Finally, a dystopian for boys! Ok, that was mean, but Ship Breaker has very little of the romantic, emotional subplots that most female-centric dystopians possess which was both refreshing and grim because Paolo’s dystopia is really scary. I adored the imagery, particularly when they traveled to Orleans. Really, the storytelling is top notch, no wonder it won the Michael L. Printz award for 2011.
I didn’t know this was a series, but after checking GoodReads and it is listed as “Ship Breaker #1″ I guess that means it is. Interestingly enough, the ending could be a true ending and work just fine, but there is also plenty of space to keep going.
via Goodreads. Set initially in a future shanty town in America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being dissembled for parts by a rag tag group of workers, we meet Nailer, a teenage boy working the light crew, searching for copper wiring to make quota and live another day. The harsh realities of this life, from his abusive father, to his hand to mouth existence, echo the worst poverty in the present day third world. When an accident leads Nailer to discover an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, and the lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl, Nailer finds himself at a crossroads. Should he strip the ship and live a life of relative wealth, or rescue the girl, Nita, at great risk to himself and hope she’ll lead him to a better life. This is a novel that illuminates a world where oil has been replaced by necessity, and where the gap between the haves and have-nots is now an abyss. Yet amidst the shadows of degradation, hope lies ahead.
If you could have seen me while reading this book! I spent a lot of time with my mouth open, feeling like I’d maybe possibly taken a hallucinogenic before trying to read a perfectly respectable novel. Slice of Cherry is something like Alice in Wonderland if it were populated by Bret Easton Ellis characters. Had Christian Bale popped up in the narrative with a chain saw I wouldn’t have even been very surprised. Slice of Cherry is something altogether different from typical Young Adult books. It’s gorgeous and terrifying and I’ve never been so in love with psychopaths in all my life.
EDIT: While writing this little blurb, I went to GoodReads to get the book cover and…realized the listing was called Slice of Cherry (Portero #2). My reaction: WTF NUMBER TWO?!?! OMG WHAT HAVE I DONE. I knew Dia had written another book called Bleeding Violet, but it had never caught my attention because covers with miscellaneous lady body parts, particularly dangly legs, seem to inspire a pavlovian reaction of disinterest in me. I did not know Slice of Cherry built on Bleeding Violet, though while I haven’t read Bleeding Violet I think they are more companion novels set in the same universe than sequels to each other. Someone correct me if I’m wrong about this and confirm that I have actually read a book series out of order.
DOUBLE EDIT: I just checked Dia Reeves’s website and the fact that she has happy looking rainbows on her site makes my head explode by way of cognitive dissonance. What I want to know is who does she think she’s fooling? Anyone that can write books like Slice of Cherry should not be allowed anywhere near a rainbow. Just you wait, blogosphere. One of these days you’ll be reading her blog and suddenly those rainbows are going to open up and swallow you into a world of OMG WHAT IS THAT MONSTER COMING TOWARDS ME. And then don’t complain I didn’t warn you.
via Goodreads. Kit and Fancy Cordelle are sisters of the best kind: best friends, best confidantes, and best accomplices. The daughters of the infamous Bonesaw Killer, Kit and Fancy are used to feeling like outsiders, and that’s just the way they like it. But in Portero, where the weird and wild run rampant, the Cordelle sisters are hardly the oddest or most dangerous creatures around.
It’s no surprise when Kit and Fancy start to give in to their deepest desire—the desire to kill. What starts as a fascination with slicing open and stitching up quickly spirals into a gratifying murder spree. Of course, the sisters aren’t killing just anyone, only the people who truly deserve it. But the girls have learned from the mistakes of their father, and know that a shred of evidence could get them caught. So when Fancy stumbles upon a mysterious and invisible doorway to another world, she opens a door to endless possibilities….
XVI is a dystopian that doesn’t jump us light years into some TRON-like technological future, and I really like that. It feels more realistic and the gadgetry more plausible and I really enjoyed the side characters which really doesn’t happen as often as it should. I thought it was marketed a little weird since the whole “sex-teen” thing wasn’t really as big of a deal in the story as all the copy and blurbs made it out to be. Thank God, although I’d have liked to have seen a deeper dive into the consequences of a world that treats its women so much more like objects than people. That was my only complaint. The side characters, most of whom are boys, don’t treat the girls any different even though society seems to be teaching all the other males in the population to treat them like objects. So I don’t know, but it didn’t detract from my absolute enjoyment of the world and the characters. The characters really made this book for me, particularly Wei, Sal, and the grandparents. Also the ending felt like it was only the first in a series of books? But I can’t find any mention of a second book anywhere. I’d very much like to read more Julia Karr and I’d love to read more about the world she built in XVI. OH Oh oh, also? Really shiver-worthy villain. I kind of wish he was in the book more than he was, but maybe because he was just on the periphery made him so upsetting a character.
EDIT: Serendipity! The day I was prepping this post and checking Julia’s website, she posted that XVI is going to have a sequel and it just got it’s title: TRUTH. Can’t wait to see what’s next for Nina and Sal.
HEY. You don’t have an excuse not to check XVI out because Julia has put the first chapter up for free on her blog. Check it out!
via GoodReads: Nina Oberon’s life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she’ll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a “sex-teen” is Nina’s worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina’s mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother’s killer.
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
Yes, I read a romance novel. Yes, it was naughty. Yes, I was completely shocked out of my shoes that I actually liked it. I promise it was not for lack of trying. It’s not that I have anything against romance as a genre, it’s just that I really don’t care for formula writing very much. I’m also not crazy about the implication many take that all women want to have romance forced upon them by a lord/duke/king/sheik/emperor/pirate whatever.
In any case, I must give Loretta Chase credit where credit is due because she wrote two exceptional main characters despite the formula or the genre. Jessica was a strong, interesting, fully realized character and Dain was interesting and moody and really unlikeable a lot of the time and not perfect or beautiful at all. It had a Beauty and the Beast twist to it that I liked very much. I thought Jessica was well written outside the typical British heroine box and I admit when she shot Dain in front of all his friends I threw my hands up and whooped with joy. It was awesome. It was a friend’s fault I even knew this book existed, but I blame the mini series North & South for putting me in the mood for a British romance in the first place. Now I’m knee deep in Downtown Abbey. Who else loves British romances? What is it about all those gentlemen and ladies and uncomfortable but beautiful clothes that just screams dashing young lovers and shocking, secretive passion? If you like British romance, the scene in Lord of Scoundrels in the rain beneath a lampost will make your toes curl, I promise.
via Goodreads. Sebastian Ballister, the notorious Marquess of Dain, is big, bad, and dangerous to know. No respectable woman would have anything to do with the “Band and Blight of the Ballisters” – and he wants nothing to do with respectable women. He’s determined to continue doing what he does best – sin and sin again – and all that’s going swimmingly, thank you… until the day a shop door opens and she walks in.
She’s too intelligent to fall for the worst man in the world…
Jessica Trent is a determined young woman, and she’s going to drag her imbecile brother off the road to ruin, no matter what it takes. If saving him – and with him, her family and future – means taking on the devil himself, she won’t back down. The trouble is, the devil in question is so shockingly irresistible, and the person who needs the most saving is – herself!
March is a HUGE release month for me. There are too many books coming out in March that I’m desperate to get my hands on, so I had to slim my spotlight to only 4. Tough choice, but here are the four I will probably read first.
The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Must-Have Reason: The third and final installment in Carrie Ryan’s amazing ZOMBIE series The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I just…need to know how it ends!!! More zombies, more zombies for me.
Wither by Lauren DeStefano
Release Date: March 22, 2011
Must-Have Reason: This cover was released more than a year ago and I remember having a minor heart attack right along with the rest of the YA blogging community. This cover is so gorgeous, one of the few books with models on the cover that completely captures my heart. It wasn’t until many, many months later did we even find out what this book is about. And lucky for us, the premise is as cool as its cover.
Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Must-Have Reason: The first book in this series, Silver Phoenix, blew my freaking mind. This fantasy is one of the very few non-western fantasy stories out there and Cindy’s imagination is worth every word. It feels like I’ve been waiting years for this book to come out, and now that it is finally here I almost can’t take the suspense. I so can’t wait to see what has happened to my favorite Asian fairy tale.
The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta
Release Date: March 8th, 2011
Must-Have Reason: Um, because I have a huge author crush on Melina Marchetta? Isn’t that a good enough reason? No? Ok well, The Piper’s Son is a companion to Melina’s to-die-for book Saving Francesca with some of the same characters but focused on one of the side characters who totally stole my heart right out from under the main character’s nose. This book has been out for a long time in Australia, but has finally made it state-side. Of the four books on this list, this is the one I have pre-ordered.