Thursday, May 31, 2012


Scarlet A.C. Gaughen Robin Hood retelling review summaryScarlet

By A.C. Gaughen

Walker & Co., 2012. 292 pgs. Teen fiction


Will Scarlet is Robin Hood's right-hand man, an expert thief, who snatches food and riches to help the people from starving or being dragged off to prison as the sheriff of Nottingham subjects them to extreme taxation. He is also an expert knife-thrower and can sneak in and out of just about anywhere without being seen. But he is really a she, and she has a past that she doesn't want anyone to know about. While Robin and the other members of their small band--John Little and Much--know she's a girl, they don't know what Scarlet is hiding from. Then Guy of Gisbourne, the infamous thief catcher, is hired by the sheriff to find Robin and his band, and Scarlet's face comes back to haunt her. As she struggles with her past, she also must decide what she wants for her future, as John Little has turned his eye on her and Robin has a way of unsettling her like no one else can.


With lots of action, a quick-moving plot, and a love triangle, this retelling of the Robin Hood legend is fun from start to finish. Readers will probably be able to guess early on who Scarlet really is, but that doesn't detract from the unfolding of the additional details about who she is and what she has experienced. There's kind of a lot of emotional baggage--both Scarlet and Robin are tormented by their pasts and feel they've failed everyone around them--but it isn't dumped on readers all at once; there's plenty of action to break it up as the outlaws snatch riches and orchestrate rescues and all sorts of law-breaking for the sake of the people they love.

This is one that will leave readers hoping there's a sequel, because they won't be ready to say good-bye to Scarlet, Robin, or the rest of the characters.

Some violence and a little bit of language, but nothing too bad.

4.5 stars.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking Susan Cain book reviewQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

By Susan Cain

Crown, 2012. 11 hours or 333 pgs. Adult Nonfiction


Cain explains how U.S. culture favors extroverts, often ignoring the assets of introverts, who are dismissed as being shy and easily overlooked and simply because they are often not as loud, have their insights and skills go unacknowledged. However, Cain argues, with highly informative and interesting research, that the very skills that as so easily dismissed, such as thoughtful-thinking and autonomy, often are just what businesses, organizations, and individuals need to succeed. She shares stories of successful introverts (including Warren Buffet and Steve Wozniak) and how their success came because of, not in spite of, their introvertedness.


This book is AWESOME! It has so many fascinating topics of discussion, from how the Harvard Business school model has affected American culture and even education for kids, how Evangelicalism by nature is extroverted and can cause frustration in introverts who want to be a part of the faith, and the difference between American emphasis on extroversion and Asian emphasis on introversion. It was all very thought-provoking and written in a very engaging style.

For those who are introverted, this book is liberating, as it reassures us that we are not socially inept, of less worth than introverts, and doomed to a lifetime of being overlooked. Instead, Cain encourages embracing our particular skills to achieve success. For extroverts, this book would be just as valuable, as it explains the personalities of 1/3 to 1/2 of the population. It would be particularly helpful to business managers, as they might learn not to overlook the introverts who could truly benefit their organizations, or force them into work styles that aren't beneficial to them. I personally think this should be required reading for just about everyone.

I listened to the sound recording; Kathe Mazur did a great job as narrator.

5 stars. A little bit of language, but not enough that anyone should think it outweighs the many merits of the book.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Drowned Cities

Drowned Cities Paolo Bacigalupi book reviewThe Drowned Cities

By Paolo Bacigalupi

Little, Brown, and Company,2012. 436 pgs. Teen fiction (I read the ARC)


In a future U.S., Mahlia is a castoff, the daughter of a Chinese peacekeeper who left her and her mother (a Drowned Cities resident) behind when the Chinese gave up their attempts to stop the various warlord groups from trying to wipe each other out. Mahlia has found refuge with a doctor in a village away from the Drowned Cities, but as a castoff, she's never been accepted by the rest of the villagers. Her one friend, Mouse, is a boy who has been orphaned by the war. When the two discover Tool, a wounded augment (a half-man, half-animal designed for war and killing), who is being hunted by a group of soldiers, Mahlia and Mouse are caught in the middle. As the bloodthirsty soldiers wreak havoc on the land and even force Mouse into their army, Mahlia must convince Tool to help her save her friend, even though the odds of success are essentially impossible.


There is a lot of blood, gore, and violence in this book, made all the more heart-rending by the fact that these are kids, not adults, who are fighting each other and trying to survive. Because of that, it's not an easy book to read, and some readers probably won't be able to stomach it. The violence continues pretty much to the very end, and while there's an element of hope at the end, I didn't quite feel like there was enough of an ending. This would be a good discussion book, as readers could delve into such topics as child soldiers and whether or not redemption is possible, but it's not one that I'd necessarily recommend for any sort of pleasure reading. It's gripping but disturbing.

3.5 stars. Language and LOTS of violence.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


By Carol Lynch Williams
Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers, 2012. 335 pgs. Teen fiction

London and her older brother Zach were best friends, but then he died, and now, even several months later, she hasn't even begun to deal with it. Her father is busy, her mother will not even acknowledge London's presence, and no one has acknowledge how--or why--Zach's life is over. London has barely spoken to anyone for months, but when new girl Lili wants to strike up a friendship, and persists at it, and London's former boyfriend (and her brother's good friend) Taylor starts trying to spend time with her again, London starts to come to life a little bit again. However, she also starts to have feelings for Jesse, Lili's brother, and doesn't know how to start out all of the complicated feelings she has. And mixed up in all of this, London, the daughter of a missionary, questions her faith.

This novel in verse kinda has a lot going on, but Williams does it well. I was a little impatient with the unraveling of what happened to Zach, and why London feels so guilty about it (and actually 2/3 of the way through, wondered if I had missed something), but after sticking it out to the end, it did work out pretty well.

There's some discussion of teen sex (not detailed) and a little bit of language (the milder variety), so it's not squeaky clean, but it's milder than a lot of teen books.

3.5 stars.


By Georgette Heyer
Sourcebooks Casablanca, 1949. 312 pgs. Romance

Arabella Tallant isn't a likely candidate for an advantageous marriage; her parson father has eight children and little money to support them. Still, when she is given the opportunity to stay with her godmother in London and be presented to society, she (and her family) can't help but hope she'll be able to marry well, and perhaps prepare the way for her sisters to do so as well. En route to London, though, her borrowed carriage breaks down, and she seeks temporary shelter from the rain at a nearby home--the home, as it turns out, of Mr. Robert Beaumaris, the Nonparelil of good society. Wealthy beyond belief, Mr. Beaumaris is used to the adoration of women, and Arabella overhears him telling a friend that she's undoubtedly a fortune hunter, she impetuously declares herself to be an heiress. From that moment, Arabella's fame spreads and every man in London is after the hand of the young "heiress". Mr. Beaumaris, at first thinking only to make a game of Arabella, can't help but have a change of heart as he glimpses the woman beneath the society mask. And Arabella, despite her assertions to not care a whit for the Nonparelil, finds that her invented fortune could stand between her and true love.

This is a fun story but at times, it got bogged down by the slang of the day and descriptions. I trust Heyer that she got it right, but for someone who isn't quite so versed in the language (and, okay, doesn't care that much about setting), it slowed down the story, and actually gave us a little less time with the characters. Satisfying overall, and probably something I would have enjoyed more if I'd mentally prepared for a slower read rather than a quicker one.

3.5 stars. Clean read.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Glass Swallow

The Glass Swallow
By Julia Golding
Marshall Cavendish, 2011. 304 pgs. Teen fiction

Torrent Glassmaker has gone against guild rules by secretly fostering his daughter Rain's talent as a glassmaker, a job forbidden to a woman in Holt. Her secret talents have brought the family renown that has them recommend as the people for the job when ambassadors arrive from Magharna looking for craftsmen to work on the Master's summer palace. Rain can't openly acknowledge her skills but fakes a betrothal to her cousin in order to accompany him to this foreign land. However, when the ambassador's party is attacked by bandits and Rain is the only survivor, she must figure out how to get out of a hostile country and make her way back home.

Peri, a falconer, has grown up in Magharna, a country rigidly divided by a class system where people of the higher classes can't even speak to those in classes beneath them (nor do they want to). Peri is a scavenger, the lowest of the low, and, because he is unclean, is forbidden to even enter the city. Although he has learned to calm his emotions and just enjoy his work with his falcons, when he rescues Rain from bandits, his whole world gets turned upside down, and when there uprisings in the city, both Rain and Peri must figure out what they'll do to survive.

This book is a companion book to Dragonfly (takes place about 30 years later and you really don't need to have read the first book to understand the second), and while I loved Dragonfly, I only liked this book. The plot line is great; I like the way it weaves in the stained glass windows and Peri's and Rain's dilemmas. However, there were times when the writing felt awkward and more like "telling" than "showing." I found that to be particularly annoying when it happened during the romantic scenes--really, who wants to read a clumsy flirtation? (Unless it's intentionally clumsy, of course, but in this case, I don't think it was intentional.) I'd still recommend it for anyone looking for a clean fantasy that takes them to an imagined world in the past...but for those of you who really enjoyed Dragonfly, just be warned that this one isn't as good.

3.5 stars. Clean read.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Notebook series

The Indigo Notebook
By Laura Resau
Delacorte Press, 2009. 324 pgs. Teen fiction

Fifteen-year-old Zeeta has lived all over the world, thanks to her free-spirited mother, who constantly moves them around the globe. When they move to Ecuador, Zeeta, who has always wished for a normal life, finds that she just might get it after all: her mother meets an American man, who specializes in organization, and seems to be settling down. Meanwhile, Zeeta meets a guy of her own: Wendall, a teenager from the U.S. who was adopted as a baby and has come to Ecuador to find his birth parents. As Zeeta helps him on his search, she is also searching to discover what it is that she really wants.

An interesting look at another culture, this book also provides readers with adventure, family issues, and a bit of romance. This highly enjoyable book is the first in a series, and I look forward to reading more. A little bit of language, but overall fairly clean.

The Ruby Notebook
By Laura Resau
Delacorte Press, 2010. 373 pgs. YTeen

Sixteen-year-old Zeeta is living in France, the 16th country she and her flighty mother have lived in, which is something Zeeta deals with but also can't help resenting sometimes, as she's forced to leave behind friends, and she feels, even pieces of herself . This time should be different, though, because Zeeta's boyfriend Wendell is supposed to come to study art for two months, and Zeeta can't wait to be with him. However, before he gets there, she meets Jean-Claude, who sparks her interest even though she doesn't want him to, someone from her past begins slipping notes and gifts into her bag, and an elderly couple wants her to find a fountain of youth they believe is hidden in their town. Soon, Zeeta is on a quest not to find the water and the mysterious gift-giver but also to find herself.

This book started out a little slow for me, but once it got going, I really enjoyed Zeeta's quest, as well as her relationship struggles, and the symbolism woven into the book. It's more literary than a lot of teen literature but also still very accessible to readers. It's partially an introduction to a foreign culture, partially an invitation to be moved by characters and their journey, and completely lovely.

The Jade Notebook
By Laura Resau
Delacorte Press, 2012. 365 pgs. Teen fiction

After seventeen countries in seventeen years, Zeeta has finally found a place that feels like home to her in Mazunte, Mexico, which is also where Zeeta thinks her long-lost father might be from, and she's determined to find him . She and her flighty mother are managing cabanas and really feel like that this could be the place for them. Zeeta's boyfriend Wendell is there studying the sea turtles native to the area and everything seems to be going well, at first. But then they find out that the land they're living on is supposedly cursed, Wendell starts having visions of danger, and Zeeta finds out some things about her father that make her wonder what kind of person he really is. To make matters worse, poachers are stealing the eggs that the turtles are laying and no one will help Wendell and Zeeta save the turtles.

In the third and final (I think--I didn't actually read that anywhere, but this book had an epilogue that made it feel more "done" than the other books) book in the series, readers once again get to explore a new country. The descriptions of the turtles, the local people, and the food will make readers want to pack their bags and head to Mexico. I really enjoyed the mysteries wrapped up in the story--who the poachers are, who they can trust, and what's the truth about Zeeta's father--and how things played out. This is a satisfying series that probably doesn't get read enough.

Side note on this one: In many respects., I would consider this series to be realistic fiction...except for the fact that Wendell has these visions. I don't particularly believe in visions or ESP or anything like that. So, to me, that puts a fantastical element into the story. However, I know that there are those who do believe in these sorts of things--and quite often in indigenous cultures, this is something they firmly believe in, so to them, it's a reality. So where I see fantasy, they see reality...and I suppose the appropriate action then is to classify the book as realistic fiction...but I'm interested in what other people think about that. Would you classify it as realistic fiction?

4 stars. Apparently when I read the first book, I noticed some minor language but I don't remember it now. I didn't notice any in the third book. Zeeta and Wendell do have a fairly physical relationship (kissing a lot, laying down together), but there wasn't anything explicit or even anything that made me entirely certain they were having sex, although it could possibly be interpreted that way.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Kane Chronicles

I'd previously reviewed the first book in the series, but since I just read the third book, I'm going to go ahead and put all three on here.

The Red Pyramid
By Rick Riordan
Disney/Hyperion Books, 2010. 516 pgs. Middle Grade/Teen fiction

Carter Kane has spent his life being dragged around the world by his father, Dr. Julius Kane, a famous Egyptologist. Meanwhile, his younger sister, Sadie, has lived with their grandparents in England. However, when Carter and his dad go to visit Sadie at Christmas, their lives change completely. Their father takes them to a museum where he tries to summon an Egyptian god. However, he releases five trapped gods, including Set, who sets out to wreak havoc on the world and traps Julius inside Osiris' coffin. Carter and Sadie learn that they are actually powerful descendants of ancient pharoahs, and it becomes their responsibility to restore order to the world--and rescue their dad.

The first book in the Kane Chronicles, this book was a somewhat darker tone than the author's Percy Jackson series, and many readers will likely be less familiar with the Egyptian mythology of this series than the Greek mythology of the Percy Jackson series. However, the action and adventure are still well-written; the book is fast-paced, and both spunky Sadie and somewhat more reserved Carter are interesting characters and I look forward to watching their development in the upcoming books.

The Throne of Fire
By Rick Riordan
Disney/Hyperion Books, 2011. 452 pgs. Young Adult

In book 2 of the Kane Chronicles, Sadie and Carter Kane have 5 days to save the world. Apophis, the god of Chaos, who has been bound for many years, is struggling to get free and even has magicians working to help him. Sadie and Carter have to locate the pieces of the scroll of Ra, the sun god, and use the spells contained in them to locate and revive him in order to balance out Apophis. At the same time, Carter is determined to find Zia, who was hidden somewhere by the world's most powerful magician before he died, and Sadie is dealing with her feelings for Anubis, an Egyptian god, and Walt, one of the Kanes' magical trainees, who seems to be hiding something from them.

The Serpent's Shadow
By Rick Riordan
Disney/Hyperion, 2012. 406 pgs. Young Adult

Carter and Sadie Kane have only a few days to save the world from Chaos. Apophis, the god of Chaos, is determined to wipe out the entire world. He has already killed or converted many magicians to his side, leaving Carter, Sadie, and their young magicians-in-training to try to save the world. The only option open to them is to trust an evil dead magician to lead them to a secret spell that will allow them to trap Apophis's shadow and then execrate the god. As if that's not enough, they need the help of the gods, particularly Ra, the senile old sun god, who might not be ready in time. With the fate of the world in their hands, Carter and Sadie face their most dangerous quest yet.

I have to say, Rick Riordan's books seem to be very similar--kid finds out he/she has magic powers, kid has to battle several demons/evil forces, kid ultimately triumphs. It gets a little repetitive, and yet, I think it still pulls in a lot of readers. And, for some readers, that can actually be a comforting thing--because they can jump into the story, supported by the familiar structure, and read a long book and feel like they've accomplished something. For some readers, that might get a little old, but most readers will still have fun following sarcastic Sadie and more serious Carter on their adventures. As can be expected from Rick Riordan, this book is thrilling good fun. Readers will be swept along with Sadie and Carter as they move, top-speed, to try to save the world. There's a dash of romance, a fair dose of humor, and extra helpings of action and adventure.
I have a harder time following this series than Riordan's other series, but that's probably because I'm not as familiar with the Egyptian gods as the Greek ones. Consequently, I probably don't like it as much as his other books--but I still like it plenty and am happy to recommend it to anyone looking for a super fun series.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale

persuasion a latter-day tale rebecca jamison persuasion retelling review summaryPersuasion: A Latter-day Tale

By Rebecca H. Jamison

Bonneville Books, 2012. 233 pgs. Romance


Eight years ago, Anne told Neil Wentworth she'd marry him. The next day, bowing under her parents' disapproval and her own fear that she didn't know how to have a happy marriage, especially after watching her parents' marriage dissolve, she broke it off. Though they went their separate ways, Anne never forgot him or found anyone else. Now, Neil's back and so are all of Anne's feelings. But with him dating a friendly acquaintance of hers--and showing no interest in her--she needs a distraction, which she finds in the form of rich Will Grandin. Yet, as much as Will pampers her, she can't quite fall for him, or stop herself from falling for Neil.

My opinion:

This modern retelling of Jane Austen's classic is delightful. Anne and Neil are refreshingly nice people, and readers will appreciate the way Jamison has built in back story to explain Anne's hesitation before and her continued dedication to her family now, even as they trample her. A great choice for those looking for a light read.

3.5 stars. Clean read.

To Win Her Heart

To Win Her Heart
By Karen Witemeyer
Bethany House, 2011. 347 pgs. Romance

Levi Grant, recently released from prison after serving time for involuntary manslaughter, has become a new person through Christ; he has rejected his violent past and now wants to live a peaceful, honorable life. Through the help of his prison pastor, he gets a job in Spencer, Texas working as a blacksmith, where he falls for Eden Spencer, the town librarian and the daughter of the town's founder. Even as his feelings for her grow, and he wonders if she will be able to accept him if she knew about his past, especially since she's a pacifist.

I really liked how this book addressed the topic of faith, repentance, and forgiveness. Witemeyer did a terrific job exploring whether or not change is possible and how people must decide to deal with other people's pasts, topics which will be pertinent for most readers. Levi's insecurities about his past and his desire to be someone better, alongside Eden's struggle to truly believe Christ can change people, were realistically developed, and I really liked how, unlike some inspirational romances, this one had a really good balance of faith and romance. A great choice for fans of historical romances or inspirational fiction.

4.5 stars. Clean read.

An Unlikely Suitor

An Unlikely Suitor
By Nancy Moser
Bethany House, 2011. 394 pgs. Romance

Lucy Scarpelli is an Italian immigrant who has lived in poverty most of her life, as she, her mother and her younger sister, the willful, spoiled Sofia, do piecework to eke out a meager existence. Their luck changes, however, when Lucy finds jobs for them as seamstresses, and even more so when a wealthy client, Rowena Langond, a New York socialite as she works on Rowena's dresses. When Rowena invites the three women to Newport to do some sewing work for her, Lucy and Sofia both find themselves being courted by men who are well above their classes. Although not quite sure these men would forsake their social standing in order to wed, neither of the sisters can help but follow her heart. Meanwhile, Rowena, who was crippled in an accident, is willing to obey her parents' wishes that she marry the son of a business associate, thinking that her affliction leaves her no other option; however, as much as she tries to love him, she's not quite sure that marrying him is her best option.

This book provides some gentle romance as well as a look at the social complexities of the late 19th century. Lucy and Rowena are both likable characters and readers will be anxiously awaiting for them to find their happiness; Sofia, on the other hand, is an overly annoying little sister who might have readers wishing they could smack her rather than hoping she finds love. The book concludes a few notes and illustrations of dresses to provide a little extra insight in the society and fashion on the era.

Clean read. 3.5 stars.

The Outcasts

The Outcasts
By John Flanagan
Philomel Books, 2011. 434 pgs. Teen fiction

In Skandia, sixteen-year-old boys must go through brotherband training, where groups must work together while competing against other brotherbands as they try to prove themselves ready to take their place in Skandian society and in the Skandian wolf ships. Hal Mikkelson is half-Skandian, half-Araluen, which, in the eyes of the other Skandians, means he's outsider and probably always will be. His only friend, Stig, is the son a Skandian who stole from his countrymen and then high-tailed it out of the country, which leaves Stig as an outsider as well. They, along with six other outcasts, aren't chosen for a brotherband and by default become a brotherband, the Herons. Competing against larger brotherbands, no one expects the Herons to succeed, but Hal and his new friends are determined to show that they aren't the losers that everyone thinks they are.

In this companion series to The Ranger's Apprentice series, readers will quickly draw parallels with the other series, with small, underdog Hal (similar to Will), strong but not as bright best friend Stig (similar to Horace), and the wise mentor Thorn (similar to Halt). While there are definite similarities, there are enough difference to make the book distinct. Readers familiar with Ranger's Apprentice won't be disappointed by the new series, but it's not necessary to read the other series before diving into this one. Highly recommend to anyone looking for rip-roaring good fun.

John Keating does a great job with the narration of the audiobook.

5 stars. Clean read.

Getting Over Garrett Delaney

Getting Over Garrett Delaney
By Abby McDonald
Candlewick Press, 2012. 319 pgs. Teen fiction

From the moment she met him, Sadie knew that she and Garrett Delaney were destined to be together and have an epic love story. However, while he's been her best friend for the past couple years, his feelings have never ventured past the platonic stage. Sadie is determined that things will change this summer when they attend a writing camp together for six weeks--except she doesn't get accepted. Garrett goes without her and soon calls to tell her he's fallen in love with a girl at the writing camp, and Sadie realizes, with the help of some new friends and co-workers, that it's time for her to finally get over Garrett for good.

I was expecting something light and fluffy and fun, and in some ways, this book fits that description, but it also went deeper, as Sadie had to realize just how much she'd let her feelings for Garrett control her entire life and that she needs to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of the book and Sadie's Garrett-detox process. Some language, but probably not enough to bother most readers.

3.5 stars.


Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance

By Julianne Donaldson
Shadow Mountain, 2012. 264 pgs. Adult Romance

After her mother's death, Marianne Daventry was sent to Bath to live with her grandmother, while her twin sister, Cecily, who has always seemed to shine brighter than Marianne, goes off to London to stay with family there. While Cecily has written to Marianne that she's found the man for her--the brother of a new friend who is the heir of a vast estate--Marianne is stuck trying to escape the attentions of an unwanted suitor. Then Marianne is extended an invitation to stay with Cecily and her friends at the friends' country estate, Edenbrooke. Marianne arrives ahead of her sister and develops a friendship with the second son, Philip, but can't quite believe that his flirtatious comments could mean anything real...but she also can't stop her heart from wishing that they were.

This is a perfectly delightful romance that will leave readers wishing Edenbrooke were real and they could go there to find a gentleman of their own. The witty banter between Marianne and Philip, the setting, and the plot line are all pretty much perfectly developed. There's not much not to like about this one. It's pretty much a must read for fans of Regency romance, Jane Austen, or awesome books in general.

5 stars. Clean read.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


By Marissa Meyer
Feiwel & Friends, 2012. 390 pgs/540 mins. Teen fiction

In a future world, Earth, after the Fourth World War, has been divided into five nations. While they haven't had any more wars with each other, they are constantly threatened by the Lunars, the people who live on the moon, and for many years, a horrific, incurable plague has been killing off many of Earth's citizens. Cinder, has the misfortune of being a cyborg and being hated by her stepmother, is the best mechanic in New Beijing, and Prince Kai comes into have her fix an android. As she hides her identity as a cyborg from him, Cinder and Kai begin to develop a friendship. At the same time, however, Cinder's stepsister, Pearl, who is Cinder's only human friend, catches the plague. Cinder is "volunteered" as a research subject for doctors to study the plague. However, it turns out that Cinder isn't an ordinary cyborg, and she isn't who she thought she was--and her true identity is something that could quickly get her killed if anyone finds out the truth.

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about a science fiction retelling of a fairy tale; it seemed like an odd combination. It turned out to be pretty awesome, actually. Cinder is a wonderful protagonist; I love cheering for the underdog and watching her try to deal with who she is and how to free herself from a pretty miserable existence. The developing romance between Kai doesn't get as far in this book as readers might like, but it leaves us something to hope for in subsequent books in the series. There's kind of a lot going on with the plot, but Meyer did a great job weaving all of the plot lines together. Highly enjoyable and an easy recommendation. I listened to the audiobook, and I recommend that as well.

4.5 stars. Clean read.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


By Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegen Books, 2012. 525 pgs. Teen fiction

Now that the Erudite faction has wiped out much of the Abnegation factor, a society that once thrived on its five factions each filling specific rolls is thrown into chaos. With Dauntless split between those who support Erudite and those who don't,Tris, Tobias, and the others who have managed to escape the Eruite now appeal to the other factions--Amity and Candor--for help, but find that neither of them may be in the position to prevent Erudite from killing anyone who gets in their way. When the opportunity arises for an unexpected alliance with the factionless, who are more powerful than anyone realized, Tobias thinks it's their best option, but Tris has reservations. She thinks they might have to trust the unlikeliest of people in order to figure out why Erudite launched their attack in the first place and what they can do to stop further destruction--but doing so means she has to betray those she loves the most.

This second book in the Divergent trilogy takes readers on just as breathtaking ride as the first one. With palpable fear and tension as Tris is trying to understand more about what it means to be Divergent, who she can trust, and why her world has suddenly crumbled, readers are going to be on the edge of their seats, anxious to find out what is going on and why! There's a twist that's hinted at that unfolds into a cliffhanger ending; readers are going to be groaning that they'll have to wait another year or so to see how things play out. I don't think I liked this one quite as much as the first book; there is some tension between Tris and Tobias that isn't much fun for readers who loved the romance angle of the first book and I'm not a huge fan of cliffhanger endings (and perhaps because I'm just grumpy today). However, I think readers will devour it...and really, groan very, very, very loudly when they realize there's still quite awhile to go before the third book comes out (no date announced as of today, at least).

4.5 stars. There wasn't a lot of language but there is a LOT of violence and some making out.