[Review] The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 256 (Hardcover)

Summary

When Liza’s brother, Patrick, changes overnight, Liza knows exactly what has happened: The spindlers have gotten to him and stolen his soul.

She knows, too, that she is the only one who can save him.

To rescue Patrick, Liza must go Below, armed with little more than her wits and a broom. There, she uncovers a vast world populated with talking rats, music-loving moles, greedy troglods, and over-excitable nids . . . as well as terrible dangers. But she will face her greatest challenge at the spindlers’ nests, where she encounters the evil queen and must pass a series of deadly tests–or else her soul, too, will remain Below forever.


From New York Times best-selling author Lauren Oliver comes a bewitching story about the reaches of loyalty, the meaning of love, and the enduring power of hope.

Review
Middle-Grades are not my cup of tea, but because this book has adventure element, I thought I would give it a shot.

The main character – Liza – is annoying and whiny but surprisingly smart. Obviously, she encountered a lot of magical creatures and landscapes as she explored Below. But it felt like the author’s attempts to make Liza courageous and brave just failed. Liza’s character felt not real.

And the plot. I almost didn’t feel anything, even when Liza was facing dangers. It’s absolutely predictable that she would defeat the monsters easily. There were no fright and creepiness created, thus I felt like reading an almost-lifeless paragraphs. I wish there had been more twists in the story. Also, I think there are too many unnecessary exclamation marks.

Despite all the negative things, the book is beautifully written. I found the descriptive writing style enjoyable and that was basically what drove me to read it until the very last page. Lauren Oliver is truly talented and I think I shouldn’t give up on her just because of two books which I found boring (Before I Fall and The Spindlers). I really love her writing!

And the ending, after Liza returned to her home, I finally felt something after 200 pages of emotionless. It nearly made me cry. Here’s the quote:

“These are seeds of hope. They may not look like much, but they grow everywhere, in even the hardest places, where nothing else grows” – page 239

Another good thing about this book is the cover! It’s absolutely gorgeous <3 And every beginning of a chapter there is an illustration about how the characters look like. It’s really helpful and I guess children will love them. (Well, this is a middle-grade book anyway.) Praise the illustrator!

To sum it up, the negative things overweigh the positives so this book is a no-no for me. If you’re a fan of Alice in Wonderland, then maybe this is the right book for you.

Rating:

2 Cakes


[Review] 52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody

Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Pages: 340 (Hardcover)

Summary
Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.

Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.

In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.




Review
There are plenty of parts that I love in this book. Funny, awkward, touching and heartfelt moments that make me sympathize to Lexi. I know at the beginning she sounds like an ungrateful-spoiled-daughter who does nothing but drinking and partying and shopping. However, she gradually starts to learn a lot of important life lessons as she goes through weeks of doing low-wages jobs which her super busy father had
set.

I pretty much enjoyed the book, laughing at some funny scenes and tearing up a bit on heartfelt moments. But what I like the most is Lexi’s close relationship with her human best friends and canine best friend.

Holly is a Papillion dog she rescued some time ago and since then they have been growing closer and closer. The way Holly cares about Lexi is just cute and I can’t help but smile.

I myself like dogs and I also have a few at home. And Holly reminds me of them. Sometimes my dogs will wait for me in front of my bathroom door. Every time I get home (and every single member of my family), they will greet us enthusiastically and wag their tails so hard that it might hurt a bit when it slaps my leg. And I also believe dogs have a high sense of loyalty and understanding that even exceeds human occasionally. (I’m sure you all have heard about Hachiko, a Japanese dog that waited for his owner for more than 10 years)

In “52 Reasons to Hate Your Father”, we get to watch Lexi changes into a mature 18-year-old girl. The book may doesn’t focus on Lexi’s love life, but it centers around her relationship with her dad and ends with an unexpected realizations. That love is not a mere business negotiation. That she has the potential to be a greater person. And more importantly, her dad isn’t as badl as she always thought.

Here are a couple of quotes I love the most from the book:

“People can be so annoying sometimes. With all their stupid opinions and hidden agendas. But dogs? Dogs don’t have any agendas. They’re as honest and open and devoted as you can get. And that’s why they’ll always cheer you up. They’ll always love you. No matter how badly you screw up.”

“Because apart we might be different as night and day, black and white, right and wrong, but together we create two sides of a whole. Together we balance.”


Rating:

5 Chocolate Cakes!


[Review] Divergent by Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 487 (Hardcover)

Summary

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series–dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.





Review
Describing Divergent:

Action-packed. Fast-paced. Thrilling.

It took a long time for me to pick up this book and I didn’t buy it at first sight, but once I started reading it, this book really drove me into its world. And I’m glad that I bought it. Despite the fact that I finished reading it weeks ago, I haven’t written a review yet. So this is what I think:

What attracted me first was its epic-blazing-cover. It reminded me to The Hunger Games movie poster (you know, the burning Mockingjay thing). But I have to admit that Divergent cover is way more awesome and eye-catching than The Hunger Games. In my opinion, this is the best dystopian book cover that I’ve ever seen so far.

Speaking of dystopian, in the past recent years, a myriad of dystopian books were released following the success of Hunger Games trilogy and starting a new trend among YA readers. Almost all of them have a rebellion element and so does Divergent.

The first two chapters were interesting enough for me to enjoy this book. And of course, it’s written in Tris POV. Even after the tense increased, I found myself still paying attention to every sentence, excited about what was happening in the story, and anxious about how it would end. Veronica Roth definitely has done a great job for keeping me hooked even in fighting scenes.

As a Dauntless, Tris does dangerous and adrenaline-rushing things (such as: jumping off a train to a roof and sliding a zip line from a 300-meter-tall building). The idea of jumping from a train sounds stupid for me, though. She meets new friends and then falls in love with Four/Tobias.

One of the most inseparable elements in YA books is romance. I have to admit that the romance in Divergent is not suck at all. Slowly but surely. Tris isn’t being annoying by complimenting Four’s appearance in every of her inner thought. And Four isn’t playing with the word “love” – he decides to say that he loves Tris after he is sure about his feelings. He trusts Tris’s ability even in her weakness and he never underestimates her even once. A rare type of boy, isn’t he? The point is: It’s not an ordinary love-at-first-sight romance.

Tris easily becomes one of my favorite characters throughout the story. Her inner thought is very interesting; I liked how she reveals things and comments about what happens around her. She develops into a strong character. Veronica has written the dialogues nicely, too!

But, my number-one-favorite character is the funny, easygoing, friendly URIAH! I fell in love with him at once.

Overall, Divergent is truly an amazing book. It has fascinating plot, like-able characters and slow-paced-love-story. It’s fabulously written and also I learned a lot from this book.

Certainly one of my favorite book and so far the best dystopian book I’ve ever read. This is recommended for those who love dystopian books and action-packed story.


Rating:

5 Chocolate Cakes!