Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rachel Rambles About The Beginning of Everything

The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
From Goodreads:
Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes? 

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

This book left me with some very mixed feelings. There were a lot of things I liked about it, but just as many things I didn't like. So I'm going to make a pro/con list to try to organize my thoughts.

Things I liked:
  • Pop culture references- The Beginning of Everything has so many nerdy, pop culture references to things like Harry Potter and Doctor Who, which are all totally awesome.
  • Humor- The sense of humor in this book is wonderful. The characters are all witty and clever and PUNNY. You guys, there are PUNS in this book! Puns are, no-joke, my favorite form of humor, so it made me smile to read about all the characters throwing puns at each other
  • Secondary characters- Toby and Phoebe are where it's at, my friends. I wish the book had centered on one or both of them because they're both such fabulous characters.
  • The beginning- Way to start off the book with a bang! It pulled me in immediately and made me want to keep reading.

Things I disliked:
  • The Ezra/Cassidy relationship- Honestly? I just wasn't buying it. It didn't seem natural or realistic to me. Cassidy has a sort of manic pixie dream girl vibe going on, and I'm not sure if this is more of a personal thing as opposed to a legitimate criticism of the book, but I just wasn't into it.
  • Cassidy- Okay, so we have the whole manic pixie dream girl thing going on, and I get it. She's all tortured and misunderstood and everything. But Cassidy seems almost too eccentric to be believable. She has all these quirky, offbeat, misfit, nerdy, hipster qualities, and when you combine them, it gets to be a little too much. I feel like she has all these characteristics on the surface, but there's not much development beyond that to make her seem like an actual person.
  • This book tried too hard- It felt, to me, as if this book was trying so hard to be extraordinary. There were so many metaphors and symbols and references to classic literature and musings about the world that are far beyond the average teenager's reach that mean well, but simply do not have the desired effect. Rather than feeling moved and inspired, I felt like these metaphors and references and musings etc. just didn't flow easily and naturally in the story. Instead, they stuck out, in a very obvious "LOOK AT THIS METAPHOR!" kind of way. This book has been compared to John Green's novels, and I think that is a good comparison to make in the sense that The Beginning of Everything tried very hard to be like a John Green novel, but unfortunately, did not succeed.
Like the roller coaster on the cover, The Beginning of Everything has its ups and downs, which cancel each other out and result in a somewhat unremarkable book that I didn't hate, but didn't love either.

After finishing this book, I found myself thinking about it quite a bit, and now I feel the need to pick it up again. I think this book deserves a second chance from me, because it seems like something I should enjoy, so I'd like to reread it and see if maybe my feelings change the second time around. Maybe I'll like it more, or maybe I'll like it less. I don't know, exactly, what I expect to get out of rereading this book, but I'm getting strong "READ ME AGAIN" vibes from The Beginning of Everything, and I don't want to ignore them. I've never gotten vibes like this before, and I'm curious about why I'm getting them. I'm definitely curious enough to pick this book up again. When I do, I'll report back and let you know how this little rereading experiment worked out.

I'm not sure how helpful this review was, since I apparently have no idea how I feel about this book. I apologize for that, but if this book sounds like something you might enjoy, then you should totally pick it up. It might not be for everyone, but maybe it's for you. :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (38)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder
From Goodreads:
Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them.

As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacityinsouciancekarma, and even happiness.

An unforgettable read from the acclaimed author of The Probability of Miracles,The Museum of Intangible Things sparkles with the humor and heartbreak of true friendship and first love.

Everything about this book intrigues me. The title. The cover. The summary. The author (I loved The Probability of Miracles). A contemporary YA book about friendship and a road trip? That is probably my favorite thing to read about ever. GIVE THIS BOOK TO ME NOW PLEASE.

What are you waiting on this week? Leave links to your WoW posts below so I can check them out!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Megan Rambles About Personal Demons

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
From GoodreadsFrannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance---even her closest friends---and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him. 

What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy---all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.

But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

Personal Demons has been sitting on my shelf for awhile. I read the description and thought it sounded really interesting and then just didn't get around to it. I am SO GLAD that I finally read it because it was so entertaining! 

I had actually planned to read something else, but then I happened to see Personal Demons and read the first page. I was sucked straight into the story from there and I couldn't put it down. It was fast-paced and a quick, fun read. The perfect book to pick up over my winter break! 

I ended up really liking Frannie as a main character. She was the rebel in her goody-two-shoes church going, Catholic family. Frannie was sarcastic, sassy, and even badass when she had to be. What's not to love about a girl who got kicked out of Catholic school for asking too many questions during religion class? I could see how some people might not find this to be an appealing characteristic, but I did. Frannie is also quite skilled in judo and has a habit of flipping guys who piss her off over her head. I couldn't help but root for a girl who had the misfortune of having the first name Mary, along with her other siblings, all sisters who were also named Mary. I mean who does that to their children?

It's not very surprising then that Luc, which is short for Lucifer, both gets along with and irritates the crap out of Frannie. The two of them had some great witty banter going on and some serious flirting. Luc had great character development throughout the entire book. When he first showed up he was totally focused on tagging Frannie's soul for hell and then getting out of town. Eventually as he spends more time with her, he starts changing and gradually becomes less of a jerk. He ended up being a character I could really root for. I think most of this was because the book was told in alternating perspectives between Luc and Frannie. Without the insight into Luc's thoughts I probably would have liked him a lot less. 

Gabriel I liked a little bit less, because he was just so angelic. The guy seemed like he was Mr. Perfect who never did anything wrong. I could have been biased based on the fact that his point of view wasn't in this book though. Maybe if I got more insight into his thoughts I would like him a bit more, but in Personal Demons he was just kind of there for me. To me there wasn't ever really an option between Luc or Gabriel. If I was in Frannie's position I would have been team Luc all the way. Still, I'm interested to see what Lisa Desrochers does with his character in the next book. 

Personal Demons was a great read. I had fun learning about the characters and reading the story but there wasn't a lot of emotional trauma involved for me. It was the kind of book that I enjoyed and am definitely going to read the sequel, but it wasn't the best book I've ever read in my life. I would definitely recommend reading it to anyone who's looking for a quick enjoyable read. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (37)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
From Goodreads:
I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.
But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die!

I first heard about this book from the girls at Epic Reads, and their enthusiasm for it makes me really excited to get my hands on a copy!

What are you waiting on this week? Leave links to your WoW posts below so I can check them out!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Rachel's Story Crush Tour Event Recap

Megan, Katherine, Lauren, and I attended the Story Crush Tour Event in Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania on March 3.

The event featured five authors: Courtney C. Stevens (Faking Normal), Katie Cotugno (How to Love), Robyn Schneider (The Beginning of Everything), Melissa Kantor (Maybe One Day), and Lauren Oliver (Panic).

We were initially excited about this event because of Lauren Oliver. We're all huge fans of her, and we've met her at a few author signings we've been to. She's so cool that we just want to see her again and again and again. :) I was also a huge fan of Katie Cotugno's How to Love, so I was excited to meet her as well. I wasn't familiar with the other authors, but after reading the summaries of their books, I immediately knew that I had to read them. Before the event, I also read Faking Normal and The Beginning of Everything. (I'm reading Maybe One Day now and it's awesome so far!)

I guess I don't have much to say about this event other than I LOVE BOOK SIGNINGS SO MUCH. It was a relatively small group of people in attendance (I'm comparing this to events like the Dark Days tour, which was pretty large), and mostly it was a bunch of lovely young ladies all excited about books. There were some book bloggers and BookTubers there, and it was a really nice crowd. :)

We had a bit of time to kill before the authors actually showed up, and I chatted with some of the other attendees and my friends. It was all going swimmingly. Then the authors appeared and everyone was excited and Lauren Oliver started talking to introduce herself and THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED...HAPPENED.

Well, not really. I guess a bomb could have gone off in Barnes and Noble or all the books could have exploded or something. But this was pretty bad.

You see, what happened is I got this ridiculous choking/coughing thing that I will refer to as the Coughing Incident. You know how sometimes you just have this cough that comes out of nowhere and won't go away and it's the worst thing ever because YOU CAN'T STOP?! That's what happened to me! I had a major cough attack literally right as soon as Lauren Oliver started talking, and I had to run away from the panel of authors and go hide behind a bookshelf while tears streamed down my face because I was coughing so hard. (You might even say I PANIC...ked. Eh? That's good stuff, am I right? ...alright, I'll show myself out.)


Lauren Oliver was really nice about it, and she was all "oh no I've already made you start choking I'm so sorry!" as I ran away in a flurry of embarrassment. I returned maybe ten minutes later, chugging water and finally able to breathe again, so it wasn't like I missed the whole event, but it was still super awkward and embarrassing and WHY DID IT HAVE TO HAPPEN RIGHT THEN?!

In spite of the Coughing Incident, the event was still awesome. The authors are all so smart and funny and talented and nice and interesting and entertaining and I loved listening to them talk. I cannot for the life of me recall specific details, for which I am very sorry, but trust me, they said some awesome things. (Why bother making a recap if you don't even remember anything, Rachel? What are you good for??)

Okay, so my thoughts on this event are a bit of a jumbled mess, but I can tell you for certain that this group of authors is absolutely fantastic. I kind of wish I could just hang out with them for the rest of my life. But I guess that would be weird. :P Either way, it was a pleasure to meet them, and going to events like this make me fall in love with the book community all over again.

And now, some pictures!

I mentioned to Robyn Schneider that I was a fellow Whovian, and she wrote this in my book. :D

Lauren Oliver was really cool about the Coughing Incident. :D

"I'm glad you didn't DIE at my signing! Imagine how traumatized *I* would be! :P"

Courtney C. Stevens was handing out really cool "channel your brave" bracelets, and I've been wearing mine ever since the event. Since the bracelets are a little difficult to photograph, I have stolen borrowed this picture from Courtney's website so I can show you what they look like:

I think this next picture came out really nicely. I kind of want to get it blown up really big and framed because it's full of awesome people. :)

Courtney C. Stevens, Megan, Robyn Schneider, Rachel, Katie Cotugno, Katherine, Melissa Kantor, Lauren Oliver, Lauren
This event made me really gushy and emotional and so, so happy to be part of this weird little community of readers/authors/bloggers/publishers/YouTubers/booksellers/etc. Maybe one day (ha! see what I did there?! ya know, because Melissa's book is called Maybe One Day? ...ahh, never mind.) I will be on the other side of the reader/author interaction, signing copies of my own books for slightly awkward but very enthusiastic teenage girls. I hope so!

Anyway, if you haven't read these authors' books, you totally should because you're seriously missing out! We're a tad behind on reviews because we are The Worst Bloggers Ever, but here is a list of the reviews we do have to share with you:

Rachel's How to Love review
Megan's How to Love review
Rachel's Panic review
Megan's Panic review

Happy reading, everyone!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Megan Rambles About Panic

Panic by Lauren Oliver
From GoodreadsPanic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

I'm just going to start this review by saying that I had ridiculously high expectations because I'm such a huge Lauren Oliver fan. The Delirium trilogy is still one of my favorite trilogies and I absolutely loved Before I Fall. Basically, Lauren Oliver is one of my writing idols. When I heard that she was writing another book I knew that I absolutely needed to read it and also that it needed to be AWESOME.

Panic did not disappoint at all. It had all of the beautiful, descriptive writing that I've come to expect from Lauren Oliver and so much more. Panic is a lot different from Delirium because it takes place in modern society, in a small town called Carp. In typically Lauren Oliver fashion though, Carp is a small town with a huge twist. Every summer the newly graduated senior class participate in a game called Panic where not only are the odds slim that you'll win, there's a pretty high chance that you could die.

The book is told in alternating perspectives between Heather and Dodge and I liked both of them a lot. Throughout the book Heather goes through a big character change. She starts out being insecure and uncomfortable in her own skin, not having nearly enough confidence to participate in something as crazy as Panic. Yet, Heather wants out of Carp with a kind of desperation that only someone who has grown up trapped in a tiny town can truly understand. I absolutely loved watching Heather change from the girl that had no idea why she decided to participate in Panic spur of the moment to a girl who was not only confident in herself, but brave enough to do what needed to be done.

Dodge was another awesome character and I enjoyed reading from his point of view just as much as Heather's. He's a troubled guy, but Dodge isn't a bad person. Above everything he cares about his sister and is fiercely protective of her. Reading from Dodge's point of view allowed me to not only understand why he behaved the way he did, but it also showed that not everyone in Panic is playing for the same reasons. 

The most interesting part about Panic is the characters and the people that play the game. Each one of the players has different goals, different hopes and dreams reliant on winning the giant pot of money that the last person standing earns at the end of the game. Heather and Dodge are connected by the game and their desire to win. I immediately expected the two of them to develop a romance, but I was really happy to see their relationship stay platonic. There aren't very many instances of two main characters who don't get together in a YA book and it was a refreshing change.

The other unexpected part of Panic was the effect that it had on me while I was reading. The entire goal behind the game is to be fearless and the players are subjected to outlandish tasks that are quite possibly deadly. There were multiple times where I was almost physically shaking because I was so nervous for the characters. The descriptions of what Heather and Dodge where feeling when they had to walk across a board between two water towers made me so scared my palms where getting sweaty. As someone who is terribly afraid of heights, just imagining having to go through that was making me a nervous wreck. 

The beautiful part of Panic wasn't a romance, it was about the friendships formed when you least expect it, facing your fears, taking risks, and figuring out what to do with your life after high school. The ending of this book left just enough hope and possibility for the characters without giving everything away, which is my favorite kind of ending. 

Lauren Oliver once again proved that she is a fantastic writer while also showing that she can write something different than she's written before. I loved the change of pace and Panic is definitely a book that you don't want to miss out on. It's a psychological thriller and will leave you thinking about it for a long time after you finish it. So what are you waiting for? Run out and pick up a copy of Panic today!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (36)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.

The One by Kiera Cass (The Selection #3)
From Goodreads:
The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers' hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey... Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned.

This series is so much fun to read, and the covers are gorgeous! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this beauty. :)

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Random Ramble: The 92 Y (Megan)

You may recall that Rachel, Rachel's sister Lauren, Katherine and I recently went to the Dark Days Tour stop in New York City at the 92Y. Just in case you don't, here's some photographic evidence.

You can also check out Rachel's recap of the event HERE and enter our very first giveaway on the blog! You could win a signed copy of Perfect Lies by Kiersten White or a signed copy of Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi! 

We had an amazing time at the event and met some awesome people, including Rebecca Boutis. Now you may be thinking to yourself, who is Rebecca? Should I know who that is? Well dear reader, Rebecca is TOTALLY AWESOME. She works at the 92Y and she is the lovely person responsible for setting up the new Young Adult events that have been taking place there! Let's give Rebecca a hand.
You may also have noticed that there is a picture of Cassandra Clare up there. That's because on Monday May 26th (yes that is Memorial Day) at 10pm Cassie will be having the midnight release party for City of Heavenly Fire at the 92Y. That's right, CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE. One more time in case that didn't get across: CITY OF HEAVENLY FREAKING FIRE

Rachel and I had of course heard about this signing and immediately decided we needed to be there no matter what the cost.There may have been a suggestion of selling souls to the devil IDK IDK. Basically my mom was on the fence about us going but then we went to the 92Y and met Rebecca and because she is the awesomest person ever she gave Rachel and I free tickets to the event so that we could promote it right here on our blog. 

My mom agreed to take us and Rachel and I were basically like: 

I still haven't stopped fangirling. Seriously, Rebecca thank you SO SO SO MUCH for being amazing. 

The great news is you guys all have the chance to go to the event too! Tickets are on sale now and they are totally affordable! No selling souls to the devil required and you get to not only meet Cassandra Clare and have her sign your copy of CoHF but also listen to her talk about the book before the signing. This is an event that you don't want to miss! So head on over to the 92Y website right HERE to buy your tickets today!

There are also some other cool events through the rest of March, April, and May so you should go here to check them out!

Thanks to the awesomeness that is Rebecca and also my mom Rachel, Katherine, Lauren and I will all be there! Are we going to see you there? Let us know in the comments below!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Rachel Rambles About Panic

It's no secret that we're huge Lauren Oliver fans here at Read Write Ramble. Megan and I both read her first book, Before I Fall, way back when it was first released, and we've eagerly awaited the release of each of the books in the Delirium trilogy. We've even been to a few Lauren Oliver book signings.

We got to see Lauren and chat about Panic at a signing last night! This is from the Story Crush tour stop in Fairless Hills, PA. (Courtney C. Stevens, Megan, Robyn Schneider, Rachel, Katie Cotugno, Katherine, Melissa Kantor, Lauren Oliver, Lauren My Sister) ...but more on this event later!
Lauren Oliver is one of my favorite authors EVER, and I think she's an amazing writer and an all-around awesome person. So when I got my hands on a copy of Panic, I may or may not have screamed a little bit.

Panic by Lauren Oliver
From Goodreads:
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

I'd been so excited to read Lauren Oliver's newest book, and let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint. Panic is scary and creepy, but beautiful at the same time.

Panic is about a frightening game played by recent high school graduates in a small town, but more importantly, it is about two of the characters who play the game. Heather and Dodge take turns narrating the story, and both of them play the game for entirely different reasons. As the two participate in the game along with several other members of their high school class, a friendship forms between them. The game unites them, and as the book progresses, the two grow closer to each other. But I should clarify that their relationship is just a friendship; there is no romance between them at all.

This book is not scary in the way that a horror novel is scary. There is no blood or gore or ghosts. Instead, Panic is the kind of story that messes with your head and makes you scared and paranoid of anything and everything. The characters in the novel are forced to face their fears--anything from heights to guns to haunted houses--and the book unfolds in a suspenseful and mysterious manner. I was reading it on the edge of my seat, terrified for the characters and having no idea what would come next for them. I wasn't scared of any monsters from the book coming to life to get me. I didn't feel like the situations the characters found themselves in would happen to me. When I was reading Panic, I was scared on behalf of the characters. I was scared of what would happen to them and what they would do about it and how it would affect them. The game changes the players, and it's hard to say if the changes are positive or negative.

The big theme of this book is fear, which I think is handled brilliantly. Lauren Oliver explores the concept of fear and what it means to be scared, what's worth facing your fears for, and how to overcome your fears. The characters in Panic spend the majority of the novel in a state of terror and paranoia, as the people around them start to seem less familiar and more suspicious. They don't know who to trust or who's orchestrating the game of Panic, and this only adds to the constant fear.

Panic is also about Dodge and Heather's shared uncertainty of what comes next for them, now that high school is over. It is time for a new beginning, and they must decide where to go from the small town that's been stifling them for so long. They both struggle with their complicated relationships with their family members, and throughout the novel, the two of them slowly discover that they have a lot in common.

Panic has Lauren Oliver's beautiful writing style that I've become very familiar with, but it is also something entirely different from anything she's written before. Panic is incredibly unique and thought-provoking, and this story is one that I don't think I'll ever forget.

When I look back and read what I've written, I realize that there's no way I can do this book justice with a review. I have no way of describing just how brilliant this book is. Just trust me on this, please, and pick up a copy of Panic sometime soon. It's creepy and thought-provoking and beautiful all at the same time.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Megan Rambles About Ignite Me

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi
From GoodreadsThe heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series, which Ransom Riggs, bestselling author of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, called "a thrilling, high-stakes saga of self-discovery and forbidden love"

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she'll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

In Shatter Me, Tahereh Mafi created a captivating and original story that combined the best of dystopian and paranormal and was praised by Publishers Weekly as "a gripping read from an author who's not afraid to take risks." The sequel, Unravel Me, blew readers away with heart-racing twists and turns, and New York Times bestselling author Kami Garcia said it was "dangerous, sexy, romantic, and intense." Now this final book brings the series to a shocking and climactic end.

Oh where to begin with this book and this series as a whole? I guess I should begin by saying that there are going to be some mixed feelings here as my opinion of this series has changed a bit over the years.

When I first read Shatter Me, I thought that it was groundbreaking, beautiful and amazingly written. Basically I thought that it was the best book ever. While I still think that Tahereh Mafi's writing is unique, I now found it a bit dramatic and there are some aspects of the story that I did not enjoy as much when I got to Unravel Me and Ignite Me.

I still love the core of the story, the part that tells the story of a girl who is locked up in an insane asylum and can't touch anyone. But by the time I got to Unravel Me I was more frustrated with the path that the characters and the story were taking. I still love this series though and I think that Ignite Me was an end to the trilogy that satisfied what I was looking for.

With that said, let's start with some of the things that annoyed me about Ignite Me. First and foremost, Adam. I've been team Warner since the beginning, but I was able to tolerate Adam. Even in Unravel Me he was tolerable, only occasionally annoying. In Ignite Me I found Adam to be completely insufferable. He was terrible to Juliette and I didn't totally understand the shift in his character. Adam became a very angry person and he didn't place any value in Juliette's strength.  Even though Juliette had some great internal monologues about her decisions when it came to Adam and Warner it was endlessly frustrating and felt a little bit forced almost like his change in character was supposed to force the reader to like Warner more than Adam.

I also found the plot to be a bit lacking. Ignite Me was more focused on the emotions of the characters and that was written very well. If I had been looking for emotional involvement in the book I would have found it very satisfying. However, I was looking for a bit more plot after the ending of Unravel Me. Because of this, the ending of Ignite Me felt rushed to me. The book was this huge build up to a battle that then only took about twenty or so pages to resolve. When it was resolved I was satisfied, but also couldn't help feeling that it wasn't the amount of time that I wanted spent on wrapping up that portion of the series.

Now, let's move on to the parts of Ignite Me that I did like because there are plenty of those too!

The first is Kenji! I freaking love him so much and he has been one of my favorite characters since the beginning of the series. In this book he not only provided his usual humor and comic relief but also the sanity of their group. There were many times when everyone was suffering from losses or when there were conflicts among the characters that Kenji was right there to break it up. I also loved his friendship with Juliette. He really understands her in a way that not many other people do and watching a girl who thought she was never going to be able to have any kind of relationship with anyone discover that she has a best friend was a beautiful thing.

Next we have Warner. I love, love, LOVE Warner. I mean, chapter 55 anyone? Seriously you can't not love him after that chapter. It was absolutely beautiful. Since I've been Team Warner from the beginning, I may be a bit biased, but I love how he is around Juliette. There was a lot of character development for Warner in Ignite Me and it really helped readers to understand his relationship with Juliette and his feelings for her. Throughout everything he believes in her and doesn't feel the need to protect her from the world. Instead, he wants to teach her what she needs to know so that Juliette can protect herself from the world, with him by her side to help. 

While I had a lot of frustration while reading parts of this book, it was just a fun read. I could read huge chunks of it in a sitting. Ignite Me was just entertaining, which is something that I have always loved about this series. I enjoyed watching Juliette stand up for herself and become kind of a badass at the end of the book. 

If you go into Ignite Me just expecting to be entertained and not looking for much of an in-depth plot or a book that is really thought provoking then I think that you will enjoy it. It was a fun end to an entertaining series. While I'm left feeling a bit bittersweet that this series wasn't as amazing as I originally thought that it was going to be, I still enjoyed it and would recommend it if you're looking for a fun read that doesn't require a lot of emotional investment.