On her fiftieth birthday, Dorrit Weger is checked into the Second Reserve Bank Unit for biological material: a state-of-the-art facility in Sweden where she will make new friends, enjoy generous recreational activities and live out her remaining days in comfort with people who are just like her. Here, women over the age of fifty and men over the age of sixty who are single and childless are saved from a life devoid of value and converted into productive members of society. The price? Their bodies, harvested piece by piece for the ‘necessary’ ones (those on whom children depend) and sometimes their minds, as they take part in social and psychological experiments, until the day comes when they make their Final Donation and complete their purpose in life. Despite the ruthless nature of this practice, the ethos of this near-future society and the Unit is to take care of others. Resigned to her fate as a ‘dispensable’, Dorrit finds her days there to be peaceful and consoling. For the first time in her life she no longer feels like an outsider – a single woman in a world of married couples with children. But when she meets a man inside the Unit and falls in love, everything changes…
I had no idea what I was expecting when I started reading this book. I kind of bought it on a whim and started reading it the day I bought it, because it sounded interesting. I’m a mood reader, so … Continue reading
For Cleo Berry, the people dying of the Spanish Influenza in cities like New York and Philadelphia may as well be in another country—that's how far away they feel from the safety of Portland, Oregon. And then cases start being reported in the Pacific Northwest. Schools, churches, and theaters shut down. The entire city is thrust into survival mode—and into a panic. Headstrong and foolish, seventeen-year-old Cleo is determined to ride out the pandemic in the comfort of her own home, rather than in her quarantined boarding school dorms. But when the Red Cross pleads for volunteers, she can't ignore the call. As Cleo struggles to navigate the world around her, she is surprised by how much she finds herself caring about near-strangers. Strangers like Edmund, a handsome medical student and war vet. Strangers who could be gone tomorrow. And as the bodies begin to pile up, Cleo can't help but wonder: when will her own luck run out?
Riveting and well-researched, A Death-Struck Year
is based on the real-life pandemic considered the most devastating in recorded world history. Readers will be captured by the suspenseful storytelling and the lingering questions of: what would I do for a neighbor? At what risk to myself?
An afterword explains the Spanish flu phenomenon, placing it within the historical context of the early 20th century. Source notes are extensive and interesting.
A Spring 2014 Indies Introduce New Voices
A Death Struck Year was one of those books that I bought ages ago, but kind of just sat on my shelf and never got read until recently. I’m not always big on historical fiction, and I really have to … Continue reading
A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.
After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.
Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.
In the Neighborhood of True has such a pretty pink cover, and I think that might have been one of the things that drew me to it initially. I’m not sure why, but I think the pretty writing, the flowers, … Continue reading
International bestseller White as Milk, Red as Blood
, has been called the Italian The Fault in Our Stars
Leo is an ordinary sixteen-year-old: he loves hanging out with his friends, playing soccer, and zipping around on his motorbike. The time he has to spend at school is a drag, and his teachers are "a protected species that you hope will become extinct," so when a new history and philosophy teacher arrives, Leo greets him with his usual antipathy. But this young man turns out to be different. His eyes sparkle when he talks, and he encourages his students to live passionately, and follow their dreams.
Leo now feels like a lion, as his name suggests, but there is still one thing that terrifies him: the color white. White is absence; everything related to deprivation and loss in his life is white. Red, on the other hand, is the color of love, passion and blood; red is the color of Beatrice's hair. Leo's dream is a girl named Beatrice, the prettiest in school. Beatrice is irresistible - one look from her is enough to make Leo forget about everything else.
There is, however, a female presence much closer to Leo, which he finds harder to see because she's right under his nose: the ever-dependable and serene Silvia. When he discovers that Beatrice has leukemia and that her disease is related to the white that scares him so much, Leo is forced to search within himself, to bleed and to be reborn. In the process, he comes to understand that dreams must never die, and he finds the strength to believe in something bigger than himself.
White as Milk, Red as Blood is not only a coming-of-age story and the narrative of a school year, but it is also a bold novel that, through Leo's monologue - at times easy-going and full of verve, at times more intimate and anguished - depicts what happens when suffering and shock burst into the world of a teenager, and the world of adults is rendered speechless.
I had a really difficult time trying to figure out whether or not this book was for me, and even still, while I’m torn about it, I do have to say that White as Silence, Red as Song is definitely … Continue reading
Mailee and Cara take care of each other. Mailee is the star of the high school plays; Cara is the stage manager. Mailee can't keep her life together; Cara has enough organizational skills for the both of them.
So when the girls are invited to visit the Haven, a commune in the mountains near their suburban Montana homes, it seems like an adventure. Until Cara starts spending every waking minute there ... and Mailee thinks it's creepy, almost like a cult. When Cara decides she's going to move to the Haven permanently, Mailee knows it's a bad idea. But how far will she go to save her best friend ... from herself?
Girl in a Bad Place is one of those fantastic, heart pounding sounding stories about a teenage girl who gets sucked into a cult and doesn’t seem to understand exactly what is going on or what she has gotten herself … Continue reading
Daelyn Rice is broken beyond repair, and after a string of botched suicide attempts, she’s determined to get her death right. She starts visiting a website for “completers”— www.through-the-light.com.
While she’s on the site, Daelyn blogs about her life, uncovering a history of bullying that goes back to kindergarten. When she’s not on the Web, Daelyn’s at her private school, where she’s known as the freak who doesn’t talk.
Then, a boy named Santana begins to sit with her after school while she’s waiting to for her parents to pick her up. Even though she’s made it clear that she wants to be left alone, Santana won’t give up. And it’s too late for Daelyn to be letting people into her life…isn’t it?
Trigger Warning! Before I start in with my thoughts about this book, I think that it’s important to point out that there are some trigger warnings. If suicide, self harm, or severe depression are triggers for you, you might want … Continue reading
"Mean Girls for the Instagram age." --The Times (London)
The New York Times bestselling author known for her thrilling twists is back:
They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but when you're a teenage girl, it's hard to tell them apart.
Natasha doesn't remember how she ended up in the icy water that night, but she does know this--it wasn't an accident, and she wasn't suicidal. Her two closest friends are acting strangely, and Natasha turns to Becca, the best friend she dumped years before when she got popular, to help her figure out what happened.
Natasha's sure that her friends love her. But does that mean they didn't try to kill her?
13 Minutes is a psychological thriller with a killer twist from the #1 internationally bestselling author Sarah Pinborough.
The whole idea behind 13 Minutes was really exciting to me – a girl, dead for thirteen minutes, has no memory behind what happened and tries to figure out what happened and why, while also keeping her best friends and … Continue reading
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.
It’s been a while since I’ve read this, but I’m catching up on old reviews so I thought I would start with this one. While I liked When Dimple Met Rishi, I’m once again going to be the black sheep … Continue reading
Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.
Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.
Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”
I first heard of The Thing with the Feathers when I was browsing around on Goodreads, and was immediately drawn into its unique plot and intriguing title (not to mention the simple, yet very pretty cover). I’ve read a lot … Continue reading
New York Times bestselling author Zac Brewer delivers his most honest and gripping novel yet, about a girl who believes she’s beyond saving—until she realizes the only person who can save her is herself.
Brooke Danvers is pretending to be fine. She’s gotten so good at pretending that they’re letting her leave inpatient therapy. Now she just has to fake it long enough for her parents and teachers to let their guard down. This time, when she's ready to end her life, there won’t be anyone around to stop her.
Then Brooke meets Derek. Derek is the only person who really gets what Brooke is going through, because he’s going through it too. As they start spending more time together, Brooke suddenly finds herself having something to look forward to every day and maybe even happiness.
But when Derek’s feelings for her intensify, Brooke is forced to accept that the same relationship that is bringing out the best in her might be bringing out the worst in Derek—and that Derek at his worst could be capable of real darkness.
Trigger Warning! Before I start off on my review of this book, I want to point out that it deals with things such as depression, cutting/self-harm, and suicide attempts. If that’s something that may be a trigger for you, please … Continue reading