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The RaftTHE RAFT by S.A. Bodeen Book Review
Publication Date: August 21st 2012 by Feiwel & Friends
Rating: – Acceptable |

Book Summary: Robie is an experienced traveler. She’s taken the flight from Honolulu to the Midway Atoll, a group of Pacific islands where her parents live, many times. When she has to get to Midway in a hurry after a visit with her aunt in Hawaii, she gets on the next cargo flight at the last minute. She knows the pilot, but on this flight, there’s a new co-pilot named Max. All systems are go until a storm hits during the flight. The only passenger, Robie doesn’t panic until the engine suddenly cuts out and Max shouts at her to put on a life jacket. They are over miles of Pacific Ocean. She sees Max struggle with a raft.

And then . . . she’s in the water. Fighting for her life. Max pulls her onto the raft, and that’s when the real terror begins. They have no water. Their only food is a bag of Skittles. There are sharks. There is an island. But there’s no sign of help on the way.

The Raft by S.A. Bodeen Book Review Overview:

  • Robie was initially very annoying, but her character became more tolerable throughout the book
  • I lacked an emotional connection with Robie
  • Thrilling adventure story that reminds me of Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Fifteen-year-old Robie is on a cargo plane back to Midway Atoll from Honolulu when a storm hits in the middle of the flight. The next thing she knows, she’s on a raft in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The only other survivor is the co-pilot Max. THE RAFT by S.A. Bodeen is a thrilling summer read that will have you turning pages.

Initially, I was afraid that THE RAFT by S.A. Bodeen was not going to be my kind of book based on my first impression of the protagonist. Robie comes off as a brat. Though she wants to be independent, she lacks the maturity. Robie quickly realizes that she is pretty helpless by herself. Despite my reluctance to read a book with a protagonist that does not click with me, I decided to give THE RAFT by S.A. Bodeen a shot anyway.

Robie does become more tolerable throughout THE RAFT by S.A. Bodeen. Naturally, Robie goes through immense character development as she struggles to survive in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There were times where Robie was still extremely whiny, but I had to admit that she came a long way by the book’s conclusion.

I lacked an emotional connection with Robie so any kind of jaw-dropping moments failed to pack its punch. If I had been able to put myself in Robie’s shoes, THE RAFT by S.A. Bodeen would have been such an emotionally crushing book.

Despite my dislike for Robie, THE RAFT by S.A. Bodeen is still quite a page-turner. I just wanted to know what would happen. Reading THE RAFT, you are never sure if Robie will survive. Anything can happen.

However, THE RAFT by S.A. Bodeen falls short in terms of the survival aspect. There were plenty of times in which I wish Robie had been a little more resourceful. I think that there could have been other opportunities that Robie could have taken advantage of.

THE RAFT by S.A. Bodeen is a pretty short read at under 250 pages, making it a great (and a little morbid) beach read. In comparison to other survival and adventure stories, while THE RAFT makes a quick entertaining read, it does not reach the same level of praise as Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet.


Other Book Reviews:
The Busy Bibliophile
Hooked to Books

About the Author

S.A. BodeenStephanie is the award-winning author of the Elizabeti’s Doll series of picture books, as well as several others. Her first young adult novel The Compound was released in 2008 and recently won the 2011 Maryland BlackEyedSusan Award. Her second YA The Gardener was featured on Good Morning America as a Best Summer Teen Read, and her third YA The Raft will be released in summer 2012. All are from Feiwel and Friends/MacMillan.

Find the Author

Website | GoodReads

Comments 4 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Three Stars - , , , , , , | Words 1064 words

You are here: Home » Action Packed

This is Not a TestTHIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers Book Review
Publication Date: June 19th 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |

Book Summary: It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

This is Not a test by Courtney Summers Book Review Overview:

  • Nail-biting tension from beginning to end
  • Reminds me of the Walking Dead because of the complex social interactions
  • A fantastic zombie book that will have you reading more of the genre

THIS IS NOT A TEST  by Courtney Summers is the kind of book you should not be reading in public – especially if you’re the type of reader like me. THIS IS NOT A TEST is full of nail-biting scenes that made me gasp in shock and jittery with anticipation. I could have read it straight through if it weren’t for the fact that my e-reader’s battery died.

Don’t expect a plausible explanation for the zombie outbreak. THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers explores more of human interactions after a disaster rather than the science behind the outbreak. The science is explained a little, but is based on observations made by Sloane and the other characters. Besides, the story revolves around a group of teenagers. They wouldn’t be the ones to know what is going on. At first, THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers is confusing because you have no idea as a reader what is going on after the prologue and first chapter. It takes a while for the pieces to come together. In a way, I like that this is how Courtney Summers organizes the novel because it reflects what it would be like in the shoes of Sloane. Utter chaos.

THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers reminds me of The Walking Dead on AMC because it’s more than just a novel about zombies. It’s about the complex social interactions between the survivors. It’s about discovering and appreciating life – or what’s left of it. For the main character, Sloane, accepting the fact that she is alive becomes a major struggle and she constantly has to overcome suicidal thoughts. Courtney Summers makes you think about survival and the ways it changes you. One of the most striking observations in THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers is about nostalgia. The author makes a great point that despite the fact that they can be nostalgic about their past, it means absolutely nothing in the present world that the characters were living in. Everything they knew was gone.

I loved the tension and suspense in THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers. She gives readers an impression of a false sense of security right before all hell breaks loose. The tension kept me on my toes the entire time. I was no silent reader. I gasped, I cursed, and I flailed wildly at the first sign of zombies. Like I said, I was so glad I didn’t read THIS IS NOT A TEST by Courtney Summers in public.

I’m pretty new to zombie books, but I can say for a fact that Courtney Summers has me hooked with her first, THIS IS NOT A TEST. The novel can stand on its own but the ending is open for a future sequel.

I would definitely recommend this book to those who are fans of ASHES by Ilsa J Bick and the Walking Dead television show.

Other Book Reviews:
Black Inside
The Reading Housewives
The Realm of Fiction

About the Author

Courtney SummersCourtney Summers can’t wait for the zombie apocalypse. Also she is the author of CRACKED UP TO BE and SOME GIRLS ARE, FALL FOR ANYTHING (available now) and THIS IS NOT A TEST (June 19th, 2012), four edgy young adult novels published by St. Martin’s Press.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

Comments 1 comment

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , , , | Words 1214 words

You are here: Home » Action Packed

The HuntTHE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda Book Review
Series: The Hunt, #1
Publication Date: May 8th 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |

Book Summary: Warning! This summary is really spoilery! Geez, publisher. In a world where humans have been eaten to near extinction, seventeen-year-old Gene has only managed to survive by painstakingly concealing his true species. If the bloodthirsty creatures surrounding him knew what he really was–a human–he would be devoured swiftly and terribly. When Gene is chosen to participate in the government-sponsored hunt for the last remaining humans, it thrusts him into the fight of his life–and into the path of a human girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible. Now, he must learn the art of the hunt and elude his fellow hunters whose suspicions about his true human nature are growing. But most importantly, Gene and the girl he loves must find a way to forge a life together in a brutal world that’s bent on their destruction.

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda Book Review Overview:

  • World-building like you’ve never read before. Finally, a book about a human who realizes he’s vampire-prey
  • Relatable hero; who doesn’t want a human to win?
  • This is something that I don’t say lightly: If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games, chances are you’ll like THE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda, too.

In this backwards world, humans are going extinct. In THE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda, the main character must hide in plain sight by living among the vampires and pretending that he is one of them. But then he is chosen to participated in a government-sponsored hunt to track down the few remaining humans and eat them. Things just got a little more complicated…

As a reader who never quite fell into the whole vampire craze, I was so happy to hear that there was a finally a vampire book that appealed to me. In THE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda, vampires are the bad guys, not the love interests. The world-building is quite awesome because it steers away from the stereotypical vampire love that has saturated the young adult market. Humans have always been prey. But what makes THE HUNT so original and fresh is the fact that his characters know that a date with a vampire means he’ll be dead before dessert and not a happily ever after. But it makes me wonder: why have I never picked up a book like this before?

What’s funny is that I never noticed that the author never uses the main character’s name – or should I say, “designation” – until 2/3 of THE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda. I think it’s a bit unfair that I start using it now when I got so comfortable just reading from his perspective without ever knowing it. I also think it’s unfair that the summary gives it away. And speaking of the summary: Dude, the summary gives away like the biggest secret in the book. There are a ton of surprises along the way for the main character, and some of them you see coming way before the big reveal. While I usually don’t like predictability, I was hooked into THE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda because of the great execution. You can’t help but think: Hey, I might know what happens later on, but right now, I just want to cheer for the hero. Humans rule. Vampires suck.

It’s so easy to relate to the hero of THE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda because as a human, you cannot help but put yourself in the hero’s shoes. There is nothing that makes the hero particularly special; it’s the fact that blood runs in his veins that makes him a target. Against all odds, he’s survived on his own surrounded by vampires and it would really suck for him to just get eaten up.

And I guess I should explain why this would definitely appeal to The Hunger Games fans. The set up of the actual hunt is quite similar to The Hunger Games. Each of the participants of the hunt were selected through a random lottery. Upon their selection, they were sent to the research facility to train for the upcoming hunt. Beyond the set up of the hunt, there are few other similarities that would remind readers of The Hunger Games.

Furthermore, Fukuda set up a great pacing in THE HUNT. The last few chapters of the book were complete nail-biters. Andrew Fukuda really drew out the tension and built it up until the very end when the Hunt began. THE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda is an impressive first installment of a new series that I will definitely keep up with. And after the massive, jaw-dropping cliffhanger, let’s just say that I’m eagerly awaiting the next book.

Finally, I think this is the paranormal / vampire book that can appeal to boys. The romance is minimal at most and the gore is at its best. There’s no sparkly vampires in THE HUNT by Andrew Fukuda.

Other Book Reviews:
Diary of a Book Addict
WinterHaven Books

About the Author

Andrew FukudaBorn in Manhattan and raised in Hong Kong, Andrew Fukuda is half-Chinese, half-Japanese. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history from Cornell University, Fukuda worked in Manhattan’s Chinatown with the immigrant teen community. That experience led to the writing of Crossing, his debut novel that was selected by ALA Booklist as an Editor’s Choice, Top Ten First Novel, and Top Ten Crime Novel in 2010. His second novel, The Hunt, the first in a new series, was bought at auction by St. Martin’s Press and will be published in May 2012. Before becoming a full time writer, Fukuda was a criminal prosecutor for seven years. He currently resides on Long Island, New York, with his family.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

Comments 1 comment

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , , , , | Words 1387 words

He can run faster than Severus Snape confronted with shampoo.
- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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