“All The Bright Places” by Jennifer Niven – REVIEW!!!!

all the bright places

I feel as though the authors of books that are both terribly sad and touchingly inspirational will never cease to amaze me with the depth and rawness of their writing. Jennifer Niven, the author of All The Bright Places, is no exception.

Niven cuts directly to the heart from the first line of the book until the final page. Her characters are so realistic that you feel as if they are telling you the story themselves rather than through words on a page. Narrated from the perspectives of Theodore (“Finch”) and Violet, two high school students each struggling with their own emotional walls, the novel digs into the depths of adolescent minds consumed by thoughts too deep and dark for anyone that young to have to handle.

Finch has a soft soul that is utterly torn to pieces by the horrors of the world. When he is not in an almost comatose state of depression, he is weighing the merits of different ways to die. On the day he meets Violet, Finch is standing at the top of the school bell tower, trying to decide if jumping off would be a respectable death for himself, and whether or not it would be convenient for the people in his life. Just as Finch decides that the mess he would leave behind is too much for his school to clean up, he spots Violet on the shallow ledge.

Violet climbed to the top of the bell tower on that fateful day during a subconscious trance of depression and guilt brought on by recent tragic events in her life that she feels overwhelmingly responsible for. Terrified for her safety as she realizes the enormity of her situation, Violet is saved by Finch, and the two eventually become friends.

The novel follows their journey of love and hate for oneself and life, documenting the ups and downs of their emotions and thoughts.

I would recommend this book to anyone emotionally strong enough to finish it. (If you were able to get through and enjoy The Fault In Our Stars or any other novel by John Green, you should be fine.) All The Bright Places highlights the importance of addressing the mental and emotional health of young people. Whether you are struggling with these issues in your life or not, this novel will open you up to an entirely new perspective on feelings and empathy.

Happy Reading!

Kayla

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“The Secrets We Keep” by Trisha Leaver – REVIEW!!!!

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The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver is a heart wrenching novel about the ease of losing yourself in the midst of crushing grief.

Identical twin sisters Ella and Maddy Lawton could not be any more different. Quiet, reserved, artistic Ella just doesn’t understand the draw Maddy has to a wild social life, and is content to be the introvert of the pair. Ella claims that she will never be as overly dramatic and involved as her sister, until the night the girls get into a horrible car accident and Maddy is tragically killed.

When Ella wakes up in the hospital, everyone, including her parents, believes that she is Maddy. Because she feels enormous guilt for playing a part in the death of her sister, Ella internally swears to take on the life that Maddy never got to live, justifying her decision by the amount of sadness she will be saving the long list people who cared for Maddy versus her own small group of friends.

Ella soon assumes every aspect of Maddy’s life: her clothes, her friends, and her social calendar. She even goes so far as to attend a funeral dedicated to herself. The book follows Ella’s grief, regret, and self-doubt as she struggles to keep her survival hidden from everyone in order to give up her life so that her sister may live through her.

I found The Secrets We Keep to be both incredibly sad and uplifting. While the driving factor behind the story was rather depressing, the most of the novel focused on overcoming hardships in order to find yourself. I cried several times while reading this book, but also found lovely passages that made my giddy heart swell. Leaver is brilliant at weaving her reader’s emotions into a chaotic and yet beautiful harmony in which the good perfectly balances out the bad.

I recommend The Secrets We Keep to those fans of John Green and Jennifer Niven. You will not be disappointed in this hauntingly inspirational read.

Happy Reading!

Kayla

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“COVENANT: Covenant of the Reborn” by T. E. Joshua – REVIEW!!!!

Covenant

 

Covenant: Covenant of the Reborn by T. E. Joshua is a thrilling and complex novel that tests the power of personal identity and beliefs in the face of generations of family loyalty.

Trained since birth to hate so called “Reborns”, Bodaway Lakota is among the most vicious assassins in the Covenant at only age sixteen. As deemed by the Covenant’s god, Lucian, Reborns pose a threat to the world and must be killed before they “Awaken” into their full power. When Bodaway is assigned to kill the Awakened Reborn Natalie Schultz, he is already beginning to question his faith and skills, and his questions only increase when his first attempt to behead Natalie fails terribly.

Realizing that Natalie must radiate power to be able to so easily escape his efforts (which have only failed once before), Bodaway concludes that in order to complete his duty, he must outsmart Natalie by getting closer to her rather than physically besting her. However, the more sacrifices that Bodaway, now called Tristan, makes in order to join Natalie’s world, the more he loses touch with his ancestral beliefs.

Covenant: Covenant of the Reborn was a novel that kept me on edge throughout the read. The book was thrilling, involving several allusions to cult philosophies, without being overly gory. The author skillfully paired all aspects of the story with a deeper personal meaning which made the book that much more enthralling.

If you’re looking for an exciting yet thought provoking read, this book is for you! Those fans of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings will find this book intriguing and enjoyable.

Happy Reading!

Kayla

Ready to Enter The Covenant? Find the book here:

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“Where The Staircase Ends” by Stacy Stokes – REVIEW!!!!

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Where The Staircase Ends by Stacy Stokes is a beautifully intricate novel about society, individuality, and the  mysteries of life.

After a terrible rumor is spread all over the school by none other than her best friend Sunny, Taylor wants nothing more than to die and escape the social hell that has become her life. Until she actually dies, that is.

Now stuck on an enormous stone staircase with no way to turn back (literally), Taylor is forced to climb, unsure of everything around her. As she ascends the cracking marble, Taylor is transported back and forth between her new reality and events in her old life, reliving both good and bad scenarios. From sleepovers to breakups and beyond, Taylor is given a new perspective on her life and the decisions she has made.

I have to be honest: When I first began reading Where The Staircase Ends, I was almost positive that I wouldn’t  be able to fully enjoy it. The book holds a lot of “teenage girl drama”, which is typically something I find extremely frustrating to read. However, I believe every book deserves a fair chance, and so I powered through the first several chapters. And fell in love. In addition to becoming a serious page turner, the book is deep-minded and metaphorical as well. (The number of annotations I made… *sigh*)

Stokes does an impressive job at blending the transitions between past and present, making the novel flow almost effortlessly. There was never any *unanticipated* confusion, although the plot does keep readers hanging on a ledge! The characters are relatable to the point where I suffered from more secondhand embarrassment than I think I ever have before… which is a rare occurrence. The most beautiful feature of Where The Staircase Ends, however, is the juxtaposition of the mundane things in life to what is really important in the end – for people often fail to realize how precious life is until it is ripped away in one sense or another.

I recommend Where The Stair Case Ends to those who fall in love with novels such as The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, Before I Fall  by Lauren Oliver, and If I Stay by Gayle Forman.

Happy Reading!

Kayla

“Kissing Frogs by Alisha Sevigny” – REVIEW!!!!

Kissing Frogs

Kissing Frogs by Alisha Sevigny is a sweet romance about finding yourself and following your own dreams, even when others disapprove.

Jessica is pretty, popular, and living what she believes is a socially acceptable life. But she wasn’t always one with the popular crowd. Transforming herself from a middle school nerd to a high school queen bee, Jess is shocked to learn that her makeover has not only affected her physical appearance, but her grades as well, which, until now, have always been good. When her teacher informs her that she is failing biology, Jess is left with two options: flunk the class, or join a spring break trip with the conservation club to Panama to study endangered frogs.

Jessica’s good girl side wins out as she forfeits her beach trip in order to save her transcript. As if being forced to study slimy frogs wasn’t bad enough, the trip only gets worse when she realizes her childhood nemesis, Travis, is also on the trip as an active member of the conservation club, and he’s still as judgmental and mean as he was several years ago.

Trapped in an awkward situation, Jess must decide between her desire to fit in with the her group back in America to retain her social status, or follow her heart to academic success – and the possibility of a new group of friends.

I loved Kissing Frogs! The book was simple yet relatable, and completely captivating! The plot line was smooth and the author’s transitions between past and present events was flawless, adding an interesting perspective to the story.

I would recommend this book to young adult readers in search of an easy, cute, and enjoyable read.

Happy Reading!

Kayla

“Praefatio” by Georgia McBride – REVIEW!!!!

Praefatio-Cover

Grace Ann Miller has never led a completely normal life, but the discovery of her true bloodline and ascension to the position of “Archangel” certainly tops all. In the midst of a centuries long feud between angels, the Fallen, and a myriad of demons – of which she is the deciding factor – Grace is confused and tested as she attempts to figure out her true purpose in the life she’s been forced to accept. Following the tale of the angels’ sacred book, Praefatio, Grace must decide her path through a dangerous new world.

Praefatio by Georgia McBride is a fast-paced, twisting novel about the never ending battle of good and evil. I found the book to be intriguing, yet, with no better word to describe it, jumpy. The plot constantly shifts and is somewhat difficult to follow without complete concentration. That being said, I enjoyed the story and was able to connect well with the characters. The subject of angels and demons falls perfectly into the popular theme among today’s young readers.

Lovers of Maximum Ride, The Mortal Instruments, and the Hush, Hush saga will fall in love with Grace. Not only is she an emotionally dimensional character, but she combines all of the wit, sarcasm, bravery, and intelligence of enamored literary heroines. I was ever in awe of her development throughout the novel. As a reader, I appreciated being privy to Grace’s background and its effect on her future self. The novel is intense, and certainly keeps hearts racing.

 Praefatio  could very well be the next great chapter in the ever growing collection of celestial-realistic novels.

Happy Reading!

Kayla

“Class of ’98” by A.L. Player – REVIEW!!!!

class of 98

If you knew then what you know now, would you do anything different? Jackie Dunn would. The blue hair, the wacky clothes… the relationship issues. When Jackie attends her tenth high school reunion, she is determined to show everyone how much she has changed, and how well she’s done for herself in the “real” world.

But even with her new blond hair and an outfit that actually matches, Jackie’s former classmates insist that she hasn’t changed. Not one. Little. Bit. That is, until she runs into Matthew Stewart, the old football star of  the Birdsey High Knights. The two begin to talk for the first time, having been complete opposites in their teenage years. Now with several years of life under their belts, Jackie and Matt wish that they could go back and change the events that affected them long after graduation.

When a strange storm comes and transports the two back to age seventeen, they’re shocked and confused, unsure of the consequences they could be creating by changing any part of their past, even if it is for the better. Jackie is terrified of jeopardizing the good in her life to eradicate the heartache, and begs for Matt to join her in living their past in exactly the same way in order to return to predictable lives in the future. But with knowledge comes the desire to improve, and both struggle to hold to history, knowing exactly how the story will end.

Class of ’98 by A. L. Player is an sweet novel that will leave readers feeling giddy with teenage emotions. Typically, I am not one to read mushy, romantic-type novels, but Class of ’98 proved to be a happy exception. I finished the book in one sitting, being completely enthralled by the story. I could not put it down!

I recommend Class of ’98 to those readers looking for a sweet read that isn’t completely relationship based. Although the novel did have plenty of emotional scenes, I appreciated the fact that there was a meaningful plot behind the romance. Fans of Rainbow Rowell, Meg Cabot, and John Green will love this book!

Happy Reading!

Kayla