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Notes in the Margin

YA, Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Contemporary Fiction reviews.


Uglies  - Scott Westerfeld I got really tired of the language, it sounded very middle grade as opposed to YA and many of the plot points were really reaching for belief. Not a favorite.


Legend - Marie Lu Predictable and clumsy at times but still an exciting and quick read.


Allegiant  - Veronica Roth At the end of the day, Roth's intentions are clear. This book is not about being Dauntless, Abnegation, Erudite, Amity or Candor, it is about finding balance. It is about letting go of what deserves to be let go, and holding on to love with everything you have. True bravery has it's foundations in love, in faith, and in family and Roth makes that eloquently clear, because for those whom you love you can always find a reason to be brave.

And a note to those who think this conclusion had no hope, are you mad? There is always hope and Roth made that abundantly clear.

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The Scorch Trials

The Scorch Trials - James Dashner I was kind of disappointed in this second installment of the Maze Runner series. The first one really built a lot of tension and interest, and for me the Scorch Trials just seemed so...disjointed and repetitive. I was more or less annoyed with Thomas the whole time because he couldn't see what I as the reader could clearly figure out quite easily and it was hard to keep reading when every chapter seemed to be a re-run of the last. I thought book one was so clever and intelligent and this one just kind of fell short for me.

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Brave New World

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley What a strange future Huxley created, but definitely a thematically interesting one. I can see similarities to Veronica Roth's Divergent in the way people are conditioned to certain beliefs in order to fit a particular mold. It is also reminiscent of Delirium, a world conditioned without love or where love is treated as an illness and not an emotional response. Overall, it is not particularly excitement inducing and the writing is at times a bit heavy, however it remains an interesting social commentary. Read the rest of this review and more at Notes in the Margin.

Shades of Earth

Shades of Earth - Beth Revis This final installment is an intense commentary on slavery, greed and military involvement. It certainly makes you question why it seems to be part of the human condition to need to have control over each other, and control over what we do not understand. If our future was the one that Revis created, would we support that? Controlling people with drugs in order to make them mindless slaves, meant to create weapons? If the world's leaders had access to a drug like Phydus, would they use it? I think the answer is they absolutely would. Without thinking or considering the consequences. How far off is that reality? History is bound to repeat itself, or so that saying goes, does that mean that a new kind of slavery or rebellion is in our future? Sure, it may be hundreds or even thousands of years for now, but still...is that the legacy we want to leave?

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The Giver

The Giver  - Lois Lowry Guys, THIS BOOK. I wish someone would have told me sooner. I wish I would have been forced to read it in school. Gah. It's just so beautiful and sad and thoughtful and just ALL THE THINGS. I just want to call up Lois Lowry and tell her how thankful I am for this book. Honestly, it's a life changer.

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A Million Suns

A Million Suns - Beth Revis When we left Elder and Amy they had discovered that they were way behind schedule in getting Godspeed to Centauri-Earth, that Orion was really the Elder before Elder (Why can't they just have real names?), and that Eldest was drugging the citizens of Godspeed in order to keep them cooperative even though chances are they are NEVER going to get to the new planet. With Eldest dead and Orion frozen, Elder is left to figure out how to keep the now drug free citizens of Godspeed from rebellion and how to get the "frex" off of this ship. Never mind that Amy is a constant source of distress - the people don't like her and she refuses to sit still and do nothing. She wants to wake up her parents, but Elder is against the idea but when he finds out the real truth (seriously, how many truths can we reveal?) about Godspeed he may have no other choice.

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The Diviners

The Diviners - Libba Bray When Evie O'Niell's parents send her to New York City as an odd sort of punishment she is overjoyed at the opportunity to experience the big city first hand. It's the 1920's and the city is bustling with flappers and bootleggers. She is sent to live with her Uncle, who owns and runs the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition and the Occult, or the Museum of Creepy Crawlies as most know it. When a string of strange murders begins to ravage the city, the detectives come to Evie's Uncle and, nosy girl that she is, she ultimately becomes involved in finding the killer along with a wide array of other characters.

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Unspoken - Sarah Rees Brennan In the end, I did not finish this book. It was hard to keep up with from page to page and lacking authenticity. I made it about halfway through and realized that I had no idea what was going on, nor was I particularly interested in finding out. For a book labeled as “horror”, I didn’t find it particularly scary or thrilling. I wish I could have made it to the end, but unfortunately I am not always able to push through. More at Notes in the Margin.

Across the Universe

Across the Universe - Beth Revis I can tell you that overall it was quite an engaging read. I pretty much devoured it in 24 hours, which is hard to do for a book well over 400 pages and you know, work and stuff. I enjoyed the story, there was a lot of suspense and the writing minus a few minor flaws was solid. Ms. Revis definitely knows how to tell a compelling story that will keep the reader guessing until the last page. There are quite a few surprises near the end, and as a reader I find that I am pretty hard to take by surprise. So Revis gets bonus points for keeping me on my toes!

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The Book of Lost Things

The Book of Lost Things - John Connolly Without spoiling the ending, I can tell you that this book ends on a bittersweet note. It is a story of a young boy, wrought with jealousy over a life he feels he is not welcome to, only to discover it could be his greatest loss. Truly, the heart of this story is a beautiful tale that nearly anyone can relate to, because nothing is ever really lost after all.

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Safe Haven

Safe Haven - Nicholas Sparks While Nicholas Sparks is not a fantastic writer, he does know how to tell a love story any girl will fall for. Overall the writing was predictable and flat, but the more I read, the more I needed to finish.

Looking for Alaska

Looking for Alaska - John Green Did not leave me as emotionally distraught as The Fault in Our Stars, but still wonderful writing by John Green.

Before I Fall

Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver I had a hard time relating to Sam. She is the exact opposite of what I was in high school – kind of obsessed with her status, and knows where she stands and how to use it to her advantage. I guess I am still holding on to a little bit of that bitterness that even though I didn’t really care about not being popular, the fact that the popular kids were able to get away with anything and everything really got on my nerves. The things she hates are the things I love, for example Kent in his bowler hat and checkered shoes – totally making my 15 year old self swoon. However, even though I wasn’t a big fan of Sam, here story kept me turning the pages and I was interested to see how she changed with each day...

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The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys - Maggie Stiefvater I had a hard time with this book up until the last third or so when it really picked up. And by “picked up” I mean “gave me all the feels”. For a fantasy book, the characters are very real and tangible. I expected the book to be more about kissing, or rather avoiding it, and it turned out to be about a whole lot more.

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