Books I Couldn’t Finish: Breathe and Gated

Books I Couldn’t Finish is a sporadic feature where I talk about books I couldn’t finish.

Today’s books are Breathe and Gated.  For some reason, they seem to come in bunches, so I have a couple more!

Breathe CoverBook One: Breathe by Sarah Crossan

What’s It About? Years after the Switch, life inside the Pod has moved on. A poor Auxiliary class cannot afford the oxygen tax which supplies extra air for running, dancing and sports. The rich Premiums, by contrast, are healthy and strong. Anyone who opposes the regime is labelled a terrorist and ejected from the Pod to die.Sixteen-year-old Alina is part of the secret resistance, but when a mission goes wrong she is forced to escape from the Pod. With only two days of oxygen in her tank, she too faces the terrifying prospect of death by suffocation. Her only hope is to find the mythical Grove, a small enclave of trees protected by a hardcore band of rebels. Does it even exist, and if so, what or who are they protecting the trees from?A dystopian thriller about courage and freedom, with a love story at its heart.

Why I Couldn’t Finish It: I honestly don’t remember why I couldn’t finish it- well, mostly.  I remember being pretty disinterested (well, obviously, since I couldn’t finish it) but I just couldn’t care about any of the characters or what was going on.  And I remember being kind of confused about what was going on, because it wasn’t really explained.  I had no idea what the Switch was, or why the oxygen levels changed so dramatically, and I didn’t care enough to see what had happened years before.  It kind of made me feel like I was missing something some essential piece of knowledge that was needed to know what was going on with the book.  And it does make me sad, since the whole premise of the book is actually REALLY interesting.  I just wish it were for me.

Gated CoverBook Two: Gated by Amy Christine Parker

What’s It About?  A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths.

Appearances can be deceiving.

Lyla Hamilton is a loyal member of the Community. Her family was happy to be chosen by Pioneer to join such an lovely gated neighborhood. Here, life seems perfect.

But after meeting Cody, an outsider boy, Lyla starts questioning Pioneer, her friends, her family–everything. And if there’s one thing not allowed in the Community, it’s doubt. As Pioneer cleverly manipulates his flock toward disaster, the real question is: Will Lyla follow her heart or follow Pioneer over the edge?

From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker’s beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike.

Why I Couldn’t Finish It: The thing with Gated is that I wanted to like it.  It really is interesting that after 9/11, the guy in charge of the Community started to put this group together.  I really was reminded of a cult, but as I kept listening…well, this group is really messed up.  I get why they joined the Community (but hated how Lyla blamed herself, even though she was 5 at the time of a family tragedy).  I hated that she was in need of rehabilitation because she can’t shoot a gun- and it’s even worse that the outside world is full of people who will harm them, so you need to show no hesitation to kill.  The people outside this community are already seen as ghosts, because their destiny is to die, and Lyla is wrong in that she still sees them as people.  I get that this is a cult, and that seems pretty typical for cults, but it just got to where I was so angry at Pioneer that I really couldn’t listen anymore.  He’s just such a horrible person, and he made the book hard to get through.

My General Thoughts:

I like the idea of both books, and I wish I liked them!  I just couldn’t get into either book.  Because a world where oxygen is regulated is really scary, and a book about a doomsday cult are books I’d be into…these 2 just didn’t happen to work out for me.

Books I Couldn’t Finish: The Random Edition

Books I Couldn’t Finish is a very sporadic feature where I talk about the books I start to read and then have to abandon for a multitude of reasons.

And today is one of those days, because I actually have a few books I want to talk about.  So let’s get started.

Book One: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Uninvited coverWhat’s It About?  The Scarlet Letter meets Minority Report in bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s chilling new novel about a teenage girl who is ostracized when her genetic test proves she’s destined to become a murderer.

When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

The first in a two-book series, Uninvited tackles intriguing questions about free will, identity, and human nature. Steeped in New York Times bestselling author Sophie Jordan’s trademark mix of gripping action and breathless romance, this suspenseful tale is perfect for fans of James Patterson, Michelle Hodkin, and Lisa McMann.

Why I Couldn’t Finish It: Here’s the thing about Uninvited.  I LOVE the idea of the book, because it’s such an interesting idea.  But in the part I read, I felt a little confused about what was going on, and HTS didn’t seem to be explained well, and I have no idea why it was such a big problem, or how they figured out that there is a kill gene.  It’s entirely possible that I didn’t actually get to that part of the book, given I didn’t actually finish it, but I was bored and uninterested.  Which is a shame, because it could have been really interesting.  On a random note, there are snippets of articles and interviews and statistics, which is really cool, and it gave you a sense of what was going on.  Just in the part I read, I could see the connection to The Scarlet Letter, and it’s kind of a modern-day version of it…but with a kill gene instead of adultery.  I’m not sure about the connection to Minority Report, since the only thing I actually know about is that it’s a movie.  Still, I did like the connection to The Scarlet Letter, and it would have been interesting to see if that continued throughout the book. Overall, I wanted to like Uninvited, since I did like the overall idea, and random snippets about HTS, but I just couldn’t get into it.

Book Two: After The End by Amy Plum

After The End CoverWhat’s It About? She’s searching for answers to her past. They’re hunting her to save their future.

World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They’ve survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she’s trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.

Why I Couldn’t Finish It: It’s another book with an interesting idea.  Escaping to Alaska because of World War III, and a group of people who apparently have supernatural powers.  It wasn’t until I read the summary that I realized that Juneau’s clan vanished, which led her to go find them…so I don’t know if it wasn’t explained well, or I just wasn’t paying attention (although I suspect it’s the latter).  And she finds out that everything she was told growing up was a lie.  I don’t know how I feel about that, because I was expecting something more post-apocalyptic…and didn’t get it.  Which is my own fault for not reading the summary.  Part of me was intrigued by the idea of survivors in Alaska, since you don’t normally read about people escaping there.  At the same time, I kind of like that it was a lie, because you’re left wondering what happened.

Personally, I didn’t care enough to keep going, and After The End also seemed slightly confusing.  There are hints that something’s going on, and that Juneau is the key to something, but you don’t know what.   It just felt like the things I wanted to know weren’t going to be revealed anytime soon, if at all.  Also: Juneau narrates part of the book, while Miles narrates the other half of the novel, and I found that I didn’t care about either narrator, who seemed very much the same to me.  I honestly couldn’t tell you anything about Miles, since his chapters were only a page or two.  And the only thing I remember about Juneau is that she seems to have a supernatural ability.  Interesting idea, but not for me.

Another Little Piece CoverBook Three: Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

What’s It About? The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars series in Kate Karyus Quinn’s haunting debut.

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor…and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese’s fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

Why I Couldn’t Finish It: I felt like the story was really confusing.  I get she remembers nothing from that night, but the way she refered to herself and to her family just didn’t work for me.  I didn’t really get a Stephen King or Pretty Little Liars vibe from the book, so I’m not really sure where those comparisons are coming from.  Unless they just happen to show up after I stopped reading…

It’s been a while since I attempted to read it back in June, so my memory of this book is really fuzzy, and I have to desire to go back and try to read it again.  Another Little Piece seems like one of those books where you have to stick with it to the end for everything to come together and make sense, and I just wasn’t willing to stick it out to the end.  I think it had the potential to be an interesting horror/mystery, but it just didn’t work for me.  Still, other people might find it interesting, so if it seems like your thing, don’t hesitate to give it a try.

To Wrap Up:

The general theme for today seems to be a general confusion about the different worlds and a general disinterest in the three books mentioned.  Clearly, they’re not for me, but I will say that if they seem like something you’d want to try, go for it!