The Definition of Original: Don’t You Forget About Me, Kate Karyus Quinn

Don't You Forget About Me

Don’t You Forget About Me

Kate Karyus Quinn

Welcome to Gardnerville.

A place where no one gets sick. And no one ever dies.

Except…
There’s a price to pay for paradise. Every fourth year, the strange power that fuels the town exacts its payment by infecting teens with deadly urges. In a normal year in Gardnerville, teens might stop talking to their best friends. In a fourth year, they’d kill them.

Four years ago, Skylar’s sister, Piper, was locked away after leading sixteen of her classmates to a watery grave. Since then, Skylar has lived in a numb haze, struggling to forget her past and dull the pain of losing her sister. But the secrets and memories Piper left behind keep taunting Skylar—whispering that the only way to get her sister back is to stop Gardnerville’s murderous cycle once and for all.

You know what I’m going to call Kate Quinn from now on? The Queen of Queer. It’s a rightly earned title. Like her debut novel, Another Little Piece, Quinn returned with a brilliantly crafted tale that made little sense at the beginning, but then came together at the end and smacked me right in the face with answers for all the questions I ever had. And let me tell you, she did this all through an amazingly complex and original plot that just swept me off my feet. Too bad she wasn’t able to impress me throughout the story, though.

Continue reading

High-Stakes? Not Really: Twinmaker, Sean Williams

Twinmaker (Twinmaker, #1)

Twinmaker (Twinmaker #1)

Sean Williams

High-stakes action combines with issues of friendship and body image in this timely and thought-provoking exploration of the intersection of technology and identity.

You can be Improved….

In a near-future world in which technology can transport you anywhere instantly, can a coded note enable you to change your body—to become taller, stronger, more beautiful? Clair is pretty sure the offer is too good to be true. But her best friend, Libby, is determined to give it a try, longing for a new, improved version of herself.

What starts as Libby’s dream turns into Clair’s nightmare when Libby falls foul of a deadly trap. With the help of Jesse, the school freak, and a mysterious—but powerful—stranger called Q, Clair’s attempt to protect Libby leads her to an unimagined world of conspiracies and cover-ups. Soon her own life is at risk, and Clair is chased across the world in a desperate race against time.

Action and danger fuel Sean Williams’ tale of technology, identity, and the lengths to which one girl will go to save her best friend.

Twinmaker is the kind of book you really, really want to love, what with its original and intriguing science-fiction premise. It delivered an interesting enough story, for sure, but its downfall lay with the world building, and that’s what brought the book down for me.

Continue reading

Living Up To Its Name: We Are the Goldens, Dana Reinhardt

We Are the Goldens

We Are the Goldens

Dana Reinhardt

Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They’re a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell’s a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she’s happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it’s wrong, and she must do something about it.

You gotta admit that this book cover is nothing special (except for that creepy stare that girl on the right is giving). If I saw this in a store, chances are I wouldn’t even give it a second glance. But this book is the prime example of why we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover — though let’s face it: absolutely NO ONE will ever listen to this piece of advice. Oh, you will? Didn’t think so. I really enjoyed We Are the Goldens, despite the okay-ish cover and the fairly generic blurb. I mean, two sisters? One secret? I haven’t only read that a million times. But Dana Reinhardt put a spin to a common contemporary novel about sisters and supposedly earth-shattering secrets with the addition of a very difficult and oftentimes tabooed topic: student-teacher romantic relationships.

Continue reading

Disturbingly Average: Parasite, Mira Grant

Parasite (Parasitology, #1)

Parasite (Parasitology #1)

Mira Grant

A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.

We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.

But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…and will do anything to get them.

Without me, SymboGen would never have existed. There are probably people who would say that was a good thing, too. I have to admit, there are days when I think it would be a good thing. I might even be willing to give it all back if it meant I still had my friends. But you can’t go home again.
-FROM “KING OF THE WORMS,” AN INTERVIEW WITH DR. STEVEN BANKS, CO-FOUNDER OF SYMBOGEN. ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN ROLLING STONE, FEBRUARY 2027.

After reading so many positive reviews from trusted friends of mine, I have to say that I am quite disappointed with Parasite. (I can’t trust you guys ever again!) It has such an original and disturbing premise — tapeworms that can enhance our bodies? said tapeworms turning restless and wanting to live their own lives? If that doesn’t make you squirm in intrigue, then I don’t know what else will. Mira Grant did a great job with the scientific aspect, but in terms of storytelling, not so much.

Continue reading

Compact Reviews: Backward Glass / Scorched

Backward GlassBackward Glass

David Lomax

Where do I start? This book had so much going in it that oftentimes, it was more confusing than it was entertaining. Time travel is not an easy subject to write about, but I think it’s safe to say that David Lomax did a fairly decent job with the whole “backward glass” concept and the idea of kids from several different years grouping together to figure out the chilling myth of Prince Harming, as well as to save an unknown baby.

Continue reading

Meg is Pissed: The Iron Traitor, Julie Kagawa

The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten, #2)

The Iron Traitor (Call of the Forgotten #2)

Julie Kagawa

In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice. 

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as “normal” as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he’s forbidden to see her again. 

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, “normal” simply isn’t to be. For Ethan’s nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan’s and Keirran’s fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan’s next choice may decide the fate of them all.

Forgive my french, but: GODDAMN, THAT ENDING. I mean, I already knew what was coming, but nothing would have been able to prepare me for how The Iron Traitor just ended. Can you even call that an ending?! Julie Kagawa, you better have some real good tricks up your sleeve for the next novel, because dammit, I refuse to let that ending slide!

Continue reading