Archive for August, 2015

Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

saint anything

Genre:  Realistic Fiction/Romance

# of Pages:  417

RAC:  Yes

Sydney was always the overlooked younger sibling to Peyton, her charismatic lovable older brother.  When Peyton is arrested and sent to jail for paralyzing a teenager while driving his car drunk things shift even more in his direction as their parents struggle to help him in any way they can.  Sydney begins to feel unsafe in her own home as Peyton’s overly friendly friend, Ames, begins to frequent her house more and more.  By chance, she meets the Chatham family and with it a new best friend and potential boyfriend.  The Chathams are everything her family is not and Sydney feels noticed and listened to in a way her family hasn’t for a long time.  Eventually, her two worlds collide and she must make some big decisions about where to go from here.  Can she forgive her brother for destroying her family?  Can she date a boy her family deems unworthy?  Will her parents ever give her the attention she deserves as the only remaining child in the home?

Sarah Dessen once again creates a story full of wonderful and engaging characters that make you want to know more about them.  Sydney’s family obviously has some very serious issues with Peyton’s predicament, but yet that does not change the fact that they still have a child who needs their attention as well.  Meanwhile, the Chathams have had some terrible disappointments too as their mother is very ill.  The two families handle conflict in their own ways and Sydney finds strength from both of them in different ways.  The romance between Sydney and Mac is sweet, but does not take over the story where Sydney is the main focus.  Recommended for fans of Sarah Dessen and Jenny Han novels.

The Heir by Kiera Cass

The-Heir_612x925

Genre:  Romance/Realistic Fiction

# of pages:  346

RAC:  yes

It has been twenty years since America Singer won the selection and married Prince Maxon.  Their first born, by seven minutes, is Eadlyn.  Due to the change in law, she is the next in line for the throne and not her younger twin brother.  Eadlyn has felt enormous pressure her entire life because she knows that someday she will rule, but she never realized how much her parents have been shielding her from.  King Maxon abolished the caste system almost immediately after he became king, but all these years later there is still discrimination and unrest going on.  Eadlyn’s parents decide a Selection might shift the focus away from the unrest and onto happier, more exciting things.  Eadlyn is not thrilled by the idea of a Selection and vows to fight it at every turn.  There are several interesting suitors who are chosen and she begins to enjoy herself a bit, but as with any Selection there is a fair share of drama.  Will she find true love?

This follow-up series to the original is fun in that it is from a female perspective and therefore she is unable to get away with stuff her father did simply because he was a man and viewed differently by the public.  Eadlyn takes her responsibilities seriously, but often comes out unlikable because of her brusque attitude.  It’s obvious that she and her siblings know very little about the selection that brought their parents together and that is surprising considering a lot of important events transpired that still effect relations within the castle today.  The ending brought many shocks and surprises which is what fans will be looking for…along with the next book!

Utopia, Iowa by Brian Yansky

utopia

Genre:  Fantasy

# of Pages:  323

RAC:  Yes

Set in fictional Utopia, Iowa where the life expectancy is longer than usual and many people are believed to have “gifts,”  Jack Bell lives with his mother, father, and sister.  Jack, his mother, and his sister can all see ghosts, but they have taken extra precautions to make sure they cannot enter their home.  When Jack’s sister, Amanda, claims to see a ghost on Jack’s bed they are all naturally alarmed because more than likely it would take a much stronger spirit to enter their house than a usual ghost.  Then, a young college student is pushed from a dorm window to her death and she seeks Jack’s help in finding what happened to her.  She does not remember her death, which is unusual for ghosts, but she knows her boyfriend didn’t kill her despite his confession.  The police detective starts to become concerned that Jack is somehow connected to this case because he seems to know details he should not know, and he is not a believer in the town “gifts.”  Can Jack help this spirit find her way and clear his name?  Can he protect himself from the growing number of threats people keep prophesying about him?

This light fantasy story provides an usual spin on the ghost genre in that the reason behind the threats and mysterious deaths actually connect to an ancient story that is slowly explained throughout the book.  Jack comes in contact with several different types of gifted people who all try to help in their own ways as he deals with the ghosts that keep seeking his advice as well as the mounting danger he keeps getting warned about.  The ending is exciting and satisfying, but it’s not a story that the reader will think much about once it is over.  Recommended for fans looking for a fun fantasy.