YA

Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower

attack of the 50 foot wallflower

Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower By: Christian McKay Heidicker

Plot:

Phoebe Lane is a lightning rod for monsters.

She and her mom are forced to flee flesh-eating plants, radioactive ants, and blobs from outer space. They survive thanks to Phoebe’s dad—an invisible titan, whose giant eyes warn them where the next monster attack will take place.

All Phoebe wants is to stop running from motel to motel and start living a monster-free life in New York or Paris. But when her mom mysteriously vanishes, Phoebe is left to fend for herself in small-town Pennybrooke.

That’s when Phoebe starts to transform…

Christian McKay Heidicker, author of Cure for the Common Universe, returns with a book unlike any other, challenging perceived notions of beauty, identity, and what it means to be a monster.

Review:

I don’t watch B movies but they’re so a part of our lexicon that it would be impossible for you to not be aware of what they are. So, for those of you who aren’t familiar with them as well, I did not feel lost or like I was missing something, though, I probably did.

Phoebe was not a particularly interesting person. She had an interesting backstory and parents, but her response to everything was to cry. She was world weary and in the beginning came off spoiled, but she also just wanted to find her mom, except when she was distracted. She was easily lied too, but then she was young, except, again, when she wasn’t.

I found the world more interesting than her character, until I realized it wasn’t going to change. I spent most of the time I was reading wishing she’d do something instead of just going about her life trying to stay below the radar. I felt constricted while reading, I just kept on waiting for her to force the world to stop being so horrible. She knew the way people were acting was bad, but she was not a hero, and not trying to change anything.

By far the most intriguing part of the story was Phoebe’s father, but you get no real explanation about him or his world or how hers came to be or much of anything. The ending was very underwhelming. I was hoping for answers or a happily ever after, but there were still questions unanswered and Phoebe’s life was back to what it had been originally, with a small change.

The cover on this book is phenomenal, and I thought the concept was fun, but I don’t feel like the book delivered. It was underwhelming.

3/5

Leah on the Offbeat

Leah on the Offbeat

Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2) By: Becky Albertalli

Plot:

Leah Burke—girl-band drummer, master of deadpan, and Simon Spier’s best friend from the award-winning Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda—takes center stage in this novel of first love and senior-year angst.

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

Review:

I was excited to read this for personal reasons and it definitely ended up coloring my opinion of the book. I cannot stand angsty teenage drama. This book was basically angsty teenage drama in book form. I wouldn’t have normally even been able to finish, but I ended up really liking it.

Leah is a perfectionist that isn’t willing to do anything in public unless she knows she’s going to be great at it. She’s hyper critical of herself and ends up coming off as a super bitch. Honestly, Leah was not very likeable. She spends a lot of time not thinking about stuff she should think about. There’s a fair amount of social anxiety there, but she does try and push herself by the end.

The ending was what really sold the book for me. At one point I laughed so hard I cried and I can’t remember the last time that happened. I also, actually, cried for emotional reasons too. It was a really good ending and even though I didn’t like or dislike the rest of the book the ending pushed it up a star rating.

The kids are mostly all in college now so I don’t know if Albertalli is going to do another book. She could probably do one with Simon’s sister as the protagonist, but I don’t really see myself reading further. I got what I wanted to from the series and I’m incredibly grateful for that.

4/5

 

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (Creekwood #1) By: Becky Albertalli

Plot:

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Review:

I decided to read this book after watching and LOVING the movie (review will be posted in February along with a ton of other romance reviews). The movie was the ultimate sweet romance, it had two people falling in love via letters which is how some of my favorite romances start. I was really excited to read the source material.

Simon is gay, but he hasn’t told anyone. When someone posts on his high schools Tumblr account that they’re gay he makes a secret email account and starts emailing them. Romance blooms.

Things get complicated immediately when someone sees Simon’s emails and starts blackmailing him. The blackmailer really sucked at it and honestly that whole line of plot was kind of rarely there, though, he did end up outing Simon who had to deal with the backlash.

The book was cute, but it was definitely a YA novel, with all the angsty teenage drama to go with it. What I loved about this book was seeing different starring characters. Seeing a gay teenager fall in love is unique in this day and age and definitely something to promote and normalize until it’s not a big deal when you see it.

Representation matters!

4/5

Gunslinger Girl

Gunslinger Girl By: Lindsay Ely

Plot:

James Patterson presents a bold new heroine—a cross between Katniss Everdeen and Annie Oakley: Serendipity Jones, the fastest sharpshooter in tomorrow’s West.

Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great….

In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.

Review:

I devoured the first seventy percent of this book. The world was relatively interesting, the characters were fine, but most of all, for me at least, it was a western led by a girl. I love westerns with female leads.

The last thirty percent was a difficult slog, though. I had never cared about the characters so when it really started to get emotional I did not care what happened, at all.

Did I say I love westerns with female leads? I should have said I love westerns with female leads that are strong. Pity lives up to her name. It’s a pity she was the lead because she had no brain. It’s a pity she had almost no survival instinct and whenever it did kick in she made the wrong choice.

The book was a YA novel, I’m always harshest on them, for whatever reason. I honestly try to avoid them, but they seem to have the stories I want to read but the characters I fucking hate.

I didn’t like Gunslinger Girl. I wanted a female led western with a woman that didn’t need everyone to tell her what to do and wasn’t constantly just reacting to the situation. I wanted more than just a girl falling in love with a boy and doing everything for him.

2/5

Renegades

Renegades (Renegades #1) By: Marissa Meyer

Plot:

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies — humans with extraordinary abilities — who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone… except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice — and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.

Review:

Why do YA superhero books have to start out killing a baby? I understand setting up a tragic past, but come on do something else, please.

It took me a while to get into Renegades, partly, I believe, because it reminded me a lot of Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson. As the world was revealed and the characters more developed those similarities lessened, but it was still a world recovering from an apocalypse, still had young adults with powers making stupid decisions and being emo.

Nova and Adrian are frustrating characters for me, they’re both smart kids, capable of critical thinking, but they have both swallowed the kool-aid so completely on their respective sides that they can’t seem to see the negatives. They’d walk right up to the edge and then turn around, they couldn’t take that final step. It was annoying.

My fear is that the next book, which is supposed to be the final one, doesn’t try to fix things, that it picks a side and you’re supposed to just accept the problems that come with it. Surely that’s not where she’s going with this.

I was disappointed with the level of world building. What there was only really existed for the Renegades. The rest of the world didn’t matter, it was just sort of there ignored in the background.

There was some potential here, but I wasn’t thrilled with really anything in this book.

3/5