September 21, 2012

Review: Freak

Title and author: Freak by E.K. Henry
Pages: 176
Release Date: 2012
ISBN: 9781477418635
Source: The author

Summary (from Goodreads):

Being a lower-class human born into a world where vampires rule sucks. No matter how hard Juniper Rayne tries to fit in, she's labeled a freak. When her dad signs the family up to take part in a reality television show, Juniper hopes that it'll give her the edge she needs to shed her freak label.

Unfortunately for Juniper, vampires aren't that accepting.

She decides to take control of her life and become a vampire hunter, instead of continuing to live in her own personal hell any longer.

She will regain control or die trying.

My Thoughts:

An intriguing idea that needs a bit of tweaking to make it a must-read, this novel has a lot of potential with people who enjoy Twilight.

What if you were the freak in your school (and by freak, I mean human)? You read that correctly, the human is the freak.

Juniper, our novel’s heroine, is not a vampire. She is human. This alone makes her a freak. As a matter of fact, she is so human that her dad decides the family should be a part of a reality show to help pay the bills. As freaks of society, there is only one job awaiting them: being blood donors. Allowing cameras to come into the home and film the human lifestyle is a great way for vampires to learn to tolerate them, right? WRONG!

No teenager wants to be labeled a freak, and Juniper is no different. She is dealing with the typical teenage angst, just with a camera in her face. This drives her over the edge – she is done with it all. She is so done that she decides to hunt vampires. She wants to take them down. To let them know how it feels to be a freak.

This plot idea will bring readers to the book, but the execution is a little shaky. While I enjoyed the overall idea of the plot and Juniper as a character, the pacing and development need refinement. They were too fast – it was hard to keep up because everything happened so fast that I felt as if I had whiplash.

With that said, this book – and series – has a lot of potential of becoming something quite popular among young readers, especially with the budding romance. For me, it did not work, but I know plenty of young readers who will enjoy it.

And let me not forget that cover. My students readily agree that covers matter, period. It is the cover (and sometimes the title) that draws them to pick up a book in a store/library, and Henry definitely has an advantage with this particular cover.

September 1, 2012

The Archived - a Sneak Peek

Title and author: The Archived by Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Reading age: 12 years and older
Pages: 336
Release Date: January 22, 2013
ISBN: 9781423179108
Source: NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

Imagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books.

Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.

Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous—it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

In this haunting, richly imagined novel, Victoria Schwab reveals the thin lines between past and present, love and pain, trust and deceit, unbearable loss and hard-won redemption.

My Thoughts:

NetGalley offered the first 100 pages to readers, and I jumped on the offer the moment I found out. Ever since I devoured the haunting tale The Near Witch, I have been a fan of Schwab’s. The snapshot of her upcoming novel, one that taunted me with just 100 pages, has left me craving for more.

Schwab's talent lies not just in the development of her story and of her characters, it is the way she is able to envelope readers into her worlds. In reading this sneak peek of The Archived, I found myself lost in the pages, almost as lost as the Histories seemed to be until their Keeper could find and return them to their rightful place.

I found the tone of the novel echoed that of The Giver as I became a part of Schwab’s story, feeling like a History myself. Questioning how lies can be a good thing. Rooting for Mac to come to grips with her true self and her destiny. But do not be fooled; this is not a dystopian tale, but I found the "feel" of it to be the same as Lowry's famous novel.

I only had a taste of what is to come, but it was enthralling. And while I was already looking forward to the publishing of this novel, now I find myself scanning the Internet to find an ARC so I can see where Schwab - and Mac - will lead readers through the rest of this journey. 

Allowing this "sneak peek" was a genius move by the publisher because it gives readers just enough of a taste to create even more buzz around such a fantastic read - it's almost cruel to do this to readers. But it is still genius.

What are your thoughts? Have you read the sneak peek of The Archived? Are you one of the lucky ones who has already had a chance to read it? 

Have you reviewed it? Share your thoughts and/or link to your review in the comments section.

Happy Reading!