Bethany's Readers' Advisory

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

Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay July 30, 2015

Everything That Makes YouFiona Doyle knows what it’s like to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. When she was 6, an accident during a family outing left her face terribly scarred. Fi Doyle never had that accident. Fiona is a music buff; she has a guitar and notebook after notebook full of songs she’s written but will not sing or play for anyone. Fi is a star lacrosse player destined to play for Northwestern. But when Fi has an accident, her life is changed forever.

Fiona and Fi are two different stories for the same person, each with different joys and sorrows, talents and shortcomings. For anyone who has ever wondered, “What if…”

I liked the Choose Your Own Adventure series when I was a kid. I would read through it making one set of choices, then read it again and make the opposite choices. It is interesting to think how one event can change the course of your entire life. This book had some thought-provoking moments and some cheesy moments. I would recommend it to teens who like realistic fiction with a lighter touch.

3 out of 5 stars

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The Kind Worth Killing by Peter Swanson July 19, 2015

Filed under: adult fiction,adult mystery — Bethany @ 11:59 am
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Kind Worth KillingHave you ever had someone in your life you wish would just disappear? Ted Severson is drinking in an airport bar when he is approached by a beautiful stranger. In a drunken attempt to flirt, he tells this woman he just discovered his wife is cheating on him with the contractor building their new home. In a story reminiscent of Patricia Highsmith’s classic Strangers on a Train, the stranger, Lily, suggests he kill his wife and even volunteers to help him. At first Ted laughs off the idea as a joke, but the more he thinks about it, the more he likes the idea. As the plot thickens, it becomes apparent Ted’s wife is not the only one whose life is on the line.

Wow. This was one of those “stay up all night, have to finish my book” books. I blew through this book in two days and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. The Kind Worth Killing is a dark tale of lies, murder, and revenge. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes murder mysteries.

5 out of 5 stars

 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo July 18, 2015

Filed under: fantasy,Uncategorized — Bethany @ 11:17 pm
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shadow and boneAlina Starkov has been an orphan since she was a young girl. The only person she has ever trusted, ever really cared about is Mal, a fellow orphan. Now they have grown up and their regiment is preparing to cross the dangerous, often deadly Shadow Fold. During the crossing, Mal is attacked and almost killed, but Alina calls on an unknown power to save his life. Almost instantly, her life changes. She is taken from the army to live and train with the elite Grisha in preparation to use her power to help the mysterious Darkling save their nation. As she learns to use her gift, she drifts further away from her old life and from Mal. But with great power comes great responsibility and Alina begins to wonder where her allegiance should lie.

This was my book club’s choice for the month and probably not something I would have chosen myself. I was frustrated by the obligatory romance/love triangle aspect of the story. It also had a somewhat predictable ending; knowing it is the first of a trilogy, certain things were bound to happen and not to happen. Overall, I liked it more than I thought I would. I would recommend this to teens who are looking for the next Katniss or Tris.

3 out of 5 stars

 

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares May 1, 2014

Here and NowThe author of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series is back with a YA book in a completely different genre: science fiction with elements of dystopian future. Seventeen-year-old Prenna immigrated to New York four years ago. She did not come from another country; she came from another time. Prenna and her community were living in the 2090s, a time plagued with a lethal blood disease transmitted by mosquitoes. Everyone lived in fear of being bitten until things were so bad that they knew they had to get out. Those who were strong enough traveled to the year 2010 and settled down around New York. The community had to stick together and follow very strict rules about what they needed to do to fit in and what they couldn’t do to risk harming the “time natives” they were living amongst. Prenna pushes the limits with Ethan, a boy from school who seems to know her better than anyone, even though she’s tried to do her best to keep her distance. When she is given information by someone she thought was a crazy homeless man, his story shocks her and causes her to question everything she’s been told for the past four years. Could this man be telling the truth? And how does Ethan fit into the equation?

This was a very interesting story. It is certainly different from other books by this author. Like many time travel imaginings, this story addressed how seemingly innocent actions by those who have traveled back in time can have dire consequences in the future. It also touches on the implications of our current use of fossil fuels and their effect on the the environment in the future. I would recommend this book to older teens or adults who would appreciate the story and the message behind it.

5 out of 5 stars

 

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

 

 
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