The Girl with All the Gifts

The Girl with All the Gifts The Girls with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Publication Date: January 10, 2014

Publisher: Orbit

Synopsis:

Melanie is a smart girl. She loves to go to class to learn and be with her teacher, Ms. Justineau. She loves Ms. Justineau. But Melanie isn’t just your average girl. Melanie is picked up from her cell every day and transported by armored guards to her classroom. Melanie doesn’t understand why. She’s just a girl.

My rating: 5 out 5 stars

I’m going to admit I read The Girl with All the Gifts simply because Maggie Stiefvator (absolutely love her writing) posted how amazing it was on Twitter. I immediately looked it up and the book description intrigued me further. I requested it from the library and the hold line was so long it took a couple of months to get it. When I started reading, I have to admit I was surprised. I had no idea it was a dystopian zombie novel for adults. From the description, I knew Melanie was dangerous, I just didn’t know why.

I’m not really into sci-fi or horror, but I found The Girl with All the Gifts to be a very interesting read. The dystopian world M.R. Carey created was unique and the story was fast paced. The characters felt real and I enjoyed being able to read each POV. You couldn’t help but like Melanie and Ms. Justineau and hate Caldwell. My favorite part of the story was the last two chapters because I was never sure how the story would end. I found Carey’s ending to be perfect.

The Girl with All the Gifts is a really great read. It was thought provoking in a way I wasn’t expecting. I think even don’t normally enjoy zombies or end of the world tales will enjoy this one.

Split Second

Split Second (Pivot Point, #2) Split Second (Pivot Point #2)  by Kasie West

Publication Date: February 11, 2014

Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis:

In Pivot Point, Addison Coleman was forced to choose between living with her mother in the Compound or her father in the normal world. After Searching for the best potential future, Addie chose to stay with her mom. She can’t believe she chose to stay because this future seriously sucks.

First, her boyfriend used her. Then, her best friend betrayed her. Now, she’s the object of the entire high school’s gossip. Things really couldn’t get any worse.  Luckily, Addie’s going to get a break from it all when she visits her dad for the winter break. She’s hoping everyone will have forgotten her relationship with Duke by the time she returns.

After just a couple of days in Dallas, Addie meets this guy, Trevor. He’s cute, but she can’t help but wonder why she’s so attracted to him. It’s almost like she’s met him before. Addie wants Trevor to like her, too, but it seems like he has something against her.

Back home, Leila can’t help herself and opens the letter Addie gave her before she wiped her memory. Leila needs to learn how to restore memories. She’s not sure how to do that, so she enlists the help of a guy named Connor.

As Addie starts to get to know Trevor, the normal and Compound world start to collide. Leila and Addie are doing everything to they can to get Addie’s memories back, but someone may not want that to happen.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Split Second was an awesome follow up to Pivot Point. It was the same, yet different. Instead of alternating between two potential futures like Pivot Point does, it alternates between Addie and Leila’s POV. When I started reading, I was wondering if I was going to like that. I didn’t really care for Leila in the first book. She didn’t seem like a very good friend by the end. Leila totally redeemed herself in Split Second. What she was willing to do for her best friend was awesome. I also liked seeing more of her relationship with her family. And I loved her interactions with Connor. He was a really great addition to this story.

Reading Addie’s one POV was so much easier in Split Second than it was reading two of them in Pivot Point. I got the Addie I liked in this one. Which was weird considering she picked the potential future I didn’t enjoy reading the first time. It was fun to see how she dealt with meeting Trevor again. I do wish I got a little more Trevor in this book, though. He was such a great character in the first book.

As for the storyline, Split Second was just as interesting as Pivot Point. It started right where Pivot Point left off and kept going. It was faster paced than the first book, but I think that was because you weren’t alternating between potential futures. I honestly couldn’t put it down. I absolutely loved it. I would highly recommend reading it if you liked all or parts of Pivot Point.

Other books in the series:

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)

Pivot Point

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1) Pivot Point by Kasie West

Publication Date: February 12, 2013

Publisher: HarperTeen

Synopsis: 

Addison Coleman is a Searcher. A searcher is someone who, given a choice, can look into the future and see both outcomes. Her ability has been really helpful in making good decisions. She’s hoping it will do the same with her latest choice.

When Addie’s parents tell her they are getting a divorce, they want her to use her gift to decide which one of them to live with. Choosing wouldn’t be a big deal if both of her parents planned to stay in the Compound, a secret paranormal society created for those with special abilities. But her dad is planning on living five hours away in the “Norm” world, while her mom is staying put.

Addie’s Search suggests two very different potential futures. If Addie chooses her mom, she’ll stay at the compound and continue to develop her special ability. Duke, the popular high school quarter back, will take an interest in her. She will get to hang out with her best friend for the past ten years, Laila. Nothing will really change. It should be the perfect choice, considering she loves her life.

If she moves to the Norm world with her dad, she’ll be the new girl at a regular high school. She will have to hide her abilities and make new friends. Addie will meet Trevor, an injured football player and aspiring artist, and his friends. Trevor will become her new best friend and, for the first time, she’ll feel like someone really gets her.

It’s a tough choice made tougher when her dad starts consulting on a murder case that has an effect on both futures. Addie will have to decide between the lesser of two evils.

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Pivot Point is a hard book for me to review. I have a love-hate relationship with it.

It starts out in present day with Addie being given the choice to make between her parents. Once she Searches the future, the book alternates back and forth each chapter between the potential futures. When I think about it, it’s actually a really cool idea — BUT (and that’s a big but) I liked one potential future way more than I liked the other. That made it very annoying each time I switched from the future I liked to the one I didn’t. I would just be getting sucked into the story, only to have to read one I didn’t really like. It was frustrating. I hated it.

That being said, after reading the entire book, I get why Kasie West set it up the way she did. It was actually perfect. I was able to see how the same events could affect both futures. It made the ending all that more powerful. Kasey West just might have used her special abilities to make me like one side of the story more than the other…

Now for what I absolutely loved: Kasie West’s writing. She had me laughing from the beginning with “hotlicious.”  I loved Addie and her parents. I liked how they were a bigger part of the story than most YA fiction parents. I don’t think Kasie West could have picked better abilities for them. I know this was more of a fantasy/science fiction YA novel, but I found it to be a really great contemporary romance read as well.

When I finished reading and closed the cover, I felt torn. I loved so much of this book. I totally would have given it 5 stars, but I just kept thinking of my frustration at times. Even though I know the parts I hated help make the story stronger, I couldn’t get past the fact that I didn’t like them. That’s why I took away a star. I still highly recommend reading it. I think it has a little something everyone will like: romance, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, family relationships.

I’m looking forward to starting on the sequel Split Second soon. I can’t wait to see what is in store for Addie next.

Note: I wasn’t going to review Pivot Point until next week, but I noticed the ebook is on sale for $1.99 right now! I wanted to make sure you would be able to take advantage of the deal if you’re interested in reading it. Download it from your favorite ebook provider now!

Other books in this series:

Red Queen

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen (Red Queen #1)  by Victoria Aveyard

Publication Date: February 10, 2015

Publisher: Orien

Synopsis:

Mare Barrow is a Red. If they’re skilled, Reds spend their lives working for the superior and magical Silvers. If they’re not, they go to the front lines of the war. Mare knows she’s not skilled — unless you count thievery. That particular skill won’t get her a job, so she knows her time is running out before she goes to war. Unless she can find a way to avoid the war, Mare knows her death is imminent.

Unexpectedly, Mare finds herself working at the Silvers’ palace. She feels horrible working for the group that oppresses her people, but can’t help but feel good that she’s finally making her parents proud. Those feelings become even more confusing when Mares discovers a hidden talent. As she learns more about herself and the Silver world, Mare realizes she has more power than she ever thought. But power can be dangerous and knowing who can be trusted is difficult.

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Red Queen has been showing up constantly in my Goodreads Updates feed. It seems like just about everyone I follow there has read it and loved it. I have been putting off reading it for a while because I wasn’t sure it would be something I would enjoy. I’m not big into the dystopian fantasy genre–especially prince and princess type novels. I have a really hard time buying into the “I love my poor male best friend…but I also love this new prince I’ve just met” love triangles that seem to pop up in most of them. But I finally decided to cave and read Red Queen last week.

I’m glad I did. Red Queen was different than what I was expecting. It grabbed my attention from the beginning and kept it throughout.

I loved the setting, the characters and the writing. Victoria Aveyard did an amazing job creating an interesting society filled with magical abilities. I felt like I could picture her cities in my mind. Her characters were complex and it was fun waiting to see what they were going to do next. I even enjoyed reading about the evil Silvers.

One of my favorite things about the book was that despite the fact it had a love square (Can’t be a triangle with four points, can it?), romance wasn’t the focus of the story. Red Queen focused not on who Mare was going to fall for but how each relationship shaped her choices and the path she took. It was all about the Red versus Silver plight. That was refreshing.

The only thing that drove me nuts was the main character’s name. Mare Barrow. Every time I read Mare Barrow, I thought Bone Marrow. I kept wanting to call her Bone. Which, when you think of it, makes total sense with all the references she makes to bleeding red.

Red Queen is a book YA dystopian fans are sure to love. It’s fast paced, full of action and the cliffhanger ending leaves you begging for the next book to come out as soon as possible. I can totally see a movie version in the future.