Goodreads

My rating: 3.5/5
Ugh, I can’t believe this was the largest picture of the cover I could find.
This was my third read of this book, I think. I read it first years ago, when I was around the protagonist’s age – fourteen – and I am still incredibly fond of it, despite finding it a little more flat this time around – probably because I’m nearly eighteen now and Zanna’s dramas and little resentments seem rather more childish than they used to. Still, though, this book will probably always stay on my list of favourites. 
I wanted to give it a 5/5 rating, because it’s so close to my heart (I get oddly protective of books I’ve loved – is that normal?), but then I realized it’s not actually that spectacular, so I moved it down to a 4/5…then I thought some more and realized that it’s not particularly moving (okay, I cried a bit) or complex, either, and that I don’t find any of the characters particularly endearing (with the exception of Paris), so I gave it a rating that actually seems reasonable: a 3.5/5. 

Goodreads

My rating: 3.5/5

Ugh, I can’t believe this was the largest picture of the cover I could find.

This was my third read of this book, I think. I read it first years ago, when I was around the protagonist’s age – fourteen – and I am still incredibly fond of it, despite finding it a little more flat this time around – probably because I’m nearly eighteen now and Zanna’s dramas and little resentments seem rather more childish than they used to. Still, though, this book will probably always stay on my list of favourites. 

I wanted to give it a 5/5 rating, because it’s so close to my heart (I get oddly protective of books I’ve loved – is that normal?), but then I realized it’s not actually that spectacular, so I moved it down to a 4/5…then I thought some more and realized that it’s not particularly moving (okay, I cried a bit) or complex, either, and that I don’t find any of the characters particularly endearing (with the exception of Paris), so I gave it a rating that actually seems reasonable: a 3.5/5. 

Goodreads

My rating: 4.5/5
I liked this book. Like, a lot. People can laugh all they want at me for reading a book called The Boyfriend List (or really teen romance novels in general), but it will never change how good some of them are. I wish I’d read this when I was Ruby’s age, because the lessons she learns in it are, to quote the Publisher’s Weekly review on the cover, “painfully recognizable”, as well as being useful and even necessary for teen girls. 
Ruby is real. She’s got real problems and real feelings, and she’s not afraid to discuss any of those problems. I love that this book deals with so many of the real issues that girls face growing up – real friendships vs. unhealthy ones, breakups and heartbreak, problems with parents and being heard, bullying, burgeoning sexuality – and deals with them in a positive way, with Ruby moving steadily away from poisonous relationships and towards acceptance of herself and her life. 
If you’re familiar with John Green, you’re probably familiar with his quote, “It hurts because it mattered.” This book takes that idea and brings it to life, emphasizing the importance of every event in a Ruby’s life in shaping her personality. By going back through all of her past experiences with boys, she recognizes patterns and realizes, eventually what it is that gives her so many problems in her relationships, allowing her to start trying to correct the self-destructive habits she’s learned. I’m not sure exactly why, but this book really resonated with me. At times, the things that Ruby said seemed to exactly apply to things I have gone through myself, and I think that every girl who reads this book will see at least a little of herself in Ruby. 
The ending, while not particularly conclusive, was charming and hopeful. Even though I know that there are three more books chronicling Ruby’s high school life, I don’t know if I will keep reading. In this instance, I might prefer to decide what happens next on my own. 

Goodreads

My rating: 4.5/5

I liked this book. Like, a lot. People can laugh all they want at me for reading a book called The Boyfriend List (or really teen romance novels in general), but it will never change how good some of them are. I wish I’d read this when I was Ruby’s age, because the lessons she learns in it are, to quote the Publisher’s Weekly review on the cover, “painfully recognizable”, as well as being useful and even necessary for teen girls. 

Ruby is real. She’s got real problems and real feelings, and she’s not afraid to discuss any of those problems. I love that this book deals with so many of the real issues that girls face growing up – real friendships vs. unhealthy ones, breakups and heartbreak, problems with parents and being heard, bullying, burgeoning sexuality – and deals with them in a positive way, with Ruby moving steadily away from poisonous relationships and towards acceptance of herself and her life. 

If you’re familiar with John Green, you’re probably familiar with his quote, “It hurts because it mattered.” This book takes that idea and brings it to life, emphasizing the importance of every event in a Ruby’s life in shaping her personality. By going back through all of her past experiences with boys, she recognizes patterns and realizes, eventually what it is that gives her so many problems in her relationships, allowing her to start trying to correct the self-destructive habits she’s learned. I’m not sure exactly why, but this book really resonated with me. At times, the things that Ruby said seemed to exactly apply to things I have gone through myself, and I think that every girl who reads this book will see at least a little of herself in Ruby. 

The ending, while not particularly conclusive, was charming and hopeful. Even though I know that there are three more books chronicling Ruby’s high school life, I don’t know if I will keep reading. In this instance, I might prefer to decide what happens next on my own. 

Goodreads

My rating: 4/5
I really don’t feel like writing a review for this, but I’ll try. *is lazy*
I have to start out by saying that I really liked Lord of the Flies. I had to read it for English class in grade 11, and, though certain parts grossed me out at the time of reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months. It’s an incredible piece of literature, and because of that I’m always intrigued by books that take inspiration from it (A notable example of such a book is Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. Seriously, give it a read. It’s hysterical.). This book definitely took a page out of William Golding’s book, but it was…different. I’m not sure whether I would say it was more or less disturbing. Probably less, because Lord of the Flies has some incredibly disturbing and violent scenes (there was a point where I shut the book and refused to open it again for days), and because this book has a supernatural element, making it less realistic and more distant in terms of this-might-actually-happen-ness…and yet it was also much closer, because of the present-day North American setting and the fact that the main characters were regular public-school teens, rather than 12-and-under British private school boys. I’m not really decided on that question yet. 
Gone was exciting and pretty fast-paced, and there were some pretty insane…well, not twists, exactly, because I was never really surprised by them, but some pretty insane stuff that happened. The only thing that really shocked me was the degree of violence and brutality. I wasn’t expecting it in a book written about children, but after the first couple of deaths I knew what to anticipate and it wasn’t so bad (Man, I can’t believe I just said that lethal violence between children wasn’t so bad. My generation really is desensitized.). I wasn’t expecting supernatural stuff when I started, either, but as soon as I realized it centered around a nuclear plant it all made sense. 
In terms of characters, Edilio was my favourite by far. He was just so…cool. Not to mention much less outwardly angsty than the rest of the teens. I hope he’s more important in the next book, as well as Albert, because I want to get into their heads more. Overall the “good” characters were quite likeable, despite their blatantly displayed flaws and lack of complexity. I’m not saying that they were poorly written, they were just open books. They were dynamic, but almost formulaically so. That works for a story driven mostly by plot, but the characters in a Lord of the Flies-esque novel are incredibly important, because in a closed environment they’re the only thing driving the action (I feel like that was almost a chemistry lesson - there’s an equilibrium analogy in there somewhere). I would have liked it if there was more of an…uncertainty (wrong word, but I can’t think of a better one) in the characters, or at least more emotion in their internal monologues. Some of the decisions and changes in direction they made seemed very sudden and unprecedented. It would have made the whole thing more realistic and, in my opinion, a better story. 
The bottom line: this was a pretty good book, and I’ll be continuing with the series – as soon as I get through the massive stack of books beside my bed. 

Goodreads

My rating: 4/5

I really don’t feel like writing a review for this, but I’ll try. *is lazy*


I have to start out by saying that I really liked Lord of the Flies. I had to read it for English class in grade 11, and, though certain parts grossed me out at the time of reading, I couldn’t stop thinking about it for months. It’s an incredible piece of literature, and because of that I’m always intrigued by books that take inspiration from it (A notable example of such a book is Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens. Seriously, give it a read. It’s hysterical.). This book definitely took a page out of William Golding’s book, but it was…different. I’m not sure whether I would say it was more or less disturbing. Probably less, because Lord of the Flies has some incredibly disturbing and violent scenes (there was a point where I shut the book and refused to open it again for days), and because this book has a supernatural element, making it less realistic and more distant in terms of this-might-actually-happen-ness…and yet it was also much closer, because of the present-day North American setting and the fact that the main characters were regular public-school teens, rather than 12-and-under British private school boys. I’m not really decided on that question yet. 

Gone was exciting and pretty fast-paced, and there were some pretty insane…well, not twists, exactly, because I was never really surprised by them, but some pretty insane stuff that happened. The only thing that really shocked me was the degree of violence and brutality. I wasn’t expecting it in a book written about children, but after the first couple of deaths I knew what to anticipate and it wasn’t so bad (Man, I can’t believe I just said that lethal violence between children wasn’t so bad. My generation really is desensitized.). I wasn’t expecting supernatural stuff when I started, either, but as soon as I realized it centered around a nuclear plant it all made sense. 

In terms of characters, Edilio was my favourite by far. He was just so…cool. Not to mention much less outwardly angsty than the rest of the teens. I hope he’s more important in the next book, as well as Albert, because I want to get into their heads more. Overall the “good” characters were quite likeable, despite their blatantly displayed flaws and lack of complexity. I’m not saying that they were poorly written, they were just open books. They were dynamic, but almost formulaically so. That works for a story driven mostly by plot, but the characters in a Lord of the Flies-esque novel are incredibly important, because in a closed environment they’re the only thing driving the action (I feel like that was almost a chemistry lesson - there’s an equilibrium analogy in there somewhere). I would have liked it if there was more of an…uncertainty (wrong word, but I can’t think of a better one) in the characters, or at least more emotion in their internal monologues. Some of the decisions and changes in direction they made seemed very sudden and unprecedented. It would have made the whole thing more realistic and, in my opinion, a better story. 

The bottom line: this was a pretty good book, and I’ll be continuing with the series – as soon as I get through the massive stack of books beside my bed. 

Goodreads

My rating: 4/5

My only legitimate complaint concerning this book is that it ended. Honestly, it could have kept going for three times the length it was and I would have just kept on happily reading…what’s that? It’s part of a three-book series? Oh…I guess that helps a bit. But why split it up so much? Is it just because series/trilogies are fashionable these days? I mean, it was a fairly hefty book, but the print was pretty large, and I wouldn’t have minded sized-down text if it meant the story could have progressed past what seemed like only an introduction. *sigh* I guess I’ll just have to pick up book two. 
This book was good. Like, really good. The world in it is so creative, and I love that it pulled together real-world historical events (the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the alliances and enmities that started WWII) and futuristic elements in a way that seems…well, not exactly believable, but pretty damn cool. 
I…*loses train of thought* need to run upstairs and grab the book. I can’t think properly about a novel if it’s not in my hands. 
Now that I have it all I can think about is how pretty the cover is, and the mechanics behind giving working vocal chords to lizards. 
The characters…okay, so I have to say I liked Alek better than Deryn. I found his voice easier to understand and I just related more. That’s not to say that both weren’t great characters - Deryn was a total badass, and I loved that they both had distinct voices, different dialects, and even different ways of phrasing their thoughts.Scott Westerfeld is definitely an impressive writer, and I think he has greatly improved since his last attempt at a YA series (I really disliked the Uglies series - it felt very flat to me). 
The reason for the 4/5 as opposed to a full 5 stars isn’t completely clear to me, other than that the book didn’t leave me breathless and overflowing with emotions. I’ve read some truly exceptional books, and it’s made me a little bit spoiled. :3

Goodreads

My rating: 4/5

My only legitimate complaint concerning this book is that it ended. Honestly, it could have kept going for three times the length it was and I would have just kept on happily reading…what’s that? It’s part of a three-book series? Oh…I guess that helps a bit. But why split it up so much? Is it just because series/trilogies are fashionable these days? I mean, it was a fairly hefty book, but the print was pretty large, and I wouldn’t have minded sized-down text if it meant the story could have progressed past what seemed like only an introduction. *sigh* I guess I’ll just have to pick up book two. 

This book was good. Like, really good. The world in it is so creative, and I love that it pulled together real-world historical events (the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the alliances and enmities that started WWII) and futuristic elements in a way that seems…well, not exactly believable, but pretty damn cool. 

I…*loses train of thought* need to run upstairs and grab the book. I can’t think properly about a novel if it’s not in my hands. 

Now that I have it all I can think about is how pretty the cover is, and the mechanics behind giving working vocal chords to lizards. 

The characters…okay, so I have to say I liked Alek better than Deryn. I found his voice easier to understand and I just related more. That’s not to say that both weren’t great characters - Deryn was a total badass, and I loved that they both had distinct voices, different dialects, and even different ways of phrasing their thoughts.Scott Westerfeld is definitely an impressive writer, and I think he has greatly improved since his last attempt at a YA series (I really disliked the Uglies series - it felt very flat to me). 

The reason for the 4/5 as opposed to a full 5 stars isn’t completely clear to me, other than that the book didn’t leave me breathless and overflowing with emotions. I’ve read some truly exceptional books, and it’s made me a little bit spoiled. :3

Goodreads

My rating: 3.5/5
Honestly I just bought this at Wal-Mart this afternoon because I was waiting for my aunt to pick me up and I needed something to do. It seemed the better choice when compared to the scads of vampire novels that were my other options. The summary on the back seemed somewhat reminiscent of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which I enjoyed, so I added it to my bundle of blank CDs and chocolate and headed for the cash. And, obviously, I finished it pretty dang quickly, which means that it wasn’t that bad.
Like I expected, it was a lot like The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Same general premise, with the post-apocalyptic, zombie-filled woods and pockets of survivors living in fenced communities. Same angsty feelings of ‘this is not enough’ and 'there must be a world left out there somewhere'. The differences lay in the narrator, who was male, and in the conflict, which I won’t go into because it would spoil the book should you choose to read it. I enjoyed it less than I enjoyed Forest, because of a) the shallower emotional depths, and b) the writing style. 
I suppose it’s fair to say that less crazy emotional imbalance can be expected from a male narrator/author (maybe that’s not fair, but whatever), and I can’t expect Benny to be pouring out his soul in gushing internal monologues, but it would have been nice to have a little bit more…clarification? It was great when he was thinking about his feelings towards his brother, but I would’ve liked to understand his romantic notions a little more clearly (though I suppose, for a 15-year-old boy, they wouldn’t have been that clear to himself, either). Maybe I just liked the fact that Forest made me bawl like a baby and spend the next hour in an emotional coma – I suppose that’s where the difference lies between books written with teen girls in mind and books intended for boys. 
My only complaint about the writing style is the same complaint I had about the first book in The Hunger Games series: too many sentence fragments. It’s not a big deal, really, but for me it cuts up the narrative and distracts from the storyline, which was actually pretty fantastic. Seriously, the book was sweet. The action sequences really flowed, the imagery was beautiful, and Tom, the protagonist’s older brother, had this incredibly attractive wounded, sensitive-yet-warrior-like hero thing going on. It set up nicely for a sequel, of which there are currently two. I believe the series was also recently optioned for a movie, which I think has the potential to be amazing. I’m not sure if I’ll keep reading, but I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a good zombie story. 

Goodreads

My rating: 3.5/5

Honestly I just bought this at Wal-Mart this afternoon because I was waiting for my aunt to pick me up and I needed something to do. It seemed the better choice when compared to the scads of vampire novels that were my other options. The summary on the back seemed somewhat reminiscent of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which I enjoyed, so I added it to my bundle of blank CDs and chocolate and headed for the cash. And, obviously, I finished it pretty dang quickly, which means that it wasn’t that bad.

Like I expected, it was a lot like The Forest of Hands and Teeth. Same general premise, with the post-apocalyptic, zombie-filled woods and pockets of survivors living in fenced communities. Same angsty feelings of ‘this is not enough’ and 'there must be a world left out there somewhere'. The differences lay in the narrator, who was male, and in the conflict, which I won’t go into because it would spoil the book should you choose to read it. I enjoyed it less than I enjoyed Forest, because of a) the shallower emotional depths, and b) the writing style. 

I suppose it’s fair to say that less crazy emotional imbalance can be expected from a male narrator/author (maybe that’s not fair, but whatever), and I can’t expect Benny to be pouring out his soul in gushing internal monologues, but it would have been nice to have a little bit more…clarification? It was great when he was thinking about his feelings towards his brother, but I would’ve liked to understand his romantic notions a little more clearly (though I suppose, for a 15-year-old boy, they wouldn’t have been that clear to himself, either). Maybe I just liked the fact that Forest made me bawl like a baby and spend the next hour in an emotional coma – I suppose that’s where the difference lies between books written with teen girls in mind and books intended for boys. 

My only complaint about the writing style is the same complaint I had about the first book in The Hunger Games series: too many sentence fragments. It’s not a big deal, really, but for me it cuts up the narrative and distracts from the storyline, which was actually pretty fantastic. Seriously, the book was sweet. The action sequences really flowed, the imagery was beautiful, and Tom, the protagonist’s older brother, had this incredibly attractive wounded, sensitive-yet-warrior-like hero thing going on. It set up nicely for a sequel, of which there are currently two. I believe the series was also recently optioned for a movie, which I think has the potential to be amazing. I’m not sure if I’ll keep reading, but I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a good zombie story. 

Goodreads

My rating: 5/5
This isn’t the kind of book I would normally choose to read – I’ve never been much into historical fiction – but it was recommended to me by someone whose taste I respect (okay, it was a guy I have a huge crush on – I just wanted something to talk about with him) and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. It’s incredibly well written and the story is gripping, with heartbreaking emotions, exciting (and exceptionally bloody) battles, and characters that seem truly real, if somewhat more brutal than the teen romance novel characters I’m used to. I started out pretty skeptical, but after a few chapters all I wanted to do was read. There’s some really shocking and sometimes disturbing violence, so if that kind of thing bothers you I wouldn’t pick this book up, but if you’re into epics (think Ken Follet novels) and/or war/adventure movies (think LOTR or Gladiator), you’d probably love it. It’s also fascinating if you’re into history at all, because nobody thinks of Genghis Kahn, conqueror of nations, as a little boy starving and struggling to keep his family alive. It’s an incredible story, whether you’re looking at it as a historical record or as just another novel. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series, as soon as I can get myself to a library or bookstore (and hey, as soon as I get home I’m looking forward to some scintillating literary and historical discussion with an incredibly attractive male – it’s a win-win situation!). 

Goodreads

My rating: 5/5

This isn’t the kind of book I would normally choose to read – I’ve never been much into historical fiction – but it was recommended to me by someone whose taste I respect (okay, it was a guy I have a huge crush on – I just wanted something to talk about with him) and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. It’s incredibly well written and the story is gripping, with heartbreaking emotions, exciting (and exceptionally bloody) battles, and characters that seem truly real, if somewhat more brutal than the teen romance novel characters I’m used to. I started out pretty skeptical, but after a few chapters all I wanted to do was read. There’s some really shocking and sometimes disturbing violence, so if that kind of thing bothers you I wouldn’t pick this book up, but if you’re into epics (think Ken Follet novels) and/or war/adventure movies (think LOTR or Gladiator), you’d probably love it. It’s also fascinating if you’re into history at all, because nobody thinks of Genghis Kahn, conqueror of nations, as a little boy starving and struggling to keep his family alive. It’s an incredible story, whether you’re looking at it as a historical record or as just another novel. I’ll definitely be reading the rest of the series, as soon as I can get myself to a library or bookstore (and hey, as soon as I get home I’m looking forward to some scintillating literary and historical discussion with an incredibly attractive male – it’s a win-win situation!). 

So…I, uh, came home from France after two weeks. My exchange was kind of a shitstorm, so here I am…reviews will start again soon!

Just in case anyone cares, my reading is sort of on hiatus because I’m in France right now and for the next two and a half months. I couldn’t really pack many books, so I just have a couple of old favourites (and my kindle, but let’s face it, nobody really likes reading on a kindle). 

Goodreads

My rating: 5/5 

Goodreads


My rating: 5/5 

Goodreads

My rating: 4/5

Goodreads


My rating: 4/5