THEME
How I Live Now

“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from
Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of
Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. 

But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

At first, I had a bit of trouble getting into this book. Mostly because the layout kind of threw me off – the narrator doesn’t use questions marks when someone speaks, which is because it’s supposed to be her writing down her experience of the war. After finishing this book I knew this would make much more sense than paragraphs full of in-depth conversations you wouldn’t possibly remember so vividly years after they’ve happened. If you do decide to read this, don’t let it throw you off. You get used to it and learn to appreciate it.

One of the things I liked most about this story was Daisy. Most young adult writers nowadays are desperate to write a beautiful, perfect, heroic young female protagonist but usually end up writing a completely un-relatable, unrealistic representation of a teenage girl. Daisy, on the other hand, is charming and sarcastic and as mature as you’d expect a fifteen year old to be. She doesn’t lead a resistance or stop the war, but is just a survivor and reacts in a way that I can believe would actually happen.

Daisy writes in first person and recounts her experiences during and after the war, but what made it so interesting and readable was that she sounded like a teenager. She was stroppy and flawed and couldn’t understand things beyond her own perspective, much like teenagers do. I found her witty and charming and funny. The thought that the author put into the book was very precise and well thought out.

Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the cousincest with Edmond and I’m glad the whole plot wasn’t focused on their relationship. Not just because I was kind of freaked out by it but because I thought there were lots more interesting things to focus on, and she did.

Overall, I give it 3/5 stars and would definitely recommend it!

The Evolution of Mara Dyer

Mara Dyer once believed she could run from her past.

She can’t.

She used to think her problems were all in her head.

They aren’t.

She couldn’t imagine that after everything she’s been through, the boy she loves would still be keeping secrets.

She’s wrong.

I was desperate to read this after I finished the first book. It put me on edge since the first paragraph. It was so thrilling and exciting, and it didn’t lose any of the mystery and creepiness from the first book at all. I was still desperate to finish it to find out more.

Noah and Mara are more complicated in this book and I liked that – it was good to see how their relationship develops. I love Mara because she’s so strong, loyal and optimistic, which I think every female protagonist should be like.

There were so many plot twists and turns and it was addictive – I literally couldn’t bring myself to put it down at one point. I don’t think I’ll be able to last until June (I think it’s June anyway) until the last book.

Again, 4/5 stars and you have to read it!

WARNING: THE ENDING MIGHT JUST KILL YOU.

image

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

This book was one of those books where you feel like you’ve been on a really long, exciting journey - I know that sounds cheesy but it’s true. I read this and the sequel in under twenty-four hours (I don’t do much on the weekends) and it didn’t feel rushed at all.

Some people have complained that some of the plot twists were confusing but personally I liked it. It made you want to read more in order to find out. Not knowing whether she’s hallucinating or it’s actually happening was thrilling and I’ll admit I scared myself at some parts and had to stop reading for a second to calm myself down! I loved the mystery of it and the creepiness. Oh and NOAH SHAW.

I love the characters, too; Noah Shaw is officially up there with my favourite male love interests in Young Adult fiction and Mara is very realistic and interesting.

Altogether, it was captivating, original and unique, you should definitely read it! I gave it 4/5 stars. 

(My review for the sequel is here.)

image

w1nterisc0ming:

“How long did you resist?” asks Uriel. “Did you push her away? Did you tell her she meant no more to you than any other animal? Oh, Raffe, did she die thinking you didn’t care about her? How tragic. That must just tear you to pieces.”

w1nterisc0ming:

“How long did you resist?” asks Uriel. “Did you push her away? Did you tell her she meant no more to you than any other animal? Oh, Raffe, did she die thinking you didn’t care about her? How tragic. That must just tear you to pieces.

w1nterisc0ming:

“How long did you resist?” asks Uriel. “Did you push her away? Did you tell her she meant no more to you than any other animal? Oh, Raffe, did she die thinking you didn’t care about her? How tragic. That must just tear you to pieces.”

w1nterisc0ming:

“How long did you resist?” asks Uriel. “Did you push her away? Did you tell her she meant no more to you than any other animal? Oh, Raffe, did she die thinking you didn’t care about her? How tragic. That must just tear you to pieces.

Ketchup Clouds

Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret—a dark and terrible secret that she can’t confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can—in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.

I loved this book! It was very realistic (not the dark secret part and writing to a condemned-to-death criminal in the dead of the night) but the characters were very believable. I loved the family elements in it and I’m glad the author focused on Zoe’s home life without it being too messy. The love triangle between the protagonist and two brothers didn’t take up the entire storyline, and it wasn’t overly romantic. Also, the two brothers weren’t charming and perfect like most love interests in Young Adult books.

However, the ending was a bit anticlimactic and disappointing. I was half hoping for a huge plot twist, but I was happy with the ending anyway.

Anyway, I give it 3/5 stars and would definitely recommend it!

Looking For Alaska

A deeply affecting coming-of-age story, Looking for Alaska traces the journey of Miles Halter, a misfit Florida teenager who leaves the safety of home for a boarding school in Alabama and a chance to explore the “Great Perhaps.” Debut novelist and NPR commentator Green perfectly captures the intensity of feeling and despair that defines adolescence in this hip, shocking, and emotionally charged work of fiction.

Miles has a quirky interest in famous people’s last words, especially François Rabelais’s final statement, “I go to seek a Great Perhaps.” Determined not to wait for death to begin a similar quest, Miles convinces his parents to let him leave home. Once settled at Culver Creek Preparatory School, he befriends a couple of equally gifted outcasts: his roommate Chip―commonly known as the Colonel—who has a predilection for memorizing long, alphabetical lists for fun; and the beautiful and unpredictable Alaska, whom Miles comes to adore. 

The kids grow closer as they make their way through a school year filled with contraband, tests, pranks, breakups, and revelations about family and life. But as the story hurtles toward its shattering climax, chapter headings like “forty-six days before” and “the last day” portend a tragic event―one that will change Miles forever and lead him to new conclusions about the value of his cherished “Great Perhaps.”

I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would. It wasn’t what I had expected, at all. All of the characters were a bit whiny and ungrateful, and I didn’t really like any of them. Alaska was unbearable, and although I loved The Fault In Our Stars I have noticed that Alaska Young, Augustus Waters and Margo Roth Spiegelman (Paper Towns) are annoyingly similar characters, who spout quotes and say things that, realistically, no teenager would ever use. 

However, the storyline was interesting (even if the characters weren’t) and I found the way the days counted down to something very interesting; I must admit I was interested to see what it was counting down to.

Altogether, I did enjoy it enough to give it 3/5 stars and still would recommend it, and I must admit I did shed a couple of tears.

Roger & Amy’s Epic Detour

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew—just in time for Amy’s senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she’s always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy’s mother’s old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she’s surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident.

So my friend leant me this book last week and I’ve only just finished reading it due to lots and lots of homework! I gave it 4/5 stars because it was very cute and sweet, but with a serious streak that made it much more realistic and wasn’t too depressing. The cover was very busy and exciting although not what I as a reader usually go for, and when my friend recommended it, I’ll admit the title seemed a bit cheesy and put me off. However, as soon as I started reading it I fell in love with it.

I love the atmosphere of the book, and the road trip itself wasn’t rushed like some can be. I also loved the photos of scraps from the road - diner napkins, receipts, postcards, maps, and the playlists. 

One problem I did have is that although the character development of Amy and Roger was very well-written and planned out, the other characters they encountered were quite rushed and underdeveloped, but aside from that each character was very interesting.

Altogether, a very short and sweet book, perfect for long journeys. I finished it with a smile on my face and would definitely recommend it!