From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson: his debut novel for the young-adult audience.
More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake. Having nearly overrun the territory of Nebrask, the Wild Chalklings now threaten all of the American Isles.
As the son of a lowly chalkmaker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery, one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.
Bestselling author Brandon Sanderson brings his unique brand of epic storytelling to the teen audience with an engrossing tale of danger and suspense—the first of a series. With his trademark skills in worldbuilding, Sanderson has created a magic system that is so inventive and detailed that readers who appreciate games of strategy and tactics just may want to bring Rithmatics to life in our world.
Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.
So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.
Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?
“If you’re reading this book, then you’re also that child reading by flashlight and dreaming of other worlds. Don’t be scared of her, that inner Beauty, or her dreams. Let her out. She’s you, and she’s me, and she’s magic.”
The Beauty and the Beast aspect of this book kicked in a bit late for me. I was already at 50% when I really started feeling the vibe. However, at the same time, I also felt and A Court of Thorns and Roses vibe. Granted, they stem from the same retelling, but it kind of felt similar for me when it came to having another world with different magical creatures; how only Yeva could hunt and provide for her family, and such. I thought it was going to be problematic at first, but I realized that Hunted has a story of its own to tell, and the thought quickly vanished from my mind.
“We curse everything, for we are cursed, and we have no arms to shelter her and no lips to press to her hair and above all no words to tell her that we know loss and we know pain and if they were monsters we could fight we would have slain them in her name long ago like the heroes of old. But we are not a hero. We are cursed.”
My absolute favorite thing from this book is the Beast’s point of view. My goodness, they’re just a few short sentences, but they mean a lot. The words were straight to the point, but so full of meaning that I immediately connected with his character. They were only a few words, but the emotion behind them were so impactful. Also, I am someone who gets easily impatient by long narratives that seem pointless, so those short chapters really were perfect for me.
One of the things that makes or breaks a book for me to even considering giving it 4.5 or 5 stars is how much I could feel emotions from reading this book, and let me tell you that this book made me feel a lot of complex emotions. I was really both connected and invested in that characters and story, and I was really able to put myself in their shoes.
“Fairy tales are about lessons. Those who are virtuous and true are rewarded, while those who are wicked and greedy are punished.”
One of my complaints about this book is how unsatisfying the ending is, in the sense that I still want more. The ending was not crappy or anything like that, but I felt like there should be so much more. I felt like there could have been a little bit more extension of that ending. Of course, this may be totally for selfish reasons.
Overall, my love for this book grew gradually. I was wary of it at first, but it just became more and more amazing. The Beast’s POV is gold, and I was left wanting for more. Too bad there isn’t a sequel. Anyway, I recommend reading this, especially at the height of the movie remake of Beauty and the Beast (for those who need more of it).
A revenge that will consume her. A love that will ruin her.
Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.
But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.
In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.
Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.
Title: The Upside of Unrequited
Author: Becky Albertalli
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, LGBT
Publisher: Balzer & Bray
Publication Date: April 4th, 2017
Pages: 352 pages
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.
When I stated reading The Upside of Unrequited, I was not immediately hooked in, just as I wasn’t immediately hooked in when I read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. I guess with Becky Albertalli novels, you need to let the novel sink in first. As I got to know that characters, I loved them more and more. This book could have potentially been a shallow book, but with Becky Albertalli’s writing style and depth, this book became a book of growth, acceptance, family and forgiveness.
For instance, in this book, Cassie has her first girlfriend, and Molly feels left out because of it. Instead of it being annoying, Becky Albertalli allowed the two to converse and discuss what inevitable might happen – they may fall apart – but they also realized that they would try always to be there for each other. Another example is how Molly wants to get a boyfriend. But more than being a teenager who just wants love, Molly’s journey is also about resolving self-esteem issues and realizing that she is beautiful despite her imperfections – or maybe because of it.
What I really love about this book is how the family is not perfect, nor completely dysfunctional. With YA books these days, there is a slight tendency to just go on one extreme end of a spectrum. With this book, they seem like a very happy family, but there is actually conflict happening within – just like in real life. Molly and Cassie may be twins, but they still have their own unique identities. They may be super close, but they still have moments when they didn’t like each other very much. I also like how Becky Albertalli showed other types of families with this family, with them having two mothers and having have come from a sperm donor.
In the past few months I have been having trouble connecting with YA books, but I had no problem whatsoever in connecting with this one. I don’t have the words to describe how amazing this is, but for me it captures everyday life for a teenager. I like how Becky Albertalli spins everything into a lesson, and I just love how everything wrapped up together. This definitely did not disappoint, and I would want to read any other book Becky Albertalli publishes.
Title: Before We Were Strangers
Author: Renee Carlino
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: August 18th, 2015
Pages: 320 pages
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
To the Green-eyed Lovebird:We met fifteen years ago, almost to the day, when I moved my stuff into the NYU dorm room next to yours at Senior House.You called us fast friends. I like to think it was more.We lived on nothing but the excitement of finding ourselves through music (you were obsessed with Jeff Buckley), photography (I couldn’t stop taking pictures of you), hanging out in Washington Square Park, and all the weird things we did to make money. I learned more about myself that year than any other.Yet, somehow, it all fell apart. We lost touch the summer after graduation when I went to South America to work for National Geographic. When I came back, you were gone. A part of me still wonders if I pushed you too hard after the wedding…I didn’t see you again until a month ago. It was a Wednesday. You were rocking back on your heels, balancing on that thick yellow line that runs along the subway platform, waiting for the F train. I didn’t know it was you until it was too late, and then you were gone. Again. You said my name; I saw it on your lips. I tried to will the train to stop, just so I could say hello.After seeing you, all of the youthful feelings and memories came flooding back to me, and now I’ve spent the better part of a month wondering what your life is like. I might be totally out of my mind, but would you like to get a drink with me and catch up on the last decade and a half?M
“Once there was you and me
We were lovers
We were friends
Before life changed
Before we were strangers
Do you still think of me?”
I’ve had Before We Were Strangers for quite a while, and I’ve been wanting to read the book for so long now, but for some reason I have been putting it off. I remember being completely captivated by the synopsis of this one, and I immediately ordered a copy off The Book Depository because I haven’t seen a copy in the bookstores here in the Philippines. To be honest, when I started reading this the other day, I was debating whether or not this book was worth it. I was thrown off guard because I thought that this was going to be centering around adults around the age of 20-25, because the genre is new adult after all. However, I got two perspectives, starting with an already working male main character who was already divorced once, followed by their perspective set years ago back in college. It was not what I signed up for, and I thought I wouldn’t enjoy it because of that. However, as I read on, I felt more and more connected to the story, and I began to love it.
“The present is our own. The right-this-second, the here-and-now, this moment before the next, is ours for the taking. It’s the only free gift the universe has to offer. The past doesn’t belong to us anymore, and the future is just a fantasy, never guaranteed. But the present is ours to own. The only way we can realize that fantasy is if we embrace the now.”
I’m not sure about this, but I think most of the story takes place when Matt and Grace were still in college years back. It shows how they became friends, and how their friendship developed into something more. Although it seemed like there was always something between them, Grace didn’t want a serious relationship then. It gave us a glimpse of how Matt’s photography career began, and how Grace developed her skills with the Cello. Separated by Matt’s leaving for a job in another country and some misunderstanding, the two never saw each other again. At present, Matt still works for National Geographic with his ex-wife and his boss as his best friend. Then, one day, Matt sees Grace on the train, so he created a post on Missed Connections, which created the bridge for them to meet at the present again.
“It was like the universe was teasing us; we saw each other just a second too late.”
My goodness, this book ripped my heart out to sheds! Although it has been more than a week since I read this book, I can still feel the hurt whenever I remember what transpired in the novel. There was a lot of deceit, hurt, misunderstanding, mistrust, and of course, love. It wouldn’t be complete without love, wouldn’t it? I really connected with the characters and the story, and although it was kind of predictable, it still ripped my heart to shreds. I felt like I could relate to the characters, although I wasn’t sure why. I was really able to put myself in their positions, and experience the story as they were experiencing it. My tears didn’t even care that people would judge me. It just continued to flow, because the emotions that this book made me feel were just too much.
“Life was passing me by at high speed as I sat back with my feet up, rejecting change, ignoring the world, shrugging off anything that threatened to have meaning of relevance.”
I really loved how the story turned out to be. It was kind of slow in the parts when they were in college, but the present point of view makes up for it in excitement. I love how the story was still kind of realistic, in how people just don’t forgive easily just because they love someone; especially because they love someone. I think the ending was a great way to tie things up, but of course I still can’t help but wish for more. Perhaps a companion novel from another character’s perspective?
“That’s why my mother always said we memorialize our past. Everything seems better in a memory.”
Anyway, I really, really loved this story overall, and I would definitely recommend it! I really connected to the story, and there were so many amazing quotes in the novel as well. The emotions were just a shot straight through the heart for me, and although it hurt like hell, it felt amazing to feel all those along with the characters as well.
Title: The Possibility of Somewhere
Author: Julia Day
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Together is somewhere they long to be.Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted– he’s admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There’s only one obstacle in Ash’s path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?All Eden’s ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college — and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream — one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?
Okay so most people are probably tired of the old cliché where the couple hates each other at first and then gets into a relationship with each other but I’ve always loved the tension that love/hate relationships brought. I just didn’t know how much I’ve missed them before reading this book, and this book definitely brought back my desire to read such books. Another old cliché in this book is where the characters have to hide their relationship because the parents and friends don’t approve. I thought that I was tired of this, but for a time this has been avoided since it has become cliché, and I think I kind of missed it. So yeah, definite plus points for this book!
When I finished like 10% of this book, I immediately knew that I was going to love it. It made me feel so giddy, and I couldn’t help but smile while I was reading the book, even though I was in public and people probably thought that I was crazy. It just made me feel light and fluffy, and all the amazing things that I look for in a contemporary romance novel, and I just freaking loved it!
I really connected with the main character and the story. There were also a couple of times where I got teary eyed because I just felt everything the main character was feeling. I definitely got the frustrations on her part, and I was really able to put myself in her shoes. In some ways, I felt like we were very similar, and in some ways the opposite. I really admire Julia Day’s ability to just make the reader feel every emotion that the main character is going through.
For a fluffy contemporary book, this book was sure filled with drama. A lot of things happened throughout the novel, and although I consider this book fluffy, there were some hardcore stuff going on with the main character’s family. In my opinion, that aspect was not delved into much, which I kind of preferred because I’m tired of the cliché.
I really admire Eden because she’s such a strong, independent woman. She stands on her own two feet and is not afraid to voice out her opinions. She went through a lot but she never complains. To add to that, she takes matters into her own hands and makes the best out of the situation that she’s in. She worked hard for what she wanted and never expected help from anyone. I really think that Eden is someone to look up to, and I feel like I actually already do. I just felt like I should be more like her and start taking matters into my own hands.
This novel definitely made me feel all the feels, and that’s both the good feels and the bad feels. I don’t know if I’m making sense, but that made sense in my head haha! Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book. I think I really missed the old clichés, and it’s also a way for me to break from the new clichés. I recommend this book for those who love relationships that start with the couple hating each other, because I promise you, feels!
Title: The Memory of Things
Author: Gae Polisner
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
The powerful story of two teenagers finding friendship, comfort, and first love in the days following 9/11 as their fractured city tries to put itself back together.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows. She is covered in ash and wearing a pair of costume wings. With his mother and sister in California and unable to reach his father, a New York City detective likely on his way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home. What follows is their story, told in alternating points of view, as Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home? The Memory of Things tells a stunning story of friendship and first love and of carrying on with our day-to-day living in the midst of world-changing tragedy and unforgettable pain—it tells a story of hope.
Title: My Heart and Other Black Holes
Author: Jasmine Warga
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Illness
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: February 10th, 2015
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.
There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner.
Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.
“Sometimes I wonder if my heart is a black holes – it’s so dense that there’s no room for light, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still suck me in.”
“We all want to believe that every day is different, that every day we change, but really, it seems that certain things are coded into us from the very beginning.”
“I want to keep feeling everything. Even the painful, awful, terrible things. Because feeling things is what let’s us know that we’re alive. And I want to be alive.”
“Because loving you saved me. It’s made me see myself differently, see the world differently. I owe you everything for that.”
“I wonder if that’s how darkness wins, by convincing us to trap it inside ourselves, instead of emptying it out. I don’t want it to win.”
“I wonder if joy has a potential energy. Or if there is a potential energy that leads to joy, like a happiness serum that lingers in people’s stomachs and slowly bubbles up to create the sensation we know as happiness.”
Title: Girl in Pieces
Author: Kathleen Glasgow
Series: N/A, Standalone
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Mental Health
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016
Pages: Kindle, 416
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Charlotte Davis is in pieces. At seventeen she’s already lost more than most people lose in a lifetime. But she’s learned how to forget. The thick glass of a mason jar cuts deep, and the pain washes away the sorrow until there is nothing but calm. You don’t have to think about your father and the river. Your best friend, who is gone forever. Or your mother, who has nothing left to give you.
Every new scar hardens Charlie’s heart just a little more, yet it still hurts so much. It hurts enough to not care anymore, which is sometimes what has to happen before you can find your way back from the edge.
exchange for an honest review as part of the Sunday Street Team.
However, to be honest, I didn’t really like it at first. Yes, I was excited to be reading a book about cutting but it felt awkward at first because the writing style is very much unique. I also felt like the way the other characters (Blue, Luisa, Ariel, etc.) was weird and unnatural. I don’t know why it felt that way, but it felt like that at the start. As I read on though, the way they talked either became better and more natural, or I just got used to it.
“Everyone has that moment, I think, the moment when something so … momentous happens that it rips your very being into small pieces. And then you have to stop. For a long time, you gather your pieces. And it takes such a very long time, not to fit them back together, but to assemble them in a new way, not necessarily a better way. More, a way you can live with until you know for certain that this pieces should go there, and that one there.”
What I really love about this book is how the author truly understands cutting. Kathleen Glasgow understands the struggle of trying to fight something that’s always on your mind, and how your worst enemy is yourself. Throughout Girl in Pieces, Glasgow showed the characters’ relapses, despite wanting to get better. This is a dark, dark book, and I felt like it really took me into the mind of a cutter. A cutter who is not looking for attention, but one who is only trying to help herself in the only way she knows how.
This book is heavy in both the topic and the emotion. It talks about living on the streets, mental facilities, cutting, sexual abuse, alcoholism – all the things that we prefer not to mention in our everyday conversations when these are precisely the things that we should be talking about. I truly admire Kathleen Glasgow so much for bringing all these into attention, and for making people not only aware but feel that these things truly exist.
“I cut because I can’t deal. It’s simple as that. The world becomes an ocean, the ocean washes over me, the sound of water is deafening, the water drowns my heart, my panic becomes as large as the planets. I need release, I need to hurt myself more than the world can hurt me, and then I can comfort myself.”
This book also brought about heavy emotions for me. The characters experienced a lot of complicated things in their past. They suffered through so much and they’re all broken in different places. No matter how hard they tried, they tended to go back to their all tendencies and habits. They experienced things going the complete opposite way of how they wanted things to me. They had to help themselves because otherwise, no one would. They had to go through a lot of shitty and crazy and traumatic things because the universe just wasn’t listening to them. These are all struggles of everyone, but theirs were in a much larger scale. Everything just felt so real to me while reading the book that I couldn’t finish it in one go.
When I got to the end of the book, I felt like wanting to cry and hug Charlie and the author at the same time. Then I got to the author’s note and I wanted to hug Kathleen Glasgow even more. Kathleen, you obviously won’t be reading this, but I admire you so much for being brave enough to share your story to the world; for being able to show the world your strength and weakness. Thank you for creating the words for those who, like Charlie, couldn’t voice their struggles out. Thank you for bringing cutting into the attention of everyone. Thank you for writing so beautifully, and for touching my heart. As early as now, I can say that this will be one of the closest books to my heart. Thank you.
“My own body is my deepest enemy. It wants, it wants, and when it does not get, it cries and cries and I punish it. How can you live in fear of your very self?“
I highly encourage everyone to read this book. It’s a wonderful novel that everyone truly needs to read. It’s unique and heart-wrenching, but you will come out of it better and more understanding. Truly, Kathleen Glasgow is an author to look forward to!
Crisis Text Line: Text START to 741-741
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
To Write Love on Her Arms: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/
National Runaway Hotline: 1-800-621-4000
About the Author:
Kathleen Glasgow lives in Tucson, Arizona. She writes for the radio show The Writer’s Almanac and can probably provide you with some interesting anecdotes about historical literary figures if you asked nicely. You can find out more about Kathleen by following her on Twitter: @kathglasgow, Instagram, @misskathleenglasgow (where she posts about sunsets, depression, spirit circles, and books) or her website: kathleenglasgowbooks.com.
Title: What Things Mean
Author: Sophia N. Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
Publication Date: May, 2015
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
FOR OLIVE GUERRERO, DIFFERENT IS MORE THAN JUST A WORD.
What does it mean to be different? 14-year-old Olive is struggling to find out. Everything about her is so different from the rest of her family. She is big-haired, brown skinned, and clumsy in a family of cream-colored beauties who are all popular and Good At Sports. She closely resembles a father she has never known, and about whom her mother never speaks, and no one wants to tell her why. She turns to books and other things in her quest to find answers, and as a way to cope with her loneliness. When she learns the truth about her father, she must decide whether or not she will let the differences in her life define her forever.
A unique coming-of-age story unfolding through dictionary-style chapters, What Things Mean takes a closer look at the things that define a life, and the many ways in which we find meaning.
*Grand Prize Winner, Scholastic Asian Book Award 2014
“Maybe, that’s how it’s meant to be. Maybe we all have to let go of things, and people, in order to keep our balance. Maybe that’s the only way to keep moving forward.”
“Maybe she’s trying to understand how, in the space of a minute, something can turn from a thing that fulfills you entirely to something that empties you out.”
“Light always remains. The world turns, and days pass, and the sun warms the places that need it. Maybe that is how it is with everything else. Things go where they are needed, and when they do, we simply learn how to live without them.”
“I was always going to be somewhere, stepping over some line. We all were – even if we didn’t want to admit it. There was only forward or backward, and an infinite line of changes either way.”
“I know now that things are always more than what they mean. Things mean different things to people. People are the ones who give meaning to things.”