Between the Notes

btnoteshc_revealFirst Lines: I came home from school on a Thursday in early September to find my parents sitting on the couch in the front room, waiting for me.  I knew immediately something wasn’t right.  We never sat on that couch.

Yay, I finished a YA book!  I am so incredibly busy this month, y’all, between school and other obligations, that I’m barely holding myself together, let alone finishing books.  WHEN WILL IT BE SPRING BREAK?!

For the sake of time, I’m just going to copy/paste the summary from Goodreads: When Ivy Emerson’s family loses their house—complete with her beloved piano—the fear of what’s to come seizes her like a bad case of stage fright. Only this isn’t one of her single, terrifying performances. It’s her life.

And it isn’t pretty.

Ivy is forced to move with her family out of their affluent neighborhood to Lakeside, also known as “the wrong side of the tracks.” Hiding the truth from her friends—and the cute new guy in school, who may have secrets of his own—seems like a good idea at first. But when a bad boy next door threatens to ruin everything, Ivy’s carefully crafted lies begin to unravel . . . and there is no way to stop them.

As things get to the breaking point, Ivy turns to her music, some unlikely new friends, and the trusting heart of her disabled little brother. She may be surprised that not everyone is who she thought they were . . . including herself.

First of all, I kinda-sorta-may-be-over-the-moon about this book.  Which I didn’t expect.  I’ve let this languish on my shelf for over a month until I simply had to grab it because it was now-or-never.

This is a subtly cute read.  It’s not one of those where you get chills the whole time you read it (you know those books), but by the time I was done with it, I simply had to go back and reread like, half the book.  I couldn’t get the characters out of my head.  Hello, book hangover.  It’s been a while.

Ivy’s actually a far deeper character than you initially expect.  She starts off as a spoiled princess who cares about what everyone thinks of her.  But as the story goes on, you start to discover more about her.  My favorite quality of hers was her lack of confidence, simply because then I got to watch her go through the book and gain that confidence.  I love stories where that’s a theme.

And weirdly, it was really cool to explore the stereotypes associated with different socioeconomic statuses.  (Some of you just blacked out on me.  It’s cool; I did the same when those words came up in college.)  But for real, Ivy has all of these notions about people who live in the “slums”, but not everything is as it seems.  And a few times, she’s forced to confront her own feelings about the upper class.  It’s actually kind of awesome.

The other characters are also pretty awesome, as a whole.  I can’t even say I have a favorite minor character because they’re all so cool in their own way.  And a lot of that is because no one is quite who you think they are, just like in real life.  Just when you think you have a person figured out, they do something you don’t expect.  It was so realistic.

Ok, yes, the story does slide into the cliche from time to time.  There’s a bit of a love triangle here, but not an annoying Edward-or-Jacob kind of thing.  Just…subtle.  More real life-ish.  And some of the “twists” aren’t exactly surprising.  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy the reveal.  It’s like when you’re on a roller coaster and you can see the big drop coming; you still enjoy the trill of it, perhaps even more so because you see it coming.

Super super cute.  Just trust me.

Ruins (Partials Sequence, #3)

9780062071101First Lines: “This is a general message to the residents of Long Island.”  The first time they heard the message, nobody recognized the voice.

I have such a hard time actually finishing off series, and I don’t know why.  I’m always reluctant to do it, even if it’s a series I’m not in love with.  But with this sitting on my shelf, I figured it was better to read it now before I forgot what happened in the other books.

*Potential Series Spoilers Ahead*

Actually, this one is so complex (and vague) that I’m just going to copy it from Goodreads: Kira, Samm, and Marcus fight to prevent a final war between Partials and humans in the gripping final installment in the Partials Sequence, a series that combines the thrilling action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Blade Runner and The Stand.

There is no avoiding it—the war to decide the fate of both humans and Partials is at hand. Both sides hold in their possession a weapon that could destroy the other, and Kira Walker has precious little time to prevent that from happening. She has one chance to save both species and the world with them, but it will only come at great personal cost.

So here’s what I liked about this one.  I liked that there was still a ton of action.  Loads of explosions, guns, secrets, and betrayals.  There was always something happening and rarely a dull moment.

The story is told through those constantly changing narrators again, shifting from everyone like Kira, Samm, Marcus, and Haru to Tovar and even a Partial we’ve never met before.  With everyone spread out across Long Island and beyond, this was basically the only way to get the whole story told.  (Though I will admit that certain chapters, like the ones told by that new Partial, were boring to me.)

But Kira really started to get on my nerves this time around.  Sure, in the other books she has something of a hero complex.  If someone’s got to do something dangerous, she’s going to do it to protect her friends and family.  I get it.  But by the time we get to the end of this book, she’s on a full-on martyr mission.  She is basically throwing herself in front of bullets just to say she’s protecting people.  To me, she’s lost her heroic edge when she starts doing this.  This comes off as desperate and even selfish because she absolutely will not allow anyone else to do the same thing she’s trying to do.  I still admire her strength and cleverness, but this hero complex just went too far.

And the ending was totally anti-climactic.  You know how usually when you get to the end of a book, you’re on the edge of your seat just waiting for the final twist?  I had about 0 pages of the book one night when I went to bed and absolutely no idea how the book would wrap up.  I really think it brings something to the book when you have an idea what’s going to happen in the final showdown.  Like Harry against Voldemort, we had been anticipating that for the entire book, if not the books prior to it.  We knew it was coming.  But to not even know who the villain would be to fight off in this finale?  It was weird and totally killed any suspense the ending would have had.

I really wish I had better things to say about this book, but it just wasn’t the same.  Even Samm, who I adore, felt different this time around.  He actually seemed kind of rude at times.  The only character who really stayed the same was Marcus, whose dry humor and amazing comic timing helped to keep the story light.

While it was good, I was expecting so much more from a series finale.

Can You Really Have “Too Many Books”?

Whenever someone asks me this question, I typically snort and respond with something along the lines of, “Is that a serious question?”

For real, my family’s go-to gift for me for birthdays, Christmas, and special occasions is a Barnes & Noble gift card.  And my foray into the world of Scholastic Reading Club (those Scholastic flyers you used to take home in elementary school and buy all those lovely books) has been nothing short of a dream come true.

But now I’m really starting to wonder if I should re-evaluate the question posed above.  Because at the moment, I’m feeling that YES, THERE MAY BE A THING AS TOO MANY BOOKS.

Let me ‘splain.  …No, there is too much.  Let me sum up.

In the last 3 days, I have just received/bought 21 new books.  I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment.  My bedroom and home and my classroom are starting to look a little something like this:

so-many-books-gif

They’re just stacked everywhere!  I actually had to remove about 30 books from my bookshelves at school today because they were overflowing so badly that they were hiding other books.  So those poor books I removed are now residing in a cabinet with at least 50 other books that don’t fit on my shelves.  At home, I have at least a dozen that don’t fit on my shelves and have to live on my floor.

Thank God 6 of those books I mentioned getting recently are digital.

Because I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by it all, I really want your help deciding what I should read next.  I’m about halfway through my current book, so I’ve got a day or two left before I finish it, but then I really need to decide on something new.  So here’s my list (all are linked to their Goodreads pages):

New Scholastic Arrivals:

Old Scholastic Books I Haven’t Read Yet:

Recently Received ARCS:

As well as old ARCs I haven’t read yet:

As if that weren’t enough, I have library books too:

HOW IS A GIRL TO CHOOSE BETWEEN ALL THESE OPTIONS?  Seriously guys, TELL ME WHAT I SHOULD READ NEXT!  I need all the help I can get.  What of these would you like to see reviewed?  Anything you’ve been dying to read/see if it’s any good?  The weekend’s coming; I can get through a couple before the end of it!

Please vote for something in the comments!  Thank you!

vote-for-pedro_o_127231