Recollections: Reviews by a Book Lover

Review: Shatter Me

shatter meShatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

What it is about:  No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.  (Summary from


What I thought: 

Juliette hasn’t seen or talked to anyone in months that is until Adam shows up as her new roommate. Through her friendship with Adam, Juliette learns that she has the power to change her life. Her touch doesn’t have to be a curse.  As the story progresses Juliette begins to heal thus getting stronger and more confident. It is nice to see Juliette go from a weak character to a stronger character, and I look forward to seeing her grow in the next book.

Shatter Me is told from Juliette’s point of view, which is great because you get to know her and what’s going on inside her head in regards to everything.  However, Juliette has been in solitude in an asylum for years.  While she isn’t crazy (she is locked up because of her touch) solitude has messed with her head.  Juliette tends to repeat things.  Sometimes just a word, other times a sentence.  At times this can be annoying, however, it seems to lesson as time goes on because Juliette becomes more secure in who she is (that or I just got used to it and stopped noticing).  Also the crossing out of words is employed used a lot especially in the beginning.  These techniques help to give you an idea of who Juliette is. While not insane she is broken, and needs to heal.

Many of the reviews I read before reading Shatter Me complained about the number of metaphors in the book.  I did notice there are a lot more metaphors in Shatter Me than I usually see.  I will admit there were points where the number of metaphors in the text interrupted my reading flow because I had to reread the paragraph to figure out what was actually going on.

Shatter Me has romance, despite Juliette’s lethal touch.  It’s a dystopian novel in that the Earth has been polluted to the point where vegetation no longer grows with ease and animals are scarce.    The Reestablishment has taken over, promising to fix things, but instead they now control everything.  There are super powers (need I say more?)! There is a great bad guy in Warner’s character.  Also, there is the promise of a strong female character.


I will definitely be picking up Unravel Me to find out what happens next to Juliette.

Oh and here’s the trailer for Shatter Me:


Zombies, Oh My: Shadows

Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick

This is the sequel to Ashes.  If you haven’t read Ashes yet, then I suggest you check out my review here instead of reading this review.  This review will probably spoil Ashes, since it is hard to talk about this book without mentioning events from the first.

Shadows picks up right where Ashes left off.  At the end of Ashes Alex has escaped Rule, only to land in danger, Chris was knocked unconscious, and we had no idea what happened to Tom.  We are thrown right back into the action.  I have to admit I was confused at first because it had been so long since I’d read Ashes.  However, after a discussion with the YA librarian where I work, and some further reading, everything I was confused about cleared up.

Also of interest in Shadows is how the Changed are evolving, getting smarter, working together more.  There are a lot of questions surrounding the Changed, and we still are unsure if those who haven’t Changed are safe from it.  Also, like many dystopian novels, we see the breakdown of humanity and how some people are even worse than the monsters.

Shadows is a fast-paced, page turner.  The chapters jump from character to character, and end in cliff hangers.  You want to know what happens to Alex but the next chapter is about Chris so you keep reading in order to get back to Alex, only to end the chapter wanting to know what happens to Chris.  So you just keep reading rather than going to sleep like you were supposed to hours ago.

If you haven’t started reading this trilogy yet, then I recommend you do! I’m know I’m looking forward to book three in the trilogy!

Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Starters by Lissa Price

Picture edited with PicMonkey

Starters is the first book of what looks like a two book series.  The second book will be called Enders, which is fitting since the series is called Starters and Enders.  Callie, our main character, lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped everyone out between the ages of 20-60.  So the only people still alive are the very young and the very old.  Callie and her little brother, Tyler, are unclaimed minors and therefore live on the streets surviving day to day.  Callie decides to look into Prime Destinations, known as the Body Bank.  Prime Destinations pays Starters to rent their bodies to Enders.  The Starter has a chip put in and then an Ender can rent their body.

Callie rents her body to Prime to get money in order to take care of her brother.  On the final rental of her contract Callie’s neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in her body before the contract is up.  Callie is warned by a voice in her head not to go back to Prime.  Soon Callie learns her renter had more serious plans than just enjoying a young body; and Prime Destinations may be hiding more sinister plans.

What I thought:  The reason everyone between 20 and 60 died is because they were not vaccinated.  Instead only those at risk (the old & the young) were vaccinated.  That leaves one wondering what the government was thinking, but it is necessary for the story line.  If you have a living grandparent you would be claimed and taken care of, but those Starters without grandparents are, well, screwed.  I understand Callie is pretty desperate for money, but Prime Destinations just screams evil to me!  I think I would have run out of there, but then again I would not be keen on the idea of letting someone use my body.

Despite my hesitations towards Prime, I enjoyed the plot.  The twist at the end has me wanting to read Enders.  While the book is left open for the next, I didn’t feel like Starters lacked an ending.  Things were put to a close while other plot points remained open for Enders.   Callie is the main character and therefore character we get to know the most, while other characters remain less developed.  I’m interested to see which characters will follow through to the next book, and possibly have bigger parts.  I also enjoyed how Starters is a dystopia, but unlike a lot of dystopian novels in which everyone is fighting to survive, the Enders have money and jobs and therefore don’t struggle.  Rather it is the young who cannot work that are fighting day to day to survive on the streets.

If you’re in the mood for a dystopian sci-fi with a good cliff hanger then I recommend Starters.

Review: Divergent

Photo edited with PicMonkey


By Veronica Roth

So I feel a little behind on this one.  Its sequel, Insurgent, came out in May, and I’ve been meaning to read Divergent I just haven’t gotten around to it until now.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about the book; including the YA librarians in the system I temp at saying they can see it being the next big thing.

Ok so Divergent is a dystopia (not sure if it’s obvious yet but I like dystopias).  In this future world there are 5 factions.  When you turn 16 you take an aptitude test which determines which faction you would fit best in, but it’s your choice during the Choosing Ceremony to pick the faction you will spend the rest of your life in.  Oh and there are also the faction-less who do not belong to any faction, so they are basically poor due to this status.  The five factions each have a specific trait they believe is most important.  Dauntless – brave; Abnegation-selfless; Candor – honest; Erudite – knowledge; Amity – kind.  Beatrice, our main character, was born in Abnegation but she never felt as though she was any good at putting others first.  When she takes her aptitude test, her test results are inconclusive and she is told she is Divergent.  She is warned that being Divergent is a dangerous thing and not to tell anyone.  Her test results were deleted and manually replaced so no one will know the truth.

Beatrice chooses Dauntless, and so we follow her initiation into the Dauntless faction.  Initiation does not prove to be easy nor does having to leave her family behind.  We also see Tris (the name she takes when she chooses Dauntless) discover what it means to be Divergent.

Overall I really enjoyed Divergent and I’m looking forward to Insurgent.   I like the future world and the idea of there being factions.  And as is obvious people cannot live believing in one sole idea, and many of the traits are important for everyone to possess.  Nor are any of the traits truly separate from one another, many go hand in hand.  Being selfless requires bravery, being honest requires a form of bravery, being selfless is a form of kindness, etc.   They all play-off of each other.  Tris is special because she is Divergent.  Being Divergent is dangerous because it means being free.  When you think with a mind that can be all things you cannot be so easily controlled because your beliefs are many.  I think I like this idea so much because history has taught us how important it is to be open minded.  People are complex and they do things for a variety of reasons, and keeping yourself in a narrow mindset is dangerous.

I forgot to mention there is a love interest in the story, Four.  He makes for a good love interest so those who enjoy romance mixed in will be satisfied.  There are also characters you will hate, and others you will love.  Be warned though this novel mixes in its high moments of triumph with its fair share of sad moments.

Let’s Get Graphic: The Girl Who Owned a City

Edited with PicMonkey

The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson

Adopted by Dan Jolley

Illustrated by Joelle Jones

Okay, I have been trying to read more graphic novels lately so I can recommend good ones.  The Girl Who Owned a City is a dystopia and is based on a novel from 1995.  All the adults have died and only those under 12 have survived.  The survivors have to find food and supplies in order to survive.  Unfortunately some of the children have band together to create gangs which steal from others rather than finding supplies on their own.  Lisa is tired of having others steal what she worked hard to find.  She decides to get the kids on her block to band together to protect each other.    Eventually Lisa moves everyone into a school which they can fortify from the gangs.

First of all I love the art work in this graphic novel! The pictures and the coloring (I’m a fan of colored graphic novels over black & white) all worked perfectly to help convey the story.   I liked the plot of the story, and anyone who likes dystopias (especially dystopias without adults) will enjoy the story.  However, if you want a story in which you will like the main character, keep looking.  I did not like Lisa.  She refers to the city as hers, and acts like she owns it.  I understand needing a leader, but unlike the characters I don’t think I’d like Lisa.  She does give people jobs and puts people in charge of certain areas, but I didn’t feel like she really listened to others’ suggestions.  So while I liked the plot of the book, I did not like the main character.  She was hard to sympathize with.  The focus of the plot is on fortifying a place from the gangs for them to live.  I felt like only one of the characters considered the long-term when he suggested farming.  Lisa didn’t seem to take the idea into much consideration which I felt was foolish considering that scavenging will only work for so long.  Overall I recommend this graphic novel, and it is definitely a quick, good read.