Review: “Alienated,” Melissa Landers

Review: “Alienated,” Melissa LandersAlienated (Alienated #1)
Written by Melissa Landers
Published February, 2014 by Disney Hyperion
352 pages
Genres: Aliens, Romance, Sci-Fi
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three-stars

Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore.

It took a lot for me to eventually warm up to Alienated, but by the end of the book I finally felt that I was at least a little invested in these characters and the relationship between Cara and Aelyx. Despite forgettable supporting characters and an irritatingly slow narrative, there was light at the end of the tunnel – Alienated was at best enjoyable, but nothing awe-inspiring for me.

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Review: “The Fault in our Stars,” John Green

Review: “The Fault in our Stars,” John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars (Standalone)
Written by John Green
Published January, 2012 by Dutton
313 pages
Genres: Contemporary, Loss & Grief, Romance
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three-stars

Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumours in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumours tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at Cancer Kid Support Group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.

The Fault in our Stars was a very compelling and addictive read, one that I enjoyed and was able to devour in practically one sitting. Although this book had hardly any time to settle into the long, bleak waiting room that is my Kobo E-Reader, I still feel that the story itself was just ‘okay’.

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Review: “The Elite,” Kiera Cass

Review: “The Elite,” Kiera CassThe Elite (The Selection #2)
Written by Kiera Cass
Published April, 2013 by HarperTeen
323 pages
Genres: Dystopian, Romance
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three-stars

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Iléa.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

The Elite was a good continuation of the story we left behind in The Selection. While it didn’t bring anything new to the table, it was definitely on par with its predecessor and kept me entertained enough to finish the book – which is always a good thing! I will be reading the next (and final?) installment as I’m genuinely interested in how Keira Cass is going to tie this love triangle up!

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Review: “Shatter Me,” Tahereh Mafi

Review: “Shatter Me,” Tahereh MafiShatter Me (Shatter Me #1)
Written by Tahereh Mafi
Published November, 2011 by HarperTeen
338 pages
Genres: Dystopian
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three-stars

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

Shatter Me was quite an interesting read, but in my opinion it didn’t bring anything new to the table when it comes to the YA dystopian genre. Tahereh Mafi’s overuse of metaphors and repetitive adjectives also began to grate on my nerves. The pace of the book, however, kept me reading an enabled me to finish the book quite quickly.

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Review: “In the Shadow of the Lamp,” Susanne Dunlap

Review: “In the Shadow of the Lamp,” Susanne DunlapIn the Shadow of the Lamp (Standalone)
Written by Susanne Dunlap
Published April, 2011 by Bloomsbury
293 pages
Genres: Historical, Real Events
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three-stars

It’s 1854 and sixteen-year-old Molly would give anything to change her circumstances as a lowly servant in a posh London house. So when she hears of an opportunity to join the nurses who will be traveling with Florence Nightingale to the Crimea, she jumps at the chance. The work is grueling, the hospital conditions deplorable, and Miss Nightingale a demanding teacher.

Before long, the plight of British soldiers becomes more than just a mission of mercy as Molly finds that she’s falling in love with both a dashing young doctor and a soldier who has joined the army to be near her. But with the battle raging ever nearer, can Molly keep the two men she cares for from harm?

A love story to savor, and a fascinating behind-the-scenes imagining of the woman who became known as ‘the lady with the lamp’.

I was in need of a historical read, and In the Shadow of the Lamp certainly fulfilled those desires and reminded me why I love the genre so much. I’m a big fan of YA historicals based on real-life events and figures and this one focuses on Florence Nightingale, someone I don’t know too much about. The book was quick-paced and enjoyable, though I did have a few issues with it which prevented me from really adoring it.

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