Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Review: Ask the Passengers

Purchase Ask the Passengers here.


Astrid Jones desperately wants to confide in someone, but her mother's pushiness and her father's lack of interest tell her they're the last people she can trust. Instead, Astrid spends hours lying on the backyard picnic table watching airplanes fly overhead. She doesn't know the passengers inside, but they're the only people who won't judge her when she asks them her most personal questions . . . like what it means that she's falling in love with a girl.

As her secret relationship becomes more intense and her friends demand answers, Astrid has nowhere left to turn. She can't share the truth with anyone except the people at thirty thousand feet, and they don't even know she's there. But little does Astrid know just how much even the tiniest connection will affect these strangers' lives--and her own--for the better.

In this truly original portrayal of a girl struggling to break free of society's definitions, Printz Honor author A.S. King asks readers to question everything--and offers hope to those who will never stop seeking real love.


My mother (who is the reason for the title of this blog) tried to tell me how awesome this book was weeks ago.  It took me a while to finally get around to it, but I'm so glad I took the time to read Ask the Passengers.  I tore through it in a single afternoon, all while texting her excitedly.

I am absolutely in love with this book.  It's adorable, funny, and thought-provoking.  Astrid is a well-rounded and complex character whose challenges are relatable whether or not you've ever dealt with questioning your sexuality.  On that note, I love that Ask the Passengers forces us to question the rigidly binary "gay or straight" idea of sexuality we've internalized, and I love the way that happens.  Rather than having some academic (or, more likely, Tumblr social justice blogger) lecture at the reader about how sexuality is fluid, the reader is inside the mind of a teenager struggling with the implications of that way of thinking.  Honestly, I think this should be required reading for every parent with a queer child who wants to better understand them.

There is a bit of magical realism in this book.  That's often not my thing, but the book is written in such a way that it actually makes sense and really enhances the story.

All in all, a really beautiful book that is well-worth the read.  Thanks, Mom.

Until next time, happy reading!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Review: Feed (The Newsflesh Trilogy)


The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.

Now, twenty years after the Rising, Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives-the dark conspiracy behind the infected. The truth will out, even if it kills them.

FEED is the electrifying and critically acclaimed novel of a world a half-step from our own---a novel of geeks, zombies, politics and social media.


After finishing Feed, I sat in stunned silence for two minutes, spent five minutes crying like a child, and then rushed to my computer.  If you've been reading for a while, you'll remember that Divergent kicked me off on a YA dystopian kick that lasted for months; I firmly believe Feed will do the same for zombie apocalypse novels for me (seriously, I just purchased the rest of the trilogy as well as two more books that were recommended as similar).

It's been a while since I've fallen so completely into the world of a book.  I found myself squinting at lights (despite my lack of retinal Kellis-Amberlee), reaching for my non-existent gun, and forgetting that my awesome new hat wasn't also recording everything around me.  It's probably because the world is so beautifully thought out; for starters, Mira Grant doesn't just position bloggers as credible with a vague "it's the future" response.  She cites a reasonable cause for the rise of bloggers as news sources (failure of mainstream media) that is both believable and relevant to current events, with entire revolutions only having Twitter to get their message out of the country.  Grant constructs an entire world and culture around the outbreak that makes it feel as though she's gone through the situations herself.

Aside from the intricate set up, the story in itself is amazing.  It's wonderfully written, full of suspense and political intrigue, along with a healthy amount of the humanity of her characters shining through.  Grant builds tension expertly, causing me to tear through the nearly 600-page novel in around 4 days (and that's during midterms).

A warning: the novel is fairly graphic.  If that's not your thing, I have a review of some less gory zombie novels here.  But if you can handle your blood and guts, I cannot recommend this book enough.

Until next time, happy reading!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: The Maze Runner

Purchase The Maze Runner here.


When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his first name. His memory is blank. But he’s not alone. When the lift’s doors open, Thomas finds himself surrounded by kids who welcome him to the Glade—a large, open expanse surrounded by stone walls.

Just like Thomas, the Gladers don’t know why or how they got to the Glade. All they know is that every morning the stone doors to the maze that surrounds them have opened. Every night they’ve closed tight. And every thirty days a new boy has been delivered in the lift.

Thomas was expected. But the next day, a girl is sent up—the first girl to ever arrive in the Glade. And more surprising yet is the message she delivers. 

Thomas might be more important than he could ever guess. If only he could unlock the dark secrets buried within his mind.


Okay, so I know I am waaaay behind on reading the Maze Runner series.  To be fair, the books had sounded a bit young for me (and also a bit too Lord of the Flies).  The descriptions I'd gotten had been along the lines of "the dude runs through the maze and tries to figure out the thing."  Not exactly a stunning review.

My expectations were completely exceeded.  As frustrating as it can be, I loved the way readers were kept in the dark for most of the book.  I usually feel that particular mechanic is taken further than it needs to be and is used only to drag readers along to the bitter end, despite a fair to poor storyline.  In this case, however, it allows us as readers to sympathize with the Gladers.  The reader knows as much as they do, and we race along with the Gladers to find a way out of the Maze.

I haven't read the rest of the series, but in my mind, the next few books will make or break my feelings on The Maze Runner.  If the no-information mechanic is run into the ground and we still get absolutely no explanation, I probably won't be as kind in future.  However, for now, I am pleasantly surprised by the opening of the series.

Until next time, happy reading!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Review: The Registry

Purchase The Registry here.


Welcome to a safe and secure new world, where beauty is bought and sold, and freedom is the ultimate crime.

The Registry saved the country from collapse, but stability has come at a price. In this patriotic new America, girls are raised to be brides, sold at auction to the highest bidder. Boys are raised to be soldiers, trained to fight and never question orders.

Nearly eighteen, beautiful Mia Morrissey excitedly awaits the beginning of her auction year. But a warning from her married older sister raises dangerous questions. Now, instead of going up on the block, Mia is going to escape to Mexico—and the promise of freedom.

All Mia wants is to control her own destiny—a brave and daring choice that will transform her into an enemy of the state, pursued by powerful government agents, ruthless bounty hunters, and a cunning man determined to own her . . . a man who will stop at nothing to get her back.


I found the holy grail of dystopians: a stand-alone novel.  And I wanted to like it, I really did.  I made it all the way through, trying my very best to focus on the book's redeeming qualities.  After all, the set-up is intensely interesting and particularly appealing to feminist critique.  Women, literally priced by their beauty?  Told to take tests to make sure they are not smart enough to pass?  A patriarchal society where daughters literally belong to their fathers until marriage, and then belong to their husbands (enforced by a rather large number of agents)?  I am all over deconstructing that.

Unfortunately, The Registry was just too poorly written to overlook.  There was no build-up and release of tension.  Instead, the book started off tense and never stopped (aside from breaks to describe what colour polos the characters were wearing).  Everything felt incredibly rushed and unplanned; I felt physically and mentally exhausted while reading.  I would love to see this novel better-executed.

Oh, and we all know how I feel about love triangles.

Until next time, happy reading!