Author: Matt Killeen
Published: March 20, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
A Jewish girl-turned-spy must infiltrate an elite Nazi boarding school in this highly commercial, relentlessly nail-biting World War II drama!
After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah–blonde, blue-eyed, and Jewish–finds herself on the run from a government that wants to see every person like her dead. Then Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s a spy, and he needs Sarah to become one, too, to pull off a mission he can’t attempt on his own: infiltrate a boarding school attended by the daughters of top Nazi brass, befriend the daughter of a key scientist, and steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. With years of training from her actress mother in the art of impersonation, Sarah thinks she’s ready. But nothing prepares her for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined.
This book was slightly disappointing to me. I had just finished the exhilarating Resistance by Nielsen; I got this book brand new off the shelf at Barnes and Noble, and the cover is so beautiful, so I picked it up right away. I know it’s not fair to compare books, so I’m going to try not to. Orphan Monster Spy just felt shallow to me. I didn’t feel any real connection to Sarah.
The story itself was good, but often times it felt inconsequential. By the time I finished it, it was empty, I felt very little. I really didn’t like the way Sarah was constantly comparing herself to the Nazis. It annoyed me that someone who was standing up against a regime that was so obviously evil, could then put herself into the same category as the “monsters” she was trying to fight. Killing someone who is about to kill an innocent person does not put you on the same level as the killer. I like having clearer distinctions of morality and this book suffered because it didn’t have those distinctions. It kept my attention well enough and I did like certain things about the story. Certain circumstances came to light to show just how evil individual Nazis were, and I liked the perspective of condemning not just the Nazi organization, but individuals as well. Seeing the brutal standards that the Nazi held not just for themselves but for their children was interesting.
I think my favorite part of the book was when Sarah participated in the River Run. She showed courage and cleverness and it was the one time in the book where I actually found myself rooting for her. I am glad I read this book, I did learn a little from it, but I don’t plan on reading it again and I can’t really bring myself to recommend it.
Author: Alice Kuipers
Published: October 9, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 14-20, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars
It’s a perfect day for Lark’s dream date with Alec from school. Blue skies, clear water, a canoe on the lake. Alec even brought flowers for Lark’s birthday. Everything is just right … until they hear screams from the edge of the water.
Annabelle, a little girl Lark used to babysit, is struggling in the reeds. When Lark and Alec dive in to help her, Alec hits his head on a rock. Now Annabelle and Alec are both in trouble, and Lark can only save one of them.
With that split-second decision, Lark’s world is torn in two, leaving her to cope with the consequences of both choices. She lives two lives, two selves. But which is the right life, and which is the real Lark?
Me and Me is about how it feels to be torn in pieces, and how to make two halves whole again. This mind-bending novel from Alice Kuipers, expert chronicler of the teenage heart, explores loss and love, music and parkour, all while navigating the narrow space between fantasy and reality.
I am not the target demographic for Me and Me. As an adult (though not a mom) I know what my decision would be. But as a teen, I can see how Lark was torn as she could only save one. This would be every teen girl’s nightmare. And Lark lives it; even worse she lives the after effects in two different lives!
I enjoyed the back and forth between the chapters of the two lives Lark ends up leading: The one where she saves Alec, and the one where she saves Annabelle. All of our choices have consequences, positive or negative and this novel shows that in more than just the main decision Lark makes. One decision she made changes everything in her life.
It is not a perfect novel and the characters are not perfect. They all have their issues, as we all do. I can see where going through an event like this would bring you closer to the other person, but I did not really like Alec with some of his actions towards Lark. He came off controlling and pressuring. It seemed almost too intense and almost an ‘instant love’ (IE: Romeo and Juliet.) I did enjoy the Epilogue.
Though not really for me, I would say give Me and Me a read and see what you think of it!
Thank you KCP Loft for my copy![Top]
Author: Cristina Moracho
Published: February 28, 2017
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Can the right kind of boy get away with killing the wrong kind of girl?
Fin and Betty’s close friendship survived Fin’s ninth-grade move from their coastal Maine town to Manhattan. Calls, letters, and summer visits continued to bind them together, and in the fall of their senior year, they both applied to NYU, planning to reunite for good as roommates.
Then Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out, and soon the entire town believes he was coerced and Betty has simply run away. Fin knows the truth, and she returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, even if it means putting her loved ones—and herself—at risk.
But Williston is a town full of secrets, where a delicate framework holds everything together, and Fin is not the only one with an agenda. How much is she willing to damage to get her revenge and learn the truth about Betty’s disappearance, which is more complicated than she ever imagined—and infinitely more devastating?
I wanted so badly to love this book . . . c’mon, look at that cover! I wanted a great mystery with a little conspiracy thrown in, but what I got was a predictable story mixed with teenage drama. I understand Fin’s passion and her need to discover the truth, but sadly, adding Serena into the story brings Fin down to a self-righteous teenager who thinks she knows everything and that everyone else knows nothing. The story had so much potential, but then predictability sets in and amateur philosophizing starts. The mystery was solved halfway through the book and the rest was a lot of unnecessary junk. Honestly, had the book followed the town’s drug use as the main storyline, it would have been so much better. I enjoyed reading the book, but I can’t give it any higher than 3 stars. This is not a book for teens, due to some very adult content. I’d recommend this to anyone looking for an easy read with a little intrigue.