21 February 2013

Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

Agnes Wilkins has little interest in her upcoming debut into society. She'd rather be listening in on the secrets of the house than being measured for ribbon to adorn her fancy new dress. And she'd much rather be reading than humoring the supposedly-amusing advances of high society men.

In the middle of entertaining the interest of one very highly-regarded prospect, Agnes finds herself in the middle of a much more interesting mystery. She has found something that it seems someone is going to great -- possibly violent -- lengths to recover, and if she doesn't figure out the final pieces of the puzzle first, there might be great consequences. 

This story is mixed with a great deal of mystery, romance, and history (both that of ancient Egypt and of the notorious Napoleon), not to mention thrilling adventure. Absolutely recommended to all. (Note: a few suggestive scenes might limit the novel to an older teen audience.) (And another note: The story gets off to a slow start, but it pays off to get through the first few chapters. You need the foundation in order to get wrapped up in the real meat of the novel.)

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Amy isn't sure that she agrees with her parents' decision to be frozen for 300 years in order to board a spaceship that is venturing out to colonize a new planet. Her mom's expertise with genetic biology and Dad's military background make them "essential" to the future colony's success. Amy has been given special clearance to accompany her parents as "nonessential cargo." And though she doesn't necessarily agree with the decision, she can't imagine NOT going with her parents . . .

But 250 years later, aboard Godspeed, Amy is woken unexpectedly, prematurely, and perhaps accidentally. Now she's on a spaceship that isn't even going to land for another 50 years, and she feels completely alone. She's frustrated by the weird structure of the population aboard the ship, especially the unbalanced dictatorship of the Eldest. But little-by-little, she learns a bit about the life of those whose entire existence is breathing recycled air, never setting foot on real soil or seeing real stars. And little-by-little she is even more convinced that this life just isn't right.

Across the Universe is the first in a trilogy, completed with A Million Suns and Shades of Earth.
Reviewed by kate the librarian.

12 February 2013

Between Here and Forever by Elizabeth Scott

Everyone loves Abby's sister Tess. Tess is smart and beautiful and happy, and she is always the sister that everyone wants to be around . . . even now that Tess is in a coma. Abby is left constantly responding to friends and neighbors asking after Tess, or saying how much they miss her and how wonderful she was. Abby refuses to talk about Tess in past tense, and spends virtually every second willing Tess to wake up and get back to her life. As long as Tess stays in a coma, Abby will forever be in her shadow.

Unfortunately, there's nothing new here, and readers will always be a few steps ahead of Abby, willing her to just catch up already. Elizabeth Scott has done some really great work; consider trying Love You Hate You Miss You or The Unwritten Rule instead. Mature readers who can handle intense topics should also pick up the beautifully written story of very painful experiences of a young girl, Living Dead Girl.

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

Exposed by Kimberly Marcus

Liz defines much of her life by two things: she's a photographer and she's Kate's forever-best friend. Sure, she's got her sights on college and she enjoys her boyfriend Brian, but viewing life through a camera lens and sharing everything with Kate are really the things that shape how she sees the world and who she is.

Following a lame fight during their monthly sleepover ritual, Liz doesn't understand why Kate is still avoiding her . . . until Kate tells Liz about the rape. Liz's brother denies it, saying that "it was only sex." Liz is torn between wanting what's best for Kate and for her brother, and eventually even for herself.

While there isn't much new to find in this novel in terms of content and characters, first-time author, Kimberly Marcus, wins the reader over with her poetic, endearing, and captivating storytelling.

Reviewed by kate the librarian.

07 February 2013

The Space Between by Brenna Yovanoff

Daphne is the daughter of Lucifer. Yup, that Lucifer. 

Life in Hell isn't truly as bad as it might seem, but Daphne's brother Obie has fallen in love with a human girl on earth and decides that he cannot stay in Hell, even if living on earth full-time is absolutely forbidden. When he leaves Hell - for good - Daphne knows that his life is in danger and vows to go to (and stay in) earth until she can make sure he's safe. But she doesn't know exactly where he is, and her only clue is a young man named Truman Flynn. 

Since his mother's death, Truman has been desolate, depressed, and self-destructive. It was Daphne's brother who saved his life, despite his own efforts to end it. But it is for Daphne, not her brother, that Truman ultimately agrees to help find Obie. Perhaps because of, rather than in spite of, the twists and turns of the demon world, both Daphne and Truman begin to wonder if love can overpower cruelty, and if hope can exist in a world full of pain and sadness.

Recommended to all readers, though the topics of suicide, sacrifices, and torture might limit to readers who can reflect maturely about both life and death.
Reviewed by kate the librarian.