Book Review Round-Up is a series of posts that I started to talk about all of the books I’ve been reading and want to talk about.
Book #1: A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani
What It’s About: In the epic sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel, The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are home, living out their Ever After. But life isn’t quite the fairy tale they expected.
When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed.
Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love—and this time, it comes from within.
What I Thought: I liked it! Not as much as The School For Good And Evil, but I still liked it. It definitely didn’t have the same appeal as the first one did, which, now that I think about it, did stand on its own fairly well. But I also liked seeing the consequences of everything that happened in the first book, and how there was such a ripple effect.
Something about this one was really confusing, and I don’t know if I just wasn’t paying enough attention (I did have to go back and re-read certain parts because it made no sense) or if it’s because I needed to re-read the first book (which I should have done) or if it was just really confusing (which is possible but hard to tell because of the first two things I mentioned). Still, I liked that it poked at fairy tales in general, which is one of my favorite things about the book. It is very much about shades of gray, and yet there is something very black and white about it too.
You do see that balance is necessary, and what happens when you don’t have balance, but I don’t know that it was as obvious as the ideas of beauty being skin-deep and that you can’t judge someone based off of looks that we see in the first one.
Rating: 3 stars. I felt like this one was a little more confusing than the first one, and that it lost some of the charm that the first one had. But I’m still looking forward to reading the next one to see what happens.
Book #2: The Conspiracy Of Us by Maggie Hall
What It’s About: To fight her destiny as the missing heir to a powerful and dangerous secret society, sixteen-year-old Avery West must solve an ancient puzzle in a deadly race across Europe. Forbidden love and code-breaking, masked balls and explosions, destiny and dark secrets collide in this romantic thriller, in the vein of a YA DaVinci Code.
Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada at the Champs-Elysees when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war.
They are part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle of Twelve, and Avery is their missing heir. If they discover who she is, some of them will want to use her as a pawn. Some will want her dead.
To thwart their plans, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the landmarks of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul and through a web of ancient legends and lies. And unless she can stay one step ahead of beautiful, volatile Stellan, who knows she’s more than she seems, and can decide whether to trust mysterious, magnetic Jack, she may be doomed after all.
What I Thought: I was very much intrigued by the idea of YA Da Vinci Code, and I’m actually really glad that this book delivered on that! I definitely liked it, but I didn’t love it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun book, and if you’re into conspiracies, especially one where you have a secret group controlling everything, this is the book for you.
There’s definitely a lot of action, but everything we learn about this secret group and the prophecy aren’t sticking with me. There are quite a few details throughout the book, and other than connections to the Circle throughout history, nothing really stands out, and it hasn’t even been that long since I’ve read it. I think I may need to re-read it again to refresh my memory, but I still am looking forward to reading the next one because I’m really curious about the different interpretations of the prophecy and they’re still sort of right about everything going on.
Rating: 3 stars. I didn’t love it, but I did like it, and it’s action-packed and fast-paced- I just wish the details stuck with me more!
Book #3: Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
What It’s About: When her best friend, Hope Weaver, moves away from Pineville, New Jersey, hyperobservant sixteen-year-old Jessica Darling is devastated. A fish out of water at school and a stranger at home, Jessica feels more lost than ever now that the only person with whom she could really communicate has gone. How is she supposed to deal with the boy- and shopping-crazy girls at school, her dad’s obsession with her track meets, her mother salivating over big sister Bethany’s lavish wedding, and her nonexistent love life?
A fresh, funny, utterly compelling fiction debut by first-time novelist Megan McCafferty, Sloppy Firsts is an insightful, true-to-life look at Jessica’s predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment—from the dark days of Hope’s departure through her months as a type-A personality turned insomniac to her completely mixed-up feelings about Marcus Flutie, the intelligent and mysterious “Dreg” who works his way into her heart. Like a John Hughes for the twenty-first century, Megan McCafferty taps into the inherent humor and drama of the teen experience. This poignant, hilarious novel is sure to appeal to readers who are still going through it, as well as those who are grateful that they don’t have to go back and grow up all over again.
What I Thought: Here’s the thing with Sloppy Firsts…I liked it, and it was a cute book, but I totally read it at the wrong time. I…kind of feel like I’m too old for the book. Don’t get me wrong, Jessica is totally easy to relate to and I can see why people love this boo I was definitely reminded of The Princess Diaries, and Angus, Thongs And Full-Frontal Snogging (and there’s another one I remember reading but I can’t remember the name of it. I think it came out around the same time as Princess Diaries and Angus, though), so if you love those books, you’ll love Sloppy Firsts.
I think Sloppy Firsts is the kind of book that teenage-me would have loved. As an adult, I felt like Jessica couldn’t see that everything was going to be okay eventually. And I hate that I think that, because I think what she’s going through and how she’s feeling is perfectly normal and understandable and valid and very much one that happens a lot. (I’m pretty sure I’d react similarly). I do wish we saw Hope at some point in the book- either a letter back or something, because I really just wanted to see the best friend that Jessica misses…and to see the person that no one will ever measure up to. (That was definitely a point where I wanted to tell her that it’s okay to have other friends, even though Hope is gone and will always be her best friend).
Rating: 3 stars. I didn’t love it but it is a cute book. I just wish I had read it in high school, because teenage Nicole would have loved it.