CREWEL by Gennifer Albin Book Review
Series: Crewel World, #1
Publication Date: October 16th 2012 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Rating: – Acceptable |
Book Summary: Incapable. Awkward. Artless.
That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.
Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.
Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.
Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.
Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.
Crewel by Gennifer Albin Book Review Overview:
- Unlikeable protagonist
- The world-building was enough to win me over
- Of course there’s a romance, but it’s not heart-melting.
The main problem that I had with CREWEL by Gennifer Albin is the fact that the protagonist, Adelice, is not very likeable. She has a tendency of not knowing when to stop talking, and after a while, it gets really tiresome. How many times must secondary characters tell her to watch her mouth? Her tendency to speak out only gets her in trouble when everyone else is mercilessly trying to keep her safe and alive. She’s not afraid to voice out her opinion, but her rebellious attitude does not get her anywhere.
Usually, an unlikeable protagonist is such a deal-breaker for me, but the world that Albin creates is so intriguing that I let it slide this time. The world of Arras is fascinating: Spinsters have the ability to weave time and matter, which lets them control just about everything from the weather to people’s lives. I love Albin’s description of the weave and the threads of life that keep Arras together. This fantasy element is what sets CREWEL by Gennifer Albinapart from other young adult dystopians.
But of course, a young adult dystopian is in need of some romance. CREWEL by Gennifer Albin is not lacking in this department. There is the inevitable forbidden romance for Adelice. It really didn’t give me any tingly feelings as a reader, but I wouldn’t say that the romance was unnecessary. It was just nothing special. There is a hint of a love triangle brewing, but I guess readers will have to wait until the sequel to see if Adelice will take interest in more than one suitor.
Albin does save a huge shocking secret that she reveals at the end of CREWEL but lets readers squirm in anticipation for the next book by failing to spill the juicy details about the secret. Of course, I figured it out way in advance, but instead of feeling disappointed by the author’s inability to surprise me, I just feel impressed that I was able to figure it out in advance.
I haven’t decided if I want to read the rest of the Crewel World series. My unlove for Adelice might be problematic later on. As much as I love the world that Albin has created, it might not be enough to win me over as a devoted fan of the series. CREWELby Gennifer Albin has a little more than the standard dystopians out in the market, but I’m not one hundred percent convinced that I will be following up on this one.
About the Author
Gennifer Albin holds a Masters degree in English Literature from the University of Missouri. During her student years she served as an editor for Pleaides and The Missouri Review, and since then she’s founded the tremendously popular blog theconnectedmom.com. She lives in Kansas with her ridiculously supportive husband, two small children, and a Tuesday cat.
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THUMPED by Megan McCafferty Book Review
Series: Bumped, #2
Publication Date: April 24th 2012 by Balzer + Bray
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: It’s been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. And now their story has become irresistible: twins separated at birth, each due to deliver twins…on the same day!
Married to Ram and living in Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once believed in. But she can’t forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell for under the strangest of circumstances.
To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything: a major contract and a coupling with the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.
The girls’ every move is analyzed by millions of fans eagerly counting down to “Double Double Due Date.” They’re two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and they could do only one thing to make them even more famous:
Tell the truth.
Book Review Overview:
- Teen pregnancy is no laughing matter … but THUMPED will make you crack up
- There are two swoon-worthy guys in this book: Jondoe and Zen.
- Satisfying conclusion that is definitely worth your money
I can’t believe I had doubts coming into THUMPED by Megan McCafferty. I breezed through BUMPED by Megan McCafferty and I could not have enjoyed it enough. I couldn’t wait to read more about Harmony and Melody, but I couldn’t help but feel a bit of apprehension when I picked up the sequel. Would THUMPED by Megan McCafferty be as funny? Would it live up to my expectations? The answer is yes. THUMPED by Megan McCafferty is the perfect conclusion to Melody and Harmony’s story.
I think it is important to remember the author’s intention when reading THUMPED by Megan McCafferty. No, she is not trying to promote teen pregnancy. McCafferty is forcing readers to think about media and society and the way we portray teen pregnancies. We shouldn’t be glamorizing teen pregnancies. We shouldn’t be making these pregnancies as a form of entertainment on MTV. By poking fun of teen pregnancies in the most hilarious and absurd way ever, Megan McCafferty forces you to realize how serious the matter is. The world in BUMPED and THUMPED is based on reality.
It’s been a while since I read BUMPED so immediately, I had a problem differentiating between Harmony and Melody. They are completely different people, but because of the similarity of their musical names I have difficulty in remembering who’s who. I can finally tell the two apart, but it did take me a couple of chapters to get used to their names again.
I loved reading about Harmony and Melody and seeing them grow as characters from the first book to the end of THUMPED by Megan McCafferty. Harmony obviously changed a lot more than Melody because she previously had such a conservative lifestyle. I found it inspiring to read about how she finally manages to balance out her religion with her other beliefs. It’s not as if she traded religion for a whole new life with her sister, Melody. She found a way to live with both, and I honestly respect that.
Furthermore, I definitely got my romance fix in THUMPED by Megan McCafferty. Okay, Jondoe is seriously pushing tacky at times, but there are other moments where he just made my heart melt. His intentions are so pure – sometimes a little bit naive – that you just can’t help but fall for him a little. I know Harmony has a reason to distrust him, but I really couldn’t help but cheer her on to trust him again.
On the other hand, there’s Zen. Oh my gosh. Of the two guys, Zen has my heart. I seriously love the chemistry between Melody and Zen. Reading about the two of them was one of the biggest highlights of the book. I probably sped through the book so quickly just to read how the conflict between the two of them would be resolved. I wish that there were more chapters that focused on the two of them, and I did feel that Harmony and Jondoe overshadowed the others at times.
The ending of THUMPED by Megan McCafferty was satisfying, but at the same time, it was not tied up entirely. Readers can only guess what will happen to Harmony and Melody, and what impact the truth might have for the rest of the country and even the rest of the world. Harmony and Melody did not end teen pregnancy – that is something completely out of their hands. But they managed to make an impact in the way they can. The open ending leaves the characters in the book to act upon the sisters’ impact and create even more change.
I strongly urge you to pick this up if you read and loved BUMPED by Megan McCafferty. If you’re a fan of her Jessica Darling series, you should really read this series. They’re completely different and you really won’t find yourself comparing the two.
About the Author
Megan McCafferty is the author of BUMPED, a satirical dystopian YA novel published by the Balzer + Bray imprint of HarperCollins. She also wrote the bestselling Jessica Darling series: SLOPPY FIRSTS, SECOND HELPINGS, CHARMED THIRDS, FOURTH COMINGS and PERFECT FIFTHS.
Megan edited a short story anthology called SIXTEEN: Stories About That Sweet and Bitter Birthday. She has contributed to several fiction and nonfiction anthologies including DEAR BULLY, MY LITTLE RED BOOK, DOES THIS BOOK MAKE ME LOOK FAT? and EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME. Her work has been translated into eleven languages, including German, Chinese and Hungarian.
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PURE by Julianna Baggott Book Review
Series: Pure, #1
Publication Date: February 8th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing
Rating: – Acceptable |
Book Summary: We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.
When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.
Pure by Julianna Baggott Book Review Overview:
- Excellent world-building of a post-apocalyptic society
- Slow pacing that allows Julianna Baggott to develop the story
- Nail-biting conclusion that will make your jaw drop
What makes PURE by Julianna Baggott so different is the post-apocalyptic world that she has created. Her descriptive writing brings out the gore, mutilations, and sometimes the beauty from the pages. The writing is vivid that I can just close my eyes and see Julianna Baggott’s world come to life. The survivors of the Detonations are anything but pretty. They are strong and determined and unfortunately characterized by their mutilations.
PURE by Julianna Baggott is told from the perspective of various characters, but mainly focuses on the narratives of Pressia and Partridge. Though at first I thought that the other narratives were a bit distracting, they are integral to the overall story. Julianna Baggott does not include them just because. The characters’ narratives are seamlessly integrated by the end of the book.
Julianna Baggott takes the time to cultivate her characters and the world in PURE so the pacing was a bit slow. At first, PURE by Julianna Baggott was a page-turner because the world she has created is so novel and interesting, but after a while, the excitement plateaus when there is not a lot of action going on. Nothing really happens until the last third of the book. Usually, I would have Big Issues with this, but because PURE by Julianna Baggott is about a world that’s just so striking, I was willing to let the issue slide. Furthermore, that last third of PURE by Julianna Baggott was absolutely gripping and full of jaw-dropping awesomeness. The slow build-up made for a much more satisfying climax.
As a note, I do think that this one is more of an adult book than a young adult book, though the characters are mid to late teens. The themes in this book are a lot heavier than your typical young adult dystopian/post-apocalyptic. I think there is certainly a lot of young adult appeal for teen readers, but keep in mind that PURE by Julianna Baggott is a heavier read because yes, she makes you think. Julianna Baggott makes readers question the consequences of atomic and nuclear weapons. Yes, PURE is a work of fiction, but in reality, the effects of these weapons are scary, too. Julianna Baggott wants readers to think about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The extent of the damage of the nuclear weapons used in World War II are still felt to this day. Furthermore, there was always the thought of what if lurking in my head as I read the book: what if this happened to us?
The world-building is fantastic and Julianna Baggott knows how to put her readers at the edge of her seat. But because of the slow beginning, I do believe that PURE by Julianna Baggott is suited for older readers who are already established fans of the dystopian/post-apocalyptic genre. I would suggest Borrowing this book before buying it, unless you really, really love this genre.
About the Author
Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Julianna Baggott has published fourteen books over the last ten years with five novels slated for publication in the next four years. She began publishing when she was twenty-two and sold her first novel while still in her twenties. There are thirty-one foreign editions of her novels to date.
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