Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Review: Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver


Title: Vanishing Girls
Author: Lauren Oliver
Genre: Mystery, Suspense
Series: This book a stand alone
Source: Digital ARC courtesy of Edelweiss

Book Summary: (Via Goodreads) New York Times bestselling author Lauren Oliver delivers a gripping story about two sisters inexorably altered by a terrible accident.
Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara's beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it's too late.
In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

Characters: Nick, Dara, and Parker
Plot: Nick and Dara are sisters with a close bond.  Nick is the responsible older sister and Dara is the younger sister who is always getting into trouble, trying risky and dangerous things.  One night after a party the sisters are in a horrific car crash and after, nothing is the same.

What I Loved: There is so much to love about this book!!!  I would like to begin with a disclaimer that this book is awesome BUT it has some major twists.  However, I will not give any spoilers so if the review seems to be missing something, it is!!!!! This book is told in alternating points of view and at different time periods to you are getting the story of the sisters and what led up to the crash and the aftermath in bits and pieces.  As Nick tries to regain her life back by working and interacting with people again and at the same time trying to come to grips with the aftermath of the crash on her and her sister and her family you can see just how far she has slipped into despair and guilt over what has happened.  She begins working at the local amusement park at the insistence of her mother and even though she is hesitant she begins to come out of the shell that she has built up around her. She also at the same time is trying to find out what what caused her sister to go down the path that she did and what she could have done to help her.  This is part of the guilt that is very much destroying her.  This book is truly a psychological thriller so not only is it a little difficult to discuss without giving away a major plot point but it also makes you rethink (and in my case reread) everything in this novel.  I found myself going back to different points in the book and seeing things much differently!!!! Since I am a librarian in a school this book will not only be LOVED by my students but will make for a great discussion! I can’t wait for my students to read it.
What I could have done without: It is not that I could have done without it but at the beginning it was a little confusing.  The chapters alternate between different points of view (although each chapter is labeled with the person’s name) but what really got me was the different time periods for example some of them are labeled before and after and some have exact times.  Once you get into the story it is less of an issue but at the beginning I had a difficult time with keeping things straight.

Final Grade: A

Book Review by Janine

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Book Review: The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

Title: The Cemetery Boys
Author: Heather Brewer
Genre: Horror, Thriller
Series: No
Source: Digital Copy Courtesy of Edelweiss (Release Date March 30th)

Book Summary: ( Via Goodreads) When Stephen is forced to move back to the nowhere town where his father grew up, he’s already sure he’s not going to like it. Spencer, Michigan, is like a town straight out of a Hitchcock movie, with old-fashioned people who see things only in black-and-white. But things start looking up when Stephen meets the mysterious twins Cara and Devon. They’re total punks–hardly the kind of people Stephen’s dad wants him hanging out with–but they’re a breath of fresh air in this backward town. The only problem is, Cara and Devon don’t always get along, and as Stephen forms a friendship with the charismatic Devon and something more with the troubled Cara, he starts to feel like he’s getting caught in the middle of a conflict he doesn’t fully understand. And as Devon’s group of friends, who hang out in a cemetery they call The Playground, get up to increasingly reckless activities to pass the summer days, Stephen worries he may be in over his head. Stephen’s fears prove well-founded when he learns of Spencer’s dark past. It seems the poor factory town has a history of “bad times,” and many of the town’s oldest residents attribute the bad times to creatures right out of an urban legend. The legend goes that the only way the town will prosper again is if someone makes a sacrifice to these nightmarish creatures. And while Stephen isn’t one to believe in old stories, it seems Devon and his gang might put a lot of faith in them. Maybe even enough to kill for them. Now, Stephen has to decide what he believes, where his allegiances lie, and who will really be his friend in the end.
Characters: Stephen, Cara, Devon, Markus, Harrold
What I Loved: I loved the super creepiness of the story. It begins about halfway through the book and there was a point where you didn’t have to rely on Stephen to tell you what was weird but you could feel it.  You could feel the secrets that were looming just below the surface which kept me on edge until the end. There are also these “friends” that Stephen makes, which seriously makes you question his decision making skills but they ramp up the creepiness factor to a ten.  Also I found the underlying theme of mental illness to a really unique twist in this story and it isn’t until after I finished the story and thought about it, that some of the things really started clicking.  Then there is the end!!!!! It was such a twist (and so twisted)!   I also loved the idea of a super small town with its unique superstitions and the lengths to which people will go to preserve themselves and their way of life and this town has the kicker of all superstitions.
What I could have done without:.  I was not a fan of the first half of the book.  Honestly I almost put the book down.  I just didn’t like Stephen and the more I read I still didn’t like him or his family and I just couldn’t make myself care. I wanted to care, really, I did but I just kept thinking what the heck is going on?? Things seemed disjointed in the beginning of the story