*I received an e-arc from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion
Three years after the Virgil County High School Massacre. Three years since Lee’s best friend Sarah was killed in a bathroom stall. A story that gripped the nation. Sarah died proclaiming her faith. Spoke to the killer when no one else did. Except she didn’t. And three years later, only two people know the truth. Lee didn’t say anything then, and now even more people are going to get hurt. This is Lee’s final chance to set the record straight on everything.
School shooting survivor Lee begins to collect the stories of what happened that day. Letters by the very people who suffered. And slowly she realises that what everyone thought happened that day didn’t. Each new letter reveals something new, telling what the headlines didn’t show. And the survivors must come to terms with what they did or didn’t do.
* I received a copy of The Unit from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.
Set in future where the elderly become dispensable (women at 50, men at 60) and are placed into the Reserve Bank Unit where they’re expected to live the rest of their lives. They’re fed well, clothed and have access to many social activities. In return for the comfortable lifestyle, they must partake in medical trials and donate their organs when needed until the final one. The longer you contribute, the longer you live.
The Unit is quite sad since it asks the question of what makes a person indispensable? Why does someone’s life mean less because it doesn’t conform to what’s required? And the government in this book tries to cover it up by treating the people who enter the Unit well. There are a few sweet moments as Dorrit makes new friends and finds a love she never had outside and despite the circumstances, they have a place where they finally fit.
The Unit is an interesting idea but there were so many plot holes and moments of ambiguity that brought down the story a lot.
Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3/5)
If One of Us is Lying was a tv show, everyone would’ve finished the entire series in a day. (Most likely would receive similar hype as Riverdale and 13RW) Five students enter detentions, but only four come out alive and become prime suspects for the death of the fifth person. Simon, the one who died, ran a blog that exposed everyone’s dirty secrets and had a secret for each suspect. McManus did a damn good job in this. Using very stereotypical aspects of a high school, she gave the characters more depth and substance than I had expected. McManus is very good at writing suspense and making the reader question everything. It’s sort of a mash up between The Breakfast Club, Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars.
But that’s all the good things I have to say about the series. The first half was thrilling and fun but towards the end it became so disappointing. Using someone’s sexuality and having them be outed against their will shouldn’t have been treated as a plot twist. Their sexuality shouldn’t be something shocking. Also, villainising mental illness was an instant no-no for me. (Trina @ Between Chapters has a more thorough review. There was another I had read but I’ll link once I find it again)
Content warning: a character being outed against their will, harmful rep of mental illness.
[So I actually wrote this review back in November, but for some reason, I lost it in my drafts and forgot to publish it]
Replica follows the lives of two seemingly different girls – Lyra, a test subject locked away in a research facility, and Gemma, a lonely teen whose investigation in her family’s past leads to her meeting Lyra and slowly unravelling the truth behind her family.
I tried, really tried, to read and enjoy this. I truly did. Its plot and concept from the outside scream a perfect read for me. Especially with the creative layout, the book can be read from one POV or alternative. I set myself up to read an excellent book, but it just didn’t grab my attention.
You get the impression of an exciting sci-fi novel, but it’s just a very cheesy YA romance with a sci-fi tint. It starts off interesting (I read the chapters alternatively), watching the lives of these two girls and how they differ but you can guess what happens. Nothing is surprising because it’s been done so many times and Oliver doesn’t add anything that makes it stand out, aside from reading format.
* I received an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. This in no way affected my opinion of the book.
Can I just say how I love that ‘fike’ was just completely removed from the novel entirely?
I am pretty sure that I said in my review of the first part that I wasn’t going to read this once the book came out. I didn’t request the full version so I could bash it, I wanted to go back into this with the belief it could be better. I felt low key guilty of how harsh I was on the snippet, and now that it’s the full story that has been edited so I thought, how bad can it be now? And it is bad. Which is so disappointing because it has a strong concept and inkling of a decent plot which flopped really severely.
[EDIT 14/01/17: I’m adding link’s to Fatima and Aimal‘s review of Rebels because I urge you all to read them. Their criticisms were more well explained than mine]
I have never wanted to finish a book so quickly than this one. And I don’t mean it nicely. I was expecting this. I should’ve turned the other way when I saw it in Waterstones. I should’ve trusted my gut feeling and not listened to the random girl talking to her friend who said this was ‘the best book she’s ever read,’
Originally, I was intrigued by the Western/ Middle Eastern concept but only after a couple of pages, I realised how terribly clichéd it was and decided that this fusion was a terrible idea and she didn’t pull it off if you ask me.
I’m guessing the western concepts were the dustbowl towns and gun-toting civilians and when it came to the Middle Eastern aspects it was folk tales and mythology. As much as I loved Aladdin and Thousand and One Nights, it shouldn’t be the only model for stories about the Middle East and its people and culture. Desert, magic, threats of forced marriage and oppressive family. Rebel of the Sands is just one of many that are part of the YA fantasy boom that utilises Islamic folklore as the main concept of their novels but fails so badly. Her fusion felt so forced and artificial, more western than Middle Eastern. You could easily tweak a couple of things and just like that, the backdrop could easily become the dystopian USA. (And it breaks my heart knowing that publishers PREFER this, knowing that somewhere a Middle Eastern writer has probably written a fantasy book with their own folklore twist but their voice was passed over and they have to watch Hamilton and so many others make their debut from barely even touching their culture.)
The world-building was nothing special, and that’s a damn shame considering the concept and so much could’ve been done with it. The way this world runs was so confusing. These people drink yet pray so I’m assuming the predominant faith is Islam. If it isn’t, Hamilton hasn’t done much to clear the air since it’s entirely ambiguous. (Is there even a time period? Where are we?)
I keep reading all these 5 star reviews where they gush over Amani and Jin, but honestly, I don’t see it. And why I can understand with other YA couples but, with these two, I see absolutely nothing and I’m pretty sure you’re all lying to me about their relationship being amazing. Amani and Jinn have zero chemistry. Amani rarely acknowledges her feelings for Jin. And his introduction was so funny, I couldn’t stop laughing. We were only eight (eight!) pages in and she spent like a paragraph on how beautiful Jin was despite her being really anxious about to do a shoot off to win money, she still has the time to mention how extremely beautiful this random boy is. (Also, don’t you just love it when soldiers are chasing you and the only way you can hide is by kissing a boy you barely know #justgirlythings.) There’s also a huge time jump of around two months where these two supposedly become greater friends and I was so annoyed. The beginning could’ve easily been cut to allow us to see their friendship develop.
I have to admit Rebel of the Sands does pick up around the 200 page mark where what you’re promised to find is actually introduced to the story. It takes a very long time, though, and by the time I got there I was bored. I have no faith nor interest that the sequel will even be an improvement.
~Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review~
Girls had to believe in everything but their own power, because if girls knew what they could do, imagine what they might.
I have no recollection of requesting this on NetGalley, but I read it anyway since I hate leaving books unread on NG. But this book just wasn’t for me.
In the wake of a popular high school student’s suicide, it sends tremors throughout a conservative town. Hannah befriends Lacey and, together, they form an intimate friendship, luring Hannah into a lifestyle of rebellion and violence, as they bond over their hatred of Nikki, the deceased’s girlfriend.
While the writing was enjoyable, I just found the plot too repetitive and it became tiresome. I haven’t read many books like these – those bad obsessive girls type of books. But this showed me that maybe it’s not my type. I have to admit I wasn’t expecting the reveal and it’s ending – mainly because I didn’t expect Hannah to be capable of doing so. But there’s not much else I can say, I’m very picky when it comes to contemporary, and though the writing style was nice, I just didn’t find it enjoyable to read.
Kindle Edition, UK edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: May 5th 2016 by Little, Brown Book Group