Tag: YA

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain

Author: John Boyne
Published:
October 1, 2015
224 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

When Pierrot becomes an orphan, he must leave his home in Paris for a new life with his Aunt Beatrix, a servant in a wealthy household at the top of the German mountains. But this is no ordinary time, for it is 1935 and the Second World War is fast approaching; and this is no ordinary house, for this is the Berghof, the home of Adolf Hitler.

Quickly, Pierrot is taken under Hitler’s wing, and is thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets and betrayal, from which he may never be able to escape.

Kim’s Review:

I enjoyed reading this book … but there’s something about it that’s keeping me from saying that I loved it. Pierrot starts out as a kid you have hope for, but then as he grows, he turns into a monster! He even had good influences growing up from the ladies who ran the orphanage. But then, under the influence of Hitler, that sweet little boy dies and a hardened Nazi emerges. I will admit that it’s a very realistic view of how Hitler was able to convince an entire nation to follow him. It just has an air of sugar coating about it.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas was filled with emotion and condemnation and horror. This book almost seemed to excuse the evil actions of Pierrot in order to save some likeableness for him. Although he struggles with regrets, to me, it didn’t seem sincere. He simply wants to make himself feel better and bring some stability to his life. A guilty conscience is a good start, but this book is almost the equivalent of patting a criminal on the head saying, “oh don’t be so hard on yourself!” I wanted to like this so badly and I just didn’t.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction. But I wouldn’t recommend this to teens, the message is a little too murky and I wouldn’t want to cause any confusion.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

All The Crooked Saints

Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Published: October 10, 2017

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Here is a thing everyone wants:
A miracle.

Here is a thing everyone fears:
What it takes to get one.

Any visitor to Bicho Raro, Colorado is likely to find a landscape of dark saints, forbidden love, scientific dreams, miracle-mad owls, estranged affections, one or two orphans, and a sky full of watchful desert stars.

At the heart of this place you will find the Soria family, who all have the ability to perform unusual miracles. And at the heart of this family are three cousins longing to change its future: Beatriz, the girl without feelings, who wants only to be free to examine her thoughts; Daniel, the Saint of Bicho Raro, who performs miracles for everyone but himself; and Joaquin, who spends his nights running a renegade radio station under the name Diablo Diablo.

They are all looking for a miracle. But the miracles of Bicho Raro are never quite what you expect.

Kim’s Review:

Another Christmas book! And with a beautiful cover!

I’ll admit that this book started very slowly for me. To be fair, I was about 4 hours into an 8-hour flight thru the night, but it was still slow. I was even considering DNF-ing it, but I decided to stick with it. I am glad I did, but I also don’t think I’ll ever read this book again. It was definitely more on the philosophical side, but very vague. I had to try to clamp down on my inner shallowness to make sure I understood everything. I still don’t think I got it all, but by the time I finished, I was satisfied with the story and took a lot of good things from it.

It picked up about halfway thru. I liked the characters, I liked Stiefvater’s writing style, the setting was excellent, the imagination was beautiful. I liked the message that everyone has darkness inside them, nobody is perfect. There was a selflessness that came thru from the Soria family that I really loved. And if everyone could be like Pete Wyatt, I think most of the problems of the world wouldn’t exist! Overall, I enjoyed this book, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. Definitely for the more advanced reader.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US

Amazon UK

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The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly

Author: Stephanie Oakes
Published: June 9, 2015

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Book Description:

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

Kim’s Review:

This is the second time I’ve read Minnow Bly and I loved it just as much the second time as I did the first. Stephanie Oakes has a way of drawing the reader into the story and immersing them in the lives of the characters. I identified with Minnow since I also grew up in a cult-like environment. Thankfully my parents had brains and used them to think for themselves and there was no violence, so I wasn’t affected at all like Minnow was. I’ll admit that there is a huge difference between the school I went to and a cult. 😊

I also love how Oakes manages to draw the mystery out to the very end. She kept the scope relatively small and intimate; everything stayed believable and realistic. Minnow was a likable character that I had no problem rooting for even when the possibility of wrongdoing came into play. The idea of her missing hands made her more fascinating. And that brings me to the missing .5 star. I don’t like how the cover has a girl with hands holding a book . . . Minnow doesn’t have hands, why would you put a girl with hands on the cover??? Petty and picky, I know, but I can’t help it! Y’all know that covers mean a lot to me, so you can’t expect me to not analyze the cover! But overall, I really loved this book! Between this book and The Arsonist, I’m at the point that I will pick up anything written by Stephanie Oakes without question. I would definitely reserve this book for older teens, because there is some language. But I think anyone who enjoys brainy, psychological reads will enjoy this book!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

 

 

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