Category Archives: YA

Ready Player One

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ready player

This novel is pure nostalgia in a lot of ways. While I didn’t grow up in the ’80’s, the movies, music, and television from that era are so pervasive in American society and pop culture. John Hughes movies are still shown on television as are TV shows like Family Ties and Square Pegs. Turn on any classic rock station and you can find Pat Benatar and Foreigner. I really enjoyed reliving many of the classics I grew up watching and finding out new ones. Ernest Cline knows the decade well.

I loved how the novel incorporated so many elements. It’s like playing a real video game at times in your head as the characters battle it out in the OASIS. The theme of the blurring of reality and fantasy was so well done. And is just as pervasive in our world. This is the reason many people read. To escape their own reality for a little while and enter someone else’s. And in the OASIS, that’s exactly what happens. Your world erases and you are allowed to build a new one. You can create a character to be anything you want. There are no limitations.

That is why, in Cline’s Ready Player One, the OASIS is so popular. The real world around them has crumbled and they’ve retreated into the comfort of the OASIS. Enter the main character Wade, better known as Parzival. He’s a self made gunter, a person hunting for Halliday’s famed Easter Egg and his fortune. Halliday was the creator of the OASIS and when he died he left behind him the greatest game he ever made, the hunt for the Egg and for his massive fortune.

During the journey for the Egg, Wade begins to realize that perhaps virtual reality is not all it’s cracked up to be. Nowhere is perfect. It may be easier to hide behind your avatar but rarely does the easy path lead to change.

Rating: 4.5/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Pop Reading Challenge. Happy reading!

Coming Soon!

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Next up in the Pop Reading Challenge is a book that is going to be an upcoming movie. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what to read for this challenge. A lot of the “books becoming movies” I’ve read before or came out last year. Finally I found Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. When I worked in my local bookstore we could not keep this book on the shelves. Customer after customer would tell me how amazing the novel was and how much they liked it. I finally got my hands on a copy of my own and decided why not.

The premise of the novel sounds spectacular. I love the ’80s, though I haven’t played many video games myself. I can’t wait to see how ’80’s pop culture is incorporated into the novel and what quest the characters will find themselves on.

Stay tuned for the full review of Ready Player One. Happy reading!

Don’t Stay Up Late

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fear street

I’m not sure if I’m just too old or if I held these books up on too high of a pedestal but I have to say that I didn’t enjoy this novel nearly as much as I remember enjoying the Fear Street novels. The plot was unstructured and left quite a few holes. It seemed to me like there was so much build up that the final reveal was a let down. It just didn’t quite all mesh together as smoothly as I remember.

The plot centers around Lisa Brooks who has just recently moved to town with her family. Very soon after the move her father dies in a horrible car accident and Lisa is left with a bad concussion that causes her to hallucinate. She starts seeing a therapist to help her get through her father’s death. It’s the therapist that recommends that Lisa should take a job to get her out of the house and recommends the babysitting job on Fear Street.

At first everything is fine. The little boy is adorable and takes an immediate liking to Lisa. However, it’s not long after Lisa takes the job that things begin to happen culminating in some seriously chilling murders.

The explanation for the murders unravels so quickly and is so loose that it left me unimpressed. This was much more like a mash between Goosebumps and Fear Street than a pure Fear Street novel. After reading this I do want to pick up an old novel to see the difference, if there is one. All in all, I’m sad to say this wasn’t one of my favorites. Hopefully the Fear Street books just haven’t hit their old stride yet.

Rating: 3/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Pop Reading Challenge. Happy Reading!

 

Flash Read

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stine

Next up in the Pop Reading Challenge is a book you can finish in a day. I decided that I’d do something a bit nostalgic and read R.L. Stine’s latest novel Don’t Stay Up Late, the second novel in the Fear Street reissue.

R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike were staple reads for me when I was a kid. The Fear Street novels in particular were some of my favorites. I loved the back story and the idea that an entire street could be cursed. There were always so many plot lines revolving around the street that included ghosts, vampires, and demons. Fear Street always seemed so much cooler than the regular Goosebumps.

This novel is about a young girl whose family has recently moved and who becomes involved in a tragic accident. To help out her mother she takes a babysitting job. The only problem is the job is on Fear Street.

I can’t wait to see what the reissue novels are like and to relive a bit of childhood.

Stay tuned for the full review of Don’t Stay Up Late. Happy reading!

Scarlet

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After finishing Cinder I was so caught up in this alternative fairy tale world that I had to go out and buy the next two books in the series. I even changed up my book choice for this category because I wanted to continue. And I have to say that Scarlet did not disappoint.

At first I was a bit throw off. I had been so caught up in Cinder’s character and her world that it was a bit jarring to suddenly find myself in someone else’s. Scarlet is a spit fire of a person. She is intensely loyal and intensely hot tempered. This novel kicks off with Scarlet looking for her grandmother who she is convinced has been kidnapped. The police refuse to believe that anything untoward has happened and drop the case. Though Scarlet refuses to drop it. She decides to take up the case herself and begins her search for her grandmother. During the search she meets Wolf, a mysterious stranger and street fighter. He tells her that he will help her find her grandmother and she accepts. Together they go off into the woods in search of Michelle Benoit.

I loved seeing the elements of Little Red Riding Hood being led down the path by the wolf. Scarlet is so alternately naive and worldly. She is eager to place her trust in anyone to find her beloved grandmother. But, just like Red Riding Hood, there are a few surprises in store for Scarlet.

Let’s not forget Cinder. Her narrative picks up with her in a prison cell waiting to be transported to Luna. After a visit from the doctor, Cinder is able to escape the prison and sets out in search of Michelle Benoit, the woman who might have held her while she recovered from her injuries as a child. During her search, Cinder and Scarlet cross paths and Cinder’s past comes out.

I won’t give too much away from the plot. Only to say that Scarlet is a wonderful addition to the Lunar Chronicles. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for Cinder and co in Cress. 

Rating: 4.5/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!

Little Red and the Big Bad Wolf

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Next up in Book Battle 2015 is a novel with a color in the title. Originally I was going to read a different novel for this category but after reading Cinder I just had to continue with the series. So instead of reading the novel I had chosen, I’m reading Scarlett by Marissa Meyer.

I have to say I am absolutely loving the world Meyer has created. There are elements of Star Wars, Grimm’s fairy tales, and heroes journeys. Each of her characters is so fleshed out I can’t wait to find out more about them.

In this particular novel we are going to meet Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. I can’t wait to see Meyer’s take on this classic fairy tale.

Stay tuned for the full review of Scarlett. Happy reading!

Cinder

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New Beijing is a melting pot of humans and androids, science and the living. Stuck smack dab in the middle is Cinder, a cyborg mechanic with big dreams. The novel starts out much like Cinderella. Cinder is under appreciated and overworked by her wicked stepmother. Gifted with mechanical abilities, Cinder uses her knowledge to provide for her adoptive family. But things change when the prince comes to Cinder’s stall and asks for her help fixing a royal android. Little does Cinder know that this android holds the key to her past and will open up endless possibilities and endless strife.

While reading Cinder, I loved tracing the story of Cinderella and seeing the differences. Creating a cyborg Cinderella is a bold move but an amazing one. I really enjoyed that Cinder was a strong female character. She didn’t sit by passively while life happens to her or wait for a fairy godmother. She goes out and gets what she wants. She strives to be in control of her own destiny one way or another.

I also enjoyed the relationship progression between Kai and Cinder. It never felt particularly forced and moved on at a more natural pace. Both actually acted more like the teenagers they both are. They’re confused and not sure how to proceed. They don’t know what will happen in the future and desperately want to find out.

But all is not a fairy tale in New Beijing. A deadly plague has been sweeping through the Earthen colonies clamming many lives. In addition to the plague, Earth’s relationship with Luna, a moon colony gone rogue, is at best tense. Luna claims to have found a cure for the plague, but everything comes with a price. The Lunar queen, Leavana, is known for her cruelty as well as for her “beauty.” She has grand plans of conquering and ruling the world with an iron fist and wants nothing to stand in her way.

The only thing slightly negative I can say at all about Cinder is that it was a bit formulaic. I saw the ending and the big reveal in the beginning of the novel. Though I do have to say it did not hamper my enjoyment of the novel. Meyer did a fabulous job creating lively and complex characters. I can’t wait to see what the next novel has in store for them.

Rating: 4/5

Stay tuned for the next installment of Book Battle 2015. Happy reading!