For What It's Worth

Monday, July 31, 2017

monday minis - YA



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The Book of Ivy, The Revolution of Ivy by Amy Engel

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.  ~ Goodreads

Source: Purchased

23198876My thoughts:  I haven’t read any dystopian novels in YEARS but I had heard so many great things about this one and it’s only a duology. When I saw book #1 on sale I grabbed it.

On the surface this seems to be the same old – same old dystopian YA. Oppressive government regime, underground opposition, patriarchal society…but The Book of Ivy duology narrows the focus down to our doomed couple Ivy and Bishop. Forced into an arranged marriage with the president’s son – Ivy’s one mission is to kill him to restore her family to power.

There aren't any factions, fight training montages, no band of smarter than all the adults in the room teens that save the world, no love triangles. Just a story about secrets, lies and loyalty, questions of what makes a family and finding happiness and peace in an unforgiving world.

And oh yeah – a swoony, slow build romance!  It’s YA – gotta have that! lol

I wasn’t blown away but I enjoyed the heck out the mix of action, internal conflicts, and relationship dynamics that are so rare to this genre.



31305526Done Dirt Cheap by Sarah Nicole Lemon

Tourmaline Harris’s life hit pause at fifteen, when her mom went to prison because of Tourmaline’s unintentionally damning testimony. But at eighteen, her home life is stable, and she has a strong relationship with her father, the president of a local biker club known as the Wardens.

Virginia Campbell’s life hit fast-forward at fifteen, when her mom “sold” her into the services of a local lawyer: a man for whom the law is merely a suggestion. When Hazard sets his sights on dismantling the Wardens, he sends in Virginia, who has every intention of selling out the club—and Tourmaline. But the two girls are stronger than the circumstances that brought them together, and their resilience defines the friendship at the heart of this powerful debut novel. ~
Goodreads

Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

My thoughts: DNF at 80 pages

I knew going in that I might not love this because of the biker aspect and that turned out to be the case.

I liked Tourmaline and Virginia immediately. They both have compelling and unique voices but the writing was not accessible to me. There’s an assumption that I understand the biker world and lingo but other than watching a few seasons of SoA - I don't. The rest is a personal preference. I just don't care about people having to do certain things to be accepted into gangs/groups or be otherwise shunned. It's just not my jam.

If you do like that world then it might be for you. It has numerous 5 star ratings for it’s gritty writing, fierce girls and female friendships. The publisher describes is as Thelma and Louise meets Sons of Anarchy.


30199656What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum

When an unlikely friendship is sparked between relatively popular Kit Lowell and socially isolated David Drucker, everyone is surprised, most of all Kit and David. Kit appreciates David’s blunt honesty—in fact, she finds it bizarrely refreshing. David welcomes Kit’s attention and her inquisitive nature. When she asks for his help figuring out the how and why of her dad’s tragic car accident, David is all in. But neither of them can predict what they’ll find. Can their friendship survive the truth? ~ Goodreads

Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

My thoughts: So, I picked this up for a fun, summer read. Opps! Despite that cover this is a serious novel about coping with grief and bullying and uncovering a dark secret.

The loss of Kit’s father in a car accident has left her adrift, not being able to hang with her friends like she used to. They want her to act *normal* again and she just can’t. I lost my mom in HS and I could completely relate to how Kit was feeling. 

She ends up forming a friendship and flirtation with David. He is on the autism spectrum and struggles with understanding  how to read other people’s social cues and speaks very matter of factly with Kit, even about her father’s death which feels like a huge weight lifted off of Kit. 

I really liked this story a lot. Especially how Kit and David’s friendship and David's family - especially his relationship with his sister. 

What I didn't love was how heavily What to Say Next relies on David getting bullied. Not that I don’t think that it occurs – or should never be shown – or wasn’t relevant to this story, but at times I felt it was done just in to keep moving the story along – meanwhile the author hits you with a much bigger revelation that should have been the focal point all along but gets wrapped up a tad too quickly.

26 comments:

  1. Awesome mini reviews. The Ivy Duet sounds something I would enjoy. I haven't read any dystopian novels for more than a year. I want to read one next month. Want some changes a little bit.

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    1. I was (am) burned out on the genre. I can't say I was blown away but I really enjoyed it and how it stayed away from the more predictable elements of dystopian series.

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  2. What to Say Next reminds me of Sweethearts by Sara Zarr - in the sense that both have a misleading cover. I suppose sometimes (or often ;D) publishers do a conscious move in order to make a book appeal to readers for all the wrong reasons LOL. People buy it on a whim thinking it's something else - and some blurbs don't help either.

    I feel like you do about bullying - sometimes it's just too pervasive. I think I could have given this one a chance because M/F friendships are my thing (even if this one leans on the flirting side) and I keep making resolutions to read books with neuroatypical kids, but I don't want to read another story that focus on bullying. Is that horrible on my part?

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    1. No, I get it. It would be nice if there was more variety all around. I think that's one of the reasons people get so upset. It's not enough to have representation - but to show more than one aspect of it. No group is a monolith that thinks, feels, experiences life the same way.

      In this particular case - I think it was accurate that David would be bullied but after a certain point it was used again and again to ultimately tell Kit's story. But I loved David and his POV so I'm glad I read it overall.

      There is a romance but it felt subtle and the friendship was really wonderful. And I didn't mention it - but David had a really sweet relationship with his sister.

      That cover though...*stabby* Even reading the summary doesn't prepare you.

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  3. I'm also not a huge fan of biker type stories. I read a lot of biker romances and I think I burned myself out on them. I also didn't like some of the recurring themes in each one. I probably would like Done Dirt Cheap too much either.

    What To Say Next is one that I've had on my TBR for a while now. The cover does make it look like it's going to be light-hearted and bubbly. I really liked the synopsis for this one. I've read quite a few reviews for this one and it seems like it is a bit deeper than I expected but still a good book.

    Great mini reviews!

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    1. It was good! I think I wasn't ready for what was coming lol but I still enjoyed it -just not the twist.

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  4. I would have expected What to Say Next to be a fun summer read too hmm

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    1. I went first to help others know in advance lol

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  5. I confess that I'm very intrigued by Done Dirt Cheap, but also a bit wary -- it sounds like it has the potential to be quite disturbing. Still, Thelma and Louise meets SoA is a pretty compelling comparison...

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    1. A lot of readers love it. I'm just not a fan of the whole biker thing. If you are then I would definitely give it a try -t eh writing was very good.

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  6. What To Say Next sounds like a fantastic read for the summer...I will be grabbing that one up.

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    1. It's short and a good read even if it wasn't what I was expecting.

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  7. Ivy looks interesting. Good to know it isn't mind-blowing but decent. I don't think either of the other two would be for me. I think the too quick wrap up would bother me with the last one. Good minis!

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    1. Ivy was fun and different from most YA dystopian which was nice.

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  8. I would not think What To Say Next would have so many serious topics covered - covers need to match the insides more, I think. thanks for sharing.

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    1. It was a surprise but I still liked it overall.

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  9. Glad to get your thoughts on these especially Book of Ivy which I got on sale, too. I hadn't heard of the last one, but I love stories featuring main characters with disabilities so I'll have to check it out.

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    1. Well worth the $4 for the paperback lol But then I was suckered into buying the second one so well played publisher lol

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  10. What To Say Next looks like a nice summer read, I had no idea it had a heavier theme going on. Good to know. Looks like a good read, but I'm glad you mentioned the issues you had so I know those going in.

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    1. Doesn't it look like a sip a drink by the pool read?? It was good though and a fast read.

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  11. Tourmaline. Oo. Quite the name on her. Bummer it was a miss.

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    1. Yeah - I found it distracting at first but the name works for her lol

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  12. I really want to read What to Say Next. I haven't read any characters who are (officially) on the autism spectrum, but I did read a manga (With the Light) which explores a first-time mum's struggles with caring for her child with autism. I agree that the cover is SO misleading, it looks just like a cutesy summer read, ay?

    I'm intrigued by Done Dirt Cheap, but I don't know...

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    1. I loved David! He alone is worth reading the book for even if it didn't turn out quite how I would have wanted.

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