I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Perfectionists by Sara Shepard
Published by HarperCollins, Hot Key Books on October 2nd 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Source: the Publisher
In Beacon Heights High, Nolan Hotchkiss is king. His charm, wealth and good looks are deceptively seductive, and many are the students whose lives and reputations have been ruined by it. All while Nolan continues to reign, unquestioned and undisrupted. Until now, that is.
Mackenzie, Ava, Julie, Caitlin and Parker seemingly don't have much in common. Each has their own friends, dramas and goals. But one thing they do share: they all have a deep hatred of Nolan Hotchkiss. And they all think it's about time he paid for what he's done. They come up with the perfect murder - a hypothetical murder, of course. It's all wishful thinking ... until they wake up one morning to find that their wish has come true. Nolan has been killed - in exactly the way they planned. The thing is, they didn't do it. So who did?
I’ll start this review with being honest and confess that I have never read any of the Pretty Little Liars’ books. I have watched the show… for a few seasons (when I still didn’t know who A. was a season or two later I got annoyed and quit watching -please don’t hit me). I read the synopsis and thought the story sounded intriguing, somehow under the impression that this was a standalone novel. Imagine my surprise when I got the end of the book and found out it wasn’t.
Well, that, or this book ends in a seriously dissatisfying way.
To me, it seemed that this story bore quite some resemblance to Pretty Little Liars. Of course I am basing this on my experience with the tv-show, but as the story unfolded I just couldn’t help but feel like I’d read this story before. I found the characters stereotyped and they have quite a similar mindset to the main characters in PLL. Not to forget that they share the same tendency to make the most stupid, dangerous decisions that just can’t have any other outcome than one that ends badly.
There are just so many high school cliché’s in this book, from the characters, to the events, and the predicaments. It wouldn’t have worked for me in any other book, but somehow Shepard made them interesting and engaging enough to keep me hooked to the story. Like I said, the characters make lots of silly, and some just plain stupid, decisions. Their web of lies grew and grew until they couldn’t see a way out anymore. While it did boggle my mind every single time, I can’t deny that it added to the atmosphere of the story.
In a way the plot demanded those ‘stupid, dangerous decisions’ because that’s that way the tension builds. It makes for a fast paced, engaging, and action filled story. Unfortunately, it also became a little too much at times. There was just too much happening and too many decisions that were more than stupid and idiotic. It was what I expected going in, and I found it manageable up until that ending.
Of course I was under the impression it was a standalone, which may have meant that the ending came as a much bigger surprise, but it seemed so abrupt to me. BOOM cliffhanger: The End. I must have turned the last page a few times, just to check if it really was the ending. There was no clear resolution, just an ending that left me gaping like a fish.
The Perfectionists was an enjoyable read (up until that ending, that ending was just ridiculous), but it bore a little to much resemblance to Pretty Little Liars for me. The book is by far one of my favourites, but I can’t deny that the story was engaging and has a slightly ‘potent’ and addictive quality to it. All and all it was an entertaining book to read.
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Blackbird by Anna Carey
Series: Blackbird Duology #1
Published by HarperTeen on September 16th 2014
Source: the Publisher
This twisty, breathless cat-and-mouse thrill ride, told in the second person, follows a girl with amnesia in present-day Los Angeles who is being pursued by mysterious and terrifying assailants.
A girl wakes up on the train tracks, a subway car barreling down on her. With only minutes to react, she hunches down and the train speeds over her. She doesn’t remember her name, where she is, or how she got there. She has a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist of a blackbird inside a box, letters and numbers printed just below: FNV02198. There is only one thing she knows for sure: people are trying to kill her.
On the run for her life, she tries to untangle who she is and what happened to the girl she used to be. Nothing and no one are what they appear to be. But the truth is more disturbing than she ever imagined.
While I was really enthusiastic to start reading Blackbird it ended up being a bit of a disappointment. The story seemed really promising, and it wasn’t that the book was ‘bad’. I don’t quite know how else to put it, other then: it just wasn’t my cup of tea.
Let’s start with the writing style. It’s written in 2nd person. Which isn’t necessarily bad, but it surely makes the story much harder to read. I definitely struggled with it at first. I got used to it after a little while, but in the end it kept me from really getting into the story -which was a problem. Honestly, it was the constant use of “you” that was incredibly distracting. I’d even go as far to say that it kept me from connecting with the main character, the writing style felt impersonal. It didn’t help that the main character herself didn’t remember anything of her past, which made it hard to connect to her in any way.
Besides the fact that I felt disconnected from the main character, her friendship with Ben came across as a bit too quick and convenient. She’s in a scary place, doesn’t know who she can and cannot trust, but somehow she trusted him pretty easily. View Spoiler » Really, who would agree to stay at the house of a guy you’d just met… a perfect stranger. While you’re being chased by crazy people that are trying to kill you. There’s really no logic in that, is there? « Hide Spoiler
What really kept me reading was the action and mystery. They’re a constant throughout the story and I found myself wanting to know more. I wanted to know more about the main character, or how she ended up in the state she is in. Throughout the book you get these little clues, puzzle pieces you have go try and fit together, which made me want to keep on reading in the hopes of finding out more View Spoiler » too bad that in the end you’re not much wiser than when you started the book « Hide Spoiler.
While it may come across this way, the story wasn’t ALL bad. The concept of the story was still interesting and like, I said above, the action and mystery were present and constant throughout the story. All and all, this made for an okay read.
This book, while being an okay read, left me pretty confused. I had high hopes for blackbird because the story seemed really promising, but in the end I just couldn’t connect to the story or its characters. For me, it was a bit of a let down.
(I truly imagine my face looking like this GIF when I finished the book)
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
Published by Delacorte Press on May 13th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.
“What if we could stop being different colors, different backgrounds, and just be in love?”
― E. Lockhart, We Were Liars
We Were Liars was my first E. Lockhart book I’ve read, and judging on this book alone, I have been missing out! That being said, it was the cryptic blurb that pulled me in and made me want to read this book so bad. So, when I started reading I really had no idea what to expect from this book… and this ended up being exactly what made this story so powerful.
I have been pondering what to write in this review, because I do not want to spoil this story for anyone! And frankly, I think that ‘less is more’ goes for this reviewing this story! If I would want to give you any advise before going into reading this book, it would be to go in as ‘blind’ as possible. Please don’t let anybody spoil this story for you, because the less you know, the more of an impact it will have on you.
The gradual pacing was so good! It added to the suspense that kept building and building until the end. Those very first pages I felt the suspense creeping in. It crept in and stayed with me all the way to the moment when the plot unfolded and left me absolutely breathless.
The writing was beautiful. While it took me a chapter to get used to, once it did, the poetic writing never failed to blow my mind!
This story is truly beautiful. The pacing, the suspense, and the poetic writing made the story extremely powerful. It’s a story that will stay with me for a long time to come (and will probably become on of my favourite reads of this year!). Go in ‘blind’ and let the story speak for itself!