Your next beach read is here, party people.
I was originally going to wait until I ordered this for my library and read it (steal it, let’s be honest) before I gave it to the kids. After seeing a few reviews though, I went ahead and pre-ordered it. What drew me in? Most reviews have compared this to Revenge (I mean, if it was a YA book). And let me tell you, I love Revenge.
So here’s the gist: Frances is on a cruise ship with her parents when it is attacked. She and another girl, Libby, manage to escape. When they are rescued from their lifeboat, only Frances is alive. She finds out that the attack is being played off as a capsizing, and that somehow an important political figure also “miraculously” survived. She puts into motion a plan fueled by rage – she will find out what really happened and make the responsible parties pay.
This book has mystery, intrigue, romance, action, and lots of twists. I suspect that your only beef will be, as was the case with me, that it ends.
The Conspiracy of Us is a fast-paced, action-packed YA book. Avery is a teenager who has never known her father. She and her mother have moved around a lot, and as is typical for a lot of YA plot lines, she tries not to get too close to anyone. Here is where it gets interesting: a cute new boy at her school seems to be spying on her. When she goes against her mother’s wishes to go to prom with him, Avery is whisked away to Europe. She finds out that this mysterious stranger works for basically a secret society of families that run the world behind the scenes, and that she is part of one of those families. Of course, once she makes it to Europe she realizes her life is in danger.
The good: tons of action. Enough plot twists to keep the reader engaged. A cliffhanger leaves the reader wanting more.
The not-so-good: Underdeveloped characters. The book really just jumps right into the action, which from a librarian perspective is actually not bad. Honestly, when it comes to reading for pleasure a lot of kids want something that keeps their attention from page 1. They will not mind underdeveloped characters. I, however, would like more information on Avery and her mother. You get a lot of information (kind of) about the society of families, but nothing about the mother. I am hoping she plays a larger roll in the sequel.
Overall, this book is entertaining enough and my students are hooked. This might be something to throw in your beach bag!
I have been anxiously awaiting The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. I ordered a few copies for my library and took one home last weekend to preview it.
Mare lives in a world divided by blood: those who bleed red (Reds) and those who bleed silver (Silvers). She is born a Red, and all Reds are forced to live in poverty, scraping by and succumbing to the king’s will, whatever it may be (obviously, he is a Silver). At the age of eighteen all Reds who are not employed are conscripted, or forced to join the army. They are fighting a centuries-old battle for the Silvers. Mare is simply waiting out the clock until she is inevitably conscripted. However, one night she meets a mysterious stranger and the next day she is offered a job at the palace.
As it turns out, Mare has a certain power that she did not know about; and, it is a power that could bring Silvers to their knees.
That is all I am going to tell you about the book. Seriously. It is a decent YA dystopian novel, albeit not terribly original. Mare reminds me a little of Tris in Divergent, Katniss in The Hunger Games, and America in The Selection. The darkness of the whole plot was reminiscent of Marie Lu’s Young Elites. It has a ton of action and plenty of plot twists, but does not develop the background story or the characters all that well. It is an easy (as in you will get really into it and not realize that hours have passed) read and I devoured it, and will probably even read the second installment, which is very rare for me with YA series.
And I mean seriously, HOW GORGEOUS is that cover?
Right before Winter Break I was reading through several “best of the year” book lists and came across a summary of The Vanishing Season. I was all, “That sounds awesome! Why didn’t I buy it for my library?” Then I checked my catalog and lo and behold, I did buy it. I am not sure how this one slipped past me without me reading it yet, so I added it to the top of my Winter Break reading queue.
This book was reminiscent of Lauren Oliver’s Rooms (a YA version, of course), Elizabeth LaBan’s The Tragedy Paper, and Mary Downing Hahn’s Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls. A ghost living in the basement of a Door County, Wisconsin home sees that girls are being kidnapped and later showing up dead in the lake. Meanwhile, Maggie and her family have moved into the ghost’s house from Chicago after falling on hard times. Maggie becomes friends with the beautiful and quirky girl next door and the quiet, strange boy who lives through the woods. The ghost knows she is tied to these teens, but does not realize exactly how until it is too late.
My opinion? I really like this for older middle school and high school readers. The author paints a beautiful picture of a tight-knit small town that has suddenly become cold and dangerous. The characters are believable, and readers will be hooked as they try to uncover the killer. I cannot wait to (finally) return this to school and get it in the hands of my students.
I have been thinking about starting a blog for a while now, and the beginning of the new year seemed like the perfect time to jump in. Every article I read about blogging recommended that bloggers stick with one topic per blog. I, however, could not decide between my two favorite things: cooking (let’s be real, that is a favorite because I love EATING) and reading. Ergo, Lit and Lemons was born! Thanks for stopping and reading, and be sure to check back for recipe ideas and book recommendations.