May 30, 2011

Review: Not That Kind of Girl

Hello. So let me start off by saying how proud I am of all our followers! I remember when we had ten followers and I was going around begging goodreads friends to follow. Now look at us! At the time of this review, there are 99 followers!

Secondly, let me just say how hetic things are! April is extremely right about school. Considering how I'm supposed to be studying for finals and instead spent three hours last night/this morning (it was about 3 am when I finished it...) reading this book, I can safely say I am dedicated to this blog and its followers by reading and posting a review. Or I'm insane. Either one works great.

So enough of this rambling, on with the review!

Title: Not That Kind of Girl
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Pages: 322
Publisher: Push, hardcover

Goodreads Summary:
Natalie Sterling wants to be in control. She wants her friends to be loyal. She wants her classmates to elect her student council president. She wants to find the right guy, not the usual jerk her school has to offer. She wants a good reputation, because she believes that will lead to good things.

But life is messy, and it's very hard to be in control of it. Not when there are freshman girls running around in a pack, trying to get senior guys to sleep with them. Not when your friends have secrets they're no longer comfortable sharing. Not when the boy you once dismissed ends up being the boy you wants to sleep with yourself - but only in secret, with nobody ever finding out.

Slut or saint? Winner or loser? Natalie is getting tired of these forced choices - and is now going to find a way to live life in the sometimes messy, sometimes wonderful in-between.

My Review:

I found it funny how, while reading this book in the early moments of the day, I could hear this little voice telling me to stop and go back to my studies. Oddly enough, the little voice sounded extremly close to the voice that I had given this books protagonist, Natalie Sterling. Because what I was doing was something she would not approve of.

I also found it interseting how this YA book presented issues such as sexuality and feminism. I never would have thought those issues would have played such an important role in the book, considering the cover and title. (Before I go much further I have to say that yes, I did choose the book because of the cover.) I was looking for a light, nice romantic read to distract me from my studies, but instead I got a nice book that got me thinking. I love it when that happens.

I enjoyed how the problem presented at the beginning of the book did not belong to the protagonist, instead to Natalie's best friend. I've read too many books where the main character is portrayed weak, emotionally fragile yet mentally courageous girl. Insetad, Siobhan Vivian's main character is a strong feminist, who works hard to show that women can be strong emotionally and mentally and does not need a man to help her.

But Natalie's streangths also become her flaws when an old friend with different view points renters her life and starts making Natalie doubt everything she believes in. Is sexuality not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength and power? Can she really have something right now, just for that moment, if it won't go anywhere? If it won't help her in her paln for the future? And when her views start interfering with her friendship with best friend Autumn, start conflicting with her role modle Ms. Bee and keep her confused about football player Connor, Natalie's world starts breaking at its seams.

Needless to say, this book deals with relationships between girlfriends, best friends and with yourself. Sadly though, it was also a little bit black and white. There wasn't a real median between being totally into your sensuality, or being totally against it.

I also couldn't decide if I like the characters or not. Either Natalie's character was totally believeable, or she and Spencer were totally flat. Autumn had the potential of being a good character, but her story was confusing and how she resolved it seemed too simple or just not realistic.

Overall, I really liked the book. But once you start thinking about its messages and read deeper, its confusing and unclear.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Review: Possession by Elana Johnson

I'm writing a review for the first time in like 6 months! Summertime + sickness makes you do crazy things.  Sorry that this is the only review we have for May I lied, Karina posted a review! (Obviously she's procrastinating.)  Finals and end of school schtuff has been hectic.

Possession by Elana Johnson
416 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: June 7th 2011

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself. 

But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn. 

This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

My Thoughts:
I loved this book, was NOT what I expected, especially from a dystopian novel (in a good way!).  There were plenty of twists and suspenseful turns that kept me reading.  I loved Vi and Jag, their relationship felt realistic to me because it wasn't perfect.  Jag wasn't the perfect boyfriend, and the "love triangle" (I'm just using that term loosely) isn't a typical love triangle because it isn't a decision of Perfect Hot Boy #1 and Perfect Hot Boy #2 because both Jag and Zenn aren't perfect.  Hot, but not perfect.  Vi was also a great main character, and even though it was a difficult to follow her thought processes sometimes, her voice and perspective were fun and unique. 

What I loved most about this book is how it managed to be light hearted and funny, and still had all the dystopian elements.  I've read some really awesome dystopian books that have left me shell-shocked and sobbing at 2 in the morning, but after I read this book, I realized none of the dystopian books I've read before have really made me laugh.  So Possession is an awesome read if you're looking for some refreshing, quirky, original dystopian!

I hate being a downer, but I have to add that although the story is brilliant, the writing was a bit hard to follow at times.  The writing is very fast paced and sometimes I had to stop and reread a passage several times, and then getting confused when something was mentioned that I didn't remember being explained.  This may just be me though.  Although this is the author's debut book, so I'm sure that her writing will be smoother and flow better in the future! I am excited to read whatever Elana Johnson has in store if there is a sequel to this book :)

I'm such a hypocrite, I always complain when people review the covers as part of their overall review of the book, and yet I'm gonna be gushing about the cover in a couple seconds. However, I'd just like to point out, the awesomeness of the cover has no effect on my review of this book.  I love how simple it is, and yet I feel like it completely embodies the basic concept of a dystopian.  I love how the ice cube is cracked and starting to melt, and how the butterfly inside is vibrant and just waiting to break free.  Wow, that sounds cheesy.  But yes, I love love love it!

Overall: LOVED this book.  I give it 4 stars :)  I really really really wish I could give it 5 out of 5 stars, but I feel like I would be discounting that it is a bit hard to follow despite it's awesomeness.  Still, I strongly suggest checking it out once it comes on June 7th! 

You can also enter to win my ARC copy of Possession in our Splash Into Summer giveaway along with some other awesome YA and MG books Karina and I have compiled :)

May 24, 2011

Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop!!

That's right! I bet you wouldn't have guessed it but here at Book Away we are hosting our first ever Giveaway!!!!!

Alright, so hopefully we've done this correctly and all you have to do is fill out the form below.

We'll have three winners. First place will get first dibs to pick one book on our HUGE stack of giveaway books we have collected. Second place will get second dibs and third will get last dibs.

Pile of books you can pick from!

Alice Alone by  Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Ash by Malinda Lo
Half-Moon Investigators by Eion Colfer
Peter and the Starcatchers by Barry and Pearson
Ivy by Julie Hearn
The Total Tragedy of a Girl named Hamlet by Erin Dionne
The Riddle (book 2) by Alison Croggon
They Cry of the Icemark (book 1) by Stuart Hill
The Book of Mordred by Vivian Vande Velde
The Wizard Heir (book 2) by Cinda Williams Chima
The Kingdom Keepers (book 1) by Ridley Pearson
A Seperate Peace by John Knowles
Small Steps by Louis Sachar
Fire Bringer by David Clement-Davies
ARC of Crusade by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie
ARC of Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (signed!)
ARC of Blue Fire by Janice Hardy
ARC of Possession by Elana Johnson
ARC of Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma
ARC of Matched by Ally Condie

If you follow via GFC on the sidebar, you get an extra entry! Following isn't required, but now that summer is here, we'll be able to post reviews, giveaways, and other cool schtuff!

I realize GFC is having problems now, so if you can't follow, then you can leave a comment on any of our reviews for an extra entry as well!

Giveaway is US only, and ends 5/31 at midnight! :)

Once you've entered this giveaway, scroll down to the linky where you can check out all the other awesomesauce giveaways!

May 15, 2011

Calling all Meg Cabot Fans!

Do you love reading Meg Cabot's books?
Ever wanted to know something about a certain thing?
Ever had a question you've wanted to ask?

Well here's your chance!

Meg will be on Goodreads answering questions about her past books and new novel, Abandon (Abandon Trilogy #1), on her Goodreads Author discussion group, Ask Meg Cabot! Special One-Day-Only Group!. She will be available for one day only, Tuesday, May 17, 2011.

Check it out!

You have to be a member of goodreads in order to participate in group discussion, but I'm almost sure you don't have to be a member to read all the Q&As posted.

We are in no way adversting goodreads (though we do recommend the use of it (or I do)) and are only doing this for our readers!

Now, I've only read Meg Cabot's Avalon High and that day I have a meeting so chances are I won't be participating. But let me know how it went if you did!

On another note...

Check back soon for an exciting announcement we will be making. April and I are extremely excited over this and we hope you guys will be too.