Heartwarming is what I would like to call this book. At the same time, this book was heartbreaking. Throughout reading the book Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, I was pulled in different directions concerning my feelings toward June and her unconventional family. The dialogue was realistic, and the family dynamics were so natural. Brunt did a fantastic job creating the characters for this story.
This book takes place in the late 1980s and surrounds the AIDS epidemic as June must confront that her uncle, whom she loves dearly, dies from the disease. She must learn to confront the world without the one person who understood her while discovering more about him along the way, making unconventional friendships. I think that anyone would love this beautifully written work of art.
Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau was the exciting conclusion to The Testing trilogy. I was completely and utterly unprepared for the twists and turns that the story took me down. I don’t know how Charbonneau does it, but as soon as you feel as if you know about something, you need to forget about everything you thought you knew.
In this exciting edition, we are working to dismantle an entire system with the help of friends we’ve made along the way against the enemies we’ve made along the way. I think this was the perfect ending. It answered questions while at the same time leaving things open-ended with all the possibilities that our protagonist could do. Also, leaving society to go either way at the end of the conflict is a theme that appears continuously in the story. It was a great way to close the loop. There is a prequel, but I will not be covering it here. As it was written, the trilogy was beautiful on its own, and I’m totally okay with not knowing what happened before.
Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau was an exciting continuation of The Testing trilogy. Instead of university entrance exams, there are program entrance exams. And of course, I’m using exams loosely. While there is a standardized test, there is more than passing classes to survive. There is the lovely ritual of messing with all the new kids. That thing that everyone just loves and in no way will go wrong.
This book does a fantastic job of flipping expectations. It was also interesting that you know more than our protagonist at many points during the book. It also fills in a hole that you were wondering about from the last book. The closure to the issue was well handled, and something that I have a feeling will come up again. Now, I need to prepare myself for the last book. Maybe this time, I will be ready for the twists and turns. (Probably not)
Some have nostalgia over their experiences in high school. I am not one of them. In fact, this book encapsulates everything I hated existing for those four years that I had second-hand dread reading from each character’s point of view. One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus is one of the most exciting mystery stories I have read in a while.
The premise of this book is that a student is killed in detention one day, and there are four suspects. You, as the reader, aren’t too sure about what’s going on. You do know that everyone is lying. You follow all four suspects throughout the book that lying about something, but you’re never too sure of the extent of it. I do love this because not knowing what’s being lied about allows your mind to wander. To be fair, my thoughts wandered to some really dark places trying to figure out the lies. There is a second book, but I don’t know how it will stack up, especially since the setting is exactly the same. In my opinion, so far, the author is going to have to come up with a couple more lies different from those found in this book.
Apparently, I was on a dystopian kick because I am discussing another dystopian novel, but with characteristics that you are probably well versed with. A brunette teenage girl trying to find her way through society with some weird side romances that don’t make any sense and really don’t add anything to the story other than being really weird. I’m not talking about the Hunger Games, but it’s close enough.
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau is very reminiscent of The Hunger Games, but there is a slight twist to everything. Instead of a competition where the young kill each other, they see who gets to go to university, a privilege allowed by a select few across the war-torn United States. To get to university, you must take part in The Testing. The only difference is that it’s not the typical standardized testing that we are used to.
I really enjoyed the flip of expectations that was introduced in the story. As soon as you think you know what’s going on, something happens to twist your thoughts on everything. What is really chill becomes explosive in an instant. I would definitely recommend this book, even though I do not know where the rest of the series goes. I guess I’ll find out soon.
It is somewhat interesting having a romance novel in which that main characters barely interact, yet somehow it was a love story. Add in a mix of magic and creativity, creating a circus like no other. Add in a competition and you truly get things are out of this world. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern throws you into a world with vivid imagery that makes you want to jump right into the page.
My favorite part about this book was the author’s writing, hands down. I love the descriptions that just made everything come to life in my mind. One thing I did not enjoy was the hopping back in forth within the story. Although, once you get to the end, it all makes sense, I would get confused somewhat about the timeline of events. I also would not mind if Morgenstern went further into the universe she created. I would love to learn more about the magic systems in the book, but maybe that’s just me being a giant geek. You tell me.
After finishing the first series, as soon as I found out there was a sequel, I had to read it. Unfortunately, Modotte! Mamotte! Lollipop by Michiyo Kikuta, the sequel to Mamotte! Lollipop, fell into the trap that many sequels do. It would have been an exciting continuation of the story. All the characters being older had it not been the same story. And I mean exact—all of the plot points were the same. The only difference was that the characters weren’t gradually introduced. Since there are not any new characters, they all start at the same time.
Overall, it is a simple read and quick to go through. There’s just the added romance element that doesn’t really add to anything since the love-triangle has been resolved. It wasn’t bad; it just didn’t add anything to the story.
It’s been a while since I read a cutesy manga. It’s been too long if I’m honest, but I think this was the best one to get me started again. Mamotte! Lollipop by Michiyo Kikuta was way cuter than it had any right to be. It’s a mixture of shoujo, magic, romance, and friendship that was just really cohesive and came together nicely. A high schooler named Nina accidentally gets involved with a magic contest from another world, and hijinks ensue. One thing I did love was that there was a well-written love triangle. In lots of media, it can become super obvious who the protagonist will get with because one of their options is trash. In this story, although I did prefer one of the boys over the other, I would have been happy no matter who she would have ended up with. They both were fully fleshed out and intriguing. If you like the cutesy stuff as well, I would definitely suggest reading this. There’s also a squeal that I need to get into as well. I just hope it’s a fair sequel worth reading.
Next up in rereading a couple of books, I’m reading the short novella that takes place after the fourth book (review linked here). It was an interesting read in two ways. First, I read a Christmas themed book in the middle of February. Second, was a completely useless side plot that introduced another love interest who wasn’t interesting at all, and I honestly found it extremely stupid. If it had stayed with the main plot, I would have been happy. Being that I have read the next book in the series, I totally get that that singular plot could not be made an entire book, but there was utter nonsense that I had to practically skip through. It was mind-numbingly stupid. All you really need to know is that Sam, our vampire mom protagonist, found another medallion, and the end.
If you love it when common-place stories get reimagined, as much as I do, I think you can get behind Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi or Okami-San and Her Seven Companions. One of the things that I loved about this anime even though there was a heavy emphasis on fairytales such as Little Red Ridding which is the most prevalent, the script gets flipped in interesting ways each time. Add on the quirky anime tropes that we all know, love and cringe at, you get a very interesting story. I would just have liked it to be longer. I wanted to know much more about the protagonist and the overall outcome of the struggles that she went through. That, and I wanted more romance, but what can you do. Through some research, also known as going on the My Anime List page, there are also some novels and manga series to go along with it. I’m going to have to check those out.