Monday, July 25, 2011

Review: Misfit

Title: Misfit
Author: Jon Skovron
Publisher: Amulet
Pub Date: August 2011
Genre: Paranormal

Jael Thompson has never really fit in. She’s changed schools too many times to count. The only family she’s ever known is her father, a bitter ex-priest who never lets her date and insists she attend the strictest Catholic school in Seattle. And her mother—well, she was a five thousand year old demon. That doesn’t exactly help.
But on her sixteenth birthday, her father gives her a present that brings about some unexpected changes. Some of the changes, like strange and wonderful powers and the cute skater boy with a knack for science, are awesome. But others, like the homicidal demon seeking revenge on her family? Not so much.
Steeped in mythology, this is an epic tale of a heroine who balances old world with new, science with magic, and the terrifying depths of the underworld with the ordinary halls of high school. -- Goodreads
My Thoughts:
I'd heard a bit about Misfit from a few other bloggers before I can across the galley on NetGalley (if you don't know about NetGalley, check it out), but I haven't read much paranormal in the past few weeks and the whole demons and mythology aspect sounded really interesting.

Misfit wasn't what I was expecting and I'm having a difficult time deciding if I liked it or not. The story and the characters were interesting and exciting, but the writing style was really difficult for me. The point of view and tense changed throughout the novel, which confused me and drove me crazy. I probably would have stopped reading after about three chapters if I weren't so interested in the mythology setup in the novel.

So the story and mythology of the book, pretty awesome. The whole world of demons and myth came together really nicely and was clearly well researched. I was impressed by how well the religious stories and the myths came together and created a very complete history and background for the demon world. It wasn't like anything else I've read (although I haven't read very demon/religious/mythology centered books). There's a lot going on; many cultural and religious stories are mixed.

I liked the characters, but some of them were a bit over-the-top for me. I liked Jael for the most part; her character growth was excellent and I liked her relationship with boy. Jael's father and some of the other religious figure characters just didn't seem believable to me. They were too much; I don't know very many priests, but I can't picture these guys in a church in the real world.

If you can get passed the strange writing style, the story's pretty good.

I'm giving two ratings because the story was:

but the writing style was:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Review: Girl Wonder

Title: Girl Wonder
Author: Alexa Martin
Publisher: Disney/Hyperion
Pub Date: May 2011
Genre: Realistic Fiction

As if transferring senior year weren't hard enough, Charlotte Locke has been bumped to lower level classes at her new school. With no friends, a terrible math SAT score, and looming college application deadlines, the future is starting to seem like an oncoming train for which she has no ticket.

Then Amanda enters her orbit like a hot-pink meteor, offering Charlotte a ticket to something else: popularity. Amanda is fearless, beautiful, brilliant, and rich. As her new side kick, Charlotte is brought into the elite clique of the debate team—and closer to Neal, Amanda's equally brilliant friend and the most perfect boy Charlotte has ever seen.

But just when senior year is looking up, Charlotte’s life starts to crumble. The more things heat up between Charlotte and Neal, the more Neal wants to hide their relationship. Is he ashamed? Meanwhile, Amanda is starting to act strangely competitive, and she's keeping a secret Charlotte doesn't want to know.

Talented newcomer Alexa Martin delivers a poignant story of first love, jealousy and friendship, where the ups and downs of senior year have never been so complicated. What else can Charlotte do but throw her hands up and ride?
-- Goodreads
My Thoughts:
I've been trying to read more realistic contemporary fiction. I think I need a break from paranormal and dystopian novels. Girl Wonder was an excellent change from apocalyptic things I've been reading lately. 

I really liked Charlotte; she seemed totally real to me. Her struggle to fit in with her supper smart family is what really made her likable and really realistic. Charlotte's father's responses and reactions to Charlotte's academic choices and issues totally reminded me of some of friend's parents. Charlotte's need to fit in with Amanda and Neal and the downward spiral her life goes into because of this need may seem a bit over the top to some readers, but I thought it was pretty realistic. A lot of teens really struggle to fit in and go to extremes to do so. I had several friends in high school who went through very similar situations. Charlotte's not obsessed with popularity; she just wants to fit in somewhere and the super smart kids' clique is the sort of place her highly academic parents would (in her mind) like her to fit in. I also loved her little brother and his friend Milton. They're both super smart, but not in the same show-off-y way that Amanda and Neal are.

My only issue with the novel is the romance aspect. Charlotte's relationship with Neal wasn't all that interesting and (I thought) pretty predictable. He wants to hide her and doesn't really act all that interested in her, and she's just dying to fit in and have someone actually like her. It's so clear right from the beginning that this isn't going to work out. But even with my dislike of the romance between Charlotte and Neal, I still felt that Charlotte's struggle to fit in and her downward spiral were true-to-life and interesting.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Giveaway: Unrequired Summer Reading

Don't forget to enter the Unrequired Summer Reading Giveaway to win a copy of Putting Makeup on Dead People and a deck of YA theme playing cards. Contests ends Monday, July 11, so enter now!

For full details and to enter, go here.