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Gateway to the Gods – K.A. Applegate – Everworld #7

The group of friends is beginning to realize their lives are now in to parts. There are the Everworld parts, full of adventure, danger and new ways of seeing themselves. Then there is the real world part, school, the mundane and the normal. Which is the one they are meant to live? Where do they belong?

This book was told from April’s POV. We see that she is struggling with a few things in this book. First she can’t understand the way the gods think. They are literally under siege and yet they are barely able to make any changes. They can’t think outside of what they normally think. They can’t adapt.

I thought it was super interesting the way this idea was explored. The idea that the gods are stagnant. They can’t dream or imagine. They are the molds created by the stories that were told about them in the old world. Once they left that world there was no one left to make them into new people or give them new abilities. They are stuck in one form, unable to adapt or change.

I also liked how this book begins to explore the idea that this life is not a nightmare for these four kids. They are beginning to see the advantages to this life. April is conflicted because she likes the independence and the importance she feels in Everworld. She fights, she wins and she is in control.

But that also terrifies her. She is scared of leaving what she knows behind. She is scared to think that Everworld is becoming where she wants to be. For the others there are plenty of reasons why they would choose the other world but for April she doesn’t have a bad home life or OCD to force her to choose this world. She is just seeing that maybe there is more for her here.

I also liked that her conflict is many sided. She is confused not only about her desire to stay in the world but also about what being in a new world is doing to her belief system. She is losing her faith a bit, seeing the world in a new way. She is scared to change her way of thinking and and I am curious how that evolves over the last few books.

This book is the turning point in my memory of the series. I know we are going to move to Egypt and African Gods soon but I don’t remember much beyond that. I am eager to continue from here because my memory is fuzzier. I am interested to see how we get to the end, which I do remember and know I loved.

In An Absent Dream – Seanan McGuire – Review

Katherine Lundy makes a choice early on in her life. She is going to live her way, she is going to do what she wants when she wants. She learns quickly the world is not going to work in her favor. She finds a door to The Goblin Market, a world where you can get whatever you want as long as you are fair with your deals. But what happens when some deals ask for too much?

I love this series. I love the way this feels like a fairytale while also capturing some important issues of today. You get a lesson without realizing it and you get to see that not all stories end with a happily ever after moment.

This story in particular was about a girl who realizes early on that she is okay being alone. I think I like this one the best so far because I identified with Lundy so well. I was also the quiet child, who loved books and followed the rules. I also balked at the idea of having to fall into line of what a true woman is supposed to be.

I felt like we got to understand Lundy so well. Her back and forth through the door showed us that she was struggling with deciding where she belonged. While the other books the characters stayed, finding their new lives and ways of life, Lundy was stuck in this in-between. She wanted both and learned the hard way that life is not always fair.


Not much threw me out of this book. They are shorter so we get hints at bigger events that happen but I am starting to see that it fits in with the fairytale atmosphere of these stories. While it was a bit bothersome not knowing more about the battles she fought I realized it was more important about what happened afterward. Lundy was created from those after moments and choices and not from the moments themselves.

There was nothing that kept my from enjoying the story. It was fast paced. It hit all the points of the character development well. I read it in 2 days and was sad when it ended.

I gave the book four stars. I loved the story and can’t wait to see who we get to understand better next.

“If the children in the yard next door or on the playground couldn’t find her worth loving the same way, she wasn’t going to change for them.” (pg. 17)

“Following the rules didn’t make you a good person, just like breaking the rules didn’t make you a bad one, but it could make you an invisible person, and invisible people got to do as they liked.” (pg. 38) (This hits very close to home).

The Invisible Library – Genevieve Cogman – Review

There is a Library full of Librarians whose job it is to go to alternate worlds and find important books. They are returned to the Library where they are kept safe and all knowledge is contained in one space. Irene is a junior librarian, someone raised her whole life in this world. Kai is her trainee with secrets. Together they are tasked with retrieving a version o the Grimm fairytales. Seems easy until twists, turns and secrets are revealed. Quickly it becomes a quest for survival for not only the book but themselves as well.

I love the concept of this book. I loved the idea that there are alternate worlds all connected through this Library. The idea that there are people whose sole job it is to go into all these worlds and get important books is fantastic. This is 100% the job I would want if it was an option.

I love that this also connect magic into these worlds. At first I wondered if it was just going to be alternate worlds that certain things didn’t happen in. But no, there are worlds like our own and then there are world with magic and then there are worlds that are a combination of both. I like this because it extends the scope of these stories. I wonder how they will play out throughout the series.

Kai was an interesting character. I knew there was something more about him from the very beginning. You get a hint he is hiding something. I liked the fact that he can switch his personalities so much. One minute he is able to play a proper gentleman of the times then he goes into thief mode. As a reader I felt like I was kept guessing. We still don’t know everything about him and I wonder where his story will go.

Alderich is also an interesting character. I know there is so much more to their story. I want to know how they became who they are. ( I am going to use they because it is unclear what Alderich is at this point, whether human or even has a gender). There is mystery here and I am curious about it all.

I had a few minor issue that didn’t necessarily take me out of the book but kind of gave me pause. First I wasn’t thrilled with the Language system being called The Language. It felt like a lazy name to me. Every time I read it was jarring almost like it was left there a placeholder and was never changed. I felt like it could just have used a better title.

While this world as fascinating I found myself very unclear of how it all worked. I don’t quite understand The Language itself. Why it matters? Who can use it? How do you use it? How do you learn it? I felt like it was there as a way to get out of situations.

I also didn’t quite get the whole chaos idea. It was vaguely explained but I needed a bit more to understand it. Why was there this chaos idea? Why are Fae the main issue around it? How does it work? Why is it called chaos? I again felt like it was hinted at but no real detail given.

My biggest issue with this book was Irene. I honestly did not care for her character at all. She was all over the place. She felt like a strong minded character at the beginning but she got weaker and weaker as the story went on. I thought she could take care of herself but then she went alll damsel who needed men to save her.

She got herself into situations that made no sense. She inner monologued a lot but she never came to any real conclusions in time. She doubted herself too often. She was vague about what she was talking about. I just wanted her to get herself together a bit more. I hope she gets better throughout the series.

I ended up giving this book 3 stars. There is a lot of potential here. The world in fascinating. Some of the characters are great. The mystery is there. I am planning on continuing on with the series but just not right away. I just hope it gets better.

The Archived – Victoria Schwab – Review

The dead are not gone forever. When you die your body and all your memories are preserved in the Archive. There you are stacked on shelves, able to leave a lasting impression on the world. Mackenzie is a Keeper, charged with keeping Histories from escaping. An easier said then done job when the Archive begins to break down and her world is upended. Can she stop those responsible or will time run out and will she be added to the shelves?

I misunderstood what this book was about when I read the summary and read other reviews. I have seen people praising this book and I loved Victoria Schwab so I knew I had to read this one.

I thought that the idea was that people’s consciousness were preserved in literal books. Instead their bodies are recreated in this Archive and that is where their memories are stored. I really liked the concept. I liked the idea that when you die you are not dead and gone forever. I liked the idea that there is a literal library of people and their histories. Each person is important because of the life they have lived and the things they have learned throughout that life. I loved the idea of preserving everyone.

I thought the pacing of this story as great as well. It didn’t drag on. The mystery was presented early and I liked that our main character was the one to stumble upon the mystery right away. She didn’t just hover around waiting for someone to tell her what to do. She was curious and began investigating. She worked to find the answers she wanted.

The story moved a perfect pace. We got our mystery and pieces were slowly revealed bit by bit. I liked that we weren’t stumbling around wondering what was going on or the end being just a huge info dump. Everything seemed to work in the right order.

Wes was my favorite character in this book. He felt original and fresh. I loved that he wore earrings, nail polish and eyeliner. I loved that he is an individual and he isn’t someone who is going to fall into a generic category. I think too many times male characters are just described as handsome in a super generic way. Wes felt more dynamic and real.

I could have used a bit more detail about how the Archive itself works. I don’t quite understand how they get all the people and their memories there. The world isn’t magical one so I am unsure how that works. Especially since it is so secretive. It isn’t like everyone knows about it yet everyone is cataloged there.

I also saw hints of one of my least favorite things in this story near the end. Thankfully it didn’t go that route but I still feel like the possibility for it, is there in the sequel. The idea that you don’t have to tell someone something in order to protect them. I hate the idea of keeping secrets because you want to keep someone safe. It never works and I hope it doesn’t become a thing in the next book.

I enjoyed the whole ride of this book. I see hints of where the next book could go. I didn’t have anything that threw me out of the story and made me want to put it down.

I have this book 4 stars. I really enjoyed the story, the characters and am excited to read Unbound to see where the story goes.

“We leave memories on objects we love and cherish, things we use and wear down.” pg. 26
“Lying is easy, but lonely.” pg. 84
“Things only hurt more when you can see them.” pg.251



Discover the Destroyer – K.A. Applegate – Mini-Review

We jumped back into David’s perspective again in this installment in the Everworld series. While we were in the other’s POV’s I was having issues with David. I was falling into this way of seeing him as love struck and wannabe hero. I was having trouble remembering who he truly was.

This book reminded me who this character actually is. David is a kid who is desperate to get back control of his life. He has not felt like he is strong or worthy since his childhood. What happened to him as a child has broken him and he is starting to see the real damage done at that camp.

I find it really interesting how this storyline is being handled. While nothing is blatantly stated or shown you get a good idea of what happened to David. It’s even more interesting because as a teenager I never caught on to what happened. Or if I did it didn’t stay with me. 

Now this storyline I can see and I can understand the true impact it is having on David as a full character. He is very self aware. He is trying hard to not show the rest of his friends what happened to him. He can’t watch as his worst fears about himself are being proved true. We hear how he knows he is weak around Senna but not willing to walk away from her. This push and pull makes their relationship more than just a normal crush relationship.

I remembered this part of the main plot well too. This is the point where our group starts having a lasting impact on the world around them. They are introducing aspects of the real world to this new world. I did have a little trouble believing they could do all the work they needed to do in such a short amount of time. But Jalil is smart so I am letting that slide.

I know the next book is one that I struggled with when I first read the series. I remember it being about fighting and tactic heavy and less about the characters. I am interested to see how I feel about it now. 


Lethal White – Robert Galbraith – Review


Robin walks down the aisle and marries Matthew, but no one could call it a happy marriage. Strike is riding high after his last case that put him in the spotlight and finally gave him the chance to create a successful business. Though he isn’t exactly happy with his own personal life.

Billy, a mentally ill man, walks in and throws the pair of them into a mystery that wraps up an entire family. Affairs, unwanted children, possible murders and much more take theses two through a mystery that makes them not only question who is truthful in the case but in their own lives.


I don’t read this series for the mystery and detective elements. I read it for the personal stories of Strike and Robin. These two characters keep me coming back to these books. J.K. Rowling or Robert Gailbraith has a way of creating characters that are alive and familiar. We feel connected to them because they go through many of these same things we go through as readers.

The end of the last book was a bit of a cliffhanger. We wondered how Robin’s life would play out and what Strike would do. The prologue in this book answered those questions in a very realistic way. There is no dramatic runaway bride or abrupt change of heart. Instead the way things resolve is a slow burn. It plays out as I think it would in real life.

I thought it was interesting in this book how Strike and Matthew’s characters were played against each other. This what set the stage for the majority of the conflict in this book. When we met Matthew in the first book we thought him the perfect fit for Robin. He seemed loving and their story was fairytale-esque. Then, as happens when you truly get to know someone, we realized that he is not the perfect man for Robin. He is far from the right person.

Strike at first seemed gruff and uncaring. He was about himself and wanting to make his way in the world. He didn’t care about anyone really but we see again that first impressions don’t tell us anything about anyone.

Robin wants to be taken seriously, she doesn’t want to be told what to do and when to do it. She is afraid of being vulnerable. There is some great commentary about the way a woman can’t show her pain and anguish like a man because then she will be sidelined. 

While Matthew tries to push Robin into a safe space, which would change her whole world; Strike does the opposite. He acknowledges her issues, makes her confront them and yet lets her still do what she wants to do. He doesn’t force her to a desk, he let her continue working.

But he also makes sure she knows that she has to deal with her issues. He won’t let her ignore them. He shares his own struggles and makes sure she understands that he is on her side. He cares about her and wants her to heal but he also knows putting her in a box won’t do anything to help her.

I didn’t think I wanted Robin and Strike together after the other books but after this one I think they would work perfectly together. There is understanding and truth there that will make a good relationship. 

The mystery element and major plot of the book was as well done as the other books. I have mentioned it in previous reviews but the way the details are given is thorough. There is no sensational elements only there to make the pages turn. It gives what would happen in the timeline it would happen.



While I enjoy the details of the case, the length of the book was a bit much. I felt like the middle dragged. It is a hefty book and I think that some of the details of going back and forth and who was riding what train were not needed. We would have cut some of that and some of the retelling of the details in order to move the pace up a bit.

What I wished was different:
I had a little bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight in the story. There were a lot of names and different players. I think it was good for the mystery element, more people to suspect, but I found myself wondering who was who. 

I had to remind myself every time I picked up the book who was the main characters, who were the side ones and what plots mattered. I wished I had an easier time keeping everyone straight.

I gave this book three stars. I liked the mystery and I loved the development of the characters I just thought it a little too long. 

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy – Mackenzi Lee – Review

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Felicity wants nothing else in life other than to be a doctor; but she is a woman in a time that scoffs at the idea of educated women. She needs to find a way around the restrictions placed on her. She teams up  with a mysterious stranger, not knowing what Sim’s ulterior motives are. She meets an old friend and the three of them embark on a journey to save a secret and a legacy.

 

 

What I Loved_-4
In the first book, A Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, I didn’t care much for Felicity. To me she was nothing more than just the big sister character. She was there to tell Monty when he was wrong and to foil his plans. To me she didn’t hold any real personality of her own.

This book changed my opinion of her all together. We learn that Felicity is a woman stuck in a time that is not for her. She wants to be a doctor. She wants to be independent but she lives in a time where she is told that she is supposed to get married, have kids and take care of her husband. I liked watching Felicity come to terms with who she was and the world she lived in.

She had a fighting spirit that she kept throughout the story. I found it interesting that throughout the story she wasn’t told right out that she was some hero or someone who was going to change the world. She learned that she had to find a way to balance all aspects of her life. It was okay for her to be who she was and she learned that throughout the story. She was able to see that she didn’t have to resign her life to fit what she is told she has to be.

I also liked the three female characters and how they balanced each other throughout this story. Sim was a tough woman, she wanted to be recognized and trusted. She was adventurous and she didn’t back down. But she was also soft as well. She had a softer side which she showed to Felicity.

Johanna was interesting because she was someone who enjoyed dressing up, she wanted to be married and go to parties but she also wanted to study nature and make a name for herself. She liked being taken care of but she also could take care of herself when necessary. I think she played against Felicity’s character well.

The two of them together showed that there is no one way to be a woman. You don’t have to be all girly and poised or defiant and tough. You can be a mix and that is okay. That commentary on not belittling other women for who they are was poignant and important.

What I was just okay with
I wasn’t thrilled with the end of this story. I felt a lot was leading up to a very epic end but we got a quick handful of pages. Things were taken care of quite quickly and easily. Our main villain was taken out pretty fast.

I understood why things ended as they did, and it made sense. I just wish there had been more. I felt like it ended and we got to that last point and were just like, “okay, that’s all.” I wanted a bit more to make me feel tense and feel like we truly accomplished something.
What I was just okay with
I read this book quite quickly. I didn’t get hung up on any details. I do think the main premise was a bit of a stretch. I kind of wished the creature they were after was easier to identify. I know it had to be something we have in our world today but I had trouble making a connection.

I think it would have made more of an impact if I knew what they were talking about. In that day and age it was common to mistake certain animals for mythical creatures. They gave these grand ideas and names to these creatures because they didn’t know better. I wanted to be able to say, “Oh, okay, I can see how they saw that as this.”
Four Star
I have this book four stars on Goodreads. I think if there had been a stronger end I would have given it a full five stars.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“I want to understand things. I want to answer every question ever posed me. I want to leave no room for anyone to doubt me.” (pg. 48)

“….it’s hard to be raised in a world where you’re taught to always believe what men say without doubting yourself at every step.” (pg. 69)

“But one can only spend so long booklets in the company of another human before one feels compelled to make conversation.” (pg. 210)

“You refused to let me – or anyone! – like books and silks. Outdoors and cosmetics. You stopped taking me seriously when I stopped being the kind of woman you thought I had to be to be considered intelligent and strong.” (pg. 246)

“So if you can’t win the game, you have to cheat.” (pg. 297)

What If It’s Us – Adam Silvera & Becky Albertalli – Review

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Ben and Arthur have a chance meeting in a post office. Arthur stumbles over his words, completely out of his element. Ben is just trying to mail his ex-boyfriend his things back. What is the universe trying to tell these two? Can you be destined for the one you run into for a moment? How can they make this work? Should it work?

 

 

What I Loved_-4
I had to get this book the moment I heard about it. I adore Adam Silvera. His books are among some of my favorites. He has a way of making you feel deeply for his characters. Normally his books are extremely emotional, while Becky Albertalli’s book are sweeter, cuter romances. I was very interested to see how these two could create one story.

I liked that you couldn’t tell this was written by two different people. Sometime when a book is coauthored you can hear the different writing voices. I have been able to tell before just by word choice and way the story flows. In this book everything flows right. It probably helps that each of them wrote one of the characters. Silvera wrote Ben and Albertalli wrote Arthur. They were each able to give the characters their own personalities while keeping the story as one complete and whole story.

I will say I liked Arthur better in this book. Arthur was just adorable. He was this guy who had no idea what he was doing. He kept describing himself as having “no chill,” and there could be no better way of saying it. He was always stumbling over himself and his words. He was a lost little puppy just trying to figure out this new world around him. I thought he was adorable. I loved the way he tried so hard.

I liked the theme of this story, that the universe had some part in the relationship of these two. They meet in a post office but don’t exchange numbers. They then have to go through an elaborate scheme to find each other. I am someone who constantly talks about how “the universe,” needs to do this or that. I liked that they equated parts of their relationship to being done for them.

As the story moves forward you realize it is the work done by them that makes this work.  For all their talk about the universe they do what needs to be done to make this whole thing work. I liked the way these two idea flowed into one another.

All of the references to Harry Potter, Hamilton and Dear Evan Hansen were awesome. As a lover of all three of those I adored the shout outs and references. It was nice nod to those popular things.

I know that the end of this book is a diverse one. I will say that I adored the end. The end, to me, fits perfectly with this story. It is real. It makes sense for their age. It also fits perfectly with the theme of the universe having a controlling force in their lives. I don’t want to go into too much more detail but the end works well because of how real it felt.

What I was just okay with
I wasn’t as thrilled with Ben’s character as I was with Arthur. While he did end up growing on me at first he was a bit annoying. He seems a bit self centered and that was bothering me. You could tell that at first he didn’t quite want to be with Arthur. I felt like he was so hung up on his ex that he was being a jerk to Arthur.

I wanted him to just give Arthur a chance. I felt like he was acting like he was obligated to be with him, even though he searched for him. In the beginning I had a lot of trouble reading him and I didn’t like the way he talked with Arthur. In the end he did grow on me and I thought he was good for Arthur but it was that start that made me a bit unhappy with his attitude.

What I Wished was Different_
There was nothing in the book that threw me out of the story. It flowed well. The characters were good, Ben grew on me. The story made sense and I felt ended just as it should have ended.

Five Star
I gave this book 5 stars on Goodreads because I loved the sweet story. It was just a nice story to read.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“We’re not old-school Catholics who live by the Bible and convientienly ignore all the verses that contradict the hate coming out of their mouths.” (pg. 67)

“You start with nothing and maybe end with everything.” (pg. 148)

“Except it’s not over, because Arthur and I have to carry this around.” (pg. 242)

“I don’t like that the same world that brought us together is also scaring him.’ (pg. 243). (This scene in the train is what ultimately changed my opinion of Ben).

“Maybe it’s all about people coming into your life for a little while and you take what they give you and use it on your next friendship and relationship.” (pg. 328)

“I don’t know if we’re a love story or a story about love.” (pg. 414)

The Hate You Give – Angie Thomas – Review

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Starr and her childhood friend Khalil make their way home from a party. The night takes a tragic turn when Khalil is shot and killed by a police officer. Starr is the only witness. Starr must decide how she wants to handle the situation. How she wants to speak out about what happened and who Khalil is as a person. She learns she has to use her voice, her weapon to make the changes that are necessary.

 

 

What I Loved_-4
I have had this book sitting on my physical TBR shelf for a long time. I knew it was going to be a tough read, one that I had to be in the right mindset to read. It was just recently that I decided that I was in the right head space to be able to read this book and take in everything it was presenting.

Starr was a great narrator. I felt like I was close to her. I felt like I could easily understand her and her choices. We are presented with a  young woman who is stuck in-between worlds. She lives in an impoverished neighborhood but goes to a wealthy private school. Her parents are making ends meets. They hold a devotion to their neighborhood and culture but also want to keep their children safe.

Starr states multiple times that she has to wear different masks depending on where she is. At her schools he has to be careful of how she speaks. She can’t use certain slang or a certain tone. She doesn’t want to be labeled as one type of person. She is very conscious of how she presents herself in that world.

At home she has to do the same thing. She is careful of what she says and how she acts, trying to not let out anything she talks about at school come out. She knows she has to be a certain person in this neighborhood too. She can’t be fully herself anywhere.

This was a tough part for me to read. She is always oscillating between different forms of herself. Reading about her trying to contain her emotions at school because she doesn’t want to be labeled as the “angry black girl,” was tough. I felt sympathy for her. No one, especially a kid, should have to always be watching themselves so people don’t label them as one way.

One of the things this book does so well is show you that there are so many different sides to a person and story. We have seen this story so many times in the news in the last few years. We always get the same way of interpreting the situation. The media gives us one story and doesn’t gives us the whole picture.

One of the things this book does so well is force to remember that you don’t know anyone in these stories. You don’t know these people and thus you do not get to pass judgement on them. A life is lost and that deserves to be respected. A few pictures do not tell a whole story. A few actions do not determine who a person is. What this book does is remind us that those who have been killed in these tragedies are human, just like anyone else. They deserve the same respect and dignity, period.

I also found the storyline with Hailey interesting. I know people who are similar to her. They make jokes, make comments not thinking about what they are saying. They think that if they don’t “mean” it, it doesn’t matter. They frame their actions through their own lens. They see their comments from their side but refuse to listen to the other side. They refuse to ask if what they said may hurt, refuse to see that they might have to change their thinking.

I thought this storyline was well done. You see Starr try so hard to make exceptions for this girl. You see Starr do all the work and finally realize that she doesn’t need to be the one doing the work. She doesn’t need to keep around a person who is narrow minded and refuses to realize that changing their thinking is needed.

What I was just okay with
There as nothing in this book that didn’t feel like it didn’t fit. It was a full story, it flowed well. I felt like I was sitting on the edge of this family’s life, watching as they navigate this complicated world. Their bound was strong and great to see. There was no forced happy endings. There was no forced ways of fixing the issues that weren’t realistic. You felt the connection between not only Starr and her family but also the neighborhood.

What I Wished was Different_
There nothing that did not work in this book. It was done so well.
Five Star
I am white. I don’t live this life but I do work with kids who do. I work in an inner city at the schools. I hear these stories from their lips and this book helped me understand them even better. I gave this book five stars because it is one of those books that everyone needs to read.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“….people like us in situations like this become hashtags, but they rarely get justice.” (pg. 59)

“It is easier to find some crack than it is to find a good school around here.” (pg. 169)
(This line hit me hard. As someone working in after-school programming in these schools in order to try to help these type of situations this one really did hit hard).

“My bad. I didn’t know shoes determined somebody’s race.” (pg. 235)

“I wish people like them would stop thinking that people like me need saving.” (pg. 246)

“We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us.What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?” (One of the main points of this whole book)

“They with a capital T. There’s Them and then there’s Us. Sometimes They look like Us and don’t realize They are Us.” (pg. 343)

The Five Stages of Andrew Brawley – Shaun David Hutchinson- Review

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Andrew should be dead. He was supposed to die in the accident that took his parents and little sister. He now hides in the hospital where they died. He is intent on evading Death, who is after him. That is until the night a boy his age comes through the door. Now he must save Rusty. But how do you save someone else when you have no idea how to save yourself?

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4
The characters in this story were compelling. Andrew was interesting because he acted beyond his age. He was able to take care of himself in the hospital. He was smart and clever enough to hide from the authorities. He wasn’t afraid of being alone. He showed wisdom beyond his age.

Normally this would throw me off. I would wonder how a child could manage all this, even a teenager. But it is well established that this kid has been through a trauma that allows him to grow up fast. We see that what happened to his family threw him into a whole new world. One where he had to learn to sink or swim.

I also really liked Rusty. This wasn’t his story per se but it felt like his story as much as Andrew’s. We learn what happened to him and why. The details that Andrew gets give us a clear picture of what is going on.

I also really liked that Rusty connected to Andrew so quickly. He saw a kindred spirit in this lost boy. Both of them were lost kids who needed someone to understand them. They saw that in each other and connected over it.

The addition of the comic Andrew was working on was great. I really liked being able to see and read the comic. I think something would have been lost without that addition. I don’t think just describing it would have been able to give the whole picture. With the periodic looks at the comic I felt the connection to the story as a whole. I liked the mix of these types of story telling to give one full story.

What I was just okay with
I felt like there were some stories missing. Each of the characters had a tale of their own and you got hints of them from everyone but never the full story of anyone. I wanted to know more about all of them. There was definitely something missing from Father Mike’s story as well as Aimee’s story.

I found myself anticipating what was coming for them and was disappointed when we didn’t learn what was going on. I could discern most of it but I didn’t want to guess at it. I wanted to know that these people all had problems just like Andrew. I think each of them revealing their secrets would have helped Andrew grow and find his way.

What I Wished was Different_
I adore Shaun David Hutchinson’s other books. I know this was written before those and you can see him finding his way as a writer. While this book is great it is very heavy handed with its message.

You didn’t have to guess at the message even a little bit. There was no room for interpretation in the message. It was plain and written out over and over again for you. I am used to his much more subtle way of telling you something in his later books.

I think that if I read this book first before the other ones I wouldn’t have had an issue with this way of telling the message of the story. But I know what he can do and am glad to see how he grew as a writer. You can see he found his groove with We are the ants and it is great to see.

 

I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads. While I enjoyed it it was missing the punch that his later books have.

Copy of What I was just okay with

“It begins there because it’s important to know that a superhero with no past began as a man with no future.” (pg. 8)

“Maybe hell is seeing the lost loved painted over the faces of the strangers we meet.” (pg. 58)

“Maybe our beliefs decide our fate after death.” (pg. 99)

“No one unravels all of life’s many mysteries. They grow older and become better liars.” (pg. 123)

 

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