Category Archives: Young Adult

Flawed – Becky Bird

An okay reimagining of Pride and Prejudice with teens in high school

Rating: 2 out of 5.

I love Jane Austen and have read all her books. I’ve enjoyed all the miniseries and movies. I’m not a purist and have enjoyed sequel regency romance novels. I’ve also loved Austen storylines reimagined movies. My favorites are “Bride and Prejudice” and “Clueless” (Emma). So when I read this book was “Pride and Prejudice” reimagined with teens in the modern world, I was fully prepared to love it. Unfortunately, I had some major problems with it.

It’s cute and sometimes amusing. I had no problem finishing it. I wasn’t bored, and it didn’t drag on. The writing was okay. I kinda liked it. But you can tell I’m not really excited by it.

These were my major problems with it:

1. Dialogue straight from Austen, some of the most memorable quotes, did not sound realistic coming from modern teenagers. It felt forced and fake.

2. Overused clichés – mean girls, the destruction of a dress right before a fashion show, a prom-like climax, and others. It felt too “Gossip Girl”.

3. The “Bingham” character was far too shallow and narcissistic. He also punched out his windshield, twice, which indicated anger control issues. It made me worry Jade (Jane) would be abused later.

4. The entire book takes place within the time “Pride and Prejudice” is being discussed and quizzed on in Mia’s class (Elizabeth Bennet). The timing wasn’t clear. I don’t know how many weeks passed between the start and the end. But it felt way too long to be discussing one book. At least my English teachers never would have taken that long on a single book.

5. Along with the last point, the action unfolds so the class talks about the plot points in P&P as they correspond to what’s going on in Mia’s life. This forced the comparison, as if I wouldn’t get it otherwise, when it was blatantly obvious all along. It also made me doubt Mia’s intelligence as she doesn’t see the similarities between the book and her life.

1st person present tense with alternating chapters from the two main characters. I did like getting into the mind of Finn (Darcy).

Clean romance appropriate for young readers. Nothing beyond kissing. No foul language. Little violence – mainly the punching windshields thing. No OM/OW drama.

HFN, which felt more appropriate than a HEA.

Grammar:

Dialogue is very often separated from the action sequence that identifies the speaker. Sometimes one character speaks twice, in two separate paragraphs. This made knowing who was speaking difficult to figure out in places. There weren’t any unnecessary dialogue tags, but there were places where necessary tags were missing.

Commas weren’t routinely missing, so not using them wasn’t a choice. There were 9 missing commas.

Other error count:  15 (misspelled, wrong, extra, and missing words, and missing punctuation marks)

So it was readable but not a good job.

My favorite quote comes from the school principal as she is about to announce the king and queen of the winter formal dance: “Pipe down, you pompous—” Potter lets out a loud whistle. There’s dead silence as she finishes her sentence with “…little turdfaces!” More awkward silence follows, and Principal Potter gives a wry smile. “Firstly, I want to say I’m drunk.”

No Safe Haven (The Last Sanctuary) – Kyla Stone

Not a romance but awesome nonetheless

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Raven has been living at a small wildlife refuge in northern Georgia when the Hydra virus breaks out.

Amazon listed this under “Teen & Young Adult Science Fiction & Dystopian Romance ebooks”, so I was expecting romance in it. It’s not there, just to clarify expectations for others.

It was still extremely good! The writing itself is excellent. The author clearly knows or researched a lot about animals, forests, and survival skills. All the little details painted a vibrant world. The action is written beautifully with great pacing and suspense. I love animals, and the feels were intense when it came to them here.

All Is Silence – Robert L. Slater

No zombies! Pretty clean YA

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I love post-apocalyptic fiction and this gave me that. I was predisposed to like it. There are no zombies! Hurray! The story was engaging, fast paced, and seemed realistic. I liked that the characters weren’t flat. They have flaws, but I could still sympathize with them.

The writing was good but not amazing. I would have loved more details about the world. There were very few grammar mistakes.

Sex occurs once in the book, but I would still call it “clean”. That one scene had very little description and was over very quickly. The violence wasn’t described in detail either. There were a few curse words, including the F word, but they were rare.

The Hunt Trilogy- Andrew Fukuda

Gripping story and excellent writing

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Hunt

This is a rapid page-turner. The story grabs you and pulls you along with it like a strong current. It’s not only a great story but great writing. Fukuda describes things like a poet, but not a snobby one that no one can understand. It was so good that I wrote down some quotes.

“Because despite my near identical physiological similarity with them, there are seismic fundamental differences that lie beneath the frail and deceptive surface of similarity.”

“He can whisper a rat to death with the razor-sharp incisions of his carefully nuanced words.”

“The paper is now more crinkled than a smashed mirror, the words and phrases hung up in it like insects caught in a spider’s web.”

I can understand all these. They paint pictures in my mind and don’t detract from the pacing of the story. Sometimes I get the urge to skip ahead to find out what happens because I just have to know, but the writing is too good to miss.

Books 1 and 2 have cliffhanger endings. I highly recommend having immediate access to the next book available!

The Prey

Just as with part 1, I can’t put it down. The water tunnel gave me the creeps! This is a must-read.

The Trap

Absolute genius! Ziplined to the satisfying end.

The 3rd installment of this trilogy keeps the fast pace and beautiful writing going. The words paint vivid pictures for the movie in my head. With something as good and long as this, I dread getting to the end. Usually, I don’t want it to end or I’m bummed with the ending. Not here. I think the ending is genius. It satisfies. There is a hard ending – no more cliffhangers. There are a few strings not tied up prettily in some characters whose fates are unknown, but they don’t really bother me. It all makes sense. Love it!