The Rule of Thirds


Title: The Rule of Thirds
Author: Chantel Guertin
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: ECW Press
Source: Purchased
Release Date: October 1, 2013
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Pippa Greene never goes anywhere without her camera. She and her best friend/supermodel-in-training Dace long ago mapped out their life plan: Pippa will be the noted fashion photographer, and Dace the cover girl. But ever since last spring, things have changed for Pippa — and her junior year at Spalding High proves to have its own set of challenges. Not only is Vantage Point, the statewide photography competition, in three short weeks, but her mandatory volunteer placement lands her at St. Christopher’s Hospital, a place Pippa never wanted to set foot in again. With humour and pluck, she navigates her new role as a candy striper (watch out for Code Yellows), her changing relationship with her best friend (goodbye Honesty Pact), and — perhaps most stressful of all — her new love interests (yes, love interests plural).

Will Pippa make it to Vantage Point without having a panic attack? Will either one of the guys prove less sketchy than her last boyfriend? Can she and Dace figure out a way to dream big and be best friends? One thing is certain: real life is a lot more complicated than a photograph.

Review:

I loved this book! It’s a great start to this series.

The characters are well developed. I really liked Pippa. She’s a smart girl who’s been through a lot. I also liked the love triangle between her, Ben, and Dylan. The final question is: will she choose Ben or Dylan?

Pippa’s interest in photography is a unique aspect of the book. Each of the books in the series (The Rule of Thirds, Depth of Field, and Leading Lines) are named for photography terms. I learned a lot about that hobby in this book.

I highly recommend this book, if you like YA books!

Drama


Title: Drama
Author: Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Graphic Novel, Young Adult, Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Purchased
Release Date: September 1, 2012
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

PLACES, EVERYONE!

Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she can’t really sing. Instead she’s the set designer for the drama department stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

Review:
This story had a lot of aspects of a play. Instead of chapters, it was divided into acts. At the beginning, the curtain rose and it fell at the end. There was even an intermission in the middle.

I also liked that there were gay characters in this story. The characters were in middle school, which is the time when you start to learn about yourself. It’s important to have a variety of characters in middle grade and young adult books, because the world is filled with a variety of people.

Like all of the graphic novels by Raina Telgemeier that I’ve read, I loved this book!

Girl In Snow


Title: Girl In Snow
Author: Danya Kukafka
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Lucinda Hayes was found one morning lying on the carousel in the elementary school playground in the snow. Cameron had watched her for a long time. He would sneak out of his house at night and watch her through her bedroom windows. He would draw portraits of her. Jade and Lucinda babysat for the same family. Jade worked for them first, but once they met Lucinda, they preferred to have her work for them. Russ is a police officer. He was friends with Lee, Cameron’s father, who was accused of beating a woman and left town after he was found not guilty. Russ’s brother-in-law is the janitor at the elementary school who found Lucinda’s body. Over the three days following her death, these people work to figure out what happened to her.

The story is told in chapters alternating between the perspectives of Cameron, Jade, and Russ. One of the first things I noticed about this book is how the three different narratives are so unique. Cameron’s narrative is told in third person. Cameron has some problems and keeps to himself a lot, so I can see why he wouldn’t tell his own story. Jade and Russ tell their stories in the first person perspective, but Russ’s parts don’t use quotation marks around the spoken words. This makes it seem more like it’s being filtered through his thoughts.

I enjoyed this story. It moved along at a steady pace. It was kind of emotional at times, because a lot of the characters had personal struggles. But overall it is a good story.

See What I Have Done


Title: See What I Have Done
Author: Sarah Schmidt
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

On August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in their home. Andrew’s daughter Lizzie and their maid Bridget were both home at the time but neither heard anything happen. They called Lizzie’s sister, Emma, home from the friend’s house she was visiting. Their maternal uncle, John, was visiting at the time. John was planning to send a man to see Andrew Borden, and tell him to treat Lizzie and Emma better. This story follows the events that took place on August 3 and 4, as well as Lizzie’s Borden’s trial. 

I’ve always been fascinated by the story of Lizzie Borden. This book is a great portrayal of the events. 

I really liked the way that John was also planning to send a man to talk some sense into Andrew. It throws suspicion off of Lizzie for a while. I was really beginning to wonder if this man did it instead. 

There were a lot of metaphors in the story that referred to butchering or chopping. This was a subtle way to incorporate the theme of the ax murders. 

This was a great, thrilling story. 

Crimes Against A Book Club 


Title: Crimes Against A Book Club
Author: Kathy Cooperman
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: May 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Annie has just joined a prestigious book club in La Jolla, an expensive area of San Diego. But she doesn’t fit in. She has a PhD in Chemistry, while all the other women stay at home all day. Annie’s world comes crashing down when her son is diagnosed with Autism. The doctors recommend that he gets lots of therapy, which would cost $84,000 per year. Though they have a lot of money, Annie’s family can’t afford that price tag. Annie’s best friend Sarah also has some financial problems. She abruptly quit her job as an associate at a law firm. She has been trying to have a baby for years and she has gone through IVF treatment twice but nothing has worked. She wants to try it one more time, but she doesn’t have the money now that she’s unemployed. Annie comes up with an idea to get them both the money they need. They will sell a homemade face cream to the rich women in La Jolla, under the guise of a celebrity doctor. Annie mixes up a special cream to sell for $2,000 a jar. But they both run into trouble when Annie’s secret ingredient is discovered. 

This was a really funny book. The premise of selling the face cream was so absurd. But I could see this happening in real life. When a celebrity’s face is associated with a product, it can sell for way more than its worth. 

Though the book club isn’t as prominent in the story as I thought it would be, there was a book theme running through the story. Each chapter focused on one character, and it opened with a paragraph about a book they read. It set the stage for what was going to happen to them in that chapter. 

There were so many other women in the story that Sarah’s and Annie’s stories got lost in the mix. Though they were still the main characters, some chapters went into detailed subplots about minor characters. I don’t think there needed to be quite as much detail about the women who bought the cream from Sarah. 

I recommend this book for some good laughs!

The Lying Game


Title: The Lying Game
Author: Ruth Ware
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Isa Wilde’s life changed when she went to boarding school in Salten when she was fifteen. She met Kate, Thea, and Fatima, and they introduced her to the lying game. They would make up lies and the more convincing they were, the more points they would get. But the four girls drifted apart in the seventeen years since they left the school. That is, until Kate texts all three women saying she needs them. They all race to Kate’s home, with Isa bringing her baby, Freya. A body has been discovered close to Kate’s home, and all their lies are coming back to haunt them. 

I liked this thrilling novel. It was very suspenseful. There were so many plot twists throughout the first half, that I didn’t know what was going to happen next. 

I really felt for the characters, which is important to me when reading a book. I kept wanting to tell Isa what to do, which was frustrating, but I also felt sympathetic towards her problems. 

I had kind of figured out what happened by the end of the book. There was a slight twist at the very end, but I had figured out the gist of it. 

I think this thriller will be a big hit this summer. 

Royal Replicas


Title: Royal Replicas
Author: Michael Pierce
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: ParousiaSix Press
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

This review is part of the blog tour from YA Bound Blog Tours. 

Victoria Sandalwood lives with Duke and Duchess Ramsey. She has lived with them all her life, but she has never been treated as a daughter. She has been banished to the cellar and is constantly punished for silly things, resulting in her being beaten by Master Ramsey. One day, she gets a message from Queen Hart that says she is her daughter and must return to the castle to marry a prince. Victoria is shocked at this news but also happy to leave her painful life. However, when she arrives at the castle, Victoria meets six other girls who look just like her. She must compete with these other girls to win the Prince’s heart. 

This book is very similar to other popular YA dystopian series right now: The Selection, Red Queen, The Lunar Chronicles. But this one has a clever twist involving genetics. 

Every time I thought I had figured out what was happening, I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong. The twists were surprising and the pace moved quickly so I was never bored. 

The ending left the story open to a sequel, which I look forward to reading.