The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees
Publication Date: January 1st, 2017
★★★☆☆ (2.50)
Genre – Young Adult Contemporary

Summary – Hawthorn wasn’t trying to insert herself into a missing person’s 25546710investigation. Or maybe she was. But that’s only because Lizzie Lovett’s disappearance is the one fascinating mystery their sleepy town has ever had. Bad things don’t happen to popular girls like Lizzie Lovett, and Hawthorn is convinced she’ll turn up at any moment—which means the time for speculation is now.

So Hawthorn comes up with her own theory for Lizzie’s disappearance. A theory way too absurd to take seriously…at first. The more Hawthorn talks, the more she believes. And what better way to collect evidence than to immerse herself in Lizzie’s life? Like getting a job at the diner where Lizzie worked and hanging out with Lizzie’s boyfriend. After all, it’s not as if he killed her—or did he?

Initial Thoughts – I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. In short, this book confused me. I felt like the book was confused too.
Plot – ★★☆☆☆ The “theory” that Hawthorn comes up with is simply ridiculous. I did not believe it for a second. However, I hoped that Hawthorn would be right in the end and add some twist, but she wasn’t. This book was similar to many that I have read, in which the MC believes the goddess popular girl couldn’t possibly have emotions and then they find out that (gasp) they do.
Characters – ★★★☆☆ I really did not connect with Hawthorn at all. A girl has gone missing, but Hawthorn makes insensitive and rude comments about her with no respect for Lizzie or the people mourning her. She uses Lizzie’s disappearance for her own entertainment. I understand that she was lonely, yet it sickens me.
Story world – ★★★☆☆ I think the story world added a lot to the confusion with the book. I felt like it wanted to be a fantasy novel, but wasn’t, so it chose something between the two.
Style – ★★☆☆☆ Hawthorn’s voice irritated me. I think Sedoti  was going for a personal and honest narrative, but I just found her insensitive.
Closing Thoughts – This book left me unsatisfied and unimpressed.
Recommendation – Recommended for lovers of quirky fiction, unpopular heroines, and confusion.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees
★★★☆☆ (3.25)
Genre – Young Adult Contemporary

Summary – Every story needs a hero.23203106
Every story needs a villain.
Every story needs a secret.

Wink is the odd, mysterious neighbor girl, wild red hair and freckles. Poppy is the blond bully and the beautiful, manipulative high school queen bee. Midnight is the sweet, uncertain boy caught between them. Wink. Poppy. Midnight. Two girls. One boy. Three voices that burst onto the page in short, sharp, bewitching chapters, and spiral swiftly and inexorably toward something terrible or tricky or tremendous.

What really happened?
Someone knows.
Someone is lying.

Initial Thoughts – This book…I don’t think I got it. Maybe I did, and it just didn’t affect me in the way it affected others. I don’t know. I have a lot of mixed feelings.
Plot – ★★☆☆☆ There really wasn’t much of a plot, at all. The first part of the book is just giving background, and there really is only one event that happens the entire time. The book just felt like a reaction to the single event.
Characters – ★★★☆☆ The characters were okay. I found Poppy the most interesting, yet I didn’t really relate to any of them. The ending twisted my opinion, but it still didn’t make me connect with them.
Story world – ★★★☆☆ The story world was pretty average. There’s really not much I can add that stood out.
Style – ★★★★★ This is by far the best part of the novel. Tucholke created a haunting and eerie narrative that kept me reading when the plot didn’t.
Closing Thoughts – This book had a good theme: good vs. evil and how the impressions you have of people can be wrong. I just felt like it was a lot of unnecessary story to portray that theme.
Recommendation – Recommended for lovers of haunting style, misconceptions, and deeper themes.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

★★★☆☆   (3.25)18392459
Genre – Young Adult Contemporary
Summary – Before the asteroid we let ourselves be defined by labels:
The athlete, the outcast, the slacker, the overachiever. But then we all looked up and everything changed. They said it would be here in two months. That gave us two months to leave our labels behind. Two months to become something bigger than what we’d been, something that would last even after the end.Two months to really live.
(Summary from GoodReads)
Initial Thoughts – I was pretty excited to read this book. I’d seen it a lot and the summary set up for a lot of interesting possibilities.
Plot – ★★★ There didn’t feel to be much of a plot for me. Since there were four POVs, it was difficult for any real subplots to form. Some plot lines would disappear and then reappear later, making it difficult to keep track of everything that was happening and stay interested.
Characters – ★★★★☆  Tommy Wallach did a pretty good job fighting against the labels that he set up for his characters. However, there were a few times when I disagreed with the ways that he portrayed some of the stereotypes.
Story world – ★★★☆☆  The story world isn’t described much. We get a few images of burning buildings and chaos, but nothing that really stuck with me.
Style – ★★★☆☆ Wallach’s style wasn’t anything special. It wasn’t memorable to me.
Closing Thoughts – In the end, this book left me disappointed and underwhelmed.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

★★★☆☆   (3.00)
Genre – Young Adult Fantasy23734628
Summary – Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
(Summary from Goodreads)
Initial Thoughts – I knew I shouldn’t have read this book. I LOVED Fangirl so much (and most of Rowell’s other books), but I was worried when I heard this book was going to be coming out. The book had too many similarities to Harry Potter in the beginning to work for me. Yes, Rainbow Rowell completely changed the plot, but the whole premise was Harry Potter. And that might work for some people, but it just didn’t for me.
Plot – ★★★☆ It took a long time to for the plot to pick up. This is supposed to be the final book in the series, so Rowell spends a lot of time covering the previous ‘books’ in the first 100 or so pages. Once the plot finally appears, it’s much better.
Characters – ★★★☆☆ The characters took a long time to grow on me. I think I was too busy comparing them to Harry Potter to actually see them as their own characters.
Story world – ★★☆☆☆ I can’t give Rowell much credit to her story world because I feel like she didn’t create it. There were some differences, yes, but it just wasn’t enough for me.
Style – ★★★★☆ I love Rainbow Rowell’s style, as always, but I think she struggled just a little with the fantasy aspect. While I think it’s great when authors stray outside of their normal genres, I think it didn’t quite work for Rowell.
Closing Thoughts – I think the thing that bugs me the most is that Rowell didn’t acknowledge at all in the author’s note or the acknowledgements that she borrowed stuff from J.K. Rowling. If she had done that, I would have been completely okay with this book and probably enjoyed it a lot more. This book just wasn’t for me. Maybe you can read it and enjoy, but I’m going to stick with Harry Potter.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

★★★☆☆ (2.50)19405297

Genre – Young Adult Realistic Fiction
Summary – Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant but socially clueless.
Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed “It” girl in her class, but her grades stink. Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom.(Summary from GoodReads)
Initial Thoughts – This book might have been okay. Sure, the premise was a little cliche, but it just might of worked. Of course, it didn’t.
Plot – ★★★★☆ Since this book seemed to follow a lot of the cliches, it was pretty predictable. However, I did appreciate the stance it took on some serious issues such as sexual identity and sexual assault.
Characters – ★★☆☆☆ Ashley is a complete brat, which is fine–please give me your imperfect characters–except that she had no character arc whatsoever. She stayed a brat all the way through the end. Steward however had a miniscule character arc, though not much.
Storyworld – ★★★☆☆ The storyworld was okay. Nothing great, nothing horrible.
Style – ★☆☆☆☆ –  This is what really bothered me about this book. Though the characters were both supposed to be thirteen and fourteen, they both sounded about ten years old. The style fit middle grade, but some of the themes were more young adult.
Closing Thoughts -This book could have been greatly approved if the characters were written as their age.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)

 

Adaptation by Malinda Lo

A 60 Second Review by Anne Brees

★★★☆☆ (2.50)10744752
Genre – Young Adult Science Fiction
Summary – Reese can’t remember anything from the time between the accident and the day she woke up almost a month later. She only knows one thing: She’s different now. (Summary from GoodReads)
Initial Thoughts – I was attracted to the intriguing cover of this book and a promise of interesting science fiction in the blurb. However, I wish I had just stopped reading there.
Plot – ★★★☆☆ Predictable. It had a few good parts, but nothing amazing.
Characters – ★★☆☆☆ Nothing about the characters stood out to me. The only one who made a slight impression was a side character, but it wasn’t much.
Storyworld – ★★★☆☆ The storyworld at the start of the book promises of haunting apocalyptic scenes. However, it dies out halfway through the narrative, leaving you behind in a half-described city.
Style – ★★☆☆☆ –  A lot of the writing, especially the dialogue, felt very forced. Not necessarily bad, just not amazing.
Closing Thoughts – I wouldn’t recommend this anytime soon. It left me very unimpressed.

(summary and cover from GoodReads)