Book Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins


Synopsis from Goodreads:

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

With snappy banter, cotillion dresses, non-stop action and a touch of magic, this new young adult series from bestseller Rachel Hawkins is going to make y’all beg for more.

My review:

“Looking back, none of this would have happened if I’d brought lip gloss the night of the Homecoming Dance.”

I had to force myself to keep reading during the first few chapters. I did not like Harper and I did not like her narration. The way I read her voice in my head was so annoying, but perhaps I only have myself to blame for that.

Plot-wise, everything seemed cheesy and it wasn’t working for me. Popular girl, cute boyfriend, cliquey friends, prom… ew. But I persevered, and luckily, the second half of this novel was very good. Okay, maybe it wasn’t that good, but it was a beacon of light compared to the chapters that came before it. I am almost certain that Harper’s voice was less “prom queen” and more average-girl-turned-badass by the end of it. And I approved.

If I had to describe this book in one sentence, I’d say that it’s like an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that takes place at a prom. It could easily be a Disney/Family Channel movie, at least, that’s how I imagined it in my head. That may also be what annoyed me so much about the first half of the book. It lacked grit.

★★★ (3.5 stars) because I am very excited to see where this story is headed. Hopefully the next book is nothing like the first half of this novel though.

Book Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater


Synopsis from Goodreads:

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray. Mothers can disappear. Visions can mislead. Certainties can unravel.

My mini-review:

“There was something unfamiliar about him. Something ferocious about his eyes, some sort of bite in his faint smile. Something altogether hectic and unsettled. She stood on the ledge of his smile and looked over the edge.”

The quote above accurately describes how I feel when I’m reading any of Maggie’s books.

From the first page of The Raven Boys, the character development, mystery, and possibility of something more, will hold you in a trance. Captivated. I thought this feeling would gradually fade away after the first book, but like Blue’s ability to amplify energy, everything is intensified with each subsequent book. It just keeps getting better.

And this. Ronan and Adam. Lynch and Parrish. Parrish and Lynch. PYNCH.

“I know when I’m awake and when I’m asleep,” Ronan Lynch said.
Adam Parrish, curled over himself in a pair of battered, greasy coveralls, asked, “Do you?”
“Maybe I dreamt you,” he said.
“Thanks for the straight teeth, then,” Adam replied.

Needless to say, I am highly anticipating The Raven King. How do you end something like this?

★★★★★ (5 stars) for obscenely tall men and fake lakes and crumbling caves. For Blue, Gansey, Noah, Ronan, Adam, Maura, Calla, Persephone (especially Persephone), and the hitman. And maybe even Orla, too. But not Greenmantle. Or Piper.

Book Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater


Synopsis from Goodreads:

If you could steal things from dreams, what would you take?

Ronan Lynch has secrets. Some he keeps from others. Some he keeps from himself. One secret: Ronan can bring things out of his dreams. And sometimes he’s not the only one who wants those things.

Ronan is one of the raven boys—a group of friends, practically brothers, searching for a dead king named Glendower, who they think is hidden somewhere in the hills by their elite private school, Aglionby Academy. The path to Glendower has long lived as an undercurrent beneath town. But now, like Ronan’s secrets, it is beginning to rise to the surface—changing everything in its wake.

My mini-review:

“In that moment, Blue was a little in love with all of them. Their magic. Their quest. Their awfulness and strangeness. Her raven boys.”

Me too, Blue. Me too.

Gansey is royalty and hideously-hued polo shirts.
Ronan is fire and dreams and drag races.
Adam is magic and inner turmoil.
Noah is life and death.
Blue is spirit.

But Gansey is also the glue that binds the Raven Boys together.

★★★★★ (5 stars) because I’ve always wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and that’s what reading The Raven Cycle feels like. Like there’s something more.

Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater


Synopsis from Goodreads:

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love…or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them — not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all — family money, good looks, devoted friends — but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

My review:

“Fate,” Blue replied, glowering at her mother, “is a very weighty word to throw around before breakfast.”

I thought the synopsis of this book was detailed, but wow, it doesn’t even begin to cover it.

I expected some YA angst and drama and forbidden love. This was so much more than that. It was captivating. It was family and magic and understanding. It was right and wrong and life and death. It was beaten-up Camaros and pizza from Nino’s. It was bruises and birds and bones. It was fate.

How do I say this without sounding like an idiot? I feel as if I know the true essence of every character. The character development was astounding. It’s as if I was given access into the minds of almost everyone: Blue, Neeve, Maura, Persephone, Calla, Whelk, and most importantly, all of the notorious Raven Boys.

I can’t explain how thrilled I was throughout the entire book. I was literally on the edge of my seat. Seriously. My leg has an odd cramp in it because I was so tensed up.

I wanted to say that the world-building was perfect but it wasn’t necessarily a new world. It was our world, but with undiscovered magic and the quest for purpose and trees that speak Latin.

★★★★★ (5 stars) for the eccentric sensibility of Blue and all the ghosts who are our friends. For Gansey.