First Lines: We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.

Believe it or not, this was actually my homework, reading this book.  If not my class, this wouldn’t have ever made its way into my hands.  It’s totally not something I would normally pick.

Set in future, Titus and his friends are just normal teenagers.  They can fly to the moon Spring Break, or get the latest breaking news from the feed that is imbedded in their heads.  On the moon, Titus sees a beautiful girl that he wants to get to know better.  This is the story of Titus and Violet, and their life in a time when technology is literally a part of us.

I like the concept of this.  I mean, that’s what futuristic/dystopia stories are all about.  They take something happening in our current society and take it to an extreme.  I liked that this took technology to the extreme, to see how far it could possibly go.  It definitely made for a…well, I was going to say “wake up call”, but more like “slap in the face.”

What I didn’t like was most everything else.  Not that I hated everything, but I just didn’t like so many aspects of it.  Titus and the others (except for Violet) were spoiled brats (which I’m sure is intentional and possibly a side-effect of everyone having a feed).  I didn’t feel like the story had much of a plot.  And the language was really offensive.

Breakdown: The Plot

So like, I just didn’t feel like there was a plot.  See my pathetic attempt at a synopsis up above?  Yeah. I have no idea what to say about it.  It’s mostly about Titus and Violet’s relationship, but even that’s not the main part of the story.  It’s just like, Titus’s story.  And it really wasn’t that exciting.

And the language.  Nearly everyone in my class agreed that the language was really off-putting.  There are unnecessary f-bombs dropped all the time that just got irritating.  Also, the use of slang.  I realize that by writing this review as a talk, I fall victim to using too many “like”s.  Just look in the above paragraph.  And I know this.  But the story immediately jumps in with slang words like “meg” and “youch” that you have to figure out by context what they mean.  Sometimes it takes chapters to figure this out.  That was annoying as well.

But it’s not like it’s a terrible story.  Some kids in my class genuinely liked it.  I didn’t.  It had good qualities, but it’s not my thing.

League of Strays

First Lines: I pedaled down the side of West Reynolds Avenue, relying on passing headlights to lead my way.  I prayed that the moonlight made me visible.  No one knew I was out.  No one.

A big muchas gracias to Netgalley for getting me an ARC of this!

Ok, so this has been on my to-read list for a while (obviously, because it isn’t technically released yet), and I jumped at an ARC even though it’s been getting less than stellar reviews.  An ARC is an ARC.

Charlotte is kind of a loner in school.  Not on purpose, but because she’s the New Girl.  She’d still be alone if it weren’t for a mysterious letter asking her to join the League of Strays.  The League is made up of a few kids from school who are also loners for whatever reason.  Finally, Charlotte feels like she fits in and has new friends.  These people understand what it’s like to be bullied, harassed, and forgotten.  But when the League starts trying to take revenge on their old bullies, Charlotte starts to questions the League and their mission.  Is it a group meant to dish out revenge…or a group to make new friends?

The whole bullying aspect is what got me, I think.  Not sure why.  It’s not like I was bullied in school, but I was kind of a loner, a little.  I just preferred the company of my books more than people sometimes.  So maybe that’s what I latched onto.

The book on the whole made me feel completely uncomfortable.  Like that, I’m-squirming-in-my-seat-because-this-just-isn’t-right-and-I-can’t-make-it-stop.  A few of the characters in the book had moral compasses that weren’t even on the same compass as the rest of us.  (Meaning instead of having the proverbial moral compass that points North to keep you on the right track, theirs didn’t even point West or East.)  I felt dirty as I read, like I was taking part in some of these really awful things.  I didn’t like that feeling.

I think part of the uncomfortable feeling is completely intentional.  We’re meant to feel sad for the League for the ways they’ve been bullied.  Their problems are relatable and things you could really see bullies doing.  But the League takes it to a different level when they maliciously target these bullies in ways that are more dangerous and more disastrous than a normal high school bullying incident.  I’m not sure I’m describing this well without giving part of the story away.  If maliciousness could be on a scale, the high school bullies would be about a 3 or 4 (fairly tame, but still hurtful) while the League is more like a 9 (destructive and actually making people fear for their lives).  It’s very serious.

The uncomfortable feeling goes too far, though, in my opinion.  Charlotte is clearly being manipulated through all of this and that just set me off.  Also, too much of this negative feeling had me wanting to quit reading this more than once.  That’s not something authors should be trying to do with their books.

Overall, I mean, there’s nothing wrong with the plot, the characters, or the story itself.  It just gave me some serious heebie-jeebies and put me on edge.  I read to escape that, not revel in it.