Tag: YA

Audiobook Review: It Will End Like This by Kyra Leigh

It Will End Like This
Author: Kyra Leigh
Published: January 4, 2022

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 30-April 4, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 3.5 stars     

Book Description:

For fans of The Cheerleaders and Sadie comes a psychological thriller that reminds us that in real life, endings are rarely as neat as happily ever after. A contemporay take on the Lizzie Borden story that explores how grief can cut deep.

Charlotte lost her mother six months ago, and still no one will tell her exactly what happened the day she mysteriously died. They say her heart stopped, but Charlotte knows deep down that there’s more to the story.

The only person who gets it is Charlotte’s sister, Maddi. Maddi agrees—people’s hearts don’t just stop. There are too many questions left unanswered for the girls to move on.

But their father is moving on. With their mother’s personal assistant. And both girls are sure that she’s determined to take everything that’s theirs away for herself.

Now the only way to get their lives back is for Charlotte and Maddi to decide how this story ends, themselves.

Jessica’s Review:

It Will End Like This is a contemporary take on the Lizzie Borden case.  After unexpectedly losing their mother, Charlotte and Maddi are heavily grieving while their father has all but moved on… with their mother’s personal assistant.  The PA is also closer to their ages, so the sting is worse for the girls.

What follows is an extended story of unreliable narrators, mental illness, and grief. Over time the grief they are feeling encompasses everything. Our main narrator and focus of the story is Charlotte, but I wanted more of Maddi’s narration.  Their grief became too much of a focus and it made the story drag on.  It was just too excessive for me.  I think I was also really anticipating the ending since we (sort of) know what happens in the real case. I wanted to know how the author was going to reach that climax and the conclusion.  I listened to the audiobook and the last hour of the novel really picked up for me.  This is what kept me listening.  And then we have that ending!  That last hour is what redeemed the novel for me. 

I have always found the Lizzie Borden case intriguing and have read a few books on it. The fact that we won’t ever truly know what happened keeps the case alive to this day almost 130 years later.   Listening to this fictional tale made me want to read about the Borden case again: And I might just do that!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Anatomy: A Love Story by Dana Schwartz

Anatomy: A Love Story
Author: Dana Schwartz

Published:  January 18, 2022

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: February 13-28, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

A gothic tale full of mystery and romance about a willful female surgeon, a resurrection man who sells bodies for a living, and the buried secrets they must uncover together.

Edinburgh, 1817:

Hazel Sinnett is a lady who wants to be a surgeon more than she wants to marry.

Jack Currer is a resurrection man who’s just trying to survive in a city where it’s too easy to die.

When the two of them have a chance encounter outside the Edinburgh Anatomist’s Society, Hazel thinks nothing of it at first. But after she gets kicked out of renowned surgeon Dr. Beecham’s lectures for being the wrong gender, she realizes that her new acquaintance might be more helpful than she first thought. Because Hazel has made a deal with Dr. Beecham: if she can pass the medical examination on her own, the university will allow her to enroll. Without official lessons, though, Hazel will need more than just her books – she’ll need bodies to study, corpses to dissect.

Lucky that she’s made the acquaintance of someone who digs them up for a living, then.

But Jack has his own problems: strange men have been seen skulking around cemeteries, his friends are disappearing off the streets. Hazel and Jack work together to uncover the secrets buried not just in unmarked graves, but in the very heart of Edinburgh society.

Jessica’s Review:

Anatomy is a YA Historical Fiction novel that is so much more than what meets the eye!  We have Hazel who is a young woman ahead of her time: She wants to become a surgeon when women were not. This is also a time when being a surgeon is looked down upon versus being a regular doctor. Hazel was attending lectures disguised as a man, and she is kicked out when her true gender is discovered. She does make a deal with the professor that if she can pass the doctor’s test then he will let women attend his lectures.  Being kicked out she is forced to find her own ways to learn about the human body which involves a ‘resurrection man’ (a man who is paid to steal bodies of the newly deceased. We also have a mystery when resurrection men start to go missing.

The title is a bit deceptive, there is a love story, but it is minor to the story itself.  If you go in expecting a full-on love story, then you will be disappointed.  Anatomy was a solid four star read for me until we got closer to the ending and the novel went in a direction I would have never expected!  It was a bit mind blowing for me and this unexpected twist brought this novel up to five stars and I anticipate that it will be in my top ten of this year. 

Being this is a YA novel, Hazel comes off older than her actual age, but that is due to the times she is living in. She is smart and determined, yet also unsure of herself due to her young age.  I couldn’t help but like Hazel.

This is a dark novel that will have some scenes that could make some readers squeamish. It is not entirely accurate: towards the end there is a particular medical scene that most readers would know that the procedure would not actually ‘work’, so you have to suspend disbelief and I did because the story was so intense at this point!  Towards the end there is no way a reader can put this novel down!

I listened to the audiobook version which includes a conversation with the narrator and author.  Definitely listen to this as you will learn more, which includes a possible sequel which I hope Schwartz delivers on!   She also started writing this novel before our current pandemic hit and changed the world.

I thoroughly enjoyed Anatomy and very highly recommend it! Another positive:  Just look at the gorgeous cover options available to a reader!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Book Review: Darius the Great is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Darius the Great is Not Okay
Darius the Great #1
Author: Adib Khorram

Published:  August 28, 2018
316 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Darius doesn’t think he’ll ever be enough, in America or in Iran.

Darius Kellner speaks better Klingon than Farsi, and he knows more about Hobbit social cues than Persian ones. He’s about to take his first-ever trip to Iran, and it’s pretty overwhelming—especially when he’s also dealing with clinical depression, a disapproving dad, and a chronically anemic social life. In Iran, he gets to know his ailing but still formidable grandfather, his loving grandmother, and the rest of his mom’s family for the first time. And he meets Sohrab, the boy next door who changes everything.

Sohrab makes sure people speak English so Darius can understand what’s going on. He gets Darius an Iranian National Football Team jersey that makes him feel like a True Persian for the first time. And he understands that sometimes, best friends don’t have to talk. Darius has never had a true friend before, but now he’s spending his days with Sohrab playing soccer, eating rosewater ice cream, and sitting together for hours in their special place, a rooftop overlooking the Yazdi skyline.

Sohrab calls him Darioush—the original Persian version of his name—and Darius has never felt more like himself than he does now that he’s Darioush to Sohrab. When it’s time to go home to America, he’ll have to find a way to be Darioush on his own.

Kim’s Review:

This is a great story! To me, it’s the perfect coming of age story. There may be some teenage angst, but it doesn’t feel whiny. I’m no teenager anymore but I definitely related to Darius. Obviously, because we’re two different genders, there are some things that I’ll never really get. I mean, I never had to worry about circumcision the way the boys do. But the rest of it, not fitting in, loving things that aren’t cool, feeling like no one cares; I’ve been there! And bring in Star Trek and LOTR, I think Darius could be a kindred spirit. I also found his fascination with tea to be inspiring. I may not really like tea, but I can appreciate the little nuances. I think the relationship between Darius and Sohrab was really sweet. Khorram didn’t overdo it with the “everything has to be a woke lecture” thing and just let them be friends in a healthy and realistic way. By the time I got to the end, I was misty! Ok fine I was almost ugly crying but thankfully I didn’t full on ugly cry! I think this would be a really good one for those young nerds who haven’t figured out that fitting in isn’t all it’s cracked up to be yet. I definitely recommend it!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK