Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Middle Grade Double Review

Today I'm reviewing two middle grade novels I read in June. I liked the first one but I didn't love it. However, I absolutely ADORED the second! (Also, I thought I had a mini review for the one below and I guess not. :p)

*****

Title: The Scourge
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: August 30th, 2016!

From Goodreads...
As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor's wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge -- and quarantine colony -- for the ill. The Scourge's victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn't know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She's been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on.

But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?


 My Review!
I liked this one! It was highly predictable and didn't have a whole lot of world-building, but it had some good questions about sacrifice and doing things for the greater good even if it's hard and you're not sure of yourself. And I loved the main character, Ani. She was so feisty! I liked a few of the other characters as well. It was definitely an intriguing story but it's also one that I wouldn't have minded skipping out on.

RATING:

*****

Title: Furthermore
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: August 30th, 2016!

From Goodreads...
The bestselling author of the Shatter Me series takes readers beyond the limits of their imagination in this captivating new middle grade adventure where color is currency, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places.

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn't miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it's been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she's about to embark on one to find the other.

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she'll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit--and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice's wits (and every limb she's got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself--and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.


My Review!
This was an utter delight to read, even with some intense moments throughout. It was funny, and weird, and magical, with a healthy dose of friendship and bravery. Alice and Oliver were both great characters, who stumbled and fought and fell, but who kept going with a strength that not many would possess in the strange world of Furthermore. Their friendship was beautiful to watch develop, especially after they both despised each other so in the beginning. It was built on a rocky foundation, as Oliver kept some secrets, and Furthermore really tested their teamwork. But through everything, they helped each other, and knew they needed to work together if they were to survive this dangerous world. I loved the nods to Alice in Wonderland, whether they were intentional or not (really hoping they were intentional, but if they weren't, I still saw them [and let's not forget that the the main character's name IS actually Alice, SO]). And the storytelling reminded me so much of Lemony Snicket, and A Series of Unfortunate Events. It made the book that much more fun to read. It was so very whimsical, which is not normally my cuppa tea, but it worked so well for this book. The ending was a bit too tied-together-in-a-neat-little-bow, and came up quicker than I expected, but I didn't so much care. (I should have expected that ending bc of Ignite Me, but I didn't. Haha). This was super different from Tahereh's Shatter Me series, but I loved it all the same.

RATING: