All the Bright Places

All the Bright PlacesAll the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You have been in every way all that anyone could be.… If anybody could have saved me it would have been you.

All the Bright Places is about two broken teenagers- Violet and Finch- who met in one of the most unusual ways- at the top of the bell tower where Finch had to talk Violet off a ledge and save her. From then, Violet becomes Finch’s reason to stay Awake and not fall into the Asleep, a metaphor for his depressive episodes. Finch also helps Violet come to terms with her sister’s death. This book is about two people who wants and needs to be saved.

In many ways, I see this book as similar in other young adult contemporary books that I have read- two broken teenagers, adventure and a rollercoaster of emotion. Violet is a girl who belongs to the “popular” crowd but doesn’t really feel like herself around her peers. This kind of girl is actually repetitive for several young adult books. On the other hand, Finch is an “outsider” who doesn’t feel like he belong with anybody at all. Again, a typical boy in a young adult book. Violet and Finch also gets to go on an adventure for a school project. Another typical element. What’s different here is how mental disorders are depicted. What I find different here is how mental disorders are depicted. I don’t think I’ve ever understand mental health the way I did in this book. Another thing that’s different for me is that I desperately longed for a happy ending. In these kinds of books, I accept that the story may end tragically from the beginning or middle of book to save myself from more pain. In this book, I couldn’t do it. I let myself believe that this story may have a  happy ending after all.

In this end, this book left me heartbroken. It is a good read for it opens your eyes of the reality of some other peoples’ lives. Yes, Finch is a fictional character but there is someone out there who might be fighting to stay Awake just as Finch does. Maybe there is someone out there who is desperately searching for something to live for. Maybe that’s why the story ended the way it did. It’s not telling us that there’s nothing to be done. It’s telling us that we need to act for something to be done. It makes us think about all the ways things could have turn out differently. So maybe, in our real lives, we can be more attentive. We can seek more help. We can try harder not to give up on other people. Some say that this book does not focus on hope. And yes, I do agree. This book focuses on regrets. And for some, this is  a better fuel to act.

Red Queen

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Revolution needs a spark,” I murmur, repeating what Julian would say in our lessons. “And even sparks burn.

Red Queen is set in a world where people are divided into the color of their blood -Silvers, people who have evolved with powers, rule the reds who are considered inferior to them. Mare Barrow is a 17-year old Red girl steals for her family. “It is the best she can do,” she says, “…before she gets conscripted.” In this world, reds are sent to fight a war when they reach eighteen when they do not have jobs. But an accident turned things around for Mare. Instead of living as a Red, Mare must now pretend to be one of the Silvers and marry a prince.

Red Queen, even with the same elements of a dystopian story is kind of refreshing. Red Queen actually reminds me a lot of The Selection Series by Kiera Cass but with powers and a lot more of rebellion and war. Victoria Aveyard did a good job of creating this alternate world. While I was reading, Norta feels more and more real as I read on. The characters, especially Mare, is actually very relatable.Mare was driven by grief and love for family which for me sets her apart from the other main characters in other books. With her as the center, the book did not revolve about romance. It actually portrayed a lot of inequalities and the effects of war to people and families.

Enough about Mare… let’s talk about the swoon-worthy princes of Norta. Maven and Cal. I loved them both but I loved Maven much much more. Throughout the book, I understood where their princes are coming from. I understood their decisions. Cal, being the heir to the throne, was trained to always do the right thing. And Maven, oh Maven, the often overlooked son, my heart broke for him (though he broke my heart a thousand times more). Their love triangle is not a typical love triangle. I questioned more than once if there is really a love triangle at all. For me, it was clear who Mare reallys loves… but then… that plot twist!

The best (and at the same time, the worst) thing about Red Queen is the plot twist in the end. I sooooooo did not expect that. I was convinced that I would read the next books and let myself get lost in this world but that plot twist hurt me so much. I may not read the next book because of that plot twist. I just feel so betrayed. Even if the book already warned me that

Anyone can betray anyone.

Still, that plot twist is so unexpected.

Over all, I loved this book. Maybe  a bit too much – the reason for my review 0f 4 out of 5 stars. I recommend this book for dystopian book lovers. This book is filled with action, a bit of adventure and a love triangle – the ingredients of a dystopian book.

Insignia

Insignia (Insignia, #1)

Insignia by S.J. Kincaid

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Insignia is set in the future where World War III is ongoing. However, unlike the previous wars, this is one is set outside of Earth and fought by machines, eliminating risking innocent lives.

Reading a  book wherein the point of view is from a perspective of a teenage boy is kind of new to me. Most of the books I’ve read are from the point of view of a female or there are two points of view. I actually enjoyed it and I found it refreshing. Tom Raines is actually very funny. I never thought of him as annoying. Sometimes, I really get annoyed of the main character.

Insignia is actually very well-written. The plot was actually extremely good. There’s something more to every character than what I initially thought. There are lots of actions and virtual gaming. This book is beyond interesting! The best thing about this book is that this is not romance-driven unlike other dystopian young adult books. The story focuses on the character and how he manages his new life. There’s some romance there but it’s not heavy. I would like to look at it as friendship more than romance.

I don’t know why though but I didn’t fall in love with this book. It excited me and made me want to read more but I can’t give it higher than three stars. Maybe this book is for younger readers.

 

WE WERE LIARS

We Were Liars

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

We are liars. We are beautiful and privileged. We are cracked and broken.

I can’t really explain how shocked I am to how this story ends. I thought that this is just a typical “coming-of-age” story about friendship and love…. with maybe a little bit suspense to it. And for most of the story, I really thought it’s typical but boom! That ending shocked me like… I can’t even desribe what exactly it is I’m feeling.

The writing style isn’t the best and I often find myself rereading sentences to get the message but in the end. Reading some parts of the book is just a struggle. It felt like an endless tunnel and I keep questioning whether the book is really worth my time.

But why am I still giving this four stars?

Because in spite of the chaotic narrative, everything is still worth it. My eyes popped out, my heart may have stopped beating and I questioned every little thing in the world when I got to the twist.

And this book left me more lost and more broken- it’s main difference from other coming-of-age stories.

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall

 

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall by Judy Sheehan

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

 

I read I Woke Up Dead at the Mall because the title and the book cover really intrigued me but I was actually really disappointed with the book.

I Woke Up Dead at the Mall is about Sarah who have just been murdered and now she needs to come to terms with her old lfe for her to move on. She and the other ghosts like her stay at the mall where there is a floor for dead people like her. However, Sarah cannot just let go of her old life especially because her killer is still free.

The concept of the book is actually pretty decent but the reason I hate this book is because of the romance. I just hate it when romance is forced in a story. You know… books can be great even if there’s no romance in it. I would have been contented with Sarah’s soul searching and her attempt to save a person from her killer. And that ending too. I usually like it when books end in a different way other than what I expected but here, the ending is just a way to force the romance again. And Sarah for me is a very flat character and she just becomes more and more annoying as the book progresses.

All throughout the book I was looking for something more but the book was not able to provide it. If you’re after a quick read, this book might be enough but if you’re looking for something interesting that will excite you, this is not it.