a few nice twists especially towards the end. And there is BIG cliffhanger at the end.

But I thought the writing was really awkward in the beginning – to the point where it was hard to understand the plot. Also, one of the main characters and love interest, Fennrys Wolf is ridiculously boring.

I also thought Livingston tried too hard to work in the mythology. There was just a crazy smattering of deities and monsters from Norse, Greek, Egyptian and Celtic mythology worked into the story and some of them didn’t seem to contribute to the plot in any specific way.

One of the magical things about Harry Potter is that even though JK Rowling introduces you to so many new things, you know they all come into play later in the story. But with Starling, you’re stuck asking yourself WHY you had to read those pages.

But thanks to the big cliffhanger, I will have to read the next book. Seriously, either kill off the Fennrys Wolf or make him more interesting, k thx.

Photo credits: blue-eyed-babe.tumblr.com, notcot.com

Why you should read The Hunger Games

In my recent Read it 1st post, I wrote that once I’ve watched the movie, I’m usually not interested in reading the book. But I did the opposite with The Hunger Games because well, the movie made me hungry for more.

So while you made not have read The Hunger Games first, I suggest that you read it next. Even those of you who were not big fans of the movie should consider reading the book.

Here’s why (movie spoiler alert!):

  • Katniss Everdeen is so much more kick-ass in the book. She’s not nearly as sexy as movie Katniss – she is a starving teenager, after all – but she’s 10X stronger, smarter, better (work it, over).

  • You learn much more about Rue. I saw the movie with my cousin who concluded that he didn’t care so much when Rue dies partly because he nothing about her. The book covers off who Rue is and why her death is a bigger tragedy to Katniss compared to all the other deaths.

Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen

  • The book tells you much more about the history of The Hunger Games. The creation is darker than the movie portrays. In fact, there’s a much more sinister element to the authorities running the Capitol that the movie doesn’t explain so well.

  • It’s gorey. The movie had to be kept PG-13 so the young’uns could see it in theatres but the book doesn’t hold back. After all, kids are ruthless without having to fight to the death.
  • The book explains sponsors. I had no idea what exactly the sponsors did during the movie. I kept waiting for them to parachute in a bottle of Coca-Cola or a Hewlett-Packard Printer.
  • Peeta is not nearly as useless. The movie reduced Peeta to sad, wounded and weak. The book shows that Peeta is more brains than brawns but he has what Katniss doesn’t: charisma.

  • There’s already a second and third book. That’s right. The movie leaves you hanging but the books keep going! And that was my biggest motivation to read it.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. Despite the many comparisons to Lord of the Flies and Battle Royale, I liked the back story behind The Hunger Games more. And I love the character of Katniss. I also full out cried when Rue died but I cry through a lot of movies.

Just a word of warning though – Hunger Games makes up for some really horrible writing with an awesome story. But the writing is horrendous – worst than Harry Potter. Once you get past this, you will enjoy the story.

I’ve already started the second book and I’m happy to report that the story is possibly, even better than the first.

Photo credits: designcrushblog.com, someecards.com, vanityfair.com

Cast of Hunger Games