Available in Print & eBook.
Jen Noonan’s father thinks a move to Harmony House is the key to salvation, but to everyone who has lived there before, it is a portal to pure horror.
Do you like scary stories? Creepy old houses? Supernatural activity? Then I’ve got the book for you. ‘Harmony House’ is one part Stephen King’s ‘Carrie’ and one part ‘The Haunting’ movie and all other movies that make you jump when you see a shadow in your house.
This book is a great read if you want something a little spooky but don’t want to get slogged down with a behemoth novel. It’s a quick read you could finish in one sitting, on a dark and stormy night, when suddenly the power goes out…
Mostly, I enjoyed this book for the same reason I enjoy horror movies. I could sit there yelling at the character, ‘No! Don’t run upstairs! Now you’re trapped, dummy!’ just like I do watching movies. The story was not overly complex, hence why it’s a short read. But it did provide some interesting backstory on the house and all the ‘evil’ that’s tainted it. My only gripe was that one early backstory moment was never fully flushed out. It felt like it was just left in there and then forgotten about for further explanation.
So if you a fan of horror movies and thrilling YA, give this book a read. If you can’t watch horror movies without all the lights on and during the middle of the day, well, then you should probably pass on this one…
Available in Print, eAudiobook & eBook.
I picked this book up after I saw John Green (Paper Towns, Fault In Their Stars, yeah, that John Green) post about it months ago. He raved about it and once I read the plot, it sounded pretty interesting.
‘HIB’ has three main characters. Lisa is a determined student who wants to attend one of the best psychology programs in the country after high school. Clark, her boyfriend, is a laid back, kind and funny soul that hasn’t quite figured out what the next step will be. Solomon is an agoraphobe with severe anxiety and hasn’t left his house in three years. He’s also Lisa’s ticket out of her hometown in California.
Lisa plans to ‘cure’ Solomon of his anxiety and agoraphobia and then will detail her experience in her college admissions essay. Clark is the only one that knows her secret. From the very start, you stop and think, ‘Oh great, this won’t blow up in her face at all…’. What Lisa doesn’t expect to find is a very functional, funny, smart and rather well adjusted teenager in Solomon.
I loved this story from the start. Whaley writes excellent dialogue that turns into witty, clever banter between the three main characters. His characters all had their own flaws, which that’s the way it should be since none of us are perfect in real life anyhow! Through the story, you experience Sol’s growth as he becomes more confident in himself and learns to control and face his fears. His progress may seem small but for someone with such anxiety, it’s the little steps that count. Not only do you see a change in Sol, but Lisa and Clark grow together as a couple and as young adults. Lisa learns more about herself and her relationship with Clark in her attempts to learn more about Sol.
I don’t want to give too much away but this really was a wonderful story. I don’t usually pick up contemporary books but this one had enough quirkiness to intrigue me. If you are a fan of John Green, David Levithan or Stephen Chbosky, you will enjoy this book.
Indianapolis Public Library
Available in Print, eBook & eAudiobook.
Just a forewarning about this book. It deals with the matter of rape which I know not everyone wants to read about. So if this is a trigger for you, feel free to pass on this review.
With that being said, I don’t think this book is solely about rape. The sexual assault of the main character, Hermoine Winters, is by far a pivotal action of the story. But the resulting months and story line after her assault are about much more than that. This story, for me at least, was about growth in personal lives, in relationships and in maturity. Hermione’s story starts at the beginning of her senior year in high school, which is a year of growth and change in of itself. She is already thinking about how things will be changing and how something as simple as sleeping in a bunk at cheer camp will be the last time. But then her life is thrown upside down. She is drugged and sexually assaulted while at cheer camp.
In the wake of the Stanford case & Brock Turner’s ‘sentencing’, this book struck a chord with me. It gave me a look at the process and people that ultimately end up being involved when something terrible like this happens. While Hermione’s ordeal is by no means the standard situation a survivor deals with, her handling of the situation, her relationships and healing were a perspective I would not have any knowledge of prior. I think the author wrote an intriguing story not about rape, but about how rape changes a person and the people around them. Characters in the book grappled with blame, fault, ignorance, empathy and anger in their own ways. Johnston gave the reader a look at how sexual assault can affect people involved directly and indirectly in many ways.
I know this isn’t a book that many people would want to go out of their way to read. However, I would still recommend it greatly. It is well written and provides a story line of a situation often not discussed enough. If you aren’t willing to give this story a try, you might check out one of Johnston’s other stories such as ‘One Thousand Nights’. I’ve already read and enjoyed that story as well.
Indianapolis Public Library
Available in Print, Audio Book, eAudio Book & Large Type.
I’ve been binge-reading Riordan’s series lately in preparation for this book. Riordan’s series are great for middle readers but I love them as an adult and I know many teens that enjoy keeping up with the series.
Trials of Apollo, Riordan’s 5th series, centers around the god, Apollo, after he is punished by Zeus and turned into a mortal. Not even a demi-god, just a mortal, awkward teenage boy. Some of our favorite characters from the Percy Jackson & Heroes of Olympus series make cameos in the first book. With mention of many main characters that may pop up in additional books of the series.
I enjoyed this first story of Apollo a lot. It’s interesting to see the world that Riordan has created from the perspective of a god instead of a teenage demigod. Apollo’s perspective on the wars and demigod’s actions is quite contrasting from what we’re used to hearing from characters like Percy Jackson. I think Riordan has set up an interesting story arch for Apollo in the coming ‘trials’/stories of the series. I look forward to learning more about Apollo and hopefully seeing some appearances from old beloved characters.
For anyone a fan of Rick Riordan’s books, this series will not disappoint. If you haven’t read Riordan’s books before, I strongly suggest reading the Percy Jackson series and then Heroes of Olympus series first before diving into this one. Riordan’s other series, Kane Chronicles and Magnus Chase series, can be read without reading the others. But once you start, you’ll find it hard not to read all of them!
Available at the library this fall.
I managed to snag an advanced reader’s copy of Marissa Meyer’s first book post-Lunar Chronicles. I attended a panel discussion with her, Matthew Quick, Amanda Talley and Paul Rudnik. Meyer talked about her love for Alice and Wonderland and how it inspired her to write a prequel about the Queen of Hearts.
Meyer’s Heartless addresses what life might have been like for Catherine the Queen of Hearts before she became queen. Was she always so mean? Did she want the power and control of being queen? Meyer gives a look at her own idea of what the world of Hearts was like before Catherine the Queen took reign.
The book intrigued me from the start. I love the fantastical world of Alice and Wonderland and Meyer’s world of the Lunar Chronicles. Heartless does not disappoint in painting a world full of oddities and clever characters. Meyer’s descriptions of costumes, the Mad Hatter’s hats and Catherine’s bakery treats come alive off the page. I enjoyed her portrayals of classic characters from before Alice’s time in Wonderland.
The story overall, is well written and I was almost sad when the story ended because I wanted to keep reading more about the characters. But of course, I could go on to read Lewis Carroll’s works instead!
If you loved the Lunar Chronicles, Marissa Meyer’s first standalone novel will be a great read for you. And for those who love the whimsical world of Lewis Caroll, this book will delight. You may have to wait a while though, this book will be released on November 8th, 2016.