Friday, October 21, 2016

A Hit and a Miss from Penguin

Today I'm sharing two reviews of books I read over the last couple of weeks. And I'm putting them in the same post because the wonderful Penguin sent me them! I was so surprised and happy, and I'm glad that one of them was a MAJOR hit for me! But we'll talk about the one that didn't go over so well for me first. ;)

*****

Title: Transcendent
Author: Katelyn Detweiler
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 4th, 2016!
*Finished copy kindly provided by Penguin Random House.

From Goodreads...
A beautiful work of magical realism, a story about a girl in the real world who is called upon to be a hero.
 
When terrorists bomb Disney World, seventeen-year-old Iris Spero is as horrified as anyone else. Then a stranger shows up on her stoop in Brooklyn, revealing a secret about the mysterious circumstances surrounding Iris’s birth, and throwing her entire identity into question. Everything she thought she knew about her parents, and about herself, is a lie.

Suddenly, the press is confronting Iris with the wild notion that she might be “special.” More than just special: she could be the miracle the world now so desperately needs. Families all across the grieving nation are pinning their hopes on Iris like she is some kind of saint or savior. She’s no longer sure whom she can trust—except for Zane, a homeless boy who long ago abandoned any kind of hope. She knows she can’t possibly be the glorified person everyone wants her to be… but she also can’t go back to being safe and anonymous. When nobody knows her but they all want a piece of her, who is Iris Spero now? And how can she—one teenage girl—possibly heal a broken world?


My Review!
So, the writing was easy to fall into, but the problem is that I just found this story ridiculous. I just don’t believe that main character is this fucking special. I could not understand what was so brilliant about her character that separated her from everyone in the world, that stuck her on a pedestal and made everything about the bombing at Disney World better for some of those affected by it. Also, she spent the first 250 pages HIDING from life because she needed time to accept this. Like I get why; obviously everything about how she was born is enough to make any person run away for a bit. But the book was more about Iris and her new “responsibility” and her figuring out who she is than it’s about the people who were destroyed by the bombing. Like I was kind of expecting more from this in that regard because Kirkus said something about the “the chilling plausibility of the actions and reactions of an America dealing with the murders of thousands of children,” but I didn’t see that? There was hardly any focus on anything other than Iris' past and secret. I did love the messages of forgiveness and hope, of overcoming grief and pain. And I do believe that some people have this innate charisma and compassion that can turn others’ days around. But like I said, I didn’t believe that Iris was special enough to cause all of this happiness. The book also didn’t pack a super emotional punch for me, but that’s probably because I didn’t feel much for Iris, even though she wasn’t a terrible character. Transcendent definitely had some good points to it, but the overall storyline just did not work for me. I couldn't really suspend my disbelief to appreciate it.

RATING:

******

Title: Ripple
Author: Heather Smith Meloche
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 20th, 2016!
*Physical ARC kindly provided by Penguin Random House.

From Goodreads....
When their too-adult lives lead them down self-destructive paths, these broken teens find a way to heal in this YA novel perfect for fans of Ellen Hopkins

With her impossible-to-please grandmother on her back about college and her disapproving step-dad watching her every move, Tessa would do anything to escape the pressure-cooker she calls home. So she finds a shot of much-needed power and confidence by hooking up with boys, even though it means cheating on her boyfriend. But when she's finally caught red-handed, she’ll do anything she can to cover up what she's done.

Jack is a prankster who bucks the system every chance he gets—each transgression getting riskier and riskier. He loves the thrill, and each adventure allows a little release because his smug smile and suave demeanor in the face of authority doesn’t make life at home with his mom any less tough. He tries to take care of her, but the truth is he's powerless in the face of her fragile mental health. So he copes in his own way, by defacing public property and pulling elaborate pranks, though he knows in the end this’ll only screw up his life even more.

As they both try not to let their self-destructive patterns get the best of them, Tessa and Jack gravitate toward one another, discovering the best parts of themselves in the process. An honest portrayal of the urges that drive us and finding the strength to overcome them, Ripple is a stunning debut from a powerful new voice.
 


My Review!
Oh wow, what a gem of a story that I might not have gotten to for a long time. But once I started reading it, I could. not. stop. I LOVED IT. I loved the two main characters; two broken, scarred kids just trying to grasp some kind of power while their lives spiral out of control. But this never became a story about two teens saving each other, never became a love cures all type of deal. Tessa and Jack helped each other, challenged each other, and fell hard. But only THEY could turn their lives around and make them better. But they had each other through the bad parts, and the ugly ones. Neither of them is perfect. They both could be judgmental, and so, so self-destructive. There were some comments from Jack that pissed me off. They weren't easily likable. But they were easily rootable (my computer is telling me this isn't a word, but I'm keeping it, whatever). Under pressure, stressed to the max, and filled with a need to not confide in or ask for help from others, the two of them nearly destroy their futures before realizing like, hey, they can do better. They can be better. I loved that, and I loved watching the two of them get to that beautiful and heartwarming ending. An ending that made me tear up so much, omg. Ripple completely surprised me. I wasn't expecting to love it so much. But I did. It was an addicting and raw read about two teens who needed to figure out that only they can determine who they are. And that it's okay to lean on others every once in awhile, that it's okay to not be strong all the time, and that they deserved better, from themselves and from the people in their lives. Wonderful!

RATING: