Mar
30

Title: The Sidekicks
Author: Will Kostakis
Published: February, 2016 by Penguin
Pages: 256
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: Booktopia

The Swimmer. The Rebel. The Nerd.

All Ryan, Harley and Miles had in common was Isaac. They lived different lives, had different interests and kept different secrets. But they shared the same best friend. They were sidekicks. And now that Isaac’s gone, what does that make them?

Will Kostakis, award-winning author of The First Third, perfectly depicts the pain and pleasure of this teenage world, piecing together three points of view with intricate splendour.

Final Thoughts:
Divided into thirds, each one housed a different perspective of the remaining friends of Isaac, showing us how they coped with life as a teenager after his sudden death. Without having seen the four of them together, initially it was hard picturing how they’d been friends. Although, it was pointed out a few times that they weren’t—that the three of them merely orbited Isaac, getting along with the others merely a part of being in Isaac’s life. And with him gone, their quasi-friend group quickly fell apart. I think seeing that happen felt quite realistic. Pretty much all of it did. Reading Sidekicks took me back to what is was like being young and insecure, making the wrong decisions but feeling like there were no other ones to make.

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Mar
13

Title: Proposal (The Mediator #6.5)
Author: Meg Cabot
Published: January, 2016 by Avon
Pages: 97
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

The last place Suze Simon expects to find herself during Valentine’s Day is a cemetery. But that’s what happens when you’re a mediator – cursed with the “gift” of communicating with the dead.

That’s how Suze has ended up at the graves of a pair of NCDPs – Non-Compliant Deceased Persons – whose drama didn’t end with death. It’s Suze’s job to make sure they move on—for good.

But the NCDPs aren’t the only ones with problems. The reason Suze is spending her Valentine’s Day with the undead instead of her boyfriend, Jesse, is because he’s having so much trouble adjusting to life after death . . . not surprising, considering the fact that he used to be an NCDP himself, and now his girlfriend busts his former kind for a living, while he tries to cure his kind of what used to ail him.

Can Suze use her mediating skills to propose a mutual resolution, and bring all these young lovers together – including Jesse and herself – especially on the night Saint Valentine declared sacred to romance?

Or will she end up alone—and possibly undead—herself?

Final Thoughts:
No longer in high school, Suze is now in her early twenties and living in a dorm. Being away from her family, we only learn of what’s been happening in their lives through Suze’s internal musing. Even Father Dominic, who had such a big presence in Suze’s life throughout the series, is only mentioned in passing. While it was a short story, the other books were quite short as it was, so it didn’t feel that different pacing-wise. The ghost plot actually got a bit more focus with the lack of supporting characters. Still, there was Jesse, no longer dead, apparently succeeding in life, and with his old-school beliefs, driving Suze crazy.

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Feb
17

Title: The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2)
Author: Rick Yancey
Published: September, 2014 by Penguin
Pages: 300
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.

Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.

Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.

Final Thoughts:
The first book sucked me in with all of the action and intrigue, but this one just felt like a slog to get through, with nothing really happening on the invasion front for the first half. The second half, however—amazing! Secrets were being revealed, plenty of strategizing, mental and physical torment, plus there were twists galore. I really felt like we got to know Ringer a whole lot better in this instalment. But coming out of this book, it left me wondering where the movie plucked its perception of Ringer from. She is such a better character here—much more complex.

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Jan
31

Title: The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1)
Author: Rick Yancey
Published: May, 2013 by Penguin
Thanks: Penguin, AU
Pages: 460
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

The 1st Wave took out half a million people.
The 2nd Wave put that number to shame.
The 3rd Wave lasted a little longer, twelve weeks… four billion dead.
In the 4th Wave, you can’t trust that people are still people.
And the 5th Wave? No one knows. But it’s coming.

On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs. Runs from the beings that only look human, who have scattered Earth’s last survivors.
To stay alone is to stay alive, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope.
Now Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death.

Final Thoughts:
With the movie out already and this book having sat on my shelf unread for the past two (or is it three?) years, I knew it was time to pick this one up. Mainly because I hate trying to read a book after I’ve seen the movie and know all the twists. That being said, I am very much on the bandwagon now and can’t wait to check out the film. It threw us straight into the deep end, alone with our main character, Cassie, as she tried to navigate life in a world not exactly overrun by aliens, but a world where humanity had been all but extinguished.

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Jan
02

Title: The Rest Of Us Just Live Here
Author: Patrick Ness
Published: August, 2015 by Walker Books
Pages: 352
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Final Thoughts:
Now this is a paranormal contemporary done right. I’ve read enough paranormals over the years that get caught up in the teen angst (bitchy girls, annoying best friends, romances with the broody angel/demon/fae/whatever) for most of the book until somewhere around the three-quarter mark when they suddenly remember there’s a world that needs saving. Here, that’s not an issue—the paranormal stuff is going on in the background to a bunch of characters we only learn little blips of—while we get to immerse ourselves in the lives of a bunch of seniors in the month leading up to their high school graduation.

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Nov
15

Title: Geek Drama (Geek Girl #2.5)
Author: Holly Smale
Published: February, 2015 by HarperCollins
Pages: 128
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

“My name is Harriet Manners and I am a geek.”

Harriet Manners knows that the hottest observed place on earth is Furnace Creek in Death Valley. She knows that dolphins shed the top layer of their skin every two hours. And she knows just how badly auditions can go, especially when you’re a model. But she has no idea what to do when her arch-nemesis decides the school play is the perfect opportunity to humiliate her…

Can GEEK GIRL survive the bright lights of the stage?

Final Thoughts:
Despite its short page count, this novella managed to reel me in and tell quite a fun little story. Of course, they’re all fun. I love getting back into this series. It’s always able to make me smile. And with this one, while it may barely have touched upon Harriet’s haphazard modelling career, it didn’t feel lacking. Instead, we got to spend more time at school, with Harriet’s best friend, Nat, and see some real proof of their friendship, which usually remains in the background.

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Sep
23

Title: All That Glitters (Geek Girl #4)
Author: Holly Smale
Published: February, 2015 by HarperCollins
Pages: 400
My Rating: ★★★★☆ 
Purchase: The Book Depository

“My name is Harriet Manners, and I have always been a geek.” The fourth book in the award-winning GEEK GIRL series. Harriet Manners knows many things. She knows that toilet roll was invented by the Chinese in 600 AD. She knows that a comet’s tail always points away from the sun. And she knows that the average healthy heart beats 70 times per minute. Even when it’s broken. But she knows nothing about making new friends at Sixth Form. Or why even her old friends seem to be avoiding her. And she knows even less about being a glittering supermodel success. Which she now is – apparently. Has Harriet’s time to shine like a star finally arrived, or is she about to crash and burn?

Final Thoughts:
With a lot less modelling than the previous three books, this one spends more time getting to know Harriet’s real life. High school. Drama. Friends. Frenemies. Family. Lists. Okay, you get the point. I think the time away from the modelling world has helped the series to grow. And the distinct lack of her ex-boyfriend/model, Nick, was a plus too—though I can feel a new love interest edging up on the horizon already. But that wasn’t what this book was about—it centred around Harriet’s desire to change herself, to make people like her, and learning things in the process.

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