Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes April 27, 2014

Me Before YouLouisa Clark is perfectly content with her small town life and her job working at the Buttered Bun cafe. When the restaurant closes, she is in trouble and has to find a new job quickly. She sees an ad to be a companion for a quadriplegic man, applies, and, despite a rocky interview, is hired. The first day is a disaster. Will, the man she is meant to care for, is young, good looking, and a complete jerk. She spends the first weeks on the verge of quitting, avoiding spending time with him at all costs. Before the accident, he had it all; Will traveled the world, was charismatic and a ladies’ man. Now he couldn’t do anything for himself and he is angry. Slowly, Lou and Will accept each other. When Lou discovers her true purpose for being hired is to change Will’s mind about wanting to go through with assisted suicide, she is determined to change his life into something worth living. What she doesn’t expect is that he’ll change hers, too.

This was such a fantastic book! It was recommended to me by several trusted sources and I finally broke down and read it. It is an untraditional love story that is tender, endearing, and heartbreaking. I was thinking of the characters long after the story ended and pondering how love can be found in unexpected places.

5 out of 5 stars

 

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

AllegiantIn the final book of the Divergent trilogy, Tris and the others are now living in a factionless society. Some people want to return to the factions, others do not. Much violence and unrest exists in their formerly orderly society. When Tris, Four, and others are chosen for a special mission, they learn the shocking truth of how their society came to be and where it will go from here. Chapters are narrated alternately by Tris and Four, and as before, sometimes they agree, sometimes they are at odds with each other. When no one knows who to trust, every decision is life and death.

There were a lot of people unhappy with the ending of the Divergent trilogy. I wasn’t one of them. I was surprised by the ending, but I was pleased that it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and devoid of all conflict like the last Twilight book. I also appreciated that while Tris was concerned about Four’s well-being, she also did her own thing and wasn’t shy about disagreeing with him when she thought he was wrong. In the end, Divergent continues to be my favorite of all of the dystopian series I’ve read.

4 out of 5 stars

 

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff April 26, 2014

Picture Me GoneMila and her dad were ready to take the trip from London to upstate New York to visit dad’s childhood friend Matthew when they got the news. Matthew is missing, gone without a trace from his home and family. Mila and her dad decide to make the trip anyway. Mila, who has always had the ability to observe and read people and situations, thinks she can solve the mystery of Matthew’s whereabouts. When they arrive, she is shocked to find Matthew has left behind a sad wife, a sweet baby, and a beloved retriever. She and her dad take the dog and follow their instincts to track down Matthew. They find many surprises about Matthew along the way. Just as Mila thinks she has things figured out, she uncovers a betrayal by the person she thought she knew best.

This was a quiet, interesting story. It is a children’s book, but I would recommend it to an emotionally mature middle school or high school student. Mila is an introspective character, both naive about human nature and mature for her age. A thought-provoking read.

4 out of 5 stars

 

The Impersonator by Mary Miley April 25, 2014

Filed under: adult fiction,adult historical fiction,adult mystery — Bethany @ 10:44 pm
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ImpersonatorLeah is in the one place she calls home, the vaudeville stage, when she notices a man staring at her from the audience. He catches up with her after the show, calling her Jessie. She politely corrects him, then goes about her business. He returns later with a proposition. His niece, Jessie Carr, disappeared in 1917 at age 14. This year would have been her 21st birthday, the year she was supposed to inherit the family fortune. Since there is little hope the real Jessie will ever return, her uncle wants Leah, whose resemblance to Jessie is uncanny, to pretend to be Jessie. She would impersonate Jessie long enough to convince the family and their lawyers, then receive the fortune and split it with him.

Leah doesn’t like the plan one bit and refuses to play along. But when she loses her job, she has few options and agrees to become Jessie. With Uncle Oliver’s coaching and her own acting abilities, Leah makes a convincing Jessie. However, as Leah conducts her own secret investigation of the real Jessie’s whereabouts, she realizes there might be more danger to their plan than her true identity being discovered.

This was a nice, light mystery. The details about vaudeville were a unique addition to the setting. I would recommend this book to teens or adults who like historical fiction or mysteries. It’s very clean, too, so I would feel comfortable giving it to anyone interested in the subject.

4 out of 5 stars

 

Winger by Andrew Smith April 24, 2014

WingerRyan Dean West is a fourteen-year-old high school junior at a fancy boarding school in Oregon. This year he’s been transferred to O-Hall, the residence hall for the troublemakers. If his roommate Chas doesn’t kill him, it will be a miracle. Ryan Dean just hopes he can make his smoking hot friend Annie realize he’s not a little boy first. Annie, his friend Joey, and rugby are best things about this year, the year he becomes his own man.

I can’t write a review that does this book justice. It’s that awesome. Sure, it’s filled with swear words and Ryan Dean spends almost all of his time talking about or thinking about sex with every female he sees. But it’s also so funny, endearing, and heart breaking. Read it and love it.

5 out of 5 stars

 

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider April 23, 2014

Filed under: drama,realistic fiction — Bethany @ 9:11 pm
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Beginning of EverythingEzra believes everyone has one great tragedy in life that will set the course for that person’s life. For his childhood friend, it was witnessing a deadly accident at an amusement park. (A severed head lands in his lap on a roller coaster.) For Ezra, it was the night a car accident shattered his knee and his life as he knew it.

Now that his tennis career is over, Ezra doesn’t know what to do. He no longer fits in with the jocks and reunites with his childhood friend. It is in this new group of friends that he meets Cassidy Thorpe. She is unlike anyone he has every met and leads him down a path in life he never expected.

Ezra has had his great tragedy. Where will his life lead him now?

Golden boy loses it all? Check. Quirky but cute girl makes life interesting? Check. Surprise ending? Check. I’m the type of person who likes having a plan, but sometimes life doesn’t stick to the plan. And sometimes that’s a good thing. I would recommend this to older teens.

4 out of 5 stars

 

The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

Hypnotists Love StoryEllen is a hypnotist, helping people work through all kinds of problems. When she starts dating Patrick, a widower with an eight-year-old son, he confesses he has a problem of his own. He has a stalker. His ex-girlfriend refuses to let go of their relationship and texts him, calls him, and follows him around town. Rather than being scared away by this news, Ellen is intrigued. The stalker, Saskia, otherwise sounds like a perfectly normal, professional woman. But when Saskia is willing to anything to get Patrick back, whose love story will it be?

I enjoyed the unusual premise of this book. It definitely was not the usual romance/family drama story. I liked how it alternated between Ellen’s and Saskia’s points of view. I really began to empathize with Saskia as the story went on; she was both crazy and authentic.

5 out of 5 stars

 

 
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