For my February feature, I decided to focus on the holiday EVERYBODY cares about during this month - Valentine's Day! Every Saturday I'll pick one book or series, that, no matter how trashy, really put me in the Valentine's Day mood. And this week's choice is...
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Amazon/IndieBound). Before I start talking about the actual book, something must be said: This is one of the WORST YA covers I have. Ever. Seen. I was lent books 1-3 by a friend, and I honestly did not want to be seen in public with them, which was hard, because I couldn't stop reading them! Moving on, did I mention I couldn't stop reading them? Wow. For vampire books, which I generally hate (with the exception of Scott Westerfeld's hilarious Peeps, which probably doesn't count), these were pretty darn good.
Sassy, smoldering, and surprisingly *deep*. I especially liked the moral dilemmas between Moroi, Strigoi, and Dhampir, which kind of helped me to ignore that creepy crawly imagining that I can feel my IQ dropping every time I read a novel with a cover this laughably bad. And Dimitri, Mason, and Christian were all three amazingly, incredibly, YA valentine worthy. There was definitely some sloppy writing going on here, but in February, I don't really care.
Happy Valentine's Day weekend! :-)
February 13, 2010
February 12, 2010
I borrowed this book from my local branch library and received no compensation (monetary or otherwise) for this review whatsoever. (see Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines)
Impulse by Ellen Hopkins
Associate Links: Amazon/IndieBound
After their titular impulsive suicide attempts are botched by bad luck, good luck, loved ones, or maybe fate, Tony, Connor and Vanessa find themselves exactly where they don't want to be - the teen ward of their local Nevada mental hospital. Now, forced to find their own reasons for living and to come to terms with the reasons that brought them to suicide in the first place, they must learn to trust themselves and each other.
I originally wasn't going to write a review for this one, as it's older and so widely read it doesn't really need the attention. I changed my mind for two reasons: one, I ended up with a nasty flu-induced headache for three days and so didn't get any reading done, and two, I really loved this book and get to write a nice review so rarely that I couldn't pass up the opportunity. So yes, I'm actually writing a positive review. Cue gasping from readers.
I actually preferred this novel to Crank and Glass, even though I think that Hopkins's trademark verse style lent itself better to Kristina's "monster" than Tony, Connor and Vanessa's slightly less potent "monsters". I didn't prefer it until the end, which, to avoid spoilers, I can't really talk about. Suffice to say it was really, really good and maybe even made me cry a little. It was somehow predictable without being predicted - perhaps the word is inevitable? Anyway, it just worked, Hopkins style: resolution without closure, and definitely not a happy ending.
My second-favorite part of this novel was the characters: to use a gratuitous Shrek analogy, they were a lot like onions. Every chapter seemed to peel back a few more layers, keeping you interested without leaving you confused, until at the end you're finally left with the answers. Which is talking about the end again.
Anyway, if Ellen Hopkins wasn't so freaking depressing (which is the definite downside to her books), I'd read her all the time, because I've yet to find someone who captures the dark side of teendom quite so well. I just like to visit the light side every once in awhile, too.
The Final Verdict: Raw and searing, with a perfect ending - my favorite of Ellen Hopkins's books so far. Four out of five stars.