Review: The Nameless City

25332000.jpg

Title: The Nameless City (The Nameless City #1)
Author: Faith Erin Hicks
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: First Second
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Rating: ★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

The City has many names… and no name.

Built on an ancient mountain pass, the City is forever being invaded by one nation or another, and every new master gives it a new name. But for the natives, their home is the Nameless City, and those who try to name it are forever outsiders.

Dreamy, sheltered Kaidu is one such outsider. He’s a Dao born and bred–a son of the latest nation to occupy the Nameless City. Cynical, street-smart Rat is a native, and at first she hates Kai for everything he stands for. But Kai’s love of his new home may be the one thing that can unite these two unlikely friends. And they will need to stand together at all costs…

…because the fate of the Nameless City rests in their hands.

Review:

 

This middle grade graphic novel was recommended to me by the 10 year old girl I look after. She said I “had to read it!” It was really good.

I liked the setting of this ancient Asian city. It is “nameless” because every group who conquers it gives it a different name. Since the name is always changing, it is actually nameless, because everyone calls it something different.

I loved the art in this book. Some of the lines were blurred to show movement in the pictures. There was a lot of running in the story, which was demonstrated really well with that technique. One thing that I didn’t like was that some of the men looked the same. This was especially confusing because they were on different sides of an argument so I kept getting them mixed up.

This book is a great start to the series.

Review: The Sun Is Also a Star

28763485

Title: The Sun Is Also a Sun
Author: Nicola Yoon
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Delacorte
Source: Purchased
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Review:

This book is another amazing story from Nicola Yoon! I read Everything Everything last year, and I didn’t think this one could top that, but I loved it!

Nicola Yoon is an awesome storyteller. Natasha and Daniel tell their stories in the first person. The narrative alternates between them, and sometimes the universe chimes in as well. The stakes in the story are high, because Natasha is being deported at the end of the day. They will only have this one day together unless Natasha can find a way to stay in the country.

I really liked when the universe, or other characters chimed in. Things that were happening around Daniel and Natasha were sometimes described in detail between their narratives. For example, the thoughts going through the head of the security woman at a building show that she is struggling and wants to kill herself. Another time, when a man almost hits Natasha with his car, we see a glimpse of his story. These parts show that you never know what someone else is going through, or the reason they treat you a certain way. You may thing they are rude, but they have their own struggles which are worse than what happens in that moment.

This is an amazing book, and very fast paced. I will be recommending it to everyone!

Review: Warcross (Warcross #1)

29385546.jpg

Title: Warcross (Warcross #1)
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin Group
Source: Purchased
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

Review:

Most people don’t know that I love video games. I used to be hooked on World of Warcraft and I love other games too. But since I started university, I haven’t had as much time to play. This story gave me the experience of playing a new game.

This book definitely lived up to the hype. I flew through it! It was so fast paced. I loved the intensity of Emika’s bounty hunt. I kept holding my breath when she had to sneak around, and when she barely escaped getting caught.

The diversity in this book was great too. The main characters were Asian. One of Emika’s teammates was in a wheelchair, though his avatar in the game wasn’t. In the game Warcross, everyone can have equal abilities, even though they may not in real life. I think that’s one of the great things about games. You can live through a different life in games, just like in books.

I loved this book!! I can’t wait to see what happens next in the series!

Review: Ghost (Track #1)

28954126

Title: Ghost (Track #1)
Author: Jason Reynolds
Genre: Young Adult, Middle Grade
Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Source: Purchased
Release Date: August 30, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Running. That’s all that Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But never for a track team. Nope, his game has always been ball. But when Ghost impulsively challenges an elite sprinter to a race — and wins — the Olympic medalist track coach sees he has something: crazy natural talent. Thing is, Ghost has something else: a lot of anger, and a past that he is trying to outrun. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed and meld with the team, or will his past finally catch up to him?

Review:

I loved this story! It’s short and easy to read, but very entertaining.

Ghost is an ordinary boy. He reminded me of so many boys that I knew growing up. He loves reading about world records. He throws out facts about them throughout the story. Many kids I know have a period where they love that story. I think young boys would relate to his story.

Ghost’s story was sad at times. He became a fast runner because he had to run away from his dad when he was shooting at Ghost and his mom. And he was teased for things beyond his control, like his shoes. But that just made him more realistic.

I laughed many times while I was reading this book. Ghost has a funny way of seeing the world sometimes. He says Mr. Charles, who works at a store, looks like “James Brown if James Brown was white.” He later described Lu, a boy on the track team, in a similar way: “this kid looked like a white boy, if a white boy was black.” (10). Ghost had never seen an Albino person before, so that’s how he described him, but I understood what he meant. That was a clever way of showing Ghost’s youth through his narrative.

I really enjoyed this story. It would be especially good for young boys who are reluctant readers!

Review: The 11th Hour

34741310.jpg

Title: The 11th Hour
Author: Kristine Scarrow
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Dundurn
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

Annika Dietty thinks her future is with Dylan Sopick — until they run away together.

One day, after weeks of secret planning, seventeen-year-old Annika Dietty leaves home at dawn to run away with her boyfriend, the charming and popular Dylan Sopick. She tried telling her friends and family how amazing Dylan is, but seeing as they all seem set against the relationship, she’s decided their only chance is to run away together.

But not everything goes according to plan, and Dylan seems to be having more and more trouble dealing with every obstacle they encounter. At first Annika is sympathetic, knowing that he’s had a harder life than she has, but very soon Dylan’s behaviour becomes unsettling, and Annika realizes that her safety is at stake. She finally admits to herself that Dylan needs help she can’t provide. She wants to get him to help — if she’ll get the chance.

Review:

This is a moving story.

It was very emotional and relatable. The story of Annika and Dylan’s relationship is devastating. It was clear right away that something wasn’t right. Dylan lied about many things. And the way that he wanted to move Annika away from everyone else was a big warning sign for me. But Annika had that teenage innocence where she didn’t think anything could go wrong, as long as she was with her first love.

This story shows an important side of mental illness. If Dylan wasn’t ashamed of his illness and the fact that he took medication, these events probably wouldn’t have happened. It’s important to be open about these problems and not hide them. Keeping those feelings inside can lead to dangerous outcomes, just like what happened in this story.

Review: The Price Guide to the Occult

35879387.jpg

Title: The Price Guide to the Occult
Author: Leslye Walton
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: March 13, 2018
Rating: ★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender comes a haunting maelstrom of magic and murder in the lush, moody Pacific Northwest.

When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred–some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it. In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.

Review:

This book had a lot of potential, but it didn’t work for me.

I really liked the beginning of the story. The way that Rona Blackburn’s story was set up was exciting. It reminded me of The Scarlet Letter, because Rosa was excluded from the rest of the island for being a witch.

I didn’t like the main character, Nor. She was very one dimensional. She only focused on what her mother was doing and she pushed everyone else away. She was strange and boring.

Another problem was the title. It is the title of a book that Nor’s mother publishes, where she uses to sell spells to people. But it doesn’t really make sense as a title for the whole story.

Many events could have been explained better. There were gaps in the story. For example immediately after the final “fight” happens, everyone ends up back at a house to celebrate. There was no transition, or explanation to how people survived. I think some people even showed up who were supposed to be dead, so I was really confused.

I wish this book had been a little more thought-out and detailed, because that would have made it much better.

Review: Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles #4.5)

25689074.jpg

Title: Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles #4.5)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Source: Purchased
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

goodreads-badge-add-plus-71eae69ca0307d077df66a58ec068898

Goodreads Synopsis:

The enchantment continues….

The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.


The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century…

Review:

Since I finished the Lunar Chronicles a couple of years ago, I’ve been missing the stories! This collection of stories was a great way to get back into the series.

The stories begin before the events of the Lunar Chronicles and ends with a story about the characters after the Lunar Chronicles. The stories come full circle by beginning and ending in the same location.

I love that these stories give more detailed backgrounds to the main characters. The series has characters based on Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White. There is also a short story based on the tale “The Little Mermaid” which is called “The Little Android.” My favourite story was the first one, “The Keeper,” which is about Cinder. It answered a lot of questions that I had about how she came to Earth.

I loved this book! I’m so glad the story is continuing in the graphic novel series, Wires and Nerve.

Here are my reviews for Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter.