Book Review: Girl Made Of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

Book: Girl Made Of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake

Published May 2018 by HMH Books For Young Readers|295 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

For readers of Girl in Pieces and The Way I Used to Be comes an emotionally gripping story about facing hard truths in the aftermath of sexual assault.

Mara and Owen are as close as twins can get, so when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can her brother really be guilty of such a violent act? Torn between her family and her sense of right and wrong, Mara feels lost, and it doesn’t help that things are strained with her ex-girlfriend, Charlie. As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie come together in the aftermath of this terrible crime, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits into her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.

I absolutely LOVED this book.  It absolutely gutted me and I was a sobbing mess by the end of the book.  It is worth reading.  Please please please let this be one of the books you read this year.  It’s very much a look at rape culture, and please keep that in mind if you do pick up the book- or continue reading this review.

I felt so much for Mara, who doesn’t want to believe that her brother did, but she also wants to believe Hannah, especially since Hannah isn’t the type of person who would make it up.  The way people treated Hannah when she came back to school was horrifying but not surprising, and I’m not surprised that a lot of people seemed to believe it didn’t happen the way Hannah said it did.  And it’s horrifying that charges weren’t pressed, at least partially because Hannah and Owen were dating and because they had sex before.  I was so angry, but again, it wasn’t a surprise.

I loved Hannah’s relationship with Charlie, and they both have their flaws and things they’re dealing with, but they rely on each other to get through it.  I also loved seeing Mara’s relationship with Hannah, and how it changes throughout the book.

Girl Made Of Stars isn’t just about Hannah’s rape- it’s about the trauma Mara experienced when someone she trust took away that trust in a society that doesn’t believe women when they come forward about sexual assault.  Mara’s parents believing Owen didn’t do anything, meant that they would never believe Mara if she told them what happened to her.  You see so clearly how everyone feels and what they think and it’s messy and complicated and you see it so much throughout the book.

I loved everything about this book, as heart-wrenching as it was to read.  I know there is no way I can do this book justice, and I’m having the hardest time putting into words how amazing and powerful this book is.  I’m starting to cry just thinking about how I felt when I read this book, and that’s not something that happens often.

Just make sure this book is one of the ones you read this year.

5 stars.  I cannot think of a single negative thing about this book, and it’s one book I’m glad I picked up.

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Book Review: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

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Book: Always Never Yours by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka

Published May 2018 by Speak|340 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Megan Harper is the girl before. All her exes find their one true love right after dating her. It’s not a curse or anything, it’s just the way things are, and Megan refuses to waste time feeling sorry for herself. Instead, she focuses on pursuing her next fling, directing theatre, and fulfilling her dream school’s acting requirement in the smallest role possible. 

But her plans quickly crumble when she’s cast as none other than Juliet–yes, that Juliet–in her high school’s production. It’s a nightmare. No–a disaster. Megan’s not an actress and she’s certainly not a Juliet. Then she meets Owen Okita, an aspiring playwright who agrees to help Megan catch the eye of a sexy stagehand in exchange for help writing his new script. 

Between rehearsals and contending with her divided family, Megan begins to notice Owen–thoughtful, unconventional, and utterly unlike her exes, and wonders: shouldn’t a girl get to play the lead in her own love story? 

Always Never Yours is a really cute book!  I liked it and if you’re looking for a cute romance, I think this would be a great book to read.

I really liked the concept behind the book- a girl who dates guys, only for them to find the love of their life after they break up with her.  It’s definitely different than what I’ve seen before, and it seems like she has a reputation as a flirt.  I certainly liked that she seemed to be okay with it, and didn’t feel any shame in it.

I thought it was interesting and different (in a good way) that Megan dreaded acting, and was only in the play to fulfill a requirement to get into her dream college.  I think I had assumed that if you’re in theater, you wanted to be an actor.  Which is stupid, because there’s a lot more to theater than acting.  There’s all of the behind-the-scenes stuff as well, and I kind of liked that she didn’t really have any interest in acting

Of course, it’s not a YA contemporary unless she learns something about herself, and over the course of the book, she does learn a lot about herself.  I can’t say I’m a fan of Megan’s best friend, but her friend does seem to realize she did something wrong, and did seem really sorry about what had happened.  I also liked her relationships with her family, and I can definitely understand why she felt the way she did.

I’m not the biggest fan of Shakespeare, and I think that might be why I didn’t love the book.  At least one reason, anyway. But I think it’s the main reason.  I did like it as a backdrop for Megan’s story, though.  And I didn’t get a Shakespeare re-told vibe from the book, but I think if you like Shakespeare, YA and romance, this book is for you!

3 stars.  It’s cute and fun, and while I liked it, I didn’t love it.

Book Review: Royals by Rachel Hawkins

Book: Royals by Rachel Hawkins

Published May 2018 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers|296 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Royals #1

Genre: YA Contemporary

Meet Daisy Winters. She’s an offbeat sixteen-year-old Floridian with mermaid-red hair; a part time job at a bootleg Walmart, and a perfect older sister who’s nearly engaged to the Crown Prince of Scotland. Daisy has no desire to live in the spotlight, but relentless tabloid attention forces her to join Ellie at the relative seclusion of the castle across the pond. 

While the dashing young Miles has been appointed to teach Daisy the ropes of being regal, the prince’s roguish younger brother kicks up scandal wherever he goes, and tries his best to take Daisy along for the ride. The crown–and the intriguing Miles–might be trying to make Daisy into a lady . . . but Daisy may just rewrite the royal rulebook to suit herself.

I liked this one!  Her books are always fun and light-hearted, and Royals was no exception.  It reminded me of The Princess Diaries, but in an alternate universe Scotland, and the main character is the sister of the future princess of Scotland (by way of marriage).  I was also reminded (at least a little) of Princess Kate and Prince William (and Harry and Megan) and if you need more royal family in your life, this is an entertaining read.

So, I kind of expected Daisy to have a slightly different interaction with the tabloids.  I don’t know, the summary made it seem like the attention she was getting was a lot more attention then she really did.  I was kind of let own by with what actually led her to going over to Scotland.

In general, I feel like what happened in the book didn’t match up with what I thought would happen.  I thought there would be more rewriting the royal rulebook and going along for the ride with the prince’s younger brother.  Or getting dragged along, as the case may be.  Don’t get me wrong, it was still enjoyable, and it’s very much a Rachel Hawkins book.  I think I just had a different idea of what would could happen, and it didn’t match up with what actually happened.

So, this is definitely an alternate-reality Scotland where Scotland has a king and queen.  Which I just went with, but keep that in mind if you pick this up.  Also, there are mentions that the Scottish royal family paid for the medical bills for Miles’ mother.  I don’t know much about the healthcare system in Scotland, but that seemed a little off.  I’m not sure how much research went into the book, as far as life in Scotland goes, but based on some reviews I’ve read, it seems like Hawkins got some things wrong.  While I can’t speak to the accuracy of things like healthcare and tuition in Scotland, keep in mind that some things may not be accurate, if those things are important to you.

I liked Daisy well-enough, and I really liked her dad.  Miles was sweet, and I do like him and Daisy.  I didn’t really care for Daisy’s sister, but I felt like I understood her better by the end of the book.  I also thought Daisy’s story was pretty resolved in this book, so while it’s the first book in the series, Royals functions as a stand-alone pretty well.  And based off of what I’ve seen for the second book in this series, I get the sense that it’s a series where each book focuses on a character who was introduced in one of the other books.  Maybe I’m wrong about that (we’ll have to wait and see, I suppose) but hopefully, we’ll get more of Daisy’s story.  I do want to see what she’s up to.

3 stars.  I liked Royals, and it’s fun and entertaining.

Book Review: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Book: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Published April 2018 by Delacorte Books For Young Readers|432 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Ash Princess Trilogy #1

Genre: YA Fantasy

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

I liked Ash Princess!  Not as much as I thought, but I’m still curious about what’s going to happen next.

It reminded me a lot of The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkosk.  I think it’s fact that Theodosia’s country was invaded by the Kaiser, and how he conquers countries and then abandons them years later when they can no longer give him what he wants.  He burns them (whether it’s literal or figurative, I have no idea) but it is a concept that makes no sense, because eventually, won’t all of the countries run out of resources?  And if they’re literally burned to the ground, eventually he’ll run out of countries and resources, right?

Maybe I’m thinking too much about this though.  This is the sort of book that thinking about these things don’t seem to be a good idea, because then things don’t make a lot of sense.  At any rate, there are some things I really liked.

Like, the idea that the gems are sacred, and that only certain people can use them.  I did like that queens weren’t, because it would be too much power.  I feel like we got a really good sense of Theo’s world, and what it’s like to live under the Kaiser’s rule.  While we did get glimpses of what her world was like before he invaded, I still wish we had more of it.  It was balanced pretty well, and I wonder if maybe more about her life before would have taken away from how things are now.  At the same time, though, it might have added to it.  And I did like that the concept of berserkers was tied to the magic in the mines.  It definitely got my interest, and while I’m hoping we get more of the experiments that were done, I don’t know if we will.  I’m just hoping everything will come together.

I did like Theo, and while I think the Theyn and Kaiser were morons for not killing her, I can at least understand why he didn’t do it.  As for the Kaiser, it was clear she was the example.  It kind of reminded of Mare from the Red Queen. I think this book is a great read if you like the Red Queen and The Winner’s Curse.  And oddly enough, I was reminded of Everless as well, though I couldn’t begin to tell you why I was reminded of it.  There does seem to be a similar feel to both books, so it could be worth checking out.

I mean, if you read a lot of YA fantasy, this book might be really predictable.  I read enough YA fantasy that I thought certain things were predictable.  But I was still interested enough to see what would happen, and I’m definitely looking forward to reading the sequel, so I haven’t read so much YA fantasy that I was bored.  I guess it’s really up to you.

There is a love triangle, which wasn’t surprising- I mean, I feel like it’s pretty standard for virtually every YA fantasy and dystopia to have one.  We have Blaise, the boy Theo has love she was little, and Soren, who’s father took everything away from her.  While we see it throughout the book, I felt like everything else we see in the book is much more important.  She’s torn between two boys, and while it didn’t take over everything else, it was also not just hovering in the background.

I also liked the friendships we see in the book, and I hope we see more of them.  I particularly want to see more of Theo’s relationship with Artemsia, and I think their relationship is going to get a lot more interesting in the books to come.  At least, that’s what I’m hoping for.  And it should be interesting to see how things turn out with Cress too.  There’s a lot I’m looking forward to seeing in this series.

4 stars.  I didn’t love Ash Princess, but I still really enjoyed it, and I’m really looking forward to the next book.

Book Review: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Book: The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Published May 2018 by Farrar Straus Giroux Books|323 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

From the author of I Believe in a Thing Called Love, a laugh-out-loud story of love, new friendships, and one unique food truck.

Clara Shin lives for pranks and disruption. When she takes one joke too far, her dad sentences her to a summer working on his food truck, the KoBra, alongside her uptight classmate Rose Carver. Not the carefree summer Clara had imagined. But maybe Rose isn’t so bad. Maybe the boy named Hamlet (yes, Hamlet) crushing on her is pretty cute. Maybe Clara actually feels invested in her dad’s business. What if taking this summer seriously means that Clara has to leave her old self behind? 

With Maurene Goo’s signature warmth and humor, The Way You Make Me Feel is a relatable story of falling in love and finding yourself in the places you’d never thought to look.

I really liked The Way You Make Me Feel!  I liked Clara, and she really changes a lot in this book.  Goo’s previous book was cute and fun and light-hearted, and this book was pretty similar in that sense.  It’s a completely different story, of course, but I really liked it, and I loved the relationships that she had with Rose, Hamlet and her dad.

It really is a heart-warming story, and I loved seeing Clara get really invested in her dad’s food truck.  She wasn’t happy about it at first, but it seems like she really does like it by the end of the book.  I think she learns a lot, especially after going to see her mom, and realizes that being around her dad, and doing better is something she needs to do.

All of the change we see in Clara felt really natural.  It didn’t feel forced at all, and it felt like it happened at a good pace.  Okay, maybe the friendship with Rose is a little bit forced, now that I think about it.  It is the typical enemies-to-friends story but I did like it, and it didn’t get in the way of me liking their friendship.  They do balance each other out.

Even though I finished this book pretty recently, I found the romance forgettable.  I mean, I like Hamlet, and I think he and Clara have a pretty good relationship, but I am finding that I’m not remembering them as a couple.  Maybe because they were friends for quite a while, or maybe other things were more memorable than them as a romantic couple.  I’m not really sure what it is about their romantic relationship but it’s clearly something that didn’t stand out.

And Clara and her dad!  It seems like he’s pretty lax as a dad, and obviously Clara gets into all kinds of trouble.  It is interesting that it took her prank at junior prom to get him to be more of a dad and less of a friend but I did really like their relationship.  It seems like Goo has a soft spot for father-daughter relationships, and it felt very real.  Clara seems really protective of her dad, and I know I’ve mentioned how invested she gets in his food truck, but I think it’s really sweet and really cool that she enters a contest in the hopes that he’ll win and be able to get his restaurant up and running.

I was sad to see what her relationship with her mom was like.  Her dad does try, but it would appear that her mom doesn’t really care about Clara.  I definitely got the impression her mom was more interested in maintaining a certain carefree lifestyle than she was in being a mother.  I know Clara’s parents were young when they had her, and it seemed like her mom tried for a while, but I honestly could have cared less about Clara’s mom.  Clara going out to see her, though, really seemed to get Clara to realize how important her dad was, and how she did have responsibilities at home.

4 stars.  I didn’t love The Way You Make Me Feel, but I still really liked it!  I thought it was fun and heart-warming, and I love the relationships Clara had with some of the characters.

Around The Internet #3

It’s time for another edition of around the internet, where I share some of the cool and interesting things I find on the internet.

That’s all for now, but I’m sure I’ll be back with another one of these posts soon!

Book Review: Lucky In Love by Kasie West

Book: Lucky In Love by Kasie West

Published July 2017 by Scholastic|337 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: None

Genre: YA Contemporary

Can’t buy me love…

Maddie’s not impulsive. She’s all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment—

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie’s life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she’s talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun…until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now Maddie isn’t sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn’t seem aware of Maddie’s big news. And, for some reason, she doesn’t want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

Of the Kasie West books I’ve read, Lucky In Love is probably my least favorite.  I’ve read several of her books this year, so I don’t know if my feelings about this one are because it’s legitimately not one of my favorites or if it’s because I’ve gotten a little burnt out on her books.  Now that I see it written out, it’s probably a little bit of both.

Maddie…what can I say about Maddie?  She is pretty naive, and it was really hard to see her get wrapped up in winning the lotto.  Who hasn’t thought about it, and what they’d do with the money?  Still, in her case, it was hard to see how much things change, and part of me wishes her parents had been more insistent she see a financial adviser. She does, in the end, but it takes some growing pains in order for her to actual go.

She does mean well, and she really does have good intentions.  I think that, plus her age, plus the fact that her parents didn’t do more is what made it so hard to read.  And maybe part of it is that maybe, just maybe, I’m too old for a book like this.  I usually don’t think that with YA, and it is one of my favorite things to read.  I’ve spent years talking about the YA I read.  But this particular book?  It was hard to read as a 32 year-old woman, and I just really wish her parents did more to get her to see a financial adviser.  It seems like they were caught up in it too, which I can understand…but still.  I just had a hard time with it.

I’m starting to think that I’m a little burnt out on her books, because I was tired and not really into the romance.  Also, I just couldn’t trust Seth.  It seems like he genuinely cares about Maddie but the fact that it doesn’t happen until after her lottery win…I just couldn’t believe it, and while her books usually have some sort of cute romance in it, this was one I just couldn’t get behind.

I don’t actively dislike this book, because I honestly don’t even care enough to dislike it.  It’s obviously not for me, but if other people like it (or even love it) that is cool.  I wanted to like it more but I just really couldn’t.

2 stars.  Lucky In Love was just okay, and Maddie was just really frustrating.  Lucky In Love is definitely not the book for me.

Book Review: Between The Blade And The Heart by Amanda Hocking

Book: Between The Blade And The Heart by Amanda Hocking

Published January 2018 by Wednesday Books|319 books

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Valkyrie #1

Genre: YA Fantasy/Paranormal/Re-Telling- Norse Mythology

Between the Blade and the Heart is the first book in a brilliant new young adult fantasy duology inspired by Norse mythology by New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. The balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.

As Malin wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought, she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue-eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. Malin, along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend, must decide where her loyalties lie…and whether helping Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and to her heart.

I didn’t like Between The Blade And The Heart as much as I thought I would.  It is a cool idea, but I thought the mythology and world were more confusing than it needed to be.

Yes, you get a general idea of Malin’s world but I thought that things weren’t explained very well…if they were explained at all.  The book was both futuristic and old, all at the same time, but it didn’t work for me.  I think it just made it seem like Hocking wasn’t sure if she wanted something more traditional or more futuristic.  I think it did need a little more direction, because I felt like most of the time, it was unclear where things were going.

And I didn’t particularly care about the characters…or like them.  I don’t need to like characters to like a book, and sometimes unlikable characters are what make me like a book, but I felt like the characters were superficial and boring.  For whatever reason, I just couldn’t care about any of them, or what happened to them.  The book was on the shorter side, so maybe the characters didn’t develop as much as they needed to.

It did move fast, and there was quite a bit of action, but I was bored.  I don’t understand how a book with a lot of action can be boring, but this book was.  Maybe I was bored but I didn’t like or care about the characters.  Maybe it’s just me, and not the book.

Going back to the mythology, I did like seeing Valkyries!  It’s not something you see a lot in fantasy/paranormal, and you do see some other paranormal beings that you don’t typically see.  So that was nice, but like I mentioned before, things weren’t explained very well.  I’m not too familiar with Norse mythology (or anything else we see in the book, in terms of supernatural/paranormal beings), so it’s possible that having that knowledge would have made a difference.  Still, I felt like some of the basics should have been explained, because I was left feeling confused and bored.  I know I picked up this book up because it sounded really cool, and not everyone reading this book is going to have enough knowledge of Norse mythology to know what’s going on.

2 stars.  This book was okay, and while I wanted to like it more, I couldn’t.  It had a lot of potential, but it wasn’t the book for me.

Book Review: To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt

Book: To Taste Temptation by Elizabeth Hoyt

Published May 2008 by Forever|362 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the paperback from the library

Series: Legend Of The Four Soldiers

Genre: Adult Romance/Historical Romance

06

The ton loves nothing more than a good scandal, and they’re giddy with the appearance of wealthy Samuel Hartley. Not only is he self-made, American, and in the habit of wearing moccasins, but he is also notorious for fleeing a battle in which several English gentlemen lost their lives. What the ton doesn’t know, though, is that Samuel is in London because of this massacre. He believes his regiment was given up to the enemy and won’t rest until he finds the traitor.

Lady Emeline Gordon is captivated with Samuel. Not only does he defy convention with his unusual dress, his sensual smile, and his forthright manner, but he survived the battle that killed her beloved brother. Samuel suspects that the person responsible for her brother’s death is Jasper Renshaw, Viscount Vale, a family friend since childhood—and Emeline’s fiancé. Despite Emeline’s belief in Vale’s innocence and her refusal to break off her betrothal, she and Samuel begin a passionate affair. But can their relationship survive the fallout from Samuel’s investigation?

I was in the mood for a romance novel, but unfortunately, this one was just okay.  I didn’t particularly care about Emeline and Samuel as a couple, and while I wanted to root for them, I had a hard caring about them as a couple.  Maybe I wasn’t completely in the mood for romance- or maybe I just needed one that wasn’t this one.

I will say that I did really like how this book had a quote from a fictional book at the beginning of each chapter. I know I’ve read one of her other books, and she incorporated a fictional book into that one as well.  I don’t know why I liked that so much, but I did.  I can’t imagine coming up with a full story, plus quotes from a fictional on top of that, though fantasy and sci-fi writers build entire worlds, so it shouldn’t be that much of a surprise.  But still, there is something about a fictional book within a book that is really cool.  So while part of me wants to read that fictional book we see mentioned in To Taste Temptation, I also don’t want to, because what if it’s just not that same?  I don’t want another Fangirl/Carry On scenario.

I do like that her books mirror a fairy tale, though I didn’t particularly pay too much attention to the parallels between the fairy tale and the actual story.  It does seem to be her thing, if this book and The Raven Prince, are any indication.  Maybe I just happened to pick up the two books connected to fairy tales, or maybe it’s a thing she does in a lot of her books.  At any rate, I do like the connections between the two, and it does make things interesting.

Overall, I’m not really sure what else to say about To Taste Temptation.  So before I start repeating myself, I’m just going to end things here.

2 stars.  It was okay, and while I liked the story within a story, I didn’t really care about the main romance.

Book Review: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Book: Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Published April 2018 by Balzer + Bray|455 pages

Where I Got It: I borrowed the hardcover from the library

Series: Dread Nation #1

Genre: YA Alternate History/Historical Fiction/Zombies

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

I really liked Dread Nation!  I feel like I’ve been hearing about it for a long time, and it’s hard to believe that it’s only been out for a few months.  Maybe it’s because I feel like there’s been A LOT of talk about it.  And it definitely lives up to the hype.

It’s interesting that the civil war was basically interrupted by zombies, and I was reminded of both Pride And Prejudice And Zombies and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.  It’s definitely in that genre- I’m not sure what you’d call it, but I generally refer to it as the Pride and Prejudice And Zombies genre.

What horrified me the most was the fact that certain people were sent to schools like Miss Preston’s, and that it was based on real life schools where children were taken away from their families to become better integrated into society (if I’m remembering the author’s note correctly.  Unfortunately, it has since been returned to the library, so I can’t exactly refer to it either).  I didn’t realize that was something that happened, though I can’t say I’m surprised either.

The inclusion of zombies does make it an alternate history, but I also really liked the way that it explored racism, sexism and class issues.  I loved both Katherine and Jane and the friendship that formed between them, and how both girls initially didn’t like each other.  They live in a world where they are trapped, though in very different ways.

There are three different stories we see in this book- being trained at Miss Preston’s, navigating Summerland, and the letters that Jane writes/sends back home.  It was an interesting way to do things, though life at Miss Preston’s would lead to something like living at Summerland, but the letters could lead to something in the next book.  What that is, I have no idea, but I can’t wait to read the next one to find out.  This is one book I would recommend to everyone.  I know zombies aren’t everyone’s thing, but everything else in this book makes it worth reading.

4 stars,  I didn’t love Dread Nation, but I still think it’s a great book, and one worth reading.