Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Book Review: Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor

Hi readers! I hope you're staying warm and finding some good books this season! I've been enjoying this fall with Janet B. Taylor's book, Into the Dim!

Hope Walton isn't your typical home schooled teenager. Hope has a perfect photographic memory and a few severe phobias to go with it. When Hope's mother is presumed dead after a horrible earthquake, Hope's carefully built world crumbles out from underneath her. In order to give her time to grieve, her father ships her off to her Aunt's mysterious mansion in Scotland. There, she finds out that her mother is alive and well in the year 1154. Hope finds herself facing her fears as she travels back into the past to rescue not only her mother, but several of her new friends too.

Even if you think you know how time travel works then you still probably find this book refreshing and new. I'll be honest, as a reader I have heard several different theories on the function and effects of time travel, and I wasn't sure what to expect from this book. I was pleasantly surprised to find Into the Dim to be a new and well crafted story. Along with time travel, this book is filled with action, love, and a ton of twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat, screaming aloud at the pages when something bad happens and jumping for joy at something good. Not only did Janet B. Taylor have a perfect balance of history and fiction, but she wrote in very real characters that I could understand, relate to, and fall in love with. I can honestly say that there wasn't a single moment where I was bored while reading and I highly recommend that any fans of science fiction or fantasy read this book.

Keep a close out out for Janet B. Taylor's Into the Dim when it officially releases in March of 2016! You won't be disappointed by this novel and I can't wait to share this reading experience with all of you.


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Book Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Hi, everyone!

It's good to be back and reviewing for you all!

Today's book is Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. Check it out:

It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl.

This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.

Confession time: I haven't seen the movie yet nor did I read the book summary. I went into the book basically blind to any knowledge of what it was. I had heard lots of praise, seen that 30 second movie trailer, and thought I knew what the basic plot of the book was. I was wrong.

I had been expecting some sort of sappy, loving story about losing a friend to cancer-heartwarming, you know? Instead I got this mismatched journal of a hilarious teen named Greg sharing his story of senior year, in which he became friends with a dying girl.

I feel like it's my duty to warn you--there's a lot of swearing and it doesn't follow any certain form of writing. I found it fun though that the narrative parts of the story were broken up by bullet lists and movie scripts. It made it really feel like a film making, regular teenager might write.

There are so many jokes and funny things that go on page after page. I always seemed to laughing or snorting or giggling at something. This book brings the very heavy topic of someone trying to support not only himself, but a friend that has cancer and the way it affects his life with humor and wit and a unique and refreshing point of view. I enjoyed Greg's perspective of this turning point in his life, and how we could still see the deeper emotional impacts on him, despite his reluctance to ever admit to anything less than a joke.

Although I went into this book knowing basically nothing about it and expecting to cry, I'm really glad it turned out to be the complete opposite, making me laugh and showing me a unique compilation-like story of our dear Greg.

Keep on reading! I hope you have a great day!


Saturday, October 17, 2015

Book Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Hey, readers! I hope you're all having a lovely autumn so far. One of my favorite things about fall is being able to just curl up with a book and some tea or coffee, whether it's in a cafe or at home, and to enjoy some quality reading time to myself. And what could be better than reading Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan? (Hint: not much.)

Leviathan takes place in an alternate 1914, weeks before the outbreak of World War I. The political and social landscape of Europe is hugely divided between the Darwinists (the Triple Entente) and the Clankers (the Allies), with the Darwinists relying on genetically engineered animals as technology and the Clankers using enormous walking machines. The story alternates between two brilliant characters -- Deryn Sharp, who has disguised herself to serve on the airship Leviathan; and Alek, the son (but not heir) of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Leviathan follows both of their journeys across Europe as tensions are mounting and violence seems imminent, seemingly separate but actually intertwined. And once they actually meet, things become even more complicated.

I first read Leviathan when I was in 8th grade, right after it first came out, and I've read my copy so many times that it's starting to fall apart. The mixture of history and steampunk sets an enrapturing tone for the book, and Scott Westerfeld's magnificent writing and Keith Thompson's gorgeously intricate illustrations make the reader become fully engrossed.

And if you like Leviathan, why stop there? Unlike me, you won't have to wait a year to get copies of Leviathan's sequels, Behemoth and Goliath, which are -- dare I say it -- even better than Leviathan is.

I really hope you'll grab a copy of Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld sometime over the next few months. You'll be in for an adventure you'll be glad you didn't miss!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book Review: Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler

Hello readers,

Well here it is! The first book review of the TBF season! Without further delay, take a look at Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler:

Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….

Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.

Infinite in Between has some The Breakfast Club undertones. You have the popular girl, the celebrity's daughter, the shy but brilliant student, the jock and the band geek who are all brought together during freshman orientation (just as dreadful as detention). Throughout the novel, the five teens cross paths and some even become friends but they are separated by cliques and different interests. I found it endearing that even though the teens didn't interact together as one big group they are there for each other in small gestures and even get defensive if a secondary character gossips about them.

I loved the timeline in Infinite in Between. The book spans over four years, following all five narrators from freshman year to senior year. You see a lot of character growth from all of them. You'll be surprised on how many rises and falls can happen within four years that can shape and change someone. The challenges that the characters face such as divorce, substance abuse, death, love, betrayal, sexuality and finding your identity I
n the world are elements that all teens can relate to.

Infinite in Between is a must-read especially for teens who are entering high school. As the teens in the novel get older the subject matter does get a little bit mature but it's real and not something to deny or shy away from. I highly recommend Infinite in Between for readers who love The Breakfast Club and want a good heartfelt contemporary novel.

That's it for today! Be sure to check out the blog again for more book reviews and author news!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Meet the New TBF Bloggers

Hello TBF readers,

I hope you guys are excited about the TBF 2016 author updates! (Did you miss it? You can check them out here and here) I'm here to introduce to you to three new TBF bloggers who will be sharing their TBF reads with you. Please give a warm welcome to Theresa, Bridget and Meg!

Hi everyone! My name is Theresa and I’ll be proudly blogging for TBF! I’m a senior in high school and have been attending the Teen Book Festival since 2012. I’ve been volunteering at TBF coming on 4 years. I love reading all kinds of genres but I particularly enjoy fantasy. This will be my first year working on the blog and I can’t wait to share all these great books with you!

I'm Bridget and I am a high school senior. I have been volunteering at TBF for five years and it has been so fun! I love to read realistic and historical fiction as well as dystopian novels.

My name is Meg and I'm a senior! I've gone to TBF (almost) every year since sixth grade whether as a volunteer or an attendee. I love to read fantasy, particularly high fantasy and I love TBF because every year I find new authors to read and enjoy!

Elizabeth, Victoria and myself will be continuing blogging and share with you all the books we read throughout the year!

Be sure to check out the blog next week because I will be posting the first book review of the year!

See you all next week!