SINNER by Maggie Stiefvater Book Review
Series: The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3.5
Publication Date: July 1st 2014 by Scholastic Press
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations |
Book Summary: Sinner follows Cole St. Clair, a pivotal character from the #1 New York Times bestselling Shiver Trilogy. Everybody thinks they know Cole’s story. Stardom. Addiction. Downfall. Disappearance. But only a few people know Cole’s darkest secret — his ability to shift into a wolf. One of these people is Isabel. At one point, they may have even loved each other. But that feels like a lifetime ago. Now Cole is back. Back in the spotlight. Back in the danger zone. Back in Isabel’s life. Can this sinner be saved?
Book Review Overview:
- It’s been a while since I read Forever, but I was able to jump into SINNER without getting lost
- Cole and Isabel still have kick-ass chemistry
- Couldn’t put it down
I fangirled when I first heard about SINNER by Maggie Stiefvater. The ending of Forever had left me aching for more Isabel/Cole, and I was a little bummed out that their ending had been so open. Luckily, Maggie Stiefvater had blessed me with this companion novel in which Cole St. Clair returns to Los Angeles to find Isabel Culpeper. But returning to LA also means returning to his rock star lifestyle – the lifestyle that ultimately had led to his downfall. Cole returns to the spotlight despite the risks in order to also return to Isabel’s life.
THE BOY ON THE BRIDGE by Natalie Standiford Book Review
Publication Date: July 30th 2013 by Scholastic Press
Rating: – Exceeds Expectations
Book Summary: Laura Reid goes to Leningrad for a semester abroad as Cold War paranoia is peaking in 1982. She meets a young Russian artist named Alexei and soon, with Alexei as her guide, Laura immerses herself in the real Russia–a crazy world of wild parties, black-market books and music, and smuggled letters to dissidents. She must keep the relationship secret; associating with Americans is dangerous for Alexei, and if caught, Laura could be sent home and Alexei put under surveillance or worse. At the same time, she’s been warned that Soviets often latch onto Americans in hopes of marrying them and thus escaping to the United States. But she knows Alexei loves her. Right?
As June approaches–when Laura must return to the United States–Alexei asks Laura to marry him. She’s only nineteen and doesn’t think she’s ready to settle down. But what if Alexei is the love of her life? How can she leave him behind? If she has a chance to change his life, to rescue him from misery, shouldn’t she take it?
The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford Book Review Overview:
- Don’t let the fluffy cover deceive you; The Boy on the Bridge is more serious than it looks
- Laura is a likeable protagonist because she isn’t whiny; she actually wants to be in Russia!
- Romance is not predictable because you question Alexei’s motives
Fine, I admit it: I basically picked up The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford because it had a cute cover. And when I found out that it was about a girl studying abroad, I knew that I was definitely going to read it. The premise reminded me a bit of one of my favorites – Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – but set in Cold War Russia. But don’t let a pretty cover deceive you: The Boy on the Bridge is a lot less fluffy than it looks.
Laura, the protagonist, is such a likeable main character because her character isn’t the stereotypical fish out of water. She’s an American in Cold War Russia, but unlike so many other YA books where the main character is in a foreign country, Laura actually embraces the new language and culture. She genuinely wanted to be in Russia and learn more about the country. Despite the fact that she is ostracized by most people because she is American, Laura is still determined to make the most of her study abroad experience.
As the cover suggests, there is romance. Alexei, also known as Alyosha, is not your typical love interest. I was constantly wondering if Alyosha is someone that Laura could trust. Is he genuine or his he using her because she is American? For the most part, I was unsure of his motives. The romance is unpredictable.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a Cold War era novel set in Russia before, so the setting was really refreshing. Standiford does an amazing job with the setting. I could really picture myself in Russia and imagine all the different places that Laura visits.
The Boy on the Bridge gives readers such a great glimpse of what it is like for an American teenager living in Cold War Russia. In addition to Laura’s own experiences, readers also get to see what it is like through Alyosha’s eyes. Through Russian and American perspectives, readers get a broader image of life in Russia.
Overall, I quite enjoyed The Boy on the Bridge. Despite what the cover suggests, The Boy on the Bridge by Natalie Standiford is more than just a sappy romance by giving a glimpse of life in Cold War Russia.
About the Author
Natalie Standiford, author of “How to Say Goodbye in Robot,” “Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters,” and the popular “Space Dog” and “Dating Game” series, has written picture books, nonfiction, chapter books, teen novels, and even horror novels for young adults. Standiford also plays bass in the rock band Tiger Beat, with fellow YA authors Libba Bray, Daniel Ehrenhaft, and Barnabas Miller.
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ENDANGERED by Eliot Schrefer Book Review
Publication Date: October 1st 2012 by Scholastic Press
Rating: – Acceptable |
Book Summary: The compelling tale of a girl who must save a group of bonobos–and herself–from a violent coup.
The Congo is a dangerous place, even for people who are trying to do good.
When one girl has to follow her mother to her sanctuary for bonobos, she’s not thrilled to be there. It’s her mother’s passion, and she’d rather have nothing to do with it. But when revolution breaks out and their sanctuary is attacked, she must rescue the bonobos and hide in the jungle. Together, they will fight to keep safe, to eat, and to survive.
Eliot Schrefer asks readers what safety means, how one sacrifices to help others, and what it means to be human in this new compelling adventure.
Endangered by Eliot Schrefer Book Review Overview:
- The protagonist, Sophie, is an inspiring character
- Sophie’s bond with Otto is definitely the highlight of this book
- Touching and educational, but not the best book I’ve read this year.
I first heard about ENDANGERED by Eliot Schrefer at BEA. I wanted to get my hands on it, but the fates just didn’t work out and I let it slip through my fingers. Months later, I hear that it had been nominated as a finalist for the National Book Award. We made our bets at work and discussed the likelihood of each book winning. I had my hopes up for ENDANGERED by Eliot Schrefer. While it did not end up winning after all (that prize went to Goblin Secrets, by the way), I can see why ENDANGERED by Eliot Screfer had been nominated. It’s a heart-warming book that brings to light the political and environmental issues in a different part of the world.
Sophie, the protagonist of ENDANGERED by Eliot Schrefer, is such an inspiring character. There were many times that I forgot that she is only fourteen years old because of her maturity and ability to stay collected during such a stressful time. I love that she was able to persevere despite the hardships in the jungle of Congo. She doesn’t have the best survival skills, but she learns to adapt to her new environment. Her love for Otto is so heart-warming. Eliot Schrefer creates such a beautiful bond between Sophie and Otto.
ENDANGERED by Eliot Schrefer is quite educational without being too didactic. Besides teaching us about bonobos, Schrefer ties in different aspects about the Democratic Republic of Congo from the political climate of the country to diseases that affect that country’s citizens. Readers will definitely get a glimpse of what it is like at a different part of the world. Schrefer did his research well.
Unfortunately, ENDANGERED by Eliot Schrefer was not mind-blowingly, tear-jerking awesome. It was a great read that captivated me from beginning to end, but I was hoping for just a little something extra in the writing to forever cement the book in my memory. ENDANGERED by Eliot Schrefer definitely deserved the nomination, but now that I’ve read it, I don’t know that if it deserved the win. (Not saying that I think Goblin Secrets deserved it either, but that’s a different post…)
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