The Nerd Journals

Filling up journals as proof of my meager existence.

Tag: young adult

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4/5 stars

I enjoy dystopian books that take a small nugget of current society like copyright durations being extended indefinitely (thanks, Walt Disney) and frivolous lawsuits and turn them to a chilling story about what could happen if taken to the extreme.

Speth, a fifteen-year-old girl makes a snap decision that rather than pay for her words she speaks, she will remain silent. Her only power in the system set up for failure is to not participate. This causes problems for not only herself but her family as well.

I was hooked on this book from start to finish, the only problem I had is that Spleth seemed to lack any strong emotion one way or another, which seems a little counter-intuitive for a girl so disillusioned by the world that she refuses to speak.

Landscape With Invisible Hand

3/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and Candlewick Press for sending me an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review. I requested this book because I recently read Feed by MT Anderson and I enjoyed it so I thought I should give this book a chance, too. While I didn’t like Landscape with Invisible Hand as much as I did Feed, this book does have its moments.

This book started strong but got a little muddled along the way, as if it didn’t know what kind of book it wanted to be. It was sci-fi that toyed with a romance story that didn’t quite fit comfortably into the overarching storyline. A few things didn’t make sense. This book was also satirical touching on topics such as immigration, socio-economic divide, and it also made fun of the political logic that if poor people are so hungry, they should go get jobs instead of begging for food they didn’t work for.

I know what it’s like to be Adam for a lot of this book; the hardships of being poor and trying your hardest to bring money into your home to feed your family. A father who walks out on you and your family. Hoping for something that will come along and save you financially. I want to talk about the end a bit more since it was so charming for me, but I don’t want to include spoilers so I guess I’ll just stop here.

Overall, a decent book that I mostly enjoyed. I still might try reading more MT Anderson in the future.

Unsouled

3/5 stars

I had a rough time getting through the middle of this book. The beginning was fascinating and the ending was exciting and hopeful but the middle just killed me to get through. I’m not sure if it was the book or if it was me (I moved while reading this book) but I had trouble. I don’t want this to deter anyone’s decision about picking up this book though, so if you are considering reading the third Unwind book after having enjoyed the first two I really think you should jump right in! However if you, like me, get a third or so through the book and have trouble I would recommend just quitting instead of slogging through because the ending wasn’t anything to write home about.

If I do continue with this series it will be after taking a break.

Unwind

5/5 stars

This is the type of book that I would love made into a movie. It’s very fast-paced and exciting, political and thought-provoking. This book had one of the most horrifying scenes that I have ever read in a book, and I have read all the Dexter books so I think this is quite the compliment.

Unwind is one of the better YA books that I have ever read and I’m surprised that it didn’t get as big as some of the other YA series in the genre have in the past (The Hunger Games, for example).

This book is very well written and I liked the characters and the battles they went through. The ending was satisfying but it still left me wanting more, which usually doesn’t happen for me. There’s many book series that I’ve started and never finished after reading the first book.

I am very impressed by Neal Shusterman and I plan to read more of his books in the future.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

4/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley and RANDOM HOUSE for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am always grateful for your kindness and generosity!

3.5 stars, somewhere between this book was okay and enjoying it. I rounded up instead of down, so I’m going to go with 4/5 stars for The Most Dangerous Place on Earth.

Pleasantly surprised with this book, which I found very fascinating in a horrible way. It’s like a train wreck that you drive by and rubberneck so you can admire the disaster, I found myself enjoying this book the very same way. I loved reading about these rich kids get their comeuppance for something terrible that they did; granted I don’t think any of the characters in this story wanted such a bad thing to happen to young Tristan.

I felt like the storyline with Abigail/Doug was a little out of place but not distracting from the rest of the story. I understand why it was there, it just didn’t go anywhere and it felt like there was supposed to be more story there that just didn’t get addressed properly. I also sort of feel like this about Holly Nicoll’s character but not as strongly.

I’m an older millennial so it was fascinating to me to read about social media in the lives of teenagers these days. When I graduated high school, MySpace was just getting ready to launch. I had a MySpace for a while, and subsequently move to Facebook (along with everyone else), but I didn’t Facebook (oh my, it’s a verb now!) for long before finding out that it simply isn’t for me and deleted my account. It’s so strange to read about how every day it is for children now, how quickly news travels and how connected everyone is! It’s not a part of my life and is a bit confusing to me. But it’s interesting!

Calista is my favorite character in this book and I believe I identified with her the most. I found her desire to change and follow through very inspiring if one can momentarily forget why she had such a deep desire to change to begin with.

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth

4/5 stars

Thank you to NETGALLEY and RANDOM HOUSE for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am always grateful for your kindness and generosity!

3.5 stars, somewhere between this book was okay and enjoying it. I rounded up instead of down, so I’m going to go with 4/5 stars for The Most Dangerous Place on Earth.

Pleasantly surprised by this book, which I found very fascinating in a horrible way. It’s like a train wreck that you drive by and rubberneck so you can admire the disaster, I found myself enjoying this book the very same way. I loved reading about these rich kids get their comeuppance for something terrible that they did; granted I don’t think any of the characters in this story wanted such a bad thing to happen to young Tristan.

I felt like the storyline with Abigail/Doug was a little out of place but not distracting from the rest of the story. I understand why it was there, it just didn’t go anywhere and it felt like there was supposed to be more story there that just didn’t get addressed properly. I also sort of feel like this about Holly Nicoll’s character but not as strongly.

I’m an older millennial so it was fascinating to me to read about social media in the lives of teenagers these days. When I graduated high school, MySpace was just getting ready to launch. I had a MySpace for a while, and subsequently move to Facebook (along with everyone else), but I didn’t Facebook (oh my, it’s a verb now!) for long before finding out that it simply isn’t for me and deleted my account. It’s so strange to read about how every day it is for children now, how quickly news travels and how connected everyone is! It’s not a part of my life and is a bit confusing to me. But it’s interesting!

Calista is my favorite character in this book and I believe I identified with her the most. I found her desire to change and following through very inspiring if one can momentarily forget why she had such a deep desire to change, to begin with.

Feed

4/5 stars

I thought this book was a jaw-dropping realistic look at to where we as an American culture may be heading in the near future. I really think Feed is where we may end up- we’re already halfway there with our pocket computers that we use for hours a day that connects us to everyone and everything in a second’s time. I found amusement in the children of this story sitting in a room together and “chatting” instead of talking like how today children may be “texting” instead of walking.

The bombardment of advertisements is more prominent in the book than they are today but I don’t feel comfortable saying that the book was a huge stretch. Today was have advertisements in our music, on television, on billboards, in magazines, on my Kindle, in my TV shows (product placement), in my podcasts, when I walk into a store there is hardware on the shelves pointing to a particular product and the muzak interrupts my shopping to advertise Geico insurance to me. It’s insane, and it is very close to Feed.

I haven’t even talked about the plot of this book yet because honestly, the plot came second to me because I was so entranced by the culture of the characters. Yeah, there’s a plot but it’s not terribly great but it is good and it is thought-provoking. Most of this book is the entertainment culture of the future and I very much enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the “background noise” of the calamity that feels so much like the world we are living in today, right now, that I sometimes I wish I could escape from into my feed.

The only thing worse than the thought it may all come tumbling down is the thought that we may go on like this forever.

This is a very good book I would recommend to anyone who likes YA sci-fi.

Everyone We’ve Been

4/5 stars

This book hooked me in a way that I haven’t been hooked since the first time I saw Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind. Everyone We’ve Been was well written with some very developed characters. It was a good mystery that kept me guessing, very tense and emotional from time to time. I don’t want to talk about this book too much because it would be too easy to spoil and I wouldn’t want anyone to get spoiled on this truly good book.

I do want to say though that holy shit, was the mom & dad (mostly the mom) not the most irresponsible parents? Yeah okay mom, you make your kids write down where they’re going to be and for how long on a whiteboard in the kitchen and then you turn around and hand deliver them to a doctor that’s going to tinker with their brains? Yeah mmhmm okay.

Really good book though, really. REALLY. I liked all the main characters and I felt for them and I wanted what was best for everyone.

Empty

1/5 stars

This book was bad and Suzanne Weyn should feel bad. A lot of people complained about how this book ended suddenly ended but honestly, the ending couldn’t come quick enough for me. All of the characters lacked personality; practically the only thing I knew about the characters were their names. I couldn’t figure out why anyone did what they did or felt what they felt since nothing was backed up with thought or reason.

The message itself, while being a little preachy, was a good message. Keep in mind that I also really liked the movie Tomorrowland, which was also good but a little preachy. I think if a movie is going to instill morals and values, saving the planet we live on is not something bad to teach.

But back to this book. It was bad and poorly written and I didn’t care about the characters or what happened to them. I don’t understand what the blurb for this book is about- I went into this book thinking it would be a fast-paced dystopian but instead it was really a pathetic little love story about pathetic little kids set in a dystopian world.

BOOO.

The Way I Used To Be

4/5 stars

This book was very much like Speak which I first read during a very tumultuous time in my life- this book could almost be considered the updated version of Speak. This book had the same overall theme, the same writing style and left me feeling the same way at the end- sorry for the character but happy that things were eventually going to becoming better if only a little bit.

This book was very difficult to read. Some pages were so horrifying that I read quickly, just to get those parts over with. It broke my heart to read about Eden and her self-sabotage downward spiral. It was hard because I could understand her reasoning for doing these horrible things. I could understand why she was so filled with angst and hate and rage. I understand her carelessness and recklessness. But that didn’t make her story any easier to read.

So to all the Kevins in the world, I hope you are as miserable as you make other people. To all the Edens in the world- you are good and you have value. Don’t let Kevins take that away from you. And to everyone else- stay safe.

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